05 – Against the Ant-Things
You scramble down the steep embankment towards the highway, and do not spot the trio of giant insects below! Crimson chitin protects the enormous man-sized ants, and the gleam in their multifaceted eyes hint at an alien intelligence. One is larger than the others, and its jaws click ominously as it shuffles towards you…
The creatures size you up and decide that you will make an excellent source of protein for their queen.
(First round of combat; the referee checks morale then rolls initiative. Attack order is Jack 6+1=7, Ants 6, Steckel 3+1=4, Charlie 3-1=2, and Mariah 2-1=1. Jack is throwing a dagger, everyone else will engage in melee.)
Silent Jack’s quick reflexes are apparent as he deftly throws a dagger at one of the ants. (Ranged Atk 17+1+3=21; hit for 3 damage.) The creature seems unfazed by the blade embedded between its chitinous plates…
The largest ant scuttles towards Steckel, who was the last to slide down the embankment. (Melee Atk 15+2+6=23; hit for 3 damage.) Caught prone, Steckel barely manages to roll aside and avoid decapitation!
Mad Mariah instinctively leaps out and the other two ants attack her. (Melee Atks 8+2+5=15 and 2+2+5=9.) She swings her pipe violently at insects, and they shy back at the last instant.
Still crouching beneath the menacing monster, Steckel strikes with his hammer (melee Atk 13+3=16) but his blows have no effect.
Roxx steps forward to help Steckel, swinging his massive STOP sign at the lead ant. (Melee Atk 20+1+3=24; hit for 9 damage.) The weapon bites deep into the creature’s thorax – a blow that would easily kill a man – but the ant yet lives.
Mad Mariah lashes out (melee Atk 19+1+3=23, hit for 6 damage), clubbing an ant between the eyes. It appears dazed for a moment.
(It’s the start of round two. You continue as before, except for Jack who will engage in melee to avoid the risk of accidentally hitting an ally. We’ll keep the same initiative.)
Jack draws his second dagger and joins Mariah in combat. (Melee Atk 14+1+3=18; no damage.) He tries to finish off the ant he struck before, but the blade is turned aside by the creature’s armour.
The two smaller ants split their attacks against Jack and Mariah. (Melee Atks 4+2+9=15 and 19+2+5=26. A hit against Mariah for 8 damage!) Jack dodges, but a ragged cut is achieved on Mariah’s arm!
The large ant seems to forget Steckel and moves towards Roxx. (Melee Atk 12+2+5=19; miss.) Roxx’s armour protects him as he backs away from the attacking ant, drawing it from Steckel.
Steckel rises to his feet and swings his hammer against his foe. (Melee Atk 17+3=20; hit for 5 damage.) He punches through the armour on the ant’s thorax and is sprayed with gore. The giant insect convulses violently and slumps slightly, but is not destroyed.
(Melee Atk 8+1+3=12; miss.) Roxx tries to finish off the beast, but the blow lands wide.
(Melee Atk 19+1+3=23; 4 damage.) Dripping with blood, Mariah enters a battle frenzy and screams curses while wailing on the creature that injured her. She pounds the ant’s head to a slimy pulp, killing it.
(One ant down; two to go. You’ve had some lucky rolls. Let’s see what happens in round three… Hmm; the ants fail their morale check.)
Jack strikes with his knife (11+1+3=15), but misses.
The remaining ants, both injured, attempt to flee. (They skip their attacks, and the PCs strike. Steckel rolls 7+3=10, Roxx gets 5+1+3=9, and Mariah rolls 11+1+3=15.) They evade your attacks, moving with unnatural speed.
(Moving onto round four. With the two remaining ants fleeing, you’ll have to switch to ranged weapons.)
Jack draws his homemade bow and fires (16+1+3=20; hit for 2 damage), felling one of the beastly creatures as it attempts to escape.
Steckel tries to stop the other one with his slinghot (16+3=19), but it just bounces off its chitin.
Mariah hucks a rock (7+1+3=11), but in her anger she overthrows and misses.
You lose line-of-sight as the fleeing ant disappears behind some rocks. Damn; that thing is quick!
(You may attempt to pursue the fleeing ant, but it can move much faster than most of you. You can recover from your minor injuries – Mariah is at 4 hp, Steckel at 5 hp – but you need to spend time resting. Of course, if you stay here, the remaining ant might lead more foul mutants to your location. Or you can press on and rest later, but risk another random encounter in the meantime. What are your actions?)