Posted by : David Guyll March 03, 2014

Phonos "awoke" from his rest. He took a tour around his ruin-turned-home, just in case he had missed anything, specifically treasure or monsters. When he found neither he stacked up a pile of bones and skulls near the ruin's entrance, and hung a sign on a door that said "Lair...If You Dare". He hoped that by the time he returned something worth fighting and/or smart enough to carry gold would have taken him up on his offer.

Still unsure of the lay of the land he returned to the place where he encountered the pair of satyrs, hoping they could give him directions to a town or monster lair, but they had already left. With no other obvious course he continued to follow the road, keeping to the forest to better conceal himself from travelers.

His plan worked insofar as no common folk noticed him, not so much in that an owlbear came crashing through the underbrush, bowling into him and knocking them both to the ground. The struggle cost him an arm and several ribs (thankfully no legs...this time), but after many, many sword stabs and even a few short-lived owlbear rides he managed to slay the beast. While there was no gold its head would still make a nice trophy for a wall of skulls that he decided, at that particular point in time, to erect behind his throne, which would ideally also be made of skulls, or at least one really big one.

During the de-boning he heard sticks breaking, leaves crunching, and...chittering? He waited until he could barely hear the noise before following it, hoping to catch a glimpse of whatever was making the noise from a very safe distance. Eventually he caught sight of the sources: there were three of them, and they looked like bugs, specifically ants, but as big as a man. They marched in a column, with the lead creature stopping to...smell the ground, he supposed, and the other two carrying the carcass of a massive boar.

Phonos followed them. They lead him into some low mountains, and through a winding ravine to a cave mouth that he assumed was their lair. Before they disappeared inside he shouted to get their attention. They turned around but did not advance, so he threw a rock at them, which prompted a more aggressive response. Thankfully he was able to outpace them, which was good to know, but when he returned to the cave there were now two more waiting. Phonos did not like his odds, especially when he considered the likelihood that there were probably a lot more inside; he made a note of the ant-creature's lair, and returned to the road.

After a few more hours of walking Phonos came across a walled town that was separated by a wide river, which was spanned by a stone bridge. He knew at some point his interactions with the living would have to extend beyond slaughter, so he crossed the bridge, threw down his sword, and spoke to the guards. They were understandably reserved at first, but during a lengthy discussion with their commander he discovered that the ant-creatures--formians--were a problem for them. He said that he had located their hive, and would destroy them as a gesture of good will.

They restocked his supplies (ie, adventuring gear) and even provided him with a barrel of pitch at his request. On his way back to the lair he ran into one of the villagers, a boy barely-turned-man named Vassilis. His sister had been taken by the formians a few days ago, and he hoped to either bring her back alive or retrieve her remains for a proper burial. To Phonos he did not look like much, but he was willing to help and could at least carry a sword and shield.

Once they arrived at the lair they gathered some stones of various sizes into place above the entrance. Then they lit the barrel of pitch on fire and rolled it inside, and blocked p the entrance as best they could with the stones. Once they were satisfied that none of the formians would be able to escape, Phonos allowed Vassilis to get some sleep while he kept watch until morning came.

Next Time: Into The Formian's Lair

Behind the Scenes
The owlbear fight was crazy awesome: I lost an arm, almost a leg, and went through quite a few Bones before finally taking it down.

My knee-jerk reaction when making this character was that, hey, Constitution determines your Bones, and you use Bones, so it should be the highest. I think that were I to remake this character I would probably have made Strength my highest stat, especially considering that he is a barbarian and loves him some Hack and Slash. As a side note I did boost Strength when I leveled up, and took Rods and Plates since I seem to get stuck in the thick of it so much, but the next time I level I will probably take Dance of Death so I can go back and get that owlbear skeleton.

Melissa got to get a crash course in building both a steading and hireling. Here is what she came up with for her first steading:

Antwall (Village)
Prosperity Moderate
Population Steady
Defenses Militia
Other Safe (walls), Blight (formians), Need (adventurers), Personage (Nicondros), Resource (fish, meat)

The people of Antwall primarily either fish or raise livestock. The river and walls usually keep them safe from the formians. She has not made a front yet, but I could easily see the formians as a hordes danger for an adventure front.

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