Agathon: HP 91/91 AC 20 (22 vs Ogres)
Current Magical Effects: None
When Thaddeus' voice sounds out of nothing, Agathon notes with some pride that he did not jump as is usual when the wizard does this. He notes Verlik looking at him strangely. Only then does he realize the stupid grin he has on his face.
Wiping that away, he will begin the process of packing up and getting ready to move out.
Quickly marshaling the animals, his companions, and all the gear into a neat orderly procession, Agathon will listen to the hasty instructions and update on the situation from Thaddeus' disembodied voice. Realizing that Jacques will also be joining them soon, he will brace himself so as to not jump if he should speak as well...
Agathon is calm 15 minutes later when the hippogriff rider sails downward so as to join them and speak. Never bringing hand to weapon, he will quietly admonish Garsh for doing so and will adopt a visage of quiet confidence as he steps up to stand next to where Thaddeus indicates he is standing (as the wizard is still invisible, Agathon will notice the mark Thaddeus makes in the dirt). He will remain there as Edwald speaks to the wizard.
When Thaddeus introduces him as Sir Agathon of Greyhawk, he will make a point of not reacting in any way... "Hmmm..." He will think to himself. "Thaddeus knows I serve Knurl now and hold no allegiance to the Great City any longer... Perhaps Thaddeus wants our new 'friend' here to think that outside aid has come to the Count? Perhaps with me in the role of one of the Grand Earl's men? Hmmm... Wise deception..."
Agathon will look significantly at Verlik. Moving his eyes to indicate that Verlik should keep his eyes on the still flying rider, Agathon will level his eyes with those of Edwald and never take his eyes off the man. Agathon is a cobra coiled and ready to strike should the man try anything to get at Thaddeus.
CK Note: After arranging things to travel the distance to the back entrance to the mines, Agathon will stand next to where Thaddeus indicates he is so as to provide melee protection should the wizard need it. Basically, Agathon will hold his action and if anyone or any effect is made to endanger the wizard, Agathon will 'pull a Secret Service' and jump in the way to interpose.
"Sir Edwald of Nyrond. I serve Duke Archendale of Nyrond. I am his chief representative and agent in the Blemu Hills. I'm sorry for the loss of your friend. We too have lost companions in the struggle against the lawless evil that inhabits this land. It is good to hear that Count Dunstan wants to re-establish the rule of law in this land. We heard of the miraculous lifting of the siege of Knurl recently. Perhaps he has reached an agreement with Spinecastle?"
He has trouble disguising the distaste in his face.
Mark off 1 minute.
You note that he is middle aged, a bit paunchy, but wears very nice armor. YOu also spot, as daylight is now almost complete, that there is a third hippogriff rider circling far overhead.
You also hear sounds of triumphant shouting and celebration coming from the farm area.
As the hippogriff rider approaches Belric will stand ready with a prayer of Downdraft in case this Elward is false and is trying to cull the party into laxness for an assault.
“Good day tae ye Horsebird Master” Belric will say as the introductions are meted out. Keeping a wary eye out for anything sneaking up on the negotiations he will keep counsel to himself at this point.
Belric shrugs his shoulders adjusting his plate armor into a more comfortable position, fingering his axe handle in an unconscious habit of contemplation.
Ach, good lets us get intae the fight, I like our order of entry, will ask Moradin for his blessing tae detect magic. A group of goobers this organized with a user o magic will know aboot this back entrance, and trap it with something nasty
Spell effects: Bless 7 minutes out of 90 minutes.
This is the best estimate I gathered from the posts as to how long it took since Belric cast Bless to this point
Agathon: HP 91/91 AC 20 (22 vs Ogres)
Current Magical Effects: None
As Thaddeus relaxes a bit and explains the group's intent and plans. Agathon will keep his eyes leveled upon Edwald as a back up to the wizard's words and tone to let the Nyrondian know that our plans are not open for debate or compromise (at least no further than Thaddeus allows...).
Trusting to Verlik and the others to monitor the high flyers, Agathon will remain poised to intervene should anything untoward happen and threaten the wizard.
All the while, as Thaddeus details the plan for a back door assault upon the mine complex, Agathon will offer up whatever information and commentary as is required of him and the conversation or courtesy demands. He will also follow whatever commands the Wizard utters. Trying to keep his thoughts neutral toward Edwald (knowing too well that this man might still prove to be an enemy before the Great Light ends its journey across the skies) will continue to be prepared to react if others call out warnings... (the primary characters or the henchmen)
In his mind, he will allow a short prayer... "Oh Great Shining One, please warm my friend's mind as you caress his shoulders with your ever shining light... Guide him in swaying this man and cause him to accept our aid in ridding Great Moradin's Earth of the foulness that holds the mines against us..."
CK Note: Agathon will obey directions from Thaddeus or alerts from others as noted above. His First Emergency Priority is to continue to hold his action so as to be able to react instantly to any threat to Thaddeus and to perform a move action to interpose simultaneously with any incoming attack. His Second priority (if things go south) will be to engage Edwald first and foremost in a grappling attack (should be be mounted in an attempt to dismount him) or by flinging the dancing sword into the air while pulling and attacking with the battle axe (should he be unmounted). Otherwise, his intention is to follow Thaddeus' lead and orders...
Party action post
Thaddeus will give Sir Edwald the highlights of our time in Spinecastle, not mentioning the Drow female.
He will also restate our intention to go in the back entrance of the mine, and ask Sir Edwald to coordinate in any way possible.
Finally, we will begin casting prep spells for our assault and make entry. The order is still: Jacques, Belric/Garsh, Agathon/Thaddeus, Verlik/Edgar. Jacques is still invisible and will be well ahead but will stay within range of the message spell.
"You're not too far off! A deal of sorts was reached in Spinecastle, but the Count had nothing to do with it. Wynan Korch - the old High Councilor - had an undue amount of influence over the Cult of Gruumsh. He used this influence to force the orcs into the organized war on Knurl - you may have heard reports of the humanoid groups specializing and working together in ways unheard of before. That was the reason. Merogak - the Bloody Eye overchief - did not like all that organization and coordination. He thought it would weaken the tribe's position in the Bone March overall in the long term. The deal was that we remove Korch for him and he would end the offensive against Knurl. It's not permanent, but we'll make it through the winter, which is more that we had."
Noting the displeased look on Edwald's face, Thaddeus will observe wryly: "Hey, we can't all be paladins! I have no idea how long the comparative peace will last, but every day of it is a blessing from the gods. There were rumors that Korch was an agent for the demon that used to control the Overking, but we haven't looked into those yet."
"I'd like to make our entry to the mines before our protection and communication spells expire. We'd love to have your help - whether your force demonstrates and tries to entice the orcs to sally out, or make a frontal assault - real or diversionary. Anything you can do would be welcome and appreciated."
"Belric, you mentioned blindsight earlier, and I think that's a great idea. Let's just put it on Jacques though - it will make him an even more effective scout, and anyway it won't last more than 10 minutes. The rest of us can get by with darkvision - I will cast that on myself and Jacques. Edgar, please cast darkvision on yourself, Agathon, and Verlik - we'll go in totally dark. Jacques, you'll be out in front by fifty or sixty yards, followed by the dwarves. Edgar and Verlik will be rear guard and Agathon and I will be in the middle. Plan?"
condition and magick summary
HP 38/38, AC 27
invisibility (self): until dispelled
invisibility (Jacques): until dispelled
fly: 19/90 minutes, horizontal move 90', climb 45', dive 180'
message w/Jacques: 19/90 minutes, one creature, 450' range
message w/Edwald: 18/90 minutes, one creature, 450' range
protection from arrows: 19/90 minutes, immune to normal missiles but not magicked missiles, rocks thrown by giants, or crew served weapons
mage armor, greater: 19/540 minutes, +6 AC
voice of the dragon: 18/90 minutes, +10 enhancement bonus to bluff, intimidate, and diplomacy checks (spell compendium)
bless (all): 7/90 minutes, +1 to attack rolls and saving throws
darkvision (Jacques/Thaddeus): 0/540 minutes, see in the dark to 60'.
darkvision (Agathon/Edgar/Verlik): 0/300 minutes, see in the dark to 60'.
blindsight (Jacques): 0/9 minutes, as the special ability, to 30'.
Edwald nods and says "not sure we have the strength for a full strength assault on the mines, but we will set up a perimeter and try to kill anything that comes out. By the way, we have a Silveraxe in our command as well. I will let him know that kin is nearby. We can wait two days, then we head back to Ferin. It's a small village not too far from here."
He wheels off and his fellow riders follow him. You notice they are both females.
Mark off 3 minutes.
5 minutes later you arrive at entrance. The familiar scent of a smelter mixed with cooking fires greets you. Smoke pours from several crevaces among the trees, which disperses the smoke so it is not too noticeable from far away.
Jacques examines the copse of trees, invisibly. There is a large boulder that leans on another large boulder. Between these boulders is a large opening.
Jacques ducks in to scout and finds that it is indeed a sloping cavern entrance into the hillsides. The smell of worked metal ore is stronger now. The rest of the party is concealed in the trees.
Jacques messages Thaddeus that he is about to go in. The party follows. Jacques slowly makes his way downward and comes upon a huge spider's web that blocks the entire entrance.
Agathon: HP 91/91 AC 20 (22 vs Ogres)
Current Magical Effects: darkvision: 8/300 minutes (by the end of this post), see in the dark to 60'.
As Thaddeus relates our tale in Spinecastle, and Edwald eventually relaxes a bit, Agathon will relax as well. When the conversation ends, and Edwald flies away, having already gotten the group ready to move before his arrival in their midst, Agathon will begin moving the group under Jacques' directions toward the location of the rear entrance of the mine complex.
Glad to hear of the magics that will be in play (and quietly thrilled at the chance to see in the dark as Belric often brags of doing), Agathon will spend the five minutes of travel time going through the basic "checklist" of what needs to be at hand reach for the mission (mostly for the henchmen's benefit).
"Be sure to bring out your rope and secure it carefully to your pack's outsides... Short weapons for close quarters, so have them at the ready..." Agathon will hand a sun rod to Verlik, Edgar, and Thaddeus. "It is not that I distrust your great magic, my friend... It is just in case the dark vision is no longer necessary or when the magic finally runs it course..." To Verlik and Edgar he will say, "Once struck, the sun rod burns for six hours and can not be 'unstruck'! So, do not use it without orders or dire need..."
Minutes later at the entrance to the underground, Agathon will take in a huge lung full of fresh air and smile... Back to a more familiar operation! "Great Pelor! May your light enfire our spirits for this quest into Moradin's domain... Good Moradin! Hear me as well... Guide your faithful priest and we as well as your earth covers over our head... May we eradicate what evil has infested it this day!" Agathon will silently pray to both great dieties...
He will unsheath the Great Sword (better to have it free to drop and do its amazing dance) and will ensure that the sun rod, his potions, and the battle axe are exactly where they should be...
When Jacques enters and reports about the giant web through Thaddeus, Agathon will shake his head (Spiders... Again!?) and motion silently to the wizard... Holding up a sun rod, he will offer a questioning expression asking if he wants to burn the web...
Otherwise, Agathon will ready himself and scan the entry around them for hiding giant spiders...
CK NOTE: Agathon will take his place in line trying his best to be silent and aiding others in doing so as he can. He will have the Great Sword out and ready to drop to do its dance while pulling the battle axe for his now normal mode of using both weapons in combat. Once he gets a "yes or no" answer from Thaddeus as to the use of the sun rod to burn the web, he will either pass it up the line to Jacques or put it back into his belt pouch. I am assuming that the Darkvision was cast 8 minutes ago as it was not specified by Wizard or CK... Please correct if wrong.
Jacques invisibly grimaces at the web. Ugh! Spiders. Why does it have to be spiders? Why not snakes? Unconsciously he rubs the scar from his old spider bite. Using his magicked sight, he looks over the web and surroundings to spot any spiders, but also to determine if this is really a web, or some alarm device to expose interlopers such as he.
Belric takes Jaques to the side, “Laddie, I am aboot tae place an enchantment upon ye that will allow ye senses tae work like ye hae never felt before. That is all but ye sight. Ye will hear, smell, and feel things better than ever before so do nae dismiss anything ye may experience or we all may regret it” Belric intones the prayer to endow Jaques with Blindsight waving his thick fingers over Jaques face, ears, and nose he finishes with a gentle slap on his check “thar ye go, now run ahead and kill some gobbers”
Belric will get his ax ready and shield and move in after the others ahh open skies be all fine an such, but being in the earth is the best
[ooc] Belric spell on Jaques Blindsight 1 round / 9 minutes
party summary post
Agathon distributes sun rods to Verlik and Edgar. Thaddeus declines on the basis that he has his own, and taking one would interfere with his own invisibility.
Jacques will look beyond the spider web and attempt to sense any watchers, with blindsight, darkvision, and his own senses.
After a short conferral, Jacques will step back from the web. Belric will grab a long stick - spear, staff, fallen branch, whatever - come forward, and use it to pull down the web. Agathon and Verlik will come forward to fight any spiders that come forth. Jacques and Thaddeus will stay out of the fight to preserve their invisibility. When the obstacle is cleared, we will resume our previous order and continue forward.
How the devil is Agathon seeing me? As far as I know he doesn't have a potion of see invisible. Hmmm - he's looking down! Oh, of course - my footprints. Well, once we're in the cavern I'll just fly at very low altitude.
"No, but thank you Agathon. I have sun rods of my own, and if I took one of yours - well, can you imagine a sun rod floating around of its own volition? That's what would happen. It wouldn't void my invisibility spell, but it wouldn't become invisible itself either."
"Let's not burn that web! Anyone who is watching will see it. Instead, let's act like it was a spider web in your stables - just grab a stick and swirl it around. The web will stick to it and that will be that."
Belric chimes in. "Tha bites of yonder cave crawlies doon't bother my folk any. I'll take Verlik's pigsticker and bring tha web doon. Agathon, ye and ye'er man come up wi' me to kill tha crawlies."
Thaddeus agrees. "Jacques, come back behind Agathon. We want to keep you invisible as long as possible. Ready everyone?"
Belric goes outside and gets a long stick, which he then uses on the web. The web is tough and sticky and Belric has to use strength to continue working on the web. It takes about a minute.
Jacques notices that smaller spiders inside the web flee into crevaces in the roof of the cave entrance.
As holes open up in the web, the smelter smell becomes even stronger.
Agathon, peering beyond the web, sees a 15' wide cavern passage heading down. He sees a pair of ogres coming up towards the web. These ogres are different, though, as they are wearing decent looking chain mail and have big crossbows ready. They are about 40' away from the web and looking at it with curiosity and caution.
The game moved to real life for the weekend of Oct 5-7th, as all the players and GM gathered for the third marathon gaming weekend of this
Reaping 24: Into the giant mines backdoor: After battling a remorhaz and pushing through a squad of ogres and giants, the party negotiates a
release of the mining slaves with Brondak, the Bloody Eye Sub-chief in the mine.
Reaping 25: Seal off the mines with stone shape spells afer being unable to fully explore the water filled pool that probably led to an
underground river connected to the Harp river.
Reaping 26: Harald the chronicler joins the party in camp that night.
Reaping 27: While escorting the freed mine slaves to Ferin, the party kills a large gnoll war party.
Reaping 28: After freeing the slaves in Ferin, the party introduces Jacques as the new liege lord of Ferin to mixed reviews from the locals.
The party meets back up again with Ebbers, who reveals details on the river pirates plaguing the land. At lunch, the party discusses cooperation
with Nyrond and Duke Archendale with Sir Edwald, who is renting a home in Ferin. He offers a Nyrond adventuring charter for further cooperation.
Thaddeus exchanges spells with Hanna, the henchman of Sir Edwald, another mage. The party christens themselves "The Peacemakers" and stays at the
mayor's home in Ferin for the night.
Reaping 28: While moving towards the dark tower of the river pirates about 15 miles upriver from Ferin, the party is attacked by the orcish
pirates. Garsh Hardstone dies during the battle.
Goodmonth 1: Assault on the Helm of Night tower. Kill the strange jawed devil at the top level
Goodmonth 2: REst up, heal up and seal up the tower with glyphs and stone shape.
Goodmonth 5: Taking a barge and hiring some bargemen in Ferin, the party returns to Knurl. Belric loans 3000gp to Count Dunstan at 1%/month.
Thaddues does the same. Agathon just donates 3000gp to the Count.
Goodmonth 6: Jacques hires two Ferin fishermen (Bastel and Kruger) as barge captain and first mate, allowing them to use the barge for whatever
they want as long as it is available for the party and to help defend the town. Edgar and Verlik are going to stay behind in FErin as
representatives of the "Peacemakers". The party closes down the manor in Knurl, taking everything to Ferin.
Goodmonth 17: Finished inscribing scrolls in Ferin; party leaves to find the black dragon that ate Idnae. Ebbers gave them directions to his
swampy lair high in the Flinty Hills.
Goodmonth 22: high in the Flinty hills, the party battles lizardmen in the dragon's swamp, but retreats when they realize they've made too much
noise. The dragon, apparently polymorphed into a gnome, manages to ambush the party while they sleep. He nearly kills them all, but they drive
him off. Ebbers convinces the party to leave the dragon be for now and in return will send a squad of gnomes to help guard the party's new home,
the Helm of Night Tower.
Goodmonth 25: The party returns to Ferin, where the gnomish squad is supposed to meet them in a few days.
Jacques stands at a window of his new home, the towering fortress called Helm of Nighttower. As he stands resting both hands on the stone sill, he stares at the river flowing below, and reflects on what has happened in the last weeks. So much change in so little time. His introduction to the people of Ferrin- nominally his vessels, had not initially gone well. They were a hardy, capable lot, accustomed with their mayor, to defending themselves here on the harsh frontier. His lack of speaking ability, and gruff manner had again undermined his good intentions, and he'd had to fall back on Thaddeus to interlocute. Their actions, defeating the pirates and killing the creature of this tower that had been leading them, gave him more credibility. Bringing its head back to the tavern had done even more. He pauses for some time thinking of his fight with the devil, up close, while blinded by the things magic. His training to fight by sound, movement, and contact had worked perfectly. He kept the thing on the defen se until Belric both blinded the creature in turn, and cleared Jacques vision, so he could strike the beast down. He briefly wonders what all the others had been doing while even though he could not see. Miraculously their attacks on the creature must not have hit himself. He thinks on the villagers, and his plan to leave them largely to continue as they have been without his presence. Though he will help, as he did by turning over to them the pirates cache of weapons, and the barge, he wants them to remain self reliant. They should perceive him as a powerful neighbor, to whom they can turn for help in times of great need, but otherwise largely unobtrusive. This policy, plus the magic cloak he got from the treasures of the beast, should accomplish this. It seems to make him more eloquent. He shakes his head to drive out thoughts of that fiasco with the black dragon. Foul thing, at least he hit it again, and broke some scales.
Belric relaxes in his newly acquired chair, in his newly acquired room, wiggling his hairy toes near the fire while sipping from his magical tankard. ahhhh, tis a grand stout this wizardly mug makes! Belric’s booming belch gives voice to his inner pleasure.
I wonder who used this room before me. Must hae been some soft officer sort since the bed be a wee bit soft tae my liking. Ach what a stroke o Moradin’s luck giving us this fine stone tower tae operate from. Being between Agathon’s and Jaques’ holdings this makes a very good starting point tae get things moving. From here we can get the silver mine up and working tae fund the rebuilding of our Duns. Taking another long pull from the tankard, Belric shifts his but to get more comfortable.
Things we need tae do, 1 make a new altar. 2 get an alchemy lab up and running. 3 start making more scrolls. I think we will need more prepping tae go after that damnable dragon. I cannae believe it jacked us aboot a second time. Hmmmm I need to make sure that Garsh’s pay, and personals get tae his family.
Belric stands up stretches, looks aboot “By the Nine Hells! I forgot tae get a chamber pot!”
Agathon awakens in the darkness. The early morning air slowly moves over him through the arrow slits that serve as windows for the tower. He shivers as the sweat drenching his chest magnifies the cold damp air of this autumn morn…
He paces the room and shakes his head to come fully awake saddened by the empty side of the bed that might have been filled by Margarette had he not gone to his chambers so much earlier than the others…
They were celebrating.
Yet his mind, though still a blur from drink and the fast pace of recent events, is still clutched to a single thought… The eyes of the dragon. The sight of its body morphing out of the Gnome all the while, the eyes never changed. Their malevolence only matched by the humor they held at tricking him so easily. It is those eyes that now once again haunt his dreams…
“I am a fool. I play at being a hardened warrior… A woodsman, wise in the ways of the hunt and of the sword… Ha! More, I am a gawking spectator watching the World around me as a child stares fascinated by a street magician! I fly into battle and release my great magic and swing my axe for all to see… but in the end, when the magic is gone, what is left is a large stupid lad inviting the enemy into camp to destroy us…”
Shaking his head and looking through the southern arrow slit at the stars, he tries to guess the hour and decides that instead of trying to sleep again, he will go for a walk and ruminate on the past few weeks…
Going up to the Kitchen and choosing a roll of bread to nibble on, he will take the secret stairs to the newly re-opened upper floor with its twin pools and airy space. The running battle with the giants and ogres upon the field was far easier a battle to manage than he had ever experienced before. The mine, by comparison, was a bit more difficult (although it ended in another liaison with the Bloody Eye Orcs), at least the hostages were freed.
There have been few moments more awkward than Jacques speaking to the people in Ferin. A small chuckle echoes softly in the giant room. But again, Pelor and Moradin finally blessed us with luck and the people there seem to like us a bit. “I suppose destroying the pirates had a lot to do with that as well…” He will add in his thoughts…
“Garsh… If you can hear me, my friend, I pray that you now delve into the greatest mines in the heavens and that your beard grows below a great fat ale filled belly and that you may sit at the table of your fore-bearers in great pride and stature! When recalling great adventure and treasures, I will always raise my mug in your memory as is the way of your people whom I adore now as much as my own!... Moradin! Look out for him and see that he gets to that table to tell of his adventures!” Agathon will pray to the God of the Earth with closed eyes.
Resuming his stroll, “So, we now call our little band ‘The Peacemakers’. Very well… It is a name one can grow to be proud of… The ‘Helm of Night Tower though… I must convince my friends to rename this edifice. But to what? I shall seek their ideas upon the morn. And what of Margarette? what I have discovered of her past... Yet, it does not diminish my thoughts and feelings for her. She is a good faithful woman. I will seek Belric's advice on this. In the meantime, there is something of far greater import that I must do…”
Padding silently back down through the tower, Agathon will seek out Belric in the pre-dawn hours…
Rousing the priest from his slumbers turns out to be a great deal harder than Agathon imagined it would be. But once the Dwarf sits up with much bluster and grumping, Agathon sees his friend’s eyes light up in the candle glow with his news… And as the cleric agrees to Agathon’s proposal, he leaps from his bedclothes and readies himself to perform the small ceremony…
Later, just before sun rise Belric and Agathon find themselves out doors in the chill morning air. As the great disc of the Sun begins its slow climb into the sky, Agathon will prostrate himself to it and offer a formal prayer to the Great Shining One… “Pelor!” he will say aloud. “I have prayed to you and your magnificence as you bring the light into the World. And, my thoughts and deeds have always been to the everlasting sky… My dreams lofted to the clouds and my spirit floating about in hopeless dream of being greater than I am. Forgive me. For I know now that my heart and soul require a firmer grounding. Through my adventures, I have also prayed to your great friend and ally, Moradin. Moradin, Great Foundation of the Earth! I have seen through his humble servant, Brother Sir Belric, of the great wisdom and strength of Earth and Stone. I have seen that my strength comes from the Earth upon which I stand. It is the land I defend. The land upon which I scratch out my tiny life. And upon the land where my future deeds will make what difference as they will. Thus I proclaim with utmost humility that I will dedicate my life to the teachings of Moradin the Great and draw what strength he chooses to send me for the greater good of all who toil here upon the face of the Earth. I will pray to you as well from time to time should you allow it. But, I am dedicated to Moradin’s message and I declare that Belric is my priest for as he has served and as such he will serve for the remainder of my days…”
With that, Agathon will perform the consecration ritual to accept Moradin as his deity and will listen and learn over the next few weeks all the teachings which Berlric can spare him…
All the while, awaking in the wee hours with the image of those eyes… burning… laughing their way into his soul…
Thaddeus puffs contentedly on his cigar, watching the interplay in the tavern in Ferin, lost in thought as the bluish smoke curls towards the rafters.
It was scarcely an hour ago when Ebbers came in, seeking the companions out and carrying a small bundle. He announced that this was a small gift from the uncle of one of the gnomes that had been freed from the mines. Thaddeus and Belric thanked him (Agathon was at the privies and Jacques was content to say nothing), and watched him depart.
Unwrapping the bundle, Thaddeus finds four cigars and a flask containing an amber liquid. Belric sniffs one. "Cigars from tha wee folk! Tha only better comes from halflings.", the dwarf uncorks the flask, sniffs, and makes a face. "Gnomish wine, I'll wager. Tis too sweet and syrupy for me palate! Give me an ale any day!"
Thaddeus divides the gift, taking Belric's unwanted portion of the wine. Jacques declines the cigar, saying the smell could give him away, but does accept a portion of the wine. He sips and leans back in his chair, a faint smile flickering across his face. Thaddeus lights up and savors wine and cigar.
So much to do! We need to get commerce going again and encourage resettlement. Miners should be easy to get from Beetu, but we'd need a mining engineer to direct the effort and run the smelter. We could bring them up in the spring once the river thaws, and take them back in the fall. We could buy food from that hunting camp east of the mine, maybe supplement with fish from Ferin, and I suppose Belric could create food too. Of course we'd be stuck in the area all year providing security for the mine and Ferin.
Farmers may be a little harder because we'd want them to actually settle here. We'd need to aggressively patrol the area to where it's safe - that may take a couple of years. And what of our other holdings? What of Arazarm and Dramsburg? What do we tell them? "Sorry, we've decided to concentrate our efforts on Ferin, you're on your own for a while longer"? Certain to not engender goodwill. We'll be for the road soon and we'll need to figure out what to tell them.
He takes another sip of the gnomish wine. Belric exaggerates - it is sweet, but not overpoweringly so, and not at all syrupy. Definitely goes well with the cigar though. And there goes Agathon again - he has it bad for Margarette; he thinks he is being discreet but a blind man could see it. Can't say I blame him though; it seems like ages since I've known the touch of a woman. I wonder...Hanna griped about 'dirty old men', but I'm sure she gets urges like anyone else. Winter is coming and we'll all have to keep warm somehow, no?
Thaddeus finishes his cigar, stands, and goes to Hanna's table to see if she wants to dance.
Very nice color posts and I see some indication of what you are going to do, but I need some party clarity. For consistency's sake, and so we don't get out of the habit, list your AC, current hp, current spell effects up and duration, plus a summary of your intended action so that I can quickly find and resolve them when you post. Thanks. Everyone take 100xp for posting.
Party action post
After considerable deliberation, and a sumptuous meal prepared by Elsinore and Margarette, the Peacemakers arrive at a course of action.
The four principals (Belric, Thaddeus, Agathon, and Jaques) will set out to continue the tour of our holdings and introducing ourselves to our new vassals. We will go up the road to Fort Arazarm, and from there to Dramsburg. Rules of engagement:
- human or friendly-race settlements or travelers: identify ourselves, initiate friendly contact, share news, and gather intelligence. Stay long enough to be polite but not long enough to be a burden.
- bandits or humanoid patrols/parties: terminate with extreme prejudice or avoid if there are too many. Prisoners to be taken if possible, questioned for their intelligence value, and executed. Track back to their base if possible and remember the location for later action on the way back to Ferin.
- monsters: terminate with extreme prejudice or avoid if there are too many or too powerful. Track back to their lairs for later action on the way back to Ferin.
- undead: terminate with extreme prejudice or avoid if there are too many or too powerful, if possible at a distance to avoid contact. Destroy the undead and render them useless for future evils by dismemberment and clerical spells.
Edgar and Verlik will remain at the tower as our representatives. Belric and Thaddeus will alternate contacting one of them each day with a message spell to check in (i.e. Belric will cast one day and Thaddeus the next).
Before setting out, we will begin taking steps to establish a relationship with a business contact in Beetu for future use. We're really looking for someone who "knows people" or "knows how to find people" - kind of like a labor agent. Someone we can tell "We're looking for a mining engineer and twenty men who can mine and operate a smelter", or "We need a dozen men at arms", and so on. This could be anyone, really - politician, priest, businessman. Honesty and reputation count for a lot here.
- Thaddeus will message his father (swordsmith in Knurl) asking after trustworthy business contacts in Beetu who might meet the stated criteria.
- Belric will message his family in Knurl with the same question.
- We will ask Elsinore if she knows anyone in Beetu who would fit the bill, or if she knows anyone in Knurl who would know anyone in Beetu like that.
- Thaddeus will message Cephali asking after any official or semi-official contacts in Beetu we might leverage.
- Finally, Belric and Thaddeus - being locals to Knurl - might have heard of such a person or organization.
We will wait until the gnomish contingent arrives at the tower and gets settled in before we set out, probably Goodmonth 28-30.
I do not have access to everyone's current AC, HP, or any spells up. I'm going to do an individual post with that information plus a mini-color post and I suggest you all do the same so the CK has updated information on the characters.
HP 38/38, AC 25/21*
mage armor: +4 AC, cast every morning before leaving chambers or leaving camp, lasts 9 hours so basically till sundown.
Until the gnomes arrive at Ferin, Thaddeus will maintain a low profile so as not to overshadow Jaques. This is his fiefdom and the locals need to look to him for leadership.
Thaddeus will continue to be friendly towards Hanna, engaging in conversation and whatever amusements seem to appeal to her - dancing, darts, dicing, and so on. He learned early on that women like to dance and he made a point to become good at it. Thaddeus will explain his 'crash training', and will ask after Hanna's own training, genuinely curious about more formal procedures for magick training.
The morning the gnomes arrive in Ferin, Thaddeus will seek out Hanna before leaving for the tower. "Margarette and Elsinore are some of the best cooks remaining on this side of the river, and I should like to dine with you once more before we set out for Arazarm. The more I travel in the wilderness, the more I appreciate the comforts of civilization when I get home! I'm sure you're curious about the restoration of the tower, and we have a number of demonic mosaics, murals, and carvings you might be interested in. We took them all out of the walls intact - Belric wanted to destroy them outright but I wanted the chance to study them a bit first. Bring a couple of guards with you if you like, or if Edwald insists. We have stables for your hippogriffs at the top of the tower, or it's about an hour by fly spell if you prefer. If you would rather fly back in daylight, you and your guards are welcome to stay the night - we have ample guest quarters. Would dinner tomorrow night suit you?"
That evening in the tower, Thaddeus will send his message spell to his father. "Father, I seek labor agent in Beetu. Come spring we'll need miners, farmers, tradesmen, soldiers at Ferin. Do you know anyone or can you inquire?"
The following evening, should Hanna accept his invitation, Thaddeus will be on his best behavior - playing the gracious host and being a perfect gentleman.
Color Post for Agathon...
Agathon: HP 91/91 AC 23 (25 vs Ogres)
Current Magical Effects: None
When the Gnomes arrive in Ferin and we escort them to the tower, Agathon will assign them quarters in the #4 Barracks on the First Floor. Having previously arranged with a local artisan for the construction of bunks and other furniture necessary for their two squads (CK Please advise on the costs compared to the book costs... How many bunks required and I will deduct this sum from the party money... Thank you)
They will be advised that Verlik and Edgar are in charge of the tower and that their immediate duties include guarding the tower and coming to the defense of Ferin should that be required. All of this under the direction of Verlik and Edgar.
Agathon will take Verlik aside before the group leaves and advise him thus: "Verlik, you are in charge of the Gnomish troops and for the training of what militia may be sorted out of the population of Ferin. But consult with and heed what advice Edgar might have for you. Please recruit who you can and spend your days working on the defenses of the town such that they are... Your evenings, should be spent in the tower. Thaddeus and Belric will be in contact with you with their spells; so, we will be in touch. After our foray to the remaining lands, we will be here for the winter. For your dedicated service to our small company, I wish you to have this..." Agathon will give Verlik his +2 Chain shirt.
"Be well, my friend. I also charge you with the safety of Elsinore and Margarette. Please see that they are kept safe with an escort at all times when out of the tower. Thank you..."
The evening before leaving, he will be certain to bid a fond farewell to Margarette... "I will be back soon, my dear. I look forward to spending the winter with you here. Be safe and heed Verlik's cautions and directives while in Ferin and about the tower."
Agathon will empty Store an Item Vial #6 to remove the +2 chain shirt to give to Verlik. Please note this change in his AC... The remainder of the contents to be stored in Agathon's quarters in the tower. Verlik and Edgar can take up residence in Barrack # 1 and 2 respectively while we are away. Agathon will also arrange for a boat and boatman to be housed in the tower so that the gnomes and the henchmen have ready transport to and from Ferin while we are gone.. Please note what this might cost so that I can deduct this as well as the furnishing costs (if they are different from book costs).
Jacques happens to be finishing his midday calisthenics in the practice space of the gaurdroom as Agathon gives his instructions to Verlik. As Agathon and Verlik part, Jacques falls into stride next to Agathon, accompanying him in whatever direction he is headed. "Agathon, I would that you speak again with Verllik before he makes contact with the townspeople of Fern and rephrase your directions to him. These are proud, capable folk, who have taken care of themselves long before our arrival. Verlik would work WITH their defenses, not on them. He should be cautioned not to assume that he has been left in charge of anyone but the defense of this tower. To all others he should offer only assistance. The role of a good nobleman or king is measured by his responsibility to his people not their responsibility to him. That way lies vanity, loss of legitimacy, and too often tyranny. If you wish him to become a great man, it would be good that he learns leadership early." He smiles at Agathon as he claps him on the back, and turns off to his own path. I hope that Agathon takes that well, wisdom is both hard earned and difficult to convey. Something for him to ponder. There is more to faith than mere piety, the lessons are what holds value.
"Okay laddies here be the passwords for thae glyphs I placed aboot the tower."Belric gives out the passwords so that the troops don't obliterate themselves. "Now dinnae forget or ye'll be sorry, and stay out o me room!"
Belric will wait for the other Peacemakers to finish with their last minute doodads, while sitting his warsteed.
For ease of reading, I'm going to fast forward the game in bullet form, covering a week of time. Clarified that the 'message' spell being
referred to in the post is actually the 'sending' spell.
You find out that Beetu used to have a miner's guild that did provide skilled miners for Blemu Hills projects. Rumors have it that most of these
people have fled into Nyrond and some may be under King Ap'Hiller's (gnome king) protection now or working for them. However, some hard core
workers may remain. Ferin used to send a barge with fish and other goods to Knurl and Beetu up until a few months ago when the invasion started.
The last two barges were attacked by bandits and all cargo was stolen, so none have been sent recently.
Inquires to Thaddeus' father and Belric's connections determine that such skilled labor is available, but the land is too unsettled to attract
anyone. It would be unlikely you'll be able to get much population base into the area until you have raised an army and proven you can hold off
the humanoid hordes, which everyone knows can project power at will. They also know that if the area starts being resettled, the bandits and
humanoids WILL come.
On Goodmonth 26, the gnomish squad arrives at Ferin and will purchase supplies before heading to the tower. They are led by Ayredo, a no-nonsense
gnomish commando type with a ton of scars. He lets his squad socialize and hang out with the locals, but he pitches a tent under the village
walls and disappears inside.
Hanna tells Thaddeus that she'd love to see the tower and appreciates the dinner invite, which she accepts. Thaddeus senses that she takes her work for Edwald pretty serious and she's not ready to fraternize further at this time, although she is nice about it and definitely doesn't shut the connection off permanently.
Verlik gives Agathon a quizzical look when he talks about spending his days in the village and his evenings in the tower, considering the two are twelve miles apart. "That's very hostile country and neither me, the gnomes or the ladies are going to leave the damn tower once we're settled in unless it's on fire."
Margarete is very friendly towards Agathon. She's very flattered and shocked that he would still want to be friendly towards her.
Jacques speaks with Agathon about the tower defenses and village defense situation, as indicated. On Goodmonth 27, a day before the group leaves for the tower to deposit the gnomish squad and the servant women and henchmen, Shirana Silverstar arrives in Ferin, flying her hippogriff as
usual. Her arrival makes the other hippogriffs very nervous, as it's obvious her bird is from a different brood. The squawking and screeching calls between Edwald's flock and Shirana's hippogriff, which sits on top of the inn's roof eating a sheep keeps the entire village on edge.
Shirana has dinner with the party. She would like to use the party's tower as a patrol base. Word that they captured it got out to Knurl and everyone in the town knows that the place has a aerie in the top. She also privately expresses her distrust for Edwald, stating that Duke
Archendale is known to persecute followers of Pholtus. Before leaving, she gives an extra long hug and kiss on the cheek to Jacques, whispering in his ear "you've done well, shy one" and then leaves early so that the screeching doesn't keep the town awake all night.
Goodmonth 28--the party leaves for the tower. A large supply wagon with foodstuffs and other sundries has been loaded up (mark off 400gp) and the gnomes all bear huge packs which they can ditch for speed as necessary. Ayredo states that they will hunt for meat as well, but the depth of winter might be a meager time.
Party action post
The party will happily let Shirana use the tower as a patrol base, with the request that they help out with the food situation when they're there - either by bringing their own or by hunting, in either case supplementing what they consume from our larder. Our food supply will be sketchy as it is.
Goodmonth 28 - the party transits to the tower, gets the gnomes and women settled in, and sets up watch rotations.
Harvester 1 - the party will complete reconfiguring the tower per what was agreed on, with the modification of creating an isolated path from the aerie to the barracks level. Whether this is stone shape to create an isolated stairwell, or a combination of stone shape and arcane lock to secure the existing stairwell, is up to CK discretion - whichever is simpler/faster/better.
Harvester 2 - the party (Agathon, Belric, Thaddeus, Jacques) will set out for Fort Arazarm. Thaddeus will use overland flight and invisibility to look for threats, ambushes, or any other circumstances requiring a change in party alert level. Watches will be Agathon/Belric and Thaddeus/Jacques. This will be standard procedure from now on.
Harvester 3 - Belric will use sending to contact Verlik to get tower status and news, continue travel.
Harvester 4 - travel continues
Harvester 5 - Belric will use sending to contact Verlik to get tower status and news, continue travel.
Harvester 6 - travel continues
Harvester 7 - Belric will use sending to contact Verlik to get tower status and news, continue travel.
Harvester 8 - the party will take a day off travel to rest (unless we can reach Fort Arazarm that day). With only two watches we're all only getting half a night's sleep.
The tower gets settled in as indicated.
Please update the tower map with your modifications.
Fort Arazarm is about 12 miles from the tower, following an old trade road that has been abandoned and not maintained well since the invasion of the Bone March. Hence, going is rough and it will take about a half day to reach the Fort.
Thaddeus flies ahead, invisible. Near lunch time, he's about a half mile ahead of the party when he spots a gnoll war party, bolstered by two hill giants, on the path headed south towards the party. They're about a mile away and will be on the party in about 20 minutes. There are at least sixty to eighty gnolls, two hill giants and they have two teams of oxen pulling large onagers. Interspersed among the gnolls are larger gnolls carrying two handed swords. Most of the gnolls are armed with wicked looking longbows, morning stars and appear to be well armored and more disciplined looking than regular gnolls. They're not yipping and fighting with each other and appear to be keeping good discipline. They're spread out about 10' from each other and have scouts up front and to the flanks. The rear guard consists of six of the bigger gnolls and an ogre with a quadralest (quadruple heavy crossbow).
party action post
Thaddeus will return to the party and relay what he has seen. A hasty discussion ensues where we all agree on the need to eliminate their siege weaponry - the giants and onagers - and then withdraw.
plan and intentions
The base plan is for Thaddeus to use the fear wand to drive the giants towards the party and then fireball the onagers. Away from their fellows the giants should be easier prey, as before. Once the siege weapons are destroyed the party will fall back towards the tower.
Thaddeus will cast invisibility on Jacques, in case something goes wrong and he needs to be rescued. He will also cast mage armor, greater, protection from arrows, and detect magic on himself. Belric will cast bless on the party. These are all long duration spells.
Preparations complete, the party will find a place of concealment from the advance elements. Thaddeus will fly back to the enemy formation, taking note of concentrations of magic items. Having observed giants fleeing the effect of the fear wand in the past, he should have a good idea of how far they will go. When the lead giant is about half the known flee distance to the party's ambush site, Thaddeus will position himself at 20' altitude at a position likely to cause the giant to flee towards the party. He will cast minor globe of invulnerability on himself, then activate the fear wand.
If further rounds can be processed, Thaddeus will manuever to a position where the second giant would probably flee to towards the party, and activate the fear wand a second time. He will then cast fireball at the onagers (a second time if necessary to destroy them).
The party will maneuver to intercept the fleeing giants, not expecting them to come directly at us.
In C&C, minor globe of invulnerability moves with the caster.
The fear wand is caster level 9th, range 50', AOE 25' x 25' square, save vs charisma or flee in terror for 9 rounds. Thaddeus' charisma bonus is +2 in case it applies.
Thaddeus is wearing his +1 cloak of resistance.
The party conceals itself in a copse of trees on a small hill overlooking the path. Thaddeus flies ahead, with his spells prepared as mentioned...mage armor, greater; protection from arrows and detect magic.
He will intercept the war band about a mile from the party. He flies up, his detect magic up. Thaddeus realizes that the nature of the spell means he has to spend a round concentrating on a 10'x50' path, from about 20' up, which means he will be able to evaluate about 3-4 creatures at most per round.
The war band will cover the mile to the party's hiding spot in about half an hour.
Need more detail on how you all will pull this off; also need posts from the other players
Per their usual advance style crafted in their first encounter with a band of giants, Jacques sets out towards the enemy. Invisbility makes his stealthy movement far easier, so he can maintain speed to keep up with Thaddeus's flight, and still be quiet as possible. He knows he needs to be within striking distance to be any help, should Thaddeus fall out of the sky. I suppose Thaddeus will mentally contact me when he needs to coordinate, he knows I'm down here. If it comes to it, I can probably run down one of those giants again, and take him down by myself, if I can keep the fight one on one.