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Ramoska Arkminos

DM Locke's page

1,531 posts. Alias of JohnLocke.


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A distant whining meets Hezar's words as Apollo comes out from a hiding spot deep in the maize field, limping from an injured leg, one eye swollen shut. He lays down at Hezar's feet, injured and exhausted.

Ambrose and Rylind sit on the ground, obviously exhausted from their ordeal. Ambrose points to where Marius' body lies. Ogre killed the boy and his cat before we knew what was going on. Others came to help him, including that dark elf and the sorcerer, and two women as well, and we were overcome.

They are dead - the whole family that was here. The sorcerer burned the house while they were still inside, and any that came out were cut down by the dark elf. Rylind says this before taking a drink of water.

Actions for Tranche #2:

Matthias takes a shot but the bolt goes well wide of it's intended target.

Kevkas swings and connects hard with the Schir demon, cutting a furrow deep into it's chest (9 hp damage).

Kane unleashes a full attack against the demon, using power attack:

Attack 1:1d20 + 16 - 2 ⇒ (9) + 16 - 2 = 23
Damage 1:2d6 + 9 + 6 ⇒ (6, 5) + 9 + 6 = 26

Attack 2:1d20 + 11 - 2 ⇒ (14) + 11 - 2 = 23
Damage 2:2d6 + 9 + 6 ⇒ (1, 4) + 9 + 6 = 20

Roaring in victory, Kane cuts deep into the Schir's stomach, before bringing his blade back down, neatly slicing the monsters head off.

The combat is over - everyone gets 533 xp. As you stumble out from the smoky interior of the barn, you can see it's roof has become fully engulfed. The farm house, a couple of hundred feet away, is also ablaze, it's roof fully collapsed.

@ Nijena: the falling debris is heavier than an arrow, and deflecting it as one would an arrow may be difficult. However, using your ray of frost will prevent debris from dropping for each round that you use it - for the next couple of rounds, at least!

Actions for Tranche #1:

Nijena casts ray of frost, bolstering the supporting beams and eliminating the threat of falling debris - for this round, at least.

Withdrawing, Hezar takes two snap shots but both miss the remaining demon.

Still recovering from the Schir's vicious charge, Davin's riposte goes wide.

Tranche #2 is up next - Kevkas, Matthias, and Kane!

Look at Putin's stoicism as he is mauled by those vicious beasts! Such courage, I'll tell ya ;-)

Actions for Tranche #3:

Janiries fires at one of the demons, which moves nimbly out of the way.

Shiang snarls at anyone trying to get out of the barn. Pathetic gwailos! Stand and fight! He then uses a full attack to fire at Schir demon D:

Attack 1:1d20 + 13 + 2 - 2 ⇒ (6) + 13 + 2 - 2 = 19
Damage 1:1d8 + 10 ⇒ (2) + 10 = 12

Attack 2:1d20 + 8 + 2 - 2 ⇒ (5) + 8 + 2 - 2 = 13
Damage 2:1d8 + 10 ⇒ (2) + 10 = 12

Shiang cries out in victory as his first cold iron arrow connects, though he swears again as his second arrow falls just short! The Schir stands for a moment before collapsing, dead.

Tranche #4 - Schir demon - up next!

Schir demon C drops to the ground level and charges at Davin with its nasty, yellowed horns!

Acrobatics to jump and run: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (7) + 18 = 25

Charge:1d20 + 8 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 8 + 2 = 25
Damage:3d6 + 4 ⇒ (6, 4, 5) + 4 = 19

Davin is hit hard by the vicious brute!

Moving within Kane's threatened area triggers an attack of opportunity vs. Schir demon C:

Attack:1d20 + 16 ⇒ (5) + 16 = 21
Damage:2d6 + 9 ⇒ (1, 6) + 9 = 16

Kane grunts as his blade bites into the demon's back, drawing it's foul blood! (11 hp damage after DR)

Shiang:1d100 ⇒ 47
Schir demon C:1d100 ⇒ 40

Round three is done! Round four is next, Tranche #1 - Nijena, Hezar, Davin!

Actions for tranche #2:

Kane steps up to Schir demon D and uses a full attack action, plus power attack:

Attack #1:1d20 + 16 - 2 ⇒ (7) + 16 - 2 = 21
Damage:2d6 + 9 + 6 ⇒ (2, 5) + 9 + 6 = 22

Attack #2:1d20 + 11 - 2 ⇒ (5) + 11 - 2 = 14
Damage:2d6 + 9 + 6 ⇒ (5, 2) + 9 + 6 = 22

One of the blows connects hard! (17 hp damage)

Kevkas also strikes out at the demon, striking it across the chest (9 hp damage)

Matthias loads his crossbow.

Tranche #3 is up next - Janiries and Shiang.

Since Pathfinder first came out I have been opposed to having the cleric's channeling keyed off of their charisma stat. In my home campaign I've always used wisdom instead; to me, it makes more sense. Not only thematically (clerics gain their spellcasting through an understanding of their God's aims and desires, as well as possessing the willpower to channel divine energy) but in terms of a cleric's MAD as well.

With the ACG, Paizo has keyed the warpriest's channeling to their wisdom; so I'm extending this rule to clerics, as well. Matthias' channeling now uses his wisdom, rather than his charisma. DC for his channels is now 16, useable 7x per day; and selective channeling now allows him to exclude 4 targets of his choosing.

I HAVE SPOKEN. *sound of a distant gong*

Has anyone given any thought to changing their class? Kevkas and Janiries seem the most likely subjects for transmogrification....

Actions for Tranche #1:

Nijena takes a move action to K23 - at the doorway of the barn.

Hezar didnt say which demon he was targeting so I'm going to assume the already injured Schir demon B. Hezar's shot hits the beast right in the forehead, dropping it to the ground, dead!

Davin moves up to confront the demons alongside Kane.

Tranche #2 is up - Kevkas, Matthias, and Kane!

thejeff wrote:
JohnLocke wrote:
Irontruth wrote:
JohnLocke wrote:
Some have criticized Russia, claiming they have regional aims beyond their own borders. To that, to the west, I say: f+*+ you. Yes, f#$+ you for daring to have the gall to criticize Russia for having a foreign policy that protects them in their own region of the globe. F$+@ you for not once raising questions regarding Washington's global aims - policies and actions designed to keep a very few rich and everyone else broken, divided, exploited. Russia could have rolled over the Ukrainian border a dozen times already, declared a no-fly zone, annihilated the already-weak Ukrainian and neo-nazi forces attacking the ethnic Russian populations - that they haven't is a sign that Putin is more statesman than warmonger. I understand that this is hard for Americans who like to kick ass and kill sand-ni@@ers and commies to get.
See, I'm with you on pointing out the evil things that the US does around the world. But don't pretend that Putin is some how "saving" people. That just makes you sound naive at best.
Meh. Who cares how you think it makes me sound. Putin has acted as peacemaker far more often than a certain President promising change has done. He negotiated an agreement with Syria regarding their chemical arms last year that totally deflated Obama's desire to strike at them. He's helped Iran get back to the bargaining table re: their peaceful nuclear energy program, stymieing America's desire for war. He's resisted the temptation to use military force in Ukraine. He's no angel, but the m$##*+~&@*#~ is a statesman and a strategist.
I love this idea that Obama has been slavering for war with Syria and Iran and practically everywhere else there's been any trouble. For someone so determined for war, he's done a horrible job of starting them. I suppose you can argue that he was just looking for an excuse to attack Syria and Putin managed to stop him, but it's just as easy to read it as the threat of American military...

Are you disagreeing that the U.S. is imperialist? Or that Putin is a statesman? Or both? About Putin - whatever, one can disagree all one likes, I would just ask how many wars he has started in his tenure, and how many the U.S. government (under whatever administration) has begun.

As for the U.S. not being imperialist - give me a break. Of course they are. They demand control over everything they touch, and have for a very long time. How many military bases does the U.S. have around the world? They are an empire, and they're struggling to maintain control.

Actions for Tranche #4:

Schir Demon B drops down to the main level, advances on Kane and attacks him with it's halberd:

Attack:1d20 + 10 ⇒ (19) + 10 = 29
Damage:1d10 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13
Fort save vs DC 15:1d20 + 11 ⇒ (9) + 11 = 20

Kane grunts as the halberd cuts across his chest, but the big man doesn't appear to be going down any time soon!

Schir demon D moves up and tries his luck against Kane, as well...

Attack:1d20 + 10 ⇒ (3) + 10 = 13
Damage:1d10 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7

The goat demon bleats in rage as its powerful blow misses altogether!

Schir demon C casts a spell on itself ... DC 24 to determine what it is doing.

Protection from good

Flaming debris chances for B, C and D:

B: 1d100 ⇒ 20
C: 1d100 ⇒ 63
D: 1d100 ⇒ 56

Round two is over! Round three is up next, as is Tranche #1! That's Davin, Nijena, and Hezar, btw.

Oops, forgot, burning debris chances for Janiries and Shiang...

Janiries:1d100 ⇒ 52
Shiang:1d100 ⇒ 72

Actions for Tranche #3:

Janiries takes aim at one of the Schir demons, narrowly missing!

Spiting hatred at the Schir demons, Shiang takes a move action to study his foe (+2 to hit/damage) then fires, using deadly aim and a cold iron arrow:

Attack: 1d20 + 13 + 2 - 2 ⇒ (15) + 13 + 2 - 2 = 28
Damage: 1d8 + 10 ⇒ (1) + 10 = 11

The arrow lands straight in the Demon's chest, causing it to wail in pain as the cold iron sizzles in the wound!

Tranche #4 - the Schir demons - up next!

Yeah .... I'm going to go ahead and DM veto those.

Oops, forgot to mention - Tranche #3 - Janiries and Shiang - up next!

Actions for Tranche #2:

Kevkas strikes at the demon before him, missing by inches!

Ambrose shakes his head in reply to Matthias. No one else. They killed the druid, took the girl with them after torturing her for hours. Ogre ... Ogre was one of them.

Kane takes a 20' move to J13, striking at the foul Schir demon (A) that stands before him:

Power Attack: 1d20 + 16 - 2 ⇒ (20) + 16 - 2 = 34 confirm? 1d20 + 16 - 2 ⇒ (11) + 16 - 2 = 25
Damage: 4d6 + 18 + 12 ⇒ (4, 3, 6, 4) + 18 + 12 = 47

The Schir demons' attack of opportunity triggers first, however!

Attack:1d20 + 10 ⇒ (10) + 10 = 20
Damage:1d10 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7

The demon's halberd lashes through the air, missing Kane by inches as he charges at the demon. Kane's riposte is devastating; his shining greatsword cuts through the air and demonic flesh with equal ease, severing the demon's head and right shoulder from the remainder of it's body, and killing it instantly.

Falling debris on Kane? 1d100 ⇒ 41

Well, poke around a bit, and if something DOES catch your fancy, please let me know.

An unarmed combat focused magus?

Taking a prestige class might be a solution down the road for Nijena. Take a look at the prestige classes (including 3rd party) on the pathfinder srd and see if anything might fit a monk/sorc character. Worst case scenario, we could try and build one ourselves, using an existing prestige class as a basis.

Alternatively - there is a barb/sorc hybrid class, the bloodrager. We could strip out the barb-y bits and replace them with monk-y stuff.

I had asked earlier if anyone had interest, with the release of the ACG, in switching their class to one of the new ones in order to better fit your concept.

The classes are up on the srd here.

Take a look, and if you want to make a change message me and we'll work through it.

Thanks for the map repost - just as an fyi I always post the current combat map on the campaign info page, as well, for easy access.

@ Hezar - let's just say it's a swift action, like in an action movie - one guy tosses the hero a gun, hero gets off some snap shots immediately. More theatrical that way :-)

As for the attack rolls - I feel like I'm screwing you out of a great roll if you're not allowed to use the attack under the move spoiler. So, use that as one of your attacks, and the better of the two rolls under the swift spoiler for the second attack. Also, which Schir is Hezar attacking? Note that C now has total cover.

EDIT: So B then.

Actions for tranche #1:
Davin tosses his quiver of cold iron arrows to Hezar, then draws his shield and moves.

Hezar draws and fires two arrows at Schir demon B:

+1 Comp Longbow (+1 STR)+ DA: 1d20 + 9 + 1 - 2 ⇒ (20) + 9 + 1 - 2 = 28 for 1d8 + 2 + 1 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 2 + 1 + 4 = 8
to confirm +1 Comp Longbow (+1 STR)+ DA: 1d20 + 9 + 1 - 2 ⇒ (17) + 9 + 1 - 2 = 25 for 2d8 + 4 + 2 + 8 ⇒ (6, 3) + 4 + 2 + 8 = 23

+1 Comp Longbow (+1 STR)+ DA+RS: 1d20 + 9 + 1 - 2 - 2 ⇒ (12) + 9 + 1 - 2 - 2 = 18 for 1d8 + 2 + 1 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 2 + 1 + 4 = 9

One arrow strikes the beast square in the throat, causing it to howl hideously in pain and rage!

Nijena reaches down and helps Ambrose out of the pit. Beaten and exhausted, the NPC will make for the exit at first opportunity.

Tranche #2 is up - Matthias, Kevkas, and Kane!

Some good points raised by Nijena. The protection from evil was indeed a mistake on my part, it should only affect one baddie, in this case, the one that cast it (Schir B). And correct again about the summon ability, a big mistake on my part, I thought it worked differently, but upon review it's just like the spell, save the duration. The corrected move:

Schir demon C moves 10 feet back in the loft (move action) providing it total cover against attacks from anyone on the ground floor. It then begins wailing and screeching in it's infernal language, beginning a spell of some sort (DC 24 to determine, due to not being able to see what it is doing.)

Casting a spell that very much resembles a summon.
The percentage chance for success has already been rolled.

Speculation as to how the demons got here, however, is being nitpicky.

Actions for Tranche #4:

Schir A makes a fantastic leap from the 10' high loft to I13:

Acrobatics: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (13) + 18 = 31

Landing adroitly, the foul beast then swings it's wicked polearm at Kevkas:

Attack: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (11) + 10 = 21
Damage: 1d10 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11

The blow lands tellingly, drawing a wicked gash along Kev's thigh.
Fort save vs DC15: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19

Schir B casts a spell, DC 16 to determine:

Protection from good

Schir C makes a grotesque wailing sound, attempting to summon aid from the Abyss! 20% chance to summon another Schir demon: 1d100 ⇒ 14

Success! Schir demon D, growling in rage, shakes its head at it's unfamilair surroundings, before locking it's eyes on your will be able to act with the rest of Tranche #4 in round 2.

Round one is over! Round 2 begins!

The fire begins to get more intense - more beams begin to fall from the engulfed ceiling. On everyone's turn, you have a 5% chance of being struck by falling debris, causing 1d6 damage and burning for 2hp a round for three rounds, unless someone snuffs it out for you (a standard action) or you stop, drop, and roll (a full-round action). Yay environmental hazards!!

Tranche #1 is up - Davin, Nijena, and Hezar!

Actions for Tranche #3:

Janiries fires a snap shot from her bow that falls well short of the enemies; Ambrose looks anguished as the arrow lands at his feet. Are you mad, woman? Aim at them!

Demon filth! spits Shiang, moving closer and firing his composite bow. Five foot step to J24, move action to study Goatman A, attack action to fire:

Attack: 1d20 + 12 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 12 + 2 = 24
Damage: 1d8 + 2 + 1 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 + 1 + 2 = 12

Shiang's arrow lands with a solid thunk into Goatman A's chest, but fails to fell the demonic beast! (7hp damage after damage resistance)

Tranche #4 - the Schir demons - up next!

Actions for Tranche #2:

Matthias reaches down for Rylind as Ambrose, grunting, helps lift her up. Matthias is now carrying Rylind's unconscious form; Ambrose remains in the underground chamber and is unlikely to be able to get out without assistance.

Kevkas casts enlarge person; it will take effect on his turn in round two.

Kane growls in rage; his veneer of civility gone. Come at me, you filthy curs! Kane enters a barbarian rage, effects as noted on the map sidebar.

Tranche #3 is up - Janiries and Shiang.

@ Nijena:
These are not mere goatmen, but Schir - a lesser type of demon known for their strength and brutishness. Immune or resistant to most elements, and resistant to magic, these creatures are also quite resilient - unless struck with cold iron, or weapons consecrated to good, or by powerful magical items.

Actions for Tranche #1:

Hezar looses two arrows at Goatman A - both strike, though they seem less damaging than one might expect ... (total of 13hp damage after damage resistance is applied).

Davin fires at the same Goatman, his cold iron arrow sizzles as it strikes the beast in the side. (7hp damage to Goatman A)

Nijena now has the protection of mage armour, giving her an AC of 21 for three hours.

Tranche #2 - Matthias, Kevkas and Kane - are up next.

Link to combat map is here.

Three large, shaggy, goat-like creatures reveal themselves up in the loft. Alternating between snarling and braying laughter, each is armed with a nasty looking polearm, the end of which is covered in some sort of viscous, horrid looking ooze. They look set to attack!


Nijena: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21
Hezar: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
Janiries: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11
Matthias: 1d20 ⇒ 17
Kevkas: 1d20 ⇒ 15
Davin: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (20) + 3 = 23
Shiang: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (2) + 8 = 10
Kane: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18

Evil goat-looking critters: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 9
Identify DC (religion) is 19 for these beasts.

I'll need everyone to place themselves (using blue as your colour) trying to take into account your presumed location - some were attending to the wooden beams that had fallen over the trapdoor, others were watching for trouble.

Order of action will be:

Tranche #1: Davin, Nijena, Hezar
Tranche #2: Kane, Matthias, Kevkas
Tranche #3: Janiries, Shiang
Tranche #4: Goat critters A, B, C

Duly noted, and the perception rolls you and Matthias logged will save you from a surprise round. But in a burning, smoke filled barn, where these guys were concealed up in the loft? I'm prepared to say Hezar and Matthias would have overlooked their presence. Does anyone else think that is an issue?

I'm going to go ahead and say Janiries can take 10 on the roll; unusual for being in a flaming barn, I know, but the lock itself is large and cumbersome, easy for a skilled adventurer such as Janiries to pick, and the lack of active combat means no chance of taking a blow. So yeah, taking 10. Bendin' them rules a smidge...

Janiries quickly dispenses with the lock and the iron trap door can be opened. It squeals like some sort of monster in agony on it's hinges; beneath is revealed a small saferoom, perhaps 10 feet square. Inside, looking battered and beaten, are your erstwhile bandit allies, Rylind and Ambrose. Rylind is unconscious, and breathing only shallowly. Ambrose is little better, though he stumbles to his feet as the trapdoor is opened.

Watch out! He breathes through clenched teeth. We are bait for a trap! As if on cue, you hear animalistic tittering coming from the smoke-filled loft overhead....

I'll have initiative and map up later - work issue has arisen, requiring my attention!

Strength check for Kane: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24

Just short of the DC 25 strength check.

Kane snarls as he begins to move the giant beams. They are ... very heavy! Need help! Matthias and Kevkas' strength checks mean they can aid Kane, allowing him to pass the check.

Working together, you move the beams, revealing a heavy iron trap door. The hinge of the door has been locked with a large, heavy lock, for which no key is visible. DC is 20 to pick the lock; alternatively, it has a hardness of 10, 45 HP, and a break DC of 28.

EDIT: Just noticed Matthias' question about which day it is. It's the same day you encountered the Mind Flayer, so any expended spells are still gone for the time being.

@ Janiries:
There is a trapdoor on the floor, but it looks like a couple of heavy, smoldering beams have fallen over it, trapping it shut. That must be where the calls are coming from!

Kane grunts in acknowledgement before dashing out into the clearing, followed closely by Shiang. The Malarite is fast - much faster than his size would imply. In an instant he arrives at the barn and takes in the situation, before dashing into the smoke-filled interior.

@ Matthias:
You see what had caused Janiries to summon your group - a trapdoor is in the floor of the barn, and calls for help are coming from it, but it is trapped under several heavy wooden beams, which have fallen from the ceiling, which is ablaze!

Let's say 100 seconds is sufficient for Hezar and Janiries to sneak around; the tall fields of maize being grow on this farm provide ample cover for them to move at a reasonable speed.

@Janiries and Hezar:
You approach the non-burned body, and discover that it is Marius! His neck broken, the young druid lies dead, his eyes locked open and unseeing into the blue sky above.

As Janiries peers into the barn, which is ablaze, she sees another burning body laying on the ground, as well as beams of wood from the roof. Your keen ears pick up what sound like calls for help from under the floor of the barn!

Not looking back at Nijena, Kane responds. Do not play at naivete, madam, it does not suit you.

@ Janiries and Hezar:
You both slip around the barn and the house, well-hidden due to the fields of maize. From your vantage point to the west and south, you can see at least one charred body by the entrance to the house. Another, unburned, lies by the barn.

@Osuki Nijena:
From what you can tell, Kane and Shiang are exchanging hand signals, though very subtly. What they are "saying", however, is unknown. Both seem fixed upon the scene unfolding before them, however, and do not seem to be paying attention to the rest of the party.

Kane nods at Kevkas's words. I will join you in that charge, half-orc. Burning buildings often indicate that the time for subtlety has passed.

@ Janiries - you'll have plenty of time to observe them during the march so taking a 20 works just fine. Kane doesn't seem to notice your eyes upon him, but Shiang seems very aware of your scrutiny.

Kane, a hulk of a man, carries a number of daggers and knives, as well as a greatsword down his back. He is clad in leather armour. Shiang is also lightly armoured, with a composite longbow of great quality and a quiver of arrows. By his side hangs a longsword in a well-worn scabbard. Both seem to have several magical items and talismans, including rings and amulets.

After several hours you come upon the farm which Kane claims the cultist was sighted at. Smoke billows from the house and the barn; clearly something has already happened here! You are north of the farm, still in the treeline. The barn is about 100 feet away, and the house about 50 feet past that, and offset to the east.

@ Matthias:
Kane, as far as you can tell, is speaking the truth. While he certainly has not shared everything he knows, he seems a man of some rough honour - not given to lies or deceit.

As for who to contact at Port Kir - no-one present is from the vicinity, and your only contact with their constabulary was killed earlier. You do know that Port Kir sends rangers out to the local trading posts, which are frequented by woodsmen and the wood elves - perhaps one of those lonely outposts would be the place to start?

Kane looks grim when asked about identifying the cultists. Trust me ... I know.

Did you want to fast forward a smidge, to the reported location of the cultist?

Perception roll 25+:

Shiang's voice: My love, we may have a lead. Those foul cultists have an agent operating with a group to the south. A great tattooed hulk of a man travels with a group of adventurers, going to the various farms. As far as we can tell, he acts secretly, and the others do not know who he is.

Kane's voice: Most interesting ... those in my tent currently are also seeking these these foul beasts. Have you been listening?

I have. They were seeking you, my great bear, which you seem to want to hide from me. I do not trust them. They have been told lies about you and clearly believe them. They will strike at you when you least expect it. You should have poisoned the tea....

I cannot clear the air now, my love. If they wish to test themselves against me, I will accept their challenge. For now - we have common purpose. I trust you to watch them - and strike if it is needful. For now, stay your hand, as I will.

Kane returns, clearly lost in thought. We may have a trail to follow after all. A cultist has been sighted to the south of here, amongst a group of adventurers. If we can capture him, he may prove a useful source of information.

My apologies again, had - let's call it a reaction to the painkillers I was on. As in, it felt like they weren't working so I took too many and had to go to the hospital.

Feeling better now, though!

Kane looks exasperated. Gathering all of the settlers would be difficult and time consuming, moreso, I think, than demanding they leave, albeit temporarily. They are a stubborn lot, I know this for a fact. We need to act quickly, though - they will strike again soon, and in so doing whatever dark purpose they have planned may come to fruition.

Another man, of middling height and slender build, enters the tent and looks around cautiously. Sallow skinned, with angular, almond shaped eyes, he regards your group silently before speaking. My love, I have news. May we speak privately?

Kane rises quickly, excusing himself. His full height of over six and a half feet tall makes him an imposing presence; his wiry muscles remind one of a hungry, feral wolf. He nods to you. Please excuse me for a moment - I shall return. He steps out of the tent, arm around the other mans' shoulder, and a whispered conversation ensues.

Kane nods. I have a plan to that effect, though I suspect you will not like it. We need to set a trap for the cultists. We will require the aid of a settler family, to serve as bait. The other settlers in the area must be temporarily driven off. The cultists will have no choice but to set upon the remaining inhabited farm, if they are looking for subjects to sacrifice. And then ... we shall have them.

Looking at Matthias, Kane says steadily: The wood elves will defend their lands, but cannot be counted upon to help once we leave the woods. All we can count upon is your numbers, Shiang, and myself.

LOL :-) Final tally from my fall - a dislocated break of the lower humerus (not aptly named, in my experience), a dislocated shoulder and a fractured collarbone. Ouch! I'm riding a desk for at least the next month and a half :-(

Sorry friends, had a little mishap at work and fractured my left elbow :-( Am back at home right now but exhausted; will resume regular posting soon. Typing one handed for the time being. Not that you'd notice the difference, of course.

Sure, Matthias, use the earlier roll. Let's defy those dice Gods!

Anyone with a sense motive roll of 20+:
Kane appears to be telling the truth - or is a very accomplished liar.

Diplomacy roll success! Kane studies Nijena for a moment, before nodding his head. We should combine our efforts, yes. Doing so will allow us to cover more ground, giving us a better chance at these cultists. Kane shakes his head. I should have suspected, from the very beginning, that Sander would be tied into demonic powers. Drow are corrupt to the core; Sander claimed to be an exile, and an apostate from Lolth. He was truthful on both points. He was indeed exiled from his city, but for the forbidden worship of a demon lord - Orcus. Ammus, too, is corrupted by demons. He passed himself off as a worshipper of Talos, when in fact he is another slave of Orcus.

I know they had at least three more allies, humans, I believe - one is a dark priest, and the other, an anti-Paladin. All members of the cult are covered in tattoos. Before our parting ways they boasted of having agents deployed elsewhere in the region, and of infiltrating bandit groups, for the purpose of clandestinely gathering subjects for sacrifice.

Upon their breaking with Shiang and myself, I slew one of their number - a warrior woman named Marta - but the others escaped my grasp. They now prey upon the very settlers I once challenged. The irony of my situation has not escaped me.

At our last meeting, they were successful in summoning something with their ritual - a demon of some sort - which fled before Shiang, my sylvan brothers, and myself descended upon them. It flew off towards Port Kir - I do not know its purpose.

Kane smiles grimly at Hezar. The code of the hunter needs no excuses, archer. I gave everyone of them a choice - walk away, defiling the woodlands no more, or defeat me in combat, thus proving their worthiness. That is the way of nature - constantly testing one's worthiness to survive. They failed, and I continue.

Kane takes a sip of tea. As for the druids you venerate - they were they very ones that showed me the harm the settlers were doing, that pointed me in their direction. They only hired you to kill me once I broke with their orders and opted to hunt the demon worshippers instead. Yes, your benign, tree-loving friends would still have me attacking farms and slaying settlers. My speaking publicly about their duplicitous natures is what prompted them to try and silence me. Kane smiles as the effect of his words sinks in.

Your druid friends have been lying to you.

My code of honour is the code of nature, lad. The strong thrive, so long as they are tested. The weak are cast aside, killed. Does the Otter bemoan nature's will as the Wolf's jaws close over his throat? Some are born predators, and others, prey. I gave these farmers, and their mercenary guards, the chance to prove they were stronger. I gave them the chance to prove that they could master the wild forest. They failed. But they had a chance - more than these cultists gave them. I do not ask you to understand. For most of you have the smell of civilization upon you - civilization that stymies the strong, shields the weak. Our codes will bring us into conflict.

Right to business, I see. Very well. Yes, Matthias Valbrand, I have killed farmers - settlers, if you'd rather. They were warned not to fell the ancient trees for their own purposes, but they did. They were warned to leave, but failed to listen. I made sure they were armed, then I felled them, each and every one. The children, of course, are not involved in their parents' misdeeds so they were spared. Kane takes a sip of hot tea here, seeming to relish the taste.

You may wonder at my actions. I have long worked with the church of Silvanus to protect the wild nature here in the forest. My actions against the farmers were at their behest of the green church. Yes, the very church that now disavows me, that sent you to kill me, ordered the deaths of those people.

Kane seems pensive for a moment. I was one of several parties brought in for this task. Myself and Shiang - whom I love and trust above all others - agreed to work with two other mercenaries hired by the druids. That was a grave error, for those mercenaries had plans of their own for the settlers. Rather than kill them or chase them away, they captured them, sacrificed them to the foul demon lord to whom they belong. While I am no friend of the settlers, I abhor the corruption of demons - coming upon the handiwork of my erstwhile allies shook me to the core of my being. I have declared truce upon the settlers whilst I attempt to hunt down the demon worshippers.

@ Nijena:
Everyone seems tense at your party's arrival - eyes are narrowed, hands are on weapons - but no overt signs of impending violence. You also note that two of the nearby trees look odd - vaugely human, almost. You could swear they are watching you!

A deep, resonant voice responds from within the tent. Enter, then, and let us parley, warriors.

The tent is dark, lit by a central fire, the smoke dispersed through a lattice in the roof. A large man sits, cross legged, on a mat on the floor. Heavily muscled and broad, he has long black hair drawn back into a braid, and a thick, well-tended black beard. His eyes, dark and grey, watch you intently while betraying nothing of his own intentions. Weapons sit close at hand, but Kane makes no move towards them. He gestures instead to a tray, upon which is a tea service, a large metal pot taking up the central place, steam coming from its spout.

Help yourselves, and we shall talk.

We shall take you to Kane, then. He is a friend of the tribe, and does not have the stench of demons upon him. Follow me.

You are led, in silence, north about a mile, deeper into the woods. The air grows cooler, wetter; the trees here are tall, thick, and old, and the light of day grows more remote as the canopy of leaves closes in around you.

You come, after a time, to a small clearing, where several tents have been pitched. Wood elves, several centaurs and other fey creatures watch as you enter the clearing. The wood elven woman speaks:

These are guests, brothers and sisters. Remain wary, however, and keep your weapons close at hand!

Your wood elf guide points to a large yurt near the centre of the camp. That is Kane's tent, and his man's as well. Announce yourselves at the aperture, and Kane will decide if he will see you or not.

If anyone wants a copy of the last playtest packet (which does have monsters you can use in the interim, understanding the published versions may be different) I can upload it to my google drive and give you a link.

Try downloading the free basic rules from here. It only includes the four base classes, a few races, no monsters or magic items; but it will allow you a pretty good look at the bones of the game. Im liking what I see, generally; a few quibbles, but overall good stuff.

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