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The Village of Hommlett—or merely "Hommlett," as it is commonly called—is situated in the central part of the Flanaess, that portion of western Oerik Continent which is known and 'civilized.' The hamlet-sized village (local parlance having distinguished it with the greater term) is located some 30 leagues southeast of the town of Verbobonc, or thereabouts, on the fringe of the territory controlled by the noble Lord the Viscount of Verbobonc. It is at a crossroads.
To the north is the mighty Velverdyva River, along whose south bank runs the Lowroad. Many days' travel to the east, on the shores of the Lake of Unknown Depths (Nyr Dyv), is the great walled city of Dyvers. The village of Sobanwych lies about halfway along the route. Below that to the southeast and east are miles and miles of forest (the Gnarley), beyond which is the Wild Coast, Woolly Bay, and the Sea of Gearnat. The road south forks a league or so beyond the little community, one branch meandering off towards the Wild Coast, the other rolling through the lower Kron Hills to the village of Ostverk and then eventually turning southwards again into the elven kingdom of Celene. The western route leads into the very heart of the gnomish highlands, passing through Greenway Valley about a day's travel distant and going onwards to the Lortmil Mountains far beyond.
Hommlet grew from a farm or two, a rest house, and a smithy. The roads brought a sufficient number of travelers and merchant wagons to attract tradesmen and artisans to serve those passing through. The resthouse became a thriving inn, and a wheel and wainwright settled in the thorp. More farmers and herdsmen followed, for grain was needed for the passing animals, and meat was in demand for the innfolk.
Prosperity was great, for the lord of the district was mild and taxed but little. Trade was good, and the land was untroubled by war, outlaws, or ravaging beasts. The area was free, beautiful, and bountiful — too much so, in the eyes of some.
Whether the evil came west from Dyvers (as is claimed by one faction) or crept up out of the forestlands bordering the Wild Coast (as others assert), come it did. At first it was only a few thieves and an odd group of bandits molesting the merchant caravans. Then came small bands of humanoids—kobolds or goblins—raiding the flocks and herds. Local militia and foresters of the Waldgraf of Ostverk apparently checked, but did not stop, the spread of outlawry and evil.
A collection of hovels and their slovenly inhabitants formed the nucleus for the troubles which were to increase. A wicked cleric established a small chapel at this point. The folk of Hommlet tended to ignore this place, Nulb, even though it was but 6 miles distant. But its out-of-the-way position was ideal for the fell purposes planned for this settlement, as was its position on a small river flowing into the Velverdyva. The thickets and marshes around Nulb became the lair and hiding place for bandits, brigands, and all sorts of evil men and monsters alike. The chapel grew into a stone temple as its faithful brought in their illgotten tithes. Good folk were robbed, pillaged, enslaved, and worse.
In but three years, a grim and forbidding fortress surrounded the evil place, and swarms of creatures worshipped and worked their wickedness therein. The servants of the Temple of Elemental Evil made Hommlet and the lands for leagues around a mockery of freedom and beauty. Commerce ceased, crops withered; pestilence was abroad.
But the leaders of this cancer were full of hubris and, in their overweaning pride, sought to overthrow the good realms to the north, who were coming to the rescue of the land being crushed under the tyranny wrought by the evil temple. A great battle was fought.
When the good people of Hommlet saw streams of ochre-robed men and humanoids fleeing south and west through their community, there was great rejoicing, for they knew that the murderous oppressors had been defeated and driven from the field in panic and rout. So great was the slaughter, so complete the victory of good, that the walled stronghold of the Temple of Elemental Evil fell within a fortnight, despite the aid of a terrible demon. The place was ruined and sealed against a further return of such abominations by powerful blessings and magic.
Life in Hommlet quickly returned to a semblance of its former self, before the rise of the temple. For five years afterward, the village and the surrounding countryside have become richer and more prosperous than ever before. A monstrous troll which plagued the place for a time was hunted down by a party of passing adventurers. Carrying the ashes and a goodly fortune as well, the adventurers returned to the village. Before going elsewhere to seek their fortunes, the adventurers also returned a portion of the villagers' losses. Other adventurers, knowing of the evil that had once resided in the area, came to seek out similar caches, and several did find remote lairs and wealth—just as some never returned at all.
After a time, adventurers stopped coming to the area. It seemed that no monsters were left to slay, and no evil existed here to be stamped out. The villagers heaved a collective sigh—some pained at the loss of income, but others relieved by the return to the quiet, normal life—and Hommlet continued its quiet existence for four years more.
But then, a year ago, the bandits began to ride the roads again—not frequently, but to some effect. To the good folk of Hommlet, this seemed all too familiar, so they sent word to the Viscount that wicked forces might still lurk thereabouts. This information has been spread throughout the countryside, and the news has attracted outsiders to the village once again. Who and what these men are, no one can be quite sure. All claim to be bent on slaying monsters and bringing peace and security to Hommlet; but deeds speak more loudly than words, and lies cloak the true purposes of the malevolent.
Lets start with some pictures
The six of you have been called to meet personally with the noble Lord the Viscount of Verbobonc this is an honor that few are granted. But this meeting is not one of pleasantries but business, he assigns you to an important task. The Viscount has heard of the growing bandit sources to the east and sends you to aid the village in finding the source of the malevolence. He only gives you a map and six mount fit for your size and explains nothing further nor why it was you he summoned. "You are to leave immediately" he says "and don't worry there will be plenty of time to get to know one another" With little choice in the manner you gathered your supplies bought what meager equipment yo could afford and head for the road to Hommlet. The three days trip was spent quietly and lasted little time you have had little in the ways of conversation with your new peers and time passes quickly.
Your party is now approaching the Village of Hommlet, having ridden up from lands of the Wild Coast. You are poorly mounted, badly equipped, and have no large sums of cash. In fact, all you have is what you wear and what you ride, plus the few coins that are hidden in purses and pockets. What you do possess in quantity, though, is daring and desire to become wealthy and famous. Thus your group comes to Hommlet to learn. Is this indeed a place for adventurers to seek their fortunes? You all hope, of course, to gain riches and make names for yourselves. The outcome of this is uncertain, but your skill and daring, along with a good measure of luck, will be the main ingredients of what follows, be it for weal or woe. The small community at the crossroads is a completely unknown quantity. What is there? Who will be encountered? Where should you go? These are your first explorations and encounters, so chance may dictate as much as intelligence. Will outsiders be shunned? Are the reports true — is the whole community engaged in evil practices? Are the folk here bumpkins, easily duped? Does a curse lay upon those who dare to venture into the lands which were once the Temple's? All of these questions will soon be answered. The dusty, rutted road is lined with closely-grown hedges of brambles and shrubs. Here and there it cuts through a copse or crosses a rivulet. To either hand, forest and meadow have given way to field and orchard. A small herd of kine graze nearby, and a distant hill is dotted with the wand stone chimneys with thin plumes of blue smoke rising from them. A road angles west into the hill country, and to either side of the road ahead are barns and buildings — Hommlet at last!
The adventure begins...
This wood and plaster house is wellkept, and the barn beyond is bulging with hay, grain, and so forth. Several fat animals are about. Two large farm dogs bark at your approach, and a rosy-cheeked goodwife appears at the doorway shouting out at the dogs behind her a four young boys who run out as their mother openings the door they play in the front yard but one runs over to you. "your adventurers real ones you must be coming to ol Hommlet to slay a ferocious monster that roams are land aincha but I have only 'eard a dem in strorys." The boy continues rambling on to you delaying your advance.
Now is a time to do some roleplaying among yourselves and villagers while I slowly move you through Hommlet. You entered from the bottom right path coming from the west on map.
|Gnobby the Gnome|
The gnome is running a coin along his fingers.
I wish I grew up in a nice place like this. Maybe pass on a little love from the big guys to the little guys.
"We are here because your just and generous rulers love you."
Gnobby breaks out into a grin that shows he is just happy to be out of his temporary detainment.
Pettry looks at the gnome and reins up his horse. "Yes. They sent us here to rid the area of the threat to the roads. Likely some bandits, nothing more. We should have enough swords to put a stop to the problem."
His bravado spent, Pettry guides the horse back behind the others. His first look at the town leaves him somewhat unimpressed, though he can see the potential for growth and trade.
For the time being, Pettry will keep Charm Person memorized. I'll let you know if I change the spell he has prior to the day's work. edited cause Gnobby ninja'd me :)
The boy looks up at you in awe and after a long wait he finally says. "Bandits? Ma never told me anything bout that..." His mother quickly makes way over to you all wrapping her arms around her son. "Sorry if he bothered you good sirs the mayor has been eagerly waiting your arrival. Inn you say well then you should head to The Inn of the Welcome Wench best tavern in Hommlet" The lady tells her son to join the other three in their chores before continuing. "Sorry bout me boy his father always telling 'im story's gets to his head it does. I wish ye luck on your quest good sirs and madam but I really must be off much to do but perhaps ye could do a little favor for me?" She asks.
Tarmin raises her hands to bring her cloak's hood down , revealing her elvish heritage. Leaning over her saddle's pommel she says "No offense taken, goodwife, " nodding after the curious boy. "'twould be strange indeed if a boy his age didn't have dreams of adventure and glory whirling through his mind, especially when there were chores for the doing". Grinning widely, "Perhaps, your husband would share some of his stories at the Inn tonite, we've ridden far this day and some entertaining tales would be welcome! As for favors," looking at her colleagues with a small grin "we six of us are lately come into the favor-granting business...it just leaves you to tell of your need."
"Aye," Andre says, getting off his horse to stretch his legs from the long ride. "A good story around a warm hearth would do well to relax after the long ride from the Viscount's estate, once we've had a proper meal and enjoyed the proprietor's hospitality. And if you have need, then please ask. He of the Cudgel would not have placed my feet upon this path if he did not want me to bring aid to the people I meet along it. What could trouble a goodwife that requires the aid of six agents of the Viscount?"
"What kind people ye be. Me husband works in the wood mill in the nearby fields." She says pointing in the direction of the woodmill. "It's not much but it feeds our family. If I could ask could you perhaps bring him his axe for me it would be much appreciated." She says as she hands you the fine hatchet. "I got me too much work and must be off immediately I bid ye well traveler perhaps we will meet again." The woman gives a slight bow before rushing back inside to the kitchen she also calls in the four children who run inside moments later.
"Delivering an axe?" Pettry's voice is just loud enough for the Paladin to hear. "Isn't that a task more fit for one of her sons?" Still, as the rest of his companions turn in the direction indicated by the now-departed woman, he guides his horse to fall in with the rest.
I didn't come along to become an errand boy. "I hope this miller has a bit more useful information he can impart to us than stories he uses to frighten his children. I suppose it's the best lead we have to work with right now, though." After a couple disapproving glances from his companions, Pettry closes his mouth and continues on in silence, though he does a poor job of hiding his impatience.
After the woman has left, Andre casts a puzzled glance at his companions and speaks with a quiet voice. "Aye, when the Viscount said Hommlet needed our assistance, I did not expect this." He gestures with the axe. "Let us stable our horses at the Inn and make our arrangements there. Then we head to the mill." Andre mounts his horse again, and spurs it on towards the Inn of the Welcome Wench.
Oh, St. Cuthbert, the knight thinks as they head north, you make yourself known in mysterious ways at times. What are you trying to teach me by this task? Humility, perhaps>
Cantering along with the others Tarmin observed "Ease your mind Pettry, Andre. There's many a heroic tale that starts with just such a mundane act, perhaps ours does as well" With a toss of her head and a laugh " Besides a good deed now may serve to loosen tongues later as we try to glean some information from these folk; tight-lipped by custom and habit !"
|Gnobby the Gnome|
You continue down the path at a slow pase once more headed for the Welcome Wench to find shelter for your mounts. On your treack you opass several other farm houses.
Clean but slightly run-down buildings indicate that this farm is not very prosperous. However, the stock appears quite healthy and plump. An active lad of 12 or so is doing chores. Nothing appears of particular interest so you continue on. The house and barn show that this farmer is doing well, and the stock in the fenced-in yard are very fine-looking. You see a fetching feminine face in a window. You continue on passing several town houses and barns along the countryside until a small sign comes into view. The square wooden sign shows a buxom and smiling girl holding a flagon of beer. This must be the Inn of the Welcome Wench, a place renowned for its good food and excellent drink! Passing merchants make a point of stopping, as do many other sorts of wayfarers, and it is said that the place is always filled with patrons. A set of wooden stairs leads up to a small porch and the large wooden door leading into the Inn. Outside you notice a small stable a young stableboy and a groom handle the
draft and riding animals stabled there they do not notice your approach.
|Gnobby the Gnome|
"What a delightful place. I could sure use some fine food and drink. What a wonderful place to find things out and absorb some local color."
Gnobby's face lights up and he rubs his hands together. He pulls out a deck of cards and starts idly doing a complex riff. "Maybe the locals play some games of skill."
Raising a hand in greeting to each face she sees, Tarmin delights in the obvious hardwork and care that has gone into making Hommlet prosperous over the years. I would hate to see these people's labours destroyed by some wretched brigands! she mutters to herself.
Seeing the Inn and the barn workers she calls out "Hail the Inn!!! Some help with our mounts!!! The roads's given us a long, dusty ride and we're glad to be done with it!"
Seeing that Gnobby already has his cards out, Tarmin smiles and realizes that the local card sharps won't know what hit them, on the way here Gnobby had lightened her belt pouch by 4sp with various games of chance before she good-naturedly begged off his subsequent requests.
Gnobby: add 4sp to your sheet, I've minused 4 from mine :)
Andre glanced up at the sign hanging above the Inn's door, and grimaced a small show of disapproval. "I can't say I approve of this lascivious display of brazenness, but as long as their food is good and their beds warm, I can leave that discussion with the proprietor for another day."
The knight got back off his horse as he saw the two men - well, a boy and a man, really - wrangling the animals. He passed the reigns over to them, handing them each a silver. "There shall be another of these for you both if you find stables for my mount and those of my allies anon."
The stableboy gives to you kind greeting as you approach and brings the mounts into the stable where the groom immediately tends to the newly added mounts. The stableboy grantees you that they are in good hands he thanks you for the silver and dismisses himself back to work. The stableboy looked to be around 16 or so as were the groom was a much older man late 40s or so.
Only moments after the stableboy takes your mounts away you notice a large man who staggers his way towards you he calls out. "Hello dere nice aventurers "hic" names Elmo an while I was 'carousing' the villige I coun't help but notice yer arrival." Says the drunk with his slow and halting speech as he trys to stand up straight before you. "An well I am lookin fer work I need the moneys ye'see and would like to buy me some ale." Stutters the man as he wears a big smile and stands as straight as he can. The man wears a fine looking shirt and is clean shaven though his shirt may have some ale stains on it. He is quite clearly drunk and jovial he wears a large smile and appears quite strong, a glowing dagger rests in his belt unconcealed.
Narghat gives the man an appraising look up and down. He is large enough to be handy in a fight...if we can get him past the drink.
After Pettry speaks Narghat says Perhaps a demonstration in the morning after he has sobered would be sufficient. Looks can sometimes be deceiving when a man is in his cups.
|Gnobby the Gnome|
Gnobby talks discreetly to his companions, "Many drink to escape the world. I bet we just need to convince Elmo to face the world. At least when he is in his cups we can probably get his whole story. That magic dagger shows he is worth more than I am."
Gnobby talks to Elmo, "We need a guide to show us around the town and can handle himself in a pinch. I'll by you an ale as I am thirsty myself."
Weekends are sometimes slow posting for me, but don't wait up. I'll catch up :-)
Podo has for the most part remained quiet throughout the journey. He doesn't really want his current location to be known, nor his past location revealed, so it's easier just to not speak...though he is normally a very active participant in conversation. the reason for this will be revealed in the character history, which I promise to get written ASAP. Sorry I've been slow, but the last two weeks for some reason have been crazy.
He only notices where everyone keeps their valuables, and how they store their purses in case he needs to make a quick escape. Surely they wouldn't begrudge him "borrowing" a few things if he needed to make a quick exit.
the thought of warmth, drink and companionship however break him out of his doldrums. "Drinks in the Inn". "Now you're talking". And his short little legs pick up their pace, beating the longlegs into the inn.
Andre regards Elmo with a critical air. "Clearly you have had some success at our trade, Elmo - otherwise, you would not have come back from your trip with a magical blade and enough coin to dull the horrors of whatever you dealt with. I will gladly buy you supper, but in good faith, I cannot purchase you ale. I myself have sworn a vow of temperance, and I could not with good conscience aid another down that road. Shall we adjourn to the Inn and speak on this further?"
"What no I'm not drunk I'm Elmo an I'll be aving you know that "hic" I am da best a what I do." After a moment Elmo catches on that he hasn't actually explained what his service is. "Oh ya ummm. I am a arm at man no, no, a man at arms an I done battle wit so many big big baddies and I will gladly work for only half of a share but In will need a set of armor and a BIG axe." When Gnobby comments on the magic dagger Elmo looks dumfounded at him until he catches on and takes the dagger off his belt and holds it up to show everyone. "Ain't it perty me brudder Otis gave it to me kept er close ever since." He then puts the dagger back on his belt were it was before. As the party discusses heading to the inn Elmo stays mostly quiet until he abruptly speaks in a slightly less halting then his voice before. "I would gladly dine with you perhaps we can talk business but first I have some things to do perhaps we could meet at the inn later tonight hmm." He offers to you his speech strangely better.
|Gnobby the Gnome|
Gnobby whispers to Podo, "We gotta follow him. Keep our skills up, and I am curious about this one. All that is gold does not glitter."
"Sounds good Elmo--we will get you an axe and some good armor."
Gnobby relates his plan to the others. He wants to sneakily follow Elmo with Podo. If we can't follow this target, we need our guild cards revoked.
"Or someone else's entirely?" Pettry glances around, as discretely as he is able. "And where, exactly, did his brother come across a blade like that?" He nods as the gnome relates his plan. "You best hurry if you want the halfling's aid, looks like he's tracking a different quarry," he says, pointedly glancing in the direction of Podo as he scampers towards the door to the inn.
Elmo has head off down the road from witch you came perhaps to his house if so it is one of the ones you have already passed.
If you are going to follow him make it quick as he is already a ways ahead and make give me a hide in shadows/move silently and chance.
|Gnobby the Gnome|
You make for the inns doors opening it as the smell of fresh ale and mutton assail your nostrils as well as the cry's howls and small talk of the common townsfolk inside. You step in and observe your surroundings This large place is bright and cheerful. It contains several rough-hewn tables and chairs, boards, and benches. Natural tree trunk pillars support the ceiling overhead, all dark with smoke and age. A motley group of people is here. Almost every table is full up of common drunks you notice tow doors leading to private rooms usually reserved for passing noblemen or the wealthy for special occasions, but you realize that is not the case this day as both rooms the doors are wide open and none dwell within. The bar sits in the northeast corner of the room and the Bar tenders usual station. He sees to the filling of jacks of ale, tankards of beer, and flagons of wine. Boiled eggs, cheeses, and hard biscuits or crackers are often atop the trestle. Serving girls carry the food from here to the common room. There are great barrels of ale and beer, tuns of wine, and a cask of brandy with spigots ready at the host's hand. A large wooden sign swings above the tavern attached to a chain hanging from the ceiling above it serves as a menu for all food and drink. After a good look around you come to the conclusion that this is a upper class inn especially around these parts of the Wild Coast. You can tell this will be a fine night much nicer than all of those you spent on the road at the least.
Breakfast, plain 5 cp
Breakfast, elaborate 2 s
Dinner, plain 5 sp
Dinner, elaborate 1 ep
Dinner, 7 course 2 gp
Supper, plain 3 sp
Supper, elaborate 7 sp
Common Drink(per pint)
Ale 2 sp
Ale, special 1 ep
Beer, small 5 cp
Beer, heavy 1 sp
Mead 1 ep
Mead, special brew 15 sp
Table, local 1 ep
Keoish golden 15 sp
Sundish lilac 5 ep
Urnst white 1 gp
Celene ruby 2 gp
Furyondian emerald pale 4 gp
Velunan fireamber 1 pp
Local 1 ep
Keoish 1 gp
Urnst(special aged) 3 gp
Ulek Elixir, 1/2 gill 5 gp
Pettry looks up from his tankard at the toast, and finds it impossible not to raise his own ale at Tarmin's exhuberance. "Success," he says simply, tapping the tankard's rim gently against hers, then glancing at his companions as he drinks deeply. It would seem a man could easily find worse company to travel with, but it may prove difficult to find better.
He looks over at Narghat. "We've made it, but to the start of what? I hope we can find what we each are looking for on this road."
|Gnobby the Gnome|
Being somewhat cautious and not wanting to get caught going into the barn, Gnobby will look for a peephole or a way to make a peephole with his dagger if the woood is weak or rotten, as he circles around the barn looking for another entrance or loft to climb into. Because he is not worried about Elmo, as long as there is no line of sight to the outside, Gnobby will move quickly.
Andre orders a simple supper and a small beer, emptying most of what's left of his coin purse to pay for the repast. After the barmaid brings his order, he slides her his remaining few coppers. "If you would be able to send the proprietor to us when he has a few moments to spare, I believe my friends and I have a few questions for him." He takes a sip of his small beer, raising his stein high. "To the imminent success of our quest, fellows. May the Cudgeler watch o'er us, and bring His wrath upon those that dare oppose the Viscount's agents!"
The party finds themselves a table and discuses amongst themselves within a few minutes one of the bar maid come to you to take your order and brings a few cold pints of beer. She writes it all down on a small notepad and eyes Podo strangely as he gives his order but none the less jots it down and makes of to the kitchen you continue chating until your meal arrives. the meals are served on pewter plates/bowls. Choice venison, mutton, poached salmon, trout stuffed with specially prepared mixtures, goose roasted to a golden brown, pork, steaming sausages, steak are just a few of the lovely foods served. After she hands each of you your meals she walks to the proprietor and whispers into his ear you cannot here nor comprehend any of the words she speaks but points towards you in her message. She returns to your table to tell you that he will be with you in just a moment and then she returns to work.
|Gnobby the Gnome|
Pettry digs in to his simple dinner, dropping the appropriate coinage on the table for the serving girl. After days of camp food, the well cooked meal was a welcome change. A scant few minutes later, he had polished off his plate. Realizing how quickly he'd inhaled his meal, he sits back and tries to regain some composure, although the grins that show around some of his companions' mugs belie the fact that they noticed.
Quickly, he tries to change the subject. "Do you think the innkeeper will be able to tell us anything useful, Andre? I've always found them to deal more in gossip than in useful facts, except as it pertains to them."
"I think a place such as this must be run by an honest man, one who hopefully will have some honest news." Tarmin says as she looks to her own plate of food, and finding it half full and herself completely full; indicates with a nod and a smile to Pettry that in the time it too him to finish one plate, Podo has almost finished three!!
"Podo, would you like some more?" She says holding out her plate to the famished halfling, her lip twitching from suppressing the laughter welling up inside.
Andre's voice lowers as he speaks with the group, almost conspiratorially. "He certainly won't tell us anything of import if we don't ask him, Pettry. The Wise Fool teaches us that there are hidden depths to every river. Even if the publican knows nothing of the banditry that we have been sent to end, he may know something else that can aid us." Andre picks at the plate of bread, fruit and cheese he was brought, and noshes slowly, savoring the freshness. It had been a long ride, and such simple creature comforts were welcome.
The bar looks almost bare now as the proprietor slowly struts over to your table all dapper like. He clears his throat silently before he speaks. "Oy what has we here a group of adventurers no doubt and they have come to my lovely inn. Now my maid told me that you have a few questions so well ask away, it is an honor to have you here at my inn." He stands straight and smiles at you waiting for response.
Move Silently: 1d100 ⇒ 7 Success
You silently move to a hidden local until you are guaranteed that Elmo is out of the barn and a ways down the road but you catch not what it is he is doing at this time. You peep around the corner and see him slowly making for one of the farm houses out on the field he opens the door and walks inside away from your sight. You do not even consider following him inside so look for an alternative. The fields are still bare of people but for now you stay in hiding behind a barrel beside the barn. Ther are two other farm house near by but the one Elmo entered is the closest so the barn probably belongs to him and or his family.
"[b]And we are honored to stay in such opulance while we do the Viscount's work, goodman. I am Andre Giraard, and as you say, we have only just arrived in Hommlet, and I suspect my allies are as interested as I am to know more of this area. Whatever you can tell us about the town and its citizenry would be of use. Also, we have heard that the mayor was awaiting our arrival as well - where might we find him, so we can perform our duties to the Viscount? And, finally, I notice there is a church marked upon our map, but the cartographer who created it has neglected to mention which deity is venerated there. I trust you would know?[b]" Andre pauses here, allowing any of the rest of the group to ask their questions.
|Gnobby the Gnome|
Hide in shadows: 1d100 ⇒ 26 fail
Move Silently: 1d100 ⇒ 75fail