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Moving along with the fey interrogation.
The little old man comes awake with a sudden snort, looking about and struggling against the bonds. "Poop." He says with another snort.
"Secrets? I can tell you what a unicorn's liver tastes like and what the Queen of Air and Darkness wears under that dress. I can tell you at what age a child's tears taste the sweetest and when to cut a devil's throat. But I smell that you want secrets about this place. And I have precious few, god-speaker. I came here from the First World, child, but that portal closed and stranded me here. I dwell in this room, but I go up the stairs sometimes to see if the door's been unlocked. Beyond this room lies the mirror-place, where the reflections watch you back. The room beyond the mirrors turns my stomach; it's got no proper up nor down you know. It bothers me much to pass through there, so I did it once and now I stand, bound by fools. So there's my secrets, laddie. They're all I have left."
An inn is easily found. Just inside the city's limits on the road from Feldgrau sits a stone and wood inn called the Hook and Candle. For 2 gold a night the innkeep will provide you a single room with a dusty wooden bed and breakfast and dinner. Dinner proves to be a stew that looks questionable but tastes pretty good, along with a thick black bread.
You head into the town, pausing near a stone and wood building, an inn by the pictures on the sign outside. You wait in the shadows of an alley for nearly half a day, hiding yourself when locals pass by. They seem to be talking mostly about farming, trade and the usual life-issues, but you do catch a local talking about 'dark riders, what nearly made me wet my trousers, so chilling they was.' Long about near dark, you spot three riders on spectral horses of blue. They don't feel chilling like the local described, but something about them makes you feel a sense of familiarity, as if you've seen them before, maybe in a dream or a vision. The feeling makes a sense of warmth spread through you.
Soren's first arrow sinks into the old man, but he cackles and raises his scythe. The second strikes him dead in the heart and he looks down for a moment at the cold iron sticking out of him.
"Well, that's a cursed thing, isn't it?" He asks in a bewildered voice as he falls to the ground, his blood leaking out in a puddle on the floor.
Combat over! The little old man fey is bleeding out.
There's a single door in the south wall.
After days of riding the Professor, Sonny and Caesare arrive at a small sign pointing toward a rustic village before them: "Welcome to Thrushmoor."
On the shores of Lake Encarthan, the town of Thrushmoor squats where the Danver River flows into Avalon Bay. The county seat of Versex, Thrushmoor enjoys some prosperity thanks to trade on the lake. The town sprawls along the lakeshore and upon a handful of soggy islets, its buildings weatherworn and rugged. A handful of Drumish mercenaries armed with crossbows look down from the towers of a decrepit fort near the town as you approach. They don't hassle you, but they do watch you suspiciously.
What will you lot be doing first?
I swear, I wrote a post that had this in it a few days ago and it disappeared...
6th—circle of death (DC 21), eyebite (DC 21)
Plus arcane eye, create undead, mirror image, and 1d6 ⇒ 1 random spells of levels 1–5 which I'll allow you choose.
No, no random wealth yet. I'll re-evaluate after we've played a bit more.
The road is full of odd omens: animals that should be skittish are bold while nocturnal animals are out in the day time. It's strange and the closer you get to civilization, it's only worse. You still feel the odd pull calling you on and after several days you crest a small hill to see a village laid out below you. You cannot read the signs along the way, but you creep close enough to overhear travelers and farms working in outlying fields call this place 'Thrushmoor'.
Soren's arrow almost hits the little man, but his dancing jig causes him to duck at the right moment. In return the man cackles as his wounds close and he lashes out again!
Scythe vs Ferabras!: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (20) + 10 = 30 for 2d4 + 10 ⇒ (3, 4) + 10 = 17 damage!
Possible crit vs Ferabras: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (1) + 10 = 11
The little man's scythe cuts deeply into Ferabras, causing the fey to cackle with glee. "Cut the devilspawn! Gonna dip my cap into your blood, devilspawn!"
Ferabras, Zolarus, Mikail and Hoshiko are up!
You determine that they concern some sort of instructions to Auren Vrood from an unnamed superior. The orders instruct Vrood to steal the heart of the Shudderwood’s packlord, as well as construct a skull from the bones of corpses buried in Feldgrau. They also direct him to send the Seasage Effigy to the town of Thrushmoor as part of a trade for a second object whose nature remains undisclosed. Finally, Vrood is commanded to raise an undead army in the Furrows for later use.
You dream. In the dream you see the full moon, hanging like an eye over the land. You freeze, feeling a sense of creeping doom, of a being watched by a predator in the night. As you glance skyward, you see a skeletal hand reaching across the moon, pale bone on pale moon and you feel a cold chill sliding down your spine.
Suddenly the sense doom is broken by the appearance of a dove made of sunlight itself. The world goes warm and white and when you blink, the flaming dove hangs in the air in front of you.
"Hunter of the night, I see you. Fate reaches for you, hunter. Fate beckons you to your destiny. In a distant village the fate of this world stands upon the point of a dagger. The choices of mortals may doom or save you from misery and undeath. But I see your thread there, hunter. You are needed in a distant village, where the blood of the ocean and the blood of men mingle. Your strength may be the missing piece."
The dove seems to dim slightly, as if its light was fading or it was moving away from you. But its voice still rings. "Hunter, see the sage, the priest and the chemist. Seek them by my sign. Tell them that the yhohm has sent you to them." The image fades, but you awaken the next morning rested with the words of the sun bird still fresh in your mind."
You rest, regaining your strength before you ride away from the ruined village of Feldgrau upon spectral mounts. Toward Thrushmoor, you ride, knowing that you ride on the trail of the Whispering Way's dark riders, burdened with the knowledge that these dark riders carry components to waken the Whispering Tyrant himself from his dark slumber. If you can catch them, perhaps you may yet avert the end that he promises.
It's the word secondary that gives me the feeling it's an exception. If it was the primary attack in a spring attack, then the sentence structure is all wrong. But since you've all surrounded it, it's moot at this point.
Ferabras cuts and bites into the little old man, tasting salty blood on his lips as he does!
Zolarus, Mikhail and Hoshiko are up!
I think you're wrong. Reading this: "A redcap wears heavy iron boots with spiked soles that it uses to deadly effect in combat. These boots give the redcap a kick attack that it can make as a secondary attack, either as part of a full-attack action or as part of its movement just as if it had the Spring Attack feat." it makes me believe that this is a special exception to the usual rules for Spring Attack. But as you say, murderize it!
It SPRANG at you. Like it ATTACKed you, like a SPRING.
Neither arrow seems to find its mark and the little man cackles wildly, his wounds knitting shut as you watch. "BLOOD! More blood for my floor!" He slashes at Ferabras and kicks at Hoshiko!
Scythe vs F: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (3) + 10 = 13 for 2d4 + 10 ⇒ (1, 3) + 10 = 14 damage!
Ferabras, Zolarus, Hoshiko and Mikhail are up!
Soren's first arrow nearly misses, but his aim is true! The arrows thunk home, causing the little man to cry out in pain and anger! He snarls and stomps his feet and SPRINGS forward with unnatural speed, lashing out with his scythe and kicking at Soren before springing back!
Scythe vs Soren: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (8) + 10 = 18 for 2d4 + 10 ⇒ (3, 1) + 10 = 14 damage!
Zolarus, Ferabras, Mikhail and Hoshiko are up!
Ferabras: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (11) + 1 = 12
Hoshiko: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
Mikail: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11
Zolarus: 1d20 ⇒ 17
Soren: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (20) + 3 = 23
Redcap: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (14) + 8 = 22
The little man stops dancing. "Oh ho! They won't dance, so instead we'll play!"
Soren is up first!
I'd say he would!
You creep down the spiral stairs into a charnel house. Blood is everywhere. Dried blood, fresh blood, too much blood. Body parts lie strewn about, clearly artfully arrange in some weird version of art. The artist is easily spotted, as he dances in the blood cackling madly.
"Hallloooo! Join me, my lads! Dance a jig in the bloody room, eh!" He scoops up a hobgoblin head, still dripping blood and tosses it to Ferabras. "Will you dance, lads?"
The dove seems to expand suddenly, becoming brighter and brighter until the light causes you to cover your eyes. When you open them, the corpse of Risbeth is gone, leaving behind her things, while standing beside her is the Professor, whole and unharmed. You realize each of your wounds has healed as well!
Okay, level up to level 9! Does anyone have a good candidate to join us or should I recruit?
You toss a torch down the stairs, hearing it clatter and roll down the stairs. It comes to a stop at the bottom and Mikail invisibly heads down.
This semicircular room is drenched in blood. Detached body parts of both hobgoblins and humans lie strewn about amid fragments of ancient furniture and half-dried pools of blood, and broad spatters of blood decorate the walls. A circular staircase winds up into the ceiling, while to the south a large, beige stone door without handles appears to be the only other way out.
A small wizened old man, the size of a halfling is methodically washing his cap in the blood on the floor. He hums to himself and stares intently at the torch that has just appeared. "Oh me oh my, old son! You've got yourself a wee spot of visitors, don't you! I wonder how much blood they hold?" he murmurs to himself in a pleased voice.
The yhohm seems to nod with its being. "Very well. Let us summon the spirits." There is a shimmer and the pale ghostly form of the Professor stands in front of you. Risbeth is missing, though. "The child of blood and night has chosen to seek the Boneyard's embrace. Her soul will continue upon its journey."
"Altering the natural course of life is not simple. I see your path is not swift nor easy; dark tides do you swim against. Evil rises in the shadowed places and you have been chosen to stand against that flood. It will not be a simple path if you choose it, and the price may be more than you know. I can return this soul to life, but the cost is thus: each of you must agree to redeem the soul of a single evil being. A soul returned from death for a soul returned from evil. That is the cost."
"Do you accept?"
You pass a tense night in the now empty Keep. The upside is you have access to the pantry and kitchen and the hobgoblins removed the corpse of the bugbear chef, so dinner is a satisfying stew made from Keep stores.
You rest well, though you fancy several times you hear strange sounds coming from the locked door...
The next morning you unlock the door and discover the room exactly as it was before, except no nursery rhyme song comes from below...
Sonny makes his plea, praying for aid. For a long time, almost long enough that he begins to doubt, nothing happens. Then as the sun emerges fully over the horizon to burn off the lingering fog from the poor doomed village, a ray of that fiery sun seems to break off and resolves into a beautiful dove that is as bright as the sun and the size of an eagle, surrounded by an aura of blazing white flames. It hovers without flapping its wings in front of the cleric.
"Good morning, servant of Saranrae. What need bids you to call for her aid?" The voice is clear and resounding, despite only sounding in your mind. It fills you with a sense of peace and contentment, of warmth and summer days.
The being's light falls upon the bodies of the slain. "Ah, I see. Do you vouch for these souls? Do you stand by their purity and devotion?"
I honestly don't know how many more times I could have typed NECROMANCER without also typing NECROMANTIC SPELLS. The guy just admitted, bragged even, of wanting to bring the setting's most evil dude back from the dead.
Circle of Death. You may read the spell if you'd like. I don't aim for TPKs, but I also don't aim to softball the challenge. You rolled poorly. Your character died. If you want to walk away, good bye. I wish you well. If you want to complain about the challenge after you walked through the werewolves, I don't know what to tell you.
I have dealt with character deaths in the past by offering the player a choice: attempt to raise your character or try a new one. Sonny is the literal priest of a goddess who answers his prayers. If he asks, she will send an avatar who will offer you a deal: if you want the characters raised, there will be a price. Price will be determined via roleplaying and won't be gold pieces; it will require you to roleplay.
This was indeed a death effect, and as such raise dead will not work. But resurrection will. If this was Society play, you'd be paying a LOT of prestige. However, you may be able to find a priest able to cast this spell twice, or you could always try praying to your goddess. Sometimes that works, I hear...
On the body of the necromancer you find the following: lesser silent metamagic rod, wand of animate dead (10 charges), +1 quarterstaff, amulet of natural armor +1, cloak of resistance +2, ring of protection +1, spellbook (contains all prepared spells, all 0-level spells, plus arcane eye, create undead, mirror image, and 1d6 random spells of levels 1–5), spell component pouch, Whispering Way amulet.
There is also the tent. You search around and discover a locked chest in Vrood’s tent contains 50 pounds of silver dust (worth 250 gp), 2,000 gp worth of onyx gemstones, and a scroll of control undead in a plain leather scroll case. A DC 20 Knowledge (arcana) check recognizes the silver dust and onyxes as material components for desecrate and animate
There is also a leather satchel beneath the table, which contains several pages of cryptic notes and an elaborately carved bone scroll tube. The scroll tube contains an enigmatically macabre poem.
There is also strange notes, which may require some decoding. Linguistics check, please and it's a hard one!
As Sonny checks the corpses, a ghostly figure appears over the corpse the dead necromancer. The figure is dressed in fine noble's clothing and has a sad look upon his face as he gazes down at the necromancer. A moment passes, then he looks to Sonny and Caesare. "I thank you for this service, strangers. You have slain a man who tormented the souls and corpses of my former friends and neighbors. I owe you a debt, and this much, I can repay." He stoops over the necromancer's body and reaches into the dead man's head. He pulls something out, all glittering and strange and tosses it into the air, where it begins to play the memories of the dead necromancer, as if you were watching a film in midair!
The visions open with a furiously darting ink quill that dashes out of a stream of words reading, “My Master, I shall stay in Feldgrau and build an army of corpses for our risen lord...” The sentence fades, and after a brief flash, hands place the letter in an envelope and strike it with a wax seal. The seal is that of the Whispering Way!
Another flash comes and the scene changes. You see cultists scurrying around in the town square, exhuming bodies and raising an army from the corpses of Feldgrau’s dead. After another flash, Vrood’s hands place three strange items into a chest— an iron-and-glass vial containing a swirling gray mist, a bloody heart inside a glass bottle, and a fragile skull composed of hundreds of bone fragments. Into a second chest he places a strange statuette of murky green stone depicting a grotesque, tentacled creature.
Another flash. The chests are given to two riders in dark cloaks on pale horses. “Ride to Thrushmoor,” You hear Vrood’s voice speak. “Our agent will exchange the Effigy for the relic we need.” After a final flash, the visions fade.
The ghost looks down at the dead man, still saddened. "I can do no more for you. Now I must go to my rest. I thank you for your service today. I mourn for your friends' death, but I rejoice that you have laid my friends to rest. Farewell my friends. May your road take you where you need to be..." With this he fades away.