The Western Lands

4- Rolling Stones

Role Call:

At Base Camp:

In the Hills

Scouting Elsewhere:

The session re-opens mid-day, most of the characters are on a hill above the ant-trail. They have sent a message to the basecamp via Melissa’s Falcon telling them strike base camp and bring the entire operation closer in.

This advance party has a cart, loaded with (among other items) a cage, 4 bear leg-traps and some rope.

Donny and Tig decide to position the bear traps and cage before rolling the boulders down the hill. The bear traps are sprinkled near one part of the trail, and the cage is put in a gully where they hope an ant or two might wander through the door.

Joey suggests using the horses to pull some of the rocks lower on the hill up to a higher point, this so that they can have a clearer path for the boulders they roll and more ready chances to stir up the ants. Donny volunteers to tie rope around the rocks, which he does with some difficulty, and after a half hour’s work, the boulders have been rigged and dragged up to a high point on the hill. They now have six boulders to roll into the ant trail.

Tig volunteers to man the cage on the first roll in case an ant strolls into the cage. He takes a position on the top of the cage so he can drop the door if an ant wanders in.

Frank successfully manipulated the earth beneath the boulder to send it down into the ant trail. Frank set the first boulder rolling by squinting his eyes and destabilizing the earth underneath it. The boulder tumbled down the hill, hit the line and scattering the ants. Within seconds the four bear traps had ants and the players started to move in to do what they could.

Oedustov and Donny ran down the hill with their ant catchers. Frank cast waved his hands around each other and the earth around one of the captured ants undulated like water then formed itself around the ant, effectively burying most of it. He repeated this two more times for two of the other captured ants. The rest of the expedition began running down the hill en masse.

The swarm quickly grew with angry ants circling into a confused mass. One of the ants found the cage, but instead of walking into it it decided to go after Tig, who was waiting on top. The ant climbed up the front of the cage and Tig dropped off the back, gracelessly landing on his face. From up on the hill Tedrich wavd his hands and the tar residue in the ant’s mandibles caught on fire.

Tig picked himself up and ran around the cage only to run headlong into another ant which tried to butt him, but failed. Tedrich acted again and this ant caught fire.

Tig decided to make a run for the open cage door, so that he could close the door and find safety inside of the cage….he thought briefly about leaving the door open to entice an ant in and try to jump over it… and then thought better of it and closed the cage door for safety.

Tig began to load his crossbow to assist with the battle from his position. He took a shot at an ant and hit. The wounded ant advanced on Tig and the cage. Tig began loading another bolt in his crossbow.

Oedustov and Donny met a couple ants that were starting to come up the hill…The ants took up a defensive position….then Frank lit one of the ants on fire. It came barreling into Donny and Oedustov of whom the latter took some minor damage. Donny stepped back defensively, while Oedestov attacked it with his sword, cutting it nearly in half with one swing.

Oedestov tried to take a swing at a different ant with his ant-catcher. He missed, and the ant advanced on him. The ant bit, but Oedestov successfully parried the attack. From a distance Frank lit this ant on fire. Oedestov again tried to noose (the now burning) ant again and missed again. Frank uttered some words in an attempt to douse the fire with water, but failed. The ant lunged for Oedestov and he took a hit.

From a distance the now exhausted Frank, cast shape earth to encourage a lower boulder to roll into the ants…..the boulder rolled a small distance and crushed two ants in the process.

The swarm was starting to wane. Oedestov searched out Melissa for some healing while Donny tried to circle around a boulder to try to lose the interest of the ants that had taken up a defensive position near him. He yelled for others to follow him to give him help with the ants that are trapped in the earth.

Melissa found Oedestov and healed the wound in his side, and then turned her attention to an exhausted looking Frank to offer her assistance. Frank shyly declined, despite his obvious need. Joey and one of the redshirts began to follow Donny around the boulders.

Tedrich continued his offensive assault and lit another three ants on fire which had surrounded Tig’s cage.

Oedestov tried to approach the buried ants from the other side, but the three ants who had taken defensive up positions against him followed his every move. He backed up slowly to try to lure them away from Donny, Joey, and a Red Shirt and towards the cage.

Donny approached one of the (now partially buried) ants and started to try to noose it with his ant catcher. An exhausted Frank slowly started making his way to the buried ants as well, Melissa following to keep an eye on the weakened junior mage. At some point though, he realized he was done until he could regain his strength and he waved Melissa on to go help Donny.

After a few unsuccessful tries, Donny concentrated and made an extra determined attempt to noose one of the ants. This worked and Joey and the nearby redshirt grabbed on to the catcher.

Melissa arrived with a second ant catcher. Donny told her that he had his ant under control and that she should try to secure another of the buried ants. Which she did.

A couple redshirts finally got to Tig who was still caught in the cage- “Wow- are you alright? That was crazy!” Tig paid them no mind and took a shot at one of the lingering ants. He hit and an angry ant turned in the direction of the cage. The ant charged, but in the direction of the redshirts who had just joined Tig. Tig saw what was happening and tried to open the cage to lure the approaching ant inside. There wasn’t enough time though and the ant took a bite out of one of the unsuspecting redshirts. Red Shirt #4 wheeled around to try to defend himself, but the ant attacked again and knocked him to the ground. RS#4 took another bite from the ant…and was completely gutted. RS#2 hit the ant with minimal damage. Tedrich tried to light this last ant on fire, but failed. RS#2 made a solid hit and then RS#1 followed it up with another. Tig put a crossbow bolt into the ant…but it kept on going. RS#2 hit the ant again…the ant finally began to falter. Oedustov approached the ant with an ant catcher to try to capture it, but at the last second Oedustov dropped his ant catcher and decided to attack the ant with his sword. He made a devastating hit and the ant finally went down.

There were a couple of un-uncaptured ants still lingering and Tedrich set these alight, completely exhausting himself in the process. After the last ant was on fire, he gripped his stomach in agony and collapsed to the ground. His work was done.

Tig released himself from the cage and with the help of Oedustov and a couple of the nearby redshirts they brought the cage over to where Donny and Melissa had ants noosed and subdued. The bear traps were opened and these ants were wrestled into the cage. The same was done for the third captured ant.

The party, exhausted, took a breather on the hillside. All were quiet for awhile. Just the sound of the nearby column of ants- thousands of feet trudging away nearby- filled the air. Joey at last stood up and announced. “Well! That went about as good as could be expected! With a little thought and effort, we can refine this down to a science!”

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