Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

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Grimnosh
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Postby Grimnosh » 2017-02-17 10:14am

Imperial Overlord wrote:
LadyTevar wrote:
Imperial Overlord wrote:And while it won't eat the Carnivora's soul, Nal is right there on top of the body with lots of powerful necromancy and the means to contract with soul grabbing Night Hags.

And there's always SoulJar spell. :angelic:


Wrong spell. That's for body jacking.
I think she means the spell he used to imprison the two most powerful Overmasters in "the Whirlwind"
You know, its remarkably easy to feed an undead army if all you have are just enemies....

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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Postby Rem 12 » 2017-02-17 10:25am

Regardless of what spell he uses, the Carnivora is a really powerful mofo with a record of returning from the dead. Nal's smart enough to prevent it from happening again. On a related note, he's really taken a toll on the magic-users of the Horde. The last few updates give the impression that the King of Tribes is the only thing that can threaten him at all. The rest is just butchering the army.
The point is, they're on the good side, they're a group of (usually) non-heroes, and they are AWESOME.
So... what do you call them?
Easy.

Rangers.
(TV tropes on Rangers)

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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Postby Imperial Overlord » 2017-02-18 01:16am

Rem 12 wrote:Regardless of what spell he uses, the Carnivora is a really powerful mofo with a record of returning from the dead. Nal's smart enough to prevent it from happening again. On a related note, he's really taken a toll on the magic-users of the Horde. The last few updates give the impression that the King of Tribes is the only thing that can threaten him at all. The rest is just butchering the army.


The Horde still has a bunch of powerful wizards left. They're really only doing badly here because:

1) The right hand of three gods showed up in person and put a dent in their siege plans.

2) They were unprepared for really high level exotic necromancy, which they eventually managed to handle. Also see 1) about the giant siege demon who would have been able to take on the grave colossus head to head.

3) They were able to take down the defensive spells on the simulacrum pretty quickly when they ganged up on it. Only the fact that Nalifan ambushed the ambush in the form of a beholder, a creature of the Underdark that badass steppe nomads had no experience fighting, and they panicked when the antimagic messed them up allowed Nalifan to win that fight.

So Nal's doing well because he's got help and he's attacking them in ways they're unused to fighting. They're still the bigger, badder, army with lots of big bad wizards. The war is bleeding both sides, but so far the siege is going swimmingly for the defenders. They've only lost the gates and they've managed to inflict meaningful casualties and it only cost them the most powerful celestial warrior in their gods' service. So far.
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Postby Imperial Overlord » 2017-02-27 03:12am

His eyes stopped hurting and vision returned as the pain began to dull all over his body. He was at the edge of an open square beyond the ruined gates and he was not alone. The edge of the courtyard was covered with barricades constructed from pieces of overturned wagon and timber. Behind the barricades were archers. Many archers.

Arrows flew. Many most. Many did not. His arms were struck. His legs were struck. His torso was riddled. Some glanced off bone, some punched into bone, some went through bone, and many went through and through. His legs failed. His arms were useless He tried to laugh but nothing came up but blood.

His body spasmed on the ground, scattering blood droplets like a dog shaking itself after coming in from the rain. His muscles broke the arrows and bolts and his body began ejecting the pieces. Metal and wood rattled on the cobbles around him, beneath him. He stood. "What now?" he rasped through a half healed throat.

They shot him again. Innumerable shafts riddled his flesh. One struck him in the forehead. He fell like a puppet with its strings cut. For a moment, blackness. The void. No sensation at all. Then he was starring through open eyes. The pain was back too, but lesser. Removed.

This he knew. When his heart got pumping, when his blood pounded in his temples, and a red haze threatened to descend upon his vision the pain would go away. It would cease to mean anything. Only killing would matter. He rose up with a single word on his lips. "Dragon!" he shouted.

Arrows came again as he exhaled. A third of them perished in the torrent of flame. So did a third of the archers, human beings transformed into tallow dipped torches. The arrows struck again. Again blackness. A moment. Then another. Light again. Again, he rose.

They broke and ran. Before his banishment he would have called them coward, but he had learned with bitter experience how futile courage was in the face of overwhelming force. Now he was the overwhelming power. No man, no demon, no city, no army could stand against him. He was solid and they were mist and smoke.

-----

To face a walking nightmare was to be a wizard, but to face a second moments after the first was asking much even from a Khaduli Vescorai. Tzerika was numb as she watched the tornado of green fire bear down on the horde. She saw, with enchantments the pierced the veils of the world, the very life out of the warriors as it approached and then consuming the shades of the dead as it washed over them.

"Fire!" she shouted, magic carrying her words to the ears of all of her wizards. "Fire and light and the power of the heavens!" The last was in short supply among the Khaduli these days, but her uncle was one of the wizards her words touched and she would endure his complaints if he helped deliver victory here.

Death bore down on her, throwing corpses of horses higher in the air than Cardan's wall. She saw the dead being sucked into the vortex and shades writhe screaming within the fire as it consumed their substance. She could see night hags mounted on nightmares lurking in astral space, waiting to snare the souls of the fallen as they began their journey to the Outer Planes.

She felt ice grip her flesh and an immaterial wind tug at her life. She shouted the initiators of a spell and flame bloomed in her hand. She flung it and the fireball detonated in crimson and black on the body of the tornado. It was a pin prick but was not the only one. Fire blossomed against the hurricane and burned ragged holes in the undead conglomeration's substance.

She raised her voice and shouted the mightiest of her spells. The balance of the cosmos shifted ever so slightly and the remainder of the equation appeared. Fire drowned the world in front of her.

-----

The King of Tribes staggered as he pulled the last splintered arrow out of his chest. His legs were numb and sluggish. He looked down and saw that his lower legs had turned to grey stone. A grey beam was playing over the back of his legs. It was only an annoyance. The change wouldn't last. He awkwardly turned around to confront the fool mage.

It wasn't a mage. It was a nightmare orb of armour plate floating in the air, crowned by writhing tentacles that were tipped with glaring eyes. A crimson ray fired from one of the eyes tore open his left shoulder and an icy ebon beam struck his chest. He grunted and spat bloody phlegm. "Spear!" he shouted.

A spear of red-hot iron appeared in his hand. He could feel the heat rolling off of it, but it did not burn his hand. The beast was about fifty feet away from him, horizontal and another thirty vertical; give or take. The central eye glared at him. He cast.

The beholder dodged. The spear grazed the creature's side and deflected off the armour plates. He snarled and reached his hand out again. A green ray fired from another eye stalk and struck his hand. There was an instant of pain and then his hand dissolved, leaving behind dancing motes of green light. His lower arm followed as did his arm and then his shoulder. Blackness.

-----

Nalifan shifted back into his true form in disgust. The King of Tribes had rapidly regenerated his head, even while under the power of his anti-magic eye. Knowing it was probably futile, Nalifan unleashed Glass Strike against the King of Tribes. Emerald light flared around his body, turning it glass. A moment later a spell of shattering caused the statue to explode, covering the cobbles with glass fragments.

The glass reverted to flesh and blood and flowed together, reforming into a pool of gore in the center of the square. Nalifan shifted back into beholder form as the puddle sprouted limbs and began to solidify. Using his telekinetic eye stalk he tossed The King of Tribes' body over the wall and then blasted the inside walls of the gatehouse with his disintegrate ray. The gatehouse collapsed upon itself with a loud roar, forming a huge mound of rubble.

The King of Tribes looked at the barrier and then back at his army. The dead littered the earth, which was torn and ripped as if giants had torn up the field looking for buried treasure. The vortex of green fire was sinking into a cloud of flame while rays of a dozen hues ate away at its substance and bursts of multicoloured flame erupted around in. He shrugged and walked away from Cardan. Tomorrow would be another day.
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Postby SCRawl » 2017-02-27 08:09pm

I really thought that we were approaching the end game there, but I can see that there's some game left to play.

LadyTevar wrote:
SCRawl wrote: Indeed, one wonders if any sort of permanent solution is possible, though I hope to find out soon :)

I'm beginning to think the only way to kill him is somehow sever his tie to The Maw


After this most recent installment, I'm now inclined to agree. Any kind of solution to someone who can regenerate like that - banishment or perpetual damage , such as being tossed into a volcano or shunted to another plane - could just be undone by the Maw anyway. So the solutions appear to be killing the Maw (which ought to be well outside Nalifan's abilities), preventing the Maw from having access to the plane of interest (ditto), or causing a situation which will result in the Maw no longer being interested in having the King of Tribes as his agent. I look forward to finding out how the plot is resolved.
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Postby Grimnosh » 2017-03-01 09:46am

SCRawl wrote:I really thought that we were approaching the end game there, but I can see that there's some game left to play.

LadyTevar wrote:
SCRawl wrote: Indeed, one wonders if any sort of permanent solution is possible, though I hope to find out soon :)

I'm beginning to think the only way to kill him is somehow sever his tie to The Maw


After this most recent installment, I'm now inclined to agree. Any kind of solution to someone who can regenerate like that - banishment or perpetual damage , such as being tossed into a volcano or shunted to another plane - could just be undone by the Maw anyway. So the solutions appear to be killing the Maw (which ought to be well outside Nalifan's abilities), preventing the Maw from having access to the plane of interest (ditto), or causing a situation which will result in the Maw no longer being interested in having the King of Tribes as his agent. I look forward to finding out how the plot is resolved.
So Nal should ask the Maw if he would turn his attention away from the King of Tribes for 5 minutes in exchange for a box of Girl Scout Cookies (made with real Girl Scouts, guaranteed with the Jeffrey Dahmar seal of approval)?
You know, its remarkably easy to feed an undead army if all you have are just enemies....

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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Postby SCRawl » 2017-03-01 12:53pm

Grimnosh wrote:So Nal should ask the Maw if he would turn his attention away from the King of Tribes for 5 minutes in exchange for a box of Girl Scout Cookies (made with real Girl Scouts, guaranteed with the Jeffrey Dahmar seal of approval)?


I was thinking more along the lines of manoeuvring the King of Tribes into taking an action of which the Maw would disapprove, thereby ending his sponsorship deal.
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Postby Rogue 9 » 2017-03-01 11:40pm

SCRawl wrote:
Grimnosh wrote:So Nal should ask the Maw if he would turn his attention away from the King of Tribes for 5 minutes in exchange for a box of Girl Scout Cookies (made with real Girl Scouts, guaranteed with the Jeffrey Dahmar seal of approval)?


I was thinking more along the lines of manoeuvring the King of Tribes into taking an action of which the Maw would disapprove, thereby ending his sponsorship deal.

Trouble is, what would that be? Forces of evil and destruction don't tend to be as particular as the various good deities in who they sponsor. Unless I miss my guess, he'd have to get the King of Tribes to stop his rampage to do that, and at that point he's achieved the objective anyway.
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Postby Imperial Overlord » 2017-03-13 08:45am

Nalifan looked over the battlements to the fires burning at the plain below. It was if there was another night sky, filled with countless stars, spread out below them. A vast horde, unbeaten, unconquerable. "I've been spending too much time around bards," he said with disgust.

"What?" asked Handren.

"Nothing of consequence," replied Nalifan.

"What now?"

"The city dies tomorrow," the drow replied.

"I didn't think it was that bad. After yesterday . . . ."

"Yesterday was good. We won. We drove them back with heavy casualties. We made them bleed. Probably half of the wizards and chieftains we killed will stay dead, including the Carnivora. The rank and file most definitely will. There is, however, no graveyard left to plunder. The celestials were struck down. We hurt them, but they can take the wound.

"They can summon more elementals. There's always more elementals. Demons are another story. They need names for that and everyone that we kill is one gone from the war. The greater the demon, the better they guard their names and they're all intractable, temperamental brutes. What they can still muster is a guess at best."

"I thought you enslaved one of their witches," inquired Marcosa. "Wouldn't she know?"

"She wasn't high enough up the chain to know," replied Nalifan. "Demon names aren't something you just hand out. Whatever they can manage to summon will be harder to manage with their losses. It's easier to manage demons when you have a big stick to hit them with and they're down some sticks. Including their biggest one."

The drow shrugged. "It's not enough. The elementals aren't enough to break the walls with manned defences and they are likely to muster fewer demons but that means their wizards will have to do it. That will expose them, but they will protect themselves and scourge the walls. They will take loses, but light loses and they will take the walls and force the breaches."

"And you?" asked Handren.

"I can bleed them," answered Nalifan. "They will tear me down if I expose myself for any length of time. At the river I avoided being within range of their magic for as much as possible and I was wrapped in wards. I also had a undead dragon as a surprise. Today I ambushed a small number of wizards and used other distractions. Enough wolves will drag down a tiger so like a tiger I had in the tall grass and choose my moments. I can bleed them but I can't stop them. Too many, far too many, too strong, and lead by a man I haven't yet found a way to kill."

"So hopeless."

"I told you yesterday it was hopeless and yet we held the day. Already we are doing better than expected. We bled them today, we will bleed them tomorrow. We did well enough that I still have my third trick in reserve and a few others after that. And beyond this, we have the rest of the city and then Vinmark and the elves. The city is done, but we can make the price they must pay very high."

"You think the elves will help?"

"Besides allowing you to bind me to your cause? Yes, they didn't just give up ancient elf magic because they were feeling generous. They did it because the king would be more inclined to give an army to the elf wizard-general who was completely under his control more than an elf wizard-general who was completely under the control of nonhuman foreigners who had good relations with the most restive part of his kingdom. They'll come when they get the queen's message, if they weren't on the move already. They've been saving their strength and we're going to need all of it. However much they have."

"You don't know?"

"No messengers, no emissaries to the court, no nothing. Just hiding in their woods. No, I don't know. It would have taken effort I couldn't spare to try and find the answer and that doesn't mean I would find it. A lot, I hope. The magic that took me was strong but it was also old. Older than the city I was born in. What they have left is a question I cannot answer. Yet."

-----

The wine was sweet on The King of Tribes' tongue. In years passed they had raided and traded and taxed and been gifted with it and wine had flowed freely, but those days were over. The nations that had cultivated the grape had been put to the sword and the torch, razed and butchered to feed The Maw and the Horde. All but one and that last, stubborn one had only days left.

It was his hand that had done this. He did not dwell upon it, but when war did not rage he could not escape it. Drink was no longer powerful enough to incapacitate him and weariness was foreign to his limbs. Once that had been a joy, allowing him to debauch through the night and then fight all day. A veritable army of girls had been taken on his furs and no few boys either. His endurance in that respect had also been limitless. For awhile that alone had been enough. Sometimes his lust would surge and he would rape all night, stopping to torture and butcher those who displeased him or had been unlucky enough to be at hand when whim had taken him. Rarely now. The fires had cooled. He had felt the other edge. There was no darkness, no oblivion to hide what was happening.

The silks on bed would soon be the among the last in the world. The wine would run out. The fine ornaments of gold and silver worn by chiefs and wizards would be the last of their kind. The last slave girl would die. The last spices would eaten. All the fine things in the world would be gone.

It hadn't occurred to him until they had overrun half the continent, leaving broken nations and shattered trade routes. When the elation of victory after victory had dimmed and the spoils of war had their novelty and lustre wane. Now he could see. More worlds and more spoils, promised The Maw. More food for the plate. More shit for the latrine.

That's what he had become. It wasn't the bargain he had thought he had made, but that's what it was. He was the man who made the world into offal pit, into a shit filled trench. Immortal, undying. Forever smeared in shit. Not an end to the disgrace, but horror unending.

He took another swig from the bottle. The Horde would be ready to assault the city again in the morning. More victims to take his pain. More food for the fucking plate.
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Postby SCRawl » 2017-03-13 10:30pm

I hadn't considered the possibility that the King of Tribes could be laid low by an existential crisis, but I suppose that's one way for him to leave the playing field.
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Postby Esquire » 2017-03-14 12:21am

Only if he doesn't make the save against catastrophic boredom.
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Re: Be Careful What You Wish For (Nalifan)

Postby Grimnosh » 2017-03-15 09:56am

Esquire wrote:Only if he doesn't make the save against catastrophic boredom.

Well he might think of the consequences of telling the Maw that he decided to change his mind....
You know, its remarkably easy to feed an undead army if all you have are just enemies....


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