Sorry I took so long, work was pretty busy today. Sagaar, if you like you can make a Diplomacy check to gather information around town. Just let me know what you'll be looking into.
The monk sitting at desk looks up from his work as the the party begins to snipe at one another, regarding you all with a sever gaze. He makes no overt attempts to intercede, but when Valachi and Agnar volunteer to leave, one of the acolytes seems eager to escort them back to the cathedral.
Delia: One of the assisting acolytes is mentions to you that in fact Harrowstone housed the worst of Ustalav's criminals, and as such most of the nation's executions where carried out there. He shows you a list of the names of those who perished in the fire, among them the prison's warden, his wife Vesorianna, and various guards and inmates. In particular, their are notations next to five of the prisoner's names indicating they were marked for execution in the immediate future due to the heinous nature of their crimes. They were Sefick Corvin, Vance Saetressle, Ispin Onyxcudgel, Hean Feramin, and one simply listed as "The Piper."
"Put her body on the bed.
Take a knife and lop her head.
Watch the blood come out the pipe.
Feed the stirge, so nice and ripe.
Drops of red so sparkly bright.
Splatter spell her name just right.
With a hammer kills his wife.
Now he wants to claim your life.
Tricksy father tells a lie.
Listen close or you will die."
Sagaar ambles through the town asking chance passerbys what they know to be in the old ruins. He checks in different stores and shops, hoping to find someone who might know more on the subject.
Perception Check to find somebody who might know a bit?
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14
Diplomacy to actually talk to them
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16
Delia stands, stretches, rubs her eyes, and then her neck as she rolls her shoulders. Having spent the last five hours in study, she tries to loosen up some of the knots and strain that have eased into her joints.
After feeling more relaxed she heads over to where Zhan is doing his research to present him with what she has found thus far. "Zhan, I think we may have a couple directions to look into. There is a couple names of prisoners marked for execution due to heinous crimes that also died in the fire. Maybe one of these is malevolent enough to haunt such a place. I will see if I can find any more info on the nature of their crimes as well, that may give us more to go off of." Stretching again, while trying to stifle a yawn she adds, "After that I think I'm ready to call it a day and head back to the house."
After she finishes talking to Zhan, she heads back over to try and finish the latest line of research, specifically into the criminals marked for execution. Quickly realizing that she is having no luck finding anything associated with the community itself, she decides to see if they have any more general information out there, and thinks she may have found a lead.
Knowledge: Local 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11, for 1d4 ⇒ 1 hrs. Knowledge: History 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (12) + 5 = 17, for 1d4 ⇒ 4 hrs. Okay, she spent 10 hours in research. She will probably be indisposed for a bit.
"This is a good lead, Delia. Hopefully we kind find out what other secrets are hidden here. What is the significance of Harrowstone? I have uncovered some information on the Whispering Way; they are more a religion than a cabal, worshiping the very concept of undeath itself. They wish to become immortal as liches, free the whispering tyrant, and remake the earth as an undead realm. They murder any who learn too much of them, and mutilate their mouths, so their body's cannot be forced to speak. They use a gagged skull as their mark. I begin to fear that these are not nice people..."
Zhan continues to read through the books, continuing as long as the young lady reads, both to assist in her efforts, and keep her company.
Knowledge: Local 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16
Knowledge: History 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24
Zhan stretches back in his chair, and arches his back, trying to rid himself of some of the stiffness that has accumulated in his shoulders. Like Delia, he is exhausted, and his eyes are sore. He pushes himself back from the desk, and moves slowly to put away the last of the tomes and scrolls he was working with. He looks out a window (presuming there is one in the room) and sees the light of the day fading. (If we came first thing in the morning, it is likely 6 or 7 in the evening by now.)
"My lady Delia, it seems we have learned all that we can for now. Since neither of us has eaten today, and it is getting late, I suggest we retire back to Lady Lorrimor's home. We can brief the others on all we have learned, and learn the results of their efforts in turn. We can then discuss our next move with the group. If we wish, there may still be time this day to seek out the hidden store the Professor told us of. The monks here reported that we may if we merely bring one along as escort.
If the lady is agreeable, we will head back to the house.
She hands the last of the tomes she was looking at to Father, who reaches up to put it on a shelf out of her arm's length. Nodding to Zhan, she replies "Yes, we should stop. I think we've reached what we can from this resource, and if my stomach growls one more time I'm certain that the whole room will hear it." she says rubbing her empty stomach. "I don't know if they would want us roving around the Restlands at night, even with an escort. If the light is fading, I don't know if WE want to be there this night. All this talk of hauntings, and ghosts, and necromancers." she adds with a nervous chuckle.
She and Father return with Zhan. It was only 10 hours total. I had two 4 hr searches and two 1 hr searches.
Kirill loudly cracks his back. Sitting around pouring over heavy tomes and ledgers in a quiet library for hours on end had helped remind the Varisian why people of his origin prefered an unpredictable and exciting life on the road. He was more than ready to return with the others for a hot meal, and after sitting around for so long, was more than ready to sprint a few laps around Ravengro as well. The time spent in the chapel of Pharasma had done little to calm his unease with being in the temple of a goddess whose primary followers would find his profession distasteful at best and sacreligious and heretical at worst.
Alright, so it seems we've slowed down a little bit, and I'm at least partly to blame for that - as I said, I haven't run a PbP before, and I'm not used to orchestrating groups like this, especially when we start splitting up. Thing is, during the investigative portion of some of these adventures, splitting up is bound to happen, so here's what I propose. I'd like you guys to make a brief OOC post at the start of each in-game day stating where your character will be going, and what they hope to achieve, then we can accommodate character-by-character or group-by-group with spoilers, as we did in the archives and when Zhan went to see the sheriff. So for now, where is everyone headed? Zhan, were you guys heading off to the house, or checking out the stash?
No worries at all on the pacing - it happens sometimes due to where the adventure is, and like you said, splitting up - increases your workload because you have to write up x times as many responses.
Val recommends we hit the stash now, before its too late, so that we're ready to head to the prison at first light tomorrow.
Quick post before I'm off the grid.
When they get outside and meet up with the others, Delia waits until they have some distance from the church before she speaks. "Zhan, what I wanted to talk to you about was our manner of divulging information." She begins, "I appreciate your willingness to be forthright, but I think we should temper just how much information we give out to everyone we meet." she pauses to think of the words. "We are investigating a secret cabal of necromancers whose whole organization is passed along in secret. We do not yet know who we can and cannot trust. You do not catch a mouse by stomping so that it knows you are there. You need to sneak up on it." considering it further she adds, "The Professor knew about the cache, but the Pharasmans did not, do you think there might be a chance that he didn't know who he could trust beyond those of us that were included in his last request? I think it would be wise if we act like almost anyone here we do not know could possibly be associated with this Whispering Way."
"This is just how I think we should comport ourselves, if you guys prefer to lay every out in front of you at face value then so be it, I myself will play my hand close to my chest." She finishes.
To Delia "Hmm, I had not considered that the Way might have infiltrated the Temple of Pharasma. I think it unlikely, but you show wisdom in considering the possibility. I trust the order of Pharasma, which is why I confided in them. I will consider your words before sharing what we have learned with any others along the way, though I hope you understand, I would have regardless. As I said, I trust in the Pharasmans to oppose a cult of undeath, without question. However, I will do my best to take your advice to heart."
To the group "If the consensus is to go now, I am not opposed. Let us ask the Brothers if they can spare their required chaperon immediately."
"I too agree with Valachi." Sagaar says intrude into the conversation after returning from the his travels around the village. Though his efforts were fruitless, he is ready to accommodate the groups consensus.
"The townsfolk know nothing of importance, so even though they couldnt help us with information, it may mean that they are less inclined to interfere in the investigation during the search of the ruins."
If at all possible to know what religion is opposed to the necromancers and if they have any sort of banes or things like that (not sure is stuff works like that). I would like to get this information to be able to prepare myself better.
@ Zhan"I'm all for looking before you leap, but I think we've just about exhausted the resources available to us for study for the time being and would rather stretch my legs a bit than merely return to Kendra's to lounge about some more. I think it tackling this hidden stash immediately would not only be an exciting change of pace, but also prudent, as then we are free to investigate the prison at first light with no detours. Count that as my vote."
"If we can get this cache before nightfall, that would be preferable. I would rather not get stuck in there in the dark." She urges, to Zhan she responds, "Thank you for hearing me out, I know sometimes my paranoia gets the better of me. I just feel that, in this case, what better place to hide than within the very church one would not expect to find a practicioner of the dark arts."
"I too think we have learned about as much as we can from our research. I agree that we should move on. I am eager to explore the grounds of the prison. I am hoping we can find some sign of what actually happened to the Professor"
"It sounds as though all are in favour of going to the stash immediately, as opposed to later. I have nothing against the idea, and I think there is nothing to be gained by waiting any longer."
Night is beginning to slide over the Restlands as you pass once more through the gates, the long shadows of the gravestones creeping across the grass. The grounds are sparsely populated, as local superstition dictates the premises ought to be vacant before the sun sets. Still, a few of the bolder citizens linger to pay their respects in the waning light, and they regard you warily as you make your way down the road known as the Eversleep.
Within minutes you stand at the intersection where you cross the Black Path, another of the flavorfully named pathways running through the cemetery. A series of cracked stepping stones lead to the mausoleum mentioned in the journal, a free-standing granite structure with a pair of leering gargoyles flanking it's heavy stone door. A heavy rusted lock hold the portal shut, forbidding entrance to those who lack business with the departed.
Perception 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (17) + 1 = 18
Delia shivers lightly, though not from the cold. All the while she glances furtively around, clearly unnerved to be in the restlands in the encroaching dusk. "Either this does not bode well, or we have signs that the Professor has been here before." She points to the state of the lock.
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (15) + 6 = 21
"Interesting..." Valachi says, stepping forward cautiously to stand beside Father. He scans the ground around the door to see if he can mark any tracks, to or from.
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
"Hmmm, I can't make out anything on this stone... or in this light," he mutters. Val stands and carefully removes the broken lock, then shoves the stone door open.
Perception:1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11
Agnar shrugs after seeing Valachi opening the door than says "I think it might be a good idea if I went in first. He than draws the massive sword from his back holding it at the ready.
1d100 ⇒ 6
The scent of age is upon your nostrils as the door swings open, greeting you with short staircase covered in dust, clearly disturbed by recent footsteps.
The dwindling light streams down the narrow corridor, culminating in a feeble slash of illumination on the tiled floor at their base, though it doesn't extend far beyond that, and it's impossible to determine how big the room lying on the other side of the darkness is, or what its contents might be.
Zhan draws free his own sword, but then transfers it to his off hand. He whispers a soft incantation, and the sword begins to glow, giving off a pure white light. He takes a step forward, following Agnar into the tomb.
Perception for the lock: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10
Survival for the tracks: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (15) + 3 = 18
"Valachi? These tracks look like they could have been made around when the professor died; 17 days ago. With the lack of wind in here, they could be slightly older or newer, but the timing is possible. Do you agree?
Sagaar stops leaning on his spear, and holds it at the ready. He mumble to himself and the blade of his spear glows a harsh contrast to the dull blackness of the tomb.
Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14
He follows Agnar and Zhan into the tomb.
Perception:1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18
Survival:1d20 + 1 ⇒ (19) + 1 = 20
Kirill is casual and at ease, yet remains readily alert. Though he has spent countless hours plundering cemetaries and becoming comfortable with that backdrop, he was also aware of the dangers that they could house; rich misers wanting to be buried with their things of material consequences who lay cunning and dangerous traps to 'protect' them, if not forever, for the span of the lives of their living rivals and undead monstrosities that rise due to foul magics or unlucky circumstance among them. He keeps an eye sharp for the formoer and strings his hunter's bow for the latter, keeping to the rear of the pack. He'd generally perfer to delve into crypts alone, or at the least be near the front of a group so nobody could set off any mechanical or magical dangers that he could detect, but if the professor survived his trek here, at least, then hopefully it should be safe.
Delia moves in reluctantly, hugging her arms around herself, maybe from the cold or maybe just from the chills down her spine. She stays to the back of the group with Kirill, Father immediately moving in front of her ready to face whatever might be inside before she does.
Ah, I'm sorry! Yes, we shall assume that two acolytes were sent with you. And Sagaar, you're light spell will last for 1 hour per level, so 1 hour right now.
"Recently disturbed..." whispers one of the acolytes. "It's good you brought this to our attention." He makes no further comment, following in silence as Sagaar's light illuminates the room. The darkness is cast aside, revealing a small 25x30 chamber with a single marble pillar on each side, and two heavy wooden doors on the far end, one of them slightly ajar.
It seems as though we are often waiting long periods to see whether or not other people are going to add their voice to given situation, but without having any way to know if they think their voice is needed. It seems that in these situations, people may even have read the thread as it is, and have nothing to add at the current point until there is a new development.
I think we are at one of those points here; is everyone away, and needing more time before they can chime in, or has everyone read it, and are simply waiting to see what Val finds as he rounds the corner?
I'd like to make a suggestion, that we come up with a code or phrase to signify: "I have read the thread, I have nothing to add right now." This will help to eliminate the ambiguity of the situation, and speed up the game. I suggest we simply post: 'Continue' or 'Go on' or some such any time you have read the thread but have nothing to add, particularly if there have not been any posts in a while.
Zhan follows up behind Val as he closes up to the doors, and peers through the threshold. As he moves, he bends to scoop up a loose rock that had fallen to the floor at some point in the distant past. He whispers again, and from the rock springs a new source of light, the stone glowing as bright as a torch. He moves close to Valachi, right behind him so he can look through the door with him. Peering into the general blackness, he makes his best guess at where the center of the chamber lies, and throws the stone there. The stone bounces and skitters across the floor of the chamber, before coming to rest. Lying in the center of the room, most features of the room come into a dull focus.
I'm ready. I think we are all ready to move in, but I can see where it's not clear. I think we are Val and Agnar up front, Zhan and Sagaar next, and Kirill and I last (Father in front of me). Not sure where the two acolytes are.
My appologies. As I said, I'm kind of new to PbP GMing, and perhaps I wait around a little too long for clear indicators of action. I'm really hesitant to move the game forward on implication alone, because I want to avoid arguments of "hey! I wasn't going to do that!" Anyways, we're about to get to our first combat, and I have some bad news. My proxy server has been hacked, burnt out, or whatever the Golden Shield does to them once it finds them. I can connect with it and view like, one website before it stops working, so I don't have access to any kind of map-making device. I'm going to try giving a detailed description of the battlefield in each round of combat, placed in a spoiler, and see how that goes. If it works out, awesome. If not, I'll start hunting for a new server. Again, sorry for the sporadic posts. As I said, summer is a killer as far as workload goes.
The door groans noisily as Val pulls it open and steps forward, followed closely by Agnar. There's a small alcove on the other side, no more than ten feet deep and twenty feet wide, and on the other end of it, there is yet another stairway, also marked with recent footprints. The tip of Sagaar's spear lights the way as you descend deeper into the mausoleum, puffs of dust accompanying each footstep. When you reach the bottom, you find yourself standing in a large, rectangular chamber. There is a heavy stone casket on the far wall, sitting atop a raised dais. The footprints seem to stop here, though you don't have time to investigate them further. As soon as Valachi and Agnar step into the room, you are alerted to a menacing hiss and the scraping of what must be legs. The sounds comes from a sizable hole on the eastern end of the room, and for a moment, you think a stampede of vermin is going to erupt into the chamber. Instead, a monstrous head of chitin burst forth from the wall, followed quickly by the whipping body of a monstrous centipede, at least as long as a man. It quickly writhes free of the hole, followed by two similar creatures. Their sharp hisses rebound off the stone walls, creating a cacophonous echo as they rush forward.
Everyone please roll initiative and declare your action. For the round. If your action becomes impossible (for example, your target drops), your character will simply take the next logical course (cycling targets) is a simple solution presents itself. Otherwise, I'll ask what you'd like to do instead in the round resolution. I know we don't have a map at the moment, but I'll do my best to be descriptive with range, relative position, and who's doing what.
Giant Centipede (Medium) Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 2 = 14
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17
Grinning at the beasts before him, Agnar moves to attack the one closest to him. As he moves he lets out a low growl.
Attack and Damage Roll
1d20 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 6 = 152d6 + 6 ⇒ (2, 4) + 6 = 12
Sorry for being a pain, but I'm a visual person. Is the room more like the one on the left or the right in this PIC? How long are the stairs, and how wide? Which way are we facing, I think south, right?
As everyone reacts to the events around the corner, Delia moves in to get a look at what has caused all the excitement. Seeing the enormous insects skittering about, Delia shudders. "I think I know what will like these." as she begins an incantation. "Priho Ditieh Minyeh Pohmoach." At the conclusion a celestial eagle appears directly above one of the bugs further back, and begins to fervently tear at the thing's carapace with its beak and talons.
Move to E7,
Standard cast special Summon Monster I to put a Celestial Eagle in the space above #2,
(talon) 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (9) + 3 = 12, damage 1d4 ⇒ 2,
(talon) 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 22, damage 1d4 ⇒ 2,
(bite) 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (11) + 3 = 14, damage 1d4 ⇒ 3.
Father sees the tension and commotion, but it isn't until Delia moves that he acts. When she moves in and begins casting a spell, he rushes forward to stand defensively before her.
Delay until after Delia moves,
Move to E8,
Ready an attack to "attack any enemy that comes close enough."
Attack Slam 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11, damage 1d10 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8.