We're waiting for Kheldor's illusion to draw the thing out so we have a clear shot.
I was assuming we were 50-100 feet away - if we were closer, Arkady would have his lance ready rather than his bow. Let's say 50, so you create the sound halfway between us, which might lure the thing out. If not, you'd have to move closer...
Will Save:1d20 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7
As everyone readies, Kheldor casts his spell, making the sounds of a shuffling pig coming closer to the hole. Suddenly, the spider leaps from it's hole in a mighty spray of dirt and mandibles. It rushes towards the noise, but stops, obviously confused.
Surprise round! You're currently around 50 feet away. Up to you exactly how close, but Kheldor has to be right at 50 feet.
"Loose!" Arkady says in a low, tense, voice. Kheldor risks himself if that thing is too fast. Old Deadeye, guide my shaft! The other bows twang a second after his, shafts flashing above the torn-up ground.
Arkady's shot: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (20) + 3 = 23 for 1d8 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5
Critical confirmation: 1d20 + 3d2d8 + 4 ⇒ (17) + (5, 3, 4, 7) + 4 = 40 extra
Devlin's shot: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15 for 1d8 ⇒ 4
Linier's shot: 1d20 ⇒ 15 for 1d8 ⇒ 8
Yes, a typo. Was trying to fix it in edit but had computer problems.
As the arachnid twitches, Arkady watches from a safe distance, ready to grab his lance if the thing charges or shoot again if it does not. When it twitches its last, he and Devlin move forward to make sure the thing is dead, then search its den.
"If it dragged in something as big as a big, it might have dragged in a passer-by or two as well. And if there are eggs or young, we need to deal with them as well."
Rather than tempt the dice gods again, we'll just take 20 on the search check And, yes, if the ambushee spots the ambush ahead of time, the ambusher has a bad day.
|Anton Domnoff Lebeda|
Again I am worthless, a battle fought and won in a heartbeat with no challenge at all. Anton's even more depressed.
In a very small and thin voice Anton says, "Excellent shot, Sir Arkady. You are obviously a great and well-rounded warrior." Anton wanders about the den listlessly, looking and sniffing for anything else that might be there.
Perception 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (13) + 3 = 16
I feel like I just kicked Anton's puppy lol
The spider's lair is a five foot diameter, 25 foot deep shaft, with webbing across the sides making it easy to climb down. As Arkady and Anton do so they find that the smell down here is terrible. The reason is clear upon reaching the floor of the shaft, where the half-rotten corpse of a brown bear sits. Under the corpse is a corpse that's hardly but a skeleton, though he wears the cobbled together uniform of one of the Stag Lord's men. Upon searching him, you find a set of leather armor, a short sword, 10 gold pieces and a small piece of parchment. The parchment shows a crude drawing of a tree upon a treetop, bare of leaves and looking like a claw reaching into the sky. There is an X marked boldly at the roots of the tree.
"Thanks Arkady! That was a great shot too! And Kheldor, nice imitation of a pig. That was masterful." Kata looks at Anton curiously, sure that something is wrong, but uncertain what it could be after such a perfect fight.
Later, she watches as Anton and Arkady drag up the corpse. Yuck, that is so disgusting. She can only stomach so much and looks away without a good look at the map.
Intelligence check 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
Arkady pulls himself up out of the shaft, smeared in unmentionable fluids, and mutters something about needing to wash. A scrap of parchment nearly flutters away, but Arkady sees the other side and grabs it, glancing over the somewhat stained and smelly writing.
Intelligence 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (17) - 1 = 16
"That does look like that tree we passed last visit. Apparently someone thought it was a striking enough landmark to indicate... what? Worth a visit as we pass, probably."
"Thanks Kata. That trick, or its like, has served me dozens of times in the past." He says with a big grin.
Upon seeing the map, Khedlor remarks "Buried treasure? That would be my best guess" He catches a wiff of the stench coming off of Arkady "You smell worse than a week old diaper, let me help you out, before you scare off any would be suitors" He says with a chuckle. Two castings of Prestidigitation One to clean him up and and one to give him a better smell
Marcus whistles as Arkady's shot neatly kills the arachnid in one blow. Hell of a shot, he thinks to himself. He watches as the corpse is fished out of the den, covering his nose as the gentle breeze blows the stench of death over them.
"At least it appears to have been one of the Stag Lord's men and not an innocent traveller, and we're one large threat down," Marcus looks at the large dead form of the spider. "I hope there aren't too many of those around."
As they approach the tree, Marcus looks at the disturbed soil with interest. "Anyone got a spade?"
"I had no idea we would need one," Arkady says, as the tree's branches move slightly above him in the breeze. "We could use a dagger to loosen earth, and a helmet to move it with." He moves closer to the tree, squatting down and looking to see any sign of what the drawing might have indicated.
Perception 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (18) - 1 = 17
How large is the area of disturbed earth?
Arkady looks around to see if any dead branches have fallen, or might be snapped off, to use as a digging stick; if not he uses his dagger, and either way moves the earth with his helmet.
"Unless any of you have earthmoving spells or shovels?" he says after a minute, but continues digging either way.
"Thank you, Kheldor."
On the way down, Arkady asks everyone what kind of place they would prefer to live in.
[b]"For myself, a country manor with stables for fine horses and an apple orchard. Springs of clear water and good fields. I would plant a fine oak wood for my children's children to build with."
"No, I have no shovels with me. But take a close look in case someone has set a trap."
"I can only remember my mother's cottage in the wood. My time in Restov was the first I have spent in a city that large. I'll have to see once I have more experience, but I preferred my mother's place to the city. Gardens, I definitely want gardens."
|Anton Domnoff Lebeda|
Anton stands about looking around but not doing much.
Perception 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
"Never occurred to me to take a shovel with us." If asked Anton will help, otherwise he just mopes.
"Well I'd like to found a new Bulwark of Gorum somewhere about but that's a large ambition, a good place to live for some years, then a vineyard in my dotage, say in 25 years if still alive. And getting ahead of myself, there was no mention of any grants of land here, unless we just take, which seems against the morals of most here. Still training recruits, building defenses, harrowing the land of problems, those would be good days."
Could I use Prestidigitation to dig? It says you can move stuff slowly. Or Mage Hand maybe?
He smiles a little bit dreamily. "While we were travelling, Zeldana and I saw an elven house built into and around a gigantic tree. It was the most amazing and beautiful thing I had ever seen, and we promised each other we'd try to find or make one for ourselves. Of course, that may not be possible, but we're gonna have fun trying"
After ten minutes of digging, you are able to pull up a large bundle. Wrapped in a heavy leather cloak is a small wand made of a hickory branch, a masterwork dagger, a small silver ring and a spellbook.
1d20 ⇒ 11
1d20 ⇒ 14
Now is likely time to go to bed.
Kata takes a look at the ring.
Appraise 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14
"Well, it's a nice ring, but I'm not certain how much it is worth."
Casts detect magic
Spellcraft 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (6) + 9 = 15
"And this wand is magic, but it's not a spell I'm familiar with. Looks like it's getting late, let's camp for the night."
A spellbook? Kheldor will be very happy.
"Does this mean the bandits have a wizard with them, to keep such a spellbook?" Arkady asks. "Or does it mean they do not have one, to hide such a thing away rather than taking it to their wizard?"
"I did not mean building only here," Arkady says earnestly, "though I would not turn down a piece this land if a claim were mine. But I was not merely dreaming -- one must dream of building, yes, but if you are to have a solid house and not a shredded pile of dream-silk, you must plan before building. So I think where I would put the stables, and where the orchard, and all such details, so if in time a deed were mine, I would know what sort of land I wanted and what I could make with it."
Khel takes the wand and turns it over in his hand a few times trying to figure out what it does 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24 Spellcraft
"Its a wand of Burning Hands with four charges remaining"
He then opens his eyes to mystical energies and examines the spellbook Casting Detect Magic to make sure it isn't trapped
Hunting Rolls:1d20 + 4 ⇒ (11) + 4 = 15 // 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (14) + 4 = 18
Six rations used.
The spellbook is not trapped in any fashion.
In the morning you continue to the south, finding the land turning more green across the grassland as you get closer to the swollen Shrike River.
1d20 ⇒ 16
As you explore this area you find that it borders the Shrike River, coincidentally right around the area you're chartered to explore. Along the banks, you find an odd sight.
There are two small wooden platforms on either side of the swollen Shrike here, with a thick rope stretching between them. On the opposite bank is the gutted remains of a wooden cottage, destroyed by fire and with nature beginning to reclaim it. A small sign hangs on this shore, and by squinting you can see the back of a similar one on the other. It reads Davik's Crossing: 5 Copper Pieces. Ring Bell for Service. Indeed, there is a tarnished bell hanging by the sign, rope worn from the clapper but likely ringable.
"How fortuitous Kheldor. I believe either of us could make use of that wand, but since your skill identified it, it would be right for you to take it. And, I have a hex that will make it harder for our enemies to dodge it so we could work together to make it more dangerous."
"Also, with respect to the spellbook, that too should be yours. I cannot make use of it at all. But, if you can make scrolls of spells I do not already know, Blackthorn can make use of those to learn new spells. Perhaps that is something we could speak of more as we explore."
Upon arriving at the river, she looks over at the destroyed cottage. "I wonder what happened here. Once a ferry? Devlin or Linier, do either of you know anything of this place?"
Perception 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18
"The destruction was some time ago," Arkady says, looking at the new growth sprouting over the ruins. "Perhaps last fall, or in the winter. Not much longer, or the rope would have rotted. I doubt much is left -- what the fire did not take, the rain or the mice or the mold will have. But was it accident, or malice? A wooden hut would burn easily if a fire got out of control. Devlin, Linier, answer my cousin if you have anything to say. The Stag Lord must have known of this place, if his folk patrol the rivers at all."
Any other signs visible from here? Probably no tracks, but I'll look for them or other signs anyway.
Perception 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (14) - 1 = 13
Survival 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 12
"Can we cross the river here?" Arkady asks. He rides to the riverbank and uses his lance to probe the river and see how deep it is, and if there is any easy place to cross.
"That reminds me -- where do the Stag Lord's people cross these rivers? Hidden boats? Fords they alone know of? We saw one crossing, near the Thorn River camp we destroyed. What others are there? Do the bandits often set ambushes at river crossings, or do they conceal their knowledge of the fords? Are there any bridges? Devlin? Linier?"
This is an example of the sort of information Arkady is trying to extract from the former bandits as we ride along.
Marcus looks at the forlorn site with sadness; a glimmer of civilisation and commerce snuffed out all too quickly. Now the ruin stands as a stark reminder that the Stolen Lands will seek to reclaim any site that is not vigilant.
"A desperate sight indeed," he remarks, almost tempted to ring the bell in remembrance, "It appears that the ferry has either been stolen or washed away. We'd have to replace it in order to make use of this crossing, I'd wager. Perhaps the Dwarven engineer back at Oleg's could fashion some form of replacement?"
Kheldor looks at what most likely is a ferry crossing with bordem. "Unless we plan to go root around the ruins, there's not much point staring forlornly at what once was. We have plenty more to see and do"
When Arkady asks his questions of the two reformed bandits he shakes his head "Must you always bombard them with a barrage of questions that makes my head spin just hearing them, let alone trying to answer them? You say your going to help these men start new lives, yet each time you do this, it seems like your interrogating them"
Arkady looks up from the river and stares quizzically at Kheldor. "Of course I am interrogating them," he says. "I would do the same with any scout who brought back useful information. I believe they are clever men with eyes and wits, who hear much and see. I am merely letting them know what I wish to know, since they have not been long with me yet and I cannot assume they know me so well as that."
He returns to probing along the riverbank. "Much to see and do, yes. I would like to investigate the hut, to see if it was an accident or if this is something else we can lay at the Stag Lord's feet when we finally catch him, but that requires crossing the river first. Which we would also have to do if we wished to continue southwards. Any ideas?"
"I don't know, sir, we never worked here, we were too far west." Devlin shrugs. "Afraid I'm no help here, or anyone from our camp, the men at the fort may know something about it." Linier takes up the conversation: "Never heard of this either, but I know 3 rivers here. The Shrike here, The Thorn our camp was built on, and the Skunk further West and South. The Thorn is criss-crossed with fords and old bridges, plenty of 'em, but I know it's a little tough to cross the Shrike or the Skunk. The men don't do much outside that area."
Soon after Arkady's last question the surface of the river near his lance starts to bubble and thrash. As he pulls back a strange sight comes up. Roughly ten feet out into the river a bulge and ripple of water rises from the river and turns itself into a man's shape, though a horror of a man. Dead and drowned, the man's flesh hangs off of him in ugly strips and a wickedly hooked ransuer is in his hand. He calls out to you with a soggy, eerie voice: "Yooouuu arrreee nnooottt myyy tormeenteeerrrsss..." He raises a hand toward's you with a grimace. "Throowwww theee booodddyyy ooofff theee Staaaggg Looorrrdd iiinntooo theee rriiiveerrr, thhaat Iii maayy loookk upooonn hiiiss deeaathhh. Ooorrr joooiinn meee iiinn theee waaaateerrrsssss...."
|Anton Domnoff Lebeda|
"Ah , too serious, perhaps you're right Kheldor, I should lighten up a bit but that's hard, too little fighting for me."
Anton looks over the tragic site and listens to the conversation with little interest. Then...
What thing is that? Some sort of zombie, great! A fight at las- wait what is it saying?
Anton draws his blade but checks his movement as he hears what is said. Anton's voice booms out, "The Stag Lord is your enemy? Does vengeance upon him burn in your heart? Is that what binds you to a life now lost? Or is there a darker reason for your presence here? Let us know and what you seek may yet happen."
I wonder how the others feel about this, undeath is frightening but not always unjust.
Hard to believe I writing this but ...
Diplomacy 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (14) + 1 = 15
Marcus recoils at the sight of the man, and almost misses what he says. Although not particularly pleased at the thought of parlaying with this strange apparition, it appeared that the thing meant them no harm. Or at least he wasn't immediately hostile.
"We intend to kill the Stag Lord, so what harm is there in letting this soul have it's rest?"
|Anton Domnoff Lebeda|
Kata watches on in a mix of fascination and horror as Anton continues speaking with the creature. I wonder if its knowledge is limited to this location or if it will know anything additional of the fort. Some of the fey know everything that happens along their rivers or in their part of the wood. Is it the same with the living dead?
Dropping the long howls, you can imagine them from here out.
"My name is... was... Davik. I built this crossing, and lived in this home. The Stag Lord came... just after I had made back my costs, and he told me that I would pay him 3 of every 5 coppers I made. I told him and his men to go to the hells, and me and my dogs ran him off. He returned the next night, and burned down my home... waited until I was halfway across, and cut down the bridge. I drowned, pinned under my livelihood under the river. But I've risen to stop any of his men who come back, and he avoids this place. I would have revenge." Davik looks once more upon you all with a grimace. "Bring him to me... or I will make you regret it." Suddenly his body runs, melts and turns back into water, melting back into the river.
Arkady slowly controls his racing heart and his sweating horse. "I... do not like this, neither the Stag Lord's deed, nor the walking dead. Maybe we can give justice to this man, but it will be a bitter taste in my mouth. A murdered man crawls from a watery grave to beg for justice, and it shames me that I feared and loathed him."
And unspoken, The dead should stay dead.
A wiser man would wonder, "Do the dead tell the truth?"
"I agree the deed may be distasteful, Arkady, but we eliminate two problems with one act. We remove the head of banditry for this region and sate a potentially dangerous ghost's appetite for vengeance at the same time, which should make this a safe crossing once more. We'll rename it once the deed is done and history will forget it for us."
|Anton Domnoff Lebeda|
Good point, should have checked truthfulness.
"I understand those who find such things repulsive but such can be the consequence when a cruel death occurs. For a vengeance-racked restless soul it was downright reasonable. It seems likely that the Stag Lord will fall only with a battle and if his corpse can cause this troubled spirit to find satisfaction and move on, it would be worth it. But that is for the future, let's go back a new way and see to Svetlana's sister." Anton is completely calm about the situation having seen the undead before.
There's nothing in particular in these hexes so I'm fast forwarding a bit
1d20 ⇒ 4
1d20 ⇒ 20
1d20 ⇒ 9
1d20 ⇒ 13
1d20 ⇒ 7
1d100 ⇒ 49
1d100 ⇒ 3
1d6 ⇒ 5
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 = 21
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
3 Days of travel, 20 rations used.
After three days of exploring the area on the very edge of your charter, you begin to near the area where Svetlana claimed her sister would reside. As you near you can see some sort of group ahead around a small building, it looks to be around half a dozen people.
"Oh, the Stag Lord surely must be defeated. I would rather we could lay the dead to rest in some more seemly fashion, and if we turn him from his path rather than slay him, we will have no corpse to swim in Davik's river. Though the more I hear of him, the less it seems he can be turned from his path."
What time of day is it? What sort of building? I am assuming a simple farmstead, late afternoon or evening.
Arkady Perception 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (19) - 1 = 18
Devlin Perception 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 1 = 9
Linier Perception 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (19) + 5 = 24
Devlin snoozes on the back of his horse, dozing after a long day's ride.
Arkady looks ahead, eager for some rest, but frowns at the gathering visible ahead. "So many folk just standing around. They ought to be working; there are many tasks in a farmer's life." He reaches under his cloak and pulls out his horn, lifting it to his lips to blow.
Linier stands up in his stirrups, and then calls in a low urgent tone from the rear, "Don't! They are bandits!" and Arkady turns to stare at him in astonishment, lowering his horn.
Except for cooking and mealtimes, the Galtan had been so quiet during the trip that he had mostly been overlooked.