Gorax, sword and shield at the ready, takes a protective position as his friends study the corpses. "So what killed then then eh? I want to know what I might be up against?" His face screws up, deep lines weathered and scarred seem exaggerated as he eyes the terrain seeking out dangers. Very warily he leads the group towards the 'trapped area', hardly wanting to put his foot down, for fear it will suddenly be ripped from him. He leads them on, painfully slowly.
Perception 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (5) - 1 = 4
Someone do a heal check on some corpses to see if they can find a cause of death?
Smiling Andrei steps forward next to Gorax sword and shield ready. "Sorry Anwel, glory or suicide has been battered into me from birth hearing the stories of Baron Sirian Aldori. He was likely enough to ride the glory side of the line and I pray we can too."
Andrei will stick his sword into the ground for a moment to cast detect magic and then ready it again.
Stellan tears his eyes from the macabre scene before them and talks with Anwel. "Well, just what I got from Zandru, Varisians do tend to embellish, there are many old sites of dangerous magic to the far west, at least according to him. Thought it seemed similar to the tales."
At Gorax's frustrated words, Stellan turns and says, "An answer we both desire, were they called here when they were near death, did they come here healthy then slain, by own volition, trickery, or compulsion? Was everything killed? I'll check the corpses, they may tell me, if the flesh was stripped by scavengers or putrefied over time and fell off."
Stellan does a medieval version of a forensic autopsy.
Knowledge: Nature 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
Survival: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20
Heal: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (15) + 6 = 21
Any signs of scavenger eating the remains? If so did any live, some live and some die, what happened to the bodies. Do they seems to have all died the same way? Any indication of how they did die? Don't want to beat this to death so I'll stop there.
Meant the Arcana check to ask is this a magical effect, what kind, how it may be done, was a spell involved, etc. Just role-playing it Stellan thinks, correctly, that Anwel's a better scholar of magic than he.
DM, I don't normally post a follow-up post before you reply but PbP is so slow that I jumped ahead a bit. I'll take what you give me as always. Thx.
Stellan searches deep into his memories to see if these sights are something he might have seen before. Alas, these do not recall anything to mind.
Anwel and Stellan collectively work to think about anything magical causing the death in the area but nothing appears to such. The conversation captures Andrei's attention as he casts detect magic. With his sight illuminated for things magical he looks around but finds nothing.
The area seems very quiet and peaceful except for the sun-bleeched skeletons covering the area. The wind softly blows by carrying with it the smells of a warm afternoon on the open plains.
Time passes and frustration starts to build with no answers coming. Taking the initiative, Stellan finds the closest skeleton and does his best to examine the creature to better find the cause of death.
Given the hazardous nature of this scene, if you wish to venture further into the massacre sight just give me a sort of "I wish to head in" in your post. I don't like to make assumptions
Why do I suddenly feel like the guy left standing after a call for volunteers to step forward and everybody else steps backwards? ;)
Stellan, being focused but dreamy, fails to notice the others hesitation and continues his investigation. "Interesting, this bear's body rotted, no large scavenger like an eagle or an opportunistic wolf. But I think he was killed by a pointed object, a spear or large pincer, though no other sign of battle are on it, no gnawing of the bones. Look around, are there any recent deaths or all older, wonder if it all happened at once? I like to see a rotting corpse if one is here." Stellan goes further in without thinking about it.
If needed the same set of skills as before.
Knowledge: Nature 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16
Survival: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
Heal: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (10) + 6 = 16
Stellan is looking to see if all or most of the deaths occurred at once, on the same day or week, or scattered over time or both. Were any chewed on by large scavengers or did something keep them at bay? Any recent deaths? Any pattern to the how the skeletons clump together, like near like or not, or grouped by size, or not at all? He'll also check the humanoid skeletons to see if there is something noticeable, signs of clothing, type of race, are the any objects with them?
Because that's what happened? :P
As Stellan steps forward, Anwel follows, abreast of Udo. Gorax, reacting, starts forward a second later, but his long strides take him ahead of the others quickly enough that it doesn't matter. As they walk, Anwel muses quietly. The others should be able to hear him, but only just. "A spear? Perhaps, though if this were a battlefield there should be armor strewn about, and weapons, and there are not. There would, too, be more humanoids and fewer wild creatures. A lone warrior, then, testing himself against multifarious foes? Even if he faced these one at a time, such a person would be formidable..." Anwel trails off, trying to remember if he's heard of such a person roaming the Greenbelt, living or dead.
Knowledge (local): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (2) + 9 = 11
"Well," he says, even more quietly than before, "That's a possibility. Then what of the other option, the pincer. What sort of creature would kill with a sharp thrust and then strip the bones bare without teeth or other marks?"
Knowledge (nature): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (10) + 9 = 19
"At least nothing this far out is magical, and there doesn't seem to be a necromancer around or involved at the moment," says Anwel ruefully, as though embarrassed at suggesting it. "Though in some ways that could make it more dangerous."
Andrei keep up with the advance keeping between Stellan and the centre. "Could they all drink from poisoned water? That wouldn't explain the pointed object wound but might explain why the flesh wasn't eaten."
Gorax, brings his courage to the fore and ignores his feeling and fear of the place, though his tread is more tentative then normal he keeps his conscience clear by protecting those who don't have his strength and prowess. His sword, clenched in white knuckles, his shield up and protecting his vitals, his face and unkempt brown hair above the darkened shield. "Be ready, this place leaves me cold."
Perception 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (11) - 1 = 10
Anwel snaps his fingers and unleashes one of those barkish laughs that means he's figured out something that should have been obvious from the beginning. That he's satisfied with the answer but that he could do better. "Must have been blind," he says, "With worry if nothing else. There is no death effect here. The bones tell the story, and the flesh. These people, and these creatures, were sucked dry."
Anwel's speech speeds forward, his footpace picking up to match. Somehow his feet still do not disturb any of the bones. "A stirge swarm could do that, but they're found more westerly, and there would be more puncture marks. A single large mark, and in the Kamelands? This is the work of a thing in spider-form, the size of a large dog or a pony. It must lair at the center." He looks at Andrei, a smirk on his face.
"You know better than I what glory there is in putting down a spider. I suppose it could always be told that we 'put down a menace', kind unmentioned."
Stellan puts the pieces together as Anwel also figures it out. As Anwel talks Stellan nods, "Should have seen it sooner, this is the work of a spider of unusual size. Anwel's right, given the size of the bear, I'd lean toward the large end myself. It likely knows we are here and is patiently waiting for us to walk into it's mouth or web. It may charge if we leave but our numbers may intimidate it."
Stellan waves towards the center, "Can anyone see the center there maybe in a log or burrow? If there are webs' we might just walk away, but be prepared for a charge, and maybe hungry younglings as well."
Uh! a spider, well that can't be too bad. says Gorax, he is now almost smiling. "What have we to fear from vermin, that I understand. A good old fashioned slice with a blade and it will fall. Not like those undead things. Ha, I feel better already." he moves slowly forward towards the centre, slowly but ready to battle.
"Don't like the idea of a spider that kill kill all these." He says gesturing around. "But I like the idea of a family of them spreading across the land. Better to get rid of it now. Everyone cast any spells you want up, or quaff any potions." Andrei start walking forward slowly, shield held high.
Andrei starts Inspire Courage, 1 morale bonus on saving throws against charm and fear effects and a +1 competence bonus on attack and weapon damage rolls. "Somehow the killing of a giant spider, all alone by himself in the dark without the help of a wizard or the dwarves or anyone else, made a great difference to Mr. Baggins. He felt a different person, and much fiercer and bolder in spite of an empty stomach as he wiped his sword on the grass and put it back into its sheath."
Udoeak nods, muscles rippling as he quaffs his mutagen. He cracks his neck once, replacing his hand on his sword as they continue forward, spreading a bit to the side to get a better angle on the theoretical lair. Well then, let's get it over with. If this goes on too long, the poison could get really nasty. Let's try not to have any of that.
I derped earlier. I just realized I said something about Udo's bombs earlier, when he rebrewed his mutagen. He doesn't have bombs. In any case, +4 STR, +2 Nat AC, -2 INT. I also just realized that Alchemists don't need to rest 8 hours before making extracts. I completely forgot that they don't need to because the GM I played with before house-ruled them to need it. Can I have my extracts after all? If so, he quaffs his Enlarge Person and Shield extracts as well.
Edit: Woops. I don't have shield on my default extracts list, anyway. Nevermind about that. Just Enlarge Person, if possible.
Anwel looks for a hollow into which he can duck. He needs to be out of the sunlight to ward Stellan the way he had promised. There were other wards available to him, and he muses for a moment that the shadowstuff used to create them might ward him from the sunlight long enough to cast the spell for Stellan. With a shake of the head and a muttered curse in a strange language, however, he dismisses the possibility. The binding darkness would not last long enough, and there might be another problem as well. His mistress had used the power on him, but he'd never seen her use it on herself, and he'd never tried using it on himself before either. It might not be possible. He would have to look into ways of making darkness for himself. This was just embarrassing.
Perception: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
"Well, if that's the way you feel," he says aloud to Andrei, "then Bimbur and I will hang back and watch." Anwel doesn't break his stride or slow down, and his smile shows he's joking. Indeed, he doesn't really feel like hanging back anymore. His rational mind knows he isn't prepared for a head-to-head confrontation with anything, much less something that could take down a bear, but something in him wants to stride up to the beast and blast it with fire and darkness until it lies at his feet.
Stellan is inspired by Andrei's words even though he realizes that it is a magical affect. He grips his short-spear tightly as Vinur, stiff of tail and leg, stays close to his legs. At Udo's comments, Stellan said, "I hope this is not a poisonous spider but it may be and I'm not well equipped to treat such. Agreed, best to avoid it altogether, though easier said than done."
"I'll stand a bit back to allow the warriors to do their work but I'll be close enough to touch them if they need my aid. Remember I can relieve the harm of wounds of everyone but only once a day." Stellan though a bit nervous still is eager to make some progress in this land.
Now that everyone looks ready Andrei quickens his pace fully aware that the story has a natural end point and the magic will fade after that and if everyone else's magic works the same way it too will fade.