It's been a long trip from your respective homes to the mountains where Wyatt Peak hides. A carriage at the nearest town at the base of the forest covered mountains gave you the ride up to town. Even still, Wyatt Peak is an hour away from this town by carriage, when weather is good. Weather has not been good.
The carriage bumps and jostles its way through the rain and mud, but at least it keeps the elements off of your heads. It's a rainy morning, and hopefully Wyatt Peak isn't too much further away.
Many of you may be carrying a post from Brayjio Springhand, a cleric who lives in Wyatt Peak, seeking adventurers to help him with some task. He delivered these entreating parchments to cities around the area of the small town.
Sharla wakes up at a jolt, her pupil-less eyes blinking softly. She looks across at the human sleeping across from her, and tiptoes over, sculpting her features into his face. She looms over him, and grabs his nose, saying in her voice, "Boop! Wakey wakey scholar! It's raining out!" She laughs at the look on his face, whatever it may be.
She shifts back to her natural form, leaning out of the carriage to catch the icy water on her head. She shakes her hair, spraying water that is slightly dirty from her hair.
Inthought we had woken up in town, got into a carriage in the morning, and then headed off to Wyatt Peak. Oh well, let's roll with it.
Snkkktptgggrnt Galenus snorts. He opens an eye. The left one. His mouth is still turned in a half frown from sleeping. Ugh. It's me again. Why do I keep waking myself? The other eye opens. Oh. It isn't me. It's Sharla. Sharla, why are you waking the peaceful at rest?
Other people had always seemed strange to Galenus. Running about worrying over unimportant things, like where the next meal will come from or whether this or that child of there's has run off to. Didn't they know there was important work to get done? Important research about... Wait. You're not trying to steal my - Oh, I'm just thinking to myself. Right. Keep your hands off, anyways.
The beyond called to him. He found it in a book and the depths of the words went beyond mere reality into something maddening. And it called to him. He's still not sure what *it* is, but it offered power, knowledge, understanding, attention.. How he longed for attention. And it only came at a small price. Something he wasn't even sure existed, but it must, because otherwise why would it want it? And so he had. He made the bargain and he lost his soul. But he thinks now it was a mistake. Maybe his soul was too important to trade. So here he is, in a carriage to Wyatt Peak to help some poor town, in hopes of using his power to earn a new soul - one that might be worth something to the gods when he dies.
Sharla was an odd one to nearly everyone but Galenus. To him, she couldn't have been more normal. She just seemed... Right. She was the friend he never had, and with all the craziness inside his own sanity (which may or may not have started before those entities from beyond our reality opened his mind up to new possibilities), her constantly shifting features made him feel relaxed and at peace. Change seemed to be the only constant - which is why consistency made him so worried.
Raining you say? Why yes, it is. Another beautiful day of fine weather, if I don't say so. The skies do us the favor of providing water so we don't have to bother going out. With that, Galenus pokes his head out the other window to take a drink from the sky.
"I got bored. And you're much more interesting when you're awake."
"Heh, yeah, I like the rain too. So pretty, like teardrops, but happy." She sits back cross-legged and puts her hand on her feet, rocking back and forth. "If there is too much sun, I get burned," she makes a face, "Or I have to change. And that's annoying, sometimes I don't remember to shift. And them no matter what I turn into, the burn doesn't go away! But..." She grins happily, "We're almost at Wyatt Peak! Once I get there, I can find my friend." She looks over at Galenus, "Well, my other friend. I heard rumors that he'd be here somewhere, so I came to check it out. It's been nice meeting so many people along the way though!" She says exuberantly, stretching her arms.
Their other companion, a dour man of good build and good upbringing, had been up for some time, and mostly kept to his own council. He wasn't even supposed to -be- here! Yes, High-Justicar Harad was a well-known gambler, and yes he often paid off especially high debts with services, usually some minor healing by a minor cleric, but usually Acolyte Publius was available for such skulldugerous trysts, since he had his own arrangement with the High-Justicar. Alas that Publius was stricken with Purple Fever and a certain Acolyte Varus was called in for his shift. Simply met at the door by Harad with a paper shoved into his hand. "Get on this carriage and do honor to the church's name," and a brief description of those already on the carriage his only orders.
He had heard of Wyatt Peak. It was place he had a resolution to never go.
He glares as Galenus' pokes his head out of the window. "Are you sufficiently hydrated, Warlock? Are you a plant to but turn cheek to rain and be fed? Then indeed you are powerful. I shall keep a watercan by my side for the rare times when you call upon my services."
Varus looked away and frowned. That was a bit more biting than he intended, but...
...he wasn't even supposed to be here.
The bumping carriage breaks through into a clearing on the path, and you have a brief, uninterrupted view of several ranchers herding maybe a hundred goats to graze along a grassy hillside. You're able to see the curve of the forest line, and the angle of the mountains. In the distance, you can make out a snow topped and partially cloud-obscured mountain range miles away, where this particular range of rolling foothills and smooth, lowland mountains grow greater ambitions and stretch toward the sky.
Moments later, you pass back into cover of the forest, and trees once again obscure the view. Still, this is the first sign of life visible from the carriage all morning. The boring, snooze inducing ride finally produces an interesting feature.
Wyatt Peak must be growing near.
It might be a little bit before our fourth guest within this carriage awakens and you roll into town. Feel free to chat it up IC, and I'll be beginning the audit of the accuracy of your character sheets in a couple of days. Make sure you have them as complete as possible, and any questions you might have asked in the discussion thread.
"Hey priest!" Sharla yells. When Varus looks over, she throws one of her socks at him. "Lighten up! We're almost to town. Then you won't have to deal with us plants anymore." She molds her face briefly into a dwarf, with a barklike face, swiftly shifting back.
Sock attack!: 1d20 ⇒ 15
advantage: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 9
I would say no proficiency, since it is not like a weapon at all, especially a ranged one. The previous one didn't hit his AC though
Shouldn't it be touch AC? Since it doesn't matter if it bounces off his armor. You'd still "hit" him.
Slurping up a bit more of the rain, Galenus says, Why yes, I am! And thank you for the offer of the watering can. It may prove useful later on.
Varus catches a face full of plush wool sock. He jumps as if electrocuted and starts sputtering. "Oh confound you rampskalion! I'll remember this the next time a raging chimera has left you in more pieces than you started in! Fah! Would that I were quit of the lot of this business at journey's end, but alas! 'TWould seem that I am at mercy of forces beyond my ken, and so must needs stay target for errant footwear until such time as some unkillable eveil has been slain, no doubt.
We, well, as the sword is forced in the furnace, so Pelor molds our soul with such trials."
Haha, well better get used to the finer points of 5e combat before it truly counts, though it is amusing that the toss of a sock brings this out. Touch AC doesn't exist in 5e, like it did in 3.5 and pathfinder, nor is there a "flat-footed" AC. Spells that use attack rolls target full AC like an arrow, I'm assuming because an eldritch blast is just as absorbed by armor as a mundane weapon is. Having some kind of advantage against someone who isn't able to fully defend themselves, however, can be granted advantage (roll twice, take the better) by the GM when they think it appropriate.
If I had to honestly rule this "dodge the sock" attack, I'd have Sharla make an attack roll with her dex bonus, and have the defender make a dex saving (with disadvantage because of the confines of the carriage) to get out of the way of it entirely.
No way it's kosher to require both an attack roll and a saving throw. One or the other, man!
The full AC for attack spells is because the attack mechanic for spells is the same as armor. We can flavor it however we want, but it was updated both for simplicity's sake and to reduce the power of spells
Galenus looks at Varus with an inquisitive eye; Why were you here, again? Why am I here, for that matter. Let's see... I'm here to answer a call for help. Yes. That's it. Wyatt Peak's local cleric of some deity - afterlife, I think? - has let out a call, and I have come in hopes of answering it. But you; I'm still confused on that matter. You don't seem to want to be here. At least, not like Sharla and I.
Varus gives Galenus a withering look. "There are things called 'higher powers'. In orderly organizations one knows one's place, and one can be sent to do good by those called his betters. Regardless of reasons behind my presence, rest assured I am here because Pelor needs me to be here, and that is all the resonsing one is likely to get for anything on this place of existence."
'Oh, when I get back...there will be words shared with the Justicar!'
After being jostled to and fro from the rumblings of the carriage, the hangover Anders was sure to experience when he opened his eyes was not something he looked forward to. He opened one eye, and then the other. He was parched, and he needed to piss at the same time.
Arrrrghhhh! Can you children keep it down? Some of us need more sleep. Are we close to Wyatt Peak, yet?
Anders is a well-muscled behemoth of a man. He has many scars to prove his battle-hardened past.
He bangs on the roof.
Driver! Stop the contraption, I need t'piss!
The carriage bounces up the path and a slight fog takes over. As Anders wakes and demands the carriage stop, it does so, the six-horse team slowing and stopping. You can hear the horses nickering as they settle.
A slight fog swirls around the trees of the mountain you climb, and the air is still cool and brisk, despite the lateness of the morning. Birds chirp, and critters run through underbrush. Somewhere in the distance further up the mountain, a strange sound can be heard. The sound is sharp, irregular... Something caused by the hands of men?
It is the sound of someone digging into dirt and stones with a metal shovel. Just one person from the sounds of it.
If your passive perception ever meets, or exceeds a requested perception check, you automatically get the information without rolling.
A gnome man with a jackal's grin and chinstrap beard looks down from atop the carriage. He wears a high-collared coat, a tricorne hat, and is middle aged. He is a weathered, sun-beaten and wind-scorched man who has clearly seen many miles of road.
|Choster the Grim|
Perception: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 = 19
Sharla ignores the gnome, looking up the mountain with a frown. "I hear a shovel. You think we should check it out? Might be interesting."
|Choster the Grim|
"Diggin.' Unless the head is an earth elemental. Or a dwarf. Reminds me of the time I went to a funeral. Old Ben had died." Sharla looks sad. "He came back soon afterward, but he wasn't ever the same. Being repeatedly eaten has that effect on people."
Varus nods at Sharla's story. "Indeed. Wait, was this old Ben and recipient of the High Blessing of Resurrection? Or...or was some manner of troll? Or are you saying he was defamed into an un-life? And what kept eating him? Was he in some dangerous line of work?
But anyway, yes, if you're going to insist on investigating every random noise and movement by others engaged in a hobby, we may as well be about. I suppose I can hardly disapprove since there' likely to be little else to do in these parts."
Varus disembarks the transport. "Which way is it then?"
Thanks for joining us, Varus. I prefer to have ya around if I get to bleeding all over the place.
Anders, unsheathes his Greataxe from the loops on his back and hefts the weapon before him.
Anders looks to Sharla, C'mon sweets, lead the way, or point us in the right direction.
Wait, was this old Ben and recipient of the High Blessing of Resurrection? Or...or was some manner of troll? Or are you saying he was defamed into an un-life? And what kept eating him? Was he in some dangerous line of work?
"Yes." Sharla replies. "And it was lions that kept eating him."
"Which way is it then?"
"This way" she says, and walks off in that direction, trying to stay quiet.
Someone else who has a less scatterbrained character might want to ask the driver to stay put. Sharla wouldn't think of that.
Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5
The noise is clearly coming further up the mountain. Roughly, it is coming from the same direction you have been heading, though not entirely straight down the path. However, as the path winds somewhat on its course through the mountain forests, that means little. It is at least clear that following the path you have been traversing will bring you closer to the source of the sound, if not right upon it.
You could either ride the carriage further up until the noise and the path diverges, or trek on foot to keep the sound of the approaching carriage and horses from giving you away.
As a player, there's no way we should be diverting from the carriage because of a shovel. But my character would have no problem waltzing off with Sharla to investigate a random thing. As the barbarian feels the same way, clearly we are doomed.
"Ooh, maybe its someone burying a dead body!" Sharla looks excited, "Maybe its a murderer, or a werewolf. Do you think it could be a necromancer? They have to dig up bodies, right?"
Choster the gnomish driver doesn't verbally reply to Anders' suggestion, but as the group moves forward through the forest fog on foot, he follows at a bit of a distance.
As you move further up the mountain, the sound of digging grows louder, clearer. Slowly, each of you start to feel a creeping sense of unease as you move through the fog. The hair on the back of your necks raise, and you can all sense some kind of... Darkness descending onto you.
It's as if the light above you grows darker, the fog thicker, sounds a bit more muted than they should be. It is a very unnatural sensation that none of you are easily able to put your finger on why the sensation is occurring, or even where it is coming from. The feeling is slight, but completely unmistakable.
Is everyone heading up toward the noise ahead of the carriage, or are any staying back with Choster? If you guys are stealthing, please make the check. Half of you must succeed for the entire group to succeed.
Im going with them, and I'm not making any attempt at stealth unless one of our more tactically competent members suggests it.
Does It feel oppressive here? Galenus projects his thoughts into his companions' minds.
In case it is suggested: stealth: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (13) + 1 = 14
:Finger to lips:
Sharla crouches down, attempting to be silent, but barely able to contain the laughter that bubbles up inside her, due to the tickling sensation of Galenus's telepathy.
Stealth: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 = 19
Varus initially is grumbling as he dismounts the transport, but at Sharla's mention of murderers and werewolves, he seems to perk up considerably. "Well now! That would be interesting. Surely there can be greater calling than bringing the forces of darkness low and reaping glory in battle Oh! Yes, well then, tally ho! Lead on, then, valiant heroes! Let us unto the Breech once more go!" That he not yet technically been into a breech doesn't seem to phase his ardor.
As Sharla gives the universal sign for 'quiet I'm try to sneak here' Varus clasps a hand on Galenus' shoulder and mimics the finger-to-lips motion 'and is that girl laughing why is she laughing?'
Anders continues up the path, ready to veer off as silently as possible when the sounds reach his ears. He is wary of his surroundings, peering ahead for any movement as they approach.
Perception: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 2 = 22
Stealth: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24
Seriously? Two 20's on skill checks.
Rolling Stealth for Varus, as it seems he is trying to keep it down at least a little. (Note: Rolling stealth and failing is generally going to be quieter to not even trying to be stealthy).
stealth with disadv: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 71d20 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 = 21 (7)
Moving forward under the growing, oppressive feeling, the group moved quietly as Choster's carriage bounces behind trotting hooves on the trail behind them.
Eventually, the sounds are clearly coming from off-road, and eventually you all must part paths with the road to continue nearing it. Behind you, Choster pulls to a stop. He pulls out a pipe and begins to smoke while you move away from him.
As you get closer, you start to hear voices. Too far away, and too intermittent and muffled by the sounds of digging to make the words out, it appears to be in common. A little closer and you should be able to make out words.
Now is a good time to have our first marching arrangement. Here are some examples:
-Single File: Each of you are one after the other in a line.
-Line: Each of you is beside the other in a horizontal line, advancing forward as one
-Scouting: One person in the lead, the other three further back.
You folks have just started working together, IC and OOC, so I expect your unspoken arrangement to be a bit humorously uncoordinated. Play into that if you wish. I need to know what arrangement you are going for, and each of your personal positions within that arrangement. Do you want front guard, or rear guard? Somewhere in the middle? Do you want to be in scouting position? Or are you trying to advance with the person in scouting position, making it more like Line than scouting, possibly to the dismay of the scout?
What each of you have heard about Wyatt Peak: Starting knowledge
There is large church to Kelemvor, the judge of the dead, in Wyatt's Peak. It is told to be an unusually monumental temple considering the small town it is built near. Doomguides, and other elite priests of The Great Guide, Kelemvor, came here as part of a pilgrimage. Some visiting it often.
The temple is said to have a vast and well cultivated garden-cemetery, where all of the dead of Wyatt Peak is buried and cared for.
Wyatt Peak is a small town of little renown in the wilderness. All you have heard is that there are goblin caves nearby which occasionally bother the town, stealing livestock and causing trouble. It sounds like a boring destination, with luke-warm natural threats.
At least, that was true up until a few years ago, when tales of orcs assaulting the town began to spread.
A relatively powerful wizard was said to have retired to Wyatt Peak, though nothing has been heard of this man for many years. Paul Meier Goldenfeather is this wizard's name. His device is a golden feather over a field of white-speckled black, like a night's sky.
Wyatt Peak was unofficially the realm of the noble house Goldenfeather. While the lands did not actually belong to this family, like a lordship, unofficially it was said that the house of Goldenfeather filled that role.
However, the House of Goldenfeather was said to have died off, as entertainers who once visited these parts to find a wealthy audience have since left Wyatt Peak off their route in hope to find a more profitable destination.
Sharla and Anders advance while Varus and Galenus hang back to keep themselves from being spotted. The two scouts sneak side-by-side many paces before the others, and as they vanish past the tree line the rear pair follow as quietly as they can. Soon, the sight of the carriage vanishes by tree and fog.
The front scouts begin hearing the voices talking near enough that they are able to make out some words.
"... deep enough?" a winded, voice. A bit higher pitched. A young man.
"Dunno. If it were up to me, I'd say ya, and thank ye' for bein' done 'for my next turn." - a different voice, a deeper, more mature voice of a woman nearing old age.
"If that damned death priest would get out here and do his job, we'd be done all the faster!" - a third voice, male and hot-headed. A man in his prime.
The second voice again, sighing. "Best be goin' a bit deeper I s'pose. Get out, boy. I'll finish 'er up."
Peaking through the thinning cover of trees, you spy...
A small clearing in the forest, maybe two hundred feet off the road. Grass fills the tree-dotted clearing, longer than the underbrush you had been creeping through allowed, but it is rather uneven in some places, as if grazing animals have only given this area a once over. The area appears maybe 30 feet deep before the thicker tree-line resumes on the other side, but runs up and down the slope of the mountain for some distance in each direction.
A shallow hole, roughly six feet long and two wide has been dug in the clearing. It appears only about a foot or two deep right now, and near it is a pile of lose soil and dirt that once filled this hole. Laying on the ground nearby is clearly a corpse wrapped in a off-white, linen sheet.
Further up the mountain, toward the town, are several more graves. They range from maybe a couple of months fresh, to older and overgrown as they disappear in the distance and fog. The one being dug is the last in the line dotting the mountain side clearing, the furthest down. Each grave has a simple marker staked into the disturbed soil at its head.
Three living people occupy this scene, the voices previously heard. A middle-aged dwarvern woman is standing in the fresh grave, dirt and grass stained homespun clothes cover her body, and a cloak rests on the ground nearby her. A shovel is in her hands as she uses it to dig the ground, tossing the soil onto the growing pile near it. Her hair is messy, and tied back out of her face.
A younger man, with a slight and erratic beard is mopping his face with a sweat-stained handkerchief, his cloak tossed over his shoulder as he cools from exertion. His clothes are similar to the dwarvern woman's in make and condition, though his seems smaller on his body, as if he has continued to grow since he received these.
The last man appears to be about 30. He wears a stubble-lined jaw, a drooping, full mustache, and a board scowl on his face as he looks upward into the sky. His clothes are a little bit richer of quality, just also rather stained by mud and grass. He wears knee-high boots of decent quality, a cloak that covers his shoulders and body, and though he has already begun balding, his features are casually handsome still.
It appears that no one has yet noticed your presence, and creeping any closer would risk visibility to one of the three.
The rear two of you can just barely make of the conversation, but do not yet see the scene. The scouts have enough time before you catch up to make a decision on what they want to do next.
Varus sneers and says, softly, to Galenus, "Eh? Death priest? What foul rites are they invoking now? Methinks we should advance with the others and show a strong front as we demand the motivations of those bandits. What say you?"
Varus unlimbers his mace, preparing to met out some righteousness.
I was assuming I'm wearing my travelers clothes.
Sharla shifts her features into the form of a large, thick-set man with tanned skin. He has brown short and strait hair, brown eyes, and a small birthmark on him neck. Sharla walks into view, and calls out to the people.
"Hail friends! What are you doing this fine morning?" She smiles harmlessly in this large body.
Unless I ever say otherwise, I'm assuming that any body I turn into is still the right size to fit into my clothing.
Also, I am readying an action to cast sleep if they make any hostile movements.