Daxius has not taken his eyes off Janniven. In response to the questions posed to him, he replies "Ask her." He points at Janniven accusingly. "She has been watching the door nervously for a while now. Someone else is likely to come through that door soon. I would prefer to know their intentions in advance." He continues to watch Janniven expectantly.
Janniven looks quite taken aback: Daxius, I... this won't mean anything to the rest of you but Daxius should understand: I'm waiting for Arael. He should have been here by now.
She looks around the group: Arael normally does the talking, he's better at it than me. She lets out a sigh. Braces herself and then stands to deliver an impassioned speech.
The people of Westcrown labour under an unfair weight: capricious laws are cruelly enforced; criminal gangs plague the streets and the wilderness and every night we must cower in fear from the shadow beasts the government leaves to prowl our streets. Hellknights come and go as they please and yet our blasted Lord Mayor is more interested in the latest twisted opera from the capital.
Well, we say 'enough'!She bangs her hand on the table and her fork spins onto the floor: Westcrown deserves better: safer streets and safer nights. And if nobody else will doing anything about it then we'll do so ourselves! And we'd like you to be a part of it...
She peters out rather uncertainly at the end and looks around the room expectantly.
Knowledge Local checks 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8, 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14
"So I'm taking it by the way you're lookin' at the door that this Arael is late?" As Hyngrot says this he gets up and heads over to a window to peak out it. " 'cause if he is we may be wanting to think about the possibility of a quick escape. Especially considering those dangerous thoughts you just spoke"
Perception to look out the window for possible trouble 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (20) + 7 = 27 [ooc]
Intelligence check 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (10) + 3 = 13
Nicolai pales a few shades. "Meu zei! Do you realize what you're saying? If we did do anything, the Hellknights would be upon us in a heartbeat, not to mention the dottari." Nico shakes his head, and looks to all of you. "I know things are bad in this city...but what could we do without heading towards the gallows?"
Intelligence check:1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24
"I'm in. I'm as good as dead if I'm caught anyway, so might as well try and do some good before I take that last journey."
Astra turns to Nicolai, a smile on her lips and a fire in her eyes.
"What's the matter? Your blue blood running cold? trust me when I say this, there isn't going to be a way to help these people that doesn't risk having that pretty little neck of yours stretched."
Daxius looks extremely sheepish after Janniven's explanation. "My deepest apologies, ma'am. As you well know, there are...sensitive materials here, and the presence of these strangers has unsettled me perhaps more than I had realized." He then drags his chair back into place, making a shrill scraping noise that fills the awkward silence.
"You are entirely correct, Miss Vesper. In fact, the simple act of remaining here and not reporting this treasonous statement is enough to implicate us in a conspiracy, even though we have taken no actions ourselves. He looks around the room to see the effect his words have had on the others, then continues.
"I will not pretend I have not had these self-same thoughts, Miss Janniven, but I have not survived physically unscathed in my years working in an Asmodean temple by being incautious. I will not take any...political action unless and until I develop a great deal of trust in yourself and the others gathered here. I will, however, commit to action against the fell creatures that stalk the night. Perhaps by fighting these creatures together we might build a trusting relationship with one another."
He finally adds, "Not to belabor the point, but Arael's tardiness has rekindled my concerns that this gathering is a trap of sorts. I would be remiss if I did not reveal my deep suspicion of every one of you."
Knowledge (local) check: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 20
Knowledge (local) is high enough that Pontia automatically makes the final check.
The young wizard's absent-minded expression vanishes, replaced by a steely determination as she nods to Astra and Janniven. "Yes. I might be a fool for saying so in front of strangers, but something has to be done." She pauses and looks around, then continues, "I know of Arael. The work he's known for isn't like this, though--what are you suggesting we do?"
ETA: She sighs after Daxius finishes. "You're right to be suspicious, of course. But every day that we turn aside and pretend we don't see the--the myriad injustices around us leaves our souls that much more corroded than they were the day before. We all, no doubt, have much to lose...you, perhaps, more than I. Truth be told, I'm glad you've asked me here, Janniven. Because now I realize that I'd rather die working for something noble than live without a hope for a better Westcrown." She sits back down, looking somewhat embarrassed.
As you are talking you suddenly hear footsteps outside, a small boy tumble through the door, gasping for breath:
Janniven, they've got Arael!
He stops with a jerk and stares for a split-second at you all, clearly shocked to see other people there, then he goes on:
The dottari nabbed Arael, and the Hellknights of the Rack are wanting him too! I'm about twenty steps ahead of a bunch of hellknights!
The door has a bar but it has not been put across, the windows are all sturdily shuttered. You are in the main taproom of the inn, there are stairs up, and two ground floor exits, one has a closed door and the other leads to the kitchen.
Does the other exit lead out into the same street as the door through which the boy came? Also, is there another exit out of the kitchen - a back door?
Does Daxius know the boy? If not..
"What's your name, lad?"Daxius observes the boy carefully.
Sense Motive1d20 + 8 ⇒ (13) + 8 = 21
The bar slots firmly into place.
Janniven rushes behind the bar and swings open a trapdoor.
Quickly, everyone, this way!
There is an old storeroom behind one door, and no rear exit.
The upper storey has mostly sealed windows but a few are open to the air.
There is a trapdoor behind the bar that leads into a cellar.
Pushing away from the table, Nicolai gives out a quick Varisian curse, as he pulls out a small baton, as well as a small vial. He heads towards the revealed exit.
Nicolai pulled out his light mace and his extract of shield; he will quaff the later once an enemy is seen
Daxius is really beginning to feel like this is some sort of setup. He knows of no exit through the cellar, but doesn't fancy their chances with any other egress options either.
Quickly deciding that there's strength in numbers, even potentially treacherous numbers, Daxius strides over to the trapdoor and holds it for Janniven. "Ladies first."
Once Janniven has climbed into the cellar with everyone else, Daxius will be more assured that she's playing it straight. He'll see that everyone else is through, then he'll climb down last, closing the door over his head.
Janniven ushers the boy down the cellar, calling him Morosino, and follows:
In the dimness of the cellar Janniven bangs a sunrod against the wall and you are bathed in a soft radiance.
She opens a large old cupboard and begins taking the shelves down, carefully placing the old plates and cups on the floor before removing the actual shelf.
I'm assuming that Daxius wouldn't have brought a heavy crossbow to the dinner table, but if it were anywhere in grabbing distance, he grabbed it on the way to the trap door. If it's upstairs in his room, he won't risk taking the time to fetch it.
When Daxius sees the light come on, he takes one last quick look around to ensure that everyone has made it through the trap door, then closes it.
If there's a bolt or any other way to secure the door from this side, he'll do so.
Daxius raises an eyebrow when he sees Janniven's actions. He'd been in the cellar many times, and had no idea there was some sort of hidden exit. While she works, he casts a quick light spell on his sheild. He faces the sheild toward her work area, but downward so that the light isn't shining up through the cracks around the trap door.
Hyngrot will stay ahead of the group. If there are any twists or turns, he'll look for trouble, then wait for the others to catch up and ask Janniven which path to take. His shield will be away but his scimitar will be drawn.
Sword in hand, Hyngrot stealthily leads the group into the passageway behind the shelves. As he passes Janniven, he whispers, "Make sure to let me know which paths to take."
Is Janniven coming with the party?
Seeing how the passage was concealed, Pontia asks, "How much time do you think we have? I have some minor magics that would help restore the shelf and obscure our trail after we go, if you believe it wise."
Janniven turns enthusiastically to Pontia: That would be great. They'll go through the tavern like a whilrwind.
Hold a second, Hyngrot, the sewers are difficult to exit: we have marked a route. Janiven produces some chalk and scratches a two-pointed arrowhead on the wall, then wipes it away. It should lead to our safe-house. Please erase them as you go.
Janiven pulls a brick out of the wall and hands a small sack to Nicolai
The sewer is a tight fit, 5ft tall and 5ft wide, with a ledge about 2 ft wide running alongside an open sewer. The water is dirty but not profoundly disgusting because it flows with some speed.
Medium characters are squeezing: running and exciting behaviour requires a dc10 acrobatics check. You can walk normally along the tunnels
A loud banging and some shouting can be heard from the tavern above.
Once everyone is out of the basement room, Pontia casts prestidigitation to clean the floor, then casts mage hand and replaces as much of the shelving and dishes as she can before it's time to close up the panel.
Once Pontia closes the panel the only light is from Jannivn's sunrod.
With the shadows of your companions you can just about make out the person in front of you but little more.
Clear vision is 5ft, 10ft dim. Darkvision functions normally and low-light vision has the normal effect.
Thankyou Things are better lit from the rear. Daxius' shield illuminating the passage around him and throwing long shadows forward.
Assuming you bunch together, light is about 10ft ahead of you and dim light correspondingly lengthy.
The sewers are a seamless architectural wonder, except for the smell.
I'll wait for everyone to post before we move on.
Nicolai looks at the items that Janiven gave him quickly, and nods. "These may come in handy - I doubt whoever may be pursuing us are simple guards." He then quickly falls in line, just ahead of Daxius.
I'm assuming Astra is behind Hyngrot, unless someone else has staked that claim.
Astra falls in line behind Hyngrot. Her nerves are still showing, but she deftly picks her way along the narrow ledge.
As they move down the tunnel she whispers back to Janiven
"I don't suppose we can risk running by my place so I can get something a bit more protective than a thin tunic?"
Janniven whispers a reply to Astra, their voices echoing weirdly off the dank tunnels:
We don't know if they've seen any of us yet.
A bundle of twisted wood and vines floats by, the wake sending a thin layer of dirty water onto the walkway.
We should get to the safe-house, most of the drains are sealed
Finding the paths is simple once you know what to expect, when you make your second turning, Janniven breathes a sigh of relief:
They'll find it harder to mark the light now. She explains.
As you near a T-junction you see that the path crosses the sewer-stream and an old wooden door is lain over the sewer as a makeshift bridge.
Strange, amorphous rodents can be seen just beyond the 'bridge', they shimmer weirdly in the light:
These 'rodents' are peculiarly common in Westcrown, they are Torbles: a type of ooze-creature that eats rodents and large insects.
Knowledge (local) check: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (15) + 8 = 23
As she steadies herself with her staff, Pontia murmurs, "Torbles. They're not supposed to be dangerous, unless you're smaller vermin than they are."
She continues in as low a voice as can be heard. "Janniven, who among you knew our names? And please tell me you left nothing in writing in the tavern...."
Daxius resists his natural urge to direct the group from the back, leaving the decisions to those in the front.
Every twenty feet or so, he turns around to fully face the tunnels behind them. He tries to tune out what's going on in the group and detect any sound, light or motion coming from their pursuers.
I'll roll 3 checks for now. Let me know if you need more.
Perception1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19
Perception1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22
Perception1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26
You can hear muffled sounds of movement. The twisting, arched tunnels make distance or direction difficult to predict.
The arrows here lead over the bridge and past the Torbles.
You can cross and try to step past them, move further down and leap the 'stream' or come up with something else.
Map can be found here.
You are the red squares, Torbles are the circle.
Crossing the bridge or jumping will both require an acrobatics check: the bridge is particularly slimey and the damp conditions make leaping awkward.
Crap is the functional word here.
Daxius calls forward, "I hear movement behind us. We must assume it is our pursuers. Make haste."
Then he watches as Nicolai slips on the bridge.
Assuming Nicolai does slip, can Daxius try to grab him and prevent him from falling? He's right behind him. He has no appropriate skills, so I'll try a strength check (same bonus if it's a dexterity check1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
If Nicolai falls in, Daxius will try to pull him out. Again with the strength check 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (11) + 2 = 13
Whenever the "falling into the poop" scenario is resolved:
Daxius moves carefully across the bridge.1d20 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7 He looks warily at the vermin, prepared to stomp them under foot if they make any aggressive moves.
Once Hyngrot and Astra are across the bridge, Pontia will reach her staff out for one of them to grab the end of, steadying her as she crosses the bridge herself.
Acrobatics check: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (14) + 1 = 15
Nicolai falls into the flowing water with a sound somewhere between a splash and a phlomph!
Although Daxius cannot save him, he quickly helps to yank Nicolai out of the water.
I presume Pontia is waiting for Astra or Hyngrot to respond
Janniven1d20 + 3 ⇒ (9) + 3 = 12
Morosino1d20 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7
Nicolai, please make a fortitude check
As Nicolai stumbles in the filth, Hyngrot weaves past the strange ooze-rodents more of the tiny creatures appear from cracks in the floor and walls, some even climb out of the filthy water... and they swarm toward him!
torbles initiative1d20 + 2 ⇒ (14) + 2 = 16