Ilsa averts her eyes at the grotesque spray of carnage. Though she looks away, she does so just a moment too late.
When will this nightmare end? I can't watch much longer...
She doubles over and nearly vomits. Not daring to look anywhere near Kalem, she looks into the pits, hoping to see anyone she can help.
perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (17) + 7 = 24
Let's just be happy you used that luck against something that we actually needed it against instead of something like the boarded up door.
Varor heads back to the cauldron room. "Well that ways boarded up, so do we follow after the others or do we take the secret door?" He asks looking at the other two conscious occupants of the room
What? It's just enough to 1 shot a CR6 wyrven. Kind of sad though that I didn't loot the scythe now...
Crit Scythe if I used it: 8d4 + 14 + 60 ⇒ (2, 4, 4, 1, 1, 2, 3, 1) + 14 + 60 = 92
Ah well... :)
Covered in gore, Kalem breaths deeply as his claws recede and the flames in his eyes sputter. Looking down at the mangled corpse of the creature which had attacked him, he wondered what had just happened. It had charged him, everything had gone red, and then the creature was...well...dead. Very, very dead.
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12
He tried to look around to see where the prisoners were, but he was fatigued, and given the circumstances, more than a bit distracted.
And the dice go back to normal...
"Secret door? Yeah...I suppose that sounds good."
Zamanda, seeing what looks like the only foe pretty much explode, enters the room to see if she can rescue the prisoners. If she determines there are no other bad guys
Perception: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (16) + 11 = 27
She will start pulling prisoners out using her rope attached to something sturdy.
If the prisoners aren't strong enough to climb and I need to descend to attach ropes and pull them out, let me know, and I will roll strength or try to get help from the healers.
I have two uses of infernal healing. If they are in need of out of combat healing, I could go ahead with that.
Bashiel sluices gore off his back, then turns to stare at the tiefling with a mixture of awe and fear. "You, really got him, huh?" The awkward words slip out before Bashiel starts being able to think about what else might be in the room. Once the cogs in his brain resume turning, he puts his weapon away and moves on into the room.
He strides over to help Zamanda with the prisoners, either reaching down to haul them up by their hands or descending the rope to gather those that are injured.
Taking 10 on climb for a 10, if needed.
As he brings each one out, he tries to soothe them with quiet, calming words. "We've got you now. Stay with us and we'll get you back to your homes. We're here from the Guard."
Diplomacy to calm/improve attitudes: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (10) + 9 = 19
Pel's eyes bulge as Kalem's blow comes down on top of the once-living foe. The arcanist is quite grateful for Bashiel's shielding body. Otherwise, Pel is pretty sure he would be covered in gore now.
He finds himself unconsciously taking a step away from Kalem.
Perhaps my parents were right about...
Pel stands bolt upright as he realizes what he's thinking.
No. Just no. They weren't right about anything. Cut that out.
He takes a deep breath before cautiously taking a few steps forward. He has to force himself to move, his flight instinct screaming in protest.
As he looks down into the pits at the prisoners, Pel doesn't see himself as being much help in getting them out. Instead, he just tries to comfort them a bit with words.
"Hang on. We're going to get you out. That.. thing.. isn't going to hurt you anymore."
At the mention of the thing, Pel finds himself once again unconsciously doing something as he glances over at Kalem. He shakes his head quickly as he realizes what he's doing again.
Turning back to the prisoners, he tries to distract himself by saying to them, "Where are you from? We'll make sure you get back. And are there other prisoners here?"
Perhaps it was the deformed creature's afflictions. Perhaps it was the weight of Kalem's earthbreaker. Perhaps it was just a fluke. Whatever the reason, the prison pits were quickly transformed into something of a slaughterhouse, with blood and gore splattering across the walls and floor; gray matter affixed to the weapon, dropping off to the ground with a soft plop; viscera falling from the ceiling where it had been propelled by the force of the blow.
The cries for help turned to shrieks of terror but slowly begin to subside as the prisoners realize the fountain of blood was a precursor to their rescue. Too many of the room's occupants were deceased, easily a dozen bodies lifeless on the floors. But four people were still alive, two human men, a woman and a halfling.
"Oh, thank you, thank you."
"You... you... you... he's dead!"
They all seem to be somewhat in a state of shock. There is no sign of Briget, including among the bodies.
Zamanda takes some time and cleans everyone and everyone's hair and clothing with Prestidigitation, hopefully forestalling any additional horror or panic beyond that which they have already suffered, and helping them feel clean for the first time in a long while. She gives away her two clean blankets to the woman and whichever man or halfling looks the most in need, and then, thinking about it, she pulls apart her bedroll so that the others have something as well, though not as good. She curses herself for not having any food on her.
I believe we need to escort these people at least to the entrance before moving on, to make sure they stay safe. Will anyone else come with me?
Kalem shook his head weakly. "Thank you for cleaning up the gore. I'm..." He wanted to say that he wasn't sure what had happened, but thinking better of it, continued "...very grateful."
Walking over to the prisoners, he gave them what he hoped was a reassuring smile, and pulled out his drake mark.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 11 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 11 + 2 = 19
He wasn't really feeling like himself, which put a damper on his style. He continued "We are indeed from the guard. As you can see, the queen has not forgotten about you."
Then, looking at the most obviously injured of them, he put a hand on the prisoner's shoulder and said "You are going to be just fine. Zamanda is going to get you to the surface, and safety."
As he said this, the thought to himself If only I could so something more. But all I'm good for is lying and killing. If only- as he thought that, he felt something. That itching feeling in his fingers. That fire in his stomach. And before his eyes, he could see the prisoner's wounds start to heal.
Infernal Healing Cast, will heal up to 10HP on most wounded prisoner
Bluff to hide his surprise: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (2) + 16 = 18
He did his utmost best to hide his surprise. Should this have happened with anyone else, it would have been thought a miracle. But given what had just happened, he wasn't so sure. And, he was afraid, the same would be true for his comrades.
Bashiel keeps a hold of the arm of one of the dazed men and nods to Zamanda. "I'll come with you. I think we might want to get them safely sheltered, just in case there are any more of these Urgathoans out there. Cyric, do you think the Pharasman church will take them in for tonight? Or at least until we can clear this place out? I'm certain the Guard will house them afterward."
Once he joins Zamanda he quietly says to her "Thanks for the magic that cleaned them up, the Guard does the same for victims, though of course with soap and water. I've seen it do wonders." He looks over the group of four survivors and raises his voice to address them "Here, I'll support you, its just a short way."
If anyone needs help walking he'll lend a shoulder.
As he leaves with the prisoners, he'll call back to the party "We'll be right back." Don't do anything too rash.
Pel looks at the gore-soaked room and turns to Bashiel as he begins to leave. He says, "We should all accompany you. This is a dead end. If there are more cultists and they come to investigate, we'll be trapped. We can all retrace our steps when we come back. I would rather us not get separated. And we need to be certain these people get to safety."
The arcanist's view on the situation is based on facts, but deep down, if he is completely honest with himself, he's a bit afraid of what will happen should some of them get caught while separated. Briget is one thing. Half the group? That's quite another.
"Please," Pel finishes, "Let's all escort them."
Bashiel nods "No, you're right Pel. Splitting up is just going to get one of our groups ambushed." He beckons everyone to join him and Zamanda "Let's go. I think these citizens will feel better in a larger group as well."
As they return to the entrance, Bashiel mulls over their options. Cyric should take over once we have them outside. No Briget means there's more prisoners somewhere, and we shouldn't waste time. But the Pharasmites... we should be able to trust them, right? I feel like I can trust Cyric, but his fellow acolytes seem somewhat callous.
”Let’s get them to the surface. But we should finish our sweep of this place after. It wouldn’t sit right with me if these cultists escaped and took more citizens into a similar fate.”
As the prisoners are cleaned and healed, most of them seem to calm down while one just completely breaks down and starts sobbing, the dam having broken. Despite the magical healing, the humans do not look well. One of them coughs, his phlegm speckled with blood before he says, "There are more. At least the one called Vreeg. There's another, a wizard of some sort, named Rolth, but we haven't seen him in a day or so. The two of them... they did things, experiments. The others... it's what killed them." His gaze drifts towards the corpses in the pits.
As Cyric surveys the room and listens to the prisoner's account, his face turns beet red while the hand gripping his weapon becomes white as snow. His jaw clenches and unclenches as he tries to find words to answer Bashiel. Finally, "If it is the last thing I do, I swear it, these people will be cared for. That this happened in a place of rest under our charge... Lady forgive us." Realizing his rage has paralyzed him, he secures his weapon and steps up to start helping with the former prisoners. "I can take them to the church if you want to press forward."
At this, the prisoner who had spoken earlier turns pale as he suddenly remembers something, "Yes! You must, please, there is another, a girl! When he knew someone was coming, Vreeg took a girl as a hostage and ordered the ogrekin to kill the rest of us when you arrived. You must save her!"
Ilsa can feel the hair stand up on her arms. With all these prisoners had been through and witnessed, she realized she didn't even think to ask them about Briget.
How stupid of me! They are paralyzed with fear, it is true, but they are the ones who have also been prisoners!
"Have you seen the girl?! she asks, almost frantic and hoping beyond hope her niece could still be alive. "Is she a dark-haired girl? Perhaps ten years old? Did you hear if her name is Briget?" she asks.
Oh, let her be alive!
"Change of plans." Kalem declared. "Cyric, get these citizens out of here and to the safety of your church. The way is clear. We need to find this Vreeg. And the girl is probably...well, we need to rescue her. And if we all backtrack now, he'll get away with her. Now, which way did he take go?"
Kalem's one shot of the miniboss (?) means we haven't taken damage since the last time we got channels.
Bashiel is easily swayed away from Pel's idea when the ex-prisoners mention a girl still captive. Ilsa's desperation and Kalem's comittment only serve to galvanize this shift. "Yes, which way? We need to pursue quickly in case there's a second way out."
~BOY, DON'T GET SO HOT HEADED! I KNOW YOU CARE ABOUT YER PROMISE TO THE GIRL, BUT THESE FOUR FINE FOLK ARE IMPORTANT TOO, YA HEAR? DON'T THROW AWAY WHAT YOU'VE EARNED! OSIRIS KNOWS I PISSED AWAY TOO MUCH LIKE THAT, HAH HEHH!~
Bashiel stumbles a moment. His ancestors had been quiet for quite a while before this reprimand from Old Samir. He focuses his thoughts towards them and sends: Damn, I- I think this place is getting to me. Too much death and suffering... Alright, I'll have to be fast.
"I'll make sure these four get with Cyric to the surface, and then catch up. I know it seems reckless, but you should go on ahead. I'll be right with you."
Bashiel does what he's suggesting. Along the way he'll ask the talkative victim about anything else he saw or heard.
Zamanda escorts the former prisoners to the entrance, as she said she would. Then she will return.
Varor watches the scene play out in front of him with his hand tightening into a fist, 'What am I even doing here? Healing people is the one thing I can even do and Kalem can do that.'
Varor looks over to Bashiel, "Alright go, but hurry," Varor says slightly dejected.
Pel can't help but rub his hand across his forehead. In a matter of moments, the group had completely reversed course on splitting up.
As much as he's sure Ilsa will disagree, Pel can't help but say, "I'm coming along, Bash. And I suggest everyone else do so as well. If a fight breaks out, you may not get back to us before its too late. What's more, this Vreeg and this Rolth do not sound like people we want to fight if we're not at our full strength."
The arcanist frowns as he looks at Ilsa with sympathy, "I want to rescue Ilsa. I do. But we have to be alive to do so. If one of them have her, she must be special. If they intended to kill her, I think we would have found her in this room. I'm sorry, but some of us nearly died the last time we split up. I can't condone that again."
Pel moves to follow Bashiel and the others, hoping everyone else will join him.
Out-of-character, I'm really uncomfortable with us splitting up again. It didn't go well last time and I don't see it going any better this time if we get into a fight. I want to rescue Ilsa's niece, but I would also like us to survive. It's like when you're flying in an airplane. They tell you to put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others. We can't help her if we're dead.
OOC I'm with you Pel, but in character it seems tougher to rationalize. I just have my fingers crossed that we get through our escort with a hand-wave from Snow and then we can join right back up :>
I'd also prefer not to split up unless absolutely necessary. However, I'm not sure why we don't just send the group back to the entrance (we've already cleared it), or just send Cyric with them and the rest of us continue. I'll do whatever the group says, though.
IC always trumps OOC. And IC it makes sense to have the prisoners sent back to the surface with enough people to protect them, while the rest of us corner the last known cultist. OOC it makes more sense to not split up. But regardless, Kalem is pressing on. Hopefully anyone going to the surface can get there and back in time.
My understanding is a couple of you will go with Cyric back to the entrance to the dead warrens, at which point he will take care of the freed prisoners and the other party members will return. Yes, normally splitting up is a bad idea, but as long as the main group is waiting for the rest to return (and the escort group is going through passages that have already been cleared), it'll be fine. To wit...
The man seems slightly taken aback by Ilsa's fervor, but realization dawns on him and the shock turns to concern and... pity? He nods, just barely, then points towards the northern passage. "Y-y-y-yes, ma'am. I'm sorry. I think that was her name. I..." He pauses, not sure what to say, then adds, "She's strong. Save her. She'll be okay."
Those who choose to escort the prisoners to the relative safety of the Gray District above are joined by the Pharasman acolyte after he channels a burst of positive energy to heal those present. As with Kalem's healing earlier, there are certain symptoms plaguing the prisoners that do not recede. The Pharasman scowls slightly at this but, unable to do anything about it now, heads back to the surface with the others.
Zamanda and others return just a few minutes later, less Cyric and the Urgathoans' victims.
You realize you have two options for proceeding deeper into the dead warrens. The passage indicated by the prisoner, or the secret door Quinlan identified earlier.
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Zamanda also discovers a secret door on the north wall.
Are there two secret doors, or is the one Quinlan identified the same one that I saw? There seem to be a bunch of little windy passages in here, but If they are the same, I vote secret door, since hopefully it will be a way that they don't expect. On the other hand, who knows if it leads to the right place... we know the girl went the other way. Maybe try the secret door, and if it doesn't go anywhere likely, then try the other way? I just don't want them to be able to use the "secret" door to get behind us.
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(...) There seem to be a bunch of little windy passages in here, but If they are the same, I vote secret door, (...)
Your choice of words reminded me to be thankful that we're not facing a choice of twisty little passages, all alike! :)
I agree with checking the secret door first, surprise will be pretty valuable.
Bashiel returns to the group deep in thought, and mentions "I fear the people we rescued are suffering from something else. A disease maybe. We'll see once we rescue the remaining victims. Briget included!"
"Let's try that secret passage Zamanda and Quin noticed earlier. With the noise we've been making, they'll expect us down the main way. And hopefully the passage gives us another angle to attack from."
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"Alright, but I'll go down the main way, I'll serve as a distraction."
'And I'll be useful for something.'
”Don’t be ridiculous, priest. Grab your sword and come with us. I’m sure your goddess has more in store for you than throwing your life away down here.”
"I'm not planning to die, but if this door does lead to the same places as that passage then whoever's left in here probably isn't suspecting anyone to go through that door. This will give you the chance to sneak up and take him from behind. Besides, I can defend myself"
Pel breathes a sigh of relief when Bashiel and Zamanda return safely.
Overhearing Varor and Kalem's conversation, Pel can't help but comment, "I think we've all split up quite enough for one adventure, don't you? Whatever is or isn't through this secret door, we should face head on... together."
The arcanist walks over behind Bashiel and waits for the door to be opened. For Ilsa's sake, he hopes it proves to be a dead end or an empty store room. They needed to find Briget and do so soon.
Ilsa bites a fingernail nervously as the others discuss tactics.
"Let's stick together. I think we're stronger if we don't split up."
She closes her eyes and utters a silent prayer that Briget might be safe.
Ready when you guys are.
Looks like we're agreed.
Bashiel looks over the doorway Quin and Zamanda identified earlier to find how exactly it opens. If he can do so alone he'll open it and push on ahead.
Perception: 1d20 + 7 - 1 ⇒ (6) + 7 - 1 = 12
Otherwise, he'll let someone with sharper eyes and better skills of observation open the hidden door. While they do, he closes his eyes for a moment to repeat another prayer to Osiris.
I'm doing that a lot lately. I've faced a lot in the Guard, but never like this.
Kalem moved up to the front, his hammer at the ready. ”Here we go...”
Take 10 Perception
Zamanda follows, but stays in the back, her bow ready.
The secret door is untrapped and unlocked, opening fairly quietly. It leads a short distance through a narrow, slightly curving tunnel until it terminates at the back-side of another secret door. After listening at the door and inspecting it for traps, and finding no danger, you open the door to find a library on the other side. Two wide, freestanding bookshelves furnish this room. The shelves are filled with row upon row of carefully arranged tomes and scrolls. A door is on the right wall, closed.
Map is updated.
Zamanda pulls up Detect Magic to see if there is anything magical to gather from the library. If there are magical items, she will collect them while the party continues, and then catch up (if they choose to continue of course, not dictating others' actions).
Ilsa listens at the door to the east. She trembles as she finds herself so close after so many months of searching.
"We must keep going..." she whispers.
perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20
Bashiel whispers "Unless there's another hidden passage from here to where the prisoners are kept, we can get back to it later." He nods to Ilsa and listens to any potential sounds coming from the other side of the door.
Perception: 1d20 + 7 - 1 ⇒ (6) + 7 - 1 = 12
Still whispering, he says "If I'm orienting myself right, this is the way that prisoner we rescued pointed. The way the others were taken." He tries to give everyone a reassuring grin "We've got the way around we were hoping for!" He waits until Zamanda is done with her spellcasting and the group is ready. Once they are, he quietly opens the door just a crack to try to more easily hear and maybe even see anyone in the room/hallway outside.
If there's no one, he'll carefully open the door all the way and sneak as well as he can out of the room, longsword ready.
Stealth for door opening + sneaking: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14
Pel bites his lip as Bashiel cracks open the door. The previous door had been untrapped, but the arcanist is concerned their luck might run out soon. Still, despite his great interest in the room's works, he agrees with Ilsa. There's no time to delay.
Pel moves over beside the door so he's not directly behind Bashiel when the paladin cracks it open.
"Let's hope we're not too late," he whispers in response to Bashiel's declaration.
Zamanda does identify a couple of objects radiating faint magical auras. She picks up two scrolls as she moves through the room and thinks there may be more of value in the room even if it is mundane.
Bashiel opens the door to the east and, as much as he is able, moves quietly down the short passage. He finds himself in a room where a nauseating mixture of decay and strange chemicals fills the air. Glinting saws, pliers, long stitching needles, and other surgical equipment are organized on shelves and benches along the walls. A sturdy wooden table in the center of the room supports a large humanoid shape—a thing stitched together from a patchwork of dozens of different bodies. The thing would stand nearly seven feet tall if it rose. There is a door on the southern wall, and another passage to the northwest.
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22
Walking into the room, Kalem gripped his hammer as he looked around. He looked in disgust at the flesh golem that was being created...and then froze. From the northwest passage he heard muffled cries for help and the sound of something laughing. It was shrill and cold and manic.
"There." He hissed. "We have to hurry." Kalem broke into a run, heading for the northwest passage and the sounds that he heard.
Zamanda grabs anything else that looks valuable, but since Kalem is now running, she knows she will likely have to search for non-magical things later. After grabbing anything obvious, she will follow the group out the door (not this round, but next).
"You hear her?" Ilsa whispers urgently, still clinging to the hope that they are hot on Briget's trail.
Her heart pounds rapidly in her chest. She ignores anything in the room and runs after Kalem.
Perception: 1d20 + 7 - 1 ⇒ (3) + 7 - 1 = 9
Though Bashiel hears nothing, he trusts in Kalem's ears and follows right on his heels. This monster will have to wait! Briget must be close!
~Indeed Bashiel~ Harize's calm voice broke through the blood pounding in his skull ~But focus. Seek calm. Rage, anger, recklessnes, these things don't protect. Trust in Osiris and make sure the girl is not a casualty while you seek the destruction of her tormentors.~
"Not really the time for that right now!" he thinks towards Harize's spot in his head as he runs forward.
I moved you to the NW corridor Kalem. Let me know if you want to be in a different square.