The skeletons were a problem, but their slow shuffling meant there were more pressing things to worry about. The goblins, however, were relentless. Several squat, hideous archers were circling the battle on dire wolves and taking shot after shot. At least any goblin who got close enough to swing a sword at our heroes was slowed down as they stepped over their fallen allies’ bodies.
K’thargg, the half-orc barbarian, cleaved a goblin in twain with his enormous axe, spun around, and caught another under the chin, almost taking its head off. Somewhere in his walnut-sized brain he made a mental note to come back for it as a trophy.
“You’re welcome,” the dwarf bard Bothurl called to K’thargg. His pride that his inspiration helped K’thargg’s second attack land was palpable as he fired another crossbow bolt, knocking a goblin off his dire wolf.
The elf cleric Lumiel raised her holy sword towards the hordes of skeletons and mumbled something unintelligible. Half of them crumbled into dust. While it was nice to be rid of them, their sudden absence made it much easier for the ogres to charge into the battle.
The monk Jadu, the sole human in the party, was a blur as he ran to the nearest ogre and channeled his chi into his fist. The punch landed and the ogre was stunned for several seconds, giving the gnome rogue Tibbit ample opportunity to grab its purse before slashing its Achilles’ heels with her dagger.
Filomel, the half-elf wizard, stepped boldly towards the oncoming ogres and raised her hands in the air as she shouted, “I cast Earthquake!”
“You can’t cast that,” Amy said. “It’s not on your spell sheet.” She indicated the list on Chris’ character sheet as the other four players rolled their eyes.
“Okay, then I’ll add it to my spell sheet,” Chris replied.
“No, it’s not on your sheet because Filomel hasn’t learned it. Plus it would be really out of character for her since it’s an Evocation spell and Filomel is in the Divination class.”
“The spell class, like what kind of magic it is. Evocation is nature stuff like earthquakes and storms and Divination is like reading omens or locating something far away or telepathy.”
“Okay, so can I use Telepathic Bond on them and make them THINK there’s an earthquake?”
“I don’t think so. It’s not–”
“Yeah! Natural 20! Oh no! There’s an earthquake, you guys! Winnnnk.”
Amy sighed. “I can’t believe Erica is letting you play her character. Okay, with your crit roll, you use Telepathy to apparently convince the 31 remaining goblins, 16 skeletons, and 3 ogres that there’s an earthquake. I guess that would distract them from taking their turns, so it is back to K’thargg. Ooh, a natural one. Not good. Let’s see….”
As K’thargg swung his comically over-sized ax at a dazed ogre, he slipped in some goblin blood and did a front flip, landing square on his back. The air was knocked out of him and the ax that slipped out of his grasp came down on his head. Luckily, it was the blunt side that hit him so he only got a mild concussion which nobody noticed for three days.
Bothurl ran towards the same ogre, shouting vicious mockeries about the ogre’s smallness and rude things about his mother. The ogre slowly parsed the grammar of the insults and felt his heart sink just as Bothurl leapt into the air and drove a dagger down into his chest, literally making his heart sink.
Lumiel charged at the remaining skeletons, shouted something in tongues, and drove her sword into the ground. After a wave of divine energy tore through the skeletons, nothing remained but their swords and rusted armor.
Jadu stoically took–
“Contact Other Plane!”
“It’s not your turn, Chris. It’s Jacob’s turn,” Amy said.
“Can I use a spell that makes me skip ahead?”
“There isn’t one and no.” Amy took a breath and gathered her thoughts.
Jadu stoically took in what monsters remained on the battlefield. As he scanned the area, he turned to find the only ogre still on its feet roaring in his face. Fortunately, he had trained his mind to resist such distractions and simply pummeled the ogre’s chest with a flurry of punches until it fell down dead.
The last living ogre writhed on the ground, immobilized and confused. Tibbit slashed its throat and dashed off to loot some nearby bodies before the others got a chance.
“Okay, Chris. It’s your turn.”
“I cast Contact Other Plane.”
“You’re out of slots for that level.”
“What? Aw, man. I knew I shouldn’t have used Animate Objects to make the chicken bones dance around.”
“Hey, Bothurl uses a free action to shout out cutting words to Filomel. Roll some dice, ya dingus!”
“Fine. Okay, let’s try this.”
Filomel’s fingers drew an arcane symbol in the air. The sky darkened and a faint buzzing grew louder until it drowned out all other sound. A cloud of flying insects blocked out the sun as it swarmed over the battlefield.
“What happens? What do the bugs do?”
“I dunno. I mean, they’re really gross and creepy, right? Yuck!”
“So…they’re gross. And that’s your turn.”
“Okay. Good job, idiot. K’thargg goes full frenzy and mops up the rest of the goblins. With a… 19, plus 5, plus 2. And that’s stacked with my–”
“Yyyyup. You got it. Everything’s dead. Anyone want to do anything before we move on?”
All of the players except for Chris cried out in unison: “Loot the bodieeees!”
20-sided dice rained down on the table and Amy tallied their rolls, mentally dividing them into various ranges of Difficulty Class each attained. “Okay, Jacob, Jadu found a rusty dagger — great for giving someone tetanus — and 30 GP. Darius, K’thargg finds 60 GP, an emerald, and a small cursed idol. Carl, Bothurl found 110 GP. Hannah, Lumiel didn’t find anything. Ashleigh, Tibbit found 345 GP, a ring with a curious symbol on it, and a scroll. Chris, Filomel finds a very strange charm on a necklace.”
“Okay, put it all in a pile and I’ll cast Detect Magic on it.”
“Well, before you have a chance to do that, you hear the rumble of deep, steady thuds. It’s getting closer.”
“14 plus 3! Do I see anything?”
“You don’t see the source of the noise, but you do notice some branches parting as if something were passing through them.”
“It’s invisible! Anyone have any Sight spells or feats?”
“Mine isn’t prepared.”
Amy raised her eyebrows at Chris. “Does Filomel have anything?”
“Uhhhhhh, nnnnno. Nada.”
“Are you sure? Check everywhere.”
“I’m checking spells…items…background…I’m not seeing anything.”
Amy punctuated every word. “Check. Erica’s. Notes. On. The right. Anything about eyes or sight?”
“See Invisibility! You have See Invisibility!”
Chris was still looking through Erica’s notes. “I do? Oh, cool!”
“Okay. So there’s a big invisible thing approaching quickly and only you can see it. What do you do?”
Amy rubbed her eyes. “Chris. I know you’re still new and Erica was very nice to let you play her wizard tonight. But I need you to try and get in the character a little. It’s role playing, not just punching.”
“Okay. Role playing. Okay. So I see the invisible thing coming and I, um, hmm. Oh! I got it! I point at him and shout, ‘Brother?'”
Filomel’s jaw dropped as she took another step towards the creature that she and she alone could see.
“Brother, it’s been so long. Can it really be you? We were separated at birth! I’ve spent so many years searching…searching for you! Oh, brother! This is the happiest day of my life!”
“The monster isn’t your–”
“No, I haven’t spoken to Father. He went off to fight in the Great Battles across the sea and never returned!”
Amy tried to interrupt. “Okay, the giant invisible monster is about 30 feet in front of the party now and you see a giant fireball appear around where you think its mouth would be.”
“Brother! There’s no need for this! It is I, Falafel–”
“Falamal, and I wish you no harm!”
“And it’s breathing fire on you.”
“Yes! Yes, let us embrace as the long-lost twins that we are! No. No, I don’t know any of these people. Ha! Yes! They do seem like a bunch of dummies!”
“This isn’t how you–”
“Sure, I’d love to see your place! Let’s go. Bye, jerks! I’m gonna go party down with my invisible twin brother. He says y’all suck. Later, goobers!”
Chris moved Filomel’s miniature die-cast figurine off the board and started doodling a picture of Filomel hanging out with her giant, invisible, fire-breathing twin.
The other players looked at each other for a moment, then Carl rolled his die.
“That’s a 17 plus 3 plus 1, 21. I get my crossbow and shoot Filomel in the head. Hannah, you’ll resurrect her next week?”
“You got it.”
“Okay, so Filomel falls down dead and the invisible beast lumbers away. Does anybody need a meal or a potion or anything?”