Taunt Tennis and The Isle of Dread

Time for some more feedback from the Not Remotely Fair Tuesday group:

After successfully polishing off most of the content in the Caves of Chaos, mainly by playing it smart and provoking the goblins and hobgoblins into all out war with the Orcs my brave band of adventurers were at a loss as to where to turn for adventure next.

Tales of Hari's nautical past had begun to spread throughout town, assisted in no small part by Leopold the Dashing's tales of daring do and Hari's inability to keep his shirt on if anyone so much as feigned interest in his crudely inked tattoos. The elderly scribe in Keep Penge requested his assistance in interpreting the more impenetrable slang and jargon found in an ancient Captain's Log he was researching. After discovering a map hidden in the spine the party quickly convinced the Scribe it was of little intellectual value but that they would take it off his hands for suitable recompense.

Having recovered from their hangover(by drinking more mead) the dwarves were roused and the party set off on their way to the nearby seaport city of Annerley. There was a tearful goodbye from the residents of the Keep who had grown fond of the party's regular evening performance in the inn. 

(It was at this point our party underwent the version change and the melee classes bid a rather more tearful farewell to MDD; Leopold became distinctly less Dashing, Herr Ragnwald dropped his secondary spiked shield and actually started using his Ancestral Warhammer and Hari the Devotee of the Phoenix just looked a little glum)

Passing by unseen threats, assisting waylaid merchants and completely ignoring some fantastic plot regarding Arsenic monopolies, price-fixing and a small plague cult infiltrating the Merchant's guild Passage was purchased on a merchant ship bound for a distant chain of Islands referenced early in the log book. A dull sea voyage where drinking, gambling and sea sickness offered the only reprieve from extreme boredom was brought to an abrupt and exciting end by the intervention of a large and rather peckish Roc.

Bravely defending the terrified crewmen from its predations our heroes soon inflicted a variety of vicious wounds on the beast as it flew in on its attacking passes; the Roc then attempted to snatch up a tasty morsel for later and make its escape. After successfully gappling both the Captain and Navigator who were bravely rallying the crew, now that it looked like they weren't all going to die after all, it made to escape! Fortunately a few well placed axes and body-blows fatally wounded the Roc on its final pass and it careened off the deck and into the waters taking its prey with it!

The Captain and Roc corpse were duly fished back out of the drink, but of the navigator there was no trace! worried that they would be lost at sea the heroes convinced the crew and the captain that their best bet was to head towards the origin of the Roc to find land and their bearings.

The Isle of Dread was soon sighted! 

The ship was disastrously wrecked on a reef before being set-upon by a Hydra as the crew escaped mostly intact(sailors in redshirts remaining: 12). Making landfall on the western side of the island a farcical attempt at scaling the cliffs reminded us all why we hate skill checks(sailors in redshirts remaining: 11) and some progress was made into the interior of the Island. A long rest was had by all briefly interrupted by the attack of a wandering clutch of Giant Spiders (sailors in redshirts remaining: 9) and the party resolved to make for a nearby river.

During their trek through the mountains another Roc was spotted in the distance and a slight detour to the south decided upon. This time when attacked by the Roc it was an all-out frontal assault, the party realised they must be close to its nest!

I shall take a break from my narrative here as things became most unpleasant for me the Roc. The Tank and the Rake muttered something to one-another before laughing at me, the reason for their mirth soon became all too apparent.

The Rake tumbled off out of combat in the second round and taunted the Roc, whilst having a larger brain than your average bird a Roc is still pretty stupid and subsequently spent it's next action charging the Rake; provoking attacks of opportunity in it's wake. The Melee then charged after it, raining blows upon it's back except for the Tank, who stood his ground, grinned at me and taunted the poor thing back again; thus provoking a fresh round of attacks of opportunity. This back and forth continued, failing only a couple of rounds due to poor player rolling. But on the successful rounds the players managed to do a great deal of damage with these additional attacks, the poor bird never stood a chance!

Leaving the others (sailors in redshirts remaining: 8) plucking a sack full of feathers and setting to the task of cooking up a tasty treat the mountain dwarf scaled a nearby eyrie to discover a scrappy treasure map and a pair of Rok eggs.

With both bellies and sacks of booty filled my players are eagerly awaiting playing another game of Taunt Tennis next week; I'm considering putting that Green Dragon back in, they deserve it! 

I applaud your players for using martial skills to such advantage.  Depending on the layout, that isn't a strategy that would work every time.  Granted, if it becomes abused and used nearly every fight, I can see where that would get old really quick.  However, smarter enemies would be able to ignore such taunts and make tactically sound decisions.  Considering how much commenting there is lately on how powerful magic is compared to martial classes, it is great to see a pair of martial characters excel by using their skills.
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