Thaddeus stays quiet near the back, more accustomed as he was to city streets, uncertain of how he can help. He draws his blade, if this is indeed the door to a goblin hideout he wanted to be prepared.
|Scoria the Stalwart|
Scoria steps back and lets the church guard attempt to open the door. "If you feel it is necessary. But as it may be trapped, opening it conventionally may trigger that." She pointed out to him. Looking at Notick, she gestures for him to come forward. "You are a scoundrel, correct? So would you know how to pick locks and disable traps?"
Notick lets out an exasperated sigh as the stone woman raises her leg to kick the door, then a sigh of relief following as the guard stops her.
Notick cocks an eyebrow at her statement, replying, "I am not, actually. I wouldn't be of much use, other than swinging my blade... Or bluffing the goblin's to death."
Bel'Tanis you are able to gently move the thistle door without much trouble and taking care not to injure yourself on the sharp brambles.
Beyond the door you see a small 4' high tunnel and not much wider burrowed into the thicket leading into a four way intersection.
You also see many, many goblin tracks in soil.
Standard action to open the door without taking damage.
You may take a move action to open, but risk injury.
Medium sized creatures have to stoop over and hunker down to move through the tunnels. Movement is two squares per square and take a -4 to AC and -4 to attack rolls in the tunnel.
Thaddeus looks uncertainly at the opening into the thicket, "I am going to have to agree with Lady Masaki. We know where they took the body, we know where they may be lairing, we should return with this information and see if we can acquire some assistance. These beasts had large enough numbers that they chose to attack the town, who knows how many are left and now in their lair." He voices his concerns aloud.
|Khrondak Iron Forged|
|Scoria the Stalwart|
Scoria has to stop and think quietly to herself as the rest of the group thinks about what to do here. Certainly there was a mystery here. Especially considering just why or who would want the remains of the old priest. She was not usually one for hasty action - her desire to kick down the door wasn't one of necessity, but wanting to get everything over quickly so she might return to her regular, routine life. In this particular case, however, going in blind wasn't something she wanted to do.
"There are other things to investigate before we act in haste. They are not going anywhere. It would be more prudent to return and prepare ourselves for further action. The sheriff and others may know more of why the father's remains have been taken. We may also need to learn more about the goblins themselves." She offered the others. "A day or two of preparing ourselves will not change what has already transpired."
I'm all for going back, perhaps spending some of that money we got on potions, scrolls, or other essentials like alchemist's fire and MW gear. After all, I know that our primary healers have already spent spells today healing Scoria - best to tackle it when we're all fresh.
"It may be wise to setup a guard post over the entrance, this way none can flee in the night. I'd rather come back to find our quarry in flight across all of Golarion." He looks around taking a mental note of this exact location in his mind, and the pathway they had to take to get here.
"It would be wise to acquire a map of this area, as well. I have a feeling, no matter what we think, this is not the only entrance or exit from this 'lair'."
Bel'Tanis listens intently to the discussion, in the end smiling at Notick's suggestion. "We are of one mind it seems, my friend. I was just about to suggest someone serving as a sentry as well but you beat me to it. Father Zantus and Sheriff Hemlock would probably like to be brought up to speed as well. Still... I'm awful curious as to what's at the end of this tunnel through the hedge. Do we dare take a peek before returning to town?"
|Khrondak Iron Forged|
"We talk in circles. If none of you has the courage to go and check on the goblin lair, I'll go myself. It is impossible to make a wise decision without more information." Khrondak lowers his head an invokes his ancestors.
Khrondak walks past the front door trying to move as silently as possible, holding his shield in front of him and a klar in his right hand.
Stealth: 1d20 + 2 - 4 ⇒ (19) + 2 - 4 = 17
|Scoria the Stalwart|
"A sentry is wasteful." Scoria states her opinion. "Unless you are sure that a single person alone can survive an entire goblin tribe should they deem to make a meal out of them. They have no reason to flee at any rate. They do not know we are aware of their hideout. Sending in a scout in terrain that favors their size is equally foolish. They will die, either sentry or scout."
She looks at Bel'Tanis and Notick as if she is lecturing children, scolding them for planning to run off into the woods to play when there was a dangerous animal lurking within. "We are ill prepared for any assault. Curb your enthusiasm, and let us return to prepare." Perhaps her words were harsh, but letting them get themselves foolishly killed because they thought they were invincible was not something she would partake in. They were still very young, by her comparison. If they were dragging her into this, she might as well impress upon them the wisdom over six decades of travel had given her with her master.
Wisdom that apparently the Shoanti didn't seem to share one wit, crouching down and trying to squeeze his large girth through the thistle tunnels. Before she could stop him, the bullheaded barbarian had rushed headlong into danger. Now she was angry. Not foolish enough to rush after him, however. But certainly angry enough to turn on her heels and start heading back to Sandpoint. Let him be killed, then. She stopped herself about a hundred feet on, taking a deep breath, trying to cool her head. It wasn't fruitful to make decisions in anger. She would wait until he came back - and then she would berate him for acting like a child.
Apologies in advance if you think Scoria's being kind of a B****, but I'm also agreeing with her viewpoint - scouting or leaving a sentry behind to look over a goblin stronghold alone is tantamount to suicide at our levels. Our cleric is particularly lucky he rolled so high, but he's also our primary healer, so having him scout ahead especially with such a low bonus in his armor...anyways, we need to prepare. Calling for an OOC vote, I vote to return, the whole party.
Bel'Tanis arches his brow in confusion at Scoria's reprimanding tone. "A sentry would watch the thicket from a respectable distance and hasten back to Sandpoint to raise the alarm should the goblins leave in numbers again." He looks deliberately at the horse Khrondak brought along. "And I think a horse can outrun a goblin and their hairless rat-dogs. That's what sentries do. They observe and report."
As the aasimar and oread are speaking though, Khrondak squeezes into the tunnel.
"Ah but the discussion is moot, he points to the tunnel and his easy smile is replaced by a mirthless, tired one. "Iron Forged has made the decision for us and I am in agreement with it. I think it worth the risk. The more information we gain now regarding what's beyond the thicket will enable us to prepare ourselves more properly for what awaits us." His words are still quiet and whispered, but they are also possessed of a tightness which they previously lacked. He looks then to Notick and Thaddeus inquiringly.
I vote stay and incidentally not waste Khrondak's awesome stealth check.
Midori sighs. "I hope you are right, Iron-forged. By the way, just how many goblins did attack? And how many were in the group we followed? Did any of the survivors of the attack join this group?"
She pauses "Oh, and how much do you weigh? If we need to drag you back to Sandpoint, that is. We don't know what's in there, true. But we now know where it is, why alert them if we're not ready? Think a bit! Why would goblins steal a corpse - an old one at that? They're goblins, not ghouls, after all. And who was with them? There is a considerable difference between cowardice and reasonable caution...much like the difference between bravery and stupidity."
|Khrondak Iron Forged|
Khrondak looks back from the tunnel and places a finger over his lips in a gesture demanding silence, annoyed by the uncessant blabber behind him. Not only do they flinch, they also threaten to alert the goblins...! He resumes his walk carefully.
Midori sighs. She admires the Shoanti's bravery and hopes he's right about the ease of dealing with the place.
"Does anyone know where we are? What is this place, anyway?"
She looks around for a tree or something to climb in hopes of getting an idea of the size of this lair.
perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23
I'll give partial cover to due the shield covering most of your body in the small tunnel.
Khrondak you cram your way into the bramble tunnel. Holding your shield in front of you for cover you make your way quietly as possible to the four way intersection.
Khrondak1d20 + 3 ⇒ (13) + 3 = 16
Khrondak as you make your way to the intersection, you notice among the goblin tracks there appears to be a large object that was dragged deeper into the warren. The object is to large for a human body.
I'll have to give the direction when I get home tonight, forgot my book.
|Khrondak Iron Forged|
Khrondak observes the intersection and tries to estimate the number of different creatures leaving tracks in all pathways and which is most used; he holds completely still and breaths slowly, listening to the sounds inside, alert to any incoming goblins. The four different passages worry him, as the lair now looks larger than he expected. Choosing any of this paths means I could be caught from both sides in case they sound an alarm.
Survival to analyze the tracks: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15
Perception to see if anyone's coming: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (10) + 3 = 13
Waiting for further info before deciding whether to proceed.
Thaddeus put his face into his palm in exasperation, but he is not angry with the large man. "Well, I would consider following him, but I sneak as effectively as a cow on cobblestones. I suggest we wait and listen for the man's return. Maybe we are just being over cautious and it is a minor hovel." He tries to lean into the tunnel a small ways just to get eyes on Khrondak, but refrains from actually entering the crawlspace bristling with thorns.
Notick shrugs his shoulders and decides to follow the Barbarian in after Scoria's scolding. Nothing fueled him more than being told he is not allowed to do something. His smug smirk on his face as he stares at her before entering the tunnel himself, keeping quiet, using his actions to show his choice, not his words.
He nods to the barbarian man as he turns around and holds a finger to his mouth, initiating his wish for silence. The 'Iron Forged' man having his respect for acting rather than debating, he feels as though he should watch the mans back in case of any problems.
Stealth 1d20 + 2 - 1 ⇒ (17) + 2 - 1 = 18
|Khrondak Iron Forged|
Khrondak points to the tracks at the intersection and whispers to Notick, directing his voice to the tunnel where they came from.
"Four passageways. I expected this tunnel to end in a chamber or something like it, but this means it's a lot larger than I thought and can house many of them. Look: we can't see the end of any of these tunnels, and can barely spot the entrance from here. If it were only one path, and we kept our backs clear for retreating, it would be one thing, but now, if we proceed, we might be attacked from both sides in numbers, and then there's no escaping for us. This is the information we needed. The Midori woman might be right, we risk recklessness going any further. Shall we go back or do you wish to go on?"
Sounds like everybody is in agreement to go back to Sandpoint.
Returning to Sandpoint in the late afternoon, you head straight to the Sandpoint garrison to inform the Sheriff.
A clerk in the front hall checks you in and leads you into Sheriff Hemlock's office.
"The Sheriff will be with you momentarily, he is finishing another meeting."
After barely having enough time to settle in, the dour Hemlock enters with a beautiful elven woman wearing studded leather, she is armed with a bow slung across her back and a short sword at her hip. Clearly this woman not from Sandpoint.
Hemlock takes a seat behind his desk, the elven woman remains standing at the door.
Hemlock looks the party over. "Father Zantus informed me that you were tracking some goblins who apparently stole the remains of late Father Tobyn."
"So what in the Hells is going on?"
"Oh and this elven lass with me is Shalelu Andosana, she to brings distributing news."
"But first, let us hear your tale."
Thaddeus stands at rigid attention, but he can't help but blush a little and keep looking sideways toward Shalelu. He can only offer a slight nod and a stammered "Mi mi milady." before he returns his attention to the sheriff.
"Sir, at first look there were signs of a break-in on the late father's tomb. Upon opening, we discoverd a squad of skeletons, which we dispatched. Further investigation found that the father's coffin was empty, and goblin tracks led away from the edifice, toward the outer wall. Making our way to the other side of the wall, Iron-forged" he indicates the Shoanti, "was able to follow them most effectively. With only a minor hiccup of resuming them on the other bank of the river, we were led to a small door hidden in a thicket. After a brief scouting mission by Iron-forged and Notick, it was agreed that it was a goblin warren, and unexpectedly large. It is unknown just how many goblins may be housed within." He finishes with a salute, still looking nervously askance at Shalelu.
|Scoria the Stalwart|
Scoria couldn't help but feel more than a little relieved that Notick and the Shoanti man (Khrondak, if she was recalling it correctly), managed to come back out alive. She didn't confront them about their recklessness, but she did not speak to them all the way back to the town - then again, it was hard to give someone the silent treatment when one was generally silent almost all of the time.
Standing with the others in the sheriff's office, Scoria blinks slowly at the appearance of the elven archer. She did not recognize her - then again, she barely took the time to know the names of the people she worked with, so the fact she didn't know who she was wasn't the most surprising thing. She let Thaddeus take the lead, slipping slowly into the back of the group to escape notice - the sooner they reported and a real party of city watchmen could go out and deal with the goblins and the missing body, the sooner she could get back to work on finishing her job at the cathedral and make plans to leave.
Stealth to slip behind the group and avoid notice: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
Notick, being the extrovert he is, winks and waves towards Shalelu, having met her many times in the Dragon with Ameiko and the others of her cliche.
"The 'vastness' of the den was honestly uncertain, however. The main entry split off into four different paths - the main entry way was very narrow, so the barbarian and I dubbed it dangerous to continue on as speedy retreat would have been next to impossible." Notick inhales and exhales again before continuing. "The odd part of it all... There was humanoid sized tracks mixed in with the goblin tracks, which lead to the doorway. It's hard to say what is currently inside of there - or worse yet, who is in control of these goblins."
Midori nods. "Yes. It seemed like it might be a large lair or possibly an entire goblin town. I hope not, still, what our two bold scouts found implies that it's more than just a samll lair. The theft of the old priests remains makes no sense. Did the late Father have enemies? Enemies that can control or direct that many goblins just for a distraction?"
After hearing the accounts, Hemlock leans back in his chair and rubs his temples.
"This information certainly does not bode well and it confirms Shalelu's assessment as well.
"But good work on this Thaddeus and the rest of you." "You all truly make Sandpoint proud as our latest crop of goblin smashers."
"As far as we know Father Tobyn's daughter's body was consumed in the fire, it did not seem like foul play at the time." "It was not really looked into."
He then looks over to Shalelu, "Shalelu, please tell them your findings in the hinterlands of Sandpoint."
The elven woman walks over with a grace unmatched by any human to the front of Hemlock's desk.
In a sweet and melodic voice, "Hello all, well met. Belwar here as told me of your exploits in Sandpoint, and I must say well done."
"A little about myself I am wanderer of the Sandpoint hinterlands, I do what I can to protect the various homesteads and farms from beast and goblins alike. And let me tell you goblins are more vicious than any beast, the little fecund runts are tenacious and are like weeds that bite. There are five major goblin tribes in the region, and traditionally, they are good at killing each other with internal squabbles. However it seems like all five goblin tribes were involved in the attack yesterday. I ran into a few stray bands last evening and many of them spoke of the raid at the behest of a longshank. They also talked about a group of longshanks that thumped them good. Sounds like you made an impression."
"In any event it seems the five tribes are now working together and that is disturbing. Goblin tribes don't get along unless they have something big planned, and big plans require big bosses. I'm afraid somebody has organized the goblins. This raid yesterday seems just like the beginning."
Hemlock then speaks, "Grim news indeed."
|Khrondak Iron Forged|
"I must add those goblins we followed carried something else besides a dead body. I could not tell what it was, but it was something large, too large for a human body. Anyway, we need to raise a small army, then. We must summon Daviren, he is a fine goblin killer. Who else could help?"
"Hmm they are certainly up to something. And yes Ironforged it is a good idea about Daviren, he certainly knows his way around a blade."
"I think Shalelu and I have a plan of action for dealing with these little beasts."
"Does anything anybody have anything else to add beforehand?"
"Just that we shouldn't forget that whoever or whatever was with the goblins at the tomb has some necromantic power - I doubt those skeletons raised themselves."
Hemlock addresses the party,"I am going to go to Magnimar in the morning to secure more guards. If there is a larger battle looming I want to have reinforcements. Also I am going to ask Daviren to accompany me as well. Shalelu is going to return to the hinterland and continue to recon the area for any more signs of trouble."
"I would like you all to help defend Sandpoint in my absence. I know it is a lot to ask, but I feel you are all up to the task. I would be grateful and so would the rest of the town."
"Thaddeus, I would like to formally offer you the position of Watch-Sergeant and the rest of you to be deputized as part of the Sandpoint watch. The Mayor will be in command of the rest of the town guard in my absence. This arrangement leaves the day to day duties to the regular guard and gives the freedom for you all to continue your investigation in a formal capacity."
|Khrondak Iron Forged|
Khrondak frowns at Hemlock's words. "I stand here out of my own volition and do not accept the official ties you wish to bind me with. If you want to help our investigation, just tell your men that Iron Forged fights in Sandpoint's side in defense of the Shoanti motherland, and let them be as helpful as they must; other than that, I refuse being part of your varisian guard." He turns to Thaddeus and places his right hand over the magus' right shoulder. "I do not doubt your competence, brother-in-arms, but I shall be subordinate to none but the Sklar-Quah elders, totems and ancestors, and the Lord in Iron himself."
He then asks the Sheriff "Do you expect new raids this soon?"
|Scoria the Stalwart|
Deputized. How frustrating. On the one hand, being a deputy meant responsibilities that she would not shy away from. On the other, it also meant that she wouldn't be slipping back away from the spotlights any time soon. Scoria sighed quietly, resigning herself to this fate. Perhaps once all this trouble with the goblins was completely over she could finally get back to a peaceful life. In the meantime however, if she was to be some kind of...ugh, adventurer...she would require some additional equipment.
Hopefully the others would see the wisdom in waiting for the reinforcements from Magnimar. Preparing themselves here for the assault on the goblin lair. For now, she kept quiet until they were dismissed, then slipped quietly out and back into town, heading back to her room at the White Deer.
Stealth: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26
She is very ninja-ish for someone who weighs 250lbs. <.<
Midori listens and takes in all the information provided.
"I thank you for your confidence in a newcomer to your town. I will do my best to prove your confidence is well-placed. Is there anything else we should know about the situation?
Notick's ears twitch with excitement. His eyes practically glaze over as he stares away into nothing, a massive grin growing upon his lips and a snaggle tooth breaking it's way through the crease of his lips as the Sheriff mentions being Deputized. He does his best to hold in his giggles of joy, his joking nature trying it's hardest to protrude out.
"Deputized you say?..." his voice fades, he quickly wipes his face of all emotion before he's too obvious with his ideas. "That could be very useful indeed!" he nods in agreement with the sheriff's explanation. His mind wandering back to his uncle... This was his chance to put that bastard where he truly needs to be! Those in the room, however, wouldn't expect his thoughts about deputization to be for a noble cause.
After a long moment of pause, he quickly looks around the room, trying to find a way to defuse his mind before it exploded. "I do believe the stone woman looks quite uncomfortable with this. Mayhapse the undead has her chittering in her... Uh... Sand?" he runs a hand through his hair, his eyes wandering around as he thinks aloud, "Yeah, that one was just terrible... I apologize."
Moving on with his true, now realigned thoughts, "We should begin with looking into any dark magic's. I believe the fair skinned gentlemen" he hooks his thumb towards Bel'Tanis, "was on to something. The set of humanoid prints must have been someone into the necromatic arts."
Thaddeus only half hears what Shalelu has to say, so intent is he on not staring as he looks at her. When the Sheriff says that she will be returning to the hinterlands, he sighs, before looking around nervously to see if anyone noticed. It may be for the better with her away, that way he won't be distracted.
When the Sheriff mentions making him watch sergeant, he can barely contain himself, he manages a quick. "I accept this honor, Sir." He stands with pride, shoulders squared, and chest out as the Sheriff continues.
He is almost offended when Iron-forged turns down the position, but after his explanation, he understands. Part of his learning the Shoanti language involves understanding the customs that the words originate from. He nods, and adds "I honor your truth in faith, and though you may not accept a role as deputy, I welcome the wisdom with which your ancestors guide you."
With the smile on Notick's face, Thaddeus grows concerned. He has proven helpful, but he is still a vagabond. He glances at the man, trying to gauge his intentions, but his suggestions for where to look appear as valid concerns.
Sense Motive 1d20 ⇒ 4
As they begin to discuss, he suggests "I think we would do best to stay in pairs, at a minimum. Our investigations should be somewhat quiet, to not stir up any fear amongst the populace, and not show our hand to anyone that may be involved. I recommend we group up as follows: Bel'Tanis and Scoria, Iron-forged and Lady Masaki, and Notick with Myself. That is, if everyone is comfortable with these pairings? We can ask around in these small groups, cover more ground, and then reconvene here at the garrison to share our findings."
I know spliting the party is bad, but it just doesn't seem reasonable to walk around like a gang of thugs questioning people in large groups. As for pairings, He thinks Bel'Tanis is the only one that seems to be able to work with Scoria, and he personally wants to continue to keep an eye on Notick. Which leaves Khrondak and Midori together, either of which he would actually rather be with.
"My apologies Iron Forged, I only wanted to make it formal that you were helping the city in an official capacity, you of course do not have to accept. But we would still appreciate your help in this matter."
"Glad you accept Thaddeus, please report anything to the mayor in my absence."
"Now with our planning out of the way, I need to begin packing for Magnimar, I am leaving at first light tomorrow. I plan to be gone around ten days. Please see yourselves out when you are ready to leave."
Hemlock rises out of his seat, approaches the party and shakes everybody hand. "Hmmm what happened to the stone woman, she was here, was she not?"
"Strange,"with that Hemlock salutes the party and and turns to leave.
Shalelu grins at the party,"Well then deputies, I am ready for some supper. Shall we head to the Rusty Dragon?"
"Yes, back to Ameiko's indeed!" Bel'Tanis smiles warmly at Shalelu and then, as he mentions Ameiko, turns to include Midori as well. "We've been deputized - who'd have seen that coming? I think it suits you, Midori, and Ameiko is sure to be proud."
|Scoria the Stalwart|
Scoria couldn't help but overhear what it was that Thaddeus had to say, along with Notick, just before she left the room in silence. She was not uncomfortable with a position of responsibility. She just didn't consider herself any sort of hero. Though since Thaddeus had been made the authority, she did halt outside of the building, waiting on Bel'Tanis - if they were to be partners, she would work with him. At the very least, he was polite and more level headed, as she could see.
She taps the church guard on the shoulder when he comes out, perhaps startling him - well, at least she didn't cause him to draw his blade. "We are partners, then..." She commented, not voicing her opinion on the pairing so much. "Have we been allotted any type of funding for our work? Better armaments for everyone would prepare us for that lair. We could also use additional healing items. I...would not want to rely on those two every time I am injured." She nodded at Khrondak and Midori.
"Oh! I'd thought you'd already left, Scoria. Will you be joining us back at the Rusty Dragon for dinner? Errrr, funding? No, we've been deputized, not brought onto the payroll. Which I'm more comfortable with, honestly. I mean, I'm happy to help and all, if I can anyway, but if I'd wanted to be a town guard, I'd be a town guard, you know? Regardless, what we've made just off the spoils from those goblins is probably more than the town could give us. You're right though, of course, we'd be wise to fortify ourselves before returning to that goblin den."
Thaddeus' eyes go wide and he blushes at Shalelu's smile, barely conjuring up an answer, "I'm um... well... yes... eat. We should... if you're hungry... then... okay. Supper would be nice... if I may?" He tries to hold the door for the woman.
Notick walks past Thaddeus first and, more importantly, before Shalelu, smirking at him and patting him on the back a bit roughly. Speaking in a fake feminine voice, "Well thank you, you big hunk of masculine!"
He looks over his shoulder at Shalelu and sticks his tongue out playfully, but stands outside awaiting the rest of the party before moving on to the Rusty Dragon. His mind wandering on how he should handle his Uncle - a bit surprised that he hasn't already been "summoned" by him in an manner.
|Scoria the Stalwart|
"The Rusty Dragon?" She thought about it for a few moments - her room was at the White Deer, mostly due to its proximity to the church itself where she had been working - it had made sense. She saw no reason not to join them, aside from her discomfort at being in large crowds. "I will accompany you, then."
She mulls over his words for a little bit as they walk towards the inn, speaking softly, brushing her onyx black hair over her ear. "Why are you assigned to the church? Do you find it easier to have your duties confined to only one building instead of the whole town?" She inquired - oh, perhaps that was insulting. She was never any good at speaking to others. She changed subjects quickly, focusing on what he said about loot. "Who is currently in charge of all that money?"
|Khrondak Iron Forged|
"Why, Midori, with Daviren gone, I plan on taking your cousin's offer of hospitality for my stay in Sandpoint, so not only will we work together but we will also sleep under the same roof." Khrondak speaks with naturality, already feeling more comfortable around this group. He prepares his horse and offers it to Midori. "Will you ride it to the Rusty Dragon? Oddly enough, I feel like walking, but a fine horse should never go unmounted, lest it become blunt as an unnatended blade."