This is part of the ongoing narrative of our D&D campaign, which is graciously being run by Proud Lion, a fantastic comic shop in Cheltenham. Their RPG Encounters nights are a lot of fun, and give me some entertaining material to work with.
[Before reading, please be aware that there may be spoilers ahead for the D&D campaign books. Equally, our stories are fluid, so things may not follow the books too directly]
The robed figure over Kalashnikov brought its hammer mechanically down on Kalashnikov’s head, but his magical barrier deflected the shovel completely, and the warlock jumped back a little. He saw another robed figure, stopping its previous task of tending the garden and turning to raise its own shovel.
Burian was a little slower to react, dropping his mushrooms when he raised his shield, but the sapling fired a stream of needles at him, catching him in the side of his face and neck. Thankfully they missed anything important, but the surprise attack knocked him back.
Now that the dwarves had alerted the dwellers of the garden to their presence, the rest of the group threw caution to the wind in retaliation. Jester sprang into action first, drawing his rapier, darting around the robed figure, and plunging his sword into its back. A dull rattling echoed out of the cloak, and the cloth fell away from its head, revealing the gardening automaton to be skeletal in nature. His second strike cut away more of the cloak, but didn’t seem to do any true damage to the skeleton.
Trying to build on the opportunity Jester had provided him with, Kalashnikov struck out against his attacker, grabbing his light hammer and throwing a Trumpian swing. Of course, the warlock missed his physical attack, his hammer sailing harmlessly past it.
<Logan, shank the skeleton please, those that are not you, pip pip> he commanded his own skeletal follower, before realising he had a perfect pun, <wait, wait, Logan, tend to the gardening please>.
The second robed skeleton joined its fellow gardener in combat against the dwarf, whacking him with its shovel, clocking him around the shoulder and cracking the magical coating he had created.
Jester was then beset by another twisted sapling, which had uprooted itself and shot barbed growths at the half-elf. He managed to dodge most of them, but some still caught his leg.
Angry at the deception perpetrated against him by a tree, of all things, Burian felt his emotions focus into power within him, and his body started to change. His posture sloped downwards, arcing his back as his legs twisted and turned, his body growing more and more furrier.
In the violet light of the fungus, his fur turned a strange variety of colours, as large stripes blossomed down his spine and spread over his body. Hands shifted to paws, fingers to sharp bone blades, and his teeth became fanged, his facial shape shifting into something more feline.
Now become an enormous tiger, Burian pounced at the sapling who had struck him, but the remnants of his transformation were keeping him off-balance, leaving him a few steps past the sapling.
Following the commands of his master, Logan the skeleton brought his two scimitars together in a rough imitation of a pair of shears, then attempted to chop up the sapling firing at Jester. His first cut missed, but the second caught the wooden creature, slicing it in two.
Hefting his maul in his hands, Drenk took aim at the skeleton Jester had charged, and shattered its bones in a mighty blow. The rogue grabbed his rapier from the collapsing body, daintily removing it without noise.
Behind the melee, the cleric Enna and the gnome pondered their attacks. The gnome looked down at the dagger in his belt, muttered angrily to himself and walked towards the back of the room, avoiding combat while Enna cast sacred flame. Her devout fires engulfed a sapling, but the radiant beams couldn’t catch like a regular heat.
Levan Dawnbreaker followed Drenk’s example, entering the reach of the last skeleton. Hoisting his shield, he blocked a swipe from the rusted shovel, then returned a blow of much greater accuracy. His sword cracked down the side of the ribcage, and while it remained standing, the skeleton looked suitably worse for wear.
“Hey, half-breed, this is how a true elf slays an unworthy foe.” Luna called Jester out, centring her focus on the final skeleton, and severed the spinal column with an arrow. Jester, mid-swing against the undead, pulled back and scowled that someone had stolen his trick.
“Pfff, I took the head off this dragon!” Jester shouted back, then turned to watch the tiger-that-was-Burian uppercut a sapling with his mighty paws. Stowing his sword then stringing an arrow quickly, he one-upped the rogue by piercing the sapling and pinning it, dead, to the ruined wall. Luna looked over after the shot, to see Jester pointing at her in a dab position.
Ignoring the bickering of the elven members, Kalashnikov summoned power to his hands, choosing to reintroduce bland stony colours to the vibrant room with an eldritch blast. He flung a ball of light granite colouration towards a third and final sapling, but the block dissipated before hitting its target.
<By Cthulhu, hurry up Logan!> the warlock called, looking back to see where his minion had gotten to. Having sheared the first sapling, the skeleton was flourishing its scimitars as it turned towards the last enemy. Advancing on the sapling, Logan was oblivious to the danger as a swarm of thorns was expelled at him, his intense stare centred on the sapling.
Logan’s costume was punctured dozens of times by the spines, tiny holes appearing in the yellow- and blue-dyed hides. This rudimentary form of acupuncture was the last thing the construct could take, and Logan’s bones suddenly lost their animation. His body crumpled, with a few cracks in the areas that his hides inside and out could not cushion.
“Noooo!” called Kalashnikov, a yell of anguish echoing around the room as his minion collapsed, the mind-link between him and the empty skull of Logan extinguished. A single tear rolled down the dwarf’s craggy cheek, as caltrops rained out from Logan’s re-dead corpse in a poor imitation of blood.
<Goodnight, sweet prince> he sent as a final farewell, as Burian dived on the last sapling, knocking it over and ripping it to pieces.