Bein thinks for a moment, trying to think of the best way to cross the river before deciding that caution was the better part of valor. He looked to Jack then. "In all honesty I haven't come across such a difficulty before so I have really nothing to add. I can attempt to ford across wtih Arundel and I alone and ascertain the difficulty of such a crossing. If we cross well enough then we can attempt to get the rest across in one quick swoop." If there are no objections Bein gives Arundel a light tap and advances to the shallowest area he can see and attempts to ford the river.
"If you want to try it, take care for branches that wash downstream, they are the biggest concern. We could try Finn's idea, or something like it. We can try to tie a rope to you and Arundel to keep you from being washed away, but it won't protect you from debris."
As Bein prepares to cross, Xarafine steps back and tunes her mind to his (casting message), then begins to gently hum "Horseman's Charge," a song used to train heavy cavalry to ride side-by-side in close formation (inspire competence ), +2 to skill check)
Bein begins to cross nervously, watching the river for approaching debris. After a tense few minutes, during which a few small branches pass harmlessly by, he makes it to the opposite shore with Arundel.
How are the rest of you crossing? On horseback? Leading horses? What order?
Finally on the other side of the river Bein finds a suitable and sturdy tree to hook the rope to.
If he is unable to find a sturdy tree~
Bein wraps the rope around a tree or around his lance once it is firmly rammed tip down into the ground and uses Arundel as an anchor in case something happens when the others cross.
While Arundel anchors the line he draws out his bow and stands on guard in case either side of their group is beset upon by attackers. "Best to have Finn and the Teacher cross next I believe! Let them each take one of the mules and then you Jack once they are clear and we can cover each other with bow's!" He wasn't too concerned if they did that or not, instead he turned his attention to his surrounding's and prepared for the worst.
Carefully and slowly Finnaber inches into the water on his horse and leading the mule, followed close behind by Xerafine as Jack and Bein watch from opposite banks. The water, at the deapest point reches up to the horses' saddles and the steady flow threatens to wash them away.
Just as Finnabar makes the far bank, a large jam of tree limbs dislodegs itself from further up the torrent and beggins washing towards her. Skillfully Xerafine touches the horses' flank with her heels and it manages to heave itself forward, up and out of the gushing water, its flank heaving with exersion.
A few moments later Jack leaves the riverbank and begins to cross. As he reaches the half-way point, a final tangle of branches from upriver falls loose and begins spialling its way towards him. Jack knees his horse forward but, already skittish because of the fast-flowing water, the beast refuses to move. Instead it bucks backwards, its eye rolling in terror. As Jack treis to reassert control the branch slams into the horses' side.
1d4 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4 Non-lethal damage to the horse, Another ride check to stay on the horse. If you fail the ride check make Dex DC 14 to hang on to the horse but be in the water.
If you fail the ride check we'll move into combat time.
Bein thankful the others had made it looks on in fear as Jack looked like he was going to be swept away. Seeing the horse starting to panic and the fact that Jack appeared to be as well made Bein all the more fearful. Once the trust was broken the horse would stop listening and the rolling in its eyes indicated that too. He forgot the one thing horses hated the most was being closed in and water was the worst place for it.
Not good... Not good at all! Come on Jack retain control keep his trust but don't push him too hard or it's all over!
He lifted his visor and cupped his hands to be heard over the din of crashing branches and flowing water. "If you panic he will too because he trusts you! Now pull his head to the left and right get him thinking clearly! You can do this man!" With that said he pushed the others out of the way clearing a path for the horse to clearly see that it had an open spot to flee too if it decided to push itself to the otherside.
@Hymen: This is an odd request but do you think handle animal could be used at range to aid someone making a ride check? Like I said odd request but it would fit th situation. If not Bein is just shouting some helpful advice being an average horse trainer. Aid Another - Handle animal1d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16
Thank goodness for you two! And actually I realized that should have been another +1 because inspire gives a +2
Staying alert and focusing on Bein's words, Jack takes them to heart as he takes a deep breath and forces himself to calm down, managing just to rebalance himself and reassert control on the reins, staying in saddle and keeping the horse from further backing into the river.
Still taking deep breaths and following Bein's advice, he leans and speaks softly to the horse, gently urging it forward. "That's it, and then we'll both be out of this mess."
Handle Animal1d20 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8 I'd try Wild Empathy, but it takes a minute and he's got a +0 modifier; Charisma is not Jack's strong point.
On the other hand, with a roll like that, maybe some animal diplomacy is in order.
Despite Jack's efforts his horse, panicked by the rushing water and the swirling debris continues to rear in the midst of the stream, its eyes rolling and its breaths coming in quick short labored bursts. Still stuck in the middle of the river Jack prods his horse to make progress...
Ride or handle animal DC 13 to get the horse to move forward and out of the water.
The rhythms of Xarafine's song gives Jack the final boost he needs to urge the horse forward finally. They emerge from the river, both Jack and the horse out of breath.
"I think we should give him a rest before we move on," Jack says, dismounting--and wobbling. He pats the horse's side, telling him he did a good job, and loosens some of its gear lighten its load (he will of course re-tighten everything before they set off again). Still he holds himself up, also checking on where he carefully stowed the mapping equipment to be sure nothing is amiss.
"The next time we come to something like this, I'm not going to suggest options... we just go the long way 'round." Despite his weariness and frustration, there is a hint of self-deprecating humor in his voice.
Sighing in relief Bein realizes he had been holding his breath in anticipation. When Jack finally got up unto their side of the river he approached and took hold of the reins so he could his work. "Once we have some downtime I will try to train them like Arundel. It won't fix everything but they won't be so skittish when it comes to a fight, but that training takes a lot of time. Other then that you did fine Jack, had this been a normal crossing it wouldn't have been so rough and you did well reining him in."
"Thanks the gods, you're safe Jack. You really had me worried at some point."
Shaking his head at Xarafine's suggestion, he adds: "I'm not sure staying into the forest is that safe. Let's ride back north following this side of the rive. I'll just take care of the horse and we should be good to go."
Coming to the side of Jack's horse to avoid frightening it, Finnabar digs into himself, sending forth some of his energy. "There, this will help you"
Bein nods at Finn's orders ready as always to obey and continued the mission. Once Jack and his steed were ready he got back in the saddle took up his lance and was ready to be off as well following Jack once more.
You work your way north and then east, following the line of the river as it winds through the forest. Your pace is slow thorough the trees, especially where the occasional swollen tributary joins with the main river adding water to its already heavy flow.
After two hours you finally emerge from the sheltered forest (into hex 31)- *I'm going to assume you continue to follow the river since it leads to the Staglord's fort according to your information.* You continue along the river's edge, the land rising on either side of it until the river (The Thorn) flows through a narrow gorge to your left. Just as the sun meets the horizon a bridge comes into view across the gorge's expanse. The bridge is a crude wooden construction, and creeks ominously in the breeze as the river rushes through the narrow gorge 50ft below.
I will be away from home for the next three days and may not have easy internet access. Apologies in advance if I don't post for a few days.
"I don't like the looks of that bridge. Maybe we should find a safe place we can leave the horses--probably better to test our weight on it than theirs. After all they've been through, they'd probably like a spot where they can just sit and eat awhile anyway."
Bein nods in agreement with Jack. "Couldn't agree more, perhaps it would be best to set camp here, somewhere secluded and discuss how we should proceed. I can disarm and test the brige without my armor and then return and try again with armor prior to trying to cross with any of the mounts. However while we are camped I can do some scotuing on horseback and se if there is another place to cross this gorge more safely."
Have fun traveling Hymen! We'll entertain ourselves while your gone! >:)
From what I understand, we're on the south/eastern side of the river and there is a track that goes on following the river on that side. If we want to cross to the northern side, we can take the bridge.
That just means we don't need to go all the way back to the bandit's camp next time we want to cross.
In reply to Xarafine, Finnabar stretches and hearing his back pop back in place, nods. "Yes, let's call it a day. Jack, find us a place to camp on this side. And while Bein sees to the horses, I would like to come back to this bridge and check its safety. We may at some point need to cross it quickly and I'm not sure it's still sound."
"Oh, and Jack, I'd like a full brief on where everything we've been to recently fits on the exploration map."
I think it's time to update our map. If you can do it, I'll double check it by going back into the thread.
My bad Jack I was merely discussing how we could approach it later lol, I understood Hymen wanted us to camp out until he returned. But I will leave it for now~ Onward to the Setting up camp post! Bein is a busy body~
Once they had found a suitable camp Bein busied himself with first creating a picket line in a covered area. He checked it for whatever rodents or other poisonous animal could be hidden there and once he was satisfied he setup the picket line and went through the process of unequipping all the gear strapped to each mount, starting with the mules and ending with Arundel. Luckily they had chosen a camp where a mighty tree had recently fallen, giving them a rough but makeshift table to update their map on.
Once the gear was off and the draught beasts were on the picket line, he turned his attention to setting up the tents in an orderly military fashion. He erected his tent first and then proceeded to set the animal's gear inside and out of the elements lest the storm pick up again and drench their mapping equipment. With that secure it took awhile to set up the remaining tents, which had to be done before he could refocus on brushing down and feeding their draught beasts.
He wiped his brow and continued to work diligently as he secured the final pin, erecting the Teacher's tent lastly. With all the tents up he turned his focus on taking off his armor, setting it in his tent and arming himself with only his longsword and shield strapped to his back before turning his attention to their animals. With everything securely packed away he continued to work, shirtless, with feeding bag and brush; brushing down and feeding their hard working beasts as part of his usual end of day duties.
He spent a little more time with Jacks horse, inspecting for unseen injuries, brushing any remaining branch or twig out of it's hairs and making sure the shock early hadn't harmed the animals usual temperament.
Handle Animal1d20 + 8 ⇒ (9) + 8 = 17
He was relieved to see that their animals were in good condition, a little tired from the road but they were healthy and strong. He would keep an eye on Jack's horse and ensure nothing spooked the poor creature further but all and all Jack had done a great job in recovering before the poor thing decided that no one could be trusted. Funny that horses can be more finicky than people...
"Thank you for your labors, Bein," Xarafine says, smiling. She moves to unpack the Shrine, setting the altar and candles in their proper places. Once she is done, she removes her stola, placing it within the Shrine.
Standing in her simple gray robe, she begins the martial drill for stretching and loosening the muscles. She feels her back, neck and joints pop in turn, bringing blessed relief for the aches of riding.
Feeling limber, she takes several deep, cleansing breaths, and makes her first attempt at an advanced tumbling technique.
Standing on the balls of her feet, she shifts her weight from side to side, dropping her stance until her knees hover just above the ground, then suddenly springing upward.
Acrobatics:1d20 + 8 ⇒ (18) + 8 = 26
She tucks in mid-air into a backwards somersault, landing on her feet in a crouch, and shooting forward like a pouncing cat. Rolling across her shoulders back to her feet, then pushing off from the tips of her toes, arching, as if in a dive, into a handspring and back onto her feet.
Taking several deep breath, she smiles to herself and manages to get out, "Well...that..wasn't....so hard..."