Simon nods and tries to peer down the pit a safe distance away. "I can't shoot them, angle isn't right. And it's too dark down there. Hm ... "
Logan can see that the stone floor is littered with these rocks. The nearest one to him is at the foot of the stair.
“No objections here,” In seconds, Simon has his bow out, nocked, and aimed. He slowly exhales and releases the arrow.
Rolg and Logan still have standard actions. Bolgrith's rope-gathering and walking to Jamie took up his actions, unless he as a swift he wants to use.
“Nice work, Aladdin!” Simon says as the sorcerer casts his light spell. “Now, to find the trigger. Jamie, Logan, don’t move…”
“Logan, you mentioned you had some experience with traps in the Borderguard? Would you like to use these?” Simon holds up the set of well-made tools for picking locks or other small mechanisms. Masterwork Thieves’ Tools grant a +2 on Disable Device attempts. Remember that ACP applies to Disable Device too :P
“Not that I’ve used them to steal anything,” the young noble adds, his ears turning pink.
“I’ll go. Watch out Jamie!” Simon calls down the stairs. He makes sure his pack and weapons are secure, and then launches himself forward.
“Jamie, move the light closer to the steps. Let’s find that second trap.” Simon unshoulders and digs through his pack. In a moment he produces a roll of pockets containing tiny, fine tools.
Did Logan or Aladdin want to jump? Roll Acrobatics!
Embarrassed, Simon quietly trades his spear for a torch from his pack, and stirs the lingering embers of last night’s campfire until the wadding ignites. “Not everyone can see as well as you two,” he says to the dwarf and hobgoblin. He marches into the tunnel after Logan, shedding light on the rough-hewn stone and the threshold of the concealed doorway. He continues a little further, and lifts his torch as he gazes up the pitted rock at the end.
“Superbly found, Bolgrith. This wall looks like it must be climbed, but I cannot see how far it goes. Were your dwarf eyes able to spot the end? Rolg?” Simon calls from the end of the tunnel.
If you haven’t guessed it, a dungeon-crawl is about to begin. Please see Discussion.
Logan knows that stone structures (natural or hewn) are usually pretty sturdy :P
Simon answers the hobgoblin. “Agreed, Rolg. We should at least rest the night to see if Aladdin returns. If he doesn’t, well, uh, we’ll sort that out tomorrow.” He shifts uneasily for a moment.
He looks at the fissure curiously. “If we get to the other side, I promise we won’t go far, we’ll climb back for the night’s watch. Bolgrith said it would take a lot of magic to move someone to another world, more than he is capable of, respectively. I'm no mage. There isn't much to do but wait.”
Simon peers into the narrow crevasse. He carefully extends an arm inside, up to his shoulder. Frowning he backs away and looks again. “At the very end of my reach, the crack feels like it widens. But I can’t see...”
These are your previous findings:
While Bolgrith’s search of magic turns up only the imbued items worn by his companions, the deepsighted eyes of his kind notice that the wide crack at the back of the cave appears to widen slightly and continue deeper into the rock, turning sharply right after a few feet. Moreover, the texture of the stone at the turn suggests that this fissure was hewn by stone-carving tools. Backing up to reassess the deceptive break in the stone, he thinks that some of his more spry companions, such as Aladdin or Simon, might be able to squeeze through, especially since the opening widens after about a foot or so. As for himself, Bolgrith knows he would need to remove his armor to even consider an attempt at entry.
Roll Kn: Nature or Engineering if you wish to chime in.
Simon nods approvingly. “A man of action, I see. Very well, lieutenant! We gladly accept your aid.”
Simon enters the cave, studying the walls as he rounds the bend in the tunnel.
Simon clears his throat, nodding at Logan before answering Jamie. “Our objective was to locate this ‘Key of Honfogalas’, said to be found in Wolftooth Cave. We received our instructions from a mysterious person, using the alias of ‘Karajhin’.” He raises a hand to forestall any protest, “I know, I know. Why follow the orders of someone we know nothing about? Heh, perhaps for that very reason, to riddlespeak. It is my hope that once we retrieve this item, this mystery will be ousted, either by his design or by our ransom of this key. His vast knowledge and resources suggest a man of great means, and it would be a disservice to the Commonwealth and the Wyldotes if I neglected to investigate a man of such power.”
"split five ways" meaning: Rolg, Bolgrith, Logan, Jamie, and Aladdin? Simon already excluded himself from cash winnings (just not item winnings).
"Bolgrith has a point, Jamie. Wait," Simon divides Balion's gold evenly among them, adding 340 gold bits to each share of the platinum found in Naja's pack. "There."
He stores the jeweled headband and the ruby in his bag as the party grabs the rest. "I hope Aladdin is not gone forever. Squall was able to appear and disappear easily, maybe he will help our mage friend back to us," the young noble hopes aloud.
Was Balion’s body searched before buried? Were his valuables buried with him?
Simon is silent as he helps with the grave, and listens quietly to the words of the others. After a few moments of quiet, he intones,
”Although his time seemed all too brief—
After a solemn nod, he turns to leave, and stops to rest a hand on the dwarf.
Simon returns a respectful nod to Logan, and his eyes brighten at the mention of Patrick and Brenan Stonebit. “The bravery and service of your father is known to many in the Commonwealth. Call me Simon, save the “Sir” for the court and their pomp. I trust that Brenan is doing well -when we parted he seemed determined to drink himself blind- though I had hoped he would keep mum about our goings. But! As Deadeye saw fit, you found us here and just in time. You have our thanks, lieutenant Stonebit.”
Simon shifts uneasily. “In truth, I will tell you the purpose of our trek, but we lost at least one of our number today. Please let us bury him before we discuss it.”
“Bolgrith, did you notice the manner of Aladdin’s disappearance? Do you know anything about that?”
and to keep Bolgrith from digging through past posts, the results of previous knowledge checks:
Aladdin’s disappearance was not like the false-Balion’s invisibility witnessed the day before. Apparently, his problem summoning his eidolon worsened, and resulted in this odd manifestation of the conjuring magics. Bolgrith supposes that Aladdin may have gone to Squall’s home plane, but there is no evidence to support this, nor has he read of such a thing happening. The spell needed to voluntarily shift planes requires a very strong magical ability, that much Bolgrith could be certain of. Wherever Aladdin is, it is a surer bet that he did not intend on going there.
Simon’s comment on Brenan is not surprising -he was oft heard bellowing “WORK HARD, DRINK HARD” at any and all hours of the day. And night. It is joked that a drunk Brenan works harder than ten sober lumberjacks (a joke that he attests to be true).
Simon follows the escaping snake-man, and drives the spear forward seconds after Naja’s failed attempt to bowl over the stalwart hobgoblin.
Jamie moves to cover the crack in the cave wall as she rebuckles the shield to her arm.
Simon whispers to Logan. “I have not seen Master Dwarf cast such a spell. One of our number, a sorcerer, vanished just as the fight with this fiend began. I believe he found a magical necklace that could produce fire -and lots of it- but he is gone. I haven’t had time to worry about him until now.”
Then he raises his voice to the unseen Naja. “Leave Balion’s body alone! Let’s finish this!”
Despite his fury, Rolg’s flail bounces off hard scales and receives a smirk from Naja, though his mocking is cut short when the faithful dwarf stabs deep into his side.
Simon steps over Balion to stab at Naja’s flank.
Rolg and Bolgrith’s sharp sense detect a crunching, scraping noise -metal on metal. The rhythm to it suggest someone -or something- approaching the cave in heavy armor.
Naja adjusts his footing at Rolg's attack.
Simon backpedals and tries again with his spear. "Die, you filth!"
The longspear punctures the snake-man in the center of his chest, as though Naja's tough hide were mere cloth. Dark blood gushes and soaks his robes. The deep wound pulls Naja's attention from Balion, to Simon.
Blood stops seeping from the many bite wounds on Jamie.
Rolg's first swing glances off hard scales, and the second, harder swing certainly connects, but Naja's skin seems unnaturally thick, for only a trickle of dark blood spills from what ought to have been a harmful blow. Naja spares the hobgoblin a look of annoyance.
"Jamie! No!" Simon thrusts his longspear at Naja.
Glad to see Simon is back to his old self. I'll post badguy tonight.
Simon brushes away the charred parts of his cloak and shirt, showing blackened chainmail and a badly burned chest beneath. Undaunted, he cries, “You’ll have to do better than that!”
Following Rolg’s advice, he sheathes the scimitar and produces a longspear from his back as he moves into the edge of the silenced area.
I'll post badyguy turn later.
“He is simply under a spell. Knock him out!“ Simon strides closer to the fray, calling in a commanding voice, “Rolg! Pull him inside! Do not let him escape!”
Standing at the center of the cave, he levels his scimitar at Naja with a determined gaze. “Now you will receive us! A son of Wyldote will not be subjugated! Stand and deliver, monstrous fiend!”
Issues a Challenge.
Naja locks eyes with the lordling with a fierce glare, unable to look away.
Simon inclines his head, thinking. “If we can get him to accept your challenge, I think that plan just might work. He did seem very confident, but to get him to walk into a cave for an outnumbered fight might be a tough sell. I’ll be ready to catch his flank, and block his escape.” He nods reassuringly, but stops short when he remembers Rolg’s blindness.
All five of you gain 3 more day’s worth of food. Rangers for the win!
“I surely did. Since there’s nowhere to really spend it, I can hang onto it until we return to civilization, and add it to whatever we decide to sell. Then we can divide it fairly.” Simon stoops down and adds the gold to the same bag containing the valuables found on the giant.
He studies the tunnel entrance to the cave, and the expanded chamber where it leads. “This will be a good place to find that lying mage. I remember reading about the Arcane Inquisition of the hobgoblins –it happened before I was born. Their tactic was to use close-quarter combat to reign in those who did not yield to the Consiliulsapte. That ought to work here, if we can lure him inside.”
“Consiliulsapte” literally means Councilseven, the supremely imaginative name of the Council of Seven.
The lordling leans against the cave wall with his bow out and arrow nocked, with a clear line of vision to the entrance. He glances at Rolg and Bolgrith expectantly, but says nothing as he waits. Jamie jokes about the mage and Balion being butt-buddies in the cave.
Blind Rolg might be blind, but surely he’s learned a thing or two in mercenary life. Roll a Prof: Soldier check and an Intelligence or Wisdom check.
“Balion, did you happen to spot Wolftooth Cave in your northern trek? If it’s close, a cave would do nicely for cover from the storm.” Simon shoulders his bow and scans the horizon. Perception 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26
“We’re just a few hours from the foot of Mount Fireblood. Maybe we can find the cave before the rain gets too bad.” He looks to the others, eager to be off.
“I think we have the right Balion this time,” Simon chuckles, returning the arrow to the quiver. He respectfully takes up the ranger’s offered blade, and studies it carefully, nodding in approval of the craftsmanship. He taps Aroden’s mark curiously, and returns the sword to Balion, “Someone joined us looking exactly as you do, pretending to be you. He may have fully infiltrated our group if it was not for Rolg’s suspicion and Aladdin’s magic. It might’ve been this goblin sorcerer you spoke of.”
The lordling pauses for a moment, thinking. “Dragons have never flown over Ytramond. Many presume them long dead or the stuff of dreamtales, but I read an account from the dwarven cartography expedition that suggests that some may live on the Dragonspine, if the name did not make it evident enough. The account was written long before my ancestors landed on this island, and few voyages around Gozreh’s Mouth have met success. If dragons do live on Dragonspine, I’m not sure why we haven’t seen any here –not that I would want to. But I would not trust anything that devious creature said. I’m just glad you are all right.”
Simon frowns at the blood stains on Balion’s clothes and looks to Bolgrith. “Is there anything you can do to help him?”
Aladdin notices the spotted wounds on the ranger. He is also missing the mace the not-Balion clipped to his belt, and his backpack bulges with something heavy and bloody. Aladdin also detects magic. Roll your dice son!
Sense Motive 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 6 = 15
Simon’s expression softens, though a suspicious squint remains. “A likely story. Just to be sure you are not Rejhanivyk returned, tell us of the good fortune we met at the Merspires.”
Bolgrith notices several small blood spots on the clothing of the ranger, like he lost a wrestling match with longthorn briar. A Heal check might tell you more, you will need to closely inspect the wounds first.
Perception 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17
Simon stands warily at the approaching ranger, his bow held at his waist but his other hand rests on the belt quiver, ready to snap an arrow at a moment’s notice. When Balion is seventy feet away, an arrow is suddenly held against the string, pointed downward. He calls sternly. “Stop right there. Prove to us who you are.”
Simon helps Balion by stepping down upturned clods of grass. “How are we going to hide a giant’s body?”
The ranger shrugs, “We’ll have to cover our tracks as we leave. Let’s go, everyone.”
Simon and Balion work together to try to cover the adventurer’s tracks as Jamie leads Rolg south.
Simon watches Rolg walk away before addressing the ranger. “Well, I’m glad you’re back, Balion. You mentioned a danger in the Wolftooth Cave. Unfortunately, there is no other way to find the Key of Honfogalas. If it is too dangerous to fight, do you think the beast can be lured away long enough for us to search?”