I don't really want to wait until after durgen to post, since that might push the whole combat back a day, so I'll just state my intended action, and leave a backup if it no longer makes sense.
Gallak squints at the roof, scowling at the glint of steel bodkin leveled at him. Removing a packet of white paste from his belt, he smears it across his fingertips- the smell and consistency identifying it as lard. Chanting a soft rhyme in draconic, he levels his hand and sweeps it horizontally towards the elves. In an instant, the smear on his hand is gone, and the elves struggle for purchase on the slippery roof.
Grease with a DC 13 reflex.
Gallak intimidates any remaining forces after Durgen's turn.
Intimidate: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (14) + 12 = 26
Two elves avoid the grease and attempt to leap out of the wagon. One falls awkwardly to the ground, injuring himself.
A barrage of arrows targets Durgen.
@+6: 6d20 ⇒ (9, 3, 6, 19, 20, 2) = 59
confirm: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10
An elf burst out of the back of the wagon holding a glaive streaming a pennant with a silver unicorn on a field of green trees.
He looks at the banner and gasps: "These aren't the dwarves that attacked us. Hold up here."
His confusion doesn't help Durgen, who is pierced by three arrows for physical piercing: 3d8 + 3 ⇒ (4, 4, 8) + 3 = 19
From inside the carriage human voices scream: "I'm blind, I'm blind."
The rest of the group is ready to act. Magnum looks at Kiptera with his hammer: "Shall we end them?"
Ah My last post got eaten by the postmonster. Lets try this again.
A bit late into the race is sometimes a good thing. Kiptera near the rear of the carriage, finally realizes the intent of the elven subterfuge. Her drawn keen-edged falchion a mere cat's whisker away from spiking the wheel before she reacts the sudden appearance of an elf wielding a pennanted glaive. His obvious checked action and accompanying Gallak's bellow of
stays a very bloody tactical discussion of dwarf defense vs surprise attack.
Kiptera lets two heartbeats pass in which she and the elf have a unflinching stare down. She drops her guard, shoulders rising but the falchion stays on point. "And what manner of dwarf are you looking to quarrel with? I've a few recommendations if you be needing direction."
She motions with her hand, fingers splayed out then two fingered gesture to the carriage of elves, to Magnum to also stay his action but remain poised to deliver a violent rebuttal to any elf who does not show similar restraint.
Are the archers blind? That would make signaling hysterical.
You can plainly see all the dwarves we are with, Gallak states.
I suppose technically that's not a lie.
Perhaps it is fortunate for you that we come as we have. It would seem your forces need an ambassador, no? Or have you contacted the forces already?
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (19) + 12 = 31
Gallak tries to determine how the arrows signal, be it smokestick, flare, or streamer- if things turn ugly, it'd best be just this force, not the whole damn forest.
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13
The elf with the pennated glaive continues to speak:
"We need no ambassador. But mayhaps you can talk sense into the dwarves in the fortress. Especially the mad dwarfmaid that leads them."
He pauses for a second:"Or we can escort you outside the warzone."
Not much seems different about the arrows the archers draw except their head seems quite a bit larger than a typical arrow.
Little is known of elven fletchery except bands of wood elves often pride themselves on their clever magical arrow designs.
What I wouldn't give to have a familiar with telepathy.
Gallak laughs heartily, seeming to drop his guard.
Dwarf-maid! He snorts, Bwahahahahaha.
Wiping a tear from his eye, he stifles his chuckling.
Oh I had heard stories of elven trickery and jest, but this is elaborate. Led by a dwarf-maid, are they? I suppose they fight with sewing needles! Haha!
He clears his throat as he notices Kiptera staring holes in him.
One of the elves fires one of the arrows with the oversized heads toward the fortress. After traveling 30', the heads sizzles and the arrow deviates from its trajectory, and heads straight up in the sky for about five hundred feet until it detonates in a spectacular display of sound and light.
The image of the number 3 in the sky seems to match the three hashmarks on the uniform of the archers under the small unicorn patch.
Kiptera does indeed stare at Gallak. However she is fully cognizant that the elves have shown no fear, are expecting backup and apparently assumed an authoritive role, ie we are hostages or otherwise designated for supervised escort. She still looks rough in her hand-me-down armor and clothes, although she handled the falchion with an expertise that gives lie to her ragamuffin appearance.
"I am a refugee of a pair of giants, rescued by my brethren here. You are the first elf I've seen. You guys really are skin and bones. I thought we were skirmishing with a Society of Secrets or some such. How did we or rather those dwarves end up with a war with you elves?
The elf unrolls a military dispatch from a leather over the shoulder bag made of leather that looks quite handy, but quite undwarfly.
The elf reads:'The battle was known as the Battle of Ironwood Forest. A force of well-equipped dwarves led an armed expedition into the Ironwood Forest. Their objectives were never disclosed, but their supplies included siege equipment and extensive mining equipment.
The first day the expedition began to rapidly log trees in the Ironwood Forest to build a bridge across the Brown river. Two ents were roused and driven deeper into the forest and a dryad killed after many trees were removed.'
The elf look up. "It only gets worse!"
"So, we were attacked by dwarves and have responded in kind. I used to doubt the wisdom of the humans isolating the fair elves and dwarves so far apart. But now their 'Forced Resettlement Program' makes sense."
"Eh, probably not so good; much worse if the reinforcements encounter dead brethren. Lets look at this like a game of chess. One aggressor makes advances across the board. The defender responds decisively, so much so the other retreats into fortress cut off from resources. The defender ensures this remains the case." Kiptera motions to her group and the elves, everyone in en garde position yet not attacking. "Congratulations to us. We have become pawns in this game. Which side is to be determined. Be glad it ain't giants. I am hungry. Got any food?"
Now that the adrenalin is wearing off and it is a waiting game, Kiptera sheathes her weapons. She rummages through her backpack for some forgotten grub and a waterskin. It is not forced nonchalance, just resignation to her lot in life.
What looks to be birds in the distance begin to resolve into strange, winged horses. The formation of four horses are pulling what looks to be a gilded carriage.
Magnum points in the distance and quips.
"Is that who you signaled. The old human god Nicolas with his bevy of toys for us? I have not been very good this year."
Shortly four elven warriors with mithral mailed shirts begin to set down close to your position. Two of them quickly put a footstool by the door to the gilded cage.
An elderly elfmaid looks out from the window of the carriage. As she exits her alert eyes take in your group. Although frail-looking, she steps gracefully and her golden hair is somewhat striking and out of place with the mostly silver-haired contingent she is with.
"So this is the trouble? Another dwarven sally?"[
Durgen looks with wonder at the creatures and the flying golden carriage
Knowledge (arcana) for the carriage: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (20) + 13 = 33
Knowledge (arcana) for the creatures: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (7) + 13 = 20
After they land and the lady gets out he begins to check them both out before jumping a little as if just remembering something important, "Pardon me lady can I examine this, it is fascinating. This gives me so many ideas. What's that you say?" Durgen says to no one in particular, "Oh yes good idea!"
The grunge styled Kiptera lifts up her head from her backpack rummaging to take in the golden-haired commenter of the obvious/obliviousness. "Harumph. I called it right didn't I." She straightens up with no luck fishing for grub, cracking her back and stretching out the kinks in her limbs.
"Pennent guy here says we got the wrong banner. Ceased hostilities before the menfolk got too involved discussing the length of their swords."
Observing the mithral clad pretty boys escorting her royal druidess, Kiptera shuts her mouth and gives each of them an obvious once over, letting her eyes do the talking.
Durgen examines the newly arrived creatures.
The elderly elf nods to the elf with the glaive.
He makes a quick bow and quickly gives a report. "We saw some dwarves and attacked them. It turned out they were not associated with the Alspane dwarves as they fly a different banner. They refuse to be escorted from the area."
The golden-haired elderly elf smiles and asks:
"We have a problem here. Why don't you explain how you come to be here. Spare no detail."
Gallak looks around a bit for the gnome, going so far as to lift the backpack (gnome included) and check under it. He shrugs and sets it back down.
Somewhere around here, there's a wee gnome and 'is salty tongue, what led us out here. See, we left the dwarf hold and ran into no end o' trouble, so we 'ired oop a guide ta see us across the surface. When he said he was comin here, we were too attached to the wee fella to let him come alone. So, there you has it.
Gallak does one last look around for him.
The arrows must have scared him off. Eh, he'll be back.
The elder Druid continues:
"Climb into my carriage. We will take you to the main elven host. They captured some excellent ale too strong for elven palates. I am not a truthseeker, so I cannot question you "
The faerie casts, and Durgen senses the carriage is enchanted. The Druid produces a rope, which seems to lead through the roof of the carriage to a second floor.
Durgen informs you the spell is a rope trick--creating an extradimensional space.
"Resume your patrol captain."
The mundane carriage with archer squad and captain depart after bowing.
I have returned.
Kiptera takes a long look at the sieged fortress, her current company and the carriage. "Yep. Here we go. Probably wouldn't do for us to say No. Are we considered prisoners or is that formality for later? Well, as long as you are better hosts than the giants, I'll not resist as much. And whats this about "Forced resettlement by the humans." Seems we are fighting the wrong issue. Someday I am going to carve out my own cavern hall away from all this nonsense. Husband optional. "
She shoulders the backpack, pulls the gnome out of hiding and gently advances the both of them to their forgone doom of fresh ale and lotsa questions.
A grungy and irascible Kiptera boards the carriage, making note of how their gear and weapons have not been removed. "Curious" escapes from her lips.
The trip to the south is bereft of motion and sensation in the space above the carriage.
After two hours or more, the carriage descends in the largest tree you have ever seen growing in the side of the hill that forms the eddy of a large river. The tree is hundreds of feet high, and you appear to be in what is a large tower of patchwork scaffolding. Although each level is a city block in size, only the innermost portion seems solid and stable. The rest of the arches, gardens, and ladders on the outer portion seem conducive to agile, light elven feet.
You alight in what is a large platform with a panoramic view of a dense forest on the south side of the river, and a mass of twisted, devastated trees on the northern side. This forest is teeming with sound and life, you see tree frogs, small primates, and many birds in neighboring trees.
Another elder elfmaid with the insignia of [spoiler=Kn:religion DC20}Corellon Larethian, the elven equivalent of Torag,[/spoiler] is there to greet you with a cool smile. She points to the twisted trees across the river: "I wonder how that could have happened. Hundreds of years to make a forest, days to destroy it."
She is obviously upset.
"So, who are you and why have you entered this dispute?"
Knowledge (religion) 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (6) + 9 = 15
Durgen looks at her insignia and then says outloud to himself? , "I want to know what that insignia is. Please don't all tell me at once!"
He snaps out of it and says, "Oh hi! I'm Durgen." He looks puzzled again for a moment, "The dispute we had earlier where those elves shot me with arrows is over. Just a big misunderstanding. Wow that carriage ride was amazing!"
KnReligion: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (3) + 0 = 3
Looks like it's a moon of some sort. Probably their god of night.
I'm intentionally drawing a wrong conclusion here because that roll was fantastically low, going off the old forgotten realms symbol.
The forest is wounded, but not destroyed. It is a tradgedy, indeed, but the only thing truly destroyed is the lives of those caught in the struggle.
Haven't heard from the rest of the group in a while. Who else is still in? Joan? Kragg?
The druidess excuses herself. "I must be ready to respond to other problems at the siege line. Since you have no stake in this, you can be our guests until this is resolved."
She adds: "The banner you bring looks familiar to that flown in the war long ago when elves and dwarves fought together--before our people kept separate counsel. You will be asked by the high priestess here to declare the position of the nation your banner represents in this conflict."
The druidess leaves with the winged horse and carriage leaving you alone with the high priestess and three male elven attendants.
"We have days to sip tea, chat, exchange pleasantries, and talk about mutual interests. You will find we are a patient people, never in a hurry to rush an exchange of views and perspectives. Then, we can start the true negotiations."
Durgen has glimpses of elven discussions lasting weeks and months. These elves, inspired by the walking trees they revere, often take the ample time the treants do to speak and decide. He relates all this to you.
The priestess returns with a group of elves. "This will be our little group. We will start with some games to get to know each other."
Each dwarf is paired with an elf. The teams of two will engage in competitive games to see who wins. The first game is the egg on a spoon relay.
Durgen is assigned to a slight bookish female with loads of scrollcases. Gallak a tall male elven warrior with long hair. Kiptera a cleric of Sarenrae with throwing axes. Magnum to an elven minstrel with a goofy smile. And..others to people with anything that appeared to make them compatible.
The elven high priestess excuses herself, but a large warrior with long hair and a ranseur on his back takes you to the pavilion outside for the games.
After a day of forced bonding with elves, an elven child and her dog appear. The elven child leaves and the dog quickly transforms into a dwarf, a druid that has helped you in the past, and Gallak has actually ridden in bird form.
"Unless you want to go through more of that, drink these and come with me."
You drink some red potions and get very small. Packs you in a sack and flies off to the dwarven fortress. You meet Mama Alspane, and she informs you that they are expecting elves to come in through a secret passage built long ago.
As you rush to the throne room, you find a concealed door. Opening the door, you see a party of elves in what appears to be a room of necromantic origins. A black altar with torture implements and the blood of many sacrifices.
I am rushing the adventure to conclusion.
At that time, you feel the magic of the White wizard reaching across space with a greater wish spell. The power of the spell is urging cooperation and forgiveness. Still, the elves are in front of you, and elves have destroyed half the clan of dwarves you have just visited.
Two choices--allow the magic to work and talk, or attack--if one side attacks and the other does not, the attacking side gets a surprise round.
Opening the door behind the throne..."Huh. A secret passage everyone knows a...
"This is A Rovagug shrine!"
Kiptera takes in the elves, En Garde position and then her eyes sweep across the room. "AHA! A Ravawhat?! Oh this ain't right and from the looks of things, not a fly by night operation."
Feeling the white wizard magic wash over her, coupled with the recent touchy-feely incarceration, she has no ill feelings towards the elves. She drops her guard but keeps herself positioned between the two groups.
Kiptera still looks bedraggled in her ill-fitting clothes clearly not her own. Her hair, the color of fallen leaves, is crudely yet effectively tied back. Clearly she has fallen upon hard times. Despite the potential explosive tension in the room, the nonchalant ease which she wields her polished falchion speaks of a professionalism at odds with her unkempt appearance.
Init 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3