Perverse Osmosis Phase Spider - Perverse Osmosis

Phase Spider

PhaseThe cave stunk, well, like a cave. Dank, slightly moldy, the smell of dirt that never sees direct sunlight. So far, we’ve been through, I would guess, ten or twelve of these caves. They all smell the same, at least until after the battle, when they all smell differently: they all smell like blood. In the path in front of me, I watched the back of the cleric; to her left was the ranger, his longsword already drawn. I will give the party this: these characters sure know how to melee’. I knew that I was in for a treat when we slaughtered that mongrelman tribe. I have been involved in some cold-blooded humanoid killing in my time, but I even have a cringe of regret when I think about what happened. On the plus side: those gems in the manticore’s bed, along with a couple scrolls that only the magic-user could read. Those garnets will help me sleep at night.

I noticed that the cleric and ranger had both stopped walking. I quickly cocked back my crossbow; adventurers usually don’t stop for no reason. In the front of the party, I could almost make out the dwarf standing next to the paladin, who was pointing upwards. I looked up and saw the cause of the interruption. All overhead were giant spiderwebs. I turned around and got the attention of the thief, who got the attention of the barbarian who was trailing the party. As a group, we moved farther into the cavern and assumed our defensive positions.

Now, the usual giant spider, although crafty and always hideous to look it, is fairly easy to kill. Once the initial fear of facing a eight-legged horse with poisonous fangs is overcome, a reasonable combatant should turn ol’ eight legs into spider mush. But what we faced in this cave was no regular giant spider. It was not even a giant giant spider. It was the phase spider, and not only a regular phase spider, if there is such a thing, but an insane phase spider.

I know, how do I know it was insane? I get it; it is hard to tell with spiders. They have never stuck me as a particularly vocal or introspective group. But one of the few benefits of having a druid in a dungeon is they can talk to animals. When we needed to find out about the manticore, who did we ask? Certainly not the corpses of the mongrelmen. We got the druid to ask some rodents about who their worst predator was. Their answer: Mr. Manticore. I would guess that the rodents enjoyed watching Imlari kill that flying bastard.

It turns out that Crandorth the druid could pretty much talk to any animal. It was amazing; how could the guy ever be bored? Need a quick tip on where a certain someone may be hiding? Ask a roach. Interested in some local political gossip that a certain crafty half-orc adventurer might be able to use? Why, let me ask this mouse who was recently present at the meeting. The possibilities are endless. But being as Crandorth is a druid, he is not so much into the whole exploiting others for profit like I am. Still, it was Crandorth who figured out what we were dealing with.

The first attack was only a set-up on the spider’s part. It made a half-hearted lunge from one of the webs at the ranger. In retrospect, I now know this attacked was designed only to get all of us looking in one direction while the spider phase shifted and prepared to attack us. But at the time, it seemed like a legitimate, although unimpressive, spider assault. Jindar easily dodged the blow, and all of us took a couple steps in his direction, expecting the attack to continue. How easily we were fooled.

When none of us saw anything in the direction of the attack, we all immediately rotated around, expecting the attack from either above or our backs. None of us expected to be attacked from the exact space we had just searched. The spider shifted back into phase and bit the ranger, dropping him to his knees. Because of his scream, we all spun in his direction, but it was too late. The spider had already phase shifted again, and to our eyes was invisible. The cleric and the druid knelt around the ranger and there was some talk of poison. The cleric wasn’t sure if it would affect the poison, but she decided to give the ranger the old cure light wounds trick in hopes of slowing it.

The spider used the distraction to strike again: this time on the halfling. Liligar yelled and then also dropped to the ground. The druid moved over to him and began to wrap his wounds. I was starting to get nervous; I mean, it is hard to fight something that can’t be seen. But I shouldn’t have underestimated the power of the druid. I know, I can’t believe I am saying this either. But that druid was pretty in touch with the nature sphere or whatever that class believes in.

Next thing I know, he starts chanting in this high-pitch language that sounds like a mixture of bird calls and what those mongrelmen sounded like before we killed them all. This chanting goes on for three or four rounds. All this time, I am thinking about where the next attack is going to come from or what my best defense position is. But there was no attack, only this chattering. The druid stopped and waved me over.

“Drogan,” he whispered, “it is a good thing we are here. Balance needs to be restored. Our phase spider brother has lost his mind because of too many phase shifts. He can no longer stop his phasing. He claims that he can quit at any time, but I also think he knows he is lying to himself. We must end his misery and pain.”

As the druid finished, I heard the magic-user start some kind of chant as well. I looked over and saw that the half-elf had opened one of the scrolls and was reading its contents. I looked back at the druid who had drawn a knotted and very stout looking club from under his cloak. The magic-user continued to chant; there was a gleam of brilliant light, and then I saw the spider. He seemed to be held in place and floating off the ground, but he was existing in the ethereal plane. It was my first time seeing something in or out of phase, depending on how one looks at it, and it was amazing.

What was equally amazing was the blow that Crandorth laid on that spider. He brought the club high over his head and powered it down. It caught the spider perfectly, and I could hear the crunch. Droplets of spider blood showered down on the druid as he smashed the club down again. From that minute on, I started thinking about druids in a whole new way.

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Shaking off the remnants of spider blood and guts, you notice again that the path has split in two.

Looking down the passage way on the left you see torch light and hear a large group of men singing and cheering in apparent drunken merriment.

Looking down the passage on the right you see anominousred glow and smell noxious fumes.

Do you choose to travel down the passage to theleftor the passage to theright?

 

{ Currently playing in VERBOSE mode. - Switch to TERSE - }
      Phase Spider

Sing Along!

Saw the webs, knew it was a spider
Had no idea it was a two-plane slider
Spotted it, then it was disappeared
Attacked again, this time from the rear

Had no idea how it was happening
But we knew that we were suffering
No way out of this insanity
Except for sheer brutality

Chorus:
Phase spider out of time
Phase spider lost his mind
Phase spider on the Ethereal plane
Phase spider half insane

In and out of the material plane
Forced a spider to lose his brain
No idea of his identity
Caught between here and eternity

Phase door kept it in its place
Saw the look on its ugly face
Crazed eyes staring back at me
Kill me now was their piteous plea

[chorus]

[spider solo]

[chorus]