The wooded land is a rare site in these times, with the desperate need to grow food such a concern for many. This wood is one of the sources of Shadowvale’s success and prosperity - the conifers rise high into the air and are carefully maintained and cared for. In the distance the city itself rise above the lower valley, smoke pouring from the hundreds of chimneys and smokestacks. Closer, the smoke of the Orphanage can be seen, a smaller bank of fog against the greater. And beneath the trees sit a class from the Orphanage, on a field trip.
”It is vital,” Mistress Marta Ven’ia remarks as she walks slowly around the tree, ”To remember how much we owe to these simple plants. Without them we would not be here, and would not be breathing - the air we breath is cleaned by plants such as these. It isn’t clear what has happened to the plant life below the Fog, but unike the animals it seems largely unaffected. Now, think: How can that be? The sun is life - but it does not pierce the Fog. Why, then, do the plants still grow? How? The answer is we don’t know. But it’s an important piece of information, a clue to how the Fog works.”
The aasimar stops her pacing, and smiles, silver eyes looking on the students. ”You are all familiar with the four elements, yes? Earth, fire, wind and water. Nature needs all of these things. Even fire. I am told that far to the north the world is nothing but ice, with nothing green or growing and few animals capable of surviving. Fire is needed for life. And so, my students, you must find them, in this forest. I’ll let you slip air and earth - if you cannot fathom what you stand upon and what you breath then we have greatly failed in your educations - but the other two may be...tricky.”
Staying in the shadows of the great conifers, Duskade breaths in the cool, thin air. So different from the moist, heavy musk found in the swamp and the welcoming darkness of the Banyan trees. She wonders if these trees, like those of her home, have special powers to turn back the fog. But she remains quiet, listening and watching from the shadows as the children take in their lessons.
Ignus is standing in the background amid bags of gear which he had brought out for the group by way of a small wooden hand cart. After the mistress finishes speaking he quickly addresses the group: "And Don't worry about getting lost, I'll be around to help you all out if the need arises."
Khol stands apart from the others slightly, idly scratching an itch with one of his six inch claws. He stuck out in a crowd since he stood head and shoulders over most of the others, including the machine-man. He had not brought his sword on this excursion, that single piece of wrought steel was even taller than him. Ten feet of metal was slightly inconvenient to lug around when he did not need it. To hear Master Coutran tell the story, it had been salvaged from the body of a giant who attacked Shadowvale in the midst of fog madness. Workmen had to pull it free after it was used to open the side of a granary. Despite the size, Khol found that when he did wield the blade, his broad hands and stature made it no more difficult than wielding a normal sword.
He was dressed lightly in a loose black tunic that was open to about mid-sternum, revealing chain shirt under it. If Khol's durable skin was bothered by the pinching of the rings, he certainly did not show it. What he did show was mild anxiety. Khol did not like the classes he had with the Orphanage's resident druids. Where ever he got these mutations from, there was a unshakable single fact. They were mutations, he was an aberration. Ignus had it easy, he was entirely artificial while Khol was an abnormality in the crowd.
Regardless, the sooner he completed this class, the sooner he could head back to the dorms.
"Fire and water," he said, mostly to himself. He wanted to give the others a chance to answer. Most people pegged him as a brute but Khol did possess a greater than average cunning and was more than happy to let others underestimate him in one regard.
Rawgr yawns loudly. He had just been getting ready for his mid-morning nap when Master Coutran found him. He inquired as to why Rawgr wasn't already on his way to class. Rawgr had dejectedly accepted the fact that he would not be getting his nap this morning.
Now he was cranky.
"Fire and Water, huh? All we need ta' do is bring 'um back here?" Rawgr asked through half lidded eyes. This should be quick. It's a forest, I doubt there is any lack of both streams and kindling. Then I can get my nap.
Muziel was always happiest on field trips. The orphanage was a safe place, but it was terribly boring, and gave her too much time to reflect on painful memories of the past. Out on the field, she could have some fun!
"Water, I don't see the problem with finding that. You're looking at it!" Muziel was always eager to show off her gifts. She giggles, and conjures rain over Rawgr to see how the catfolk would react! Cast create water.
Duskade: I'd have to say no. Othewise it would effectively replace Spark and Create Water.
"Well, that's certainly water." Marta sighed. "Rawgr, do you wish me to dry you out? I have a spell that should be able to do it...oddly enough, I made sure to prepare it too. I wonder why I thought I might need to dry people out today?"
Untrained knowledge check: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 2 = 14
Khol hesitantly raised his hand after Muziel doused the catfolk.
"The fire is right there," he said, pointing to the tree next to the teacher, "My mother worked with machines and explained a bit about combustion to me. She said, without fire, life don't work. All living things have got little engines in them, so small they can't be seen. They use food as fuel to keep us alive. It's why we get hot when we run around, those little engines are working overtime to keep up."
Nodding, the Mistress replied, "It's a valid answer. There are certain creatures that see heat, and I've tried it once or twice myself. All living things generate heat as part of there surival, or must absorb heat in the case of certain lizards and such. It's not the only answer, though." She smiled. "Can anyone think of another?"
Rawgr shudders as the water washes over him soaking him and all he owns. He shoots Muziel a look.
At first he ignores the masters question and simply begins to pick up various sizes of sticks and dry brush. He listens intently as Khol speaks and looks slightly confused.
"Now, I don' know about all that. Fire that is to small to be seen an' such, that is." He walks over to a tree and sets his hands against and laughs. "Ya' see? It's cold." he continues on as he begins to take off his field coat revealing the leather armor and sword beneath. "I mean, sure, animals are warm, but out here the only way to get an animal to warm ya' is if it eats ya' -- an' I don' think any of us want that."
Rawgr smiles and starts to set up the sticks and brush into a pile. "The way I see it, all them trees are good for is potential fire. Well that an' hidin' I suppose." He lets out another hearty laugh before he falls silent and concentrates hard to light the fire.
Survival: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10 to build a small fire.
With the small fire just barley catching Rawgr lets out a small smile. He then drives some sticks in the ground and sets up a sort of drying rack next to the fire. He lays his field coat across it and straightens it out so that it dries nice and evenly.
"Ya' see? The tree couldn't dry you if you got caught up in the rain or took a swim." He shoots Muizel another look. "Well, not in it's normal state...eh?" He chuckles a bit more at his little jab at Khol.
He looks to Master Marta. "I apologize for so rudely ignoring ya'. 'Twas not my intent. I don' much care for the magical way. Sure it's quicker, but it jus' feels wrong. I appreciate the offer tho'."
Khol stiffens at the jab, the teacher's presence keeping him from sharing his own choice words about where the overgrown cat could stick his campfire. Restraining himself slightly, he gives Rawgr a smile full of too-sharp teeth. "Just 'cause you can't feel it don't mean it's not there, fuzzy. Your paw ain't exactly the finely tuned instrument of a trained naturalist."
Muziel is a bit disappointed that Rawgr reacts so calmly. It's practically the same reaction she would've gotten out of Tiny. Meanwhile, Khol had gotten testy again. She looks about for their remaining classmate.
"Hey Duskade, where'd ya go? You're missing out on the pretty fire Rawgr just made." Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (6) + 9 = 15. Of course, Duskdale was impossible to find, as usual. "Did anyone bring marshmallows?"
"Oh yes Duskade," Marta said with a grin, "Although I don't think we could teach you much about the nature of the shadows, it is something you will learn. In truth, today's lessons are two fold, and neither are truly about the elements. The first is to see how you progress to a solution. How do you find an answer? Is your answer destructive or creative? Do you sit and wait for others to suggest actions, or do you take a leading roll? Do you question for more information or dive in?"
Marta started to walk a bit, back and forth, as she talked. "There is no right nor wrong answers here. It is simply a way to see if we guide you in the direction that best suits you. There is no point in teaching a passive person the need for judgement in leadership, after all. It is simply a way to see where you might need and want to go next, and not the only one."
Stopping at the fire, the Mistress of Faith added, "The second part is about control. You'll notice that Rawgr carefully made the fire, and used the way it was made to create a control of it. This is essential. Fire is vital, but if it lacks control it is destruction. Every mortal habitation, from the lowest tent to the greatest palace, is designed to deal with flame and the smoke, from the fire pit and a hole in the canvas to a grand fireplace. Even with the control fire causes more destruction and devastation than earthquakes, storms and floods."
She glanced at them. "The same applies to you. People with the strength and power you wield have the potential to make fire look tame. At the school, control has been placed on you by us teachers. You have been learning control - after all, you're almost adults - but it's something you need to master. If a normal person looses there temper they might kill a few people. If a high ranking mage does it, or a swordmans with a blade that can slice through stone, a whole town can vanish."
Stepping back, she waves a hand. The fire flickers, billows...the roars into the shape of a humanoid. The elemental stands, crackling. "An elemental knows only a little more than hunger. Only a little more. Why, if you failed to control it in a forest..." She glanced around - at the pine needles on the ground, the tall tress themselves, the dead wood that no one had collected yet. "Show me how you can control fire."
Duskade nods at the wisdom that the Mistress of Faith is imparting, but is shocked when she conjures the fire elementals and now pits them against the class.
Do we need to roll initiative?
Duskage quickly fades from view moving herself to a safer distance where she can work her magic, or ply her crossbow.
"Get ready to handle any fires it starts!" Khol called out to the others, his claws extending. It was times like this he was glad he was never really unarmed. Khol makes himself look as big as possible, standing to his full height and puffing out his chest a little. He wanted to make sure the elemental could see all of him.
"You're going to control yourself," he says, his voice just audible above the crackling of the fire.
Intimidate: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14
Ignus has no intention to interfere with the mistresses rather...unorthodox methods. Still, the situation was highly combustible. He placed the bags he was holding back onto the cart and began to make a circle around the gathered students. He uses his foot to push dried needles and debris out of the way, creating a ring between the group and the rest of the forest. Afterwards he continues to stand anxiously off to the side.
Rawgr stares at the elemental shocked for a few seconds.
"Looks like class jus' got a little more interesting..." Rawgr reaches behind his back and draws his weapon. He then softly pads his way to the edge of the trees, sticking to the dark shadows. "Trees...good for hidin' too I guess" he chuckles to himself as he begins to circle around to the back of the fire elemental.
Initiative: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25
Stealth: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18
The creature of flame took a tentative step to the ground, winter withered grass and pine needles curling and blackening as it's fiery feet touched the ground. Behind it the fire pit continued to burn, only a little blacker than it would have otherwise been. Heat waves wafted from it''s flickering red and gold body and it seemed to...ripple, oddly, as though shivering in the colder climate of Shadowvale. Of course most places were cool compared to the elemental plane of fire...
Will Save: 1d20 ⇒ 8
It paused at the words from Khol, possibly out of something resembling fear - and possibly out of confusion at being spoken to in a tongue it didn't understand.
No initiative needed this time - it's disorientated and cold. It's going to take steps to change it's environment to something more suitable soon, though.
"Bring it some fuel," Khol said slowly. He squared off with the elemental, ready to block it's path if it tries to run for any large and flammable objects. He makes no effort to hide what his is intending to do from the elemental, if it is able to pick up on intentions at all.
"This thing is hungry and cold right? If we feed it, carefully, we might be able to keep it from running amok," Khol said, looking to the others to see if his plan made sense.
"It certainly doesn't look hostile. From wha' I can see it's just cold an' confused. Rawgr says, breaking his stealth in order to hopefully help form a plan of action.
"I don' think it can understand us tho'. Can any of you speak to it, tell it we don't wan' to hurt it?" Rawgr looks around hopefully.
The Master of Faith looked over at Ignus. "There's a reason I'm here, Ignus. It's safe enough. But how you choose to deal with it is important."
The elemental looked at Muziel. Although Ignan and Aquan shared some base roots, the tongues were obviously too different for the creature to fully understand what Muziel was saying. Still, it seemed to be able to puzzle at least some of it out, and replied in a voice like the crackle of fire and crumpling of burning wood. Again, the luangauge barrier made it difficult for Muziel to understand. The only word she got from the creature was, "Need."
The elemental leaned to the ground. As it touched the floor the pine needles and deadwood near it started to burn, quickly turning to ash and radiating out. The elemental started to move out, trying to find more flammable material - and heading towards the nearest tree.
Khol put himself between the elemental and the tree, holding up a hand. He quickly grabbed a nearby low-hanging branch of decent size and did his best to tear it from the tree. With his strength it was easy enough to splinter the wood and pull it free with the occasional strike from his claws to assist.
He offered the elemental the branch, hoping the sappy wood would keep it busy for a second longer and give him enough time to grab some more fuel.
"Alright," Marta said, waving her hand and dismissing the elemental, "That's all I needed to see for now. I'm impressed and surprised that you didn't all simply resort to violence. It's what a lot of students do. It's interesting to see you choosing other options. Not that violence isn't sometimes an answer - nature can reset the balance of things with the most horrendous storms - but it's not the only answer, and I'm glad you've all come to realize that."
The Druid paused, cocking her head to the side and listening. Glancing up she frowned as the shadow of an airship, the muted buzz of it's engine what first drew her attention, floats overhead towards town. "That's odd...ships usually approach from the east." A frown forms as several more shapes follow the first, making a beeline for the orphanage.
"I think we need to get back now," Marta said as she started to move seconds before the first explosion rocked the orphanage.
"They're trashing our home!" Khol shouted setting off at a run as well,
"C'mon!" He called to the others as he ran, his long legs eating up the ground under him. Now he regretted not having his sword with him. As cumbersome as the damned thing was, he wanted it on hand if there was going to be violence done.
Rawgr raises and eyebrow. He understands the importance of the situation, but has yet to see any actual hostility from the airships. He frowns for a moment in what appears to be deep concentration. He starts lightly jogging back to the orphanage.
"Why would so many airships come? Trade? Entertainment? There seems to be far to many for that. I suppose they were right, the only answer IS hostility against our home."
With that he takes a deep breath and sprints as fast as possible towards the orphanage.
"There are a lot of ships," Marta said as the school came into view. From outside the city you can see a good dozen ships floating over the city, and the eruptions of weapons fire and guns firing on the defences, and the cities own reply. Worryingly, three of the airships have taken up station over the Orphanage - a worrying number for what most people would consider a non-military target.
The forest quickly thins and you find the road leading through the farmlands surrounding Shadowvale to the city proper. The fighting doesn't seem to have spilled down here, yet, which is not surprising - most attacks won't go near farmlands, for fear of damaging or destroying the precious crops with fire or explosives.
The Druid pauses for a moment, staring again at the ships, and adds quietly, "Too many for a simple raid. What the hell are they doing here!?" A sudden flare lights up the sky as one of the ships above dies, an explosion roaring through the midsection and cracking the vessel in half. The engines continue to run for a few moments even as the Fog-based fuel burns with a violent violet flame before they, too, fail and the two halves come crashing back to earth.
Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13
"How's everyone on combat gear?" Khol calls to the others over the explosions. He was glad to see that so far Shadowvale was dishing out damage to the invaders as well but the sight still filled his heart with a sort of territorial rage. This was his home, damn their eyes. Whoever was responsible was going to pay dearly. Maybe getting dangled over the edge of one of those ships would make the brains behind this attack think twice about blowing up orphanages in the future.
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (10) + 6 = 16
Ignus draws his sword "Mistress! Is there anything we can do!?". He scans the area nervously, nothing he had experienced so far had prepared him for this. War was something he had only read about in books, only serving to catch his attention for a moment before he moved on to something less somber. Now the hellfire and destruction were all around him.
Suddenly Ignus sees a shadow across the road. "Here, take this for now!" he says, handing his sword off to Khol. "W-we should try and evacuate everyone, get them to safety!" He draws his bow that was slung across his back and holds it in his off-hand. He starts moving toward the shadow while shouting; maybe it was a survivor? "Hey! Hey! Are you hurt!? You need to get out of here! Find somewhere safe and hide there until this is over!"
Also Darkvision here
"I've got my armor and blade, but it won't help much if we need ta' take down those ships. I suppose we could try and board 'em but that seems rather dangerous-" He stops talking suddenly. "Aw hell, it's dangerous everywhere 'innit'". He chuckles slightly to himself.
Upon hearing Ignus call out to someone he looks around for who he's calling to.
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14
He scans as hard as he can, but can't seem to see anything. He shrugs and let's Ignus do what Ignus does best.
The shadow, as brief as it was from the flash of the ship, seemed to be human shaped. At the edge of hearing you can hear a brief muttering, and then three men in mis-matched, pathed together clothes jumps up from behind the wall, guns primed. It's obvious they were wait for you to enter the proper killing range of there weapon, as they are outside the effective range of there pistols by a good ten feet. They unleash there hail of lead upon you anyway.
Raider Gunner 1 attacks Rawgr: 1d20 ⇒ 14
The bullet failed to hit, thanks to Rawgr wearing his armour.
Raider Gunner 2 attacks Khol: 1d20 ⇒ 1
The pistol crackled and snapped, a huge puff of smoke errupt from the breach before the lead shot simply rolled out. The Gunner swears and shakes the hot gun.
Raider Gunner 3 attacks Ignus: 1d20 ⇒ 11
The bullet 'pings' off Ignus with no obvious effect.
There opening barrage failed, the ambushes look somewhat lost and worried, and perhaps realizing that this was why guns only had such a lethal reputation from very close range.
To avoid issues with one person slowing initiative, we'll use group initiatives. Not ideal, I know, but...
Raider Gunner 1: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 1 = 9
Raider Gunner 2: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6
Raider Gunner 3: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (12) + 1 = 13
Average = 9.3
Khol Karis: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (9) + 3 = 12
Duskade: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
Ignus: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (17) + 3 = 20
Muziel: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11
Rawgr: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10
Average = 12
Marta: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7
Strays first, Raiders second, Marta third. Go.
From the darkness, Duskade aims down her light crossbow, placing the fool whose weapon misfired squarely in her sights.
She will want to stay in shadow, so I am not sure if I need to roll stealth to stay hidden in the Penumbra she already cast
Stealth: 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (5) + 19 = 24
Attack-Ranged: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (14) + 4 = 18
Damage: 1d6 ⇒ 2
Ignus is noticeably thrown off by the surprise attack. Gears grind wildly inside him and he seems to temporarily forget that he is holding a bow and rushes at the raider that shot at him, throwing a wild hay-maker.
Full-Round Action Charge against Raider Gunner 3
Attack Roll: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 23
Damage(Non-Lethal): 1d3 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7
I'm going to assume it connected if that's alright
His armored fist slams squarely against the chin of the raider with a sharp crack.
"STOP IT!" he bellows.
Khol, not one to question good fortune, takes a town handed grip on the borrowed sword and charges the gunner still fiddling with his misfiring weapon.
Greatsword: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25
Damage: 2d6 + 6 ⇒ (1, 1) + 6 = 8
Rawgr is stunned for a second, his eyes wide with fear. The bullet bounces harmlessly off his armor, but he still gets the breath knocked out of him. At least he wasn't dead.
"Get a hold of yourself, you've been in worse. Breath. Think. Execute. He takes a deep breath. He had already been seen, so the standard approach wouldn't be working. He charges in with Ignus flanking the man on his other side.
Full-Round Action Charge against Raider Gunner 3
Attack Roll: 1d20 + 4 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 4 + 2 = 8
I'm just going to assume that a 8 just won't cut it
Rawgr runs up readying his blade. All his training. All his work. It was for this moment. *SWISH*. "Damn".
Our Happy Little Raiders have 15AC, with 11 Touch and 14 Flatfooted - for the curious. Also, the fairly crappy battlemap can be found HERE.
The first gunner staggers back under the Stormburst attack, shaking his head in an attempt to clear it.
Duskade's crossbow bolt slammed into the shoulder of the second Gunner, elisting a hiss of pain just before Khol moved in an left a huge gash in the Raider with a massive overhead blow, staggering the man back but not off his feet.
The third gunner faced both Ignus and Rawgr. He managed to fend off the catfolk's attack but Ignus' wild blow connects solidly with his jaw.
With the second and third gunners tied up in close combat, Marta moved forwards with a feral looking leap, the grace of an aasimar turned into the feral power of a beast. Although she didn't change shape it wasn't really needed, here.
Marta Unarmed Attack: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22
Damage: 1d4 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
The blow connected with the gunner solidly, staggering the man with a brutal kick.
The first and second raiders, realizing they were well and truly outmatched, backed off slightly to go give themselves a chance to reload there weapons and fire again.
Gunner 1 attacks Marta: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (2) - 1 = 1
Gunner 3 attacks Ignus: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 1 = 8
Despite there disciplined tactics, they are obviously shocked by the sudden assault and are obviously not used to this kind of resistance in the face of guns. Both shots go wide.
The one with the jammed pistol drops his gun and draws a battleaxe, swinging it around at Khol as he does so.
Gunner 2 Attacls Khol: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (6) + 3 = 9
The blow misses, leaving all three of the Raiders in a poor position.
Really? I can't even hit with touch AC weapons like guns? Wow, the dice gods truly hate me. Also, round 2 Strays - go.
The third Raider tried to fall back from his assault, but Ignus would give no reprive. He stepped right back into his assailants face:
5' Step to 010
Combat discipline has given way to wild emotion and once again Ignus lashes out with his fist:
Standard Action attack
Attack Roll: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22
Damage(Non-Lethal): 1d3 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7
He pivots on his back foot, unleashing a low uppercut straight into the gut of the Raider. The blow took his enemy off his feet for a moment and likely took the wind out of him. "Please! Just give up!"