[We've decided to retcon Harissa's cohort to a nagaji bard with the arcane duelist template. Virali is from Naranjan, where her race reveres nagas. This makes her an outcast at home (thanks to the sinister Naga Cult) and in Freeport (for her resemblance to the feared serpent people). Naturally, she makes heavy use of mundane and magical disguises to hide her real identity.]
With minimal resources expending dealing with the Musketeer's party, the PCs continued on their hunt. Inacio came across strange tracks, and led the party to a clearing where a couple of baby bulettes were mock-fighting. They decided to catch them alive, because Omar Nkota had expressed an interest in acquiring more young for training. While the party discussed how best to do this, and moved closer, the bulettes noticed them and headed their way--one charging on the surface, and the other burrowing underground. The first baby was immediately downed by Issalia's slumber hex, and promptly tied up by Inacio. Then the second one burst out of the ground to attack him.
Then things got interesting, as a larger bulette burst from the ground next to the wagon, savaging the mule (leaving it with 1 hp!) and injuring the nearest PC. Issalia healed the mule, who then bolted, drawing a bite from the bulette. The mule staggered away, disabled, and then fell unconscious from the effort. Issalia was knocked down by the wagon, leaving her an easy target for the bulette, who mauled her badly. In the luckiest moment of her life so far, her slumber-hex worked at point-blank range, and the bulette collapsed. Meanwhile, Inacio managed to subdue the other baby with nonlethal attacks.
But they weren't out of danger yet. Larkspur noticed the ground rumbling with the approach of something large underground, and warned the other in time for several of them to ready attacks just before the mama bulette burst forth. Damarak let off a sleet storm
spell, which foiled the monster's intent to charge the center of the party. Virali cast a grease
spell in its path at the edge of the storm, causing it to lose a turn falling and standing back up. Between Harissa and Inacio's blades, and Larkspur's call lightning
and summoned earth elemental, the party managed to slay the brute beast before anyone took any mortal wounds. They then spent some time with weapons (and leftover lightning bolts) making sure that it and the middle-sized one were most sincerely dead. As they did so, Damarak channeled some energy to heal the PCs' wounds, as well as the mule's.
(The mama beast was a standard Huge bulette from the Bestiary
; I borrowed the official D&D mini from one of my players. The Large bulette had the young template applied. For this one, I used one of the same cheap plastic toys
that inspired the original monster in the infancy of D&D. The babies were more dramatically reduced in power, being Medium-sized and only half normal HD. For them, I used Shark Warrior LEGO minifigures [from the Atlantis theme] bent down on all fours.)
The party put the two babies in the cage on their wagon. They also wanted to collect the bounty on the larger bulettes, so spent some time constructing sledges to drag them back to Freeport. Larkspur loaned her muleback cords
to Inacio so that he would be strong enough to drag the 3-ton mother beast. Traveling at a crawl, they didn't get very far before they had to make camp for the night. Larkspur used hide campsite
to conceal the bulettes, while the party made camp outside the spell's effect.
During first watch, Issalia's owl detected movement in the trees. Inacio cast about for tracks, and found some very confusing disturbances on the ground that led to a very large tree. The hadozee climbed up to investigate, but then started to feel distracted and disoriented. A large wooden mask extended from the tree's trunk, breathed smoke at the ranger, and moaned "Leave...." Inacio was briefly nauseated by the smoke, but hurriedly climbed down and went back to camp. He and Issalia woke Larkspur, so that the druid can go talk to the tree...which we'll deal with next session.
(This is a kapre, from Bestiary 4
. The party got rid of the bulettes, which were unnatural intruders in its territory, so it will most likely only have some fun scaring the party rather than doing them harm--unless they do something extremely stupid. Knowing these PCs, I wouldn't rule that out yet...)