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Just to make it easy for me to understand - are you guys splitting up into two teams? Stealthy ones making their way around to the back of the estate, more heavily equipped ones staying put and/or readying to make a break through the gate? Your plan has me a little confused, but I'm sure I'll get it if it's explained nice and slow to me :-)
Another possibility, Shiang muses, would be to scout the perimeter of the fence and see if there are any area where we could break through - rust, for example, or other existing areas. If it could be done quietly, we could enter the compound and use the overgrown foliage to our advantage. At the very least, our more armoured companions could take this route. Cover sometimes trumps stealth.
1d20 + 8 ⇒ (1) + 8 = 9
As far as you all can tell, you remain undetected....
The gates to the estate are not far, perhaps 500 feet from the road; the cobbled path leads to an iron gate, maybe eight feet tall. An iron fence, overrun with vines and weeds, surrounds the entirety of the small estate. The grounds look to be dominated by a large stone manor house and a smaller stables to the east. There is definitely light coming from at least a couple of the windows.
The gates are locked with a thick iron chain and a large padlock. It's easy to see that the lock is well-used, and recently, being devoid of corrosion.
You see no signs of activity in the grounds surrounding the house, but visibility is poor. Where once well-tended topiaries stood, the foliage has become wild and overgrown. Good cover for infiltration - and for hiding sentries.
I don't think anyone is piling on here. We're just talking, right? I see both sides and am trying to defuse any hard feelings.
As for Kane and the other NPC's not speaking up earlier, I'm trying to make this the PC show - you guys are the prime movers here. I rolled a local knowledge for Kane and was lucky to get a 26 - if I'd rolled lower he'd just be standing there doing nothing :-)
Greetings! I am glad cooler heads have prevailed. For Hezar's part, I'm sure he's just roleplaying a character who fears he will never see his beloved again - which would be agonizing, and would make anyone he perceives as standing in his way someone to be dealt with. Having said that, grabbing another character and tough talking them is the sort of thing that can really be incendiary, and should be discussed ooc as to assure there will be no hard feelings between players. I'm glad that's the end of it for now; any further discussion about it should go in the ooc thread, please.
Shiang looks up at the moon. Selune is of little help tonight, I fear. I, too, will follow you, Hezar, but if the trail grows cold, or we lose sight of it in the dark, we must be prepared to wait till light.
Local knowledge: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26
Kane scratches his head, thinking. That estate to the west catches my interest. It is - was - abandoned, last I knew. It's family driven from the premises by a particularly unpleasant haunting, if memory serves. The sort of place a cult might operate from... The words hang in the air as Kane turns his eyes to the cobbled road leading to the gates, watching as Hezar's tracking skills take him down that road.
Hezar will not be thrown off the track - despite his quarry travelling on the road, he keeps on their trail nonetheless. Though it gets dark as night falls, his abilities impress even Kane.
Look, brother. Kane points to spatters of blood on the road, and a trail leading to the heavy brush at the side of the road. Two dead bodies lay there, commoners from the look of them. Even in lawless Tethyr it is hard to lead a bound captive at the end of a whip. These two must have challenged Belina's captors, and paid with their lives.
Selune is only a sliver in the sky as darkness falls ever deeper around you. Another survival roll against DC 25 will be needed to continue to follow the trail as you hit another crossroads, with a cobbled driveway leading to a walled estate, a dirt path leading into the forest, and the road continuing north and south.
The tracks consist of three humanoids; two sets are firm and strong, and one set are dragging; there is evidence of this third individual stumbling and falling from time to time and the occasional droplets of blood are to be found as well. The prints are followed over the course of a couple of hours, until they lead to a crossroads, at which point the trail becomes confused. The road leads roughly north and south, with another road leading west towards the sea. The ground is harder on the road as well, making tracking far more difficult.
The daylight is waning, as well, making finding the tracks even harder.
Anyone looking to track may make a survival check here against a DC of 25. Knowledge (local) vs a DC of 20 can also be tried to think of locations where they may be taking Belina.
Rylind looks to gradually unclench a little as she listens to you. A wry smile again takes it's place upon her well-formed face. What am I going to do with you, you handsome devil ... She shakes her head before smiling again. Look, I understand Kane is an asset. And to be fair, the men he killed, I wasn't particularly fond of them. But he is an animal, and rabid animals need to be put down ... when the time is right. It just seemed odd to hear such practicality coming from you. I'm glad I'm not under suspicion!
Hezar detects a trail heading away from the farm and leading away to the southeast.
Rylinds face turns red. How do I know you're not saying the same thing about me, behind my back? I'll help rescue the girl - the thought of her cries, of her laying under their whips, makes me sick - but keep your distance, Helmite! She storms away, a veiled look of hatred directed towards Kane.
She is cross :-(
You don't see any tattoos, and the cuts and bruises look real enough, prior to your channeling of Helm's healing energy.
Rylind looks incredulous as Kane is introduced to her. You son of a b@##!! She moves to lunge at him, but faster than you could have imagined, Shiang's blade, glittering red, is at her throat.
Consider your next move carefully, BANDIT. Shiang seethes, as Rylind stares and says nothing.
We have met before, Kane says, motioning for Shiang to lower his blade. Several of her people set upon us in the Starspire foothills. We gave them the chance to flee, but they failed to take us up on our offer. We killed five before the rest fled.
Liar! You set upon them like the mad beast you are! Rylind says this, rubbing her throat as Shiang backs away.
Well fought, brothers and sisters! Kane yells, cleaning demon ichor from his sword with a strip of cloth. I'd be honoured to fight by your side, any time! Shiang rolls his eyes at his husbands' enthusiasm, clearly still distrustful of your group.
I'm sorry about your girl, Hezar. But I think she was the target of this ambush. The two women that accompanied the cultists brought tools and implements of torture with them... they wanted her.
She told them everything... Rylind says, shaking her head. You musn't hold it against her - torture will break anyone, given time. As we were locked in the trap below ground we heard what they were doing to her ... and the things she told. About the barony the Helmish church has granted you, the secret bunker, Lassathor, even everything she knew about your parents, Hezar. Even if we get her back - she won't be the same girl you knew, not after this.
We must get Hezar's beloved back, then. This is a matter now not only of necessity, but of honour and love. My sword is at your command, until we get your woman back, Hezar! Kane spits on his hand and extends it to Hezar.
Will you be able to fight effectively if we do find these cultists? Many of you are wounded. Some of you have used most of your spells. Should we not scout their lair out first, rest, then strike when we are ready? Shiang asks this, no malice in his voice, his husband's offer of aid clearly on his mind.
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
Attack 2:1d20 + 11 - 2 ⇒ (14) + 11 - 2 = 23
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!
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
Attack 2:1d20 + 8 + 2 - 2 ⇒ (5) + 8 + 2 - 2 = 13
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
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
Kane grunts as his blade bites into the demon's back, drawing it's foul blood! (11 hp damage after DR)
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
Attack #2:1d20 + 11 - 2 ⇒ (5) + 11 - 2 = 14
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*
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!
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
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
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
Round two is over! Round three is up next, as is Tranche #1! That's Davin, Nijena, and Hezar, btw.
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
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!
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
The Schir demons' attack of opportunity triggers first, however!
Attack:1d20 + 10 ⇒ (10) + 10 = 20
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
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.
@ 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:
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
+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.)
Spoiler:The percentage chance for success has already been rolled.
Casting a spell that very much resembles a summon.
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
The blow lands tellingly, drawing a wicked gash along Kev's thigh.
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 party...it 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
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.
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
Evil goat-looking critters: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 9
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?