The man raises an eyebrow at Nicholas' keen observation. "Yeah, I've seen him," he says. "Being a wanderer myself, I've seen a lot of different folk and been to a lot of different places. Having heard the story of Grey, I recognized him by his sword."
He turns to re-fill his tankard and plops it back down onto the table. "He passed through here not too long ago. I of course offered him food and shelter in my modest forest home, but he's been gone quite a while. I'm afraid that I couldn't tell you where he might have gone." He eyes Nicholas' garb and the weapons carried by the variously strange members of the party behind him. "You look like the dangerous sort. The kind that a man on a mission would want to avoid."
He's lying again, telling you something a little bit closer to the truth so that it sounds more believable. He's also feigning his casual attitude - you can see his bulky muscles tense underneath his cloaks.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (15) + 9 = 24
I'm not sure if aid another can apply to a sense motive check like this, but I'm surprisingly close if a couple of people can help.
"Only dangerous to our enemies. We like to use those skills to help our friends. And we are trying to be friends. I don't suppose that you know where he was going."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (5) + 12 = 17 I am not rolling well on diplomacy at all today.
Salla is happy that someone can hold a conversation, and follow the twisted trails they make.
Sense motive: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (11) + 10 = 21
Something in the mans words make her uneasy and she stops her scanning of the area around her to fix her mismatched eyes on him suspiciously.
There you are. + 2 on your Sense motive Nicholas. A couple more and you're onto him. :)
Nicholas rolls his eyes as the man walks away. "I'm sure he's still hiding something. He wouldn't try so hard to act like he didn't know anything if he wasn't."
At Nicholas' suggestion, Cai'nan steps over in front of the man. "Hang on a second, friend. We just wanna find out where this guy went then we'll be on our way and out of everyone's hair here. Saying you 'couldn't tell us' doesn't mean you don't know. We would appreciate it if you'd just help us out and we're gone."
The man gently tries to push his way past Cai'nan. As he does so, he says, "Listen, I'm sure you're all lovely, well-adjusted folk, mucking around in the swamp trying to defy the government."
"The thing is, I don't gotta tell you nothing if I don't want to. Are you gonna make me? I'm sure that you got the same spiel about 'don't cause trouble or else' when you came in here. Am I wrong?" He pushes Cai'nan with an open hand, eyebrows raised.
Cai'nan doesn't stop the man from leaving, "Not trying to cause trouble. Just looking for a simple answer to a simple question."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 = 21
The tall, gangly mwangi teenager nods and flashes him a smile.
"Please don't misunderstand. We won't get in your way, we're only asking. I understand many in Avistan are slow to trust and you have no obligation to tell us anything...but I promise on my ancestor's name that my intentions are are honorable."
Sense Motive (aid): 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (9) + 12 = 21
Diplomacy (aid): 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (9) + 12 = 21
The man looks between Nicholas, Cai'nan and Unafe. His thick country brows furrow, and he slings his quarterstaff up on his shoulder. As he's leaving, he turns, leans forward, and murmurs something. "You want to see him so badly? You say that you're worthy of being trusted? You stick around until nightfall, you follow your hearts, and you show me that you deserve it."
Then, without another word, he turns and he walks out of the camp.
"You all pushed him hard," Ciervo remarks once the man has taken his leave. Having evidently expected the situation to devolve into violence, he finally allows his stance to relax somewhat. "But it seems like you managed to make him budge. In a direction of our liking, we should hope.
"'Follow your hearts.' Hmph. I suppose we will be staying, then."
"Assuming he's not just trying to get us to leave him alone." Nicholas sighs. "But I suppose we don't have many other options. Let's see if we can get something to eat around here if we're going to be staying until dark."
Evidently the man that you met (Greg) brings in game daily, which is planned to be roasted magically (to avoid the problems that chimney-smoke might cause) when it gets closer to evening so that the pirates will have something to eat.
There is also the quartermaster to make purchases from and an alchemist with a pot full of potion reagents in the small temporary settlement.
It does seem like, as the day passes into evening, that the pirates here are packing up. Everything in the settlement seems to belong to them, and they load it carefully onto their ship and prepare it for departure, though the majority of the crew members stay on shore. Everyone seems rather cagey, and the previous leisurely atmosphere evaporates.
The mohawked gnome comes back from the wilderness, replaced as watchman with another gnome pirate. He comes up to the party when he spots them. He asks, "Do your business? What are you still doin' here?"
Unafe stands beside Cai'nan and watches the gnome's face, wondering what the little pirate is thinking.
Is there something they don't want us around to see, or is this just the general caginess of everyone I've met on this ancestor forsaken continent?
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (2) + 12 = 14
The gnomes make no effort to remove the party, and it doesn't really seem like they're hiding anything specific. Still though, they seem to be done with waiting and they seem to be nervous. The mohawked gnome scratches a bit of his scalp. "Look," he says. "You seem like alright folk. Defyin' the government to warn your friend, provided you're tellin' the truth."
"You probably wanna get out of here," he says. "We're waiting on one last bit of business too, and it's dangerous if you're crim'nals. Which we are, but..." he creases his brow and scratches his bearded chin. "Uhh... yeah, it doesn't count with us."
"What kind of danger are you talking about exactly?" Nicholas asks cautiously. "And why would it be a danger to us and not you?"
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (12) + 12 = 24
EDIT: I just saw Nicholas's post ninja'd mine. Consider this to happen after his question is settled. In the meantime, Unafe will smile reassuringly at the pirate, hoping to make him more forthcoming.
Aid Diplo: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (10) + 12 = 22
The gangly Mwangi girl squats down eye to eye with the gnome. "Thank you for your warning. You are a kind man. May your tipuna always be near."
Turning to her companions, she says, "Why don't we pack up our horses and get going."
If someone expresses surprise or reluctance (and if she can do so without the pirates hearing) she adds in a whisper, "No sense making them nervous. Perhaps we can remove ourselves a bit and find a place to wait away from suspicious eyes.
"Salla, you seem good at watching quietly, eh?" She adds with a smile.
Unafe's last comment elicits a low chuckle from Ciervo. "Silence, as well as secrecy, have their merits in our line of work. In our short time working together, I do not believe she has said a single thing to me that was not of import to the mission."
Turning to address the gnomes, Ciervo speaks in a more cordial and formal tone, the kind he would not normally use while on the job. But then again, this group and their mission were hardly ordinary for him.
"We can handle ourselves. But if there is something we should be aware of, perhaps vague warnings are not the best means of conveying urgency."
Diplomacy (Aid Another): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11
Nicholas nods. "I don't believe we want to get in the way of your business. And we weren't really planning on staying past evening." He nods again, looking in Unafe's direction, clearly approving of her idea.
Salla will slip back to observe the Gnomes once the party has moved out their view.
Stealth: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (16) + 11 = 27
Is there a wall, or a building Salla can hide behind? She can use her Gloves of reconnaissance to spy through the obstruction.
Nobody stops the party from leaving the camp behind, though there isn't much but swampy wilderness outside of it. There are a few hours until nightfall. Where does the party want to stay? How do they want to spend the time?
The camp is surrounded by a low (five foot) wooden wall topped with caltrops. The camp itself is composed of a half-dozen moss-covered and poorly-maintained houses. A pair of gnomes patrol the outside of the camp. Where does Salla want to go?
Before that, a slight change in plan. Can Ciervo come with me to the outside of the camp? He can wait close enough to aid me if I run into trouble.
Salla will wait for a gap in the patrols and slip over the wall,hiding behind the corner of a house, trying to get as close as possible to any meeting.
Acrobatics (Getting over the wall): 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (20) + 11 = 31
Recognizing Salla's unspoken cue as one they used during their time in Nisroch, Ciervo thins his lips and draws his hood over his head. It was not as dark as he would like for a sneaking mission, but he's dealt with worse conditions.
"She needs someone to watch her back," he says to the others as the changeling slinks away. "You should all find somewhere to lie low."
With that he follows after Salla, waits until she passes over the wall, and then does the same just a few moments after.
Acrobatics?: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (20) + 14 = 34
Stealth: 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (12) + 19 = 31
"Well, if they're going to be taking care of that, I suggest we head just out of sight and find someplace to camp where we'll have some cover. Hopefully our sneaky friends will come back with useful news."
Salla Stealth: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (9) + 11 = 20
While the rest of the group wanders out away from the camp, out into the wilderness, Salla and Ciervo return to the camp. Both of them leap handily over the small wall, quietly landing on the other side and taking up a hiding spot behind a building. There they prepare for a stakeout, something both of them have experience with.
As nightfall approaches, another small group of gnomes enters the camp. One of them, a large and burly warrior with a variety of weapons hanging from his belt, carries a locked chest. Two more (little lithe figures that carry smaller weapons) act as a vanguard, standing in front of a gnome wearing an extremely classic pirate outfit, complete with tricorne hat, eyepatch, jaunty jacket and boots that are too large. A cutlass hangs from her belt, and the gnomes around salute her as a leader.
The whole group of gnomes seems to assemble themselves in a little arc around the front gate of the little settlement. Most of them finger the blade of an axe or a dagger, or polish some shiny bit on their armor. The captain sits on her chest. The ifrit woman stands beside the captain, impatiently tapping her foot.
Midnight comes suddenly, as a black wind cuts through the cloaks of all. Unafe, Nicholas and Cai'nan, away from the camp in an unusually large bush, the center of which is hollow, feel it as well. It chills one to the bone, and carries along with it a cold, thin mist, which drifts to the edges of the settlement. Ciervo and Salla see something, and hear something as well - a lantern light, and the clink of the fixture that holds it, approach the settlement. The sloop of horse hooves sinking into mud. After only a few moments, a beautiful wooden horse-drawn carriage pulls up to the settlement's gates, though the horses that draw it are clearly quasi-real, flickering things created from magic. A jangling lantern hangs from the front, and the driver's bench is empty.
Perception: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (10) + 10 = 20
Knowledge (religion) Untrained: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9 The RNG mocks me again.
Salla is paying close attention now, and is ready to escape the moment it looks as if she's been noticed.
I almost forgot. Salla is using her Hat of disguise to appear as someone different to herself.
Perception: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (1) + 11 = 12
Ciervo silently observes the procession, his eyes flicking from person to person with interest. They were clearly waiting for someone... rather warily, at that. With the coming of the witching hour, the reason becomes rather apparent. His eyes narrow when he sees the carriage, its eerie horses and lack of a driver sticking out like sore thumbs.
While Salla and Ciervo watch, the door of the carriage is carefully opened. Out of it step a small collection of creatures, each of them stepping daintily on the stair that leads down to the ground. The first two to emerge are unnerving facsimiles of a humanoid shape. Clearly the guards of this venture, their lean figures, at first glance quite human, betray an otherworldly quality very quickly. Chains, their links festooned with spikes like long, wicked barbs, wrap around their gray, lifeless skin, and their eyes are just red dots within a face composed of twisted metal and scars. They move to the front of the carriage, and another pair of these creatures emerge. The four array themselves around the front of the carriage, their stances uncomfortable and their gazes penetrating.
A man steps out of the carriage. He is cloaked in noble regalia, with ostentatious concessions to flaunt his wealth like a golden necklace adorned with massive gems resting on his shoulders and around his neck. He grimaces as his boots sink a bit into the mud when he steps out of the carriage.
He walks up towards the pirates, smiling seductively. "So, have you what you brought for me?"
The pirate captain grins and slaps the chest that she sits on. "Aye," she says, "All the rest of it is right here. You bring the money?"
The nobleman nods, gesturing. A small boy, clad in fine pants and a vest, hops out of the carriage, bringing a heavy leather satchel over to the nobleman.
Meanwhile, the chained creatures begin to prowl about, sniffing and poking in things. It doesn't seem to be out of any particular suspicion, but rather out of curiosity and perhaps arrogance.
Perception: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (3) + 14 = 17
Perception: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (2) + 14 = 16
You can see a figure creeping through the underbrush on the outskirts of the settlement, just like yourself. This figure wears a long dark cloak over a chain shirt, thick books, and carries a long, broad sword on his back. His eyes are intent on the exchange in the camp.
The young boy hands the nobleman his satchel, who in turn hands it to the pirate captain. Meanwhile, the pirate captain gestures to two of her men, hopping off of the chest. The men pick up the chest and heave it over towards the nobleman.
The pirate captain peeks inside the satchel. She rifles around for a moment, before throwing it on the ground and shaking her head. "That's not enough," she says, "I told you, double or nothin'"
Meanwhile, the nobleman cracks open the chest. His face immediately twists with consternation and rage, and he slams it shut. "This is only five!" he shouts, "Where is the last one?"
All around the camp, the pirates tighten their grips on their weapons, and the chained outsiders stand alert, their chains floating up and away from their bodies.
Ciervo's face tightens as he takes in the relevant details. Only five. The last one. It did not take a genius to see that tensions were running high in the camp. A fight could break out at any given moment. Still, as long as the two parties were talking, there was something to be learned from the situation. The rogue glances in Salla's direction, and then back to the situation at hand, staying put for the time being.
This scene comes to mind for some reason. :P
Unafe shivers, as much from the image of the unnatural outsiders with the floating chains as from the chill in the night air.
Seeing the slightest of movement in the brush, she puts a long finger to her lip and points into the shadows at the cloaked figure.
Perception: 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (11) + 19 = 30
Knowledge rolls for the outsiders with chains?
Also, can I tell if the cloaked figure is or isn't the man we spoke to earlier who claimed to know Grey?
Cai'nan follows Unafe's pointed finger until he spots the figure. He notes the position of the moon before turning the flat of the blade of his glaive away so that no reflection can alert either the hidden man or the groups in discussion before maintaining a watchful eye.
It has DR/silver or good.
Equipped with a variety of defenses, vampires have tough skin, resistances to multiple elements, fast healing, DR/magic and silver, and channel resistance, in addition to normal undead immunities.
Vampires only have a small number of weaknesses, most notably sunlight. Only the direct touch of the midday sun will harm a vampire, though it will kill one in mere moments at the right time. Vampires also recoil from the sight of holy symbols and mirrors, and have difficulty approaching people strongly presenting these things.
As the men in the camp tense and talk, he draws up near the wall to the encampment and prepares himself to vault in.
The pirates tense up, and the pirate captain strides confidently towards the aristocrat. "You must not have gotten our message. You were to deliver twice the payment, and we would be giving you the remainder of the Fangs."
The aristocrat smiles grimly. "And you were to give us all of the Fangs, so it appears that we might be reaching a disagreement. Fortunately for me, piracy is illegal in Nidal, and any goods possessed by criminals are, by law, the property of the state."
The pirate captain laughs boisterously. "You want to fight us and take them? We just recovered these from a creature you hired us to tangle. What do you think that makes you to us?" her crew laughs along with her.
"No," says the Nidalese man. "What I want are the Fangs. you were to bring them to us. That is what you were hired for."
K.Planes: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (18) + 9 = 27
K.Religion: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (8) + 9 = 17
Sweat on her brow despite the cold, Unafe gestures as best she can that they all need to be ready to engage within moments, and mimes a figure jumping as she points to the wall she sees the cloaked figure approach.
As she watches, she wordlessly knits her spirit together with Nicholas, Cai'nan, and Ciervo's, mentally preparing herself for the inevitability of sharing the burden of fresh wounds in their battle against evil.
Life link on Nicholas, Cai'nan, and Ciervo
"This is going to end very badly," Nicholas mutters as Unafe points to the man. "And it looks like the pirate's little party is about to be crashed. I suggest we get moving before everything goes to hell." He rolls his sleeve up to reveal more and more intricate tattoos on his arm. "I have a scroll of invisibility sphere. We can use that to slip inside if we want to get involved when the fight inevitably breaks out."
The seventeen year old Mwangi shaman bites her lip.
She whispers, "We need to stop that man. He can't be allowed to leave with those Fangs. Remember what Simon said. 'They're going to get the Crown of Fangs'."
I wasn't able to stop these agents of shadow when they came looking for the Bound Blade. I won't fail here.
The Nidalese man smirks. He turns to one of the pirates that stand next to the pirate captain and says, innocently, "Don't you agree that your master should be punished for reneging on a deal?"
Pirate Will Save: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 22
Pirate Captain Spellcraft: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (2) + 13 = 15
The pirate struggles for a moment as the man's eyes flash, veins popping out on his forehead and in his neck, but he manages to resist whatever it is that was done to him. The man points at the aristocrat. "This cheat just tried to do something to me!" and the pirates immediately leap to action, their axes and picks and cutlasses springing to hand.
The Nidalese aristocrat sighs, beckoning dismissively at the pirates, and his four kytons immediately plunge their body-chains into four of the pirates, killing them instantly and tearing their bodies apart. The remaining 12 pirates fiercely look to defend their ship and cargo.
I need each group to decide something now: Will you jump into combat? If you do, I'll roll initiative for everyone who is getting involved. If you don't, I'll advance the combat forward one round and ask again.
Knowledge Religion: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16 Realized that I didn't roll this ages ago. My bad.
"Very, very badly," Nicholas repeats. "I don't have a lot that can take kytons, but I can try to disable a few with some mind magic. I'm more interested in what the other uninvited guest is about to do. But I'll go in whenever you two decide to move."
Unafe gasps as the Kytons rip four pirates to shred.
With a strained whisper she says, "We can't wait, there's no time to lose!"
As she talks, Tuturutanga snakes in and out from under her robe, tongue flicking as she tastes the air for danger.
Yes: Jump in this round!
Spellcraft: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (4) + 11 = 15