Another one about Owlbears

The stink was overwhelming as Jindar raised his hand and called the party to a stop.  It was a pungent stink, burning the ranger’s eyes. The cave was dark and only the weak torchlight outlined the walls. In the distance was what looked to be mound, but Jindar couldn’t tell; the light was too faint but using a light spell at this stage of the adventure seemed wasteful.  Jindar drew his blade and quietly spoke.

“Only one beast has such a foul stench: the owlbear. We need to be wary. Wizard, prepare your spells. When I give the command, the dwarf and I will rush into the cave. Rordricke, you and the half-orc come in next. If all goes as planned, we four should be enough to handle this monstrosity. If not, get the healing spells ready.”

No one had ever accused Jindar of being rash. One of the reasons he had advanced so quickly as a ranger was because of his prudence. Plan, review, attack had gotten him this far and now was not the time to change. The party moved into their positions. The dwarf, Dorengar, drew his longsword and moved closer to the ranger. The half-orc loaded his crossbow and made sure that his chain armor was tight. Rordricke raised his shield and fiddled with his sword grip.  There was little sound in the cave with the exception of the drip-drip-drip of water running somewhere.

“Now,” screamed the ranger as he moved towards the poorly lit mound. As he closed the distance, he could identify more of the features of the cave. There were bones scattered on the floor; here and there he could see piles of clothing; off to the right was some rusted chest and a battered helmet.  The smell got worse as he moved deeper into the cavern. Jindar heard the dwarf yell and knew that the battle had been joined.

Dorengar was the first to encounter the owlbear, much like he had been first to fight the kobolds. But an owlbear is no kobold; it is much more dangerous, even for an experienced dwarf. As the owlbear swung its arms together in an effort to hug and rend the dwarf, Dorengar fell to his knees to escape the owlbear’s grasp. As he hit the ground, he stabbed upwards with his sword. But the hide of the owlbear would not break. Holding his breath because of the terrible smell, Dorengar rolled away from the beast and regained his footing in time to take a stunning blow to the side of his head.

As Jindar saw the dwarf go down, he struck. His blade gleaming in the torchlight, he watched it as it slid into the owlbear’s shoulder. With a terrifying squawk, the owlbear spun and snapped with its powerful beak. Jindar felt the pressure on his arm and then the unnerving sensation of feeling one’s own blood being split. He yanked his arm out of the owlbear’s mouth and moved to re-establish a more advantageous battle position. His left arm was bleeding and damaged, but his right arm still held the sword that had claimed the owlbear’s blood.

The paladin had seen the dwarf and ranger attack; he had also seen how the owlbear had injured two of his companions. He didn’t care much for the dwarf–anyone who adventurers with an assassin is suspect–but by the mighty mace of St. Cuthbert, he considered Jindar a friend, even if his chaotic ways were occasionally aggravating. Taking advantage of the owlbear’s distraction, Rodericke slid into the blind spot of the creature, a blind spot that the paladin hoped would remain blind for one strike. Sizing up the owlbear’s neck, Rodericke swung and swung hard. He could feel the sword bite into the monster’s flesh; a foul-smelling ichor sprayed all over the paladin’s face.

Jindar had recovered enough of his wits to see that Rodericke had deeply wounded the owlbear. Despite the flapping claws and snapping beak, the ranger moved in for the kill. He parried a couple wild claw attacks and saw his opening. He drove the point of his sword directly into the owlber’s red-rimmed eye. There was a distinct popping sound as the blade punctured the orb and pushed into the owlbear’s cranium. With a frenzied snapping, the owlbear tried to bite Jindar’s sword to remove it from its eye. But the damage had been done. The ranger stood back as the owlbear’s struggles became less and less pronounced and finally ceased.

Rodericke could already see the thief picking through the rubbish in hopes of finding some treasure. One certainly had to make compromises to adventure with a party.

Run with the gold to the hallway to the right

Run with the gold to the hallway to the left

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