To reiterate the options (as I see them), you could (1) follow the coast to Carron, (2) follow the trail inland and/or try to find the road through the interior of the isle, or (3) do some random stuff I haven't anticipated (building a boat, swimming for the mainland, attempting to invent a TARDIS (HINT: this won't work without epic level magic), or other things). Also, you still have 2 horses and Jamros's pony. It is possible to double up on the horses, and would be faster than traveling on foot, although you would probably have to go around some of the more difficult terrains (remember, there are a ton of rocky cliffs along the coastline).
Okay Chris, you got me. I've been playing way too much diablo 3. :P
Going to get focused back on posting again!
Gareth, who has remained silent for much of the conversation, gives the party a concerned look. "Whaddya mean, she's beyond our skills? Master Vincenzo hired us, we saved the king, we survived a f*cking dragon! I mean, c'mon, if we're not the best, I don't know who is. Sounds to me like someone needs to sweep that lady off her feet. Carron can wait!"
As the majority position seems to be to travel inland...
You travel inland through sparse, semi-arid forested terrain. In the distance, you hear the nighttime hoots, roars, and other assorted noises of animals. Ankou zig-zags through the forest, seemingly following a general trajectory rather than an actual trail. Very late that night (around 1 AM), you arrive at a rocky bluff on the southern edge of the forest that overlooks an open plain. It looks like a decent place to make camp.
(Assuming you do camp here) The night passes uneventfully, and you wake refreshed the following morning.
Darn random encounter rolls letting me down...
Ankou Survival: 1d20 + 1 + 8 ⇒ (4) + 1 + 8 = 13
Untrained survival: +1 from wis, +8 from scent (ability), can track untrained.
2: 1d100 ⇒ 78
Okay, we're rolling again! Sorry about the delay; I've been distracted.
Ankou continues to lead the way over the grassy plains and through small patches of forest.
Around mid-day, as you travel through a stretch of forest, you enter a clearing and spot two large birds, each about six feet tall, feasting on a reptilian corpse.
They see you arrive and look up from their meal, calling angrily.
You hear rustling in the woods. There are more of these birds nearby, in the thickets to the north and southwest of you.
Gareth: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7
Jamros: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
Leto: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7
Martin: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (20) + 3 = 23
Pygrado: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
Survival:1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12
Kno. Nature:1d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21
Percp:1d20 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5
Ankou Percp: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (10) + 8 = 18
Be careful, these birds are a nasty piece of work. If they start running, don't chase them. They are known to set up ambushes.I'm going to try and skirt around them.
Martin moves carefully to P,13 with ankoul trying to not upset the birds.
The birds advance towards you, fluffing up their feathers and barking angrily at you. The southern one has its eyes firmly fixed on Martin, while the northern one watches the rest of you cautiously.
Pygrado et al. are up.
F18 half-charges Leto.
K8 half-charges Pygrado.
N9 half-charges Martin.
CONDITION FOR ALL: Party advances east of row 13.
Perception (Leto): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (17) + 3 = 20
Perception (Louis): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (17) + 9 = 26
Louis hisses at Leto. Leto nods his head and hisses back to him. Leto turns to the group "There are more of these birds in the thickets to the north and the southwest of us."
"Perhaps we should try to keep them away from us and scare them away rather than engage" A giant serpent thick as a giant tree around appears on squares I10, J10, K10, K11, K12, K13, J13, I13, H13 surrounding the party, it's face turning to look back and forth between the two thickets and the approaching birds.
Gareth grits his teeth. "I don't think they're just gonna let us walk around them. But here's to hoping you're right." He casts Divine Favor on himself and wait for the party to move before following suit. He seems to be uncomfortable with the current situation.
Survival:1d20 - 2 ⇒ (9) - 2 = 7
Let's try some empathy of the wild variety
Martin trys to signal to the birds that the group is not a threat to them.
1d20 + 4 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 4 + 2 = 25
BTW wild empathy acts as a diplomacy check.
DC=25+cha mod if the birds are hostile
DC=20+cha mod if the birds are unfriendly
Here's hoping they have a negative modifier on their cha. Which is likely because they are in fact animals.
The birds hesitate a moment, and with a chorus of barking calls, dash away. You hear crashing sounds within the nearby thickets, rapidly becoming more distant. All is soon silent in the area.
We're off initiative.
The reptilian corpse is big. Fully erect, this creature could have stood almost nine feet tall, but with its hunched back it more likely stood seven feet tall. It looks vaguely humanoid, insofar as it has powerfully-built arms and legs. It has a tail, and an elongated head with two long, forward-sweeping horns. It is covered in yellow-green scales, and has viciously long, sharp claws on its hands, as well as a mouth filled with razor-sharp teeth.
"It could be a temple to the element of fire itself. Alternately, there have been many civilizations before ours, with their own deities and cultures. You may have found a temple to a dead or dormant deity we don't have a name for. In either case, I suspect the goblins you mentioned were using it as a temple of Zarongel, their deity of fire, among other things. In any event, I'm afraid we don't keep any history books that describe this sort of thing. It would be... problematic, if a priesthood began teaching that gods could be anything but straightforward. You understand, I trust?"
"The stories of Sir Leonard go back a long time. Over a thousand years, if some of the tales are to be believed. He is more of a folkloric figure than a specific person. Over the years, various individuals have claimed the name, and they have shaped the region, for better or for worse. You probably found the grave of Tarbek Festinus, a powerful necromancer who adopted the title shortly before raising an army of undead and living dissidents in rebellion against Silverkeep. He was slain by one of the King's ancestors, did you know? Anyway, I've been to the site myself. It's a case of planar bleed. A ritual was performed in which an outsider was sacrificed, and their essence used to link the planes together."
After the birds take off, Gareth wipes sweat from his brow, pulls his hand away from the bowstring, and gives Martin a nod, "Nice going. That could have been trouble."
When the party starts to look over the reptile, Gareth gives it a glance. "What is that thing? It's huge. It must have at least put up a fight against those halflings. We'll have to keep our eyes open for those little guys."
The illusory snake or the dead, bipedal reptilian thing? I used a snake icon because I was in a hurry and didn't want to dig for a lizardman-like image.
You continue south-southwest. By early evening, you find an old brown cobblestone road. The area surrounding it is a flat, grassy plain, although thickets of trees can be seen dotting the landscape. Despite its apparent age, you notice that no plants grow on or over the road and that the cobblestones are remarkably smooth and precisely cut. In the distance to the east, you see a crooked stone tower. Ankou seems to want to go west, along the road.
You are drawn to some carvings on the side of the road. They look like ancient, faded runes. Residual traces of magic still cling to them, but they are long since weakened and impossible to identify. The road itself appears to be the product of exceptionally skilled masonry more so than magic.
I'm not sure... we're not here to investigate everything we run across; we're here to get to Carron. We're in the middle of a war zone, surrounded by monsters and Achaekek only knows what other hazards. If this is the road we're looking for, it's the fastest way to Carron and that's what we want.
As it looks like we have a 2-1 split in favor of following the road...
You follow Ankou west along the road. Night falls, and you make camp once more. Yet again, despite the calls and shrieks and other assorted nocturnal noises, the night passes uneventfully for you, and you awaken to a warm, sunny morning.
Also, what's your watch order?
Proposed Watch Order:
1) Leto and Pygrado
2) Martin and Ankou
3) Gareth and Jamros
Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.
You set out, following the road across grassy plains and through forested thickets. Mid-afternoon, as you trek through one such thicket, you hear a scream, a roar, and an explosion (a gunshot, although your characters might only recognize the sound from the vista. Leto hasn't heard the sound before).
Through the foliage ahead, you glimpse a beast like the one you saw dead yesterday, save for the fact that this one is bigger, standing ten feet tall hunched over. It roars and glares upwards at a blonde woman floating about twenty feet above its head (30 feet above the ground). She has one of the shorter fire-tubes in her hand, and wears a black tunic and light trousers. She is covered head to toe in dried blood, but appears unwounded. The creature is bleeding slightly from a puncture wound in its arm.
DM 2 (Blonde woman): 25+
DM 1 (Bigger critter): 14+
As you watch, the woman remains stationary in the air, runs a hand over her weapon, which glows red, before splitting into four identical copies of herself that float in the air above the beast. All four of her shout at you, "Keep away from its claws! These things are very fast!"
DM 2: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25
Gareth: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11
Jamros: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 8
Leto: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 2 = 22
Martin: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (11) + 3 = 14
Pygrado: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25
Number of images: 1d4 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3
Pygrado and Leto are up!
Pygrado dashes past the party, into the trees (~I18).
Roll to conceal it 1d20 + 13 - 4 - 5 ⇒ (17) + 13 - 4 - 5 = 21 I'm using my stealth modifier, but corrected for the mantis' size and subtracting a -5 for "terrible conditions" (i.e. I've never done this before). It's then modified for distance and distraction, and I added the situational bonus.
Leto runs to L13 to get in attack range of the creature.
"Fancy meeting you here" he says to the blonde woman.
Perception 1 (Leto): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (16) + 3 = 19
Perception 1 (Louis): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (13) + 9 = 22
Perception 2 (Leto): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (13) + 3 = 16
Perception 2 (Louis): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (5) + 9 = 14
"What are you planning Pygrado? I hope nothing foolish!"
The creature leaps into the air and swats at the woman. Its claw passes through one of the four copies, causing it to vanish. The creature lands nimbly, and roars in fury. The wound on its arm begins to close.
The mantis can be hidden from above the trees and from outside the grove, but not from anyone with you inside it.
From high above you, you hear a faint chuckle. You are not alone in this grove.
Pygrado and anyone in the woods with him may attempt the perception check.
Martin, Gareth, and Jamros are up!
Spellcraft:1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19
Perception:1d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 22
Perception:1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17
Jamros casts Bless.
All allys get +1 to attack (and consequently CMB)/saving throws against fear. The woman is just slightly too far to benefit (and if she isn't I don't think Jamros yet considers her an ally).
Gareth's arrow strikes the creature in the leg.
"Long story, and I'd appreciate it if you could help me deal with this thing!" The woman shouts in response to Leto and Gareth's calls, before loosing a rapid salvo of fiery blasts from her weapon. Two of the three shots strike the creature, while the third harmlessly impacts the road. She then lazily drifts to J9 (remaining at her current altitude of 30 feet above the ground), calling out to the creature in the playful manner one might use when addressing a pet, "Come here boy! Yes, pay attention to me rather than to the nice newcomers!"
Pygrado and Leto are up!
Gareth's arrow appears lodged both in the creature as well as in a tree way to the north (up in -A6).
Will save, DC 18