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Sorry guys. The funeral was tough, but seeing people I hadn't seen since my wife died - that was really really hard. I'm back at work today, and I'll resume posting as of this wednesday. Thank you for your patience and understanding, my friends.
@ Janiries - Ambrose (which is to say, I) was careful enough to ensure you weren't in the line of fire, so to speak. His 15' cone would look like the following:
See? Safe :-)
@ Osuki: It was. Ambrose hit the critter for 17 points, which was halved by a successful reflex saving throw. The result was then multiplied by 1.5.
Belgrin's stout blow just glaces off the wooden monstrosity, inflicting no damage save a few splinters.
DMPC -->Hezar advances into the clearing (to K19) and takes a shot at the Stag-shaped living statue at L14.
Attack: 1d20 + 9 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 9 + 2 = 20
The sharp-eyed ranger lands a shaft directly into the centre of the wooden beast, but the strike appears to slow it down not at all!
Cackling to some joke that only he heard, Ambrose advances into the clearing (square E16) and casts burning hands at the wooden bear creature:
Damage: 5d4 ⇒ (3, 4, 3, 4, 3) = 17
Ambrose's spell hits hard, though the Bear shows remarkable agility in avoiding part of the blast. It is still left smoking, however!
Tranche #5 is up next - Kevkas, Matthias, Marius, and Ogre!
I was considering posting yesterday, but the two PCs we're waiting for are two of my oldest and most reliable posters, so I'm loathe to potentially step on their toes. Also, I have a bunch of NPCs to run, so I'm hoping to avoid DMPCing as much as possible. Having said that, if no-one has posted by noon I'll have to jump in. Blah.
Osuki's spell strikes the lumbering wooden bear hard, igniting the old wood with blue flame:
Save vs. catching on fire DC 15: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12
The spells other intended effects, however, simply do not seem to affect the creature - its vision remains unimpaired, and it shows no ill effects from the shock of the lightning.
Rylind leaps out from the trees, scimitars drawn. (Move action to position E15). Not wishing to provoke an attack, she watches and waits for an opening. (Unable to take 5 foot step due to previous movement.)
Tranche #4 - Belgrin, Hezar and Ambrose - up next!
Janiries' arrow finds it's mark, landing in the torso of the bear statue with a solid *thunk* The creature is utterly unfazed by the attack, and continues its' approach!
Damage to Wooden bear = 16-5 DR = 11 total
Tranche #2 - the wooden foes - are up next!
Foe #1 (the Bear) moves with a speed that belies its size, quickly dashing to a position in front of Janiries. It then strikes with a large, clawed wooden paw!
25 foot move to G16 - move action
The creature hits hard, knocking the lovely elven rogue to her knees!
Foe #2 (the Stag) takes a 15 foot move to L14 and lashes out at Matthias with an oversized wooden hoof!
Attack: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (20) + 12 = 32 Crit confirm? 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (2) + 12 = 14
The stag hits the young Helmite hard, though just inches from seriously hurting the handsome cleric.
Tranche #3 - Osuki and Rylind - are up next!
Everyone has been very cautious, so no surprise round! Producing a tactical map is usually a dead giveaway a fight is coming....
As a few of you move forward to investigate Beyha's body, two of the burned wooden statues - one of a great bear, the other of a large stag - rise up and begin to shamble forward, their eyes lit with a red light of menace!
Initiative time! Everyone needs to place themselves now, in the treeline or not.
Wooden foes: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (17) + 3 = 20
So, initiative tranches are:
Tranche #1 is up first - Janiries and Belina!
Belina moves into the clearing (move action to J19) and, raising her lovely clear voice for all to hear, begins to inspire courage (standard action) in her allies. Everyone gets a +2 morale bonus vs charm and fear, and a +2 competence bonus to attack and damage rolls.
Anyone stepping into the clearing needs to declare which space they will start in - either by placing yourself on the tactical map or by asking me to place you via grid code.
The body by the pool is definitely Beyha - you can tell from her armour and clothes. As you turn her over, you see see that the flesh of her face has been cruelly cut away, and her body rent by many wounds. Her blood has stained the once-pristine pool an ugly, cloudy scarlet.
Hezar's woodcraft is impressive - the young ranger quickly finds a route through the trees, in the waning daylight. The forest is strangely quiet; Marius remarks upon it several times, and seems uneasy with the atmosphere of the woods. Tethys, his black panther, stays close to the ground and appears frightened by the surroundings.
After about an hour and a half, you come upon the clearing. The smell of burning wood greets your nostrils; from your position in the treeline, you can see that the six animal statues surrounding the shrine of Mielikki had been set alight. Four have been burned almost to the ground; two remain, though they are blackened and their original form is difficult to make out.
The statue of the Lady of Rangers still stands, though horribly disfigured. The head has been cut off and burned, and the body has been burned in parts, with profane symbols carved into the once-living wood.
The statue stands before a still pool of water - just at the waters' edge, you see a body, front quarter submerged, unmoving.
Map is here. You're at the southwestern corner, still within the treeline and, as far as you can tell, unobserved by anyone.
You return to the gate, and all confiscated weapons are returned; the Captain wishes you well in your hunt as you mount your horses. You swing around the vineyards to the east and head north to the forests' edge. The sheer vastness of the vineyards is hard to believe - no wonder it challenges all of the Purple Hills to the south as Tethyr's main producer of wine.
It takes nearly two hours to finally reach the forests' edge - by now it is roughly two hours until dusk. The Maiden's Grove is about four, five miles into the forest - if we're lucky, we might make it by nightfall. We could camp here, at the forests' edge. If we run into difficulty, and find ourselves in the woods at night, things could go bad very quickly. How shall we proceed? Marius says this while looking deep into the woods, his home for many years.
Belina approaches you, apart from the others, her lower lip quivering. She is so small as you pull her into your arms; a full foot shorter than you, and slight, your betrothed trembles for a moment before calming. I musn't ever lie to you, my lord - I am scared to chase this Kane or whomever else is responsible for these deaths deep into the forest. I know it is your domain ... please promise you will take care of me. I wish I could take a long rest, after Tilver's Folly, but I suppose that is not in the cards for us - not yet. Just promise you will get us through this - and to our wedding? The young beauty hasn't looked up, clearly trying to hide tears as she leans her head against your chest.
Rylind approaches, a wry smile on her face, though it dies as she looks over her shoulder at the children. You've quite the way with kids, Matthias. You got more out of them than any of the others would have. It was ... charming to see that side of you. You see Rylind in profile for a moment; despite her toughness, you are taken aback by the delicateness of her features, even the elegant line of her neck under the flow of her raven black hair. She smiles at you again, for a moment, though her own eyes betray sadness. Whether it is a ploy to deceive you, or a genuine moment of openness, is difficult to say.
Marius draws a simple map before heading out. Rough version here.
Scale is approximately 1/2 mile per square. Marius is careful to differentiate between the forest (in paler green) and the deep forest (which is wilder and far more dangerous). The young druid also maps out several points of interest on the map, including a meeting place of his circle - Old Oak Henge. Others are marked as possible hiding places for Kane, or as points of interest for exploration.
The light will begin to wane soon; and the forest is not somewhere one should wander in the dark. If we set out now, we may be able to get to the Maiden's Grove before dark - or maybe not. It is a sight to behold, though - a giant wooden effigy of the Lady of Rangers, surrounded by a ring of animals - all carved into the living wood. I would wish to linger there a bit, and pray by the stream, as all this death has left me feeling out of sorts.
Marius seethes while walking out of the estate. He must have been acting! Kane is a bloodthirsty beast, any remorse on his part is too little and too late. He wheels around on the group. We still need to stop him, and if that means killing him, then I'm not going to shed a tear!
Is everyone set to reconnect with Beyha?
The boy swallows before answering Matthias. The man who locked us in the basement - he saved us from those others that came first. He said that he was sorry he couldn't get there in time to save our parents, but that we'd be safe until someone came for us. He was a big man, with a beard. He fought the others - the skinny blind mage, the black skinned elf, and the two others. There was another there too - something in the shadows - it smelled of rotten eggs. They were going to kill us too. But the big man drove them out, snarling, and I swear his hands seemed like giant claws. He never said his name, but said he couldn't stay, that if people found him there he'd be in trouble.
His eyes were sad. I asked him why he was crying. He said he'd dug himself a deep hole and he didn't know how to get out. Reesa pipes up after her brother speaks, rocking the baby sadly.
He had several others with him, a man with a bow who looked a little like the pretty lady here, Kylan says this while looking at Nijena, and several others who looked like skilled woodsmen. They never said where they were going, I'm afraid. Kylan's lips waver for a moment, before he steels himself, swallowing. The ones who killed my parents - you're going to kill them, aren't you?
The children are frightened, and tired; but they seem to brighten a bit at your kind words and manner, and at the friendliness of Hezar's animal companion.
After a few moments, the eldest boy gathers his courage and speaks. I .. I am Kylan, and this is my sister, Reesa. We ... we know our parents, and our eldest brother and his wife, are dead. The boy points to the baby held in Reesa's arms. This is Manu, our cousin, and our remaining siblings, the triplets Arthu, Amus and Anna. Though dispirited, each forces a little wave at the mention of their names, save the baby, who appears to be asleep.
Ambrose is hard to read - most of the time, he appears to be muttering to himself, snickering. But when he thinks everyone otherwise engaged, it is clear he is talking to his hand - or whatever is hidden under that misshappen glove. He is sly, but very intelligent and observant - a student of people, but likely not often invited to be a participant. He doesn't strike you as evil but appears obsessed with the strange and the demonic.
You detect no evil in these children - they are tired, and scared, but not evil. Nothing malignant has yet taken root in them.
The eldest girl, Reesa, appears very taken with Osuki's exotic appearance, and gasps at her eyes when they change colour. So beautiful! She says, taking a step forward, before her brother holds his arm up, staying her.
The guard captain escorts you down the long road to the estate proper; you pass by a number of workers, mostly humans but with a fair sampling of halflings, as well. You get a few looks and whispered comments, but most seem interested in not getting involved, or drawing attention.
You are led to a small room on the second level; all six of the children are being kept together, under the care of a pair of nurses, one human and one halfling. The oldest is a boy, perhaps of ten winters or so, the next a sister, just a little younger. The younger girl cradles a baby in her arms, protectively. Two little boys and a girl, perhaps two or three years old, round out the group - all seem to be the same age - triplets? Most unusual.
Please be quick, these children have seen far too much the past couple of days. The guard captain whispers to you as you go in.
Apologies for the terse post folks - Kat's mom is back in the hospital so that's where I am too, for the moment. Hopefully everything will be okay and I can respond more when I get home. I love my Nexus5 but really do prefer typing on a real keyboard.
The guard captain sighs, obviously expecting at least some negative responses to his request. I appreciate the importance of your weapons - I was an adventurer myself, for several years. But if you're unwilling to temporarily surrender them, waiting here at the gate might be the best way to go.
If anyone wants to attempt a persuade or an intimidate, DC is 22.
Well met, all of you. The Captain's gaze lingers on Rylind and Kevkas for just a moment, perhaps assessing the level of threat they pose. The children are indeed here, and resting - terrible business, this. I will take you to them, through the main gates. Please note that we ask visitors to surrender their arms at the guardhouse - they will be kept safe for you.
Not a castle, per se, but a well-fortified gatehouse and well-defined borders for their land. The Tresqyl family survived the pogrom against the wealthy and the royals quite well, in part because of their value to the local economy as employers, in part because they never flouted the law or flaunted their wealth, and in part because of the strong defenses built around the source of their wealth - the vineyards. The manor house itself is more than a mile down the road from the gatehouse, on several acres of well-manicured grass and shrubs.
Neither Rylind nor Ogre appear to carry any taint of demonic possession - Rylind, though cunning and self-interested, was genuinely disturbed by the scene in the barn, and Ogre could barely bring himself to look. Ambrose, however - there is something unnatural about his goatish features, his mannerisms, and the way he feels. And whatever is hidden under that thick leather glove is not a hand - you would bet your life on it.
The Tresqyl vineyards are less than an hour away; the road becomes progressively wider and better travelled as you get closer. At the outskirts, the seemingly endless vineyards are bounded by a simple post and wire fence. Closer to the main gate, the walls become stone and armed two-man patrols become common.
When advised of your mission, the first guard patrol you encounter rides swiftly back to the main gates, returning a few minutes later with the guard captain. Tall, with skin so dark it appears almost black, the tall, mail-clad captain quickly regards your group. Hail, travelers, I am Captain Aku, of the Tresqyl estate guard. How may I help you?
Beyha returns to the barn after a few minutes of looking around outside, working from Hezar's findings. You're going to talk to the children? We have a warm trail here that I can't ignore. She points north and west. The Tresqyl vineyards are just a few miles to the west - back down to the road and you won't miss them. I'll meet you at the Maiden's clearing in a few hours - its north of the vineyards, four miles into the woods. Hezar should be able to get you there, and Marius knows the area well enough. Good luck, and may Helm guard you.
Beyha heads off, clearly used to working by herself, unlimbering her longbow as she stalks into the woods.
Your keen senses detect something odd about the scene. There are four main sets of prints in the barn - presumably, the killers. The prints moved outside quickly - where they were engaged by another group, also of four or five persons. There is evidence of a struggle - even some blood on the ground - and then evidence that the first group were driven off to the north. The second group seemed to stay in the area for a while, before following the other group north.
The children, the children ... why were they not offered up? Their sweet young flesh would have been to the demon's tastes, yesss .... enough for a second offering, and one more for sport .... Ambrose mutters to himself, seeing the reactions from those who can hear his words, and falls silent. His keen, dark eyes continue to take in the scene, however, and his excitement is hard to conceal!
Has everyone completed their leveling up process? Matthias, I think you still need to choose four spells to bolster your list. If everyone could let me know when they're done, I'll take a quick look at your sheets and make sure we're not missing anything.
Ambrose drops to all fours, sniffing at the bodies, muttering to himself. At Matthias' question, he seems to master himself somewhat, though, he cradles his gloved hand and rocks back and forth on his heels.
Great power here, yesss ... no simple sacrifice, this! Can you smell the brimstone in the air, hanging heavily? There was a demon here, yes, a foul demon, but not the master! No! A lesser one, dragged from it's pit of filth by the scent of fear and the screams of pain and the hours... hours! .... spent whispering the name of it's master to the wind! Ambrose seems to snap out of some sort of state, looking about himself warily, before focusing on the bodies. These ones were alive as they were skinned, and kept alive for several hours before death through cruel magics. Their pain and suffering were key to the ritual. Five were needed; any five. The escapee was unneeded, and let go, though of course not without the bonus of an arrow to his back. He was six, and unnecessary. This one, Ambrose points with a slender, almost skeletal finger to one of the bodies; was the master of the farm. This one his wife, and this their eldest son. This one was their daughter, and this her new husband. The one that got away was not family; his presence was less important, yes, less important, I see that now. Family would suffer more at the sight of their loved ones being tormented! It fed the ritual and the foul beast that was summoned to enjoy the horrid delights.
Ambrose stands up suddenly. The children! Were the children found?
Beyha is taken aback for a moment before responding. Yes .... they were found in the storm cellar. They were babbling and incoherent; they were sent to the Tresqyl estate, not far from here, for safety.
Matthias, and everyone, remember - roll for HP, and if you get less than the average - 4 for d6, 5 for d8, 6 for d10, 7 for d12 - take the average instead and then add any bonuses for con, toughness, chosen class, etc.
And yes, 6001 xp!
Yeah, another planes or religion roll is called for here - DC 20, as Orcus is less of a big name than a deity would be.
Also, thank you all for the well-wishes - the pink eye is mostly under control now. Mostly.
Beyha shakes her head slowly in response to Matthias' question. Nay, brother, the other killings were not like this. Kane would release the farmers in the forest, with weapons, and then ... hunt them, rend them, with his bare hands. The bodies would be left where they lay.
She breathes deeply. Fear not, brother, their souls are not lost, lest they were faithless; sacrifice like this will not prevent them from crossing into Myrkul's realm, and finding their eternal place with their God ... Chauntea, most likely...
Ambrose, the mage from Rylind's camp, wanders about the scene, muttering to himself, smiling on occasion, and rubbing his malformed, gloved hand. Ogre, for his part, sticks close to Belina, making sure the young bard doesn't see what is within the barn. Little girl not look inside ... is ugly. You not have bad dreams about it like Ogre will. Belina pats the muscular giants' arm kindly as he sits down on the grass, saddness writ on his broad face.
Everyone who is not level four should kindly level up now, before pursuit begins.
The upside down pentagram is often associated with demonic forces - the evil, chaotic, seething forces of the Abyss. There once was writing in chalk at the corners of the pentagram, but it has since been destroyed, smudged out, and otherwise erased. This has all the hallmarks of a sacrifice to you, though to whom, you cannot be sure. A demon lord, perhaps - Orcus? Baphomet? You know one thing for certain - this is not a sacrifice to Malar.
The pentagram seems demonic to you ... and certainly not the work of a Malarite. If this was the work of a demon worshipper, you are unable to discern which demon lord was the intended recipient of the offering.
The arrowhead doesn't match - it is smaller, barbed, and of a blackened steel different from the one you possess. Your detect magic determines that there is a strong, evil aura in the area. Your keen eyes detect a clue everyone else seems to have overlooked - one of the less-burned black candles still has writing on it, in silver. You can only make out "we feed this unholy (sacrament?) to these (cattle?) in thy name, most (unholy?) lord of the undead, keeper of the rod, utterer of the words of chaos, true (master?) of eternal servitude."
This ... what madness is this? gasps Marius, his face pale, as he looks upon the scene.
This doesn't feel right - Malarites are beasts, reavers. This can't be Kane's work - can it? Rylind asks this as she kneels beside one of the bodies, her studied mien of dispassion cracking slightly as a flash of sadness passes over her.
The Helmite Marshall remains silent, taking in the scene, the muscles at her jaw tensing as she does so.
We should take a look at the barn, yes? asks the Marshall, standing up after several moments peering at the ground, looking this way and that. There are numerous tracks in this area; searching for sign closer to the perimeter, where there is less traffic, will likely yield better results.
As you walk towards the barn, Beyha answers about the arrow. Barbed, it was, and not deep into his back did it bite; likely fired from a shortbow, and at some range. The wound itself would not have slain a stout young man, but the poison was a nerve agent which caused his breathing to grow heavy, and eventually stop. I'm not familiar with it myself, but you can take a look, if you think you can figure it out. She holds up a small, linen wrapped packet that contains the broken arrowhead to whomever wishes to take it.
As you approach the barn doors, Beyha warns you: If any of you have a delicate temperament, you might not wish to see the remains as they are. To my knowledge, they have not been touched by anyone save the killers.
As the barn doors are opened, a horrific scene greets your eyes. Five people - all human, two female, three male - lay at the points of a large pentagram, which has been drawn on the earthen ground with white chalk. Each has been skinned, and eviscerated, the innards stacked in the centre of the unholy symbol. In each victims' mouth, agape as if in a scream, is a black candle, long burned out. The bodies have been nailed to the ground, at the wrist and ankles.
Helm guard me! Beyha whispers, touching her fist to her forehead, then her heart - the traditional warding of the Helmite church.
I do hate hospitals with a passion, and I didn't get away from this whole situation unscathed; I now have "pink eye" which is really gross and irritating. Blah. Kat somehow didn't get it, and now I am in quarantine, too :-( Life is hard.
The Helmite marshall smiles grimly at the assembled group. It seems I have no shortage of helpers. How wonderful. Try not to stomp all around the scene ... there may be sign that I can use to track Kane and his pack of bastards. The woman draws back her hood as she surveys you all, her gaze stopping on Matthias for a moment. Brother. she nods. She hesitates yet further when he gaze finds Rylind amongst your group - the muscles at her jaw visibly clench and her eyes narrow, though she says nothing. Rylind responds with a mocking, crooked smile. I am Beyha, late of Port Kir, and a sworn agent of the law. I've been trying to find and stop Kane for a while now.
This farm was attacked only yesterday. We know this because there was a survivor - a young farmhand who managed to ride out to the nearby Tresqyl Vineyards, seeking aid. He didn't last long, however - he rode with a poisoned arrow in his back, and expired not long thereafter. The Helmite gestures to a barn, roughly a quarter mile from the house. The landowners and servants are all in there. It's pretty ghastly. There were six children as well, all locked into the storm cellar.
Beyha looks up - there is a long scar over her right eye, extending down almost to her lips, marring what is otherwise a striking face. This is the first time I've been able to get onscene after an attack - normally it's a week or more before anyone discovers the reavers' handiwork. This means the trail is still fresh - though Kane is woodscrafty, I'll give him that.
Not to worry about the levels, please; just a miscalculation on my part. I thought the existing party members were on the very precipice of level four, which is why I had the new guys start there. My apologies. At the end of this scene I'm going to level everyone up to 4th - trust me, you'll need it :-)
Rylind laughs a little at your words. Matthias, dear, I am not courting you! I'm just looking for ... companionship. I'll not hold it against you should you not wish to join me tonight ... but consider it an ... open offer.
With morning comes an early departure for the Taypool farm, site of the latest attack. The weather is clear, and you make good time. Just before noon you come upon the outskirts of the farm. Just off the dirt path leading from the main road, the farm looks to have been cut directly out from the forests - a number of tree trunks remain buried in the ground. If not for the irregular pattern of the trees, one might mistake the trunks for gravestones.
Tucked back from the road is a modest house, with a storm cellar around the side. Three people are already present on the site. One, a human woman, wears the grey and red surcoat of a follower of Helm. Two others - an exotic looking woman and a tall, powerful man - appear to be talking with her. All three stop talking at your approach, watching you.
Rufus' inn proves an excellent place for a nights' stay - quiet and secure, little of note happens during the night. Except....
Upon finishing her meal, Belina runs upstairs to her room. Returning minutes later, your woman has changed her outfit completely: her adventuring gear has been replaced by a white blouse, worn well off her shoulders, and her beloved rainbow skirt, full and diaphanous, whispering on the floor as she approaches. Her long black hair worn up leaves her slender shoulders and neck bare; emphasizing her vulnerable beauty. Giggling, she whispers in your ear: No rest for you tonight, my lord .... I ache for you. I wish to submit to my betrothed's desires! She begins to lead you upstairs to your room, one small hand in yours, the other holding the material of her long skirt.
Rylind approaches, a smile on her face, once the group begins to break up. Whispering in your ear, so only you can hear her, she says: You're a handsome one, Matthias. I find myself desiring company tonight. Perhaps we could share a room and become ... far better acquainted than we presently are?
Setting out in the middle of the night, unrested? A fool's errand. There's worse things out there, on the haunted roads of Tethyr, than just brigands. Though those might be out as well. Rylind takes a drink, her dark eyes flashing in the light of the fireplace. The unspoken words I would know. hang in the air, despite not being uttered.
Morning should be soon enough - we could be there at midday if we depart at sunrise. Marius interjects after a moment, cutting through the tension at the table.
Rylind is a tough read - she's clearly a practiced liar, but you see none of the expected signs of falsehood in her. It's hard to tell if she's not lying, or if she's just really, really good at it.
Rylind looks up to Matthias after a moment. I have people in a number of different places, Matthias. Since Kane attacked us on his route northwards, I've been waiting for the ability to strike at him. Your group - provides that opportunity.
Rufus happily puffs on his pipe, watching the exchange, before interrupting. Ah, Rylind, I had forgotten .... a letter came for you earlier, delivered by a young man in a great hurry.
Rylind smiles. What a coincidence! Let me see... The half orc breaks the red waxen seal and quickly scans the contents. Thank you, Rufus, we'll need a few moments alone, please. Have this for your trouble. A gold coin arcs across the air, and Rufus - faster than you could have imagined - immediately snags it out of the air with one of his small hands. With a nod to you all, he retreats behind the bar.
Friends, we've a lucky break - another farm was attacked, just today. Better still, there's a survivor - one of the farmhands survived the attack. It's just twenty miles north and east of here, a new settler farm on the edge of the Wealdath. Perfect!
Well, that's it for this year, my friends. Apologies for not being able to fit our two new players in yet :-( Posts from me will resume on January 1st.
Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a happy new year to you all! See you in January!
Marius shakes his head. The problem, Belgrin, is that the forest keeps getting pushed back, and never gets a chance to regrow, save when settlements are abandoned and the growing things can return. I understand the need for farms, but these farmers have chosen a poor location to practice their craft. If not Kane, they could have fallen afoul of the forests' other inhabitants - the fey, perhaps, or the forest elves. Marius looks down at his drink. Perhaps even my circle would oppose them. But not like this. Not with wholesale murder. These clearcutting farmers must be stopped, but not with more death.
Apollo yips excitedly as Hezar drops meat for the puppy. Already noticeably larger, the little beast gobbles up his meal quickly, before looking up for more.
I know not. But I feel it is no coincidence. If you are looking for Kane, those homesteads maybe your best chance.
Marius speaks up. One of the few commonalities between Silvanus and Malar is the preservation of wildlands. Perhaps that is motivating his attacks?
Perhaps mundane was the wrong word to use - no life is of such little value, the halfling sighs looking down for a moment. But old bones Myrkul certainly has become no stranger to the people of Tethyr, hmm?
Looking to Matthias, the halfling draws another pull from his pipe before responding. They say a man - a mad Malar-worshipper - named Kane is responsible. I've no reason to doubt it, and I've not heard tale of anyone bringing him down - though many groups have tried. He eyes your group appraisingly for a moment.
I'll tell thee something that's not common knowledge, if indeed Kane and his people are your targets. They've been attacking new homesteads - those built on farms on that was formerly the forest of the Wealdath. Established farms along the road and in the countryside haven't been touched, not a bit.
Well, power is back, which is fantastic. 26 hours down isn't great, but is much better than the 72 I was hearing. The number of trees and branches that had fallen due to ice was stunning. Back to the game for a couple of days before our break!
Why, there seems little mundane about your ... rather varied group, my friends! But if you're inclined to keep your business private, 'tis your choice. While not unfriendly, Rufus's eyes display more cunning than you might have imagined. Life proceeds up here as it has for many an age; I see a frequent flow of traffic, farmers, traders, that sort of people. I've seen more and more passing north - mundane types, as it were - and while most are close-lipped, some have said they are after a group that has taken to killing homesteaders along the edge of the Wealdath forest. Nasty business, that.... The halfling innkeep lights his pipe, takes a long, slow draw, and watches you expectantly.
Sorry everyone, we've had a pretty nasty ice storm up here, and I still don't have power at home. Internet access will be limited until power is restored, and I've heard estimates as long as 72 hours till power is back up. Apologies for the inconvenience; hope I'll be back up and running before the x-mas break.
The servers are quick and friendly, and food and drink quickly appear - both of good quality and plentiful. Belgrin is brought a large serving of medium rare venison with roasted potatoes, with a silver boat of gravy on the side.
Ogre laughs while chewing on a thick turkey leg. Hah hah! Funny little girls have hairy feet! Hah! The servers blush while hurrying to their tasks, trying to avoid the boisterous giant of a man, though Ogre, while boisterous, displays nothing but a happy smile and a friendly manner while digging into his food.
As the meal draws to a close, Rufus - the halfling behind the bar - approaches your table. Good evening, friends! I'm always happy to see new faces. What brings you north, if I may ask?
The inn is warm, welcoming, and clearly sized for large folk, rather than halflings. A warm fire burns in the hearth, lighting the large main room with it's orange flames. The main room has about a dozen tables, only two of which are occupied, so space is easy to come by. Each table has a step stool beside it to allow the halfling servers access to the table top. Two halfling girls - plump and cheerful, as is common amongst their people - immediately attend to your large group.
At the north end of the room, an older halfling man with greying hair and muttonchop sideburns tends bar. He looks over and waves. Welcome, travelers, we're happy to have you here! Anything we can do to make you comfortable, please, let me know!
The other tables occupants turn around to look at you. At the first, a pair of well-dressed men raise their mugs in salute before returning to their discussion. At the next, three humans (two male, one female) and a halfling male huddle over a gameboard of some sort - possibly backgammon. The smile briefly before returning to their contest, intent upon the game.