Knowledge (History): 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (9) + 12 = 21
"Yes, I've heard similar rumors, Caladrius. I'm afraid that I do not know anything more. However, given access to a library with books related to this subject, there is a good chance that I could piece together some useful information."
Turning her attention to the grave-site proper, Eleri re-activates her Sense Magic and reads the inscription.
Knowledge (History), to see what I know about Ser Leonard and the Fallen that he Championed nearly two hundred years ago: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (17) + 12 = 29
On the tombstone:
Radiating from the grave:
Yes, that's right dice. Give me natural twenties to identify moderate universal auras, but not when I actually need them on a Knowledge (Planes) roll.
Eleri looks up at Caladrius. The thin, glowing blue ring that encircled her pupils quickly fades away as she dismisses the Sense Magic wordspell.
"Legends tell of certain beasts who leave stains like this wherever their blood falls. These creatures come from another plane and are rarely seen because travel from plane to plane is quite difficult, but.."
Eleri picks up some of the unnaturally dry dirt and rubs it between her fingers before it suddenly disappears from her hand and reappears back in its original position.
"If I'm right, one of these outsiders was slain here, its lifeblood staining this spot with interplanar energy. Whatever type of outsider fell here, its death will make it easier for others of its type to cross over to our plane."
Eleri is slow to wake up as Jamros tugs on her, mumbling something as incomprehensible as Jamros' gibberish and stretching her back until it elicits a surprisingly loud 'pop'. Still only half-awake, she absentmindedly follows the halfling out into the rain and mud until he shows her the grave and bloodstain, at which point she seems to wake up a bit.
"How odd.. Personal Sense Magic."
I took the liberty of opening the spoiler you gave to Jamros earlier, assuming I would see whatever his detect magic showed him.
Knowledge Religion: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24
Knowledge Planes: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (13) + 12 = 25
Sorry about the delay, I've been traveling.
Eleri takes her time heading back to the camp and gets her manacles unlocked. Once Gareth finishes the shameful display of his lack of ability with magical devices, Eleri marches over and snatches them from his hand.
"While I do consider both inquisitiveness and willingness to experiment praiseworthy characteristics, perhaps in this instance we should leave this to someone who knows what she is doing, hm? Personal Sense Magic."
Perception, DC 15:
"By the gods, I suppose it was too much to expect that the warriors chosen to try and save the city would less childish than my first year students."
Spellcraft rolls from when Gareth triggered the wands:
"Hm. Shocking Grasp and Summon Minor Monster. Let's see what else we've looted."
Spellcraft rolls to identify the properties of the other magical items:
As Eleri examines the rest of the loot, she speaks, but her speech is directed to no one in particular and she occasionally interrupts herself to remark upon the auras she sees and the properties they reveal.
"I'm with those of you who want to try and treat the halfling. I shudder to think- Oh, that's quite the enchantment on this blade, surely it will come in handy -what would happen to the poor fellow if we left him here to be discovered by the enemy. Though since neither of our, ahem, discovered wands contain healing magic- Ah, quite the fascinating aura on this bag, much stronger than the ones on everything else- there doesn't seem to be much we can do, short of carrying him until he wakes up. And I'm certainly in no mood to try and take on an entire army. While we're on the subject of armies, whatever came of that plan to bring a goblin force to our cause?"
As she identifies the magic items, Eleri announces their properties and explains their effects in practical terms, for the benefit of the members of the party with less arcane education.
Acrobatics: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 2 = 20
Eleri swings her hands to the front and stands up. She glances at the bloodstained front of the tent and the two silhouetted halfling bodies, though her expression appears more bemused than horrified.
"It disturbs me somewhat to say so, but I believe I'm getting used to this sort of thing."
Well I'm glad everything got sorted out. Sorry about the delay; I was busy taking the GRE.
After taking the brutal shot to the chest, Eleri struggles to stay on her feet and briefly considers just laying herself down for a nap. Upon receiving the burst of vitality from Gareth (Delaying until right after Gareth), however, her spirit returns and she moves to I26, casting Burst Shock Arc again, targeting the corner shared by square D&E - 30&31 (Should be 30 feet from the top-right corner of I26), affecting the halflings in C30, D31, E32 and F31.
Damage: 3d4 ⇒ (2, 2, 3) = 7
Eleri moves due east, ending in K26. Her voice rumbles like distant thunder as she shouts "Burst Shock Arc!", targeting the corner shared by the squares H&I-31&32
Damage: 3d4 ⇒ (2, 4, 1) = 7
Eleri will double-move, first southward through column 16 (trying to avoid moving through any of the fires), then east and northeast to take cover alongside Gareth in K20. She whispers so that Caladrius and Gareth could both hear.
Caladrius and Gareth:
"I hope the others know surrender is not an option, not after what that other halfling did to our captive. Whenever you attack, I'm right behind you. I should be able to incapacitate a few of them fairly quickly, as long as they're aggregated together."
Perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (20) + 1 = 21 I think that, as a party, we're using up our allotted amount of good rolls on these perception checks. I bet that Lady Luck's gonna come bite us in the ass the next time we get into combat.
"Are these imbeciles trying to set the entire forest ablaze?"
Seeing that the birds are too far away for her to do anything useful against them, Eleri double moves, following Pygrado.
Eleri stares, shocked, at the remains of the sorceress.
Perception DC 15:
"How could anyone do this? I've never heard of a spell that just makes the target's head explode.."
Eleri stands to the southeast of the nearest tree, attempting to take cover against the approaching sounds from the northwest.
"I'm still in bad shape from yesterday's fight. Unless someone can heal me right now, don't expect me to contribute very much should things deteriorate to violence."
It's so weird not needing to begin each post with a spoiler tag.
Eleri, who was kneeling next to the bound and unconscious sorceress, stands up as the rest of the party returns to the camp.
"Well, I suppose fooling her is kinder than other information gathering techniques would be, and certainly less brutal than she's been treated up to now." Eleri gives Pygrado a sidelong glare. "Just try not to harm the poor girl; she's suffered quite enough already."
Eleri removes the Goldcrestian badge she took off of Lieutenant Symond and puts it back on her, then follows Pygrado out of sight.
Eleri moves over to the sorceress, partially to see if her condition is improving and partially to check and make sure she's not just faking unconsciousness.
"There's little point in speculating about it. All we can do is make sure the demolition of the vista goes as planned. Just keep an eye on the path; the last thing we need is an enemy sneaking past and sabotaging our work."
Eleri will keep an eye on the sorceress and alert the others if she begins to wake up. Other than that, she'll agree with Pygrado's decision to camp some distance away from the Goldcrestian site. If the sorceress is wearing any removable indication of her loyalty and rank, Eleri will put it on herself instead. She'll also rest as soon as possible if the other two give her a chance.
Alright, I'm back from my trip.
Eleri searches through Pygrado's saddlebags and pulls out the manacles.
"Yes, I think this will do nicely."
After securing the manacles around the sorceress' wrists, Eleri turns her attentions to Caladrius.
"I have neither alchemist's fire neither any desire to wander about gathering sticks. What in the world could you need them for, anyway?"
Eleri, sitting patiently by the sorceress in case she wakes up, listens to Caladrius' plan for use of the explosives.
"It occurs to me that perhaps I have limited the horizons of my studies to too great an extent. It's not often that I must rely upon others to do the thinking and planning, but here I admit that I have absolutely no training whatsoever." She shrugs. "Thus, I cannot see any flaws in your plan, if there are any. By the way, in the case that our captive here wakes up, could one of you young men tie her up? I'd hate to have her wake up only to cast her way into an escape."
Sorry about falling of the edge of the world for the past few days. I'm out of town and my internet access may be spotty.
"You've only been out for a short while. Caladrius is fine; he's started setting up the explosives. We have to hurry if we want to save the mage you cut to ribbons. Come with me."
Eleri rushes over to where the sorceress is (hopefully) still bleeding out. Kneeling next to her, Eleri opens the remaining potion and presses it to the young woman's lips so the contents trickle down her throat. As she does so, Eleri looks back towards Pygrado.
"Honestly, did you have to do.. all this to her?"
Seeing that the sorceress is still alive, Eleri runs over to the tents, frantically searching for any kind of healing potion or item. Assuming she finds something, she'll tend to Pygrado first and then, if she still has something for the sorceress, ask for help in healing her.
Perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 1 = 8
Emotionally drained by the fight and starting to feel the pain from her wounds again, Eleri simply nods in response to Caladrius. She walks around the boulder and sees the red ruin that Pygrado's dagger had made of the sorceress' throat and chest. Eleri stops short and, suddenly lightheaded, tries to hold herself steady on the boulder. Her nausea overcomes her, though, and she falls to her knees and vomits.
"By the gods, look at her. Had she been born in Silverkeep, she might have been one of my students.."
Eleri picks herself up and stumbles over to where the sorceress lays, searching for any sign of life.
Viruses, Infections, Spyware, Trojans, Adware:
Eleri moves up to -D15 and, seeing the enemy captain on his feet with a dagger in his hand, curses under her breath. "He's still standing? I can't keep this up all day! Line Shock Arc!"
Shock Arc, DC 18* Reflex for half.
*Thanks for the reminder, CvH.
Hasta la Vista:
"I suppose I also destroy my enemies if I kill them." Eleri's voice again drops to a low rumble. "Selected Shock Arc"
Shock Arc, DC 16 Reflex for half damage.
Not wishing to suffer any repercussions that may arise from zapping the captain, Eleri moves to B15.
Once again, Eleri finds herself with nothing but air between her and a heavily armed enemy.
Friendship, Will Save DC 16 negates. Target treats caster as trusted ally, will defend caster and not attack caster's allies. Effect ends if target takes damage from caster or caster's allies. Duration: 10 minutes per level.
If the spell seems to work, Eleri will remain where she is, trying to take cover against any unseen archers. If it doesn't, she'll move to B15.
Seeing that her comrades are apparently continuing the fight, Eleri stands up and sees a wonderful opportunity to take cover behind the boulder. Stepping gingerly around the corpse in -E17, she moves to -D17 and peeks over the boulder, trying to see whatever is going on in Pygrado's area.
Ah, I see. I'd misinterpreted the rules regarding spells with casting time of 1 round; I thought it just took your entire turn and that the summoned creature acted immediately after your turn. Since I was still casting the spell when I was shot, I suppose I should make the required concentration checks.
Concentration, DC 18: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (20) + 8 = 28
In severe pain from her arrow wounds and seeing no way to win the battle without risking more arrows, Eleri dismisses her summoned hound, drops to her knees and puts her hands up.
"Gah, what use are you people as bodyguards if you won't stay in between me and the enemy? No matter, I'll just make my own meatshield, then!" Her voice changes again, this time taking on a feral, almost monstrous tone. "Lengthy Servitor I!"
A burly medium-sized dog with nearly luminescent white fur ((celestial template)) appears in -D21 and bites at the soldier in -C21.
Attack roll: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (10) + 5 = 15
Sorry about the delay.
Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 9
"Whatever type of mage they have, he's an illusionist! Those bushes are a Minor Image, they're not real."
Not being confident in her ability to fight a battle while on horseback, Eleri dismounts into -H19. Seeing a disturbingly open path between herself and the Goldcrestian soldier in -F22, she points a finger at him, and her voice changes into a low cadence reminiscent of the rumbling of thunder. "Selected Shock Arc".
I'll back up Pygrado's suggestion on the marching order and whatnot. If we encounter some terrain that looks difficult for the horses I suppose we'll dismount and lead them along on foot.
Eleri peers into the darkness, trying to discern the best path up to the vista.
Eleri pulls up aside Pygrado, awake and alert despite the hour.
"It's quite odd, really. I have a reasonably sized apartment in town, equipped with a nice featherbed, but I often struggle to fall asleep, then wake up groggy and wanting some strong tea. But put me on a swaybacked horse while we ride through mountain trails on a dangerous mission, and apparently I nap for a few hours and awake refreshed."
She gazes upward, trying to keep track of the vista in the darkness.
"Hopefully the other group has managed to round up the goblins. Well, if we're to be prepared on our end, I suppose there's nothing to do but forge onwards and pray our horses don't stumble and break a leg."
I considered summoning something on to the other side of the chasm when we first came up to it, but CD, being the clever scamp that he is, made the chasm five feet too wide for that.
True to her word, Eleri remains seated on her horse. She is comfortable letting the men do the work, but godsdamn her if she's going to let them do all the thinking. She raises her voice, the better to be audible to Pygrado on the other side.
"If you can get a rope attached to the bridge, things will be easier. Run the other end of the rope around a tree over there, then bring it back over here. I'm sure the horses will be strong enough to pull it."
That spoiler tag makes it sound like we're a bunch of Windows fans who haven't wanted to make the switch to 7.
Although the rhythmic rocking of the trotting horse had lulled Eleri into a light doze, the beast's sudden stop before the chasm wakes her. She takes a moment to get her bearings, then peers down into the chasm.
"I'm afraid I'll be of little use here. The construction or repair of man-made structures or devices is not within the scope of my studies. If nothing else, though, I can at least provide some light."
She rummages through her backpack for a few seconds before producing a torch that, though clearly not burning, produces light.
Harrod's Vista Group:
Upon exiting out into the courtyard, Eleri squints up at the sky, shading her eyes with her hand. As her eyes dilate, her nose wrinkles, and she...
Will Save: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11
"Ah, godsdamn, curse the sun. I swear, someday I'll make that thing shine less brightly."
She arrives at the stables just as Caladrius finishes distributing the powder.
"We will need to ride hard, but we can reach Harrod's Vista tonight and set the charges so that we are ready for the excitement tomorrow." He then mounts his own horse and takes off at a gallop through the gates, only stopping to see if the rest of the group is following him after he has satisfied his sense of the dramatic.
Eleri takes her time mounting the horse, eventually encouraging the animal into an easy trot to follow Caladrius out the city gates."I admit, a ride out to the gorge was not how I envisioned I would be spending the rest of today." She stretches, then slouches in the saddle. "I had only the barest minimum of rest last night. Hopefully I'll be able to stay awake throughout the ride, but in case I do not, be a good lad and make sure I don't fall off my horse."
"Hmf! This has nothing whatsoever to do with ideology or honor. Maybe we could exploit their superstitious nature to get them to agree to work for us, but the thirty miles between their caves and Harrod's Vista is not a trivial distance. Are any of you such skilled liars that you could continue to deceive them throughout the entire march? There's no faster way to incite hostilities than to lie to someone and have them figure it out." Eleri shakes her head and whispers something to herself again.
DC 15 Perception:
"I could tell you that much from experience."
"No, what we should do is tell them that a force of cavalry and dogs are marching through Pendrian's Gorge at the head of an army. Once we drop Harrod's Vista into the gorge, the cavalry will be cut off from their reinforcements and the goblins will be free to attack the horses as one of their gods would want them to do. There's no need to risk deceiving them; they already have motivation to do what we want."
"Hmm.. I've never been comfortable with the idea of having someone, even a fool of a goblin, work for you under some false premise. The last thing we need is for the one insightful goblin in the tribe to see through the bluff and turn them all against us. I expect the goblins will be willing to attack the enemy horses; the only trick is to keep them away from our own cavalry. I'll put my support behind the diplomatic option."
Eleri plants her hands on the table and stands, looking up at the men who had been engaged in the brainstorming session. She takes a notebook, ink and an inkpen out of her pack and begins sketching out a rough map of the areas of interest (Knowledge Geography, d20 + 8 = 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 20), including the gorge, the vista, the goblin caves, the woods and the distances in between. CD, can we get an actual map like this? Something zoomed in on the relevant terrain and showing where the important features are relative to each other.
"It seems that your ideas have been developed to a reasonable extent, so now would be the time to make a few points. First, about the explosives. I cannot begin to tell you how many marching armies have fallen to a disaster because they didn't send their outriders to thoroughly scout ahead when planning to through terrain like a ravine that lends itself to easy ambushes. Because of this, we may be able to expect a considerable amount of the enemy cavalry force to scout the gorge and surrounding area ahead of the rest of the army. The obvious choice to attack is the overhanging rock of Harrod's Vista. Assuming we can choose when to detonate, it may be possible to cut the scout cavalry off from the rest of the army by dropping the rock into the gorge. This could help to leave the siege engines vulnerable. The problem is keeping this all hidden from the scouts, and the fact that we cannot be sure how much of the cavalry we can neutralize. Thus, this plan is probably not sufficient on its own."
As she speaks, Eleri modifies the map to show a rough representation of the enemy army (represented by a bunch of triangles, squares and x-shapes, which are noted as being cavalry, infantry and artillery, respectively) moving through the gorge, with the triangles in front getting cut off at Harrod's Vista. However, some triangles remain on the flanks of the army.
"So we need the goblins. Jamros' point stands; even if we provoke the goblins into chasing us, we cannot be sure that we can reliably lead them into the enemy army at the right time. I think it would be better to convince the goblin leaders to attack the Goldcrest army when the explosives go off at Harrod's Vista. Unfortunately, other than appealing to the goblin hatred of horses and dogs, I cannot think of how this can be done. If we can get our hands on some Goldcrest uniforms, it might be beneficial to try and rally the Goldcrest cavalry to rally against the goblins, but again I do not know if this can be reliably done."
Again, Eleri modifies the map, showing goblin forces from the cave moving to attack Goldcrest's flanks, then Silverkeep cavalry attacking the siege weapons from the other flank. Once done, she puts down the pen and spreads her hands.
"This is our best bet, as far as I can see. It's more complicated than martial plans like to be, with a lot of risks and maybes. As for group assignments, I believe I would be best placed in the gorge, with the explosives."
Eleri responds to the guard's comment as she walks through the door.
Perception DC 15:
"These people are clearly not casters. I thought they'd bring all the mages together for a separate briefing, but perhaps they're giving each of us a group to serve as bodyguard..? Well, if I'm going to war, it's all for the better that I have this lot to soak up arrows and keep the enemy away from me."
Resting her elbows on the table, Eleri quickly scans over the nametags on the table and glances up at the corresponding faces.
For DM Only, I guess:
Eleri follows the guard through the side door.
"It's sensible to have a separate briefing for mages, I suppose. The musclebound sword-swingers need only stand on the walls and swing at whatever comes their way, but we casters offer many more tactical and strategic options. Speaking of strategy," she continues, taking the opportunity to voice her complaints to an underling, "whose idea was it to send a Lord to take the enemy city and some 'Sir' to defend our own territory? The skilled generals of old would always first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, then wait for the opportunity to defeat the enemy. This more aggressive strategy sounds like it was motivated by merchants who wanted a quick resolution so their businesses wouldn't be disrupted. Honestly, if the city wants war they should leave the decisions to the military, not the mercantiles. Not that I want the city to be run by the army, of course, but if we're going one way or the other I'd at least like to see it done competently. Furthermore-"
Eleri cuts herself off, realizing that she's been completely oblivious to her surroundings during her rant. Gods, she hopes that no one important was listening to her. Criticizing policy to a low ranking guard was one thing, but she certainly would be quite embarrassed if a higher-up heard her...
A middle aged woman rushes into the courtyard and stops before reaching the guards to lean against a wall and catch her breath at the entrance to the courtyard. She takes a second to fix the bun her greying brown hair is tied into and adjusts her spectacles. In contrast to the generally grim, nervous and/or impatient atmosphere given off by the crowd, she has a small, excited smile on her face. When she starts to move into the courtyard, a guard stops her with a demand to take whatever weaponry she carries. Somewhat flustered, Eleri quickly produces an unremarkable dagger, then spends a minute trying to dislodge an old crossbow from her rather sizable backpack, quietly muttering some apologies to the guard.
AS here again. Alright, I've gotten the crunch and fluff of my character figured out; it's in the alias profile. C D, I hope you don't mind but I kind of arbitrarily decided/assumed a couple things about the setting.