The Chase

Bucky Bitters struggles to escape the airborne affections of Derpy Hooves after a chance encounter caused them to bump noses together. His real mistake was trying to comfort the mare after the snoot-bump. Little does the poor stallion realise that their meeting was only the prologue to a journey that will change not only his life, but the lives around him forever.

This story is a sequel to The Catch

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The farmhouse dining table was covered in maps, paper, and dice. Babs sat at the head of the table. Around the table, Piña, Larch, and Dinky were huddled together, laughing, and having a good time. A game of Oubliettes and Ogres was in progress.

“Okay Larch, the lorkogammen is engaging you in combat,” Babs said.

“Wait, what is a lorkogammen again?” Piña asked.

“It’s an evil two headed dog skeleton thing… like a diamond dog, only a giant with two heads,” Dinky replied.

“Have you been reading the monster manual?” Piña gave her sister an incredulous look. “How do you even find time? All you do is study…”

Shrugging, Dinky turned and waited for Larch to roll the dice.

“Facing an undead creature, you get a plus ten percent to your defence rolls. Prepare to die!” Babs Seed rolled two ten sided dice, one blue, one purple, and watched as they bounced over the table. “Hahahahahah! I rolled a seventy eight!”

Gulping, Larch looked a little distressed. He held his own dice, one red, one green, in the telekinetic field of his manipulation shoe upon his hoof. “Dice, don’t fail me now,” he muttered as he rolled.

The green and red dice bounced. The red die, the first one, rolled an eight. The green die, the second one, rolled a one. Piña, sitting beside Larch, squealed with excitement.

“With Larch’s bonus, that’s a ninety one,” Dinky said, a wide grin lighting up her countenance and her eyes twinkling. “That’s a critical riposte!”

One ear twitching, Babs rolled a twenty sided dice and then looked at a paper reference guide, her lips moving as she read through the list. “Okay, Larch, your pegasus paladin not only stops the incoming attack, preventing all damage, but smacks the lorkogammen with your shield.” Babs rolled the twenty sided dice again and had a look at the list of effects. “The lorkogammen is knocked off balance from the shield smite and is knocked over. It is helpless! It also takes four points of damage from the shield bash.”

“My diamond dog scout is going to backstab the helpless whatever it is and get the bonus damage!” Piña bounced up and down in her chair and snatched up her own pair of percentile dice, one pink, the other orange.

“How do you backstab with a wooden club?” Dinky asked.

“Well, you don’t actually stab, it’s more of a backsmack… look, it is a sneak attack with a club. The club is a good weapon because it knocks enemies out and it is effective against the undead. More thief like characters should use them,” Piña replied.

“Okay, Piña roll for it. You get an additional twenty percent on your roll for attacking a helpless foe,” Babs said.

“Sweet!” Piña tossed her dice and watched as they bounced a few times before going still. She rolled a sixty four.

“That’s an eighty four.” Babs lifted up her dice and rolled. “I get a negative twenty percent penalty for my defensive roll,” she said as her dice bounced off of a book and went still. “Oh, that’s ugly. I rolled a thirty nine. So… nineteen. Roll four six sided dice for damage.”

“This is going to hurt,” Dinky said, shaking her head. “Piña gets an additional fifty percent damage added for using her club against the undead. Ouch.”

Piña held the four six sided dice in her front hooves for a moment, kissed them, and then let them fly. There was a clatter as they hit the table and bounced around. A one, which was disappointing, a three, a four, and one six.

“Fourteen… with fifty percent more added, that’s twenty one points of damage. The lorkogammen is dead. It only had twenty hit points to begin with. Experience gained!” Babs gave a nod to Dinky and passed her a sheet of paper.

Dinky, accepting the piece of paper, began to write down the relevant data, recording the group experience total on a sheet of paper as she heaved a disappointed sigh. “My unicorn mage didn’t get a chance to fight in this encounter.”

“Well now, now we check the room for loot,” Larch said, his eyebrows bouncing up and down.

“Wait, I have a question,” Dinky said.

“Yes?” Babs looked at Dinky.

“How does a pegasus use a shield? Or a sword for that matter?” Dinky asked.

Babs shrugged. “I don’t know… this is a fantasy game. Maybe the pegasus walks around on his hind legs and holds his sword in his fetlock and his shield on his other foreleg.”

“Hmm…” Dinky reached up and scratched her head with her left front hoof.

“Dinky, stop being such a hopeless nerd… you can’t expect realism in your fantasy game.” Piña waved her hoof in a dismissive gesture at her sister.

“The room is empty, but there is a door. Do you want to open the door?” Babs looked around the table, meeting the eyes of each of her friends.

“I pull open the door,” Larch said. He puffed his barrel out. “I fear no evil!”

“You dummy, I should have checked it for traps, don’t you remember what happened last time?” Piña rolled her eyes and shook her head as Larch deflated and looked embarrassed.

“The door opens. It isn’t trapped. There is another long musty hallway, dark, and you can’t see more than just a few feet. Your only light source is the unicorn’s horn. This hallway is narrow and you must walk single file. Who leads the way?”

“If I lead the way, I could detect traps.” Piña looked at her companions.

“Piña, your scout only has seven hit points left…” Dinky’s eyebrow raised in warning. “Single file means if there is a fight, you are stuck out front.”

“Your unicorn has eleven hit points at maximum, so don’t talk to me about low hit points.” Piña gave her sister a pouty look. “We send Larch ahead. He has high constitution and made good rolls for hit points. We’ll just have to hope there are no traps.”

“Okay, I’m going,” Larch said. “I start down the hall.”

Dinky waved her hoof. “I’m in the middle, so I can lob spells over Larch.”

“I’m bringing up the rear.” Piña slumped down in her chair and did her best to look miserable. “Stupid kobolds… shooting me in the rump with flaming arrows. Now I smell like burning wet dog hair.”

“The narrow hallway is littered with bones. Lots of bones. In a pile of bones, there is a torch and Larch adds it to his supplies as you pass. Piña, being a diamond dog, you notice that there is a downward slope to the hallway,” Babs said, describing the scene.

“You know, Piña, you should have bought some arrows. I told you to buy arrows. But no… you had to save your money, thinking that we would find some arrows—”

“Shut up! Shut up!” Piña raised her hoof at Dinky and closed her eyes. “Talk to the hoof, Stinky Doo!”

Giggling, Dinky stuck out her tongue at her sister.

“Give her a break, Dinky. Her diamond dog rolled ‘stingy’ as her random trait. She can’t help it,” Larch said. “Still better than what you rolled. Do you know how dangerous a nearsighted wizard is?”

“The hallway is long and the darkness seems to get thicker as you go deeper. The walls are slick with slime. Old dusty bones crunch under your hooves… and your paws.” Babs looked at Piña and then continued: “The diamond dog’s sensitive nose picks up a terrible smell from up ahead. The smell of rot and decay is faint but detectable.”

“Ew, grody.” Piña made a disgusted face. “So it smells like Sentinel’s breath.”

“Eeeeugh, carnivores.” Larch grimaced and shuddered in disgust.

“I love Sentinel, don’t get me wrong, but his breath… I don’t see how Diamond Tiara kisses him.” Dinky reached up and adjusted her hat upon her head.

“Ahead of you, you hear a squishy, squelching sound. In the darkness, something slurps… slurp slurp slurp.”

“Right now, all I can hear is the sound of my parents making out.” Piña’s ears perked forwards. “That’s scary alright. Something horrible lurks ahead.”

Dinky looked over at her sister, Piña. “How about the sound that Cadance makes when she stuffs her muzzle down into her oatmeal or her pudding and blows bubbles? That squelching blub blub blub sound—”

“Like one of Harper’s post dump farts right after she filled her diaper?” Lyra asked as she stuck her head around the corner.

Covering her mouth with her hoof, Piña’s cheeks bulged out and she made a gagging sound deep in her throat. Babs began to giggle, Larch squeezed his eyes shut, and Dinky raised her hoof.

“Gross!” Dinky looked at Lyra, crossed her eyes, and then acted as if she had fainted in her chair, slumping down and going limp, her head lolling on her neck.

Lyra came over and sat down at the table. She had a good look around, eyeing the various game materials. Leaning over, she examined Piña’s character sheet, her brows crinkling as she concentrated on reading the fine, small text.

“I’m going to keep going forward, but in a defensive posture, shield forward, so I’ll get an additional twenty percent to my defensive rolls,” Larch said. The colt began to feel a little self conscious as Lyra kept checking out the game materials upon the table.

“He’s a pegasus, does he get a bonus to his vision or anything?” Lyra asked as she glanced over Larch’s character sheet.

“Larch chose to ignore the observation skill so he could place points into first aid. He only has the base ten percent that pegasi get,” Babs replied.

Lyra looked confused. “So… why does Piña remain wounded if Larch has a first aid skill? Shouldn’t she patched up or something?”

“I bought a tower shield with my starting funds. It was expensive. I thought we’d find bandages by now, but the dice rolls for random loot have not been kind.” Larch blinked and discovered he could not look at Lyra or Piña, as he felt bad about Piña’s predicament. “I guess I should have bought a scutum and some bandages. Piña is probably going to die and it is all my fault.”

Clearing her throat, Babs continued: “Ahead of you, you see a shapeless mass. It makes a glorping sound as it begins to move forward. It is large and grey—”

“A grey ooze!” Larch cried. He pressed both of his front hooves into his cheeks and began to panic. “My sword and my shield is gonna crumble!”

“Glorp glorp glorp!” Babs leaned forwards and made a wicked looking face at Larch.

“Don’t panic! I have this!” Dinky snatched up her dice. “I have a fire spell, burning bombs. I have three castings of it left—”

“Dinky, if you cast a spell, your light spell goes out, how will you see to target the ooze?” Piña asked, cutting Dinky off.

Drawing in a deep breath, Dinky opened her mouth to make a reply, but no sound came out. She sat there, her eyes narrowed, and she began to tap her hoof upon the table.

“I’m going to light the torch I picked up a little while ago… or have Dinky light it. I put away my sword, because it’s useless anyway, and I hold the torch.” Larch’s face brightened and the colts excitement was visible.

“I light the torch,” Dinky said.

“The grey ooze is getting closer…” Babs looked at her game playing companions as well as Lyra. “It wants to digest you.”

“Don’t let it digest you! Burn it to cinders!” Lyra made an impatient snort and gestured at Dinky. “Look, as unicorns, we have an obligation to make certain our friends don’t get digested. That is why we blast things with fire, lightning, and ice! Kill it, kill it with fire, Dinky!”

“I’m going to raise my shield so I don’t get burned to a crisp.” Larch seemed a bit disturbed by Lyra’s enthusiasm.

“I’m casting burning bombs at the grey ooze!” Dinky got her dice ready and waited.

“At your level, you get four burning bombs. The grey ooze has no defensive bonus. Start rolling,” Babs said.

Dinky rolled. Her first roll was a forty three, while Babs rolled a forty nine. A miss. Dinky’s second roll was an eighty four, while Babs rolled a twenty six. For the third roll, Dinky had a fifty five, while Babs rolled a fifty two. The last and final roll, Dinky rolled a seventy nine, while Babs rolled a thirty seven.

“That’s three hits. Roll a four sided die three times.” Babs lifted up a folder, opened it, and began looking up the hit points for a grey ooze.

“There is a four sided die?” Lyra asked.

“The one that looks like a pyramid,” Larch replied.

“Oh… neat!” Lyra rubbed her front hooves together.

Dinky lifted the four sided die and gave it a roll. The number was a four. She rolled again, scoring a two, and her final roll was a three. Dinky’s lip curled back in a what would have been a ferocious snarl if she wasn’t such an adorable little foal. “Nine points of damage.”

“It only had eight hit points, so it’s dead.” Babs looked disappointed. “I was kinda hoping to make Larch start sweating there. I’m going to have to roll for more random monsters…”

“Hey, I wanna play… how do I make a character?” Lyra asked.

“You have to roll a lot of dice,” Piña replied.

“I can roll dice.” Lyra nodded and looked at Piña’s character sheet. Lyra, who was far more nerdy than she let on, already knew how to do this, but thought it might be great fun to have the foals explain everything in detail, so she played dumb. She blinked and did her best to look clueless, which wasn’t hard for Lyra under most circumstances.

“We might be able to drop Lyra in… I could have the lot of you rescue her.” Babs began to stroke her chin with her hoof and she became thoughtful looking.

“I want to be a earth pony that makes candies—”

Piña prodded Lyra to get her attention. “Lyra, that doesn’t seem practical in a dungeon. You might want something else.”

“Oh. Right.” Lyra heaved a dramatic sigh and did her best to look disappointed. “Can I be a black and red alicorn?”

“Nope. NPC race only.” Babs shook her head.

“What’s an NPC?” Lyra asked, already knowing the answer.

“Non player character,” Larch replied. “Alicorns are too powerful.”

“Aw, nuts.” Lyra crossed her forelegs over her barrel and slumped down in her chair.

“There are lot of other playable races,” Piña said, trying to be helpful. “I’m playing a diamond dog. I get bonuses to mining, machinery, clockwork stuff, traps, locks, and I get big bonuses for being down in the underground.”

“And hiding behind trees,” Babs added.

“Yes, poaching.” Dinky nodded.

“Hmm, I’ll be a griffon archer I think. That sounds like fun.” Lyra unfolded her forelegs, leaned forwards, and grabbed a pencil.

“Warrior class archer or ranger class archer?” Babs asked.

“What’s the difference?” Lyra asked in reply.

“Hit dice.” Babs blinked. “Warriors with the archer subclass get to roll a ten sided die for hit points, while a ranger gets to roll two eight sided dice to start out and then one eight sided dice for hit points every level after.”

“Rangers can do awesome stuff with a bow while warriors get a bonus to armor and defensive stuff,” Larch said, explaining a bit more of the differences between the two. “Rangers have to wear light armor.”

“Oh…” Lyra gave a slow nod and then looked around the foals sitting at the table.

“Ranger archers have more bow skills. Warrior archers are sweat golems that use a bow while wearing platemail,” Piña said, speaking as though this explained everything.

“Could I be a ranger griffon archer that doesn’t use bows but uses a sling instead?” Lyra gave Babs a hopeful look.

“Yeah. Archers can be skilled with any ranged weapon. Flintlocks, slings, bows, crossbows, slugthrowers, javelins, anything really. Slings are really good against undead because the sling bullets also do crushing damage.” Babs pulled a character sheet out of a bright yellow folder and passed it to Piña, who then passed it to Lyra.

Lyra giggled, then smiled, and then said “This is gonna be great…”

 

 

 

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