BQ-02: Skeleton Bugs
—"Y'all Been Warned" by Wu-Tang Clan
A great big nasty fight happened on the last episode, and Soren got a facefull of stomach goo and a second facefull of rocks.
But alas! The dungeon boss is slain, and now a massive cavern centered around a doo-doo fishbone hole full of cool, crisp water is ripe for plunder! In a fit of victory, Soren flips over the corpulent body of the orc and finds a shining ruby glistening where its eye once was. He plucks the ruby out and holds it above his head, finding solace in this monetary boon!
McSneakle stares at the ruby.
McSneakle then asks Soren if he ever plans on placing the ruby down on the ground, preferably when Soren is not looking at it, and even more preferably within reach of McSneakle, because apparently McSneakle believes that if someone placed the equivalent of a wad of 100 dollar bills down near a group of people, and if that wad of bills just "wasn't there anymore," then nobody would suspect the thief. That's just crazy talk, right?
Soren vehemently declares that the ruby is kept on his person at all times where McSneakle's nose can't sniff it out. Soren then jumps into the cold water to rinse off his vomity clothes, and he's taken by a swift current back to one of the rooms they started off in. After realizing they have discovered most of this underground cave, the party decides to leave and exit into an open clearing with oxen and nature and other shit that 🌱 blogs about.
The party then comes across two cabins and the burned remains of a third one. 🌱 decides to dig through the burned remains because it's apparently Ash Wednesday in 🌱's weird druidic circle and DAMN THAT'S A LOT OF ASH! Unfortunately, this conjures up a smoke mephit.
The mephit swipes at 🌱 and the party swipes back so hard they just acquired 87 Tinder matches. When they send the mephit back to the shadow realm from whence it came, it explodes in a pile of smoke, and a really cool chunk of read-aloud text written by a very handsome and attractive RPG writer describes the smoke reforming and acting out a scene: two shapes, one elfish and one feminine (i.e. both elfish) are panicking while a massive third shape oddly similar to the orc the party killed last episode barges in and attacks. The elfish shape casts a spell at it, then the image fades.
It's almost as if the smoke mephit hiding in the ash is an elemental remnant of the terror experienced by Reagent the Brightloam and one of Kincade's daughters as Maovor the orc burst into the house, and Reagent fought back by casting burning hands which caused the cabin to catch fire and burn everything down. It's almost like that's what happened. Almost like that's what happened. Like that's what happened. That's what happened.
... But amidst this discovery, Uul'valaar decides to climb down another well and finds absolutely nothing at the bottom but BOY OH BOY does he give it his all by rolling a 7 on Investigation and picking through every damn rock down there.
McSneakle goes into one of the houses, which is apparently Kincade's. While there, he finds lots of strange scripture to the deity, Bosnir, but he can't sell scripture on the black market so fuck all that. He then finds a pile of burnt love letters written in orcish. Fortunately, McSneakle is an anemic human growing up in a destitute family of weak genetics, and one of those genetics includes the ability to speak and read orc (he'd be doing the party a much better favor if he could learn to speak and read see-in-the-dark). Since McSneakle has no room for love in his cold, dead, blood-deficient heart, he disregards the burnt love letters.
The party then goes to the third house. Uul'valaar tries looking through the window, but he can't see anything. McSneakle realizes that whereas everyone but him has darkvision, he has an advantage by being the only character in the party with rockvision. He sees through the window by smashing it with a rock. The rock then lands on a dead body strewn across a bed, but the dead body has a massive wasp nest tucked into its rib cage, and these wasps are extremely upset that McSneakle through a rock into their skeletal home.
So they attack Uul'valaar and dropped his ass to 0 hit points.
McSneakle promptly McRunsLikeABitch while Soren conjures the fires within his deep magical nightmare void and lobs the searing blaze of infernal power at the wasps. He misses. 🌱 swings a whip of plant-vines at the wasps and kills one of them. Uul'valaar keeps being unconscious. McSneakle starts to light one of his crossbow bolts on fire while hiding in the ashpile. Soren again taps into the devlish ire coursing through the veins of Nine Hells, amasses eons of arcane heresy, and distills it into a pinpoint focus of hyper-saturated destruction. He unleashes the flaming tongues upon the wasps! He misses.
Uul'valaar, getting tired of this bullshit, asks if he can use his inspiration to give Soren another chance. The Dungeon Master okays this play, so Soren rolls again, hits, and deals 2 damage.
The wasps then swarm 🌱 and drop him down to 0 hit points. The wasps are now sitting at 19 out of 22 hit points and the party is sitting at 2 out of 4 PC's still standing.
McSneakle shoots a flaming crossbow into the wasps swarm. It works about as well as it should. He does his best and burns a few fat ones. The wasps then jump into Soren's square, and he casts shocking grasp while flailing his hands around in a panic, eventually smacking enough of them with his bug-zapper attunement to drop them all to the ground.
Seeing their party members bleeding out, McSneakle runs to 🌱 and stabilizes him by plugging his wounds with loose change. Soren tries stabilizing Uul'valaar, but his hands are still set to defibrillator mode, so he accidentally shocks him. Uul'valaar eventually wills himself through the power of his own death saves to bring himself back to not-dead status.
McSneakle then burns the fuck out of the building with the wasps in it after snatching a violin from one of the beds.