All beetle antics were the responsibility of players other than the two whose characters were were present. Beetles had a selection of random bonus feats, some of which proved more useful than others.
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As previously mentioned Perry and Azarel set out to explore a smaller passage, a breach in the wall of the giant's tomb. It descended to a natural cavern, lined with fungi and amongst which moved several large beetle-like shapes. Impatient to continue Azarel cut loose with a fireball consisting mostly of shadow but real enough to deal with the vermin before them leaving a swathe of roasted beetle bodies - and enraging every other beetle in the area. The fight was on!
The first few beetles which had been spared the fireball dropped from the ceiling and rushed the narrow passage, where Azarel was able to fend them off. One or two, distracted by the opportunity for a hot meal that wasn't fungi and wasn't likely to impale them, set upon the corpses of their companions instead.
Perry summoned an arrowhawk to aid in the battle. It appeared hovering in the middle of the cavern and fried one beetle with a bolt of lightning before another dropped on it, clinging and biting furiously. This combat veered off around the cavern.
Pressing through the thinning ranks of beetles on the ground and dodging those continuing to 'beetle bomb' them from the roof Perry and Azarel made for the exit to the cavern, to be met by a second wave of beetles from an adjoining passage. By this stage even Rolly (the druid's overweight rodent companion) was involved, finding the beetles not a bad match for his size.
In the air the beetle was getting the worst of it's tussle with the arrowhawk and decided to find a softer target. As the pair passed the ground combat it launched itself at the most prominent target (Azarel, the gnome for once the tallest present) sailing gloriously through the air and splatting into the cavern wall.
This pretty much ended the battle as the beetle population was reduced to those too cowardly, too lazy or too well fed to be bothered with the intruders. Having used several mid-level spells in the combat however the two scouts opted to continue their exploration under a combination of stealth spells, returning to report finding
- several caves
- a couple of large red-hued lizards which may or may not have been dragons
- a passage with a fire-giant guard possibly leading up towards our current level of the stronghold
- a cavern containing a gorgon!