After a bit of chit chat and small talk, Selena starts looking around at the various pieces and recognises no small skill in the crafting of some devices...the woman behind the counter is obviously at least somewhat skilled at her craft.
Opening the negotiations Selena throws the bait and Jenhail, for her part, seems MORE than willing to take it.
"My lady obviously you jest, I can see a practised eye in your observations of my goods, and no small amount of appreciation for some of the finer pieces. It is obvious you recognise the quality and reliability of the items you've examined, surely a woman of your fine upbringing and standards, with your obvious knowledge of my wares, can recognise the fine craftsmanship and attention to detail of the items around you. Surely you understand that items such as these don't come cheap. Not better will you find between here and Speclarium, and I dare say the hacks in Speclarium cannot produce magical goods nearly as fine as these.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (5) + 5 = 10
Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24
Bluff: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21
Would one or both of you give me an appraise check? I'll get this out of the way and everyone back to the group so we don't leave the rest of everyone hanging too long. I have no problem role playing a town visit / buying spree, but I tend to try to hurry it along when not everyone can participate.
"Good Lady, I do appreciate that your goods are indeed of high quality, though the highest available might be in question. The stories I have heard of Speclarium challenge the best of what you have here....at least, should market value be considered the same."
Appraise1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19 (I guess acting as aid another)
Sense motive1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10
Bluff/ Diplomacy1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22
Here's how I'm running this: Lash's Aid Another provides a +2 on the appraise check for Selena. That brings you to a 26 which is above my 25 "high point" check for Appraise.
Sense motive doesn't matter much, above ten is fine given that her motive (make as much money off of the sale) should be obvious.
Your appraise is higher than her bluff / persuade so this gives you pretty much the most favourable price. GENERALLY a 20 appraise is good enough to get you "book price" on goods and services, above 20 can get you discounts, so I believe we'll apply a 5% discount to book price on the goods you're looking for. Above 30 would be a 10% discount but I won't go above that and the circumstances would be extreme to get such.
After a bit more conversation and haggling you can tell that the subject of her goods vs. those coming from the Capital City is a bit of a sore spot with Jenhail. Guiding the conversation down this track leads to her becoming more and more insistent that the mages in Speclarium produce goods of lesser quality than herself, but that given her remote location she has a hard time convincing people of this.
Finally, on a whim, Lash attempts to strike a deal with Jenhail to get her more clientele.
"You are heading to Speclarium then? Yes, yes it would please me for you to display my products to those you pass in the capital city. If you will give me your word to do so, fine ladies, I can see to a small discount on the goods you purchase, but you will swear to talk to no less than five people in the magical shop district about your experiences here. Say, 5%? Do we have a deal?"
Agreeing to this small service you select the items you came for from her shop and pay her the coin requested.
Can someone enumerate the items purchased for me again so I don't have to go back through the thread? I'll tag the cost of each item as you've paid (It'll be players handbook price -%5).
She has an odd look on her face as you lay your goods down for purchase, particularly the scabbard. It occurs to you that it would be unusual for two fine noblewomen, no matter how adventurous, to be purchasing combat/battle goods. Not suspicious enough to give you away but certainly "noteworthy".
Perception1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20
Lash's eyes narrow slightly as she watches Jenhail's face.
"Some of the bolder "gentlemen" in our social circle have taken to dueling and adventuring. Frowned upon by their families of course. Their purchases and allowances are carefully watched to discourage this so.....favors are required." Lash says leaning in conspiritorially. She giggles as if excited yet nervuos to divulge a bit of gossip.
Bluff1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14
Lash's eyes narrow slightly as she watches Jenhail's face.
"Some of the bolder "gentlemen" in our social circle have taken to dueling and adventuring. Frowned upon by their families of course. Their purchases and allowances are carefully watched to discourage this so.....favors are required." Lash says leaning in conspiritorially. She giggles as if excited yet nervuos to divulge a bit of gossip.
Well done! I like that!
We'll give you all 200 XP for that ingenious little bit of CYA.
Jenhail continues staring at you as she prepares your goods and takes your coin, then cracks a smile, shaking her head.
"Noblemen and their pursuits. I will never understand them. Why young men with too much time and too much money lose themselves in their wargames I do not know."
And with a gleam in her eye she adds:
"Perhaps because young noblewomen like watching their noblemen play at war?"
Continuing to smile, she finishes wrapping your items in oilskin against the oncoming weather, takes your coin, and bows to you as you leave. She adds on your way out:
"Hopefully you don't have far to rid m'ladies there is an evil storm brewing out there, it doesn't look like you have much time to get whence you came."
And with that she waves to you as you walk out the door.
So at this point I had the following requests:
Scabbard of Vigor - 1800 Base * 0.05 Discount = 1710G
Heavy Crossbow + 1 - 2350 Base * 0.05 Discount = 2233G
This will leave you with 43 Gold.
Handy Haversack - 2000 Base * 0.05 Discount = 1900G
Amulet of Natural Armor +1 - 2000 Base * 0.05 Discount = 1900G
This will leave you with 289 Gold.
Waiting on Confirmation from the both of you for final item selection.
Lash: Did you want anything?
Cloak of Elvenkind - 2500 Base * 0.05 Discount = 2375G
Half Haversack - 1900G (After Discount) * 0.5 = 950G
Leaves you with 621 Gold
New Total Left (with lash splitting the Haversack with you half and half) = 1239 G
Sorry, forgot the sale of your elven blade: Leaves you with 83 Gold.
Lash/Selena/Dirk: Need a final "ok" from you before I charge your characters and add the items.
One of our players just caught a mistake in finances I've made. It seems HeroLabs doesn't automatically apply the gold for "Rich Parents" to your starting profile, you have to do it manually. If you have the "Rich Parents" trait the gold I list for you is about 750G shy of where you should be. I'll make corrections to the character sheets in the next 24 hours and identify those who this affects.
Your new total is 4835G before purchase or 957G after purchase and sales of your Elven Blade and your Crossbow.
Your new total is 4696 Gold before purchase or 1371G after Purchase.
*sigh* For some reason I only have you down with 1 Trait...Charming. What is your second starting trait you'd like or have already selected that I've missed for 5+ levels? :)
The moment the three of you step outside you realize you have less time than you thought. A cold, biting wind, is whipping down the streets and through the surrounding trees, a constant low moan as the wind blows through the canopy of branches of the surrounding forest. The smell of winter accompanies the chill as periodic stings to the side of your face tell you that the air is heavy with water, and that water is quickly turning to snow. You pull your cloaks closer around you, hoping to ward off some of the chill, but the temperature is dropping rapidly.
Hurrying through the streets toward the outskirts of town, trying to make it back to camp before rain, fog or even snow causes conditions that aren't favorable to your making it to your destination.
A road patrol guard and his fellow patrollees are standing in the middle of town holding their nervous horses, as you pass by on your way out. A couple of the locals are talking with the men in an obviously animated conversation. The first thing that strikes you is that these guards are familiar...you recognize at least a couple of them and realize they may be the same patrol you passed on the road earlier that day. And that makes sense to you, now that you think about it...with the weather as it is, they'd likely be heading for the nearest shelter, and this town would probably be it.
Everyone around you is moving off toward houses and inns, obviously trying to get indoors before the storm hits...except the soldiers who seem to be keeping the townsfolk where they are conversing with them...
No, conversing isn't the right word. Questioning would be more like it. A prickle on the back of your neck tells you something is wrong.
One of the townsfolk being questioned looks up and spots you and immediately points in your direction, but if any of the soldiers take note, they don't make it obvious.
The townsfolk are certainly in a hurry to get to their homes and shelter and out of the biting wind. However even with this rush, paths seem to open in front of you more than you'd expect. One younger man practically scrambles to get out of the way of your passing, fear evident on his face. Another mother with child heading in your direction looks up, notices the three of you heading her direction, and crosses the street to the opposite side, hurrying along with a glance backward in fear.
One or two of these you'd have missed in your own hurry out of town, but the event seems to repeat itself with regularity. Not everyone seems at a rush to get out of your way, but enough people repeat this process that you get the feeling at least part of the townsfolk are actively trying to avoid you.
And that can only spell trouble.
Quickly stopping by a dried foods vendor who is in the process of hastily packing up his shop on the way out of town you convince him to sell you a significant amount of his stock, enough dried meats and fruits to replenish your dwindling supplies, by convincing him that you taking almost half of the goods he has for sale will help him close shop that much faster. You quickly toss him the first few "large denomination" coins that come to hand, way more than covering the cost of the food, pack it in your sacks (the man's eyes grow large as a very significant amount of dried meat and fruit disappear into both Lash's Bag of Holding and Selena's Handy Haversack...more so than should likely fit with the rest of the gear you're carrying), and quickly depart.
We'll deduct 20G from the party total for the cost of the food. Yes, this is WAY over the actual price of the goods, but you don't have alot of time to barter and this is more "ensure he's paid off" than having to deal with him calling for enforcement if he feels you'd underpaid him. Figure you stuffed your hand into your money pouch pulled out a handfull of coins, tossed them to him with a "I assume this will cover it" and started loading food as quickly as possible.
Only minutes later you are back on the road out of town. What little of the sky overhead you can see through the thick canopy of trees, has grown dark, almost black as night, as thunderclouds gather, blocking out most of the light and casting the trail out of town into semi-darkness. And then, with a crack of lightning the heavens open up and a freezing cold rain starts pouring down through the trees. Slow at first, the rain picks up within the first few minutes to a steady downpour and the wind only helps to drive that rain into a full on blinding storm. Small chunks of ice periodically graze your skin or tap you on the chest or head as small amounts of sleet and hail join the downpour.
You quickly pass the guard check station on the outskirs of town, ignoring their calls to stop, figuring that none of them would be all that interested in chasing you down in the oncoming weather. You somewhat smile to yourselves as their calls and threats fade into the distance realizing that, indeed, not a man at the guard station cared enough (no matter who you were) to leave the relative comfort of their lean to's and the makeshift shelter of the guardpost.
Your horses complain as you lead them through the weather back up the road toward where you hope your campsite is. Soon, the rain and sleet mixture turns into more of a snow and sleet mixture causing each of you physical pain and some numbness as your soaked clothing begins to freeze in the driving wind, snow and sleet. Even your weatherproof cloaks do little to protect you from the elements. This storm, indeed, is a bad one.
Luckily, Mird has an inherent sense of the forest trails in the area and as the storm picks up, while the 15 minute treck back up the trail from the town to your campsite feels like several hours of gruelling, freezing, forced marching to your tired and lethargic half frozen bodies, you eventually manage to drag yourselves into the deeper woods where the wind doesn't affect you quite as much and the snow/sleet has a harder time digging through the overhead canopy of the forest. Remembering the signal, Mird hoots like an owl just prior to you breaking through the undergrowth into one of the most welcome sights the three of you have ever encountered.
Screened by several tall trees and a couple of blankets to block light, a small fire is burning. And while a bit anaemic, the three of you almost immediately head toward it to start thawing out. Modesty aside, realizing time is of the essence, the three of you start removing your soaked and frozen garments while the other members of the group bring you fresh and (at least mostly) warmer clothing. As the three of you re-dress in your battle gear and cold weather gear you realize just how "close" you came...several spots of skin on each of you show the early signs of frostbite.
That danger aside, you realize just how good a job Mird did in picking your campsite. While nothing could completely abate the storm's forces, the entire storm seems muted in the small camp area where you're staying. Thick underbrush and small trees intertwined create almost a wall against the blowing wind while the thick overhead canopy creates an umbrella like effect against the snow and rain.
Periodically large mounds of snow drop down through the trees to hit the ground in an avalanche of snow showers in the surrounding forest as the weight of the combined snowfall in the canopy above causes too much weight on the holding branches. The wind continues blowing through the forest and the moan and whistle as it blows through the underbrush and overhead canopy is loud enough and constant enough to block out most of the noise you make at your campsite.
None of you stay dry, but between the fire, your cold weather gear, your shelters and tents and blankets you do manage to stay warm enough to be at least somewhat comfortable.
It's late afternoon by this point and the 6 of you start deciding what's next.
I'll pause here for you to get the story updated for everyone and make any decisions you'd like to.
Perception 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18
"This weather is insane!" Lash mutters rubbing her hands along her arms. She had donned a thick shirt under her leather armor rather than have her arms bare as they usually were and her hair remained loose rather than braided in an effort to maintain warmth under the hood of her cloak.
"Those same guards from earlier were in the town questioning people, though it didn't seem as if they noticed us. I'd say we got out of there just in time."
As she continued to warm herself by the fire she reached into her gear, drawing out the soft blue elven boots that she'd come by so long ago, pusing with a look of curiousity befoore pulling them on.
Just remembered that I never put these on or tried them out.
As you slip the blue boots around your feet you feel a slight inner warmth in your feet, taking a little of the chill away.
At first, you wonder why these were ever made. Little more than leather socks, even the underside of these leather coverings is soft, obviously durable, but soft. As you stand there you can feel the ground under your feet (though it's not cold as you would expect) almost as if you were barefoot.
Muttering to yourself that you didn't sell these worthless leather socks when you had the chance, you lift one leg to take off the boot when you realize you are perfectly balanced. Sure, your natural agility and training give you an amazing lightness on your feet and stability even in the worst of footing, but never before have you so effortlessly maintained your footing and balance standing on one leg in such an awkward position.
Finding this "scientifically" interesting, you curiously leap from one foot to another, spinning and twirling, testing balance and stability as you go through an old agility training routine you were taught long, long ago. Falling into the familiar footsteps of what you're sure outwardly looks like a very involved fast dance routine.
Flawless. At no point you can remember have you ever had such an effortless trek through that routine. Whatever these boots are, they've significantly increased the stability and balance of your every move. Even your arms and body feel more "in tune" with everything else.
As you smile at your obviously wondering comrades you happen to step on a dead branch which snaps oddly under your feet. For a few seconds your elation at this find fades as you are sure the sharp end of the stick is about to poke straight through what feels like thin leather under foot.
And this is when you realize two things.
First, you can feel every edge, every bump, every corner and every angle of the branch under your feet...again as if you were stepping on it barefoot.
Second, even though you can feel everything under your feet the sharp edges of the broken branch are not uncomfortable, the bumps of the rocks and the branches do not cause your feet to buckle and cave as if you were walking barefoot over rough terrain. While you can feel every edge and curve as if you were barefoot, none of the terrain bites into your feet, very much like you were wearing your old hard soled boots.
Whatever these are, you realize they will protect your feet like your old boots, but provide you an unparalleled ability to stay balanced, even on the worst of footing. A great find indeed.
Of course, you've found Boots of Elvenkind. While minor, they provide you a +5 check on Acrobatics.
Dirk casts a worried glance at the branches above the campsite as a particularly violent gale whips through the boughs.
"The weather has decided our course for this evening. Let's all try to get some rest. We'll keep to our usual watch rotation. I don't know what creatures may lurk in this storm, but let's not take chances. Hopefully, this storm will blow over and we can head out in the morning."
Walking to the opening of their camp, Dirk checks the sky to try to determine how long the storm may last.
Survival: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (11) + 9 = 20
The storm shows no sign of abatement what-so-ever. It is rare that this time of year storms of this sort crop up, but when they do they tend to produce a mini-winterlike effect.
Usually storms of this sort last several hours, but it wouldn't be unheard of for a storm like this to last into the next day...albeit in a much abated form.
The six of you cook a bit of your new food stores (at least if you have to go to bed cold, you can do it on a full stomach, you reason) and end up turning in to the relative warmth of your tents and cold weather blankets earlier than expected.
As most of you sleep, or relax, as best you can in the cold night with the raging of a thunder-snow storm raging outside, Dirk finishes an exercise routine on the grounds of the campsite tuned to keeping him awake and at least marginally warmer than simply sitting there with the cold wind cutting through is cloak.
As he steps into a flourish with his sword to finish this part of the routine a bright flash of light catches his eye from one side of the small clearing. Turning, his eyes widen as a small door of light slides open and one by one 6 black clad men, shortswords drawn, spring out from within.
Each man is dressed identically, head to toe in a black bodysuit with a full mask, these men look like they have very little in the form of protective clothing or armor on. The naked shortswords in their hands gleam a dull, sickly green in the small light of the camp fire as the six figures begin to look around to gather their bearings and begin to spread out.
Welcome to Rise of a Regent Part II! :) Lets get some action in shall we?
Dirk, I need a standard initiative roll from you, however you are in a surprise round. You're unsure whether or not you've yet been spotted. Either calling out or attacking will draw attention to you, but so far these entities have been silent enough that they've not woken your companions.
Everyone else (Thantos, Mird, Lash, Selena, Armand) I need two rolls. A 1d6 flat and an initiative roll.
At the point where any noise is heard (whether Dirk decides to call out, attacks or something else happens to create a sound that is not "normal". The other 5 of you can react.
You were asleep at the time the battle started, you awaken immediately, but it will take you 1 round to wake, extract yourselves from the covers, get to your feet, and grab a weapon. You will be able to take action on round 2.
You were only partially sleeping, more laying there resting than any kind of sleep state. You will be able to act in the First round of combat (not this surprise round, Round 1).
Either way, if your usual battle gear consists of something more significant than leather/studded leather armor you will require standard "hastily doning" time penalties before you are capable of joining the fight, otherwise you can choose to grab a weapon and join in, albeit without armor.
Initiative and D6 rolls in please!
Note: I am travelling as of tomorrow so I may be unable to post back to this thread till Friday, if I can post tomorrow it will be late.
1d6: 1d6 ⇒ 2
Initiative: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (1) + 7 = 8 Forest
Seeing the black-clad men jumping through the portal, Dirk calls an alarm!
"OUR CAMP IS BREACHED!"
Knowing it's likely futile, Dirk will address the invaders hoping to buy a few moments while his companions ready themselves.
"State your purpose in coming here, and do so quickly!"
Init: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (14) + 6 = 20
There is a note in the Discussion forum about Thantos and his player you all may want to read: Crib Notes Version: Thantos's player had to step back from the campaign but we will be bringing someone in to replace him soon.
Can you send me the sheet to douglasw at wagnerweb dot org so I can update my copy of your character sheet?
The Eagle is a perfectly fine companion for you, if you'll give me a few moments in the story I'll bring him into the story for you or if you'd like you can write a short blurb as you feel your character would have experienced obtaining the Eagle companion. Feel free to reference the portion anywhere between the leaving of Kiren's Keep the last time and your current place in the story. Up to you, if you don't write something I'll assume you want me to bring your companion into the story for you.
Just for future reference, in general, an animal companion is not typically something you'd buy, it's a bond your character would make with a wild animal based upon his or her experiences in the wild. The eagle makes a great choice here, I have no problems with that at all.
Selena: Sleep Check: 1d6 ⇒ 4
Selena: Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (14) + 2 = 16
Thantos: Sleep Check: 1d6 ⇒ 4
Thantos: Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (11) + 2 = 13
Armand: Sleep Check: 1d6 ⇒ 3
Armand: Initiative: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 19
Assassin 1 Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 2 = 11
Assassin 2 Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 2 = 20
Assassin 3 Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 2 = 12
Assassin 4 Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 2 = 15
Assassin 5 Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5
Assassin 6 Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4
Surprise Round Initiative:
Dirk (Yells and Stands Ground)
Assassin 2: Moves toward Dirk
Assassin 4: Moves toward Thantos's Tent
Assassin 3: Moves toward Lash's Tent
Assassin 1: Moves toward Armand's Tent
Assassin 5: Moves toward Selena's Tent
Assassin 6: Moves toward Mird's Tent
Round 1 Initiative:
Mird (Cannot Act on Round 1)
As Dirk raises his weapon trying to figure out what to do, the sixth and final assassin steps from the portal and it closes off behind them.
Raising his hand the lead assassin begins flashing number signs with his hands as he strides forward toward Dirk, sword bared and ready for action.
Dirk calls out to the Assassins but they might as well be deaf for all the reaction he gets, shuddering to himself slightly, Dirk realises that at no point in time have any of the Assassins made a whisper of noise through this whole process...none of them have spoken and their footsteps are as silent as the night itself, at least quieter than the sound of the storm continuing to blow through the night.
Each of the assassins heads toward a different tent, as if they knew where they were going ahead of time. As the lead assassin moves up toward Dirk, each of the other assassins slip up and into the rest of the tents in the camp...Dirk hopes his companions heard the warning call. Yelling out a second time, just to be sure, Dirk attempts to maneuver toward the tents but is cut off with some quick swordplay by the lead assassin...whoever this silent guy is, he's obviously no novice.
Movement is all there was in the Surprise Round. At this point each tent has been breached (except for Dirk's which stands empty anyway) and each of you either wake up to (in the case of Mird) or look up at a black clad figure with a drawn shortsword silently moving into your tent.
Round 1. Everyone please give me reactions and any appropriate rolls as necessary for actions for round 1.
Years of being a light sleeper by necessity, combined with a routine of taking the second watch, had resulted in Lash awakening an hour before her shift and quietly dressing in her armor before lying back down atop her bedroll, giving her mind and body time to wake up fully, while still resting.
As a result, she was fully aware when Dirk's warning shout came, and as the tent flap opened, revealing a figure in black she exploded into action, stiking before the attacker's eyes could adjust to the darkness of the tent.
With augmented agility she throws her body into a forward roll, an awkward movement from her current position, most likely not possible were it not for the enhancement of her new boots, her body coming out of the roll into a smooth upwards thrust, the magical blade plunging into the shadowy form as if it were no more solid than any other shadow.
Completing the movement she rose to her feet, ther blade sliding further up with her, seeking the vulnerable organs beyond the ribcage.
She had to move fast, the others were likely heavier sleepers and unprepared.
Acrobatics to stand from prone avoiding AoO1d20 + 15 ⇒ (2) + 15 = 17
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25
1d6 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7
Sneak attack (assuming allowed since Lash goes first)3d6 ⇒ (5, 2, 1) = 8
1) Yes, it's before midnight. About 10 - 11 pm.
2) Yes, you are fully equipped.
3) The fire is at the "tip" of the camp (where you are) and the tents are in a semi-circle back a bit. Think of the tents as the bottom part of an egg with the tip being the fire, that's about the situation you're in. The answer, then, is that each assassin has moved to his or her own target. You're being cut-off from the tents by your attacker. You can use standard methods (acrobatics, attack of opportunity, etc.) to get past your attacker and move to the tents of you want to.
Sneak attack is allowable.
As the assassin steps between Dirk and has companions, Dirk's eyes blaze with deadly intensity, "You've just made a grave error."
Not slowing his stride, Dirk draws his scimitar from his scabbard. As soon as the weapon clears the sheath the blade crackles and sparks with magical energy.
Scabbard of Vigor with +3 atk/dmg for 3 rounds
As soon as Dirk is in range of the assassin, he spins into a blindingly fast attack sequence.
Power Attack (+scabbard buff -power atk penalty): 1d20 + 13 + 3 - 2 ⇒ (3) + 13 + 3 - 2 = 17
Damage (+scabbard buff +power atk bonus): 2d4 + 11 + 3 + 6 ⇒ (4, 4) + 11 + 3 + 6 = 28
Armand Attack: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (10) + 8 = 18, Damage: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 8
Selena (Heavenly Fire): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7, Damage: 1d4 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5
Thantos Attack: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19, Damage: 1d6 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4
Assassin 1 (Armand): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6, Damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6
Assassin 2 (Dirk): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 = 21, Damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6
Assassin 3 (Lash): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5, Damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2
Assassin 4 (Thantos): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 2 = 22, Damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
Assassin 5 (Selena): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4, Damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
Assassin 6 (Mird): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 = 19, Damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4
Thantos Save vs. Fortitude: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
Mird Save vs. Fortitude: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23
Assassin 4 - 22/3 (Paralyze/Wound Thantos)
Thantos - 19/4 (Wound 4)
Assassin 3 - (Dead)
Assassin 1 - 6/6 (Miss)
Mird (Cannot Act on Round 1)
Assassin 5 - 4/5 (Miss)
Assassin 6 - 19/4 (Paralyze/Wound Mird)
In her tent, with her eyes closed, Lash hears the call of Dirk's voice and even sees the flash of light of the portal before it closes. Relaxing her body and dragging her Shortsword into bed with her, she maneuvers the covers such that they will not be in her way. Just in time, she feels the presence of another as the flaps of her tent rustle just slightly as another enters her abode. Counting two short heartbeats Lash springs into action, arching her back to kick the covers off and her legs into the air, she then reverses the arch, kicking up with her legs and slightly twisting her body she lands, on her feet in a crouch, on the cold, frozen ground. Ignoring the freezing floor, she stabs upward, straightening, using the force of her legs to drive her blade into and through the chest of a being dressed completely in black, head to foot. With little reaction other than a slight stiffening, the man drops his shortsword and colapses. Waiting for nothing, Lash uses the falling weight of the dead assassin to drag the blade from her now dead attacker and rushes out the tent flap into the freezing cold in search of her other companions.
Lash: Round 2 you have the option of entering either Thantos's Tent or Selena's Tent.
Back on the grounds, Dirk watches the lead assassin approach as he growls "You've just made a grave error." Reversing the falchion, he waits till the second assassin starts to lean in to strike and spins opposite the attack, pointing the falchion backwards and using the spin to drive the blade into the side and chest of his attacker, quickly withdrawing the blade from his lifeless opponent, Dirk is already moving toward the next target.
Dirk: Armand or Thantos are the tents you can reach on the next round.
In the Darkness of his tent Armand comes out of his restful prayer at Dirk's call. Leaping to his feet Armand grabs his mace, cocks it and walks toward the entrance of his tent, only to be met by the figure in black as he opens the tent flap. Without waiting for anything, Armand swings in a downward arc at the Assassin, slamming his mace into the shoulder and arm of his assalent...causing bones to crack and the man's arm to dislodge from it's join with a loud POP. The assalent stiffens in agony but without so much as a grunt or groan drops his shortsword point downward into the frozen earth, spins, and snags it with his left hand (the only arm still working).
Hearing Dirk's Call, Selena opens her eyes and sees the Dark clad form enter her tent. Throwing her arm out she lances out with heavenly fire, the silvery light springing from her hand toward the assassin. Obviously wary, perhaps having heard the covers rustle or her cot creak, the Assassin throws himself back out of the tent and out of the line of the silvery ray.
Stepping into his tent, the black clad form finds Thantos hastily extracting himself from his winter covers and grabbing for his Staff and throws himself at Thantos, blade extended. The blade slices through the arm fabric of Thatnos's robe and draws a slight line of blood, doing little more than scratching the mage's arm. Yet the black clad figure almost immediately turns his back on Thantos, giving him a wide open strike at his back as he turns and moves toward the tent flap to exit the tent.
Seeing an opening, Thantos immediately tries to swing his staff at the Assassin's head but a burning pain starts up his arm from his scratch, followed by numbness as his hand and arm completely locks closed around the staff, a half second later the burning/numbness reaches his shoulder and his swing is stopped short...only seconds later blackness overtakes Thantos as the poison reaches his heart and paralysis overcomes his body.
Thantos is out of this fight for the moment.
Sorry for the junk text in the last post, those are my notes. I had to post quickly half way in the middle of the round.
Back in Armand's tent the wounded Assassin continues his spin, trying to Lash out with his sword but Armand, face flushed red with Anger, raises his mace in a ringing block that is as much aimed strike at the sword as any kind of parry, practically throwing the retreating and VERY wounded Assassin off his feet and back through the tent flaps. "You think you can just waltz into this camp and attack me?" Armand all but screams into the face of the silent attacker. "I am TIRED of these games. Open your hells created portal, flee like the DOG you are back to your masters and tell them I am coming for them. Tell them I will find each of them and I will destroy them one by one. Kethlenica's just revenge starts here, today." Kicking the assassin in the middle of the chest, Armand causes the Assassin to half leap, half stagger back, clearing the tent entrance as Armand comes stalking out at him.
The agile assassin who dodged Selena's attack attempts to stalk back into the tent, but gets entangled in the tent flap and a hastily flung sheet as he re-enters, finally extracting himself, missing his opening, only to see Selena preparing her next attack.
Groggy from the warmth of his blankets and exhausted from his day in the unusual surroundings of the hustle and bustle of the city, Dirk's first shout awakens the ranger. Trying to drag himself up from the depths of sleep, Mird realises, too late, that he is in danger as the Sixth assassin moves up to him and strikes a downward blow designed to cut off Mird's head. Twisting quickly and throwing himself off the cot, the blade catches Mird across the back in a stinging slice. Not deep enough to cause anything more than a light cut, Mird feels the effects of the paralysing poison almost immediately. As the burning/numbing pain starts spreading from his cut, Mird instinctively turns and shoves his back to the cold, wet, semi-frozen and muddy ground and pushes off with his feet. The numbing pain turns searing as the open wound grinds along the wet and muddy, but still hard ground. The instinct was well placed and the move seems to do the trick as the water/snow and mud/dirt interact with the surface poison before it can reach the bloodstream, diluting it enough that the effects don't take hold. The move also sends Mird sliding along the ground away from the Assassin and his deadly blade. Turning the slide into a roll, Mird gains his knees and then his feet as he hauls his abused body up off the ground, grabbing hastily for the only weapon within reach: His Longsword.
Round 2 Up, actions in. Dirk and Lash, pick your targets. Armand has appeared from out of his tent and his target seems to be in Dire straights. Lash has come out of her tent, sword bloody. The others are still in their tents and no sign of assassins (other than the half dead one Armand is yelling at). One assassin appeared briefly out of Selena's tent, followed by a familiar silver ray of light, then re-entered.
Of note, if you are outside, please don't use the status text above as an indication of who you should go to next, this is an example of player knowledge that the character wouldn't otherwise have. :) Feel free to use what is visible to you, what your character could or would probably hear and your character's motivations to make your decisions.
If you are in a tent they are essentially 10x10 squares, any attempt (by either of you) to exit the tent will initiate an AoO. You can all hear the sounds of battle around you, so you're all aware you are all under attack.
The central area of the "camp" is basically a 20' radius circle with the tents (as I mentioned before) in a "semi-circle" around the northern 180 degrees and the fire at the very southern point of the 360 (@ about 270 Degrees of the circle). Given where each of you is and the complexities of the rope tying off tents, debris from the storm, snow on the ground, detrius (wood and larger branches laying in the clearing, Dead Tree Stumps, etc.) laying around camp, and the heat of combat, etc. I am limiting each of your movements somewhat this next round to the nearest tents to you. After this round you can each move to wherever in camp you want to as you get your footing and your bearings.
PS: I forgot to note: Thantos has taken 3 Damage and is Paralysed and Mird Has taken 4 Damage but is still in the combat...and may attack this round.
As Lash emerges she looks around seeing Dirk leaving the corpse of an attacker as Armand angrily stalks another, a small grim smile crosses her lips, until she notices the flap of Selena's tent swinging shut as if someone had just entered.
She breaks into a full on charge through the tent's opening, barely taking a fraction of a second to register the dark fugure approaching the Sorceress as she prepared to defend herself, before striking at the man's back, attampting to put her blade throught his spine.
1d20 + 11 ⇒ (3) + 11 = 14 Charge, flank
1d6 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
Sneak attack 3d6 ⇒ (4, 6, 6) = 16
Just for clarification on your Sneak Attack Rolls Lash: I assume the Damage in your first roll (6) Should be added to the Damage in your Sneak Attack (16) for final total (22)? I approve and appreciate the separation of the damage since I may rule out a sneak attack at some point, so please continue posting your damage in this way, I just want to make sure I'm not missing something.
Pulling his bloodied weapon free of the falling assassin, Dirk allows his battle focus to guide him through a quick assessment of the chaos:
1. First priority Armand - seems in full control.
2. Note - Lash's cold efficiency in dispatching her attacker
3. Note - Lash entering Selena's tent to assist
4. Note - sounds of fighting in Mird's tent
5. Note - too quiet in the mages tent
In a heartbeat, Dirk changes his course for Thantos's tent. Throwing the tent flap aside Dirk's falchion is moving before the flap begins is decent.
Power Attack (+scabbard buff -power atk penalty): 1d20 + 13 + 3 - 2 ⇒ (19) + 13 + 3 - 2 = 33
Damage (+scabbard buff +power atk bonus): 2d4 + 11 + 3 + 6 ⇒ (1, 3) + 11 + 3 + 6 = 24
Crit Damage (+scabbard buff +power atk bonus): 2d4 + 11 + 3 + 6 ⇒ (1, 4) + 11 + 3 + 6 = 25
Armand Attack: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (14) + 8 = 22, Damage: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
Selena (Longsword): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 2 = 18, Damage: 1d8 - 1 ⇒ (5) - 1 = 4
Mird (Longsword): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (17) + 7 = 24, Damage: 1d8 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3
Assassin 1 (Armand): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8, Damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
Assassin 4 (Dirk): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 2 = 20, Damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7
Assassin 5 (Selena): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7, Damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
Assassin 6 (Mird): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 2 = 17, Damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6
Catching Dirk's and Armand's Eye for a split second, almost as if you could read each other's minds, the three of you nod at each other as Lash darts straight into Selena's Tent, blade leading the way.
Selena's tent is dark but obviously active with a black clad figure hastily backing away from Selena, now wielding her Longsword, trying to get position in the confines of her tent. The whisper of the tent flap warns the assassin that another target has entered the tent and he immediately tries to spin to react to the new target. Too late. Target exposed and vulnerable, Lash doesn't hesitate to drive her blade home into the small of his back, angling upwards to catch more internal organs in the strike. The blade pierces cleanly and the assassin drops to the floor twitching, and then is still.
Seeing the fleeing assassin exiting Thantos's tent Dirk and Thantos's assailant's eyes meet for a brief second as the assassin tries to break into a run at Armand. Thinking quickly Dirk drops into a crouch and throws a leg sweep at the assassin, catching him squarely as the assassin sprawls headlong into the snow and mud on the ground. Turning over, to try to reach his feet, the assassin's last view of this world is of Dirk, plunging his blade straight down into the the assassin's chest.
Across the short distances of the clearing the assassin makes a feeble swing with his only good arm, coming no where near Armand. In counter, Armand flips the mace to his left hand and backhands the short sword, catching the blade cleanly and smacking it out wide. Flipping the handle up out of his hands slightly into the air he turns his torso counter clockwise, grabs the mace handle with his right hand, and then using the full weight of his arm strength and his turn he slams the mace against the side of the Assassin's covered head, knocking the assassin sideways into the snow, head completely crushed to lay bleeding and thoroughly dead. Hefting his mace, Armand starts toward Mird's Tent.
The last battle takes a turn for the better for your party as Mird finds his feet and raises his longsword in defense. A couple parries and cuts later, Mird sees his opening and thrusts the tip of his longsword into the assassin's ribs, poking a clean hole (not deep) into the assassin's chest.
Trying to counterstrike, the assassin makes a backhand cut that Mird cleanly dodges as he disengages and goes back into a defensive stance.
Round 3. The only assassin still alive is the one facing Mird. Actions in. Keep in mind Mird's tent probably isn't large enough for more than the three people in there, maybe a 4th.
As the assasin drops to the floor, Lash shares a look with Selena, then with a wink, she turns and breaks for Mird's tent, bursting through the flaps and dropping to her knees in a slide under the whirling assasin's blade as her turns towards the sound.
She passes well under his weapon, bringing her blade in a level cut across his stomach, momentum driving the weapon in deeper.
1d20 + 9 ⇒ (20) + 9 = 29
1d6 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
S.A.3d6 ⇒ (3, 4, 1) = 8
Revised for Autocrit rule
1d6 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7
The action in Mird's tent lasts only a few more heartbeats.
Breaking from Selena's Tent, using her natural agility and acrobatic abilities, Lash sprints for Mird's tent, arriving just ahead of Armand and Dirk who hastily step back allowing Lash entrance first...stepping to either side of the tent door to ensure if the assassin attempts to escape, Dirk and Armand can strike him down.
Inside the tent it's obvious the Assassin is in trouble. Seeing Lash enter, Mird works the assassin into a routine bringing his blade high while Lash strikes the assassin across the midriff with her shortsword, ending the conflict quickly, if painfully, for the Assassin.
Lash calls the all clear from within Mird's tent as Dirk and Armand make their way to Thantos's tent to see what is up, dreading the worst.
Thantos remains standing in the dirt/mud/snow of the tent obviously unable to move, the cut on Thantos's arm is superficial at best, hardly even bleeding at this point, but the area around Thantos's cut and up his arm along a visible vein is green...definitely a bad sign. Physically he seems to still be in good health...a quick check of his pulse shows a strong heartbeat and, even though he is paralyzed, his breathing is normal. However, Thantos appears to be in a state of suspended animation, unaware of his surroundings and unable to move from his current position. Attempting to move a part of his body is futile, no part of him seems mobile without applying pressure that could cause injury.
Excusing himself Armand makes his way back to his tent, grabbing his belt pouch and holy symbol, and making his way back to Thantos's tent while the others are emerging from Mird's tent, dragging the eviscerated and quite dead Assassin with them.
Re-entering Thantos's tent, Armand notes that the green tinge to Thantos seems to be going away and the wound looks almost normal. Casting a Detect Magic spell Armand nods and puts a vial of anti-toxin back into his belt pouch.
Armand notes to Dirk that "The toxin is magical in nature not natural, the effects will pass momentarily" as the two of them physically lift Thantos's form and lay him on the cot. Sure enough, minutes later the green tinge to Thantos goes away completely and parts of Thantos begin to twitch as he regains more and more control over himself and shortly, with a start, Thantos wakes from his incapacitation and is quickly calmed by Armand and Dirk.
Emerging from the tent, Armand, Dirk and Thantos note that the other party members have been busy, dragging the corpses of the Assassins from the other tents to one side of the clearing. Dirk immediately moves to stand guard/watch over the camp against additional attack while Armand and the others move over to the corpses.
Stepping up to one of the corpses, Armand leans over and grasps the hood of one. "Lets see who our assailants are and if we can glean any additional information about why they attacked us." he says, pulling the hood off.
A look of pure horror and shock crosses Armand's face as he stumbles back a step away from the corpse, eyes continue to be locked on the dead man's face, as he backs into a tree stump and sits down heavily.
"The white hand..." he mutters, as he continues staring at the corpse.
The first thing you notice about the man is his face, or what is passing for such. What glares back at you is the face of a man horribly disfigured. Scarred beyond belief with burn and slash marks, the majority of the man is unidentifiable...almost no feature of the face in front of you is recognizable. The corpse's mouth, as well, is a mess, containing no teeth and no tongue.
The feature most prominent, however, is a tatoo in the center of the man's forhead of a child sized human hand with the middle finger missing...the tattoo is done completely in white with no other color to it.
I'll pause here for questions or comments.
I'll answer the first question here: None of you have heard of them.
Shaking his head to rid himself of the images flowing through is head Armand seems to return his attention from his mental musings back to the group and the real world.
Looking at the 5 of you staring blankly at him, Armand seems to make up his mind and nods once.
"As we all seem to be up at this point, give an old man a couple more moments of your time before we all try to get back to sleep for a few more hours."
Realizing something important is about to happen, you each rush to your individual tents to retrieve whatever clothing you need to keep yourselves worm out in cold and make your way toward the fire.
As Dirk tosses a few more pieces of wood on the flame and you all gather in the heat, Armand motions each of you to seats around the fire as he remains standing and pacing, trying to gather his thoughts. You are all humorously reminded of a kindly adult telling scary campfire stories to children before you realize that the likely characters in the story will be yourselves...and that scary stories rarely end well.
Around you the snow continues to fall, though at a lessened pace. The wind has died down some and while lightning continues to spark off in the distance, it is neither as prolific, nor as forceful as it was earlier that night...the storm, at least this part of it, seems to be dying off some.
Moments of Silence pass as Armand continues to pace, a worried look on his face. Finally, he stops pacing, shakes his head again, and turns to the 5 of you.
"Understand, the information you are about to receive is possibly as closely guarded of secrets as there ever have been. Receiving this information marks you each for death, and providing you this information breaks hundreds of years of tradition and secrecy and marks me for the same."
A shudder runs down each of your backs as you hear this. While you have all faced death hundreds of times in your lives, there seems to be something more...sinister...about this.
"This cannot be helped. Weeks ago I asked each of you if you would follow me, I gave you the option to walk away and live your lives in peace, I even warned each of you that we were likely walking into death's waiting embrace. You all told me you would follow me, and so you have. This, now, however, seals that deal. After hearing this, you cannot go back. Regardless of whether you leave my side or stay with me through to the end, this secret will follow you to your grave, and likely will cause that grave to yawn open before you earlier than expected. Without this knowledge, however, each of you are doomed."
"I ramble, let me correct this by starting from the beginning."
"Over 600 years ago, when this land of Norwold was first inhabited, seventeen families from foreign lands left and sailed to the shores of this continent. Those 17 families landed on this continent and founded what is today the capital city of Alpha. Realizing they needed a governmental structure, these families selected one of their own to start the Emperorship of this land. Newly elected as emperor, his first act was to promote the other sixteen heads of each family as a high noble of Norwold and to establish laws and rules by which we live today. The high council of nobles was established with the power to depose and replace the Emperor or re-elect a new ruling family should none of the Emperor's blood remain."
"Over the next 50 years, the families lived within the City of Alpha that they were building...mostly peacefully. Yet, they were now Nobility, and many of them felt they wanted kingdoms of their own. To a family, they petitioned the Emperor for the right to leave Alpha and find their own place in Norwold, their own lands, their own kingdoms. The wise Emperor, realizing it was this or war with his own people, allowed each of the 16 noble families to find their own lands under the conditions that each of those lands was still ruled by the Emperor himself, that no kingdom would attack Alpha or the Emperor, and that no noble family was allowed to harm another member of the noble family upon pain of death or banishment for the ENTIRE family bloodline."
"Understand this: The agreement was that if any member of a noble family were caught causing harm to any other member of a noble family the offending family would be WIPED OUT entirely. All blood related members, legitimate, illegitimate, or otherwise would be either banished or put to death."
"The nobles agreed, and within the first 100 years of the establishment of Norwold as an empire the 16 noble families and many friends and other migrants from other lands established a large portion of the Norwold we know today."
"As time went on the various kingdoms established by the noble families and other kingdoms established by more minor families who came over and were granted land by the Emperor started to 'clash', first with the native barbarian tribes of this land and then with each other over borders. As humans are want to do, we are never content with what we have and always want more. And so many of the nobility started skirmishing and warring with each other over land rights and kingdom sizes. And there came a time when one of the original 16 noble families decided to wipe out another of the original 16 over the current war and land dispute between them. The surviving members of the diposed noble family made their way to Alpha and petitioned the Emperor to intervene...and so he did."
"Within the next 5 years every member of the offending family were rounded up and brought for punnishment to Alpha. All of the women and children were packed onto a single ship and sent to sea, banished from the empire of Norwold, while every male member over the age of 13 was beheaded on the steps of the Castle of Alpha as a public example. When all was done, only 15 noble families existed."
"While this is all history, available to each of you as you grew up, the story does not end there as you are given to believe by the histories."
"The story from here becomes intentionally fuzzy and the details lost by design. It is said that one of the more powerful noble families decided, at that point, that they needed a way to rid themselves of rivals without incurring the wrath of the Emperor or breaking the treaty of the lands as it was to become known. A young member of that family, with a penitent for murder and sadism, presented a plan to the head of his family to solve the issue. The family would pronounce the Son "dead" and the son would create a secret organization to allow the family the ability to assassinate other nobles. While the histories have little to no information about who this is or about what the organization is, they are very clear about the string of violent noble deaths that followed...the mysteries behind which were never solved."
"What you don't know, and no one else other than the heads of the sixteen original noble families know, is that after a few assassinations for his own family, the boy and his organization realized that there was more power working for themselves than for a specific family. What few ties there existed were severed completely and the organization known as the White Hand came into existence. A representative of the hand contacted each of the sixteen noble families and offered their secret services to each of the nobles. These services, too, came with restriction on who could be assassinated, when, how and under what circumstances. The rules and the deals are many and varied and complicated, but there was one overarching rule: Namely that only the head of each noble family and that head's direct heir would ever know this organization exists...and that its existence would be kept secret from all others upon pain of death...of not only the noble but any of his or her family and anyone who is told."
"As you might guess, Kethlenica's rulers ascend directly back to one of the original sixteen noble families, and I am of that bloodline. While I have never met any of the white hand, nor to my knowledge have any of my descendent's ever called upon the organization for services, we know it exists."
"Obviously, by me telling you this, I have broken the covenant, and we are now all marked for death, as are any remaining members of my own family. However, given that the White Hand just showed up on our doorstep, and that my family is likely long dead, I see no reason to hide this any longer."
"What we know of the white hand is little, the organization is steeped in secrecy. No one has ever proven that the organization exists...bodies like those over there turn up from time to time, but are always written off as "copycat" pretenders who've read one too many fantasy stories."
"Their symbol, however, has meaning. The three fingers and thumb denote four separate organizations, the space between them denotes the separation that the leadership of the white hand keeps between each organization to ensure that each of the 4 "fingers" of the hand are autonomous from each other. The missing middle finger, then, denotes the target...it is meant as a reminder to the members of the organization that the target is always central to their thoughts and to remind the target that a missing finger is forever, just as the contract on the target is forever."
"If the white hand showed up here, it means one of us, at least, has been marked for death by the hand. Someone out there wants at least one of us dead, if not all of us...taking part in harboring a target of the white hand results in an immediate contract on the part of the harboring party so whether it was one or all of us matters not now."
"Contracts exist for either the life of the target, or the life of the contractor. So long as the person who paid for our deaths lives, we will be hounded by the hand till we are dead. If any member of the hand ever finds out any of you know of the existence of the organization, the contract on your life will exist till your death...or the white hand itself is no more...pray this conversation is secret...and take that secret to your graves."
"As of now, the Brotherhood is not our only concern. If they are one of the fingers of the White Hand, then our mission doesn't change. If they are not, they're just one more roadblock in our way. This encounter changes nothing: We continue on toward Speclarium where we will clear our names of the deaths in Kiren's Keep, and then on to Kethlenica where we will avenge my family and fix whatever wrongs we find with our nation."
"Know, however, that we are marked, and for any of us to live a normal life we will also, now, have to find out who wants us dead, and make them retract the contract...or kill them."
"I am happy to answer any questions I can, but morning approaches and we could all use some rest."
Lash sits quietly listening to Armand's tale as it unfolds. From time to time, her eyes shift to the faces of the others, seeking their reactions on the information being imparted.
As the adrenaline of the attack waned, she felt the tiredness that normally folloed the combat high, mitigated by the slight discomfort of the cold, a blessing since her watch would be next.
The story itself was like something from a Bard's tale, except for the fact that simply hearing this tale put her and anyone she loved in perpetual mortal danger.
As Armand finished, the only sound was the whickering of the horses and the crackling flames as the group absorbed the information.
"So, not only are we at war with the Brotherhood, marked for vengence by those who supported that crazy Queen b%@!, and being hunted by every guardsman in the region, but now each and everyone of us is a target for a damn near mythical group of assasins that has been around longer than most nations."
Shaking her head she chuckles, more from irony than actual amusement.
"On top of which, just knowing they exist means we'll be targets until we're all dead, or we bring down an organization that technically doesn't exist. Either that or figure out which head of which house contracted them, and take the fight to them." her flat delivery of the situation carries an undercurrent of sarcasm.
"Well...at least they don't seem any harder to kill than any other bastard."
Dirk smiles at Lash's cavalier attitude toward their dangerous situation. Thinking to himself that she would have excelled as a soldier if her fates had taken her down a different path.
He then begins the gruesome task of dragging the bodies together so they can be searched for any further clues that might lead to the person who marked them for death.
Armand looks at Lash for a few minutes and then quietly asks: "Tis heavy the head that wears the crown?"
Grinning and then chuckling Armand adds, slightly more seriously.
"The situation is as you state Lash, but hope is not lost. We can clear our names assuming we can get an audience with the Duke...and when that happens at least half of our problems, and probably the most immediate of them, go away. If I know the Duke, the moment this gets cleared up he'll have an army on march for Kiren's Keep and that part of our responsibility will be taken care of for us."
"The white hand will continue to hound us. We need to figure out how to keep an attack like tonight from happening again, but as you said they die like everyone else. Hopefully the death of their assassins will give the organization pause. Too, they're fighting as handicapped as we are: Secrecy is their rule, they cannot expose themselves. While the brotherhood could send an army after us, the white hand cannot risk an open attack for fear of revealing their existence. Vigilance will be our key against that organization."
"And that leaves the brotherhood. Ever have they been a thorn in my side and a threat to my kingdom. Their attacks and their plots, however, are revealed. When we were stationary in Kirin's keep they had a way to plot against us, to scheme and turn others to their will. On the move, as we are now, we limit their ability to do much more than come at us straight up. We've beaten some of the best of them already and we will continue to do so."
"The road will not be easy, but by the light of Saenrae, and the strength of friendship, each of you will see your homeland again, of that I am certain."
"It is late, and we must be off early to avoid the patrols."
A search of the bodies turns up nothing.
To a man each of them is scarred beyond recognition, they are wearing single layer black body suits made of a supple leather that, at least according to Thantos, has no magical properties about it at all, though a hint of magical aura does surround the bodies, perhaps residual from their travel through the portal that brought them to your camp, perhaps something else. None of the suits have any pockets, none of the bodies have pouches or packs or bags on their person and the only weapon you can find is the shortsword each of them carried...the bodies contain nothing else.
They are all men, each shaved bald, and other than varying heights, are fairly indistinguishable from each other. Certainly, if asked to ID any member of the attacking group, you likely couldn't do it successfully from any other...particularly not with masks on. This, obviously, would be the point you realize and your mind wanders down what kind of sick and twisted group would go through so much pain to physically mutilate themselves to the point of unrecognizability simply for a position within the organization. You realize this group acts more like a cult of religious zealots than a guild of any sort.
Finishing with the search of the Bodies, each of you returns to your beds with Lash taking the remainder of Dirk's watch and the rest of her own. The night passes with no other events.
The day dawns cold, cloudy and overcast. While sometime in the early morning hours the storm blew itself out, none of you are under any illusions that you've seen the last of this storm system.
As the first rays of sun crest the surrounding mountains and forest you're already mostly through breakfast and breaking down camp, having been up with the pre-dawn light to get on your way quickly. Another wrinkle to your travel presents itself with this dawn...horns, blaring out of both the north and south.
The cadence of the horns is such that there are obvious messages being passed back and forth across the miles of distance in the early morning stillness and that can only mean one thing to 6 fugitives on the run from the road patrols and local constibularies, the hunt has begun. That road patrol from yesterday obviously put two and two together last night and realized that the odd appearance of two nobles in a backwater town, crossed with the fact that they didn't meet those same two nobles traveling down the road, meant that something was up. Obviously runners were sent to various patrol stops overnight (you feel sorry for the poor people who had to run THOSE messages in that storm last night), and the hunt has begun in earnest this morning.
There's the possibility, of course, that your musings could be incorrect, and that any of a dozen other reasons could be the cause for the horns...but you all realize better safe than sorry is the order of the day.
Hurriedly dragging the bodies of the white hand to the fire and arranging them to make it look like this was their camp, the six of you pack the rest of your things and ride off to get ahead of the patrols. You are all well aware that the ruse won't hold up to even a cursory examination, but you hope you obliterated enough of your presence in that clearing that it will give you at least a handful of moments of head start...and any time you get is time and distance put between you and the patrols.
By mid-morning all of you are convinced you were right...having slid by two patrols and heard snippets of conversation about your trek into town yesterday among the patrol members, it's obvious that you are indeed being hunted. Lady luck (and not a small amount of paranoia) has saved you again.
By mid afternoon, however, you are all wondering whether Lady Luck really is on your side, turned her back on you a long time ago, or is just getting one hell of a laugh at your predicament as the snowstorm starts back up.
On the upside, you muse, visibility has been reduced to only a few 10s of yards in front of you as the snow is blown about by the wind and the large, wet flakes of an early spring snow fall in earnest. If the patrols are still tracking you (and the horn calls give you a good idea that they likely are) their jobs just became alot harder.
Within the next hour, however, the downside of the snow becomes painfully obvious. All of the side trails and animal trails that you were able to use to get around oncoming patrols are now completely blocked with snow, fallen wood and the danger of snapping dead limbs and trees with the weight of the newly fallen snow.
And while the visibility hurts the patrols, it does very little for you either. At one point you practically stumble into a stationary patrol, stopping to rest their horses and get their bearings. Only an ill timed blast from the hornsman, communicating with others out along the road from no more than 200 feet ahead of you warns your party to quickly get off the road before you are spotted.
Laying in the snow on the side of the road for another half hour, waiting for the patrol to finally gather their stuff and pass, you are all thoroughly chilled to the bone, much of your outer clothing is damp from the wet snow and sleet. While no signs of frostbite are showing on your skin, you all feel as if you've been flash frozen many times over.
Finally, the patrol passes and you move on, restoring SOME warmth to your limbs by the exertion of moving. By this point you are all cold, tired, and hungry, your horses included. Another close call around 3 in the afternoon (or at least what you assume to be 3 in the afternoon given the darkness of the clouds overhead) makes you rethink this "travel in secrecy during a snowstorm" methodology. With no "side of the road" ditch to hide in, no way into the forest other than pounding through the underbrush (which you're sure your horses, let alone yourselves, would object to), and a patrol fast approaching from the north, you wonder if Lady Luck finally got bored with you. Preparing for a chase the 6 of you stumble across a side road, not completely blocked by snow and immediately turn down it, hoping to go just far enough off the main road for the oncoming patrols to pass...or hoping to find enough shelter to ride the rest of this storm out.
Surprisingly enough, this small half road/half trail winds back quite a distance from the main road and the overhanging trees and deeper forest slightly lessens the storm's effect. Finding a rather large tree a mile or two off the road, the 6 of you find the side away from the blowing wind and dismount, stretching your limbs and pulling out some food for the first meal you've had since the minimal breakfast that morning. Lash and Mird take off scouting in opposite directions, looking for potentially a parallel track to the main road.
Within 15 minutes, no sign of pursuit has come down the side road, much to your surprise, and Lash and Mird have both returned with surprising and interesting news...this side road is really a dead end leading to what appears to be an abandoned tower. The concept of being able to get out of the cold and ride out the rest of the storm with a roof over your heads bares at least checking out so the six of you mount up and travel the couple miles down to the end of the road.
"And I was thinking things were complicated enough..."
"Armand, count on us. Together we will take care of these bastards"
After spending some time with the group Mird goes back to his tent to get some rest.
He is now grounded with the group. Not that he doesn't like the company of his fellows but the weight of not being able to make all the decisions himself is sometimes frustrating. When he was a lonely Ranger he made all the decisions for good and bad. He had total freedom... and he misses that. On the other hand he thinks he is at the right place with the right people fighting for the right cause.
On that night a strange dream. A dream of freedom, freedom that he doesn't have anymore. On the dream Mird was bonded with nature, he was flying like an eagle over the forests of Norwold.