"There is nothing remarkable about the spellbook itself. It has 15 arcane spells inscribed within." He hands the book to Hrafen. "Perhaps you will be able to put this to better use."
Taking the wand, he intently peers at it, 'feeling' it with his inner eye for its enchantment. "The wand seems to resist my examination. It incorporates several schools of magic much like a rod of wonder, but mostly evil and chaos rather than chaotic "primal" magic." He turns it over in his hands, knitting his eyebrows in concern. "The only persons who could use this are likely to be... antisocial. I suggest we destroy it. The wand it too chaotic in nature to be relied upon to change these goats back to whatever they were before. It may turn them inside-out, or replace their blood with acid, rather than restore their original form."
I look to Dieter, "I would rather leave them as goats than have the chance of killing them." I then look to the others, "These other items look to be made of good quality, can any of you see if they are worth much?" I point to the pile of unidentified items.
I am happy to spend the night here.
"The wand is evil so it should be destroyed, yet I don't wish to leave other innocents trapped in a body not their own."
Vorik grumbles in frustration, "Perhaps we need to locate this 'Witchmarket' mentioned in the halfling's notes? If that's where the wand came from, we might find more insight into its use and destruction?"
As far as I can tell, Dieter is the only person with Spellcraft, so if we want to identify items, he needs to make some rolls :-P
"We might as well stay here; it should provide some respite from the elements, at least."
Hrafen then grins.
"Besides which, it will be nice to have access to a proper kitchen for once. One can only enjoy so much campfire cooking..."
He then nods to Vorik.
"I am not keen to hang on to the wand, either, but I think we should see what we can do for these poor souls..."
Let's take a look...
Spellcraft 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26
Spellcraft 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
Spellcraft 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (20) + 7 = 27
Spellcraft 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (2) + 7 = 9
Spellcraft 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (16) + 7 = 23
Spellcraft 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13
didn't mean to put the wand in there, but that was a good roll. You will figure it out when you examine it in the morning.
+1 leaf armor
gem is probably an Ioun stone, but you don't know what it's properties are.
cloak of resistance +1
headband is most likely an intelligence boost, but you can't tell for sure.
"Perhaps you are on to something, Vorik. Did the halfling's notes mention where to find this witchmarket?"
I pick up the headband, looking at it admiringly, then turn my attention to Vladimir. "The notes don't give us much of a clue, just that it has something to do with the wand, a minor Fey-lord and the first-world. Maybe finding a way to speak with the goats would enable them to tell us where this market is and we may find someone to reverse the curse they are living?"
I look back to the head-band, hold it up and look to the group, "Mind if I have this? It is quite beautiful and I could use it to keep my hair out of my eyes."
"That's an idea." he says in response to Jaestra's comment about speaking with the goats.
Turning his attention to Dieter, the swordsman asks, "In my travels I have seen many druids be able to speak with animals, is this something you may be able to do?"
Glancing back over toward Jaestra when she asks about the headband, "As long as it is safe," he says shooting a questioning look toward Dieter, "I am sure it will look lovely on you." Vladimir says with a smile.
Dieter reveals the nature of the items he has inspected. "I can attempt to identify the properties of these two other items tomorrow. If no one minds, I would prefer to use the leaf armor. It is far superior to this leather armor I am currently using. Is this agreeable?"
"It might be a bit small for you, Dieter - he was a halfling, after all..."
I am imagining a 5'10" person trying to fit into armor sized for someone around 2'8" ;-)
The sling and armor are both small sized, since they were being used by a halfling, so the only person who can wear / use them would be me, but I do not want either item.
Dieter suddenly straightens and clears his throat. "Ah.... you are correct. Perhaps we should simply sell them. Would anyone mind, then, if I were to use the cloak?"
If Dieter says the headband is safe, I shall don it and find somewhere to sleep. I find a less cramped corner and manage to make myself comfortable, before drifting off I look to Vorik, "Please wake me for my shift; Sir Vorik."
Perception : 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (9) + 12 = 21 (For on my shift)
With a simple nod and smile Vorik acknowledges Jaestra's request. Turning back to the rest of the items identified by Dieter he shakes his head.
"Doesn't look like anything there of use to me. I think I'll go see if I can try to communicate with the wizards former victims."
With that he walks back down to the fenced area where the goats are held and spends the next hour or so trying to find out who they are and if they know how to regain their former forms using a series of yes and no questions.
Sense Motive 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8
Diplomacy 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11
It was worth a shot. :)
You find out quite a few things, but not how to regain their forms and not the halfling Mulky's relationship to them or his motive. (you are also unsure how to detect deception in a goat nod... )
They nod yes to this place having been their home, they were once human... husband and wife, and they have been like this for a year or so.
Feel free to add some yes/no questions if there is something else you can think of. They are currently friendly, so you most likely won't need a diplo roll
Vorik continues to work with goats trying to learn more about the two. Especially if they know anything about the 'Witchmarket' or other information that might help them regain their form.
Not having much success, he tries to make them as comfortable as possible (for goats) and then turns his attentions to Mulky. He checks the halflings bindings to make sure they are still tight and prevent any magical mischief. Then, since the vile man might be the only way to restore the victims, he places his hands over the mans wounds and calls on the powers of good to heal the worst of damage. Soon the glow of healing silver energy trickles from the paladin's hands to the wounds causing them to slowly close and heal.
Vorik will also Detect Evil on the goats while talking with them just to be sure.
Lay on Hands(Mulky) 1d6 ⇒ 3
Lay on hands(Mulky) 1d6 ⇒ 3
When Hrafen sees Vorik healing Mulky, he shakes his head sadly.
"I know that he has done terrible things, and that he tried to do them to us as well, but I cannot help but feel a little sorry for him..."
There but for the grace of Cayden be I...
Still, he makes sure that the Halfling's bond are well-tied.
We would not want him re-summoning that Fey monster.
Mulky's eyes start to flutter open. A few moments later he comes to, and starts to process his current situation. "Whu whu What.. where? Where is it? Wh-where is it? You've taken the wand!" His stammering turns to blubbering as tears well up in his eyes.
Vorik - the goats do not radiate an evil aura
As Mulky wakes up, Vorik leans over the halfling and with a grim voice says, "Aye. We've taken your little toy, and if you've any desire to save your wicked hide you'll answer our questions and try no more arcane trickery."
"Now let's you and I sit here and have a nice quiet peaceful chat. You can start by telling me all you know about that wand and how to change those folk back into their human form."
Diplomacy 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (18) + 8 = 26
Panic and rage flash across Mulky's face as Vorik starts to speak, but his expression softens a bit as the paladin continues.
"I.. uh.. I took it. The hag at the witchmarket said I couldn't afford the cost, so I took it. I wanted something to get rid of them, not hurt them. She said she had just the thing but I couldn't afford the cost. They had my daughter, and said I was not fit to raise her... my daughter! But when it happened, my daughter screamed no... and attacked me... tried to kill me, so... I.. I used the wand on her, and she disappeared."
Mulky stops for a second and briefly looks Vorik in the eye, possibly a bit of sanity returning, then continues - bowing his head again. "I believe it is a polymorph. It would take some sort of magic dispel or another polymorph to return them to human."
Listening in on the conversation, Vladimir asks, "Does the wand only turn its targets into goats, or can the wielder choose the form?"
Mulky shakes his head. "I just used it blindly. It turned them into goats... I don't know what it did to my daughter. She just... vanished. I fear that was the cost the hag spoke of."
"With each use, my thoughts turned darker... hard to think clearly at all. I sent my old companion away, and found Maury in my fevered dreams. I still feel it's power, but far weaker... My thoughts are my own again." He clears his throat, and scrunches his eyes as if to keep from sobbing.
Vorik shakes his head in disgust at the nearly weeping wizard. "You're own daughter." He growls. His hands flex a few times as he takes a few breathes to release the anger flowing through his body. Putting his trust in the gods since they granted him the power to heal the man he continues to ask questions, being sure to search his features for any signs of deception or attempt to escape.
"Surely the pits of the abyss are eager for your soul. Perhaps you can delay that journey if you continue to cooperate."
"Now tell us who your victims are and why you wanted to get rid of them." Leaning in close he adds in a deep growling voice, "And then tell us about the Witchmarket and the hag you stole the wand from."
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26
"I had work. Left her with them so I could take care of some business. Wasn't ever s'posed to be forever. When I came back, they wouldn't return her. Said I was unfit."
"Not long after that I came upon a caravan. Bunch of gypsies that s'posedly traveled through a rift to the First World. There was a hag named Yvrova who said she had just the thing to get my daughter back, with magic instead of violence. A powerful wand that would not hurt them, but make them unfit to raise my daughter. I asked how much. She said 1 gold, but that I couldn't afford it. I asked why not. She said "It will cost you everything you ask for."
What this clearly insane Yvrova did not know, was that my pet.. err companion - my old one - was a sneaky fellow. Accepted many jobs as a "liberator" of goods, and never lifted a finger. So I distracted the hag by having her read her cards for me, while my companion took what she said I couldn't afford."
He then shrugs.
No real deception in his words, or at least he seems to believe most of what he says. When he speaks about the couple who took his daughter is when it really seems like it is both an oversimplification and dramatic embellishment to win over his audience.
After quietly listening to the questioning of Mulky I look to him, "Work? What work did you have that meant you had to leave your own daughter behind?You have lost the first gift we ever receive and for that I feel sorry for you ... but it sounds like you drove her away."
This morning you have continued to inspect the wand, and have determined it is an intelligent cursed minor artifact. It has several powers, but ultimately is not controlled by the wielder.
Mulky continues to look vacantly at the ground as Jaestra speaks. "Maaybee I did." he then looks up toward her. "Had a job in Mivon to reclaim a family heirloom from some lesser noble's estate. Took a few years longer than expected when I was wrongfully imprisoned... Pegged for some crime while I was on the job."
"I am not sure that being imprisoned for a crime you did not commit is going to earn you any sympathy, considering you were there commit a different crime." Vladimir says with a smirk. "You still have not answered my friend's question about Witchmarket fully. Have you seen it since you acquired the wand? Any idea of its current whereabouts?"
Dieter comes up to the group, wrinkling his nose and holding the wand gingerly with a pair of tongs he found behind the cabin. "I had a chance to inspect this... thing again. It is an intelligent, cursed minor artifact. Very powerful and very dangerous. It has several powers, but ultimately is not controlled by the wielder. I suggest destroying it. If that is not possible, or too dangerous in itself, we can bury it in a lead-lined box."
"You're a right solid piece of work." Growls Vorik. "Playing with magics you've no business meddling with and now it's cost you your daughter and likely your soul."
"Who are these good folks you cursed? What happened to your daughters mother?"
When Dieter arrives, Vorik nods at the man's suggestion to destroy the wand. "Aye. Something like that should be kept out of the hands of folk like Mulky."
["You still have not answered my friend's question about Witchmarket fully. Have you seen it since you acquired the wand? Any idea of its current whereabouts?"
Milky shakes his head. "I have gone nowhere near the breach. No idea if it is still there, but I've had no intention to seek it out.He sits quietly frowning and sniffling a bit while the others speak, then responds to Vorik. "They were friends of the girl's mother. Well this little farm belonged to her mother, they worked for her. When she passed away, from natural causes, she left them the goat farm."
I head over to Dieter, "So is this headband dangerous or is it safe for me to wear it?"
"Hmm? Oh, yes, it is quite safe."
He continues examining the wand and pondering what to do with it. "You know, if we were to secure a lead-lined box, we could simply bury it deep under Oleg's trading post. Perhaps 10 feet under the compost heap. I doubt anyone is going to dig up a pile of refuse."
"If that bloody wand is really what drove Mulky here mad, why in the Nine Hells would we want that damned thing anywhere near Oleg and Svetlana? We do still like them, right?" the swordsman asks incredulously.
I smile when Dieter says that the headband is safe and I carefully put it on, making sure to pull any loose strands of hair out from underneath it. Once finished I look up to the others, "I am still in mind to return it to its master. Not only would we be returning stolen property, but in doing this she may return those harmed back into their true forms. Does this not sound like a nice solution?"
As the discussion of the wand continues Vorik turns away from Mulky and responds to Jaestra's question. "Normally, I would agree with your solution Jaestra. However, to me it doesn't seem that clear. First, this wand it clearly evil and quite chaotic in nature. Second, if we are to believe Mulky, it has the power to corrupt it's bearer. At this point we don't know if the corruption occurs only with use or simply by carrying the item. Either way the world is likely a better place without its existence at all. Finally, it may be impossible to find the original owner. While Mulky has been a little vague, I get the sense that finding this Witchmarket is not exactly easy. It could be this 'breach' is far outside of our jurisdiction. Nor would I trust anyone who has handled the wand as this hag must have. Surely she is likely to be a corrupted by its influence as the halfling, if not worse."
He pauses for a few seconds and then finishes up by saying, "I don't like bringing the wand back to Oleg's either Vladimir, but it may be our only choice until we can find a way to destroy it."
"The thing is, though, we don't know if destroying it would simply release all of its chaos in one almighty outpouring of magic. I am in favor of either learning more about it, or dumping it somehwere where no-one is likely to ever find it again..."
"I see your point Sir Vorik and I would not feel comfortable disobeying our orders. Does anyone know of any way that this could be destroyed? It looks like it could easily be broken over someones knee, how can something so thin and small cause so much fear and dread in brave wanderers? Hmm ... what about that mud pit we came across the other day? Surely if we put it in a box and put the box in there, no-one would be able to find it?"
Dieter nods to Vladimir. "You have a point, Ser Ducheski, but I'm afraid that I do not entirely know what would happen if we were to try to destroy this wand. It could erupt in a conflagration of hellfire, or simply snap like a twig. I do not know. I believe a lead-lined chest would prevent any influence it may have over people nearby, and burying it ten feet underneath the compost pile would prevent any accidental discovery."
"Until we have a better idea what could happen when we destroy the wand, Dieter's right." Says Vorik. Clearly uncomfortable with the choices he adds, "Under our care at Oleg's is probably the best place. The mud pit is a good idea Jaestra, but those giants seemed to be living in it. If another of their kind decided to move in, it might be they could easily discover the wand."
"I suppose our best move is to head back to Oleg's quickly with the wand and the goats. Both should be safer there while we try and figure out how to remedy both problems."
Once talk turns to leaving, the goats fall in line... ready to go. You descend the hill along the Thorn River, which you are able to follow as far as the area in which you spotted the faerie dragon and grigg. From there you turn northeast, and travel through a few miles of woods until you hit exit the treeline 10 or 12 miles southwest of Oleg's. By the time you get out of the Narlmarch Woods the sun is about an hour from setting.
The goats have been no trouble at all, but their pace is starting to slow down. Mulky has been quiet and at times a bit terse. He looks like a day long bad hangover, but has not caused any real problems for you on your trip back to Oleg's.
@DM Bloodgargler: My dot for this game disappeared, so your last post did not appear as a 'new' one on my campaign page. The other players may have had the same problem.
So... just to clarify, we are out of the forest, and on the grasslands, at present, but not yet within comfortable reach of Oleg's (i.e. We will need to camp the night)?
I have had the same problem.
So we have the option of camping just out of the Trading Post or force marching to the Post?
I turn to look at my travelling companions, "I think we should push on, it would be safer and the goats could sleep somewhere comfortable. How does this sound to everyone?"
"That sounds fine to me. We should check with those who are actually walking, though..."
Hrafen turns to regard the goats.
"I am sure that you must be weary, but if we press on for a bit longer, we will reach certain safety, rather than having to take our chances out here. What say you?"
"Agreed. We should push on. If there is someone who is having difficulties, they can ride on Shadow and I will walk."