1/18/16 Roc Attack pt. 1 (began after fortifying old gnoll camp, ended on cliffhanger with Toki having chained the roc up) (lv6)
Making you guys fight things just so I can write puns is really working out.
Next up- “Don’t Hate the Flayer, Hate the Game” –DM.
Vetkin’s recap: So there’s some bones right? easy pickins right? Nah, big ass bird happened because the group was dragging ass…Toki practically tied it to our cart full of stuffs. Now what?
After spending some time fortifying the deserted gnoll encampment (henceforth “Dragon Bone Bluff” until the party starts naming things), Toki and Co. began to plan their next step. Should they continue further into the canyon to end the gnoll menace once and for all? Or seek out the mysterious Laugher’s Gorge- rumored to be the site of an unholy temple dedicated to the goddess Beshaba? Should they fortify the camp further and go back to Phandalin for additional supplies and seek help from the townsfolk? Or should they try to extract some of the dragon skeleton now while they still have the manpower (while Dorash is still alive)?
Vetkin, Toki, and Finrik debated all of this and more for some time. Mordekai and Dorash, being newcomers to the group, kept their opinions to themselves, if they had any. Eventually, the midday sun had fixed itself directly above the canyon walls and the party continued to deliberate as the sun’s hot rays beat down on them. A few of them had noticed an eerie quiet to the canyon when they first arrived, but now their discussion was interrupted by the faraway squawking of a bird.
At first the party thought nothing of it, but then it became louder and nearer. Eventually, the party looked up to see the silhouette of a winged creature directly above them, its details obfuscated by the sun’s glare. They observed it long enough to tell that the squawking bird was getting larger as it approached. Finrik called out to it in birdspeak, but received no discernable answer. Thinking it could perhaps be a buzzard or some other canyon scavenger, the party held its position- until it became clear that this creature was much larger than they could have anticipated and that it was diving down on their position with incredible speed!
Toki, Mordekai, and Vetkin scrambled against the walls while Dorash and Finrik readied their ranged weapons and tried to get a bead on the creature. Before they could blink, the creature had breached the 100 foot height of the canyon and was heading directly for them. Both Finrik and Dorash let loose their missiles, both striking true. Finrik didn’t stick around to see his land however (he didn’t need to- his shots always land), and quickly jumped under the cart to hide. Dorash stayed put and saw his crossbow bolt sink deep into the giant bird’s chest, causing it to let out a piercing screech. Dorash attempted to prep another bolt but before he could do so the bird was already upon him.
Seeing the large dragonborn target standing on the fortified wall would have been enough to attract the mammoth buzzard, but Dorash’s stinging shot had earned him all of its ire. The bird landed on Dorash with its full velocity- first with its talons, pulling him off the wall, and then with its beak, dealing an incapacitating blow to him. The great bird now clutched Dorash’s unconscious body in his left talon and his party could see the blood pouring from his wounds as Dorash’s free hand dangled loosely, still managing to hold on to his greatsword.
The bird crashed on top of the party’s campsite with a thud, and when the dust settled they got their first good view of the beast. The monstrous bird looked much like an eagle (if eagles were the size of taverns) and as it stretched out its enormous multicolored wings that were nearly the width of the canyon and let out a squawk, the party realized that the monstrous avian predator before them was none other than a roc. These birds of legend were rumored to have been bred thousands of years ago by the giants to aid in their war against the dragons.
The party didn’t have time to concern themselves with legends, however, as they had a real live roc towering over their campsite and in its clutches was their party mate Dorash, who with each passing second slipped closer to death. Each of the party members attempted to fend off the roc in their own way. Toki and Mordekai flung magic at it to little effect. Vetkin rushed in with his summoned sword and slashed at it, and was met by a damaging blow from the roc’s beak. Finrik, perhaps hoping his newfound druidic powers would give him kinship with the beast, attempted to communicate with it. Finrik squawked and squawked as the roc raged on and Dorash lie bleeding in its grip.
After fighting the roc for a short time, they soon realized they were no match for it and began to make alternate plans. Vetkin shouted at Finrik to cease squawking at it and use his deadly bow, commanding,“Finrik, shoot the talons!”. Finrik barked back, “Thanks Vetkin, but I’m going for the goddamn throat!” and instead he sank two arrows deep in the roc’s chest. Only seconds after landing, with his meal in hand, the roc had had enough and began to beat its wings furiously to attempt to achieve flight.
The quick-thinking Toki (perhaps too quick) then braved the roc’s tantrum and pulled his newly minted masterwork chain from the back of the cart and slung it around the roc’s right talon while Vetkin made a few distracting strikes at it. Toki wrapped the chain around itself several times and then clasped it together with one of his daggers but not before anchoring it firmly in place with the Immovable Rod.
As the roc attempted to gain flight, it failed to notice it was now chained to the canyon floor. It heaved itself upward with several thrusts of its wings, only to be halted and yanked back toward the ground. The party quickly tried to evaluate this new situation Toki had created as they remained stuck against the canyon wall.
A macabre waterfall of blood continued to stream from the roc’s talon that held Dorash. Seconds after Toki’s maneuver, he succumbed to his wounds in the roc’s fierce grip. The party watched as Dorash’s clawed hand slowly released the grip of his greatsword and it fell to the ground with a loud clang that echoed throughout the canyon amid the chaos.
With no time to process the death of their teammate, the party continued their feeble fight as they looked to their leader for guidance. It was Toki’s turn to act and he and his friends were trapped- between a roc and a hard place.