Chapter 7a: Return to Base Immediately

Chapter 7a: Return to Base Immediately


The group mounts up, and Rives cautiously takes the lead on the back of Captain Strakker's impressive stallion. Caedmon, seated upon Midnight, comes up to join in the fore, with Leo, Marin, Butch, and Alelip grouped behind and doing their best to ride with limited or no actual experience doing so. The horses' hooves make deep, resonant thuds as they pound the turf in rapid succession, accelerating from a walk to a loping canter in a matter of a few seconds. The simple rope harnesses that Rives had brought work as crude reins, but the new riders learn that gripping the animal's body between the legs is almost more important.

The hoots and howls of the gnolls become more frequent as the riders pick up pace, making more noise on the crossing of the main road. Seven of the hyena-headed beasts are gathered at the east side of the burned-out camp, and they immediately begin the pursuit through the woods.

Butch takes an arrow from his quiver and sets it to his longbow, trying a difficult backwards shot, but the attack falls short and somewhat to the left.

Situation/Skill ChecksThe gnolls are running full-speed, while the horses are limited somewhat by the skill of their riders. The gnolls are presently eighty feet behind the party. The party members can use the following checks to try and lose the pursuit:

- Ride (out-pace the gnolls through skillful riding): DC10 = break even +5 feet for every 5 over the DC; failure = -5 feet
- Handle Animal (encourage the horse to run faster): DC10 = +5 feet; failure = break even
- Balance (have the horse jump over an obstacle that would hinder the pursuit): DC10 = +10 feet; failure = break even; Natural 1 = thrown
- Survival (take a tricky path through the forest that makes it hard to follow): DC10 = +5 feet; failure = -5 feet
- Attack/Cast (from horseback): Ride check DC20 = make one attack as standard action; DC10 = no action, break even; failure = -5 feet

The gnolls will break off pursuit if they don't catch the group after 10 rounds or if the gap to the slowest rider is more than 120 feet.

Feeling brave by the calm feeling her mount was giving her, Marin held the rustic reins and tried to guide Bear through some fallen trees with the hope that jumping them she would be able to loose them.

But as she has never ridden, less in a stressful situation, she didn't hold on strong enough and when Bear jumped she fell, lucily not on her neck or head. Groaning a moment with pain, she stood and saw her mount not too far, but gaining distance every second.

Quickly taking a decision she turns to the gnolls chasing the group and with a quick prayer shouts a challenge to the beasts, trying to be seen as an easier target. After that, she sprints trhough the fallen trees as fast and doing the most complex path she can.

"If I survive this, I'll pester Rives until he teaches me how to ride" she thinks, trying to minimize her fear as Leo taught her.

Seeing Marin fall from he horse, Leo
Dice Roll:
d20 Results: 14 (Total = 16)
slows to allow Marin to catch up, or defend her if need be.

Alelip hears the howls behind him and
Dice Roll:
d20 Results: 5 (Total = 8)
sneaks a peak behind him, before turning around and
Dice Roll:
d20 Results: 1 (Total = 5)
looking for a way to lose the gnolls.

The howling of many of the dog-men ringing in Caedmon's ears moves him to rely on his instincts pushing the horse through a tricky piece of terrain as he looks to find a position in which to shower the beasts with arrows from his blackwood bow.

Unable to find any characters in game 4972
Thickets leading to higher ground, perchance?

Rives watches the others take off into the woods and does the same, letting Strider set the pace, but guiding the horse in the general direction of Baden Falls. As he approaches a downed tree panic momentarily overtakes him, but he leans forward, nearly laying his chest on Strider's neck as the horse takes a leap over the downed tree.

As Strider lands on the far side of the tree, Rives
Dice Roll:
d20 Results: 20 (Total = 26)
does not even sway on the horse's back. A big grin crosses his face - he had seen the men out on the fox hunts back home dash through the woods and jump stumps and rocks, and always had thought it looked fun, but had never had the opportunity to try any more sophisticated riding than trotting a horse around the training ring. Encouraged, he pats Strider on the neck and keeps urging the animal onward.

Well, I suppose that makes up for the 1s... just means I'm done for for the rest of the campaign... I only get one of those rolls a year.

Marin's mount barely clears the obstruction, and the girl is unceremoniously dumped onto the ground. She rolls to her feet, seeking shelter among the nearby trees as Leo angles his own mount to try and rescue her.

Alelip and Caedmon push their way into a nearby thicket, but while the ranger easily makes it through the healer finds himself tangled by vines and has to negotiate around the dense undergrowth.

Rives rides like he was born to the task, gracefully sailing over the same fallen tree that had given Marin trouble earlier. Strider lands without missing a step and is off like a shot.

Butch turns and tries to fire again, but can't manage to get the shot off as his skittish horse unevenly tries to escape the gnolls.

Rives: 90 feet
Caedmon: 85 feet
Butch: 80 feet
Alelip: 75 feet
Leo and Marin: 50 feet

Round 2 begins.

"Marin, climb up!" Leo shouts, riding up to here, and quickly
strength Check:
Dice Roll:
d20 Results: 10 (Total = 13)
pulling her up behind him, before spurring his mount on.

Seeing the helping hand of her friend. Marin quickly siezes it and tries to
climb Check:
Dice Roll:
d20 Results: 9 (Total = 14)
climb to the back of his horse.

"Thanks Leo" she says with a small smile, hugging him tightly from behind

Troubled that a pair of his fellows have fallen so far behind Caedmon
Dice Roll:
d20 Results: 13 (Total = 22)
rides on in hopes of
Dice Roll:
d20 Results: 16 (Total = 22)
spotting a decent place to at least give them some cover fire with his bow.


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