No stranger to hard work, Harkon gives an "Aye Cap'n" and heads off to report for duty.
When he arrives at the shop, he inquires of any occupants "Any of yous Sawbones Jack? Captain says you need some help with repairs."
had a late day, will post more tomorrow
Amari blinks surprised for a moment, then nods and heads to the galley after waving his new group a brief goodbye.
He prepares a small note, for whoever might be running the inventory.
Hello, my name is Amari.
Captain send me to help you.
Grelthe nervously follows the Captain, making small talk along the way about the ship and their business in the Shackles. When they arrive, she takes a deep breath and attempts to sing an old ulfen sea shanty...
sing: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (1) + 8 = 9
...but her nervousness tightens her muscles and the sound comes out weak and her voice breaks. She flushes darker green, and mumbles "Sorry about that, guess I'm more out of practice than I thought. Let me warm up first."
She spends a minute doing some vocal trills before trying again...
sing: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (19) + 8 = 27
...and the most pure sound floats out of her like a nightingale. The beat is strong and regular and the lyrics transport the listeners to feeling like they are a part of the story. It's about a sailor falling in love with a fishmonger's daughter, whose ship is destroyed and he is thought lost at sea. After some extended time he has been saved from the shipwreck, nursed back to health, regained his memory, and earned enough money to sail back to his love.
Lest the rowers get too misty-eyed she follows it up with a bawdy song about prostitutes in port.
Lol, talk about extremes. That's fun.
Vuzi goes to the mate, and takes a mop. "It is nice to meet vu. I have not been on a boat like dis much. I guess ve make sure the deck stays clean, yes?"
She sets to work with hardly any complaints. She does seriously consider calling an undead servant to help her, but realizes the reaction of the crew wouldn't be good. She does show off her tattoos, and offers to work on any that the crew might want.
Craft Tattoo: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (1) + 8 = 9
After Harkon bumbles through some minor repairs, eliciting exactly the kind of reactionary looks from the crew as would be expected from a land lubber, he heads off to sleep and ponder a way to improve for the next day. In the morning, he alters his spell list slightly to include the Mending cantrip. He then spends the day mending anything and everything brought before him. After that, nothing went unrepaired aboard ship while Harkon was available.
After several days, on a particularly calm day, Harkon approaches the Captain, "Captain, it is such a beautiful day here at sea, may I have a go at the helm? Under the close supervision of the Helmsman of course." He even finds a way to ask without sounding like he is whining...
Amari: you meet a Gnome with a red scarf nearly as big as he is standing on a ladder. He greets you merrily, but you can't remember his name because he immediately sets you to work with inventory and you have no time to write from then on out. It's almost like he's reading your mind!
Grelthe: Your bittersweet ballad Brings several sailors to open tears, but then your face-saving sea shanty is hilarious for entirely differnt reasons and the other sailors are soon crying too, so it's fine.
For the next few days the captain keeps you close. He doesn't prevent you from doing things, but you always seem to end up working relatively close to him.
Vuzi: One of the guys seems excited to get a tattoo on his face of a shark. The environment and less than consistently steady nature of the ship make the work... difficult.
Harkon: The Captain scowls at you, but he's aware of your relation to Grelthe and steps aside for a moment.
"Why thank ye Captain, that is most gracious of you" , Harkon takes the helm for a bit:
Profession Sailor: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5
I hope that is enough to not make a fool of himself
"Well, Sir, that is not as easy as it looks. I think I have kept us on the right path..."
Harkon seems mighty pleased with himself having done something he has never been able to do before and steps aside for the Captain to resume his post.
"Well, it is all yours now Captain, I will happily head back to my repair duties."
Amari is following the tasks with calm determination, his mind meditating over several of the teachings his master passed onto him, while his body works like an automaton.
A thorny route lies before a mind incapable of satisfying.
A forsaken path trots he, who draws happiness from impermanent goods and situations.
The path of truth heeds he, who lets go of that craving to prolong what is impermanent.
Vuzi hopes that there are no mirrors on the boat, and the party is well gone before the shark tattoo is examined to closely.
Grelthe spends a lot of time near the captain. Strangely it takes him a couple days to take the hint. On the third night he finally approaches her and slams his elbow down. A test! Strength vs Strength! Let us see who can claim the other!
For the rest of you the trip is... uneventful. That's not to say it's boring, but you aren't getting propositioned by an orc.
She spent the first day warming up to the ship, and its captain. Finding the rhythm of the sea again.
She slept fitfully that first night, torn between dreams of passion and bouts of wakefulness where the dreams replayed in her head. She had had lovers somewhat recently, sure, but not... *she shivered* not with another orc. Not for a looong time. And humans just were never quite as good for her. Even if they didn't find her revolting, more often than not they were attracted to her as a dominating force. It got tiresome after awhile. She needed a partner that could match her strength and fortitude. Or exceed. That was even better, but harder to find.
She awoke the second day with a plan. Throughout the day she did every task assigned to her to the best of her ability, but still she found small reasons to touch the captain as well. For example, feigned clumsiness when a wave hits and bumping up against the captain, or brushing hands when handing something off - the usual physical flirtation signals - and observed his response.
sense motive: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (15) + 15 = 30
He seemed to have a positive reaction, but when she had a moment alone with him... she chickened out.
The captain offers his arm for a test of strength. She raises her eyebrow a bit at his use of the word "claim." Hmm... this might prove to be more interesting than a regular arm wrestle. "I'm always up for a test of strength! Best of 3?" and plops down across from him.
arm wrestle: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16
arm wrestle: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24
arm wrestle: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24
Wow, two 20s in a row! Man too bad this isn't combat, LOL
arm wrestling: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 6 = 13
arm wrestling: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8
The captain appears to be at odds with himself. He always mantains his gruff, sometimes casually brutal, exterior, but Grethle's sixth senses tell her he's just looking for a good excuse. You understand. After all, a captain can't be seen as having taken advantage of a working passenger.
When he sits down across from you, you see that his arm easily out-sizes yours. The first contest is brutal with both neither giving or gaining for several minutes before his brute strength finally wins the match. However, as the second starts he seems to have blown his effort on a single match and you win decisively. The third and last is barely a contest. You slam his arm down on the table like it's made of seaweed. The crew cheers and he looks up at you... and winks. Here's your chance.
The first round was a struggle, looking like it could easily go either way. The second and third were much simpler, and she was a little disappointed but recognized she was doing much better than usual. Maybe it was the adrenaline.
Grelthe grins back at the captain and leans forward, whispering in his ear. "By right of conquest, I claim... a different sort of wrestling. Midnight. Your bunk."
Charisma: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (11) + 4 = 15
She leans back and returns the wink.
SEXY STUFF HAPPENS HERE
1d100 ⇒ 52
An average time was had by all, good enough that Grelthe would be receptive to more. However, it does not unduly affect her working relationship with the Captain.
Before the contest, just after it is announced:
"Praise Gorum, let his holy rights begin!"
after the three matches:
"That was an excellent display! The first match so evenly set, but those last two...my lord Gorum has seen fit to grant you his blessing. I can do no less, Fethos de Malsvir!"
Harkon casts Protection from Evil and lends it to Grelthe, given its short duration, it is more symbolic than anything.
Amari - like literally everyone else on the ship - was present during the arm wrestle spectacle. But unlike everyone else, he was not shouting encouragingly nor did he join in the barely concealed gambling going on.
In between the second and final match, Amari catches Grelthes gaze.
He balls both his hands into fists and presses them against each other, knuckle on knuckle and gives her an encouraging nod.
Sometime during the next day, Grelthe will find one of those little notes tucked into her backpack.
I compliment you on your victory, Swordmaid.
1d100 ⇒ 96
Grelthe may have been a little nervous and off her game at time, but for the captain's part... let's just say she'll always have fond memories of that time on the ocean.
You arrive back on land two days later. The captain and Grethle disappear occasionally and there was that one incident where an "unexpected wave" rocked the boat and knocked some loose items in the captain's quarters around, but everyone is very reserved about it and acts like it's none of their business. Because it isn't. The Captain made that known very early.
Anyway, you arrive back in Zelkor's Ferry to find several new faces in town. You spot at least four new adventuring parties in new gear around town as you make your way back to Pye's shop.
"There seams to be a lot of fresh meat around town, should we pause for a moment and inquire for any additional party members to fill out our ranks, or just head back to the dungeon before they start going at it?"
96? Holy s!$@, that is legendary. VERY fond memories of that time on the ocean, LOL
Grelthe thanks Harkon for the blessing in honor of Gorum, and then launches into a tiny sermon about the mighty strength given by her god Kurgess, quoting part of her paladin code: "Every day is a contest to better oneself, and every deed undertaken is an opportunity to condition my allies and myself for the trials ahead."
Grelthe reads the note, and chuckles at the appellation. She liked Amari, but she still wasn't certain she understood Amari. All in good time. She makes a mental note to research the title more when she gets back to the Royal Library. It seems like the sort of thing to have a formal greeting or secret handshake of some sort.
As the party prepares to disembark, Grelthe will find the Captain and offer that if he finds himself back in the Widowmaker Isle area around the time of the next Carnival of Kurgess, she could show him around the Carnival. She lets him know the local inn she can often be found at.
Grelthe had been the calmest you'd ever seen her while on the boat. She was always happiest while at sea. But arriving back in town her attitude became much more guarded almost to the level of paranoia. "So many new people wagering their lives against the dungeon... in a way I feel responsible, but we cannot babysit so many would-be adventurers. Perhaps a few of them will be found worthy and survive the evil in the depths." She shakes her head sadly. "We need to get our companions back, so we can find and clear the evil temple." Just to be safe, she casts detect evil on every newcomer she sees.
*** Travel Downtime ***
During the few times the group had to sit down together during the travel, as limited as they might have been, Amari has shown all of you a couple of hand signs.
Apparently, whichever organization he belongs to, uses a complex sign language that probably needs quite some time to learn and master judging from the few examples he has shown you.
Beside the actual sign language, there are several signs, gestures and hand movement that are very universal and easy to understand even if not that easy to replicate if one is not used to it. Many of those signs can have different meanings depending on the circumstance but you are surprised how easy they are to understand even though you do not actually remember them as you would remember a word.
Examples of those signs include:
- Monster / Enemy
- Friend / Ally
- Trap / Ambush / Dangerous Area
- Numbers (using fingers)
- Be silent! / Be Careful!
- Stay where you are! / Don't move!
- Follow / Come to me
- Move (usually + a direction)
- Run! / Hurry! / Retreat!
- I don't know / Something is strange / Possible danger
- Magic / Unnatural Phenomenon
- Secret / Hidden Meaning / Lie / Hidden Object
- Chest / Door / Trapdoor
Example: <Be silent. Monster ambush ahead 50 steps.> or <Next area 5 monsters, 2 friends, possible traps>
I actually have a move for all of the above, but I don't think I could describe them well enough to be understood by anyone but me ^^
Amari's way of communicating include: writing (impractical in combat), Al'Fahd Sign language (complex language you would have to actually learn) and basic sign language using common concepts that are very easy to understand and should not need you to learn it as a language.
I'll use italic-bold for his little notes and <italic> within <>'s to mark sign language.
*** Back in Town ***
Amari looks around the town with clear interest.
So, there are not usually that many adventurers around?
What is your plan. Do we directly head for the dungeon?
I have got everything I need on me, so I am ready when you are.
Grelthe has no particular errands in town, but if anyone else wants to do town stuff then she will chat up some tavern people to verify if the influx of adventurers is due to their success in the dungeon. Also detect evil on EVERYBODY. Well at least new unfamiliar faces.
If there are no more additions to the group before we go back to the dungeon, Harkon is ready.
You don't hang around in town long. Just long enough to say Hi to a couple people like shopkeeper Pye and then be on your way. Noone calls you out as the ones who started all this.
The party's return to the dungeon is uneventful for people of your experience. You travel down through the lair of the crap monster (who is now in possession of a small lance from somebody) and down again to Vance's level. The Ghastly Merchant greets you with a toothy, rotting smile and a wave. Hi! You're back, thank goodness! Business has never been better! Are you guys going further in to rescue Simon and Emily?
"HRRM, I do not suppose you have come across any wayward adventurers in need of some extra work? We could use a little help getting our own party members back. It is strictly part time work..."
Entering the cave where the undead merchant put up shop, Amari reacts swiftly, nocking an arrow and aiming at the undead and his troll bodyguards - then notices that all his comrades are totally calm and the undead is actually greeting them like old friends.
He lowers the now but still with an arrow on the string.
<They - friends?
Grelthe laughs and gestures to the other lady orc. "I'm not sure how, but she has a way of controlling them so they are friendly to us. I'm sure Vuzi can explain better."
Harkon takes a look at the collection for sale, making a quick casting of detect magic to see if anything might be useful in the coming confrontation...
If Vuzi does not weigh in by tomorrow, we can proceed as the majority is currently for that, does anyone recall how to get back to where we were run off from? I was a bit preoccupied with carrying at the time, also, any tracking abilities?
Well, that is pretty much a full day, lets move on
"Not that long I am afraid," responding to Vance. "Maybe after we take a crack at the rescue and we have a hard time of it. It seems most of us are fired up to go rescue our companions after so long apart."
Did anything ping as magic? might stop for a quick looksee if so...
Vuxi steps in front of Amari as he raises his bow. "No. He is our ally. I haf an affinity for de dead. He vas left alone for so many years down here. His mind vas still vith him. I vas able to make him a friend, and somehow he he managed to control it after a vile. De twins." she indicates the two trolls. "Are his guards."
"Ve don't haf time to wait. Ve vill be back soon I am sure." she gives Vance a wave and is ready to follow Harkon into the dungeon again.
Unfortunately our mapmaker has left the game, and our tracker got captured, so...? I at least have Know Direction as a 0 level spell.
At Grelthes laughing and Vuzis explanation, Amari stows his bow after a last, puzzled look at the undead merchant, then at Grelthe.
He hands Grelthe a note after a quick scribbling.
I would have never bet to meet a Paladin ready to work with a Necromancer.
Most peculiar indeed.
As the group turns around to leave, Amari holds up a hand with another note, reading (in large letters):
Do you know where to go?
If not, may I suggest we simply start, where you last saw your companion?
Amari has a bit of survival (+10) and a lot of Perception & Disable Device to steer us around traps.
I am assuming all of Zadira's maps are still on her body/corpse, since it's not like we were in a situation to grab them.
Grelthe tries to remember what floor they were on, and the best way to reach it.
assist Survival?: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (12) + 0 = 12
Grelthe has two spells she thinks can help. First she explains that she has a spell that can help one person if their defenses fail them against the evil door, but you must accept her rage song to gain the effect. Then she casts Protection from Evil (Communal) on everyone in the party. (How many active characters do we have left now? If it is 4, then we each get this spell for 2 minutes.)
She gives you all a moment to cast any spells you wish, then finally starts singing, an angry song with pounding rhythm that riles up your blood. You have a choice to accept the effects or not.
First, the subject gains a +2 deflection bonus to AC and a +2 resistance bonus on saves. Both these bonuses apply against attacks made or effects created by evil creatures.
Second effect isn't currently relevant.
Third, the spell prevents bodily contact by evil summoned creatures. This causes the natural weapon attacks of such creatures to fail and the creatures to recoil if such attacks require touching the warded creature. Summoned creatures that are not evil are immune to this effect. The protection against contact by summoned creatures ends if the warded creature makes an attack against or tries to force the barrier against the blocked creature. Spell Resistance can allow a creature to overcome this protection and touch the warded creature.
If a raging song affects allies, when the skald begins a raging song and at the start of each ally’s turn in which they can hear the raging song, the skald’s allies must decide whether to accept or refuse its effects. This is not an action. Unconscious allies automatically accept the song. If accepted, the raging song’s effects last for that ally’s turn or until the song ends, whichever comes first.
At 4th level, affected allies gain a +2 morale bonus to Strength and Constitution and a +2 morale bonus on Will saving throws, but also take a –1 penalty to AC. While under the effects of inspired rage, allies other than the skald cannot use any Charisma-, Dexterity-, or Intelligence-based skills (except Acrobatics, Fly, Intimidate, and Ride) or any ability that requires patience or concentration.
The weight of his armor is burdening, but he sweats through the ache. His blade is sharp, but his spells are sharper, so he must keep a level head to bring them to bear against his enemies (Harkon will deny the song in order to maintain his ability to cast his arcane spells).
His faith ever strong, Harkon nonetheless accepts Grelthe's blessing of protection from evil.
"Ah, the cursed door, at last! We should all prepare, for beyond this portal lies the enemies we seek. Among them, priests of the vile Orcus church, the stench of the undead, and, if memory serves, at least one grotesque fiend. This shall be the ultimate test of our strength and a worthy battle indeed to inspire mistress Grelthe's next raging ballad! I have a spell which will enlarge a person, should anyone reap the benefit before we attempt to enter this dread portal."
Once all have claimed a spell, should they choose, Harkon will cast Enlarge Person on himself (lasts for four minutes).
Amari holds up a hand as both Paladins are readying themselves to force entrance through a door they knew to be trapped, looking only slightly incredulous while scribbling a note.
Let me check the door for traps first.
Maybe it is still trapped and I can remove it.
Or it actually is no longer trapped after you set it off last time.
Either way, you do not need to spend you miracles just yet.
Since we suspect it being trapped, I'd be taking-20 on my perception to check the door for traps.
For a total of 20+20=40 to spot a trap - mechanical or magic.
The trap is insidious and cleverly hidden, but, after several hair-raising minutes, Amari finally is able to connect the dots. The evil glyphs are woven into the structure of the door itself and hidden in the color pattern of the stone. It's no wonder it went unspotted before! Unfortunately, it's magical, and disarming the triggering spell, keyed to a simple touch, will prove... challenging.
DC 30 disarm, Amari
Vuzi casts Armor of Bones on herself, and bones come flying from every which direction to create a marvel of engineering and creepiness. She casts Blessing of Fervor on the Party, and aligns everyone's weapons for good with an align Weapon Spell. She gives Amari Guidance.
She gives a nod and waits to see what happens.
With this blessing, you call your allies to move forth and empower them to conquer and become victorious. Each round for the duration of this spell, each of your allies can choose one of the following bonuses for that round at the beginning of its turn (their choice).
Increase its speed by 30 feet.
Stand up as a swift action without provoking an attack of opportunity.
Make one extra attack as part of a full attack action, using its highest base attack bonus.
Gain a +2 bonus on attack rolls and a +2 dodge bonus to AC and Reflex saves.
Cast a single spell of 2nd level or lower as if it were an enlarged, extended, silent, or still spell.
I can beat that with taking-10 then. Uff :-)
All of you have seen people (mostly Simon for those of the original group) disarm traps before.
But you most likely never have seen someone work on a trap like Amari before.
Starting with the troublesome fact that he is keeping his eyes shut the whole time.
Instead the monk is letting his hands slowly, smoothly caress the door and the inlaid magical patterns, his whole body moving in a calm rhythm to a unheard melody.
At last and with a single swift movement, he produces a small hammer and chisel from a pouch and places one - just one - strike, disconnecting the intricate pattern at a crucial position.
A few breathless seconds later, he steps back from the door, stows his tools and forms the hand gesture saying <Safe>.
Grelthe is so stunned she stops singing and just lets her mouth hang open.
Wow, we got some cool abilities that can be mixed together for some nice results
Ima wait for the Blessing of Ferver spell to take effect so I can use the option of metamagic extends for the spells I cast on others, anyone want to go big? If not, I am larging up and we can find out who is on the other side of the door...
The door opens effortlessly and you burst through it into
… a short hallway. The real door stands thirty feet ahead and you need no special ability to detect magic here. The thing is so blatantly evil it leaves almost no room for imagination. It's made of deep black stone. The doors’ bas-relief carvings indicate that some great evil lies beyond. Lifelike details in the skulls, screaming faces, unholy symbols and demons are carved into the doors.
Amari points downwards at the stone portcullus, signing <Trap. No. Path. Around.>
He ten sits down cross-legged in a pose you are certain would be uncomfortable if you tried it yourself.
A few moments later, the dark brown skin of the monk flickers and changes to the white, shagged hue of birch trees bark.
He somehow applied the effects of barkskin to himself just now.
Without speaking a word, nor using any gestures or material component whatsoever.
Quingong monk power, spend 1 Ki to cast Barkskin using Monk Level as Caster Level, for +3 nat AC, Duration: 80min
Soon after the sudden change, he stands back up, turns to Harkon and hands him a quick scribble reading:
I would take your enlarging miracle if no one else does.
If we find that the next room can accompodate such size.
That done, Amari points at the door with a hard expression on his face and signs.
<Me. Ready. We. Go. In. Question.>
"Vat do vu think? I'm afraid of dis door. Should ve look somewhere else?" Vuzi looks very uncomfortable with the evil of the door standing before them.
Although Grelthe is very anxious to regain their lost companions, she is also wary of losing herself here a second time. She votes for looking around for another way in. "If we cannot find another way in, in a reasonable amount of time, well, we know where this door is." However, if the majority of the group wants to enter now, she will easily go along with it.
She is also attempting to draw a map as we go, on her extra spell papers. If we decide to go through the door, we will put them away to draw her weapon and shield.