This is the story of how Henry acquires his Sniper’s Bow by taking it from the leader of a group of six Genasi of 2nd and 3rd level. This occurred when he was a third level Ranger (3/1 Ranger/Fighter), with 40 HP. His AC was 18.
Henry was ambling along, taking a long and circuitous route back to town. He had plenty of time, and wandering among the small trees and light undergrowth made him relaxed and comfortable. Going to town, with all the people hurrying from here to there, all so intent on the moment, was rarely an experience to look forward to. The town was composed mainly of humans, and they seemed to be born with the understanding that their lives were so short that they must use every moment to impose themselves on their surroundings, or they might pass without a history of them having been there.
At the moment he was walking perpendicular to a trail that lead from the canyon entrance down to the city. Being keenly aware of the creatures in the area, he quickly recognized that some new group had passed along this trail recently. He spent a moment to study the tracks, and decided that six humanoid creatures had passed through this area approximately an hour ago. They were not making any attempt to hide their tracks, breaking branches and leaving footprints in the soft sand. He began to follow them.
He would have no problem quickly overtaking them, as he was intimately familiar with this area, but he held back his pace and looked for opportunities to get a visual sighting of the party. Ahead of him the terrain was undulating, rising and falling in sharp points 50 meters or more at a time. There was a good vantage point just ahead. He considered whether he should hide himself from their view. He was quite certain that if he hid they would have a hard time seeing him. But he decided he would allow himself to be seen, so they would not think he was trying to sneak up on them.
He stood out in the open, gazing down the valley and the path ahead. He could see the six clearly now. Definitely human-like in their appearance, but possibly not human, he couldn’t tell at this range. They were dressed as travelers normally would be in this region, with armor and weapons. They carried themselves with considerable confidence, marching ahead with little concern for what might be lurking ahead. Either arrogance or stupidity – both were dangerous.
It wasn’t clear if they spotted him, but if they did they didn’t make any obvious sign or change their gait. He began following them again, staying on the path and moving at a pace that would overtake them slowly. After a few minutes they took a side path that headed up steeply to a long precipice. It had a clear and unobstructed view of the canyon, and you could see all the way to the city. Some people would go there to enjoy the sight, and eat a picnic lunch. It seemed a bit odd for this group, but perhaps they needed a rest.
He walked steadily up the path, making a point to scuff the ground and dislodge some rocks to make it obvious he was coming. He approached the top and slowed, taking time to look for signs of where they had gone. So far it appeared they were staying together, but he was alert in case one or more of them decided to split off and circle around to come up behind him. He caught sight of them, sitting near the cliff edge. If they were aggressive he would not be able to go the west, as that was the cliff edge. East was possible, but a more difficult route up a fairly steep incline. He would probably need to go out the way he came in, so he refreshed his memory of the terrain as he approached.
When he was 50 yards away he slowed and called out, “Hello there travelers” in the common tongue. There was a short pause and one responded “Hello to you. State your business.” A bit unfriendly, but he responded “I bid you welcome to Titan’s Fall. Are you journeying to the city?” One responded with a “Yeah”, and that was it. Hum, this wasn’t off to a good start. He called out, “May I approach?” There was a short pause, and one of them called out, “Sure. Knock yourself out.”
He walked forward slowly, weapons sheathed. When he was about 50 feet away, he stopped and sat down, facing them. He was trying hard to appear nonthreatening, even though they outnumbered him greatly. He said “What brings you to our fine city?” He noticed that each of them deferred to one of them, who must be their leader. The leader spoke out, saying “What are you? The local militia?” He paused for a moment, trying to judge their anger, and to consider his words carefully. “No, I’m not part of the militia. I’m just a local citizen, on my way to the town also. I’m just trying to be friendly here.” The group gave a little snicker, as if he has said something funny.
He decided that this wasn’t going well, and it was time for him to leave, while he could. He started to stand up, still moving at a slow, nonthreatening pace. Suddenly he sensed magic being used, and tried to pick up his pace to get into a defensive stance. But he was too late. He felt himself being lifted off the ground by an unknown force. He struggled against it, but there was nothing substantial to push against. His arms and legs flailed around for a bit before he concluded that it was helpless.
The leader – the one that cast the magic – approaches Henry. “So Elfy. Think you could get the jump on us?” he said in a breathy voice. As the leader approached Henry could see that he didn’t look quite like a human. Something was wrong about his skin color. Humans seemed to come in many different colors, but blue didn’t seem to be a common one. Henry racked his brain. What was this guy? There was something familiar about his appearance, but he couldn’t place it immediately. As a puff of wind struck him, he suddenly remembered humans that looked like this – a Genasi. From the wind-blown look of this one, probably an Air Genasi.
The others gathered around him, and he can see they all have strange skin colors and other facial features of Genasi. “Great,” he thinks, “somehow I have managed to stumble across a party of ill-manner Genasi. What luck.” They don’t all have blue skin – there are several with black skin and one with ash-gray skin who looks like the hike has overheated him. The leader spoke again, “Why is it you Elves are always messing with other people’s business? Always interfering. Never can just leave things be.” Henry assumed it was a rhetorical question and kept his mouth shut.
The group began to taunt him, shouting out silly insults about Elves. Henry would have found it quite ridiculous, if it hadn’t been so deadly. And then they started to pelt him objects. Rocks, mudballs, and some bolts of fire. Normally he would be able to dodge many of these, but suspended in air, his movement was quite limited.
The leader called out for them to stop, and said with a snicker, “Let’s see how well Elves fly, shall we?” There was a chorus of support from the crowd. A strong breeze hits Henry, and he can see the leader Genasi is controlling it. Slowly he begins to be pushed out over the cliff wall. The ground below him slides away, and he can see down to the bottom of the cliff, probably 200 feet down. His mind races, thinking of ways he might save himself. If he isn’t pushed too much further out, he might be able to break his fall somewhat off the cliff face. Maybe he could jam his bow into the rocks. The bow would break, but it would take some momentum away. But the wind continued to push him, and any thought of breaking his fall on the cliff’s edge tumbled away.
He’s not one to beg, but perhaps the time had come. “Please,” he called out. “I mean you no harm, and I have done nothing to you. Please do not do this to me.” All he gets in return is laughter. “Silly Elfy. When will you learn not to mess with the Genasi?” The Genasi leader turned to the others. “Say goodbye to Mr. Elfy.” They mockingly said goodbye and gave him a wave.
Suddenly the force that was holding him up disappears, and he began to fall. His prospects looked grim. He reached down to the end of his cloak and grabs what material he could and pulls his arms taut out as wide as the material would allow. His cloak chain immediately pulled painfully against his neck as the air filled the small pocket he had made. If it slowed him down any, it is not obvious. He can’t help but feel disappointed to go out like this, he thought as the ground rapidly approached.
He closed his eyes and tried to find peace with himself, but it was difficult when he expected a crushing pain at any moment. He felt a hit, but it’s not what he expected, and he realized that he was still breathing. Something grabbed him from behind and was now lifting him and pushing him forward. He opened his eyes and saw the ground still approaching quickly, but now he was also moving forward, slightly away from the cliff wall. He was being lifted hard from behind. Something was digging painfully into his ribs on both sides, and it was pulling hard against the falling momentum. He wondered if this was how the afterlife would start – by being painfully pulled out of this body.
It looked like he might just miss a rocky outcropping, if he could be pushed a little further. His legs struck hard and the pain almost overwhelms him, but then he was airborne again. He began to doubt this was the work of an angel.
The valley floor was still coming up at him at a high rate, but his horizontal speed was accelerating quickly as his vertical speed dropped. He became aware of the air being buffeted above him, and he sensed that he was being pulled upwards in pulses. Like a fast beating heart, he was being pulled upwards in bursts of energy. Still he rushed towards the ground. It almost seemed like he was going to be able to pull out in time, but it becomes clear that there is just not enough lift available. He heard a piercing, shrill scream from above him and moments later he was released, just as he was about to strike the ground.
He hit hard. He might have been able to roll into the fall if he had been able to move, but being dropped like that, all he could do was fall like a brick. And then blackness.
He awoke in great pain. Everywhere seemed to hurt. But he was alive. He instinctively tried to move, and was greeted with a new wave of pain. He slowly became aware of his surroundings. He was on his back, and his backpack was gone. His head was resting on something soft. There was movement around him. He saw a large figure bending over him, but he couldn’t quite recognize what it was. He heard a sudden burst of chirps and squeals, and at first it was just noise to him. But his brain was slowly recovering, and the sounds bounce around his head a few times, like the echo off a tall cliff, until gradually, the noises became words. “Sorry. I don’t know much about caring for an injured Elf.”
His eyes began to focus, and he could see a large bird standing over him. But not a bird, exactly, he realized. It was an Aarakocra. “You saved me,” he said, but it came out more as a croak. But the Aarakocra seemed to understand. “It seems it was not your day to die, Elf,” the Aarakocra chirped. “I just wish I was able to break your fall more completely. It was a hard landing,” it said. “You have been caring for me?” Henry asked. “Yes, as well as I could,” squawks the Aarakocra. “How long have I been out?” asks Henry. “Probably an hour or two, I would guess.” says the Aarakocra.
Henry attempted to assess his condition. He was badly hurt. His arms were full of deep cuts and scratches, and his legs were badly bruised from the first impact with the rocks. His head had a deep gash, and the blood was still flowing. His ribs hurt on both sides, an injury he then realized was due to the talons of the Aarakocra.
He summoned his focus and drew out a Second Wind. (3 on the die, +1 = 4 pts) His injuries immediately began to fade. The big wounds closed and become small wounds, and the bruises and scratches faded away. Quickly he began to feel much better. He stood and looked around for his gear. “You are recovering quite quickly,” says the Aarakocra. “Thanks to you,” Henry says. He turns and looks the Aarakocra in the eyes. “I owe you my life. You have my eternal gratitude.” The Aarakocra didn’t have a mouth, so it could not smile, but Hemry sensed that it was pleased. “My Common name is Henry. What can I call you, friend?” The Aarakocra responds, “Call me Ka, it is the closest you could come to my name with the sounds of this language.”
Henry used the short rest to summon healing from four hit dice (Rolls of 6, 8, 5, 8, plus con bonus of +2 per die, for 35 pts, plus the original 4, for 39 total). He looked around and located his backpack. He quickly went through his inventory. It looked like his body took most of the impact, as the items in the backpack were mostly intact. His bow was dented and scratched, but it looked functional. The scabbard for his rapier was gashed with a long tear down the side, but it appeared the rapier itself was undamaged.
“The Genasi – have you seen them?” Henry asked. “They have continued down the valley,” Ka says. Henry checked the position of the sun and says, “They probably have a two hour head start on me.” Ka didn’t respond immediately. His beady eyes simply stared at Henry. “You don’t mean to engage this group again, do you?” Henry responded, “It would be more effective if I could get ahead of them. Any chance you could give me another lift?” Ka simply stared at him again, and after a moment, makes a gasping, screeching sounds. Although he wasn’t certain, Henry guessed it was laughter. Ka said “You are brave, Elf man. Probably foolish too. Where do you want to go?” Henry said “Erevan Plateau. At least that’s what I know it as.” He went on to describe the physical layout. Ka said, “Alright Henry. I will take you there. But don’t ask me to help you with the fight. I do not want you to owe me two lives.” Henry laughed at that. “I would not ask you to fight, friend. You have done plenty already. And these Genasi have bows and magic, so best to stay far away.”
Ka told him to start running from a point about 50 feet from the edge of another drop off, and to leap into the air and plunge off the edge. Henry didn’t hesitate or question. If Ka wanted him dead, he wouldn’t have saved him the first time. He moved into position and gets a nod from Ka, who is further back. He took off running hard and leapt into the air at the cliff’s edge. He was just starting to fall when he felt Ka grab him again, luckily a little more gently this time, and they soared out over the valley. He could feel the same pulsing rhythm as before, which he then realized was the beating of Ka’s wings, but this time it was much more leisurely, and they spent some time just soaring on the air currents.
As they approached their destination, Ka told him that he would drop him as gently as possible, but that he cannot come to a complete stand still. Henry readied himself, and when released, he fell to the ground in a roll and came up undamaged. (modified 23 on acrobatics). He turned and waved to Ka, who continued to fly away.
Henry was on a small plateau overlooking a meadow, which gave him good visibility of areas to the north and west of him. The meadow was a good hundred feet across, and almost three hundred long, heading north. West of the meadow the land drops down again fairly steeply. To his east the terrain climbs at a rate that would make it passable, but a challenge to climb. It is a fairly steep drop of about 20 feet to the area level with the meadow. The plateau continues to the east for a bit before beginning to rise and meet the hill on that side of the meadow.
From this vantage point Henry could see across the wide, flat meadow. There are many different possible paths from the desert down to the city, and crossing this meadow would be a common one. The path was not used enough to be very well worn, but it was enough that most travelers were able to follow.
Between the meadow and the plateau where Henry currently stood was a gully. During the rainy months it would carry water – large amount of it at times – but now there was only a small trickle moving gradually towards the valley below. At most points the gully was fairly deep – 10 to 15 feet, and generally more than 20 feet across. The gulley followed the edge of the meadow along its south side, and heads up the hill to the east. The trail continues down from the meadow to the west of the gully, so travelers need not cross it, at least in this vicinity. Once the meadow ended the regular assortment of plants and small trees resumed, especially around the gully.
Henry immediately took his roll of silk rope off his backpack and feeds enough off the edge to be able to reach the bottom. He cut the rope and tied it off securely at the top. He ran around the area collecting thick branches, small logs, and several large rocks, which he piled at the plateau lookout. Using his shovel, he dug holes for several of the thick branches and placed the poles upright. He braced the poles with the rocks for additional support. He attached the remaining branches to the poles, leaving a 1 foot by 6 inch slit that he could see out into the meadow. His firing platform was complete.
He then moved on to his next project, a trap.
He worked diligently for several hours until he heard a loud bird cry. As he expected, Ka was keeping a watch on him from a distance, and he suspected this was a signal that his opponents were near. He raised his arm in acknowledgment. He would have liked more time to help camouflage his work, but he’ll just have to hope it was good enough.
He quickly finished up his work and returned to the plateau with his arrow slit firing platform. He can see the Genasi walking through the meadow. He studied them as he waited for them to amble into range. They were walking casually again, strolling along like they owned the world, apparently unconcerned with any potential threats. He saw them much closely when they were taunting and tormenting him, and now he had an idea of their specialties. Most were clearly fighters, but there was a wizard and a cleric in their midst. The wizard could be the most dangerous, but should also be the easiest to take out, so he would target him first.
He waited until they were at the edge of his regular range to let his first arrow fly. He had caught them by surprise. His arrow flew true, and impacted the unarmored wizard (rolled an 11). It was a good solid shot, and it staggers the wizard (7 on the die, +4 = 11 pts damage). Henry could target adjacent characters in a hoard with a second arrow, so he directed one at the cleric walking behind the wizard. His arrow struck the cleric (18 on the die), but hits for a more glancing blow (1 on the die, +4 = 5 pts of damage).
The Genasi were now aware they were under attack, although they might not have know exactly where from. Henry was able to act attack again before they could react (20 on the initiation die, versus 10 for them). He hit the wizard again (roll of 7, + 9 = 16, better than the unarmored wizard). Another solid shot (6 on the die, +4 = 10 pts damage), and the wizard dropped. He shot another arrow at the cleric but missed (3 on the die, +9 = 12, less than the cleric’s 15 AC).
Now the Genasi acted. The second level cleric cast Cure Wounds on himself, for little benefit (2 on the die, +2 = 4 pts). The barbarian and the other fighter began dashing towards him. Fighter #4 drew his long bow and took a shot at Henry, but missed (rolls a 2). #1, the leader, drew his long bow and shot as well, but also missed (rolls a 9, +5 adjustment gives a 14, less than Henry’s 18 AC).
Henry targeted the cleric, but missed (rolls a 3).
Their turn. The two melee fighters continued to dash forward, and at the end of their movement they have gone 120 feet, and have come to the gully. #4 shot his long bow and missed again (11 on the die, +4 = 15). #1 shot and missed also (rolls a 3). The cleric cast a spell on the wizard (Spare the Dying).
Henry targeted the cleric, and pounded him with an accurate shot (18 on the die). The cleric dropped (8 on the die, +4 = 12 points, which brings the cleric to 0).
- shot his long bow and missed (rolls an 11). #1 shot and hit Henry (rolls a 16, +5 = 21. Henry is 18 AC base, ¾ cover for +5, so shouldn’t have been hit, but was nevertheless). It was a good shot (7 on the die, +3 = 10, dropping Henry to 30 HP).
Henry ran and dropped down the ledge using the rope he prepared earlier. That put him out of sight of the Genasi, behind the vegetation around the gully. He moved through the vegetation with ease, and silently approached the hiding spot he had prepared. (11 on the stealth roll, +7 ability). He then waited to spring his trap.
The two Genasi reached the gully and seemed to realize that they couldn’t cross it easily, so they began looking for another way to cross. A little ways downstream there was a think tree truck that spanned the gully. There was fairly dense vegetation growth in the gully, so the bottom was a bit difficult to see, but it was clearly at least twenty feet down. The lead Genasi seemed a little wary. (perception rolls against the pit of 9 and 4) He stepped onto the log, but just at the edge, and jumped, testing the strength of the log. It seemed quite sturdy, so he started across. Once the first one was about half way the second started across also.
Henry tried to get the timing just right. He waited until both Genasi were on the log as close to the center as possible. Then he pulled the rope he had hidden. It was attached to a pole which was helping to hold up the log. The stout log would have been easily able to hold the two Genasi’s weight, but Henry had spent time cutting away the bottom, weakening the log. When the pole support was removed and the log had to hold all of their weight, it was too much, and the log buckled in the middle.
Both Genasi fell. But instead of just being wet and a little damaged, they impact the sharpened stakes Henry had buried into the gully. (2d10 + 2D6. One takes 23 points, the other 16 points). Both of them are quite injured, but still in the fight. Henry jumped out of his hiding place and charged to the top of the gully, giving him line of sight to the prone Genasi. He fired an arrow at the Genasi in chain mail and hits him (11 on the die, +8 = 19) The damage was minimal (2 on the die, +4 = 6), but it was enough to drop him below zero.
The remaining Genasi, an unarmored Barbarian, draws a hand axe and hurled it at Henry (medium range, rolls a 10 and a 3), but the axe missed him completely. The Genasi used his movement to knock down some of the spiked poles on the way towards an edge.
Henry shot the barbarian (rolls a 12, +8 = 20) The damage killed the Genasi (roll of 4, +4 = 8)
Henry ran back to the ledge and climbed the rope he had left down. That took him back to his ledge and parapet. As he climbed he remained low to avoid drawing fire from the remaining Genasi. He came around his parapet and peered out into the meadow. At first he didn’t spot the Genasi, but after some time, their motion captured his attention. They were moving slowly towards him in a defensive posture, staying low to the ground and actively scanning for threats around them. “Apparently they don’t realize there is just one opponent,” laughs Henry.
Henry stood up behind his defensive cover and prepared to shoot at one of them. However, before he could fire an arrow, both of them shoot at him. Apparently they had readied their action in anticipation he would return. The fighter in leather armor shot first and hits Henry with a good shot (19 on the roll, +4 = 23. Henry is AC 18 +5 for cover) for reasonable damage (3 on the die, +2 = 5. Henry’s HP down to 25). The leader Genasi in chain mail shot and also hits Henry (14 on the die, +4 = 18. Cover negated) with another reasonable blow (3 on the die, +2=5, dropping Henry to 20 HP). “These guys are really good with bows,” thinks Henry. After they discharged their bows the Genasi continued their cautious movement forward.
Henry fired at the non-leader, the archer in leather armor. He barely managed a hit (rolls a 6, +8 = 14, beats the Genasi’s AC of 13). Reasonable damage (5 on the die, +4 = 9 points. Genesi down to 4 HP).
The Genasi fired again. The one in leather armor shot first, but missed (4 on the roll). The leader shot next and hits Henry again (19 on the die). That one hurts (6 on the die, +5 = 11, dropping Henry to 9 hp).
Henry dropped down behind his barrier. “Regardless of their skill, they shouldn’t be able to hit me through this thing,” he hopes. He cast a Cure Wounds spell on himself (6 on the die, +2 = 8, up to 17 HP). He heard the Genasi calling out, presumably to their comrades. He doesn’t speak Genasi, but he could guess they were trying to assert the whereabouts of their friends. They were met with silence, of course.
Henry cast another spell on himself (1 on the die, +2 = 3, up to 20 HP). He cast his final spell (6 on the die, +2 = 8, 28 HP). He readied an arrow and called out, “Your friends are dead, as you will be soon,” and stood back up into shooting position. The Genasi had taken cover, as well as they could within an open meadow. It took a moment for Henry to spot them, but when he did, he took a shot at the injured archer. He missed (5 on the die, +8 = 12).
The Genasi called out again, in their language, but otherwise seemed to just be hiding. Henry shot again and hits the archer (15 on the die, +8 = 23, higher than his AC even with cover). The blow silenced the archer (3 on the die, +4 = 7, more than his remaining 4 HP).
The remaining Genasi took off at a dash, but turned around to face Henry in a defensive posture when his movement completed (dodge action). Henry shot at him regardless, but missed (10 and 6 on the die, +8 = 14, but against 15 AC).
The Genasi repeated, continuing to move and dodge. This would probably be the last time Henry could shoot at him within short range. Henry took the shot and got a hit (17 and 13 on the die, 13 + 8 = 21) Not a great hit, but some damage (2 on the die, +4 = 6, dropping the Genasi to 25 HP).
The Genasi moved further, then turned and shot at Henry, but missed. (10 on the die, +5 = 15, less than Henry’s 18 AC).
Henry went ahead and shot at him, even though the range was getting difficult. A miss (6 and 3 on the die).
The Genasi was almost to the edge of the meadow then, but turned and took another shot, and hits. (19 on the die. No cover bonus, and no range penalties) Henry was dumbfounded. At that range, against almost complete cover, and he still hits. The damage hurt (7 on the die, +3 = 10, dropping Henry to 10 HP). The Genasi had proven themselves cruel and merciless, and for that they had to die. However, he was starting to feel another motivation. He couldn’t help but think how useful that bow would be for him.
Henry wasn’t quite sure what to do. He dropped down behind his parapet and considers his options. He certainly wouldn’t win in a long range archery battle with this Genasi. In fact, he could be picked off just trying to stand up. The Genasi had seen five of his comrades dropped by Henry, so he should be dutifully scared. Henry thought they might be at a stalemate, if the Genasi would use his archery advantage.
Henry ducked down to the rope he had prepared and quickly rappelled down to the bottom. At that point he should be out of the line of sight, so he felt more comfortable. He headed off the opposite way of the Genasi, to the south, but made a slow circle around to the east. As he walked and considered his options, he sensed a creature approaching from the air. He instinctively dove to the ground and rolled into a defensive posture. When he looked up a giant bird was landing.
It was Ka. He chirped, “Well done Elf man! Five of six defeated, and one on the run.” Henry stood up and brushed himself off. “Thank you Ka. But I am injured and the last one will be difficult.” Ka crackled, “I doubt you will have much trouble. But perhaps I will keep watching to see what happens.” Henry decided it was a good time for a Short Rest. He sat down and relaxed for a bit. “The Genasi will need light to travel at night. I need little light, so that will be an advantage for me. I’m not worried about tracking him, especially if he is carrying around a light source,” said Henry, “But where to engage him?”
They discussed options for a few minutes, and Henry uses his Second Wind (1 on the roll, +1, giving him 12 HP). “I will follow him, carefully, until dark. If he rests, I shall engage him after some rest of my own. If he keeps moving, I may rest some and then try to catch up with him. I doubt he will make good progress moving at night.” Henry ate a bit of the food he had carried for an emergency. He had only intended to go to town, so he hadn’t carried much. They spoke a bit more as Henry rested, and then Henry headed off.
He decided it would be easiest to track the Genasi from where he last had seen him, so Henry headed back towards the meadow. Within a long range the archer was still quite dangerous, so he had to be careful. It didn’t take him long to get back to the meadow, and he entered cautiously. As he followed the trail, he came upon the fallen Genasi solider. His equipment had been ransacked. His backpack had been removed, and his body was sprawled in an unsightly pile of arms and legs. No respect for the dead.
Henry had no idea what was in the backpack before, so he didn’t know what had been removed. A casual inspection showed some food and personal items, so he guessed food was not what was needed. He looked for the soldier’s quiver. He had fired 12 arrows so far, so it might be wise to refill. He found the quiver. The arrows looked to be reasonable quality, so he refilled his own quiver. He’d come back for the body later, but he didn’t have time to bury him now.
He then came upon the cleric and the wizard. The cleric was dead, but the wizard appeared conscious. Henry took the last part of his rope and bound the arms and legs of the wizard. He also ran a gag through his mouth, since he wasn’t sure what magic the wizard would be able to perform.
It was late in the afternoon now. Henry estimated that there was about 4 hours of light left. That was when things would get interesting. He headed off, following the trail, and looked for signs of his prey. He wasn’t too difficult to track. With his heavy chain mail he sunk into the ground for clear footprints. Many of the prints had the foot turned 90 degrees or more from the path forward, and Henry concluded the Genasi was regularly turning to look behind him.
Henry continued tracking for several hours. He was always on the lookout for places where an archer might hide and take shots at him, but so far his opponent seemed most concerned with putting distance between them. Henry felt confident he could overtake his adversary, with his knowledge of this area, but staying behind, and out of range, appealed to him now.
Night began to fall. It looked like there wouldn’t be a bright moon tonight, so the Genasi would struggle. He continued to follow the tracks, curious what the Genasi would do. After a bit more time it became quite dark, and Henry stopped and waited. He didn’t have to wait long to catch sight of his adversary. His eyes caught the telltale sign of flint striking steel, and shortly thereafter a torch roared to life. He had closed to within a few hundred feet of the Genasi, who was now attempting to follow the path by torchlight. He gave a little thought to putting an arrow into the bright circle of light, but decided it would be a waste.
The Genasi continued along the trail, but torchlight wasn’t the best light source, so his pace was slowed. Henry had no trouble following him now, and assumed he could even be rather unstealthy now and the Genasi wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. There would be about 10 hours of darkness, and Henry guessed that the Genasi was not carrying 10 torches, so he would need to stop soon.
Henry followed the Genasi through the first torch, and into the second one. At that point the Genasi changed his behavior. Instead of staying on the trail, he started to explore the areas around the trail. After a few false starts, he eventually found a spot that seemed to satisfy him, and stopped his movement. Henry was familiar with the area. It wasn’t much of a defensible area, just some trees aligned along one side and a bit of flat ground. For a few minutes Henry watched the Genasi prepare himself. He almost felt sorry for him.
Back a few minutes walk was a small shelter that Henry now headed for. It was a small cave, and it could be used as a place to get out of the rain in the winter. Henry made sure he wasn’t leaving a trail as he backtracked, and then he entered the small opening. Once he was sure it wasn’t occupied, and that nothing was approaching the opening, he knelt down to rest. With just a few hours of meditation he could get the recovery that took most other humanoids nearly twice as long.
He meditated on his situation for about four hours. After that, he felt fully recovered. He prepared his spells, having recovered the three that he could cast. He was prepared.
He peered out of the cave entrance and waited for several minutes to make sure there wasn’t anything moving outside. He could see well in the low light conditions, but so could many monsters, and night was a dangerous time to be out alone. He wondered if the Genasi would even survive the night by himself.
He cautiously walked back to the area he had left the Genasi. As expected, he was leaning against one of the trees, trying to be prepared for anything, but he was also tired and bored, so it was challenging him. Henry was not surprised to see that there wasn’t any light source. The poor guy had probably relied on the magic user, or simply made fires when they had six party members, assuming safety in numbers. Now he was there, alone, and in the dark, an easy prey for the many creatures that roamed at night. Henry watched him for a few minutes. The Genasi didn’t appear to have heard him, but it was hard to be sure.
He cast a light spell on a pebble and threw it fifteen or twenty feet ahead of him. Casting the spell required him to vocalize, so there was no longer any surprise that someone was out there. Henry remained on his guard, but called out to the Genasi, saying “You should not have attacked me. I was causing you no harm.” The Genasi had jumped noticeably when the light appeared, and now he was shielding his eyes, trying to adjust to the sudden onslaught of light. “Ah, Elfy, ready to meet your ancestors?” said the Genasi. Henry was disappointed, but not surprised. “It doesn’t need to end this way. I have provided us light so we will both be on equal footing. I have defeated all five of your allies. I can return us to darkness, where I can see, but you cannot. It is time you accepted that it is over,” said Henry.
The Genasi just snorted. “There is no way an Elf could beat a Genasi. You are a cowardly, treacherous race that should be expunged from the surface of the world.”
Henry paused for a moment. Soon the Genasi’s eyes would adjust to the light, and he would attack, it appeared. Henry gave it one last chance. “I will make you a deal. I believe you have a magic bow. Give it to me, and promise to never to come back to this area, and I will spare your life.”
The Genasi didn’t even pause, much to Henry’s dismay. “Ah, you like my bow. When I have finished with you I promise to riddle your body with arrows from it.” He had put on his shield earlier, and had his battleaxe in one hand. He was clearly spoiling for a fight. Both combatants were prepared to engage, although Henry still hoped the Genasi would see reason. The Genasi started an attack, and Henry knew that only one of them would be walking away from this fight.
Henry was able to act first (initiative roll of 19 +4 = 23, Genasi roll of 18 +2 = 20) Henry first canceled his light spell, plunging the area back into darkness. The Genasi’s eyes had finally adjusted to the near daylight conditions, and now had to dilate again to absorb what little light was provided by the moon. Henry attacked with his rapier and started with a big hit (9 and 20 on the die), but only moderate damage (1 and 4 on the dice, +4 = 9. Genasi to 22 HP).
The Genasi swung in the dark at Henry for a convincing miss (19 and 1 on the dice).
Henry attacked again and hit (10 and 13 on the dice, +6 = 19) Damage was good (6 on the die, +4 = 10. Genasi down to 12 HP).
The Genasi takes his Second Wind (5 on the die, 4 still misses), but misses again.
Henry continued the attack with another hit (10 and 15 on the dice). Minimal damage (1 on the die, +4 = 5. Down to 15 HP).
The Genasi swung for another miss (8 and 10 on the dice).
Henry’s rapier connected solidly with the Genasi’s shield (5 and 9 on the dice, +6 = 15)
The Genasi swung again (10 and 16 on the dice), for another miss.
Henry hit (3 and 13 on the dice), but hardly does any damage (1 on the die, +4 = 5. Genasi down to 10 HP).
The Genasi managed a hit (14 and 16 on the die, 14 +4 = 18), and did good damage (7 on the die, +2 = 9 points. Henry down to 21 HP).
Henry must have qualms about attacking, as he missed again (3 and 5 on the dice).
The Genasi missed completely (1 and 6 on the dice).
Henry landed the final blow (13 and 15 on the dice), with maximum damage (8 on the die, +4 = 12, more than the Genasi’s 10 remaining HP).
Henry stood over the dying Genasi and wondered why it had to be this way. He could tie him up and then heal him, but it doesn’t seem likely that the Genasi will change. Defiant until the end.
Henry waited until the Genasi was unquestionably dead, and then removed his helmet. As expected, he finds Elven ears and features on the Genasi. He must have been angry with his Elven parent which lead him to be so aggressive and cruel with Henry. It’s too bad the young man didn’t have a chance to work out his issues in some other way.
Henry removed the Genasi’s bow and quiver and took a quick look at them. The quiver and arrows don’t appear especially nice, but the workmanship on the bow was quite good. Henry put those aside, and removed the other items from the body. The chain mail may be worth something, so no sense in letting it get damaged if some monster finds the body before dawn. He intended to bury the body, but the middle of the night is not the right time.
After separating the items of any value from the body, he took the bow and headed back to his cave. Better to wait out the rest of the night there, in some safety. He cast Detect Magic on the bow, and sure enough, it’s magical, but the arrows were not. He rested the duration of the evening and when first light broke, he headed back to the leader Genasi’s body. He dug a grave and put the body in as respectfully as he could.
Carrying a full set of chain mail, a battle ax, and a shield would be difficult, so he created a small sled from several stout poles to help reduce the load. He then drug the arrangement down the valley to the meadow where the next set of Genesi bodies lay. There were vultures and other carrion that had found the bodies, including the wizard. He ran the foul creatures off, but found that the wizard had expired during the night. He paused in thought over that for a few minutes. Had he done the right thing? If he had instead healed the wizard how would have things gone for him? Dragging the wizard along to fight the remaining Genasi would have made things quite difficult. Perhaps he should have allowed the leader to escape and focused on the wizard instead. Did his desire for the bow cloud his judgement? He would have to meditate on this in the future.
He removed anything of reasonable value from the bodies. The Wizard had a traveling spellbook, and the Cleric was wearing scale mail with a shield that could be worth something. Nearby was the archer that had hit him several times, and he collected his long bow and long sword.
He removed the valuable items and then started working on three graves. It took him almost four hours to finishing burying the Genasi, and he stopped for lunch. The Genasi had some edible rations, so he could take the edge off his hunger. He headed through the meadow to the gulley where the last two Genasi lie. His sled was too heavy for more items, but he striped the bodies and hide the valuable items for another trip. He decided that four graves was enough digging for one day, so he drug his sled back down the valley into town.
The next day he returned to bury the remaining two, and to collect their items. All told, when their items were sold, plus their meager purses, he had almost 400 GP, so not a bad haul. And he had a magic long bow, which might be the real prize.