Castaway Diary, Day 23

Revisiting the drowning rules makes them seem a lot less bullshit than Thursday night made them seem. They seemed to go straight from hitting the water to dying to dead, with no way of playing out the slow asphyxiation involved when you can’t get oxygen to your brain. But whether alive or unconscious you get to make Con checks and that’s a good way of playing that. We didn’t do that, we just fudged it. Because the three turn water death seemed stupid.
Not "Dead in 18 seconds" then?

Not “Dead in 18 seconds” then?

Plus, it wasn’t as though the party wasn’t finding inventive ways to die out of the water… the other rule thing that came up was what the reckless bonus is: for the risk of fumbling, you increase the critical range of your weapon by 1. That’s easy to get mixed up with increasing the number of critical cards by one.

Anyway, I’ll be retconning a few things – namely, whether an almost-dead barbarian can drown a fish-eating pterosaur (NO) and whether Malicia, a tengu female for crying out loud, might have mistaken the bezoars for eggs (NO).
These were the first and third easiest NPC quests, I thought. Shows what I know. Pick some berries – super easy. Get Jask’s documents – pretty easy. Get a dimorphodon for Sasha – a little difficult. I’m not sure where Ishiro and Gelik’s quests fall, but they did seem like the tougher two. But throw Sasha’s quest in the correct context – on a cliff face and what is otherwise an easy opponent becomes a horrible opponent. I’m surprised at how tough the fight was. It isn’t over yet though.


Back at the camp, getting ready to set off in search of Viper Berries for Aerys and Poisonous Pterosaurs for Sasha, Percy healbotted and cast a bunch of Lesser Restorations on Floki – because healing (and redemption) are where clerics of Sarenrae are vikings! Unfortunately in this case, the viking Percy was emulating was Floki and the proxy-rolling for Percy was abysmal, pretty much three 1s in a row. Through a process of healing attrition, Floki (and everyone else) found themselves back in tip-top health.
The party consulted the map, oriented themselves and then set out, this time taking Gelik Aberwhinge with them. The gnome assured them that he wasn’t too much in a fight, but knew a few inspiring ditties that might perk them up if things got too ghastly out there. Anyway, he is witty company to take along on a hike across the island, so that’s fine. They set off to the waterfalls that emptied into the marshy area they had scouted out weeks ago. Malicia kept her eyes on the jungle and although they did not encounter anyone on their way there, she couldn’t shake the feeling that they were being watched.
They found a thick and tall wall of thorny Viper Vines – a thicket of rigid stalks, topped with many dangling and twisting vines that spiralled down to the ground. Floki, Nobody and Uun went forth to gather some berries from the plants, but found the task more difficult than simply walking up and taking them – the berries were hidden in the midst of the thicket, in the tangle of vines and dagger-like thorns that protected them. Floki and Uun began hacking their way through the vines, which proved tiring because the springy vines resisted the blows and sprang back violently, jabbing Uun in his magnificent oiled barbarian chest a few times. Nobody, meanwhile, went looking for a sneakier way to the berries, finding a gap beneath the vines and slithering under. He braved the thorns too, but managed to carefully maneuver himself next to a patch of berries. He plucked the redcurrant-looking berries and stowed a few handfuls in his new satchel, although not before popping one in his mouth.
Slithering back out, Nobody rejoined the rest of the party as they attempted to discover the trail they had hacked three weeks before. Fortunately, they did find it and used it to get back to the cliffs that lined the northeastern shore. They had passed this way, oh, ages ago, travelling along a thin and treacherous lip of black rock just above the sea.
Uun volunteered, as Uun always does do rappel down the cliff face to look for the nests of the brightly coloured pterosaurs they had seen frolicking at this location two weeks ago. They tied their rope to a sturdy looking tree at the edge of the jungle and peered out over the sea, looking for the creatures. Sure enough there were half a dozen swooping down into the water and otherwise frolicking. Everyone else stood ready to haul on the rope or belay it out to the barbarian, except Malicia who – perhaps accessing some kind of sixth sense about how all wrong this was about to go, slipped silently into the welcoming embrace of the jungle and disappeared from sight. 
The dimorphodons, of course, spotted Uun climbing down to steal their eggs and raced back to the shore as fast as their weird leathery wings would carry them. Nobody, took a bead on one and shot it, winging it so badly it plunged into the sea. Floki struck what he hoped would be a non-threatening pose. Perhaps a “I don’t even know these guys” pose would have worked better.
I blame the font.

I blame the font.

The dimorphodons closed, with some swooping in at Uun and the rest making swooping attacks at the others at the top of the cliff. Out of the way, Malicia slipped over the edge of the cliff and began stealthily clambering down towards the thin ledges. While the dimorphodons tactics were quite simple – stay 15′ from these interlopers, swoop in, make a fly-by-attack and swoop back out; continue until the nests are safe; go back to frolicking/devour fallen interlopers – the party didn’t seem to have a plan in mind. Nobody’s plan was to shoot the pterosaurs, something he actually did pretty well, albeit slowly since he had to reload his gun. But he waited until they were right next to him before pulling the trigger and by these means managed to dispatch one early in the fight. Uun and Floki, meanwhile, were trying to strike a more diplomatic relationship, attempting Handle Animal and Wild Empathy diplomacy checks. They were not successful. Orny, meanwhile, hung out at the top of the cliff cursing his spell list again and failing to land slumber hexes over and over again. Gelik, meanwhile started singing, encouraging them all on to greatness.
Things took a turn for the worst when the dimorphodons landed a series of poisonous bites on Uun and he decided to escape the confine of the cliff face by diving into the sea. Leaping from the cliff to clear the lip of rock at its base, he soared out and was viciously bitten by a dimorphodon as he did so, his graceful dive turning into an unconscious plummet into the surf. Floki continued trying to calm the creatures, but they mobbed him furiously, sinking their poisonous fangs into him. he abandoned the idea of calming the things down and instead held his weapon ready in wait, striking at them as they swooped at him. Orny cast Obscuring mist to get them some cover, then cast Scare on one of the creatures. 
Impenetrable mist + cliff edge = work hazard.

Impenetrable mist + cliff edge = work hazard.

The Obscuring Mist was being pushed back into the jungle by the wind, but it covered them for a while. But rather than prevent the dimorphodon attacks, it really just made them a bit more terrifying as they struck out of the mist suddenly. Nobody’s advantage of using a ranged weapon was gone, so he holstered his gun and grappled the next pterosaur that came his way. And so for the second time since we started playing pathfinder ( Sean’s character leapt on to a flying opponent and rode it to the ground. I figure the dimorphodon has quite a bit of wing power and if it couldn’t fly with Nobody attached, it could certainly control its descent.  It was a streak of good rounds for Nobody as he cast Darkness, his Tiefling ability, and when that didn’t stop the attacks, he shot one dimorphodon down and then tried to grab Uun from the water. He succeeded on the second attempt, hauling the unconscious barbarian onto the rock lip and expertly flipping him into the recovery position, before turning him over and administering the kiss of life.
Something like this... probably.

Something like this… probably.

Back up top, Floki was battling on manfully but the Obscuring Mist had not slowed the swooping attacks and the constant biting had put Gelik down and gravely endangered Floki and Orny. Orny healed Gelik, who returned the favour as soon as he could and healed Floki and Orny remaining prone while he did so. Orny had also landed a Slumber Hex on a dimorphodon, causing it to plummet into the sea, then cast Darkness to try to confound the dimorphodon attacks: it did not. Eventually, Floki had had enough and broke for the jungle, closely followed by Gelik, who was relieved someone else had retreated first, and Orny. Their flapping, screeching attackers wheeled back into the sky.
Somewhere in between this action was Malicia, who skilfully picked out a route across the cliff face without the aid of rope. She made it to one ledge, then another, then another, finding nests built in any small amount of shelter that the cliff offered. Most of the nests that she examined were unused or empty, although she did find two smooth, very heavy egg-like objects and pocketed them. Her luck, alas, ran out and slipping badly on the cliff, she lost her footing and fell. there must have been some 2nd edition rogue wall-running going on though, because even though she plummeted a substantial distance to the black rock lip at the base of the cliff, she was able to get back upright after only a moment, very badly bruised, but still functioning.
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What she found at the bottom of the cliff was Nobody; having delivered the requisite amount of air via steamy man-tiefling embrace had fought off dimorphodon attacks while Uun recovered and Uun; not actually on positive hit points, had grappled a thrashing, poisonous pterosaur and leapt into the sea with it in order to drown it. Having misread the drowning rules as excessively harsh (actually, I didn’t misread them I just didn’t understand what Rolland was saying… so, “having not read the drowning rules” would really be more accurate) it seemed that the below 0 hit point barbarian had successfully drowned the otherwise not badly hurt creature that spends all day fishing in the ocean, but in retrospect and where we start off next week… this is almost certainly not the case.