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Sincerest apologies, I got a new promotion that also came with moving offices and computers and what not so my access to tech has been severly limited as my crappy home laptop has decided to play "turn off without notice and always require to be plugged in". But I'm moved, set up, and adapting so I should be more present.
Kithian and Jut search the bodies as the group reconvenes. Kithian notes the presence of a jeweled dagger of some fine cratfsmanship and a pair of nicely made swords, bows and armor. (MW s. swords, MW Composite S bows at 14 strength and MW studded leather) while the third warrior seems to be dressd more in a mix of tanned hides and carrying a solid oak cudgel. He has the look of a druid.
Bewtween the mercenaries you find 6 days of rations, 25 gp in assorted coins, 500 gp in assorted jewels and a small leather bound portfolio which contains rough descriptions of Vidar, Camillo, Sayniek and Kithian along with some hand written notes relating to the groups apparent destination and potential travel routes.
Jutmerlum notes that they are all three mercenaries from a relatively small company based out of Magnimar called the "Redbolts" and each wears a stylized crimson and bronze bolt charm on a neckale. Jutmerlum knows them to be a low costing option for low moral types.
Man you guys are no fun...
Jut pauses in his approach, knocks, draws and loose. Yells erupt from the treetops as arrows pincushion a camouflaged attacker and he falls to the ground. Jut yells from the ground warning the camp of danger and Vidar responds by lighting the treetops on fire in a cacophony of sound and light. Two more yells end as flaming bodies meet the ground...
All seems quiet.
Out of initiative.
Sorry folks, the parade of random crap never ends
The smoke begins to dissipate in earnest and reveals little in the way of foes. Pinnochio and Cam continue to hustle back while the camp party whispers and searches. Jutmerlum approaches between the two groups...
At a wider angle to the camp party Jutmerlum notices the barely noticeable; 3 figures dressed in camouflage have taken to the tops of the trees using the smoke and chaos as distraction. Clearly they are lying in wait for everyone to return to camp. They seemed to have noticed the orcish archer but not that he has noticed them...
Jutmerlum finally gets close enough that in the distance (about 120 feet or so) the fighter can see the smoke billowing from the campsite as well as the slow movmements of his new comrades as they seem to be contending with something on the other side of the smoke.
Pinnchio and Cam work their way back towards the camp, the bard moving a bit slower than normal having to contend with the adult person over his shoulder.
Meanwhile the camp group shifts uneasily and tries to listen and look for targets but even as the smoke starts to gain a modicum of transparency, there is no obvious movement or noise to orient against...
Group is up.
I am going to assume Kithian clears the area of effect to the opposite side of the camp along with Vidar and Sayniek. Cam, your search and throwing the guy on your shoulder will take this upcoming round to accomplish...
The main camp scatters and then reform on the other edge of the smoke outside of the area of the entangle. In chaos Vidar casts his spell of haste on the paladin and barbarian. There is only quiet as the smokes stick hisses and sputter pouring out the last of its alchemical smoke. The haze hangs over the camp obscuring sight and little in the way of sounds offers any idea of what might come next.
Jut continues to run through the woods while Cam takes a quick survey of the downed cultist. Noting nothing of consequence and eager to move on, the bard hefts the unconscious cultist up and over his shoulders so he can move as swiftly as he can.
Pinnochio and campsite players are up. The smoke takes up two ten foot cubes side by side so the entangled area is a bit bigger.
So for my forest friends, you are in the area of effect of an Entangle spell. Do the casters want to try to move after they cast? Otherwise its new checks after the bad guys initiative to become grabbed. Kithian roll strength, if you hit DC 14 you are free and have a standard action to play with.
Jut will take three rounds or so at a run to get back within target acquisition distance, this is round one.
Pinnochio and Cam pummel at the laughing and writhing cultist. He continues to laugh through the beating but is still concious...Just a couple more points...
Kithian Ref: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 1 = 9
Off in the distance the second figure drops to the ground screaming and undulating in a way that seems practically uncontrollable. Cam knows the spell well and proceeds to sprint towards the downed archer, clearly attempting to work at binding them.
Meanwhile a small bit of chaos erupts at the campsite as various foliage bursts alive and attempts to entangle the resident wizard, barbarian and oradin. Sayniek and Vidar are nimble footed enough to escape immediate issue but Kithian is quickly bound up. To make matters worse a pair of smoke sticks are thrown at the group quickly generating smoke that obscures the campsite though offering a momentary glimpse of three adventuring types before the smoke cuts off line of sight.
[ooc]Group is up. Actions in order as you post...
The group splits with Kithian, Sayniek and Vidar staying at the camps with Jumerlum, Cam and Pinnochio move off towards the noise.
Unfortunately for the half-orc archer the landscape provides some hard to maneuver terrain when it comes to stealth. Moving to investigate Jutmerlum causes his own amount of noise.
Moving off about a hundred yards the two newcomers and the bard come to an obvious clearing where it looks like some kind of camp or watch place was being set up. A pair of backpacks and a bow sit amongst the tramples area.
An arrow whistles by Jutmerlum as he surveys the area and soft cursing draws the eye to a pair of figures dressed in a black robes with a strange geometric hood off to the east some 100 feet.
Init in the order folks post. I will post Cam's action in 24. All three of the "away team" can see the cultists, they seem to only notice Jutmerlum.
Sayniek, Kithian and Vidar need reflex saves please.
I mean honestly, isn't it a little silly that the little wooden boy and the man with the drunken bird are the ones that are like "listen?! Smell something?" lol I'm putting you in the order I choose since no one really chimed up on the matter...
Jutmerlum - Kithian - Sayniek - Pinnochio - Vidar - Cam
Jutmerlum, no stranger to the Sanos at large takes the lead and begins to wind the party through the large trees and dense blanket of detritus that marks the forests floor, deciding that the terrain and pace set by riding is just as safe as anything.
The party continues apace through the afternoon and finds a clearing to best settle to horses and set camp. Its in the hustle and bustle of these efforts that Pinnochio hears a soft cracking in the distance from the direction the group came and Vidar reports the same...
I want to apologize for my spotty access lately, I am having some issues at home and at work that are impacting my ability to get onling physically and taking a toll on getting into the groove emotionally. I expect this to be a patch of turbulence that might last another month or so but shouldn't take me out of the fight. I will continue to try to get on as often as I can but if you are willing to be patient, I will slwosly get back up to speed. I apologize for my delays.
With Sayniek's magic the effort becomes much easier as the enlarged Jutmerlum and Kithian are able to easily calm the horses even where the water meets the animals' shoulders. After that it is merely about shuttling the rest and that is done capably enough.
All in all it probably takes about three hours of the day to find the places to cross and do the work itself. Its coming up on midday when the party turns to the Sanos.
With maps in hand and some basic calculations it will take at least another two to three days of movement through the wood to meet the trail that runs the length of the forest. The Sanos is old and tall and offers uneven terrain to maneuver but decent line of sight as the trees have long ago conquered the sky and deprived all but the most hardy of ground covers and ferns of the sun.
In most places the horses can be ridden but only one at a time.
Ride order, Survival and Perception checks (2 ea) and any other stated actions on the shore before you go into the forest...
Kithian, aided by occasional observations by most of the group *cough* distracted bard *cough* manages to navigate the shores of the north bound tributary that feeds to the Yondabakari to the south.
The river is quite deep and some of Kithian's initial prospects for crossing are slow moving but almost as deep as his shoulders, a poor option for a party with smaller members.
Eventually, with the sun beggining its lazy arc to the west and the latter half of the day Kithian has two options:
A fast moving shallow that is a mere two feet deep but moving at a brisk enough pace that there is some concern of being knocked over for the less sure footed into a series of craggy rapids that end in a short drop some ten yards down the river.
A series of dead tress from the Sanos can be seen on the other side of the river at one of the slow moving shallows. It could be that some like Kithian and Jutmerlum make the crossing in the deep water as best they can and fell the trees for others to make way.
In either case there is some dispute about how well the horses will fare unless someone is well training to handle them...
Jutmerlum takes to the terrain and moves like someone trained to expect foes who are ready to shoot at great distances. The half-orc takes his time and comes to the conclusion that if the party is being watched it is at a fairly extreme range as even at 1/4 mile out the archer does not see the glint again.
Based on the terrain though he is able to estimate that two miles would be the extreme extent of seeing. At least until the river and the trees, whoever might following the group would be fairly visible. Obviously certain tactics or magic would hinder being noticed.
The group manages to acquit itself well enough in the wild, supplementing trail rations with opportunistic plant and wild life while keeping a steady pace east and off the road.
In the first few days nothing of real interest happens and camp is made with settled watches that move through the night. Pinnochio, ever vigilant, sees a distant light on the second night but no amount of casual inspection leads to it returning or it coming of anything.
This changes on night five as the camp is made. Tomorrow the group should come across the rivers then woods but Sayniek and Kithian both see a distant light, a shimmer really, of sunlight on metal or glass, some distance behind the group. Each of them see it twice...
AS noted above anyone who wanted mounts has mounts, even newbies. The Heroes having a certain amount of cache even those associated with them get perks. Ok, lets see. I need 4 sets of survival checks per person who has such skills, 5 perception checks per person, and Jutmerlum needs to make a con check since apparently he can;t even find breakfast and is now hungry...actually that last one is a joke.
YEah you still have that crazy heavy horse for sure.
The group departs. The road widen then narrows at various points until it is noted by the group that they have their first decision to make only a few miles from town:
The road proper swings soutward and branches twice, one branch following the river some miles to the north of it while the other is the larger but more exposed river road that the group has opted not to follow.
However it is now clear that a third option presents itself in that the group could go straight in the mized tress and meadows of the hinterlands and approach Sanos Forest directly, with the option to stop at either the town of Nybor or Wartle or bypass them both entirely.
(The road runs to Wartle normally and Nybor may be a necessity as there is a wide river run that comes from the north to meet the Yonabaraki river's east/west direction. However you might also find a place to cross without the aid of civilization if you want to try. Both towns are a few miles from each other on the edge of the Sanos which is roughly the halfway makr of your journey. )
With at least some modicum of understanding of where they all intend to go the companion old and ne alike are given adequate provisions and mounts if they do not have their own.
There is the standard pregnant pause as the group makes its way to the eastern edge of town, ready to move on to Turtleback Ferry.
Final call and last stop. Anything folks mean to grab or do before leaving town?
I like to imagine that as Pinnochio's version of "drinking" is just splashing liquid into his mouth. Choon how emotive is he? Like does he have muscular style motion on his face and not just blink or are we talking like full on locked features like an old Thunderbirds episode (though come to think of it THEY could blink)
Even if it is through a sort of tethered fascination Pinnochio is not cast out of the bar or away from the table and the night passes. Stories are shared and details exchanged as new companions and old pass the night with drink, food and other diversions.
When Ameiko and Cam have had their time together sharing their own set of stories, diversions and unspoken truths, they rejoin the rest. The night passes and the day comes all too soon.
The group reconvenes in the morning at various levels of readiness. Steaming plates of food and various drinks are served to prepare the party for its travels.
Morning time. Anything else in Sandpoint before you hit the road?
Ameiko gently guides on of Kithian's hands to the cask on the table as though to remind the barbarian to pay attention. Shaking her head to her self she pulls Bethana and another servant aside who then move to combine table to accommodate all those present.
The proceeding are briefly interrupted by a shreiking Bethana who pratically lights the tavern on fire with her words as she chases a large black raven from one of the liquor cabinets.
The bird lands near Vidar with a thimble in its mouth and starts hammering the small metal object against the table in an effort to get the wizard's attention. The halfling barmaid meanwhile can be heard from the back, When I murder that bloody bird it won't be ME who nurses you back to health from the familiar sickness you bloody rumscrubber. Keep that beast out of my spirits!
Ameiko cocks an eyebrow at the wizard, WEll if you are going to get yourself into the same kind of trouble you have been you might get your numbers back up. With Rullis and Kerrec gone and my brother doing Desna knows what I would say you could wait for Shalelu but Kristiel and her are running into troubles of their own...that said there are always new friends to make.
Jutmerlum can certainly make out the conversation and as another ale is poured Bethana, having a tall stool on the other side of the bar to put her at eye height with most sitting patrons at least, offers a flat look at the half-orc. I'd be careful with that lot. The thin one is reasonable but the rest are drunken louts or prone to stern lecture. You want to talk to them you best do it open and honest, they find you skulking thy'ell likely make you fight...then drink...and then fight again...but that might be to your liking I suppose. The halfling descends and moves elsewhere before Jut can really get a word in.
...Jutmerlum looks at the grizzled veteran, What do I have to do? The half-orc listened and took the job, simply guarding job to Riddleport. From Riddleport it was another guard job to Magnimar. In the City of Monuments Keppish took ill but not before passing on a tidbit about a small town north with big trouble. Goblins and what not, might be just the score...except Sandpoint was quiet. Apparently the goblins were dealt with. Horrific murder? Resolved. The town had a group of heroes watching its back and they were due back any day. Lacking in options and at a dead end Jutmerlum nurses a drink in the Rusty Dragon...
...Pinnochio couldn't be lost because that implied a specific destination but Sandpoint didn't strike the construct like the most exciting place on first glance. Another stop over to greater finds it seemed at first that this was another sleepy town with little to offer except a few exotic ruins.. However the STORIES these people tell are another thing. It seems the towns been a bed of craziness lately but luckily all in hand by some local heroic sorts. Despite that the town retains an edge of wariness or maybe it was mistrust of the seemingly little wooden boy amongst them. It was hard to tell any more but at the Rusty Dragon the owner, a tall woman named Ameiko, seemed content to ask few questions, take the coin offered and present the sorcerer with a table to bide the time...
...Ameiko was no stranger to the great tales of the ages so she takes the presence of outsiders in stride and the chance arrival of her friends and lover in stride. It was her gift and her offer to the world - to take the exotic she discovered out on the road and create a safe haven for it in her hometown. The half-orc seemed a mercenary type, the wooden boy (?) was something else altogether but things she has seen lately give her no reason to pause at their presence and to be unsurprised that these strangers would herald the arrival or her friends.
As Sayniek, Kithian, Cam and Vidar enter the Rusty Dragon there is the scattered greetings and cheers from the regular townsfolk while Ameiko moves to leave the bar. She gestures to Bethana and others to set a table and in short order the woman has crossed to the entrance and dragged Cam to a corner to celebrate his arrival while the staff of the dragon lay out the usual fare for the Heroes of Sandpoint...except for Sayneik whom the staff are still unsure of so there is a breif moment where the halfling bartender confers with the halfling like oradin to see if anything is needed.
In short order Ameiko drags Cam back to the table, somewhat mussed from the interaction in the corner, and sits down across from the rest as she pours drinks from pitchers and casks, Returned from the City and all in one piece but I can tell you are not meant to stay... The bard offers a defiant grin as though to challenge the group how she might know that but otherwise is quiet...
Meh play what you want to play. if Kumo comes back with another archer then you will be archer heavy. Jut seems fine as is and I don't want anyone to retool unless they want to.
I just got the pace on the game back up so I don't want to delay too much more. Take today to think it over but if Jut stays the same, I will introduce those two and Kumo will come in when/where he comes in.
Kenrick nods, The woman made her way to that infamous hole Cam mentioned, but the note says that Orik has flourished with a more forthright purpose, I agree with Cam that he should be judged on the merits of his character. He was judged and serves under the notion of justice. I recognize that might be at odds with your lord's desire to punish with vengeance but Sandpoint follows Magnimar's lead in aspiring to a notion of redemption in the right circumstances.
Hemlock strokes his chin, I haven't seen or heard much of anything in regards to adventurers or sell swords but you know that Ameiko is ten times more likely to know about it than I am. I practically am drowining in reports still from the Shalelu in the wilds and my folks spread all over the countryside working at the sanitarium and around Thistletop.
Which REMINDS me, that oh so long ago you talked about commissioning a new bridge to Thisteltop under the auspice of developing it/exploring it more. Does that still sound like something you want to be doing in the background?