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sense motive: 1d20 ⇒ 1
The apparent leader of the group laughs, "Your slaves are none too bright. They'll be perfect for tonight's ritual."
sense motive: 1d20 ⇒ 2
"Still, he looks like he could hide good. Are you sure we're not scattering for a hunt?" says the second one, still hoping for some excitement.
The third continues to spiral overhead, and makes no comment. Not paying attention to the conversation
"Don't be greedy. Rykik." says the first to the second, who is apparently named Rykik.
"We will save some, but first we must get them all up here. Go, "Help" the others."
The craggy creature tips his head, confused as the visitor talks in a foreign tongue.
It is only when Serra turns back to common that understanding dawns on his face.
"Ah! Food!?! Why did you not say so? Nulkineth has never ordered out before. Still, I think he will be pleased. The children will be grow quickly with such a smorgasboard as I heard heralding your approach. And they follow you so well! Will they all climb up on their own? Or should we go help them?" With a nod, two other creatures take flight from the roof and begin to circle.
One of them lands beside the first and grumbles something to the first.
"Where is the fun of the food just showing up? We should scatter them and hunt them down!"
At Serra sense motive: 1d20 ⇒ 14
The creature puzzles over the vial, his stony brow furrowing. "What is that? Something you've come to trade with Nulkineth? He said nothing about you..." He taps his granite chin with a claw as black as obsidian.
Ely and Jurin, if you are climbing, I'll need a check from you, please.
For those below, it seemed to take Serra a couple of minutes to reach the top of the gorge, being very careful. If you can take 10 and get 15 on a climb check, feel free. Otherwise, I will need two checks, one at thirty feet, and another at sixty. Feel free to post those as Serra charms yet another evil creature.
DC 20 Perception:Scattered amid the debris are several small caches of bones, human by the looks of them, and well gnawed.
Serra drops the coin, sending it tumbling down into the gorge below. Suddenly, one of the stone statues leering off the edge of the temple flies down and hovers in front of Serra. "Кто тебя послал, потомство?"
"Who sent you, Spawn?"
knowledge dungeoneering: DC 15:
sense motive: 1d20 ⇒ 8
Sir Serra, stripped of his armor and emboldened by his stronger altered form, slowly begins to edge up the ancient stairs. Most of the early stairs are in decent shape and he makes it nearly 30 feet with no problems. Unfortunately, a few missing stairs near the landing requires Serra to crab his way across using mostly natural handholds and broken remnants of the missing stairs. Taking his time and being very...very... careful, he manages to get to the next set of stairs to continue on his way.
The others are able to follow his progress for another 30 feet before he must once again use all of his strength and skill to cross another broken section of the stairs. Once again, Serra's hunched back and incongruous feet somehow seem to aid his struggle from tiny foothold to crumbling foothold to the dubious safety of the last long flight of stairs that climbs 90feet into the air to the distant top of the gorge.
Serra, at the top:
The gates to this small courtyard lie smashed and broken with tall grass growing amid the rubble. Two main buildings stand side by side to the east, separated by a single alleyway. The smaller structure appears to be a stable, while the other is much larger with several doors and stained-glass windows, apparently a chapel judging by the pious statues along its rooftop.
I have Serra heading up alone first to scout things out. Is this correct?
p: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (6) + 8 = 14
Sosiel stops, his gaze lingering as he draws Iomedae's blessed blade upon his chest and whispers a faint prayer before explaining.
"After Drezen was founded and before the First Crusade ended, several crusading paladins and priests built a number of chapels in the lands surrounding their new fortress city. Each of these chapels was devoted to a different deity of the crusade (mostly Iomedae, Erastil, Torag, Sarenrae, Shelyn, or Abadar—deities normally served by paladins), and each was intended to serve as a hospital for injured soldiers and a way-station for weary travelers. I suspect this is the remains of one such chapel. Perhaps we should go check it out."
Their path takes them up the Nahari gorge and into the Worldwound proper. Difficult to navigate, the gorge is none the less the safest route to their destination, even if it does slow them even further. Soon, the shadows grow long making the walls of the gorge seem to loom overhead, blocking even the faint sunlight that previous brightened their path.
To the right, Cole (and anyone else with a passive 14+ perception) spy a narrow stairway carved into the cliff face. Above, the dying rays of the day's feeble sunlight glimmer off white stone arrayed in sharp, man-made lines, some 90fet above near the cliff's edge.
When last we met....
... Nurah had been cornered, suspected of treason. Rather than surrender, she tried to ensorcel Beagan, little knowing that he would protect her with every breath without the aid of Magic. The rest of the party attacked the little halfling until she fell quiet to the ground. Serra, possibly in the midst of a Othoen War flashback, cleaved the creature in two. Beagan, overwhelmed with his past and present feelings of guilt regarding his time with the halfling slaves, and with the violent voices in his head, swore at the overgrown knight and sped off on his faithful wolf bunny... Those still under the effects of a detect magic spell could swear that another aura chased after him, though they saw nothing physical around to cast such an aura.
Though the party waited, and then the party looked, there was no sign of Beagan to be found. Faced with failing to complete their mission or continuing to search for their companion, the party had no choice but to continue on towards Drezen.
Upon her person, or mixed in with her belongings, Jurin finds:
scroll 1, spellcraft: 17:
Cure moderate wounds
Scroll 2, spellcraft: 19:
Scroll 3, Spellcraft: 19:
1 vial of a similar nature to the ones in Aron's belongings,
wand, spell craft: 23:
+1 chain shirt, dagger, short sword, sling,
magic belt, spellcraft:23:
Belt of Mighty constitution +2
magic horn, spell craft:26:
Horn of Assured Victory Not sure how helpful this is without mass combat rules. We can discuss ways to make it viable.
a bedroll, cold-weather outfit, flint and steel, backpack, rations (5 days), traveler’s outfit, waterskin, winter blanket, 1 diamond worth 1,000 gp, 9 sp, 5 cp
Cole Zeff wrote:
he looks to Serra. ”Serra, refrain from killing our captives in the future.....”
"That's IT??? He chops a downed combatant in HALF and all you have to say is 'be careful NEXT time?!!'"
The brawny cleric scrubs one hand over his head. "Don't you see what they're doing? What they've done?!?!??! It is those one steps too far that will send us careening into the the Abyss, our souls forfeit." He kneels by the little body, coiling her braid away from the rapidly pooling blood. He begins a fervent prayer, but it is not enough.
"I cannot save her. Not today. I may be able to preserve her tomorrow, though that may prove futile at this point." A deep abiding sadness seems to well within his eyes.
He looks upon first Cole, then Serra, "We've tarnished our souls today. Those that we can save, we must save. I know in my heart that that little creature was salvageable. We must do more. And be better, lest we become what we fight."
Perhaps caught up in a fugue from his past, Serra steps forward and separates the small halfling's upper and lower halves. Beagan, outraged and horrified by this repeat of his past, sputters in some foul language, then spurs Xanthos and runs off to the East. So fast, so mythically quick is he, that almost no one has even moved before he is out of sight.
As the blade falls, A small voice keens behind him. There Kastor stands, his face a portrait of horror and his pony's reins in his hand. "Nooo!!! I...You... She... I have to go find him!" With that, the small boy is upon his horse and galloping nearly as quickly as the gnome.
yeah, we're out of initiative now.
Jurin slices, he dices he juliennes! But he doesn't hit the little hafling.
Next to him, both Aron and Sosiel try to attack Nurah, as well but they miss as well.
attack on Nurah by S: 1d20 + 6 - 1 ⇒ (10) + 6 - 1 = 151d10 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4
Cole, Serra, Beagan are up!
edit: I completely missed counting Cole's previous arrows, which hit. Nurah is still severely wounded, and even more so after his second attack.
Beagan rushes to the wee halfling's rescue, healing her a bit, but it is not much of a help with Cole slamming 2 more arrows into her. Serra tries to help, but misses with his ranseur. She's not nearly as tall as he had hoped.
Eli is up
Round 1 cont.
Beagan rushes to the helpless halfling.
Eli attacks with a burst of light. The smallest of the glittered dodges, missing the worst of it, as does the middle sized creature. The largest, and slowest, howls, clutching at its eyes.
reflex vs DC 16, Nurah: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (9) + 10 = 19
Damnit, Eli! I can't see! How am I supposed to hold her if I can't see?!?!?!"
Nurah takes advantage of Sosiel's blindness, ducking past him. He tries to grab her, but misses. Aron, not blinded like his taller companion, is still dazzled. Still, he tries to grab her, but misses. Even so, she stabs at him, breaking what is left of her invisibility, but missing him as well.
percentile, high is good for Nurah: 1d100 ⇒ 78
Aron attack: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12
Cole, Serra, and Beagan are up!
Cole's voice snaps out into the cold, drawing attention from all corners.
@ Cole: Unfortunately, the glittery people are outside rather than inside.
Round 1 continued
Beagan and Eli are up!
will save N: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 20
Serra casts a spell, a flurry of glittery snow filling a 10 foot radius sphere and covering three creatures, though only one is halfling sized.
Cole and everyone who got 15+ can go. Those not in group 4 assume you are 40 feet away.
Cole, the weight of command apparently breaking his grip on reality, targets poor little Nurah with his bow.
Serra is up. No one else is close enough to be involved in this round
Serra sets the groups to work, gathering knights and support folk together to be scanned. Teams 1-3 go off as intended, with not a ping of evil. Amber and Aravashnyel note that every knight pings with an abjuration aura, centered on their cloaks. The knights note not a single aura of evil, even in team 4, however Nurah is a kaleidoscope of auras. Abjuration, enchantment, conjuration, transmuation and illusion fight for attention in varying strengths.
Elyanias Myoch wrote:
"Don't be an idiot, old man. I was concerned because a near rabid knight had just come in and called someone in my tent a traitor. Aron is not a traitor, but he does have his issues." shoving past any but the most emphatic of barriers, he moves to the younger man's side.
"I knew that, and knew the panic that has been bubbling near the surface on this trip."
Cole Zeff wrote:
Aron shakes his head. "What you must, I would think, sir." He says, with a sigh.
"No. They were just... here. I..." He swallows, his glance going to Sosiel. "I know about it. But I haven't used any, not in months. Sosiel's helped me through the worst of it, and I've been good, very good... I don't know who put these here."
Aron looks up at Sosiel as the larger man sweeps past the knights to help him to his feet.
"They're not mine, Sosie. I swear it!" Though he protests, his fingers clinch tightly around the vial in his hands. Reluctantly, he hands it to the cleric, his shoulders drooping.
"It was here when I came in. Laid out on the bed for me, like a present."
equal parts of despair and desire mix in the man's voice, but he appears to be telling the truth.
Elyanias Myoch wrote:
Sosiel turns a worried frown to the older man, "This? No, not this. Every man has his worries, but this doesn't make any sense at all. There must be some mist...." he trails off as the scene in the tent comes into view.
As he moves to go to Aron, two of the knights step in the way.
Arching a brow at Cole, the cleric says softly, "Will you see me at sword point as well, Commander? Have them stand down."
Jothinra Verathorne wrote:
"Lancemen Hrothgar, please give Sir Cole and the rest of the assembled Knights a report of what has transpired here." He turns to look at the rest of the soldiers indicating with a nod for the paladins to stand easy but to remain en garde. Joth then turns to Aron and addressees him directly, "Aron, I know that you'll wish to interject, but please remain silent until we call upon you to explain your side, understood? "
As most of the knights stand back, relaxing, though not sheathing their weapons, one, presumably the lanceman Hrothgar, comes to attention.
"Yes Captain! as you requested, Jameson and I decided to do a little sniffing around the site, checking for whatever cancer is hiding in our midst. So I turns the corner and see this one heading this way. I followed somewhat close as he ducked in here, and got a flash of malevolence all greasy and foul. I got Jameson, and we came in here; found him clutching the vials like his life depended on it."
Turning to Cole, the man salutes with a quick "Sir!" of acknowledgement.
detecting on the pallies:
None of the paladins detect as evil. The only evil in the tent appears to be the vials.
The group arrives at Sosiel's tent to find it surrounded by bristling paladins.
Sosiel grows more and more ashen as they aproach the tent, his sense of dread growing as the scene proves to be definitively to be centered on the tent he shares with Aron.
Inside, five of the knights hold Aron at swordpoint, though he appears to show no sign of resisting. In front of him lay three vials much like the first of the shadowsblood lay accusingly upon the chest beside him.
any detect spells:
detects as evil, and magical.
Just as Jothinra turns to leave the tent, a commotion rises outside. Out of breath and red of face, Laina and one of the paladins tumble into the tent, followed by Saul, the mountain.
"REPORT! I must REPORT before they kill him! Sir! They've found the traitor!!!!" the young man, though dirty and covered in blood, cannot be much older than the girl.
Laina shoves him to his feet, one of her many daggers at his throat. "I *SAID* the Commander was *BUSY*!!!"
Saul, looking somewhat flustered that the two young people have brought their chaos into the tent on his watch coughs. "Uh, There's a commotion. In the Cleric's tent. You might want to come."
A mangled tangle of emotions flood across Sosiel's face. "What? You've got to be joking. Yes, let's get to the bottom of this."
Elyanias Myoch wrote:
"Jothinra is right. This ugliness cannot stand, but it will leave its own scars upon this company. It is something we must bear though." He says after a long hesitation.
Elyanias Myoch wrote:
Before Eli visits Cole's tent, he finds a quiet corner of the ward tent, and pulls from his backpack his silver box. From it, he pinches a small amount of ash, and rubs it into his palm. He brings it to his lips, speaking a whisper and a wish.
answers in the wind:
Eli whispers his wish, and in an moment his answer comes. He recognizes it immediately, the scent of her hair in the summer, like roses and lilacs and other fragrant blooms. It wells up, then is rots, overcome by another, sickly sweet aroma of rot mixed with bitter almonds. weal and woe
Eli approaches Saul, though of course Marcus is in the tent already, giving testimony for Cole.
"The girl and I have it; I thought you understood that when you went in the first time. Cole seem to, when he nodded at Weebit over there." He says, nodding once more towards Laina. She meets his gaze and stretches, casually nodding in return. She shifts moving further down and Saul motions to Eli as he shifts as well. The two of them are the only people anywhere near the tent.
Sosiel listens quietly, his expression determined and serious. As none have asked his opinion, he does not offer it, but he is clearly troubled by the turn of events. He looks at Eli expectantly, hoping to hear his answer regarding the questions.
Jothinra nods, "Many of the knights may be able to "sniff evil" if you will, but having them turning this on each *will* weaken their cohesion as a fighting force. That said, this cannot be left unanswered."
still within the tent...:
The heal checks reveal that the wounds, all seem to have been reopened with some sort of sharp instrument. It was very well concealed, a thin pointy instrument stabbed deep into the wound, so that there is very little evidence on the skin level. The men and women bled to death in their sleep.
within the tent..:
Cole looks over the room carefully, but in their haste to check the wounded, now deceased knights, the clerics have muddied the footprints, leaving very little sign of what might of happened.
"It is as if their wounds were reopened. The only "poison" that I can tell is the sleeping draught we sent in with the initiates to help them sleep. But every one of them has what we took for a minor wound that has been reopened that has bled out."
WIthin the tent....:
.... the scent of alcohol hangs in the air and empty pallets dot the ground.
"Captain, Marcus and I, and a few others set up Triage after those of you that went to take the buildings left. We healed those that seemed most dire, and moved those that we thought could wait here, to rest. When we returned, every single one of them was dead. No one saw anyone enter, nor anyone leave." Clearly upset, Sosiel paces. Nearby, Marcus glowers.
When Cole and the others return to the main army, they find a hub of muttering, with Marcus and Sosiel conferring closely.
"Sir, if we could have a word?" Sosiel asks, and points with his chin towards one of the tents.
Marcus, far removed from his normally affable self, nods in agreement, and heads that way. Saul moves to the doorway, while Laina lounges inconspicuously nearby.
Laina fairly bristles with concealed daggers, including the one she is using to clean from beneath her fingernails. A sense motive of 14 gives the impression that she too is watching the doorway of the tent, and the blade in her hand is readied to fly if need be.
Serra Iondri Phaer wrote:
"Hey Ara/Amber, they say a goat demon, a Brimorak, lead this raid. What do we know about them? How might we prepare for them?"
"They are a smallish bestial demon, with nasty burning hooves, and ugly blue-gray skin with odd swirling patterns upon it. Thatches of dark, usually matted, fur, grow on it's head and arms, and its eyes glow as red as the flaming sword it usually wields. It often comes cloaked in a noxious smoke. Why, did you see one? How tall was it? I have heard as tall as 10 feet and as small as two." The librarian grabs his notebook, ready to chronicle new details.
Traits: Demons possess a particular suite of traits (unless otherwise noted in a creature's entry) as summarized here.
He continues to chatter as he writes, offering up as much ore more than he takes in. "They have much the same traits as other demons, unholy resistances to nature's elements. Telepathy! Ooh! More than one good man has been lead astray by their mental assaults. It is one of their weaknesses, as well, though, leaving them weakwilled in front of their betters. Oh, they have the ability to produce flame like a foul sorceror might, up to three times a day. and they seem resistant to magic too. "
Kamilo walks with Cole, showing him places where his men can stay for the evening. While not an actual town, there are several buildings that can provide an actual warm evening for a change. "In the morning, I will lead my men back to Kenabres. I am sure the Queen will send men to hold the ford. Where do you go from here, if you don't mind my asking, Sir?"
Jurin and his assistants search the town, finding little in the way of the supplies at first. Kamilo and her soldiers, however, are able to help and soon they have the supplies divided into two stacks.
Elyanias Myoch wrote:
"It appears your goddess has further work for you."
"Our duty is here. We were to hold this ford. If you've men to spare, we could use the reinforcements...."
Eli begins to tend to the wounded as best he can. "Cole, these men are all suffering from starvation and exposure. Even if our healing kept them from Pharasma's halls, they will need time to gain their strength, both mental and physical."
"and the healing. Thank you for your grace."
"Ummm.... Who was late?"
"The cultists. Going by their previous actions, they were due over an hour ago to take a new victim. We would not be going willingly."***
Cole calls for his messenger from across the river back to the battle field and the young woman reports as quickly as possible, with Sosiel in tow. The broad shouldered cleric immediately begins to tend the rescued knights.
"Can you tell us anything about the attack? Where did they come from? Were there any leaders?"
"They came from the Wound, from the northwest. The leader was a large Brimorak, a goat demon." They all give the same description.
There is a rustle amongst the warriors behind her, as they get to their feet. "We are saved; surely Our Lady has answered our prayers".
The leader, Kamilo Dann nods appreciatively to Cole and the Aasimar. " So you are why they were late. Thank you for your deliverance."
To a man, the former captives look malnourished and mistreated. Wounds fester, a sure sign that whatever healers they have among them have been overwhelmed by the number of injuries. Most wear no armor at all, some no clothing. Kamilo's armor, upon a closer examination is not truly one set, but pieced together from many sets, and fits poorly.