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DM Barcas - Kingmaker: Rivers Run Red

Game Master Isaac Duplechain

As Newhaven rises, threats besiege it from all directions. To the north, the news of the last heir of House Rogarvia threatens the start of a new war. To the south, an empire of trolls and monsters grows.

201 to 250 of 2,052 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>

GM Rolls:
Bluff 1d20 + 21 ⇒ (17) + 21 = 38
Sense Motive 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15

@Akiros Mrianne takes a moment to gather her courage before speaking. "I've seen the other women around the city, but I don't know their names or where they leave. I can show you where, but it has to be now before I lose my nerve. Malgortza knows things somehow. I've been hiding since I ran away, but she finds me in my nightmares. I will show you, but we must go now." As Corwin gestures to some of his guardsmen, she grabs Akiros's hand and looks into his eyes fearfully. "One of the things that she said was that she had men in the guard and the army to do her bidding. I don't trust them. Please, just the three of you. I don't trust anyone else to keep me safe."

The gnomes gather their dead in the setting sun, wrapping them in linen and arranging them in a pattern that surely only they recognize. They start to mourn together as only gnomes can: with as much life, uniqueness, and vivaciousness as they can muster. Narthropple leads them in a rousing, completely improvised song that moves from dirge to salsa to simple screaming in a matter of minutes. Each of the bodies has its own rite, seemingly made up on the spot to match the particular fallen gnome. One is buried in a vertical pit only three feet deep, headfirst with his feet sticking straight up out of the ground. Another is laid in the river, then fished out with a net before being lit aflame in a makeshift pyre. The others are all together taken and stacked up atop each other before given what appears to be orcish last rites and then buried traditionally. By the time they finish, it is fully night. Jonah Narthropple claps the dust off his hands as he walks up to the party. "So, shall we camp for the night!? Tomorrow, we set off for Sanctuary with our goods! Those that you do not wish to buy here and now, that is! If you have any other questions, I can do my best to get you some answers!"

The gnomes have basically a dozen flasks of acid (10g/flask) and a dozen flasks of alchemist's fire (20g/flask) for sale.

While the gnomes complete their bizarre funerals, Taisper interrogates the Sootscale kobold. The fearful, cowardly creature trembles in the sight of the inquisitor. "Hargulka tells us to! We is Hargulka's slaves, but now we is yours slaves. Hargulka do not say why or how. He is big, big, scary king of trolls! He and other trolls live deep in swamp, but tells us to work with lizardmans." The kobold makes a comical gesture of distaste. "Lizardmans have leader too named Vesket. That Vesket's son Vesket there." He gestures to the fallen, unconscious lizardfolk that was riding the giant lizard and nearly killed Valnyr.

Male Human Heretic 5 Master of Many Styles 1

Hargulka, Troll leader, and Vesket, Lizardman leader. Hm. I guess I gotta admit, I have no idea how valuable knowing their names will be, but you never know. Names have power. The Inquisitor is careful to keep his face neutral as he considers the kobold's words. And...slaves? What by The Vault are we gonna do with a buncha kobold slaves?

"What does Hargulka want with a Gnome caravan? Were you supposed to kill them, or steal from them, or both?"

Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 7th / Fighter 1st / AC 24/10T/24F / HP 61 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +14

Verik finds himself baffled by the strange - and in many ways to his mind inappropriate - rites of funeral the gnomes practice for their own kind. With his channeling done and the sun long set, he adds a quiet prayer of his own to Abadar for a blessed passage to the afterlife for these strange fellows, then moves through the camp, channeling clean water, light and offering to assist with a mending orison to the gnomes he greets along the way.

He notices Master Narthropple entreating with Berrin and Zander and yearns to see the maps and supplies they possess, but decides against interfering with the renewed enthusiasm in Berrin's demeanor, other than to quietly let Berrin know he has brought a reserve pouch of coin with him that is at his disposal. He smiles and bows to Narthropple and continues his review of the camp.

RP'ing that Verik would probably have brought 100gp of his own funds in platinum with him for emergencies on the trail there.

After their brief argument, he avoids Jemini with her 'eternal' protector never more than a few yards away from her, huffing under his breath to himself even as he nods to those that greet him. "A year you dreamed of her back Jarrow, and now a day past that and you regret how it turns in your mind. Bears and 'wyrms aside, it's no wonder they think you the fool in the tavern tales..." Reminding himself of yet another parcel in his saddlebags that he must deal with Taisper with later on, he moves off towards his cousin and the surviving captives.

Verik is brought up short when he thinks he actually comprehends words from one of the kobold captives speaking haltingly to Taisper, but is unsure from his distance off. He moves closer, making his presence known to his cousin, but not disturbing his efforts at interrogation for now.

The pathetic kobold nearly prostrates himself before Taisper, eliciting a barking yelp of disgust from one of the lizardfolk. "We bring them slaves! Slaves and food! We keep shiny treasures, trolls keep slaves!" The dark-skinned kobold shrugs as if to say that he knows nothing more, and adopts a surrender position in front of Taisper. "We is your slaves now. You want us go out and find you more?"

"We'll take it. We'll take the lot." Berrin mumbles staring into the boxes. Seeing comfusion on Narthropple's face he repeats himself a little lounder. Excusing himself he goes over to where Valnyr lies and with a ping in his gut he retrieves several pouched from the saddlebags. Bringing the gold over he counts out two-hundred and fourty gold pieces for the gnome, securing the precious alchemical produce for the group. "You'r maps wpuld also come as great help to our expedition Master Northropple, would you be willing to part with them or at least let us copy what we can from them?"

Once Verik's magical healing satisfies Jemini's need to save what can be saved among the gnomes, the paladin makes her way over to Taisper to get an idea what the yappi-whistling is all about. She stands there, nonplussed, as she begins to follow the train of thought the little reptiles are spouting. She subconsciously tries to rub her hands clean. "What is this? Their customs of war are ones of theft and enslavement?" She rubs her temples as if to drive out a sudden headache. A little helpless she wonders aloud, "What will we do with them?"

Leave them be? Can we trust them to not attack travelers any more? Kill them? No... Imprison them? No... Sarenrae! What do I make of this?

Narthropple takes Berrin's gold with a little jig, swallowing one of the pieces on an impulse and examines the rest closely. "Excellent, excellent! A fine example of Brevic gold, circa 4706! From the mines of House Garess, if I am not mistaken!" As he helps carefully move the vials from the wagon to Berrin's waiting hands, he continues his enthusiastic dialogue. "When will Newhaven begin minting their own coin!? Surely, you have the means!" Without waiting for a response, Narthropple launches into another topic. "You can copy the maps if you desire! We owe you our lives! Free of charge, free of charge!"

Male Human Fighter (Archer) 6

"Thank you." As Zander takes the maps. But before he sets out to start copying, but then gives Berrin a knowing glance and then addresses the Gnome again, "You seem to know your way around a coin, Master Narthropple. Would you be interested in minting and mining...IF the opportunity were to present itself?"

Grinning at the gnomes reactions to his gold he reassures him that there's more to be had in Newhaven. Catching Zander's reference to their gold mine Berrin eyes the gnome for his reactions. The mine was supposed to be secret but Berrin got the feeling the merchant already knew about it.

--During Verik's Healing--

Berrin makes sure to be by Valnyr's side when Verik channels his healing energies for the crowd of gnomes and hurt party members, keeping his hands on his flanks and dooing his best to ease the horses return to consciousness. Though Valnyr is disoriented and confused at first Berrin manages to calm him, his voice having a soothing effect on the beast, catching his bearings Valnyr stomps on the remains of the giant lizard a few times before skirting away from it. Angling the horse to the caravan Berrin ties him up with the groups horses, their familiar smell having more of a calming effect on him.

Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 7th / Fighter 1st / AC 24/10T/24F / HP 61 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +14

"Yes, what will we do?" Verik says aloud in a somewhat sarcastic tone, though the context is not clear. "Somehow I think the old Restov Charter of 'sword or rope' last year no longer applies in our case for these lands. Fortunately we do not have Master Thrune to advise us, or else we'd have to put these poor sods to build a road from here to Sanctuary and then impale themselves on either side of it for good measure. I, of course, have my own thoughts on the matter, but my ways seem less promising in the hinterlands beyond society and community. Boggards and bugbears Taisper, do you remember? Yet we aren't who we were back then, are we?"

Focusing his gaze squarely Taisper now, he speaks in another tongue openly but meant only for him, seemingly proficient but formal and slightly hesitant. "U xiclsac, cuf caselt Hunt pz yrel Jacdoilrelt buel, Lelelxeln ub yrel Baiyr ub yrel Binly Jaohy, fray laz zuo yu yrel doellyiuc? Funlel yrac pactiyl, lqnelaticw Fuel act tilnoqyiuc yu uon vaolel, tacwelnuol act jihel anel lusel. Zely ucel lqelaxl yrel yucwoel ub yrel ynoel-phuutelt, frivr vuoht pel a liwc, vuoht iy cuy? Yrelin xict lopmelvy yu fnucwboh lelnjiyotel, vnajelc act tufcynuttelc, fray vruivel tit yrelz rajel poy yu upelz? Ocqnujelc zell, poy I vuoht qnujel jelnaviyz ay yrel tafc. Yrelin salyelnl pel qoy yu puhy act bhasel, poy vac molyivel pel buoct relnel bun yrellel lelnjacyl fiyr jahoel bun ahh, cuy selnelhz lfiby nelynipoyiuc? I afaiy zuon jiliuc ub Motwselcy, yu feliwr iy awaicly sz ufc."

"O kinsman, now named Lord by the Vanquished foe, Seeker of the Faith of the First Vault, what say you to the question? Worse than bandits, spreading Woe and disruption to our cause, dangerous and vile are some. Yet one speaks the tongue of the true-blooded, which could be a sign, could it not? Their kind subject to wrongful servitude, craven and downtrodden, what choice did they have but to obey? Unproven yes, but I could prove veracity at the dawn. Their masters be put to bolt and flame, but can justice be found here for these servants with value for all, not merely swift retribution? I await your vision of Judgment, to weigh it against my own."

Male Human Samurai-Ronin 4/ Oracle-Battle 3 | AC 24/ T12/ F23, HP73, F+8/ R +4/ W +7, Init +1(Roll twice), Percep +6, Sense Motive +10
DM Barcas wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

@Akiros Mrianne takes a moment to gather her courage before speaking. "I've seen the other women around the city, but I don't know their names or where they leave. I can show you where, but it has to be now before I lose my nerve. Malgortza knows things somehow. I've been hiding since I ran away, but she finds me in my nightmares. I will show you, but we must go now." As Corwin gestures to some of his guardsmen, she grabs Akiros's hand and looks into his eyes fearfully. "One of the things that she said was that she had men in the guard and the army to do her bidding. I don't trust them. Please, just the three of you. I don't trust anyone else to keep me safe."

Akiros is quiet for a moment, staring at the woman unblinkingly while he considers her words. While he never liked anyone speaking ill of his soldiers he did understood the woman's fear. He wanted to trust her, but he had not survived this long in the wilds by being a careless man. Finally he speaks "It shall be as you say. Please give me but a moment to send orders to my soldiers and consult with my companions and we shall be off. All will be well, have no fear m'lady." speaking as comfortingly as he can while he pats the hand she has grabbed his with. Disengaging himself, he moves to a corner of the room, calling Corwin and Tandlara with him.

Speaking quietly, with his back to their guest he says "I sense no guile in her, yet for some reason in the back of my mind I feel a need for some caution. We know nothing of this Malgortza or her abilities after all accept that she seems to possess the ability to bend the wills of others to her own. So who knows for sure in Mrianne's mind is her own. I suggest we three go with her as she requests, but perhaps have some of the guard and my soldiers follow us unobtrusively. What say you both?"

Jemini tries not to interrupt Verik's discussion with Taisper too much, but sooner or later her Lebedan blood pushes through and she interjects quietly (as to not be overheard by the kobolds) with: "Do you think we could arrange some form of trade agreement with these creatures? I can't tell if they are capable of such a thing. There's bound to be things that we produce that they'd be keen to have - and in exchange they might provide some form of scouting service, maybe even prospecting. I don't know... I don't remember hearing much call for kobold manufactured goods."

--During the Funaral--

Berrin does his best to avoid the gnomes while they go through their variously ludicrus burial rituals. Staying near a campfire he watches them with open curiosity while he gorges himself on rations. 'Maybe they'll throw a feast when their done?' he hopes.

Staying near Valnyr he feeds him from his hands, strokes him down and does his best to clean away the blood and grime from todays actions. "You did good boy." he mutters to the horse. "First a hydra an' then a giant lizard an' you hardly flinched. That's my boy." he says to the horse in ganuine admiration, the beast was obviously brave and well trained. Braver than any horse had a right to be in Berrin's opinion, Valnyr was something special.

Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 7th / Fighter 1st / AC 24/10T/24F / HP 61 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +14

A look of stunned disbelief ripples across Verik's face as he turns to look at her. "Iy il velnyaic ic sz relany yray zuo vaccuy pel lelniuol apuoy fray zuo lqelax?"

"It is certain in my heart that you cannot be serious about what you speak?"

He huffs and chides himself momentarily, then says, "Surely you cannot be serious about that! Mercy and a just response for their actions in the light of enslavement is one matter, but a negotiation of trade? Preposterous!"

"What incentive do they have not to do it again? Fear of force? We've already seen that they are pressured by the lizard men. The immediate threat will win over the distant threat." Jemini explains, "But maybe, if there is value to them to a relationship with us..."

A little stern she adds, "I understood that play on the 'royal' we you implied earlier. But aren't you now advocating exactly that? Instead of a meaningful agreement of mutual benefit you'd rather hold the imminence of position over these trodden creatures? lasting peace can be formed without both sides respecting and benefiting from the other."

Male Human Samurai-Ronin 4/ Oracle-Battle 3 | AC 24/ T12/ F23, HP73, F+8/ R +4/ W +7, Init +1(Roll twice), Percep +6, Sense Motive +10

If both Tandlara and Corwin are amenable to his plan:
Akiros quietly makes the necessary orders and then returns to their somewhat mysterious informant saying with a comforting smile "My apologies for the slight delay Mrianne, business of running the city to attend to, you understand. The three of us stand ready now, please lead on."

Two separate groups of three soldiers and three guards shall have orders to very discreetly follow from as much of distance as they can without being seen and from different directions if possible. [/ooc]

Going to let the Jemini-Verik and Verik-Taisper conversations play out before going to the next day, probably later today or tomorrow.

GM Rolls:
Stealth 1d20 - 4 ⇒ (20) - 4 = 16
Perception 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (1) + 12 = 13

Bluff 1d20 + 21 ⇒ (4) + 21 = 25
Sense Motive 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 13

@Akiros Mrianne leads Akiros, Tandlara, and Corwin through the city streets. In the late afternoon, Sanctuary bustles with the activity of a boom town. The people in the streets point to the three Founders striding through the city, respectfully giving them a berth to walk freely. The groups of soldiers and guards who follow them try their best to do so surreptitiously, but two groups of six men with arms and armor do not lend themselves well to stealth, even in a crowd. Mrianne leads them through the wide, well-planned streets towards the edge of the town. They take no detours, but head straight for their destination.

They arrive at a nondescript house, hardly more than a cottage, near the city's outer border. They can still see the castle from it, perhaps half a mile away, reminding them that Sanctuary still has some time to grow before it is a true city. Mrianne points fearfully to the house and whispers as if frightened that speaking in a normal tone might alert the residents. "There it is, right there. I don't wish to go in, but I fear that you will not find the cellar if you do not know where to look." Corwin nods his assent to the matter and opens the door. It swings open without a squeak, darkened on the inside.

Holding his polearm in front of him, the Captain of the Watch tentatively walks in and looks around. Tandlara follows him, followed by Akiros and Mrianne. Tandlara's raven remains perched on her shoulder, silently appraising the situation with an eerie stare. The elven witch mutters something to the raven and touches an unlit torch on one of the walls. It lights up with magical illumination, casting its brightness to all parts of the room. The cottage seems utterly normal. It is a single room, equal parts bedroom and kitchen, with some shelves on the side of the room holding what worldly possessions are owned by whoever lives in the house. They are nothing special: a few sets of women's clothing, a small shrine to Calistria, some cheap jewelry. Mrianne walks up to this shelf and turns the figurine of Calistria around. Painted on the back is a horrific sight: a single bloodshot eye.

With a wooden scraping sound, the shelf comes loose. She picks it up and moves it aside, looking at the trio behind her. A darkened set of stairs lead downward through a hole in the wall. Chanting, perhaps half a dozen voices, wafts upwards through the hole. Mrianne looks terrified as she hears it, almost running back to the door and bolting out. She says nothing at all and simply points to the staircase.

Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 7th / Fighter 1st / AC 24/10T/24F / HP 61 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +14

"Did you get struck a blow to the head in the fight that I did not see? You're actually seriously considering..." Verik stops for a moment, regarding her. When he speaks again he has a more measured, patient and neutral tone, but one that Jemini cannot help but be reminded of something that Verik would use when speaking to a junior flock of initiates.

"Never mind the fact that an actual binding agreement of trade between two societies is considered sacrosanct by the Church of Abadar, and therefore must be considered with the utmost caution and care that it can be trusted and enduring, that such a thing requires a basis of peace and mutual understanding, something that has no basis whatsoever here. But let us say you went forward with this...with what you suggest. An edict of sorts, a...a proclamation I suppose you are suggesting. Very grand and official and proper. Whom exactly would you think would trade with these Sootscales, would risk their caravan wagons, lives, goods and property to make the trade, even if they did have something valuable to offer us? Shall we demand the merchants draw sticks to see who must go? Or you suggest perhaps that they would come to us, to Sanctuary? Come right to the makeshift marketplace and pitch a few trading tents? Shall we ring the whole square with Corwin's men just to enforce the peace? Or perhaps you suggest Zander devotes time and resources of his scouts to a halfway trading post between our realm and theirs, assuming we discover where they dwell. He has already lost one man in the wilds here already you know."

He shakes his head then, and looks back to Taisper to see what he is doing with the kobold who speaks to him.

Male Human Samurai-Ronin 4/ Oracle-Battle 3 | AC 24/ T12/ F23, HP73, F+8/ R +4/ W +7, Init +1(Roll twice), Percep +6, Sense Motive +10

Ah, sorry for my being unclear. Not sure if it will change anything or not, but that was to be six followers total, one group with three guards and one with three soldiers. Obviously six would be considerably harder to move surreptitiously than three. Will follow up post soon.

In the act of chivalrously holding the door open for Mrianne, Akiros hangs back a moment and carefully checks out the area around the house, then, just before entering, he quickly marks the symbol of Santurary's army on the outside of the door with a piece of chalk he had palmed back in the interview room.
Perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 1 = 9

Once inside, he frowns at the sight of the eye and turns to the Elf "Tandlara, what do you make of that?"

After getting his answer, he grunts, picks up the torch in his shield hand and says "Ok, we're going down. I'll lead, Corwin you're behind me. Tandlara, you take rearguard." Turning to Mrianne he says sternly "I think you'll be much safer with us at this point and, frankly, I'd feel much better with you remaining in my sight and under the protection I've granted you. You can follow behind Corwin." from his tone, it is clear he is not prepared to take no for an answer.
(if necessary) Intimidate: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (6) + 8 = 14
"Tandlara, if you have any magics which may aid us, now is the time to cast them"

Once everyone is ready, expecting trouble, he draws his sword and shield and makes his way down the stairs as carefully and quietly as he can,being on the lookout for any traps or trick stairs as he descends.
Stealth:1d20 - 3 ⇒ (13) - 3 = 10
Perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (15) + 1 = 16

Note, Akiros does not wear his backpack around town obviously so he only has the gear on his person. Also he is without his bow, which he normally stores on his mount, Kydal, when traveling abroad

"I'd have thought Abadar would welcome bringing civilization to the uninitiated," Jemini counters. "Who or what trades will be made I cannot predict, but without finding ways in which we can rely on each other, there will be conflict." She waves her hand expansively, then smiles, "Trade is not just in goods. The best trades are in services and information. These are things that are invaluable to us, but often little consequence for others. Say for example, we can convince them to help out a trapper or hunter that injured himself - get him back to our settlements - then if we amply reward such action it will naturally foster a strengthening of trust. They can be eyes and ears in places we cannot see or hear ourselves. Besides," she adds conspiratorially, "don't you think this kind of... grassroot assimilation is well suited for the faithful of Old Deadeye?"

Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 7th / Fighter 1st / AC 24/10T/24F / HP 61 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +14

Turning back to her as she counters him, Verik is silent for a moment as he weighs her words, searching for signs of mockery or condescension as he gave out to her. Evidently finding none, he sighs and turns away from her gaze to look back at the kobold captives.

"As I said earlier," he says quietly and with a touch of sadness in his voice, "I had forgotten what it was like to argue with you. You almost have me believing such a thing is much as I would dismiss it as sheer folly, I...want to believe you. Earnestly in fact. A better world even if we try and fail than if we never tried at all. Hmmm..."

Turning back to her, he gives her a genuine smile. "Very well my Lady, I will at least consider this with a great deal of thought and not close my heart and mind to the prospect. In the meantime, I suggest we treat these Sootscales as prisoners of war and not mere bandits. I will speak to them on preference of last rites for their fallen as a token of respect. If they offer no resistance and go with Narthropple's people to Sanctuary, we will put them in the jail but have them treated well and with no mistreatment - you and I will write sealed writs to Tandlara, Corwin and Akiros to make sure this is so. Their spokesman here should go with us to act as a guide and provide us all that we need to know, to redeem his people for this unprovoked attack, and to lay the road for something better. We will deal with the next steps upon our return to Newhaven."

"For the lizardmen though..." He shakes his head slightly, his face grim as if to indicate their fate. "It is too dangerous to have them taken back, and for now they are the price to be paid for this butchery, just retribution to even the Scales for the mercy shown to those they enslaved. Agreed?"

GM Rolls:

Akiros 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (10) + 1 = 11
Corwin 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
Hag 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (13) + 1 = 14
Mrianne 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (11) + 3 = 14
Tandlara 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
Witches 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (15) + 1 = 16

16 Witches
14 Hag
11 Akiros
9 Corwin
7 Tandlara

With Akiros leading the way, they slowly make their way down the secret staircase. The chanting grows louder and more insistent, praying to their dark god in some ancient black tongue. There is one voice that is loudest, a terrible booming voice full of hate and malice, rage and blood. "Sheshakkta hishesh grakach! Sheshakkta hisehs grakach! SHESHAKKTA HISEHS GRAKACH!" A palatable feeling of dread emanates from the cellar, which is lit by torches.

Akiros is first down the stairs with his sword out. He sees seven women standing around a bloodshot eye carved into the floor. Rather than paint as a coloring, human blood runs through the the crevices. A mutilated body lays in the middle, carved to pieces with an inhuman rage. The corpse is almost unrecognizable because of how thoroughly they turned it into nothing but a bloody sacrifice.

One of the seven women is dressed differently than the others, in an ornate priestess outfit rather than the common peasant clothing of the others. She claps her hands as Akiros comes down the stairs. "Good, our sacrifice has come!" As she speaks, her human skin sloughs off in bloody clumps, revealing a gaunt, green-skinned crone underneath. She cackles as she stands to her full height, nearly touching the top of the unhewn cellar. She shouts to the witches of her coven, "You know what must be done!"

Perception DC 20:
The body that adorns the bloodshot eye is mangled almost beyond recognition, but it appears to be Mrianne. A glance back at the woman who led the group here shows her with a dagger in hand, preparing to strike.

"Mrianne": 44/44 hp; AC 19/12T/17FF/22CMD; +7F/+6R/+9W;


male human barbarian 5, ranger 3

It is many long minutes before the heavy footfalls of the Stag Lord announce his return. He is covered in the blood of kobolds and lizardmen, and he drags his sword behind him. He looks.....tired.

Well, I wasn't thinking clearly when they ran and I might have chased them all the way to Hell. A few of them thought to gang up when I had got myself good and severed from the rest of you. Nearly had a few other things severed, too.

He spikes the greatsword into the ground and stares at it for a long, quiet moment. Looking at Jemini, he quiets his voice. Did I interrupt something?

Round 1, Initiative 16
Witches (6): hp 7/7; AC 11/11T/10FF/11CMD

Witch (E6): Aid Another 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5
Witch (F8): Aid Another 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (11) + 3 = 14
Witch (I5): Aid Another 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21
Witch (I8): Aid Another 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (6) + 3 = 9
Witch (J6): Aid Another 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21

Witch (F6): Ray of Enfeeblement vs Akiros 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 1 = 9

The witches begin to chant something in their vile language, raising their hands in an ecstatic frenzy. One of them screams out, and a ray of green energy radiates from her outstretched finger. It misses Akiros by mere inches. He feels his strength sapping away for a brief moment as the ray nearly strikes him, drawn out of him towards the ray. As it dissipates, his strength returns to him.

Round 1, Initiative 14
Hag: hp 58/58; AC 17/9T/16FF/27CMD; +6F/+7R/+7W

FRA: Claw (charge) vs. Akiros 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (12) + 15 = 27
-> Damage 1d4 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5
Make a Fortitude save (DC 16) or take 2 points of Strength damage.

The hag rushes forward, surprisingly quick, and rushes across the bloodstained carving. Her feet knock parts of the sacrificed corpse out of the way as she flies towards Akiros. She lunges forward with a razor-sharp claw, slashing him across the face. Blood spurts from the scratch. It is not a dangerous wound, but it reminds him of the danger he faces from such a beast. The honorable General feels his energy leaving him, drained by the touch of such a foul creature.

Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 7th / Fighter 1st / AC 24/10T/24F / HP 61 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +14

Looking to Nikolai, back to Jemini and then back to Nikolai, the cleric of Abadar answers him first in a drab tone. "Yes, but it is no issue - Jemini and I were just coming to a compromise of sorts concerning certain matters. Now if you will excuse me, I will confer with Taisper and attend to what must be done here next with our captives."

Striding forward next to his cousin, he calls out sternly and grandly to the kobold spokesman. "Sootscale, you speak the tongue of civilized men, and so you are known to us now. Do you like for you and yours to be slaves to those stronger than you? Or do you want another way for your kind? As our prisoners in battle, we demand for you to follow our orders if you still value your lives. What you do for us will decide whether your fellows live or die."

Verik relates instructions to the spokesman as simply as he can, ordering his fellows to be bound and brought back to their city as captives, but promising no harm or torture will come to them, and they will be given ample food and water. The spokesman will come with them as scout and guide, and any attempt to flee or betray them will mean not only his death, but the death of all of his fellows. Finally, he asks if his kind wishes to conduct burial rites for their fallen within reason, overseen by Verik.

"Do you understand this? If you have need, talk to your kin and decide now."

Throwing myself in the Sootscale conversation as DRA may be sick and can't post, but if necessary I'll retcon any interactions based on what Taisper would answer and such.

The Sootscale kobolds mutter amongst themselves until their "leader" answers. "We Sootscales know just being slave to strongers. It our way." The other kobolds nod furiously in agreement. "We follow all orders, follow them good! We is yours now, unless stronger one take us. Sootscales good workers, good fighters, very smart, very brave! You want me show you way? I show you way like you ask."

The kobolds putter about making arrangements for their fallen, though many of them fell beneath Nikolai's sword far from this battlefield. The others are simply dragged into a pile unceremoniously. They look around for a flame of some sort until one of the gnomes hands them a torch. They throw the torch onto the pile of kobold bodies without so much as a word or prayer.

I think Dan's on tour at the moment.

male human barbarian 5, ranger 3

What to do with them? They are kobolds. We should kill them all. THey are worthless as slaves and servants and murder is as just another scale on their hide.

The big human turns to Jemini. You don't want to stop them from razing an enemy that attacked you unprovoked. How will the lizards learn not to ambush future travelers?

He looks genuinely confused, as if he were learning a new language.

Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 7th / Fighter 1st / AC 24/10T/24F / HP 61 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +14

Verik watches nearby as the Sootscale kobolds perform their burial 'rites' with a forced stoic expression on his face. Not really what I'd call the proper rites for sending your own to be judged in the hereafter. Still, no more disturbing or odd than what the gnomes were doing..." He suppresses a shudder and moves to their spokesman.

" are all Sootscale I take it, so it is our custom to know your own name so that I may speak to you. I have many questions for you, but that can wait until the sun rises. Tonight, all Sootscales will stay inside ropes laid upon the grass. If any leave these ropes, they will be killed. Stay inside the ropes. Now I go to gather food and water for you Sootscales, and then you can rest."

He breathes heavily as he moves off to gather a cord of rope from his packs, as well as a large portion of his personal rations. What did she talk me into? Abadar, Master, if I am a complete idiot in all of this, please give me a sign by having a stone or other appropriate object strike me in my thick skull and knock some sense into me!

He moves back to the kobolds, noticing the few lizardfolk captives tied up and under guard. Better wait on that rock Master, for I still have work to do. I seek your guidance and blessing, for I must display the golden bolt and proclaim that lot as forfeit.

Male Human Samurai-Ronin 4/ Oracle-Battle 3 | AC 24/ T12/ F23, HP73, F+8/ R +4/ W +7, Init +1(Roll twice), Percep +6, Sense Motive +10

Sweet! Akiros' first battle! Bring it on B..I mean Witches!

Perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (12) + 1 = 13
Note to self: Put Ranks Into Perception

As he comes into the basement room and sees the horror before him, the blood of the once-paladin begins to boil in rage at the pure wrongness of what lies before him. That such evil could have been festering beneath the very streets of his city!

Suddenly a suspicion which had been brewing in him since meeting the woman who led them here bubbles to the surface and he turns to look behind him at Mrianne and give a warning to his companions"Corwin, Tandlara! Guard yourselves! And watch your backs!"
Sense Motive on Mrianne's reaction to seeing all of this: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15

His doing so however leaves him unprepared for the surprisingly fast attacks of the witches and their grotesque leader. He just barely dodges a magical ray which for a flash leaves him feeling weakened. He is not able to dodge the hag though and she scores a hit on his cheek with her talons.
Fort Save DC16: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17

Once again he feels his strength being magically sapped but the general is made of sturdy stuff and he manages to resist the hag's evil powers. Controlled fury fueling his limbs he roars out his challenge "Our Sanctuary shall never fall to your evil, Hag, for you die on my blade this day!" and he swings into her hideous flesh, gouging a large slash and causing her foul blood to splash against the crones behind her.
Challenge Attack: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (6) + 12 = 18
Damage: 1d10 + 11 ⇒ (4) + 11 = 15

Round 1, Initiative 11
hp 42/47; AC 21/11T/20FF/20CMD; +6F/+2R/+4W (+2 vs Fear)
(23AC vs Hag, 19AC vs others)
Buffs: none
Effects: none

I'm assuming the Hag is now fully blocking the doorway, yes?

"There's much more than we see here on this world," Jemini tells Nikolai. "You and me can vouch for that particularly well." She motions to Verik who's administering to the kobolds, "How much of what we do is our nature? And how much is nurture? I've seen things of astonishing bravery and righteousness - and likewise I've seen the depths to which people may stoop. Of the creatures native to the land we walk, I haven't seen any more ferociously evil and unpretentiously good than us humans. And the largest part of that is based on how we are born, where we grow up - the people around us and how they treat us." She nods again to the kobolds. "Perhaps these cannot be made useful - perhaps they'll even be a danger to our nation if left free; but what of their children? And their children's children? What if we can foster a better tomorrow by starting with a little today?"

male human barbarian 5, ranger 3

Nikolai gives the speech an honest listen, but the look of confusion never leaves his face. But you have told me the wicked take through strength, and that cowards allow despots to rule them. Can we not teach their younger generations that their barbarism has consequences? Suppose we save more worthy lives by killing the warriors and pro
ising to exterminate them if they attack more travellers?

The big man looks down at Jemini and lowers his voice. After all, what did it take to reach me? Strength. Punishment. Death.

Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 7th / Fighter 1st / AC 24/10T/24F / HP 61 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +14

After he finishes laying out the rope in roughly a 12' x 12' square, he orders the kobolds with a stern voice to move within its perimeter, handing out what rations of salted beef, dried biscuits and hard cheese that he has with him, channeling fresh water into a partially broken but serviceable wooden barrel moved nearby. Asking the gnomes for assistance on the watch tonight of their captives, he also asks them for a small iron pot not used for cooking and the use of their fire.

Stifling a yawn and with slightly slumped shoulders, Verik's face is hard as he removes ten gold coins from a belt pouch and drops them into the pot. Drawing out a crossbow bolt from his case and setting it gingerly on the ground, he closes his eyes and prays, a hand pressed to his golden key symbol. He then moves the pot into the fire, watching the gold coins slowly lose their shape.

Male Human Heretic 5 Master of Many Styles 1


It's not as if Taisper had never seen slaves before. Granted they weren't particularly common in Alkenstar, but they were there, and in fact what few were there seemed all to have pretty great clothes and food and drink, belonging as most of them did to the upper class citizens, the men and women with the money, who owned factories and buildings and...and...things. In his head, in his thoughts, Taisper knew that this wasn't true, knew that the reality of being a slave must be different from what he saw, knew intellectually that if being a slave was anything good, people wouldn't be dying to escape slavery, wouldn't be saving every last copper they could scrounge to buy their freedom, knew that Cayden Cailean need not exist.

But in his heart, Taisper just knew that whenever he went to the market with his mom (dad was always in the factory. always.), the slaves of the rich guys were buying the best stuff while they made do on his dad's meager wages. The slaves wore fancy clothes while he and his siblings were in threadbare hand-me-downs and church donations.

In his heart, Taisper thinks slavery probably isn't so bad. You were alive, you could buy things, you could work and do things. Despite all he's seen and done in the last year-plus, Taisper is still only 21, and this is still his first and only big trip out into the world. He has seen little, and knows very little. Worse, he does not know exactly how little he knows.

All this leads Taisper to the conclusion he expects the others would anticipate from him. The kobolds should all die. It's been so long since he's had to come to consensus on anything, his time in the woods and the wild, in the city streets and bars and alleys affording him the luxury of answering to no one's idea of justice save his own, that the inquisitor is now at a loss before the arguments of Jemini and Verik. He opens his mouth briefly to reply to his cousin, speaking to him in celestial, but closes it when Jemini speaks up. He opens it again to step in, but then shuts it again when Nikolai barrels up and makes his startling remarks, redolent of blood and metal. Now, as the three of them go at it, the golden-haired boy from beyond the wastes takes a few slow steps back, and quietly fades away from them. He's glad the suggestion to Judge the kobolds came from Staggy and not his own mouth, but the result is the same; debate.

Conflict rages in the inquisitor's mind. Civilization demands this. Debate, argument, discussion, consensus and compromise, rules and laws, all these are hallmarks of civilization. And yet I...I have no stomach for it. I know the answers already. They come from God. God speaks through me. I do His work. I send the Punished to the Vault, that He may make a perfect sinner, to add to the drawers and shelves and layers. He thinks back to the first encounters with lawbreakers, first in the trading post, then later in Kressel's makeshift fort. He thinks of his eagerness to Judge, right there in front of the others. I was so clumsy. I was so naive. I knew not my place.

...and that's right then you know where the blood sits and how much it waits what the balance is, boy, you know their eyes what they don't them eyes that they own what you gotta take you gotta just the LIGHT boy the LIGHT they all need to see then they'll know you just gotta one at a time down in the marrow where it waits, boy...where it wait...

In the end Taisper -- perhaps uncharaceristically -- keeps his silence, unaware that a part of him dies a little bit every time he does this; a part of him that must not die, but is falling all the same.

He watches his cousin, still helpless before the paladin, start tying the kobolds.

Well. I suppose that makes some things easier.

Later, he approaches him. "Verik, the gold there...what is it you're doing?" He speaks in celestial, not because he fears the others listening, but just to allow his cousin a chance to practice.

Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 7th / Fighter 1st / AC 24/10T/24F / HP 61 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +14

Attempting to suppress another yawn, Verik finishes dipping the crossbow bolt into the melted gold, covering it with an uneven but solid coating that makes the bolt unusable as a practical weapon. Verik holds up the bolt with a pair of borrowed iron tongs and inspects it critically with tired eyes, even as he replies in Celestial.

"I huux yu uplelnjel yrel bunsl yray avvusqacz a yalx ub Motwselcy, act bunsahhz sanx yrel qnivel yray soly pel qait, yrel lzspuh ub uon Salyeln ub yrel qnivel yu pel qait bun a qelcacvel ub jiuhelcy lelcticw yu yrel relnelabyeln."

"I look to observe the forms that accompany a task of Judgment, and formally mark the price that must be paid, the symbol of our Master of the price to be paid for a penance of violent sending to the hereafter."

Verik frowns at the last, and switches to Common for his next words. "It's hard to speak easily in that tongue cousin - it always sounds like I am heralding a proclamation or reading from the Numbers during a sermon. Well, I did not think to carry the golden bolt with me out here on these matters of judgment as the Justicars would...or a Seeker of your...Order...might perhaps? Crude craftsmanship to be sure, but somehow this seemed to be the best way to make up for my inadvertent transgression. Beyond the boundaries of my jurisdiction out here notwithstanding, I will not shy away from fulfilling my duties of Judgment. Still, now that you are here I would wish to hear your own thoughts on the captives, though I should guess some of it already."

Male Human Heretic 5 Master of Many Styles 1

"Verik..." Taisper chuckles softly, but his heart isn't in it. He glances over at where Nikolai is sitting, and where Berrin and Zander confer over maps. ain't you know so you just get the...

"Vusel uc, cuf, fel anel yrel uchz ucell uoy relnel tuicw yrel Salyeln'l fihh. Tuc'y pel bnolynayelt un alraselt ub lqelaxicw ic yrel hacwoawel yray'l uon niwry." Taisper starts, gazing levelly at Verik. "Yrulel Xupuhtl...Cixuhai'l niwry, I yricx, act sazpel lu il Melsici. Yrellel xupuhtl anel Motwelt bun fray yrelz rajel tucel, poy yrel uyreln xupuhtl...ib yrelz anel lu elaweln yu pel yrnufc icyu lhajelnz oquc pelicw vucdoelnelt, felhh, yray il a navel yray nellqelvyl unteln, ib cuy celvelllanihz haf. Yrelz vuoht pel pnuowry octeln Nohel. Cuy pz sel, yruowr. Fray I yricx tuellc'y nelahhz sayyeln. I tuc'y rajel yruowryl uc yrellel xictl ub sayyelnl. I as lisqhz Yuht. Nelvxuc zuo yaxel sz selacicw relnel, zelar?"

The inquisitor shifts his gaze, now looking flintily at the prisoners. He is absently fingering a small leather pouch on his belt. "I have so much to do..." he says softly, perhaps not realizing he said it out loud.

"Come on, now, we are the only ones out here doing the Master's will. Don't be frustrated or ashamed of speaking in the language that's our right. Those Kobolds...Nikolai's right, I think, and maybe so is Jemini. These kobolds are Judged for what they have done, but the other kobolds...if they are so eager to be thrown into slavery upon being conquered, well, that is a race that respects order, if not necessarily law. They could be brought under Rule. Not by me, though. What I think doesn't really matter. I don't have thoughts on these kinds of matters. I am simply Told. Reckon you take my meaning here, yeah?"

Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 7th / Fighter 1st / AC 24/10T/24F / HP 61 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +14

He briefly looks to his gaze, and nods. "Yes, I understand your meaning." Well for the most part anyway... "Much to do, but gains were made today by all accounts. No doubt the Master has more in store for us though."

Setting aside the bolt to cool, he looks once again to the captives. "I tu cuy xcuf fray yu saxel ub yrellel xupuhtl zely, act yrel vracvel ub neltelsqyiuc saz qnujel ocayyaicaphel bun yrels zely, bunvicw a bicah Motwselcy. Zely I wajel sz qnusilel yu Melsici, act fihh lyaz sz ract bun cuf ib yrelz upelz uon vussactl. I fihh tu yril bun reln laxel. Bun yrelin hikantbuhx salyelnl, cu doanyeln. Bun yrelin ynuhh nohelnl, cu doanyeln. Hely sel lqelax fiyr uon vusqaciucl lu yray yrelnel il cu octoel doannelh un lonqnilel uc yril, act yrelc yrel lelcyelcvel vac pel qnuvhaiselt act vannielt bunyr. I telbeln yu zuo ic yrel sacceln ub elgelvoyiuc bun yrel hikantselc."

"I do not know what to make of these kobolds, and the chance of redemption may prove unattainable for them yet, forcing a final Judgment. Yet I gave my promise to Jemini, and will stay my hand for now if they obey our commands. I will do this for her sake. For their lizardfolk masters, no quarter. For their troll rulers, no quarter. Let me speak with our companions so that there is no undue quarrel or surprise on this, and then the sentence can be proclaimed and carried forth. I defer to you in the manner of execution for the lizardmen."

Turning to find the others, he pauses a moment and reaches into his satchel, pulling forth a small parcel wrapped in fine cloth along with a few sheets of parchment with his seal. "Ah. I almost forgot yet again, but you reminded me of it just now of our shared past. Merry belated Taxfest Taisper...yes well not that you must open it now, but preferable before the dawn dedications." He hands both the parcel and the sealed letter to him.

Jemini chuckles a little. "Look at you?" She laughs, "You're a special case in almost any way you could name. I can really imagine that death was the only thing that could open your eyes to life." Her mirth settles a little as she expands, "Being raised from death is not something I would contemplate to change the ways of an entire people - or even just a clan. Irori teaches that who we strive to be is who we are. Who you are born as is important, of course, but it is not nearly as important as who you are taught to be."

Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 7th / Fighter 1st / AC 24/10T/24F / HP 61 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +14

Letter to Taisper:

14th of Gozran, 4709

Dear Taisper,

Greetings and merry Taxfest to you, my dear cousin. As usual, you are off somewhere where I cannot account for you, but I have faith in the Master that he will knock upon your thick forehead and remind you of your duties for the ‘Fest and to assist the poor overburdened Banker of Newhaven. Or at least attend one of the sermons. Thank the Lawgiver that I have Thomas and the other Clerk Initiates to prevent my early collapse from exhaustion, but I am heartened that we no longer had to keep up the ruse of your “training” under my direction, as I am certain we fooled no one. Yet I digress.

As I write this in preparation for tomorrow’s Taxfest, I cannot help but be reminded of this time last spring, what we had gone through and what we were about to endure. Strange, but it seems as if a span of years have passed and not just one. It also occurs to me that you and I have changed greatly since our initial journey up the Sellen, and I have come to reflect on those changes (to and between us) as the celebrations in our fledgling town draw near.

I freely admit that it has, at times, not been easy between us since we entered the Stolen Lands under the old Restov Charter. Although we both have dedicated our lives and souls to the Master of the First Vault, he seems to have very different plans for us. We both are forced to move in ways that do not exactly fit the foundations of the known and expected – as made clear by our “interactions” with the Archbanker of New Stetven this past summer. How then do we “know” when we must find the true but obscure road hidden in the underbrush of anarchy, or when we err and risk leaving the righteous path altogether? I must confess these thoughts have plagued my dreams for much of last year, both for me and for you. Surety of direction comes far easier in Absalom than here in the North, but I have faith in that it is the reason why we were chosen over others. After last Taxfest and Stagfall, I eventually found my footing in areas I had never expected, and apparently you have as well. Perhaps now where we could not have done previously, we may talk of these matters in mutual respect and trust, to enhance our understanding of what the Master intends for each of us.

In that light of understanding on the eve of our holy day, I shall confess something unto you now. After Jemini’s failed resurrection and the false accusations by the “Archbanker” in his blind hubris and ego, I wrote the correspondence to Absalom to confess all that we had done here, the presentation of the charges laid against us, and ultimately the request for either validation or dismissal of our mission. This much you know. You also know that I received clear confirmation from the Golden Conclave of Absalom on our status, appreciable resources, works of knowledge and assistance to carry on our work here, etc. This was joyous news, much better than I had expected, even though my belief in what we had accomplished had never wavered. The Archbankers were firm and resolute in their affirmations. All of this you know as I have told you.

Only one matter was I chided and given short shrift on, and it concerns you alone. For in my desire to see that you were not foully and unfairly accused by Vinodragov, I asked for clarification of your sect, for your superiors to know what was being stated against you, and for better understanding of your mission, so that I could defend you if necessary. The response was, shall I say, not entirely courteous! In short, the Archbanker and your “trainers” suggested I should stay out of your business, though they slightly acknowledged my concerns in your regard. Furthermore, no correspondence concerning you would be expected to pass through me as Banker of Newhaven, but that I would also not be held accountable for you directly or your actions. Beyond this roundabout validation of your mission, I am in the dark about you as I ever was, with two cryptic exceptions. First, that I should heed a request from “Hunters and Seekers” if they make themselves known to me, and that I would know their legitimacy. The second involves a request in writing from one of your brethren, which leads to my gift unto you this Taxfest, and shall be explained shortly.

Baffling and humbling to say the least, cousin, but at least I have the understanding to know that I should “not” understand, and leave the rest to our faith. Much do I not understand of this world, and much I am apparently not meant to, particularly where you are concerned. Yet, I have humility and faith and a small modicum of wisdom, and will endure. So while I will always seek to understand your thoughts, debate our differences and encourage participation in the arenas where we both dwell, I will relent in those places where you go but I cannot. Perhaps this should be my first “present” to you, but truth to tell it was not in my power to give in the first place.

Of course this does not mean that you are wholly free to do as you please within the boundaries of my jurisdiction! To cite such an example, Oleg has illustrated to me certain entries in the treasury rolls regarding “the Topaz Sisters” in a familiar script, and a certain wit about it that suggests your involvement? So we have some books to balance you and I, but as we are on the eve of celebration and commemoration, it can wait for a more proper time.

And now to the gift. In the stack of scrolls and tomes I received from Absalom came a note in a simple but sharply executed hand, addressed directly to me. This “Seeker of Absalom” gave no other name to me, though he knew me in turn well enough and made it apparent he was aware I had a small inclination for crafting. Attached was a scroll case containing aged parchment from a Justicar Dantius of Lastwall some two centuries prior, revelations for the crafting of a special dweomered candle that would “suit Taisper’s purpose” and “favor his hunt” and such. Containing clear notations on the reagents, materials, prayers and divine magicks necessary for it, it was a profound boon by one of your benefactors unto me, but also a test of faith and acceptance. No other information was I given, other than you would know what to do with it in prayer. Now two months later I have it finished for you, and hope it fulfills its intended purpose.

The orison’s light grows dim a fourth time now, and I must gain some semblance of rest before the ‘morrow’s dedications to our Master. Merry Taxfest cousin, and consider what I have put here, for despite our gains we are still a long ways off from the Inner Sea, and yet storms line up on the horizon.



A short thick beeswax candle in a golden hue, one that when lit carries a sharp aroma of black licorice. Unlike most candles it does not burn down, but the candle must be lit and extinguished by hand as any other.

An Imbued Votive from Genius Guide’s “Bell, Book and Candle” (page 9) - Verik is deducting 625gp from his funds.
Aura: minor evocation; CL: 1st
Slot: —; Price: 1,250 gp; Weight: —
If a divine spellcaster who prepares spells or a witch prepares spells in the presence of a lit imbued votive, the spellcaster can name one creature type. Any spell prepared during this time has its saving throw DC increased by +1 against creatures of the named type. An imbued votive can be used only once per day to enhance the spells of a single spellcaster.
Construction Requirements: Craft Wondrous Items, bane;
Cost: 625 gp.

Excellent post, V!

Male Human Fighter (Archer) 6

Zander shares space alongside the gnome wagon as he completes his copying. He had occasionally looked up when a gnome burial got particularity rambunctious, but he applied himself to get as much detail as he could before the light faded.

He hands the maps back to Master Narthropple, "Thank you so much for these. Once this troll business is completed I hope to find you still in or about Santuary. People with your talent are hard to come by in a fledgling country and I am sure we can find a place for you..I would confer now with my companions but....." Zander looks out and sees his group scattered over the camp in various conversations...."Like I said, once things settle back down back in Sanctuary."

Zander will eventually excuse himself and make his way to the Kobold 'pen'. He glances at the rope, the kobolds, the rope, and then Verrik and Taisper. "Ummmm, not much of jail we have going here. What's to keep them from just walking away or slitting our throats." He is not being entirely serious, as he knows the cousins must have some logic behind the inadequate security on the prisoners.

Male Human Cleric (Abadar) 7th / Fighter 1st / AC 24/10T/24F / HP 61 / F +10 R +3 W +11 / Init. +0 / Perc. +5 / Sense Motive +14

"Beyond penance of death if they break their word? Nothing as of yet."

Verik walks over to join Zander, watching the kobolds eat and drink and nudging the rope perimeter with his boot. "I figured the watch on them may be enough, and I did not want to be overly harsh for...her sake." Verik looks over at where Jemini and Nikolai are having a discussion and turns back to Zander, shrugging. "What we have discovered is that these ones were slaves to the trolls and lizardmen, and now they wish to serve us as slaves and obey, as we are the victors." He sighs audibly and swallows as if he's just swallowed something distasteful, before speaking in a quieter tone. "One of them speaks our tongue and can act as a guide, but I was not going to waste my time in dispensing to him the ills of slavery tonight, especially if it keeps them in line for now. The lizardmen under guard, however, are another matter entirely...I was coming to seek you and Berrin out about it..."

male human barbarian 5, ranger 3

Nikolai bristles at Jemini's mirth. He knows she does not mean to tease him, but her mentorship sometimes chafes. A special case? My point is exactly that it took death to open my eyes, and even now I wonder about the value of this moral struggle you embrace. These lizardmen and kobolds know nothing of those choices. They kill and pillage because it is their nature, and they are not shown a reason to civilize themselves. They have neither honor nor passion. If enough of them die brutally when they prey on women and children, some of them may learn. It is a hard lesson, Jemini. But some require such hardness. If your friends had not finished me, we would not share what we now do. Bloodshed is the tool of history, even among you crusaders.

Round 1, Initiative 9
Corwin: 40/40 hp, AC 21/12T/19FF, +8F/+3R/+5W

Glaive vs Hag 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (5) + 10 = 15

Corwin brings his glaive up against the hag, but the long-hafted weapon is unwieldy in such a narrow quarter. It narrowly misses the hideous creature, as well as Akiros.

Round 1, Initiative 7
Tandlara: 27/27 hp; AC 17/17T/14FF; +3F/+6R/+7W

Command vs. Hag (DC 15) 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20

Tandlara grabs one of the fetishes around her waist and hisses a curse in a language as foul as used by the hag's coven. She points at the hag and whispers something, but the hag merely laughs at her. "You think you know power, little girl? You are nothing!" Tandlara's face twists in hate as she draws deeper to affect the creature.

Round 2, Initiative 16
Witches (6): hp 7/7; AC 11/11T/10FF

Witch (H5) Aid Another (H8) 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15
Witch (G6) Aid Another (H8) 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21
Witch (K5) Aid Another (K8) 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (13) + 3 = 16
Witch (L6) Aid Another (K8) 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11
Witch (H8) Ready Action
Witch (K8) Ready Action

Round 1, Initiative 14
Hag: hp 43/58; AC 19/11T/18FF; +6F/+7R/+7W

FRA: Withdraw to I8/J8/I9/J9

"Sisters, sow the seeds of hate in these interlopers! Join your strength to mine!" The hag steps back carefully, avoiding both Akiros and Corwin's weapons. Already bleeding from Akiros's sharp blade, she appears loathe to allow another strike. She picks up one of the discarded arms of whatever poor soul was once sacrificed there and bites into it, tearing the flesh and swallowing it. It isn't clear whether

Tandlara Spellcraft 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (20) + 12 = 32

Tandlara points to the coven. "Kill the others! Without them, she cannot cast her strongest magics! Kill them now!" When she sees what the witches have planned, she beckons a warning to Akiros. "Move with care! Their magic together can draw your strength from your body!"

Male Human Samurai-Ronin 4/ Oracle-Battle 3 | AC 24/ T12/ F23, HP73, F+8/ R +4/ W +7, Init +1(Roll twice), Percep +6, Sense Motive +10

Round 2, Initiative 11
hp 42/47; AC 21/11T/20FF/20CMD; +6F/+2R/+4W (+2 vs Fear)
(23AC vs Hag, 17AC vs others, this round, due to Cleave & Challenge)
Buffs: none
Effects: none

Akiros nods his response to Tandlara and, making sure to leave enough room for Crowin to fight properly with his weapon, the general takes several quick steps forward and to the right, ending up between two of the witches. There he unleashes two wicked slashes with his blade, slicing off the head of one and cutting the other clean in twain, so powerful is the controlled anger fuelling his swings.

Power Attack & Damage F5 witch: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (19) + 8 = 271d10 + 11 ⇒ (4) + 11 = 15
Cleave Power Attack & Damage E6 witch: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 201d10 + 11 ⇒ (1) + 11 = 12
(just for fun) Crit confirm: Power Attack & Damage E5 witch: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (2) + 10 = 121d10 + 11 ⇒ (9) + 11 = 20 Total Damage on 1st attack= 35 :D

MA to E5
SA Power Attack with Cleave

18 Gozran 4709

As morning breaks over the eastern horizon, the whole of the captured kobolds remains inside the rope. None of them seem particularly intent on escape or insurrection, though the lizardfolk remain well-bound. Narthropple had the clever idea overnight of lashing their jaws shut to best avoid being surprised by sharp teeth in the back.

Narthropple and his remaining gnomes wave, bow, curtsy, and otherwise show their respect to the Founders for saving them. One gives a rude gesture with his hands, but the smile on his face shows it to be another of the gnomes' odd practices. They set off to the north to cross the Gudrin River (now with one fewer hydra to threaten the crossing) and bring their wares and prisoners to Sanctuary. The kobolds, minus the guide left with the Founders, happily march in front, while the lizardfolk have to be prodded with gnomish spears regularly.

The Sootscale guide points to the southwest, towards the shore of the Tuskwater Lake. The kobold appears pleased to guide them, especially since Narthropple donated a pony for the Sootscale to ride, as to not slow them down too much. The pony walks more slowly than the full-grown horses ridden by the Founders, but it is of no matter. The sun soon beams down on them from a cloudless sky, giving them a full view of the plains in all direction. Miles to the west, the Tuskwater glitters in the sun. It grows closer as the hours wear on until they are riding alongside the coast.

The Founders reach a point where the land sharply cuts to the west, forming a peninsula of sorts where the narrow river joins the Tuskwater and Candlemere lakes. The kobold guide points in several directions. "We cross river into swamp? Lizardman lands there. Crazy-man too." He points to the Candlemere Lake itself, where a small island is a dot in the distance. "Tower in lake haunted... Sootscales swim there, never swim back." Lastly, he points to the south, where the plains are. "Most easy way! Just watch for Howl. Area is Howl's."

Round 2, Initiative 11
Witch (H8) - Readied Action - Ray of Enfeeblement vs Akiros 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2
Witch (K8) - Readied Action - Ray of Enfeeblement vs Akiros 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (15) + 1 = 16
-> Strength damage 1d6 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
--> Akiros Fortitude save 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10 (You can use your resolve class ability for a re-roll if you want.)

The remaining witches do not cower in fear of Akiros, who quickly dispatches two of their number. The two in the back finish muttering their vile tongue and point to Akiros as one. Thin green rays shoot out of their fingers, their enervating energy apparent in their sickly color. Akiros dodges the first easily, but in doing so cannot avoid the second one. He feels the energy sap from him as the ray hits him squarely in the chest.

Round 2, Initiative 10
Mrianne: 44/44 hp, AC 17/10T/15FF, +7F/+6R/+9W

FA: Judgment of Destruction
FRA: Dagger vs. Corwin 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (14) + 11 = 25
-> Damage 1d4 + 7 + 1d6 ⇒ (2) + 7 + (2) = 11
--> Fortitude save vs Poison 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 20
Dagger vs. Corwin 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (15) + 6 = 21
-> Damage 1d4 + 7 + 1d6 ⇒ (1) + 7 + (1) = 9

Suddenly, Mrianne shoves a blade into Corwin's back without warning. He grunts in pain as acid drips out of the wound, along with a dark ichor unmistakeable as poison. He looks back at her with a look of anger at her betrayal. She takes a step back and points her dagger at both him and Tandlara. "Gyronna will claim this city, and you will watch it burn!" She glows with a red-tinged aura, similar to when Taisper calls upon Abadar to smite his enemies.

Round 2, Initiative 9
Corwin: 12/48 hp, AC 19/10T/17FF, +9F/+3R/+6W

FA: Rage
MA: Acrobatics Move vs. Mrianne 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11
SA: Glaive vs. Mrianne 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (7) + 10 = 17

With a roar, Corwin takes a step back to get enough room to attack Mrianne, bringing his glaive up against his betrayer. It remains too unwieldy to effectively use, especially in his anger, and she dodges out of the way easily. He shouts at her, "I'm going to kill you, witch!"

Mrianne - Attack of Opportunity vs Corwin 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (18) + 11 = 29
-> Damage 1d4 + 7 + 1d6 ⇒ (4) + 7 + (5) = 16

As Corwin scrambles away to get far enough to use his polearm effectively, he leaves himself open to another slash from Mrianne's wicked curved dagger. He nearly stumbles as she cuts into his leg, clearly unprepared for her unexpected betrayal and unexpected strength.

Round 2, Initiative 7
Tandlara: 27/27 hp; AC 17/17T/14FF; +3F/+6R/+7W

SA: Evil Eye vs. Mrianne - Will Save DC 16 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (12) + 9 = 21

Tandlara hisses at Mrianne, cursing at her and swaying as she calls upon whatever dark magic she uses. A part of Tandlara's shadow lurches forward and attacks Mrianne's, but quickly fades away. The woman appears confused and unsure of herself for the briefest of moments, but it quickly passes.

Round 3, Initiative 16
Witches (4): hp 7/7; AC 11/11T/10FF

Witch (K5) - Delay to Initiative 14
Witch (L6) - Delay to Initiative 14

Round 3, Initiative 14
Hag: hp 43/58; AC 19/11T/18FF; +6F/+7R/+7W

FRA: Call Coven - Spellcasting

Together with the remaining witches on the side of the room nearest Corwin, the hideous hag takes what remains of the half-eaten arm and breaks it in half. She smears the blood across herself quickly before beginning a chant. "KAEHHTFKA SHEFAANKAAK REKESHHA!" The other two join in the chant as well, despite the clear danger of Akiros and Corwin approaching them.

Map Link

Male Human Samurai-Ronin 4/ Oracle-Battle 3 | AC 24/ T12/ F23, HP73, F+8/ R +4/ W +7, Init +1(Roll twice), Percep +6, Sense Motive +10

Glad you're feeling better DM B. Two questions- Wasn't Corwin's attack of 17 a hit against Mrianne's AC17? And what's the DC for the ray of enfeeblement?

Her AC was 19 at the time. It got reduced by 2 by Tandlara's Evil Eye ability for 1 round. The DC on the ray is 15 (Fortitude).

Male Human Samurai-Ronin 4/ Oracle-Battle 3 | AC 24/ T12/ F23, HP73, F+8/ R +4/ W +7, Init +1(Roll twice), Percep +6, Sense Motive +10

Ah, ok cool, thanks. Believe I may just use a Hero point on that then, cuz -6 STR?? Yikes!

Round 3, Initiative 11
HP 42/47; AC 21/11T/20FF/20CMD; +6F/+2R/+4W (+2 vs Fear)
(19AC vs Hag, 15AC vs others this round, due to Charge & Challenge)
Buffs: none
Effects: Challenge vs Hag
Hero Points 3 remaining

Resolve/Resolute Fort Save with Hero Point 1/2 uses remaining: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (2) + 14 = 16 Phew!

As the sickly green ray smacks him in the chest, Akiros immediately feels his great strength drain away from him, even just holding his sword and wearing his armour suddenly feel much more difficult and his blade dips as his knees slightly sag. But the general is made of sterner stuff than to give in and give up so easily. As thoughts and images of the many people who depend on him and the horrors that would be unleashed on the town were this coven of witches to win this battle flow through him, by digging deep down within himself he feels the ability to resist this foul magic begin to arise. With a surge of his returning strength and a mighty roar of defiance the warrior shouts "NO!" and charges the foul hag, swinging his blade in a deadly arc.

Charge/Challenge/Power attack: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (16) + 12 = 28
Damage: 1d10 + 15 ⇒ (2) + 15 = 17

As his blade slices though the hag's disgusting flesh, the skilled warrior continues his swing, using its momentum to also drive his blade into the witch beside her.
Cleave/Power Attack vs Witch: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (14) + 8 = 22
Damage: 1d10 + 11 ⇒ (9) + 11 = 20
Again slicing his foe clean in two, the witch's upper torso falling one way, her lower, the other.

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