sense motive: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 22
She doesn't believe a word you say - although for entirely the wrong reasons. It's clear that she thinks you're awkwardly putting up a terrible act of pretending not to be in love.
"Today's a big day; I've left the stew simmering over the weekend; that's why it's so soft and rich. but we still have to finish it. chop that up small, like I showed you last week, and those as well, and those; call me when you're done. We've got a lot of soup to make for the soldiers today." She points at the piles of vegetables.
After half an hour, Mama G is looking not amused. "where'd you say she went? What the Demons was she thinking, taking a day off on a monday without telling me?" and she continues grumbling furiously while you work. (she's not even expecting an answer from you)
I'm going to move our timeline to monday. I think things are going well for your small warband, despite a few minor setbacks. Let's hope your luck doesn't change - or perhaps luck is not a factor? We shall see.
At dawn, a groggy voice outside your door speaks "oioioioioioioiioiiioii we oughtn't 'of drank tha last 3 bottles, we shun't of..."
Sindran Eithe wrote:
would you consider that spells gained from the oracle curse/mystery be a divine spell even if they are normally arcane (e.g. burning hands, flame sphere)? That is, the fire Sindran casts are divine (relevant to the Glorious Heat feat, otherwise I'd go with an Extra Revelation).
We'll use the unofficially corrected text; I like the theme of that feat. Go for it, if you want.
Sindran, when you return in the afternoon, you're not bothered at the gates. Father Donnagin is looking very worried while tending to the wide red spot to the west of the tower that is Magister Tacitus. He asks one of the acolytes to deal with you, and nods his sincere thanks from a distance, but he continues his task of trying to determine if there's anything left to save.
A few hours later, basically mere moments after you've all settled back in your rooms at the inn to start counting and (I assume) sharing the day's profits and information, the ground trembles and windows rattle due to the massive explosion visible in the keep's the tower.
through the billowing smoke, a figure in what seems to be a burning robe is ejected out of the tower, falling to his death in a flailing and screaming in a quite undignified manner.
and if you look really close to where the explosion occurred, you catch a glimpse of an ice golem shutting down, awaiting further commands from his master.
The citizens are shocked, but soon their rumormongering starts again; "yeah, that wizard always was an odd one." and "good thing he didn't do his experiments at night - he could've killed the lord Havelyn as well!" and more of the like. Although they regret the suffering and the messy departure of the town's wizard, the general opinion of the citizens seems to be that he must have brought it on himself with his evil magicks and whatnot.
Soldiers come to the inn, and shout at the dwarves "come quikly, we need you to confirm that the tower's structure is still safe!" but that only receives waves of drunken laughter. "lad, yonder tower is dwarven-built. It's safer and stronger than anything you'll ever see. A little hole in the side woont bring it doon! Besides, Yer oon crew, tha wizzord, seems ta be causing da problems 'ere!"
In the afternoon, Lord Havelyn and Father Donnagin come town, visiting several houses in town with dire news. Just before dusk, they come to the town center. The Lord proclaims: "A terrible accident this morning in our fortress' tower has claimed the lives of 7 of our town's beloved citizens."
After Lord Havelyn is finished, Father Donnagin announces that "Wednesday shall be a day of mourning, with an extra service in honor of Sarenrae for those who would seek guidance in these dark times."
They turn and leave for the fortress.
they are arguing! They seem to continue an earlier argument, you catch a few phrases regarding "the play", "lift the people's spirits" "should not cancel".
Well cala, you're lucky; there's enough XP in the tower exploration / church thing for everyone to hit level 5.
Take a moment to realize how many options your character now has to kill a random commoner (10 on all stats, i.e. 6 hit points) in a single blow. You're that awesome now.
perception dc10/12/14/16/18 depending on what floor you're on:
You suddenly realise you haven't heard any of the horrid singing for a while. In other words, the service is now over for the entire party, and folks are going back about their business.
after Cala and Aerent decide how to deal with the ice golem, let's pretty please bring the party together again. It's been fun to send you all out on your own thread, but I only have one brain, and splitting a party into individuals requiers some really evil GM magic. Of which I've now spent my uses per month - let's not go there again soon.
I've only just remembered : when I ran this on tabletop, we had three rounds per day; morning, afternoon, night. That worked insanely well for our high-combat/low-rp group. Anyway, that's too late now :D
Sindran - the captain patrols the fort; on sundays, he likes to be available for his men to speak their truths. This is well known amongst the men, I'm sure you've heard one or two mention this to a guard looking to take a day off for his brother's nephew's sister's aunt's wedding. He'll be walking back and forth all afternoon until he's spoken to all his men individually, including those off duty. Most of the soldiers are openly concerned about the missing captains though.
Cala - he didn't build the thing; there was a rumor in town that 'something' was brought to the forth from the north a while ago. Besides, there's nowhere near enough books on the subject of golems for him to be able to create one. He just fixed the darn thing. And if he can, why wouldn't your -superiour, obviously- intellect be able to?
you can rig the ice golem so that it will obey one command. if your roll exceeds 30, you get one extra command for every 5 above 25. The commands will be obeyed in the order you give them.
Aerent - looting: dirty bedsheets can be found everywhere. You'd feel confident heading out of the castle looking like Maudie carrying a bedsheet full of 'dirty laundry' with half the loot, including the
Spoiler:. The ugly girl could carry the other half. I'm not going to harass you with the carrying and distributing of wealth. You're capable folks, I'm sure you can manage.
cauldron of brewing
Also, destroying the ice golem; it's made of ice; Would you happen to know anyone who has a ...condition related to causing fire?
And finally, I love how you keep maxing those disguises :D
thank you Talon, let's get the show back on the road. If Aerent and Oret and Cala would like to do anything, please tell me ASAP. otherwise, it'd be wise to work on getting out of the tower unseen before the church service ends. I would like to get the party together again.
thanks for being honest Talon, and let's get that fixed!
this is the 'current situation' as I know it:
in character, Aerent and Oret are investigating the tower while Talon and Sindran have just left church.
This is quite awkward, because we've already finished the church scene several days ago, while the tower scene is still in progress.
I promise, this is the last time I'll split the party. There's a good reason though; between you all, you now have seen just about every bit of information there is.
To be honest, it's quite all right to be a little overwhelmed by running an invasion of a fortress, and taking out the officers, mage, raven caretaker, and a hundred soldiers. That's not an easy task!
Magister Tacitus' strongbox is not trapped. It islocked up pretty
a pouch with 120gp in mixed coinage, and Tacitus’ Spellbook “The Heart of All Flame”.
Bound in the crimson, scaled leather of some indeterminate reptilian beast, this large locked tome bears its title proudly in Common across the front cover. Inside is found not just spells but a lovingly written treatise on the beauty and purity of flame and how ice, when it grows cold enough, also burns.
Oppositional Schools : illusion, necromancy
30 minutes sounds about right Aerent. In the meantime, Oret can thoroughly ensure that the siege engine up top appears to be fine but is actually ready to collapse. The dwarves have completed this engine, or at least they think so, which means no one will know until it's too late.
Aerent leans forward to look at the chest and almost loses his balance, as he quickly draws his hand back. The chest has an alarm spell on it, which can be bypassed with hidden stud in the rear. a piercing alarm would;ve sounded, and the iron bands would've been electrified - but now Aerent is looking at the Fortress' treasury, containing the operating funds for the entire watchtower.
the bible on the nightstand is a family bible of House Havelyn; The antique book in praise of Sarenrae also features an ornate chart detailing Lord Havelyn's family tree. For some reason, the name next to Lord Havelyn has been blotted out; with some effort, the name 'Samuel Havelyn, Cardinal of Sarenrae' can be discerned.
level 2, prison cells:
37. former torture chamber
the devices in this room have been dismantled many, many years ago. The pas few generations of do-goody lords of Balentyne must've thought torturing an inefficient or impolite way of gathering information. insufferable fools...
looking around, you just might spot 1)
35. prisoner cells.
1), perception DC 20:
There's a small inscription on the far wall, probably carved by an old priest of Asmodeus long ago. It reads "send us vengeance, o prince" right above a crude unholy pentagram. With you here, this priest must've been an outstanding member of the Faith for Asmodeus to hear his prayers.
And that's the tower mostly sorted out! the rest is stairway or not worth typing ;)
Oret, Wisdom DC 12:
now that you're up in the tower, it would be an excellent chance to finish sabotaging that siege engine up top
It seems like you'd rather hear about all the rooms before deciding what to do - that seems wise and fair. I'll get on with the next level's descriptions. Sorry to take so long, I'm still trying to find the optimal way to provide mystery / discovery in a relatively slow PbP situation. years of high-speed tabletop mayhem have done that to me ;)
level 3, under lord's chambers:
40. Magister's Laboratory
This is the workshop of the watchtower’s magister. This poorly lit and crowded chamber is full of tables laden with strange equipment and apparatuses. There is a large form seemingly made of ice (though it is not melting) resting on a slab. This is, as Caladwhen guessed correctly, Tacticus’ ice golem. It clearly shows marks of repair through delicate application of various chemicals with extremely high melting-points, but it is now fully functional yet just inactive, like a radio that has been switched off.
Of course, none of you even remotely understand any of that, save Caladwhen, who would be drawn to this magical marvel like a fly that just smelled a pile of fresh dung.
There's a grand collection of alchemist's gear here; and the magister's cauldron stands out even beyond that. 1)
41. Magister's private quarters
1) spellcraft DC15:
indeed, a cauldron of brewing would stand out from masterwork equipment.
2) perception DC15:
One particular vial stands out though; it's marked with a skull. A tincture of concentrated wolfsbane, a potent poison.
47. Lord's Private Chamber
This plainly furnished room is the residence of the commander of the watchtower, Lord Thomas Havelyn, Knight of the Alerion, protector of Aldencross.
Thomas’ chamber is as much a shrine as it is bedchamber. There is an oil portrait of the lady Bronwyn of Havelyn. The painting shows the most beautiful woman any of you have ever seen - and I'm not just spraying superlatives. You can tell the portrait does not even do her justice.
The portrait is surrounded by carefully tended candles. The scene suggests that Thomas, When not on duty, is often here communing with the picture of his dead wife.
And there's an ornate Bible of the House of Havelyn on the bedside table.
46. Lord's Council Chambers.
Pushed into the NW corner of the room is a large stout chest of oak banded with iron.
45. Guest Room
I'd like to know if you're going to do anything with the bodies - leave 'em where they lie, or do something to incriminate / confuse? lots of good ideas flying around, would be a shame to waste them.
Poor sarge. May he rest in peace.
So - with no guards currently on duty, what are you going to do until the next shift comes (around noon, less than 2 hours from now)? Would you like to position your victims in an amusing shape, for lord Havelyn to find when he goes to bed later?
Talon and Sindran are two hours ahead of Aerent and Oret - you can't team up. What would you like to do?
Caladwhen, however, didn't go to mass. You're in sync with Aerent and Oret. You could go into the tower and help your mates - I'm sure you saw them enter, so you'd know where they are without need for metagaming. Long story short, the same question for you: what would you like to do?
"The Church then serves as a kind of infirmary, I suppose?"
"only for the worst cases. When the wounded come in, they first go below, in the barracks." He laughs, "but you needn't worry, my friend; it's been more than a hundred years since evil beings last attempted to break the wall - and now we even have the dwarven siegeworks to protect us. No, we are quite safe here. Heheh."
You can't help but think that he should tell that to the voices in your head. They are absolutely relentless, and their buzzing gradually becomes increasingly annoying and deafening. "repent! sinner! depart! evil! "
Sindran Eithe wrote:
Them odds be nice
I'm here to cause problems for you to solve; I'll even gladly help you find some, from time to time :p
Caladwhen, Lars' report:
Lars has a wand in his beak. A wand of Fireballs, to be precise, with 1d10+3 charges remaining - your roll :) But this is not just a common wand - this is a lovingly crafted, treasured item; the craftsmanship suggests this means far, far more to the mage who wields it. Yes - This wand is the magister's bonded item!! And it's in your hands! Would you not say some gloating is due?
Oh - and almost as an aside - the wizard has a vaguely humanoid-shaped clump of ice on a slab in his laboratory, but it isn't melting. Can you guess what it is?
Sindran Eithe wrote:
"You must have had it in store."
"as a matter of fact, we do. This fortress must be prepared, you see; and while the Sarenrae may save the minds of the soldiers, during times of strife, their bodies need mending as well."
Sindran Eithe wrote:
"Now I can kill him."
would you like to roll initiative? you can always pick a fight :)
meanwhile, up in the tower...
Sindran Eithe wrote:
I have to say, I'm impressed you could write that in the first place.
I stole it. Religious fanatics aplenty on the net. If you want more, look for 'hope for the broken'. credits where credits are due ;) but, thanks :)
The acolyte comes back up the stairway, and gives two items to father donnagin while he's talking to you.
The longer you stay here, the more will saves will be needed. before your next action here, you'll need to roll again *sigh*; Talon and Sindran 1 roll at DC14, Caladwhen still needs to roll 5 saves, DC13, +1 for each missed save. yikes!
Aerent Sephim wrote:
absolutely, yes. no preaching though ;) just a few rushed sentences back and forth
"A headache? the celebration will surely alleviate things; and if not, come to me after the service, and I'll get rid of that nuisance for you." the good father offers to Talon.
ahem. if you don't want to risk feeling insulted, please just roll 3 will saves and don't read the spoiler. That said, if you can handle making a deal with Asmodeus, this won't upset you.
Smiling, he stands behind the altar, where the light from the glass dome overhead shines down on him for a very effective dramatic effect. "Welcome everyone. I'm happy to see so many faces, and today even a few new ones." He nods to you, as you struggle against the shouting voices, and fight to keep a straight face.
"Imagine a group of lanterns hanging in the dark... all of their lights are out, except one. That one light is no ordinary light; it is THE Light. Sarenrae is the Light and She has overcome. The lanterns with no light are representations of the state of this generation; lost and in darkness..." is that a reference to the missing captains and their adulterous escapades?
"A lantern containing her Light is within your reach. Take hold of it. Protect it. Fight for it. Forge a path into the darkness that intends to destroy you. " Yes, he is definitely looking directly at you; the voices reach a climax - and you should roll another will save vs. DC13 (Talon, DC14 for you, you missed the first one and it gets increasingly more difficult to resist!)
aaaand I could go on shamelessly quoting and editing someone else's heartfelt blogs, but that would be quite horrendously evil, even for me. Nevertheless, father Donnagin has much more of this sort of stuff up his sleeve.
At times, it's hard to tell if listening to the shouting voices in your head is worse or better than the sermon; at least they give you some distraction.
The only variation in the preachings, are the songs; they are full of hope, and joy, and love, and, obviously, light; but the reason you enjoy them so much, is because the voices in your head stop shouting at you, and join in the singing. At times, the beautiful, hypnotizing sound of the archons is even enough to drown out the lamentations of the talentless citizens, who seem to think 'louder' is 'better'.
After close to two hours, at long last, the service is over, but the mental exhaustion is taking it's toll on you. another will save please :) DC13, or DC14 if you missed one (DC15 for Talon if he missed them both!)
singing, the acolytes walk around the sides of the hall, spreading their sickeningly sweet myrr from the incense burners held in their hands, and they open the front door of the church. The congregation slowly gets up, and chatting happily, leave the church hall. They appear to have forgotten their missing captains, at least for the moment.
Father Donnagin is still chatting with some of his flock, but the church is soon nearly empty. He sees Sindran and Talon still lounging near the back, but then he beckons you to come to the altar, and he asks one of his acolytes to go below.
...Father Donnagin is closing the doors, waiting for the last few faithful to enter the church.
The great open hall is the center of Sarenraean worship in town. Its vault ceilings soar rising 25 feet. Around the edge of the celing are statues of nine saints of the sarenraen faith, all of them in a pose of singing joyous hymns in praise of the Shining Lady. At the far side of the hall is a great altar, upon which are carved various banal platitudes, which apparently these sheep find comforting. The benches are almost full with citizens and nobility alike, anticipating a morning of joyous hymnes and depressing psalms in praise of Sarenrae.
You're given no time to enjoy the scenery though, because within mere seconds after you enter the church, you feel a strong otherworldly entity, resisting against your presence. What the hell is this menace? Is Sarenrae taking a personal interest?! It's strong though...
while inside the church, every turn you'll need to make a DC13 will save to resist the mental assault; if you fail the roll, you're staggered for that round by the voices who are telling you to "repent! offender! depart! forsaken!" and so on, and so on. However, if you make the roll, you block the voices from your mind and you can take your actions as normal.
if you fail the save, father Donnagin looks at you in sincere surprise: "are you unwell, child?"
knowledge(planes) DC 20:
The nine statues near the ceiling are more than just skillfully chopped stone; each of them houses a Lantern Archon; they're clearly visible, if you're capable and know what to look for. Meddling annoyances, they are as well.
As Oret efficiently silences the guard and the servant in a single blow, he turns to see the recently diseased guard risen once more - until Aerent winks and speaks.
Aerent Sephim wrote:
Disguise: 1d20 + 9 + 10 ⇒ (20) + 9 + 10 = 39
unholy cow, not even his own mother would know...!
moments later, 4 guards come running up the stairs, two of them carrying shield and sword at the ready, the other two with halberds. You recognize them as the guards from the 2 floors below.
As they reach the top floor, they take a moment to catch their breath, as the first guard motions to Aerent he understands the need for silence. He gestures quickly to the door, looking at you expectantly (one might almost say, breathlessly? ba-dum, tsss).
profession (soldier) DC10 or INT DC 16:
he's asking how many are in, and on which side of the room you need them to attack. He is expecting you to point in a direction, and hold up fingers to give him a count of enemies, and a target.
should you defeat these soldiers, the tower would be undefended until the next shift starts at noon, which is well over two hours from now. Use that time well!
meanwhile, in the garden, outside church...
A few seconds later, muffled shouts sound below. Apparently, the screaming wench and the shouting guard have roused more guards. But, given the distance, it'll take them some time to arrive upstairs.
voice 1:"intruders upstairs!"
voice 2:"let's kick them off. I'll call for backup, then come up."
voice 1:"Right, but be quick!"
Lars seems restless. He is anxious to tell you his findings, but a furtive glance up to the wall where he's resting, tells you he's currently focused on some commotion up in the tower.
A little overhead to keep everyone in sync::
The sunday service has *not started yet*. Cala and Sindran are just outside the church with Father Donnagin.
Father D is near the doors, waiting for the last few to enter the church so he can start.
And in the mean time, Aerent and Oret are on the top floor of the keep, fighting some soldiers.
if your party can cast 9th level spells, your party can just make more items. they'll be upset - and that's fine. If you're not looking forward to getting that anger directed at you, make sure they find clues as to which villain placed it there, so they can have a nasty chat later. After they make / buy new items.
an interesting discussion on houseruling this spell on enworld
I'm feeling more than a little guilty for keeping the pace high, and in doing so, robbing you over the chance to loot the captains. And, since they definitely do have some things worth taking, your characters would have noticed. Things like a keyring and a +1 chain shirt, for instance, kinda stand out...
because I'm in a good mood, I'll give you the items - but let's take this as a friendly reminder to us all that not everything comes for free ;)
+1 composite longbow (Str +2),
+1 chain shirt,
longsword, dagger, 20 arrows,
composite longbow (+4 Str),
masterwork full plate,
dagger, 20 arrows,
and indeed, to minimize the metagaming, let's not use any of the above until we've arrived at Monday; i.e. we should complete all of sunday's escapades first, then divide the above loot.
Disguise as Mott or Eddarly?:
Ooh I like your thinking Aerent. Well, you've been watching them at their worst, and you've seen far more of Eddarly than you could ever care for, so fooling some servants would definitely work.
If you have brought some personal items from the site of their self-inflicted accident, (such as the officer's emblems from their uniforms) and used those in your disguise, you'd get a bonus on your disguise roll.
Hmm, while we're on the subject of taking stuff from the dead captains; is it just me, or did you honestly forget looting them? I'll be happy to retro-hack this once, but the next time you'll have to walk back and get it :) perhaps the captain's loot should go in the discussion thread...
the blonde girl watches from her chair, as the soldier who manhandled her friend into a chair is brutally slain by some servant they've never seen before.
the guard is not quite dead after the first blow. I assume you'd rather send him to his sunny god, before dealing with a common servant? OH, never mind - the second blow would simply bounce off his armor. I'll kill servant girl 1, just like you said. Heh, look at us, treating them like the cattle they are. tsk tsk.
Who are these servants? What could possess them to do these terrible things?!
perception DC10, guard3 below: 1d20 + 3 - 4 ⇒ (1) + 3 - 4 = 0
perception DC10, guard4 below: 1d20 + 3 - 4 ⇒ (18) + 3 - 4 = 17
a penalty due to the distance and the walls, but guard4 is worth his pay.
ini guard4: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4
ini guard3: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 = 21 one round later
"What are you doing here? The Lord's chambers are already being cleaned!ye gods, Donnagin hires just about anyone these days..."
Oret/Aerent WIS DC 15:
two guards below - some 120ft and a staircase away;
two guards on this level;
and apparently some servants behind the door in front of you, but it is highly unlikely they will pose a threat.
Normally, the dwarves would be at work on the roof - but it's sunday, so they're drinking => no threat.
You're confident you could eliminate these guards quickly, if you do it quickly. And, even if the guards on this level manage to make so much noise they alert those below, you feel you could take them all on. From above, you have the better tactical position as well.
Oret/Aerent INT DC 15:
Lord Havelyn's chamber is near. A scapegoat? A message?
Remember the horse scene from the godfather movie?
Two guards are stationed at the doors to the Great Hall - but they don't seem to see the servants, and Oret and Aerent make their way inside.
31. The Great Hall.
34. Guardroom/Hall of Honor
Carved into the west wall of this room, is the name of every soldier who has died defending the watchtower. There are over two hundred names. There is a large stone cap that can be moved in place by two strong men. This would effectively seal the keep from access below. This room is lit by four torches on sconces.
sneak peak through door 35, perception DC 25:
These are the prison cells
sneak peak through door 35, perception DC 35:
There's a prisoner shackled to the walls in cell D - the prisoner seems to be a girl.
If you, or a party member you mention this to, make a DC20 Int check, you could connect the dots and realise that you haven't seen Arryn for a couple of days.
37. As Oret opens the door to 36, the stairwell, Aerent can make out a bunch of torture instruments with vast amounts of dust on them. This torture chamber has not been used in ages. There's no time to investigate further without drawing attention.
39. Upper Guardroom
44. Upper Landing
Two more guards are stationed here, beside the doors leading to the Lord's Study. One of them looks at you in surprise, and in a no-nonsense tone demands "What are you doing here? The Lord's chambers are already being cleaned!ye gods, Donnagin hires just about anyone these days..."
He takes one step forward, to show he wants an answer from you.
ok Aerent, that's fine. I hope Oret does not feel ignored if I just go with this - It's just a matter of picking a direction so we can get on with the show. And you have an alternative entrance for the rooms below anyway. Oret, I feel you're way overdue some spotlight time; I've got some ideas, but if you have any wishes for character development, please PM :)
As 'Maudie and the Mongrel' (Aerent and Oret) pass the southeastern corner of the watchtower, the door opens. Magister Tactitus and Mad Martin step outside, chatting quietly, and join the queue of commoners making their way into church. Tauntingly, over the double doors is an inscription: "No darkness so deep that the light of a single candle cannot defeat it"...A challenge? or a pedantic platitude?
what are two fine ladies such as yourselves doing in a place like this? Okay, sorry, I just couldn't resist. But seriously - where to?
Smiling quietly at the annoying commoners from your (southeastern) corner of the garden, you have a good view of who attends church and who doesn't. You've counted about 30 soldiers, Lord Havelyn, Magister Tacitus, Mad Martin, and Captain Barhold - All of them packed together in a single wooden building.
Let's hope Sindran hasn't noticed yet - he may have trouble restraining his...fiery urges.
You know spells exist that create balls of fire. A couple of those, if well placed, would surely take out most of the soldiers and commoners in one almost merciful strike, but the leaders surely are made of stronger stuff - and they'd come running.
"your reflection on your actions is laudable, Timaeus. But spending your days alone in thought can only get you so far. Come. Join us for mass. After all - does a mirror not need the Light, to reflect anything at all?", pausing to smile in pity.
Please kill father D soon. He sickens me.
aware of the citizens strolling some distance behind them, Aerent and Oret round the corner, and they see the patrolling guards on the wall above have just turned their backs to them, and will walk some 100 ft before they face our villains again.
Father D looks at the congregation slowly flooding into the church, and his acolytes who guide the sheep to seats -oh I'm sorry- who seem to have everything well under control.
To break the ice somewhat, father Donnagin offers some soothing words :
I'll let you consider your options - the actors aren't due in town for a week yet anyway. Am going to assume Talon makes up some vicious secret about Timaeous, and he's asking a barmaid why Timaeous is allowed here after what he did - just as Stinders is 'casually walking by'. About an hour later, Stinders leaves to report his findings.
The next morning, a the divine light of Sarenrae's sun shines on Aldencross, as the church bells ring. Not that you needed the wake up call or anything, because the dwarfs have been quaffing loudly ever since their breakfast.
Outside, many citizens are up and about, on their way to various temples, but most are trudging up the hill towards the church in Balentyne Keep.
The situation: AFAIK, Timaeus and Lisandra are attending mass; Aerent and Oret are going to pretend they are, and then slip off into the keep at first opportunity.
As the pious flock passes the keep's northern gate, and spreads over the castle grounds and garden, the citizens stand chatting in small groups. Their subject is clear - neither the captains, nor Kaitlynn has been found, yet. Foul play is suspected.
Oret/Aerent, perception DC20:
Some citizens are strolling around the keep gardens, walking around the west side of the tower; this would be a very convenient route to come into as Oret and Aerent, and come out on the south side of the tower as generic castle servants, with no one the wiser. They'd have to wait for no citizens to be near, AND the patrolling soldiers on the castle walls to have their backs turned. Some good stealth/perception rolls could help here, but then you'd be relatively free to go anywhere.
Sindran and Caladwhen, are in disguise and mingled in the flock. As the church bells' ringing comes to a climax, suddenly the double doors to (26) open, and Father Donnagin stands there smiling, arms wide, as he welcomes his flock in:
Sindran, Sense Motive DC 13:
He seems totally sincere, and honestly regrets he couldn't have come to you sooner. He also seems susceptible to dramatic stories, in a way that might cause him to go out of his way to do something extra for a member of his flock who would happen to need it.
For the record, Sindran, Caladwhen and Father Donnagin haven't entered the church yet; Cala is not necessarily with Sindran.
Oret - I still owe you some details about the defenses.
18a. The Drawbridge
(19) Gatehouse Entryway
(20) is a storage room; no one ever comes here. During time of siege, there are provisions and a bunch of crude bunks here for almost a dozen men who could keep watch here day and night.
(25) The Gatehouse 2nd Level
There is a single reinforced door in this room that leads to the so-called “Bridge of Death” (24). This door is supposed to be kept locked and barred but because of the heat from the cauldrons, it is usually propped open since this door provides the room’s only ventila-
There are four guards posted here at all times. They tend the fires and pace the level. This post is considered one of the worst duties since the heavy stone walls plus the constant fire ensures this level is always stifling hot. The guards call this post “the oven”.
(24). The Bridge of Death
When Cardinal Thorn commanded for the gates of Balentyne to be open, the portcullis (19a) is half of what he meant. The other half is the drawbridge (18a). During Sakkarot's assault, the portcullis should be raised, and the drawbridge lowered.