Chasing the Devil

01: The Thing in the Hills

Seems the town of Cain Marin has a problem.  There were some strange going ons out in the forest surrounding.  People were turning up as stone, or disappearing.  Only one thing to do, draw lots to go investigate.  One, a Half-elf Sorcerer, was the first to draw, and the first to be volunteered with the black ball.  Slowly, of the roughly 5,000 inhabitants of the city, others were chosen.  A Dwarf Paladin, an Elf Ranger, a Tiefling Cleric, a Human Monk, an old drunkard, and 2 other useless folk of no consequence.  

One of the last was a young Halfling Rogue.  At first, it seemed she hadn't been picked after all, presenting a white ball to the guards.  No word yet on why the guards were not drafted into investigated missing persons.  Upon inspection, though, the guards noticed that a ball had gone missing.  They pursued several, and it was discovered that the young Halfing had palmed the final black ball.  She was drafted and joined the others.  Just before the group left the front gate, the Halfling managed to slip away from the guards, but she was pursued by guards and a couple of the party, including the Ranger.  She talked her way past the guard, but not the Ranger.  The Ranger returned the Halfling to the party carrying her by the scruff of the neck.

The town fathers had given the Half-Elf a rough map to the site of the events, but with the Ranger's knowledge of the surrounding area, it was quickly clarified, and the party set off in the correct direction.  Climbing into the forest, some started to noticed that something was "off".  The trip was far from uneventful, however, when the party ran into a pair of Ettins living just off the path.  

The Cleric, Monk, and Paladin took on one of the Ettins, while the Sorcerer and the Rogue ended up taking on the other while the Ranger fired at a distance.  The Sorcerer didn't do much damage, choosing instead to take the form of a female Ettin to distract the giant.  There was an ill-advised gambit from the Rogue to convince the Ettin to flirt back, but not speaking any language that the Ettin could understand made that rather useless.  The confused Ettin was additionally subjected to Ettin erotic imagery as the Rogue and Ranger wore down his body, eventually defeating him.

The other Ettin managed to do a little more damage before being subdued, mostly through the efforts of the Monk, who scored several high damage strikes including some critical hits before being knocked unconscious himself.  The Cleric and the Paladin finished off the enraged Ettin.  The entire party survived, though most of the party had suffered damage, some greater than others.  The cleric was most helpful in healing what a short rest could not. The drunkard and the 2 useless persons proved their title.  The Ranger and the Cleric had a bit of a debate as to whether they should be left behind, but the Cleric's morals allowed them to stay with the party.

Arriving at the crest of hill, the party discovered one stone person broken, and another laying on the ground, surrounded by blighted ground.  The party proceeded to the opening of a cave surrounded by more blighted ground.  The party at this point was pretty sure that a basilisk lurked in the cave.  The Ranger and the Paladin set bear traps outside the cave entrance, then the Cleric fired flaming arrows into the cave to draw the beast out.  It worked.  The basilisk emerged, and got caught up in one of the two traps.  The entire party started attacking from all sides, but the Basilisk was tough, and everyone kept missing, or doing only a little bit of damage on a hit.  A voice started speaking from deeper in the cave in Inferno.  A barbed devil emerged.  The Cleric charged followed by the Monk, and soon a second furious battle started. The basilisk pulled the trap free from the ground and started to drag the trap, a tree and the fight into the cave.  The Dwarf charged the creature and critical failure hits notwithstanding, pinned the creature against the wall, fended off at least 3 bites, and took multiple attacks allowing the others to do more damage.  As put by the Ranger after the battle, the Dwarf was the "critical miss master", but the Dwarf asserts his ability to "TANK LIKEBOSS".

Meanwhile the Tiefling and the Monk struggled with the Devil, desperately trying to not be drawn too far into the cave, and fighting with all their might.  Both ended up grappled at different points, taking cuts from the barbs on the devil's arms.  The two finally escaped the Devil's grasp, and made a dash for the cave exit.  They turned the corner in the cave to find the Paladin Dwarf had been knocked unconscious by the constant attacks of the basilisk, and the Halfling's arrow bringing the fight with the basilisk to an end.  The Halfling collected both basilisk eyes and one of the fangs.  The Drow kept the other fang, and the the head of the basilisk was cut off.  Deeper in the cave, fading away, the Devil could be heard cursing the party that killed his pet.

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