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Dandelion could see fairly well in the dark, but it was really dark in that part of the Moonstone Caverns. The walls of the chasm were just solider parts of the darkness, as was the ledge underfoot. When the eagle rose up above the ledge on great flapping wings, it was simply a black cutout of a giant bird against the fainter gray obscurity all around it. The cave mouth that Dandelion sought showed only as and even blacker hole in the darkness that was the wall.

Kicking bones and trash out of her way because she had no time to watch where she was going, Dandelion moved cautiously but swiftly toward the cave.

And it was loud. The eagle had screeched when it first attacked her, and then had been mostly silent as the two fell together, but now that it was circling around for another diving attack, it began shrieking again, and so loudly that Dandelion’s ears hurt from the noise. It was difficult to hear onself think in this racket, much less the soft voice of Min-Kon.

“SHREEEEEEEEEEEE CHEEEEEEQQQQQQQQQQ!” Just to give you the faintest idea of the cacophony . . .

Dandelion thought about throwing a spell at the cave eagle, but when she did, she got a baaaaad feeling–much as if she had swallowed ice and there was a lump of the cold stuff in her stomach.

She ducked into the cave mouth just as the bird swooped through the space where she had been standing.

Dandelion in the dark ready for a fight.

Compared to the darkness inside the cave, the darkness outside it was almost as bright as early dawn. Here came the eagle, screeching its lungs out, diving toward the cave mouth like a guided missile. Dandelion held her club in a two-handed grip and prepared to make a mighty swing when the eagle came into range.

original eagle combat picture by Kevin Bracey.

But, it didn’t fly into her club like a fastball in a baseball game. Instead it stopped short and lurched back in the air, and Dandelion’s swining club swooshed by harmlessly until the backswing banged into a stone wall and almost jarred the big piece of wood out of her hands. Meanwhile, the eagle landed, and scuttled forward, pecking with its huge curved beak and flailing with its mighty wings.

And then began a strange melee as the bird darted in and out, trying to rip her open with its talons, or buffet her with huge wings, or gore her with its tearing beak. Sometimes airborne, sometimes on the ground, always flickering in and out with savage speed and intensity. Dandelion flailed and punched and kicked, sometimes fending the bird away from her face and throat–usually missing completely.

Eagle: Monster rating 200 on the ground and in limited area–400 in the open. 21D6 +100.

Dandelion: 12D6 + 155.

Round 1:
Eagle: 187 + 5 spite.
Ogre: 205 + 4 spite.

In the first mad flurry of combat, Dandelion felt eagle talons rip along her leg, opening a horrid wound. But she also felt her club connect more than once with eagle body or wing.

Dandelion’s Con: 29.

Round 2:
Eagle: 161 + 4 spite.
Ogre: 191 +1 spite.

Although she hit it more than once the eagle also scored, doing more damage with a rip in Dandelion’s cheek that barely missed her eye.

Dandelion’s Con: 25.

Round 3:
Eagle: 158 + 1 spite.
Ogre: 197 + 1 spite.

It was hard to tell, but the eagle seemed to be weakening. It only nicked her once, though even that one hit with the beak stung badly.

Dandelion’s Con: 24.

Round 4:
Eagle 121 + 4 spite.
Ogre: 203 + 3 spite.

After 6 minutes of fighting, Dandelion finally hit the bird solidly–so solidly that she heard bones break and the screeching turned to terror. But she took another bad gouge herself.

Dandelion’s Con: 20.

The badly wounded eagle tried to flutter and scurry away from the ogress. One wing was broken so it couldn’t fly any more. Dandelion thought she could finish it off with one more effort, but she was bleeding badly in several places.

The voice of the necklace sounded in her mind. “You could heal yourself by using magic,” it said. “And do you know that you have been poisoned?”

Dandelion didn’t know that. She was in a lot of pain, and maddened with a desire to slay that foul fowl.

[ What did she do:

  1. Follow the wounded eagle and finish it off?
  2. Make a light to see what was in the cave with her?
  3. Sit down and let the necklace heal her of her wounds and poisoning?]

________________________________________________________________________________

I bet I could modify this to play with Tunnels and Trolls.

This is the most recent of all the great free stuff that has come to me lately. Looks like a helluvan adventure, and since it’s for D & D4E it should be an easy thing to modify into whatever game system you prefer.  You can find it, very reasonably priced, at Drive-Thru RPG.

End of commercial.  (grin)

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