Chapter 3, Part II: An A-Maize-ing Feat!

The Easy Marx jumped out of the train after The Punch Boys to discover what had transpired. Upon exiting the car, the Marx saw the source of the train's issues: an amalgamation of vines knotting around the tracks.

You see dozens of vines as thick as your arm bursting out of the ground around and through the train tracks, twisting around the rails. The front of the train has plowed into the mass of vines and is stuck in the knot of them. It does not seem to have fallen off the track at all, but it is currently immobile within the plants.

To the right of the train, you can see a vast stretch of farm land over the hill, and the tops of the rooves of the village of Tinsberry. On either side of the tracks are large rows of corn fields.

While surveying the scene, Percy, the smug mouth piece for The Punch Boys, took a dig at The Easy Marx, prompting Corky to make a bet with him that whoever solved the issue of the vines first would win, and the loser would have to wear a shirt with the logo of the other team on it. Confident in his team's abilities, Percy agreed, and the two teams set off to figure out the issue.

Chief Paws climbed up onto the train to get a pulse on the area around them, and Leozumin scouted out the fields. After a few minutes of investigation that revealed some necrotic energy emanating from the vines and the nearby corn fields, Grok, the barbarian of The Punch Boys, began to chop away at the vines on the track. Grok was thrown back as the vines began to move, and an enormous corn abomination grew from the center of both corn fields, ready to destroy the humanoids around them.

As Grok slashes at the vines, the light from the sun is blotted out by a passing cloud. The vines seem to shudder as they are touched, and you hear a shout off to your right from Ferd and his crew. When you turn to look, you realize that it was not a cloud that had gotten between you and the sun. A huge swatch of the cornfield has begun to rise up and above the other ears, their stalks twisting together to form a massive gangly figure with two legs and four spindly, viney arms.

The Corn Swarm disabled the two train guards, killing one instantaneously by cracking his head open against the metal hull of the train. The other was laid unconscious after being thrown across the field.

Immediately, Airmed sent a healing spirit to the other side of the train in order to assist the guard who had been knocked unconscious, which stabilized him.

Gyome created a bonfire in the field on his turn, setting the precedent of minimizing the movement of the Corn Swarm by sectioning it off with fire.

After receiving a few hits by the Corn Swarm that almost felled him, Leozumin rallied, and jumped directly into the fray to keep the monster at bay through melee engagement.

Chief Paws moved dexterously, often avoiding the attacks by the monster who used its vines to grapple its opponents. Chief Paws used their spear to beat back the vines that attacked his companions, freeing both Corky and Leozumin from multiple grapple attacks.

Chief Paws also noted the larger vines that snaked away from the base of the monster, though the party was too engulfed in combat to fully explore the mystery that those vines presented.

In a stroke of genius, Corky and Stefano used the Wand of Pigeon Summoning to call upon 87 pigeons that immediately dive-bombed the massive corn monster. Although a fire attack a few rounds later roasted nearly all of the pigeons, the majority of them were able to cause about 2 full rounds of pigeon damage to the swarm.

While the battle raged on, Airmed heard the guttural yell of Ferd, the leader of The Punch Boys, and so sent his healing spirit to the fighter's rescue, bringing him back from the brink of death and allowing him to jump back into the fight to protect his team.

The Easy Marx worked in sync with each other, landing a well-won victory over the Corn Swarm. The final blow was delivered by Corky, who launched an on-fire Stefano Romano directly through the chest of the Corn Swarm with the use of his catapult skill. Chief Paws set light to the vines on the tracks to clear them away once the Corn Swarm was defeated.

With the healing help of Airmed, The Punch Boys also defeated the Corn Swarm on their sides of the tracks. After putting out the fires that destroyed a good swath of the corn fields at Tinsberry Farms, The Punch Boys met back up with the Marx. Ferd thanked Airmed heartily for his help, claiming he would owe the lad. Percy, who exuded an air of nonchalance, had little to say, an uncharacteristic change for him. Caspian thanked Lohs, the deity that powered his magic, for guiding them to victory. And Grok pulled the nearest Marx into a bear hug, claiming that he loved the spunky communists.

Corky tried to make the argument to Percy that The Easy Marx had figured out the vine situation first, since Chief Paws was the one to burn them away, thus winning the bet. Percy argued that neither had 'figured out' the situation, since th monster had burst out of the ground, reveaing itself as the cause of the havoc to all parties at the same time. Both Corky and Percy agreed to back down when they realized that they actually didn't have a t-shirt with their logos on it to give out, but aimed to be better prepared on their next meeting.

Airmed cast gentle repose on the dead guard so that he could be transported safely back to a city and taken care of. Corky used some of his magic to turn some of the corn into popcorn that he shared with his friends and the other passengers.

As they returned into the train, the Engineer, who had been kept safe by The Easy Marx, offered both the Marx and the Punch Boys, an upgrade to a sleeper cabin.

Before parting ways, Corky gave both the Engineer and Grok an Easy Marx business card.

Emboldened by the victory, the Marx began to talk about their skills as a team. Airmed complimented how they all worked together and used their strengths to turn the tide of battle in their favor.

Leozumin apologized to his team, as he felt like he did not do a good job of protecting them. But Airmed and Chief Paws were quick to tell him that his fortitude and bravery kept them all safe, and they did not see a need for him to apologize.

As the boys settled in for the rest of the long train ride, and rested up in their new, comfy car, Artem used her Occulant's Abacus to read their latest kill, giving Corky and Stefano an advantage on a future encounter because of their final move that reduced the Corn Swarm to dust.

For a full recap of the battle, see Artem's Battle Report.


Occurrences of Note:

  • Team battle against the Corn Swarm enemy.
  • Airmed assisted another team in battle by healing them.
  • Party use of elemental damage/enemy weakness during battle.
  • Corky's successful use of The Wand of Pigeon Summoning against the Corn Swarm.
  • Party prevented the death of a rival character.
  • Corky gives business cards to Arlon Rail Engineer and Grok the Rock.
  • Party given an upgrade of train cars for assisting with the battle.
  • Increase in party bond.
  • Artem (Occulant) reads the kill and gives Corky future advantage.

Completed: September 2022