Quick synopsis of how we got here: whilst exploring the wilds of Eloria (largest of the eastern chunks of Dinosaur Island, details here), we ran across…(random roll on a table I’ve not posted yet)…a local potentate in exile, Orv Immeral, who promised us treasure if we helped get him back on the throne. Complication: the throne in question belonged to Quisane Von Vokk, one of the ten major sorcerors of Dinosaur Island. We had to sneak into her palace city of Eddarkand through a secret tunnel and some catacombs, straight out of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Fought gricks, giant rats, skeletons, a mummy, a black pudding, and a bunch of palace guards. Learned from a captured guard that Quisane Von Vokk was at the city coliseum for the great games (read: executions of political dissidents). Went to the arena, fought some knights in plate armor and a mind-controlled tyrannosaur that came up into the stands. Flint got bitten again, but we killed this tyrannosaur before it could do too much damage – he lost quite a few hit points but kept all of his (remaining) limbs. Meanwhile Orv Immeral and Quisane Von Vokk had been duking it out with magic. After we aced the tyrannosaur, we ganged up on Von Vokk and helped Immeral defeat her.
True to his word, Immeral hooked us up with a few minor magical items, and after we were all healed up, we set out for Minatou, realm of Vrenn Larr, queen of the Neanderthals. Fought a pack of 23 Deinonychus, a Megalodon, and Kong-class giant ape en route (but not all at the same time, thankfully). Arrived today, in both game time and real-world time.
After the first T. rex fight we picked up four Neanderthal hirelings. London and I each named two. I went with the classic Ug and Trog, and London christened his Gord and Likk. Oddly enough, in battles London likes to control Gord and Ug and I get Trog and Likk, I suspect mostly because that’s the order I wrote them down in on the back of Wilvias’s charcter sheet. Anyway, we’ve not only kept these guys alive, they’ve accumulated a lot of treasure and enough XP to level up several times. They’ve also gotten to help us do badass stuff like take out tyrannosaurs and giant apes. So we roll into Vrenn Larr’s Neanderthal queendom and Gord and company start talking us up bigtime. This turns out to be a double-edged sword. On the upside, Vrenn Larr is willing to help us with supplies and directions. On the not-so-upside, it’s customary for newly-arrived warriors to prove their mettle, and in exchange for her help, Vrenn Larr wants us to capture a Diplodocobra so she can train it to be her mount in battle.
So off we go, on four mammoths with Neanderthal mahouts and one additional Neanderthal warrior per mammoth (mammoths played in this case by cheap plastic dinosaurs). We find our Diplodocobra down by the ocean, snatching pterosaurs out of the sky and eating them. The plan is to wear down its hit points until it’s weak enough that Wilvias, our halfling rogue, can overcome it with a Sleep spell. (In a nice bit of real world/gameworld synergy, London discovered in the PHB that our rogues could learn spells right at the time that Orv Immeral was there to teach them this power.)
Naturally the Diplodocobra does not sit still for this. We roll to see which way it goes – straight for Gustav’s mammoth. It attacks the mammoth’s riders – roll again – damn, it grabbed the mahout. The mammoth is understandably freaked out. Gustav has a chance to get things under control with an Animal handling skill check, which he completely blows. Will the out-of-control mammoth (1) bolt left, (2) bolt right, or (3) charge the Diplodocobra? The dice say (3). Gustav and the remaining Neanderthal passengers bail out. Trog and the guy from Vrenn Larr’s tribe land just fine, Gustav face-plants and loses some HP.
Gustav gets to his feet and he and Trog get the heck out of the way. The guy from Vrenn Larr’s tribe decides to do a banzai charge with his spear and gets stomped to death. Life choices, dude.
Now the Diplodocobra changes course (again, at the whim of the dice) – it’s headed for the mammoth carrying Vaskin and Likk. The Diplodocobra’s head darts forward – who will be taken this time? Dice say…Likk. Now, Likk is as doughty a caveman as one is likely to find, and we’ve even gotten him to wear chain mail like everyone else who doesn’t want to die. But he’s currently bitten, envenomated, and hanging 40 feet in the air. It’s not looking good.
But the Diplodocobra is down many HP, because everyone else has been peppering it with arrows all this time. And now it’s Wilvias’s turn, so he casts Sleep. Sleep is a curious spell. At least as presented in the 5e PHB, there’s no save or defense against it. The caster picks a point within range (out to 90 feet), and 5d8 HP worth of beings within a 20-foot circle go to sleep, starting with the weakest. Wilvias gets a below average roll on his 5d8, of 18. The first six of those 18 are spent putting Likk to sleep, and the remaining dozen go to the Diplodocobra, which was fortunately down to 9 HP. Nighty-night, you big evil bastard.
So the Diplodocobra topples. Which way? Dice say, right toward Gustav and Trog. Do they pass their Dex saving throws and jump clear? No, they do not. But neither do they die – they just lie there for a while, down many HP and feeling pretty stupid, until the rest of the party come to pull them out.
And Likk? Between the bite and the venom he was down to 6 HP before the Diplodocobra fell. As its head neared the ground, he slipped out of its jaws and fell to earth, earning 2d6 HP of bludgeoning damage. London and I both actually held our breath as I rolled the dice…and got a 1 and a 4. Likk lives!
Now, why does a pacifist like Vrenn Larr need a Diplodocobra to ride around on? Stay tuned – foul deeds are afoot.