GM AbyssDancer's 'Ire of the Storm'

Game Master AbyssDancer

Drawn by tales of long-lost temples and the abandoned riches of long-dead heretical cults, the PCs are not the first treasure-hunters, fortune-seekers, or troubled souls hoping for a fresh start at the frontier town of Pridon's Hearth. But dark threatening stormclouds are gathering beyond the horizon, for both the colonists and for the wider region. It is far from certain that this mixed group of heroes and chancers will survive to make their fortune, and in so doing shield the growing colony from raging tempests and hostile monsters. Dare they brave the Ire of the Storm?

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Female Human Oracle 3
Init: +8 | HP: 22/25 | AC: 16 | FF: 14 | Tch: 12 | Fort: +2 | Ref: +3 | Will: +3 | Perc: +3 | 1; 0/6 Spells Left

Aza, awoken from her slumber with words of hidden ruins and fountains, agrees that they should wait before heading in to investigate - trouble seemed to follow them everywhere, so they should best be prepared for it. "Excellent discovery," she beams. Upon returning to her bedroll, however, she finds that she is somewhat restless in her sleep - some combination of nervousness and excitement about exploring ancient ruins, she supposed.

GM rolls:
Aza: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (17) + 3 = 20
Iradyiel: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (3) + 9 = 12
ChestThumper: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (20) + 12 = 32
Vedic: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (14) + 8 = 22
Francis: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2
Pious: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (17) + 9 = 26

Unsurprisingly, for most of the party the remainder of the night passes less restfully that they might have hoped. Despite a dry night and a lull in the near continuous winds blowing in from the coast, the prospect of a hidden ruin lying silent and lost just up the slope keeps deep sleep away. Only Pious and of course Francis wake fully refreshed – for the others, troublesome dreams of cultists and strange rituals are chased away only when a resident monkey troop starts a morning chorus of hooting and screeching.

Whilst the others rise and make their preparations for the day ahead, several of the group take a quick look up the hill where Chest Thumper indicates he saw the lost colony. They return unimpressed – there’s no evidence of ruined buildings, although the dense covering of hanging lianas and low-level undergrowth does make it hard to identify what the jungle has overgrown.

Together they return after breakfast, and conduct a full search. Following the noise of the crystal clear brook, they track it as emanating not from a statue but a cleft in the rock – and nestled within it, a tarnished leaf-shaped metal platter two feet across, from which clear cool fresh water is constantly and spontaneously bubbling forth!

Stepping back and hacking back the undergrowth nearby, the jungle slowly starts to give up its secrets. Low tumbled walls, rotted timbers overgrown with roots, the remains of some flagstones, a stone bench; and a rough-hewn hardwood statue of a man and a woman, intertwined, toppled over nearby where the platter was recovered. How Chest Thumper found this in the dark is a marvel – you each doubt you would have spotted this even in daylight.

Chest Thumper:
This isn’t how you recall it – you’re certain you saw it more clearly than this. And the bowl – it was in the statue’s hands, for sure. Did the jungle offer you a vison of times past, of what was here once but no longer? It as you ponder this, aided by a nat 20 perception roll… you catch out of the corner of your eye a movement, a sense of a tiny winged flutter in the trees; something invisible, something fey. Looking around, it appears no-one else saw anything…

The undergrowth concealing the site is thick and thorny, and quite possibly loaded with critters – you saw several snakes the day before, and some several large but apparently harmless 18 inch long centipedes on this hill just today. How are you approaching the search of the area? Is anyone keeping watch? I note you have some defoliant and acid flasks in the group loot, or maybe some magic fire might clear the critters and undergrowth away?

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HP 10/14, AC 16, CMD 10, Fort -1, +1 Ref, +2 Will, +6 Perception Admixture 7/7, Active Effects: Message, Dancing Lights, Prestidigitation, Mage Armor

Vedic's familiar was still circling slowly overhead, keeping watch the same way it had the night before.

Vedic eyed the thick undergrowth clinically. "I could clear this, but it would likely kill every nearby creature. I would not feel right ending the life of things that are no danger to me unless it was the last option available."

He held his hand toward a large patch of ferns and began launching rapid fire globes of acid that ate through the stalks at the base of the bush. Suddenly unsupported, the large leaves collapsed to the ground. He moved on to another patch of foliage, slowly peeling back the jungle. It wasn't fast, but it was quiet and and could be done at a distance.

[ooc]I can can cast Acid Splash every round. it will be slow, but it will clear the foliage fine.

Grand Lodge

Male Half-Orc Male Half-Orc 3rd level Druid CG Medium humanoid (orc) Init +1; Senses darkvision, scent; Perc: +12 Francis - Init +4; Senses Lowlight vison, Perc: +1

Francis, once again garbed in his armor (they're getting faster at getting it on) finds a berry bush on the edge of the ruins and begins to strip it of its fruit almost idly but rather thoroughly.

Chest Thumper's excitement fades noticeably as he enters the very area that he told the rest of the party about the night before. Actually, he wanders deep into it before slowing and recognition dawning on him.

The half-orc turns slowly. "No, this isn't right. This wasn't here. It was here but it didn't look like this," he says, largely to himself. Normally, he would be put on guard by such a change but he is too confused and disappointed. He wonders if he didn't imagine what he saw the night before, perhaps he was still half asleep.

He turns slowly and addresses the jungle in a language that sounds as though it might be nothing more than the wind through the trees and the babbling of brooks and other sounds of nature.

"We come as friends to stop those who have been twisting nature to their dark whims. Please, show yourself and show us your secrets. If there is anything that will aid us here, be it knowledge or otherwise, we will use it in the interest of keeping nature in balance."

Diplomacy, if necessary: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (9) - 1 = 8

ranger stuff

Iradyiel follows behind Chest Thumper, smiling as Francis settles down for his breakfast; making sure he stays out of the way as Vedic begins to burn away some of the overgrowth.

Turning to Aza, he gives a half-hearted smile, "It is an excellent discovery, but from Master Thumpers description I expected, I don't know, more?"

'Who or what did Master Thumper see?' As chest Thumper calls out in Sylvan, Iradyiel begins to look around to see who he is speaking too. "ඔව්, මගේ මිත්රයා හරි ය, ඔබ අපට උදව් කළ හැකි නම් එය වඩාත් ප්රයෝජනවත් වනු ඇත."

perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (6) + 9 = 15
aid another: diplomacy: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (14) - 1 = 13

"yes, my friend is right, if you can assist us it would be most helpful. I used Sinhala from Google Translate it seemed Fey to me :-)

Female Human Oracle 3
Init: +8 | HP: 22/25 | AC: 16 | FF: 14 | Tch: 12 | Fort: +2 | Ref: +3 | Will: +3 | Perc: +3 | 1; 0/6 Spells Left

Aza nods sagely, although she is somewhat transfixed by the water pouring from the tarnished metal leaf. "I wouldn't say I'm disappointed, b-but..." She searches her mind for a more diplomatic term. "It's just not as im-impresssive as I expected." She pauses for a moment, still trying to determine exactly where the water was coming from, when Chest Thumper and Iradyiel began speaking in an almost impossible sounding tongue. Aza finally breaks her gaze from the fountain to look quizzically at them, wondering if they were trying to speak behind the party's back - but only just for a moment. No, perhaps they saw something else here...

With two of the party speaking peculiarly to the trees, the rest of the group watch cautiously, expecting some response, a reply, something. Chest Thumper and Iradyiel continue for several more minutes, coaxing and pleading for a response. But nothing happens – all the others hear is the gurgle of the unending water pouring from the metal platter in Aza’s hands, and the whisper of the wind in the canopy overhead.

”Foolish men! I keep my secrets to myself, but gift you the secrets of those who came here first...” (laughter, fading into the distance)

Aza turns back to the platter she is carrying. It does not take skill to sense this is magical in nature; rubbing a cloth across its surface reveals it to be pure silver, with the grime falling away almost effortlessly even after goodness knows how many years. The output of water is steady and unending – about a pint every second, or 8 gallons per minute. Are you tasting it? There doesn’t seem to be an immediate way to pause or slow the flow of water.

DC20 use magical device:
The effect appears to be permanent.

Vedic meanwhile makes slow but steady progress burning back the undergrowth, shooing off several large centipedes in the process, and revealing more clearly the structure of several ruined buildings. The statue of two conjoined figures is now clear of the vines covering it, revealing fallen a hardwood carving, masculine on one side and feminine on the other. There is an inscription on the base in what appears to be faded Kelish. anyone speak Kelish? which appears to mention the date “4621 ar.”, dating the statue as almost a hundred and forty years old.

DC10 Knowledge Religion:
You identify the figure as Gozreh, the dual aspect god of weather and the sea.

Pious wakes and heads straight into the jungle, though not quite far enough as he receives himself noisily.

As the group move to investigate CT's 'ruins' pious sticks to watching the perimeter. He has little interest in unpopulated ruins and is suspicious of the jungle in general.

Look not the man's footprints, but to the feet.

Grand Lodge

Male Half-Orc Male Half-Orc 3rd level Druid CG Medium humanoid (orc) Init +1; Senses darkvision, scent; Perc: +12 Francis - Init +4; Senses Lowlight vison, Perc: +1

"Fair enough," Chest Thumper says, switching back to Common, though speaking to whatever he was talking to before.

At least he isn't worried about it defending it's territory.

He watches Aza and her new magic platter for a few moments before turning his attention to what he finds most interesting.

He can't bring himself to use their defoliant or hack into the underbrush, given his connection to nature, but he pulls away the vines and foliage around the bench so he can study it.

Perception: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (16) + 12 = 28

Female Human Oracle 3
Init: +8 | HP: 22/25 | AC: 16 | FF: 14 | Tch: 12 | Fort: +2 | Ref: +3 | Will: +3 | Perc: +3 | 1; 0/6 Spells Left

Aza curiously looks at Chest Thumper as he responds to the language that imitates the sounds of nature - it was a strange sound, but it didn't seem as though they were in any imminent danger. The endless stream of water still fascinated her, and in lieu of coming up with any real information about it, she shakily brings it up to her lips and takes a sip of the enchanted waters within.

You bet I'm drinking that water.

Afterwards, if nothing negative occurs, she examines it with her detection magic, eyes glowing blue slightly as she looks it over.

Spellcraft: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (2) + 7 = 9

ranger stuff

religion: untrained: 1d20 ⇒ 12

Looking from Chest Thumper to Vedic, "The statue looks like Gozreh and that was Sylvan that Master Thumper and I were speaking. The fairy said "Foolish men! I keep my secrets to myself, but gift you the secrets of those who came here first" What do you think the Fairy meant Master Thumper"

He then looks to Aza, "That's what it said, "Gift you the secrets of those who came first" Could it be the Silver Platter?" He watches carefully as Aza sips from the water.

Hey GM, Iradiel has a 'language slot' I forgot to fill, do you mind if he knows Kelish?

Pious stands resolutely at the edge of the glade where the ‘ruins’ stand, looking out into the trees and vines around him, and down from the hillock at the wooded riverbanks below. Staring suspiciously at the jungle, he is reminded of his God’s scripture beware if you gaze for long into the wilderness, the wilderness gazes also into you. He stares about, frowning, but sees nothing. Until he jumps as something unseen yanks at his beard and giggles.

Iradyiel watches Aza examine the silver leaf-shaped platter. She cannot find any ‘off-switch’ to halt the perpetual flow of water. The water itself is not magical. She gingerly tastes it, then drinks it more deeply. It is pure, clean and chilled, and a simple reviving pleasure after drinking stale water from a waterskin for so many days since leaving Pridon. Surely this item would be a desirable boon for the colonists back in town – Aza can almost picture Annabella Tulia, the priestess of Shelyn and sculptor, making use of it. But it’s not the most convenient thing to carry with you, if you can’t turn it off…

Meanwhile Chest Thumper clears and examines the stone bench. Pulling away the vegetation around it, he finds it crude and worn, uncarved except for some unintelligible graffiti at end. It faces where the statue originally stood, facing out from the rocks and out over the riverlands below, but for the two large fig trees which have grown up to spoil the view in the years since this place was abandoned. Out of curiosity he takes a knife and prods the soil around and underneath the bench, figuring it could be a memorable place to cache something valuable. His knife finds something; digging it out he uncovers a slender package wrapped in well-preserved oilcloth. Inside is a slim leather-bound red journal, inscribed on the front with an unknown symbol or glyph. Aza or Vedic can detect magic on it, and sense it is not magical. Are you opening it?

Vedic continues cutting back the foliage around the buildings, revealing several which retain some structural integrity. Overall there are half a dozen buildings here to be searched; not much to act as a record of this first colony in the area.

HP 10/14, AC 16, CMD 10, Fort -1, +1 Ref, +2 Will, +6 Perception Admixture 7/7, Active Effects: Message, Dancing Lights, Prestidigitation, Mage Armor

Vedic starts walking toward the structures, splitting his attention between his torrent of acid splashes and getting a closer look at the revealed structures. "I can keep this up while we poke around."

Grand Lodge

Male Half-Orc Male Half-Orc 3rd level Druid CG Medium humanoid (orc) Init +1; Senses darkvision, scent; Perc: +12 Francis - Init +4; Senses Lowlight vison, Perc: +1

"I think he means that he does not intend to let us poke around his personal treasures or territory but is happy enough to show us what the last humans in the area did," Chest Thumper answers Iradyiel's question.

He is more than a little surprised to find a book. Curious, he dusts it off then takes a seat on the bench and cracks the book open, beginning to read the contents if they're in a language he understands.

"I found a book," he calls out. "Any luck with the platter?"

Female Human Oracle 3
Init: +8 | HP: 22/25 | AC: 16 | FF: 14 | Tch: 12 | Fort: +2 | Ref: +3 | Will: +3 | Perc: +3 | 1; 0/6 Spells Left

"I-it's good," Aza responds to Chest Thumper, moderately surprised before taking another sip. "It could be v-very useful if we could figure out a way to transport it..." The oracle tips the fountain over, looking for a way to temporarily dissuade the effect. "I suppose if we don't mind leaving a trail of water behind us it wouldn't be too bad." If nothing else, she refills her own waterskin with it and offers to refill the others' as well.

"Anything interesting in it?" she questions, curious about any sort of reading material.

ranger stuff

Responding to Chest Thumper, "Well, this must be the place." He draws nearer to Chest Thumper, nodding his agreement with Aza.

Vedic perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (10) + 6 = 16
Pious perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (4) + 9 = 13
Francis perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2

Aza and Iradyiel gather near the bench as Chest Thumper opens the old journal he found wrapped in oilcloth. Though it’s badly damaged, at least a few entries remain legible. Thumbing through them, he finds it mostly details a group’s daily routines and the severe weather at a place called ‘Lirgen’. The final legible entry reads as follows:

“...they decided to exile Chitauli rather than acknowledge his insight and take the bold steps needed to survive. The Eye is a sign from the Wind and the Waves, and if we wish to truly take control of our destiny, we must master the same energies that birthed it. These conservative old fools are content to wring their hands and wait while Lirgen rots around us, and so the true Storm Kindlers depart for the south. Chitauli has agreed to guide...”

Knowledge: History or Geography DC 12:
Lirgen was known as the nation of fortune. Its rulers were a group of astrological philosophers who engaged in auguries before making any significant decisions. Unfortunately for them, they were no more able than anyone else to predict the death of Aroden and the failure of all prophecies that began the Age of Lost Omens. Used to relying on the stars for guidance, they were completely unprepared for the emergence of the Eye of Abendego in 4606 AR (15 years before the date on the base of the Gozreh statue). The hurricane destroyed Lirgen and creating the storm-wracked region now known as the Sodden Lands. The surviving people of Lirgen were forced to flee, and are now scattered across the Inner Sea region.

Vedic continues his work clearing the site of undergrowth and exposing the ruins to view. Searching the ruins carefully he fails to find any further remains of the colony’s inhabitants, and no sign of any hidden or concealed basements or rooms. It seems the ruins are empty and the colonists long gone.

Aza continues to toy with the silver platter, attempting without success to turn it off. Turning it over doesn’t work, nor does shaking it. She refills everyone’s waterskins, before returning, puzzled, to the question of how on earth to transport it.

Across the clearing, Pious struggles to locate the source of his beard-pulling assailant, but without success. Meanwhile Francis moves from picking berries to picking parasites from his fur, and sniffing his armpits.

It appears there’s nothing else to find here, unless anyone else is helping Vedic in his examination of the ruins. Iradyiel, did you take a copy of the Kellish inscription from the statue in case you either learn Kellish later or meet someone who can translate? Aza what are you doing with the silver platter? Anyone else doing anything before you leave? And, where next for your travels?

Grand Lodge

Male Half-Orc Male Half-Orc 3rd level Druid CG Medium humanoid (orc) Init +1; Senses darkvision, scent; Perc: +12 Francis - Init +4; Senses Lowlight vison, Perc: +1

By the time Chest Thumper finishes looking through the book and looks around, Vedic has already cleared the area of underbrush. He sits for a moment, thinking about the contents of the book.

Knowledge Geography: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22

The information doesn't seem particularly pertinent at the moment but he hands the book to Aza. She seems the type to like books.

"A nice job," he says to Vedic.

He searches the area quickly but doesn't really expect to find anything. Nor can he help with the platter. He is quickly ready to go.

Perception: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (6) + 12 = 18

"This place is interesting, but I think it is a dead end," he aays, looking around.

ranger stuff
GM AbyssDancer wrote:
...Iradyiel, did you take a copy of the Kellish inscription from the statue in case you either learn Kellish later or meet someone who can translate?...

No, I don't think Iradyiel would have thought of that, and he definitely isn't carrying paper and pen.

Iradyiel nods his head in agreement with Chest Thumper, "Yes it may be time to move on. Shall we continue on to the tar pits?"

Smiling and motioning toward the silver platter, "What should we do with that? We could put it in the creek and come back for it later, or we could drag it along behind us. We would want to make sure it stayed down hill when we slept so we didn't wake up in a puddle."

Female Human Oracle 3
Init: +8 | HP: 22/25 | AC: 16 | FF: 14 | Tch: 12 | Fort: +2 | Ref: +3 | Will: +3 | Perc: +3 | 1; 0/6 Spells Left

Kn. History: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
Must've skipped that chapter in mage school...

Aza eagerly takes the book and leafs through it, and though she finds what contents she can make out interesting, she doesn't have the context to really draw any conclusions from the text. Still, she takes care to place the book in a safe, dry portion of her backpack, before returning to the platter. "I'd like to bring it with us. If there w-was anyone following us, it might leave a trail, but with the w-weather lately... I don't think that'll be a problem." Still, it was a bit of effort to contain the water - Aza, for lack of a better option, chose to contain it in a sack, and tied it onto the top of her staff, hoping that even as the water would soak through the sack, it would only drip out onto the ground, rather than onto her belongings.

"It is fascinating... but brings us no closer to finding the lizardfolk or their h-h-h... prisoners. We should move on."

The party are packing up to leave when Chest Thumper, taking a last look through the ruins cleared so carefully by Vedic, notices something curious the elven mage had overlooked – a loose brick at floor level in a wall of otherwise well preserved masonry. Bending down and prying the brick out, watched by the others, he reveals a small concealed space behind and eases the contents into the light. They consist of a fine steel kukri etched with a gleaming silver twisting pattern of waves, a silver holy symbol shaped like a notched shark’s fin strung on a fine steel chain, and a clutch of sagging damp and illegible papers. Whoever secreted these items inside the wall clearly did so many many years before.

DC15 Know Religion:
The notched shark’s fin is the holy symbol of Kelizandri, the neutral evil aligned Elemental Lord of Water.

Shouldering their packs the party move out north, looking to skirt the swamps to the east on route to the tar sands. Leaving the ruins of the first colony behind it is curious to reflect that Artemis Quinn's vision had been reliable after all - there was a settlement here on the coast many decades ago, well before the founding of Pridon's Hearth. They leave, however, with little understanding of how the settlement ended, or what happened to it's people.

It is easy to be distracted from such somber thoughts by the distracting noise from Aza’s constantly gushing wet sack on a pole. It turns out that a pint of water per second is quite substantial, and the Papaya Knights make it down the hill with a spattering splashing noise that they anticipate will become only become more annoying over the course of a day's walk...

Out in the open from the hillock's cover, the weather hits them once more. The storm is building again this morning, and dark clouds gather above peppering them with a light but penetrating rain. Hunched against this, it is surprising that as they reach the bottom of the hillock and cross to the riverbed where they previously spotted the earthenware pottery shards, Pious is able to spot tracks by the riverbed: tracks which were not there the previous day.

Examining them carefully, it appears a party of maybe 5 or 6 Song’o hunters passed by this way in the night and headed across the river to the north west.

Does this change your plans or are you still headed for the tar pits? Comments / reactions?

GM only:
2d100 ⇒ (13, 50) = 63

HP 10/14, AC 16, CMD 10, Fort -1, +1 Ref, +2 Will, +6 Perception Admixture 7/7, Active Effects: Message, Dancing Lights, Prestidigitation, Mage Armor

Vedic didn't wear traditional wizards robes, but the tuni he wore beneath his pouch-covered vest still had a hood. He pulled it up against the rain and gestured, casting a small spell. It didn't completely ward off the water, but it did make it evaporate much faster than normal. The elf looked like he was steaming as the rain hit him.

"The Wind and the Wave is another name for Gozreh Stormgod, I believe. Religion is not my area of expertise, but I did attend a lecture on theology's influence on arcane research at the academy. I remember that much."

Grand Lodge

Male Half-Orc Male Half-Orc 3rd level Druid CG Medium humanoid (orc) Init +1; Senses darkvision, scent; Perc: +12 Francis - Init +4; Senses Lowlight vison, Perc: +1

"It's a shame Jit isn't with us. I think she would have liked this," Chest Thumper says as he examines the weapon and necklace he found. He offers them to anyone in the group who would like to view them or use them. He's not familiar with the proper use of the weapon so it does him little good.

The good thing about the platter is that they don't have to worry about water, any more. The bad thing will, of course, be dealing with the constant flow of water. Aza seems to have found an acceptable solution, though.

When Pious points out the tracks, Chest Thumper takes a few moments to squat down near them and study them. His heavy brow furrows and he sucks thoughtfully on one of his tusks before looking in the direction the halflings seem to have gone.

"I still don't think they have anything to do with this strange weather," he says, seemingly starting in the middle of a conversation but seeing no need to rehash what they've already talked about previously, a sign of how close he feels to most of his companions.

"But they may have information we can use. And if they don't, they may need a warning of the danger they are in. Of course, tracking them down may delay our trip to the tar pits by a day or more."

He looks up at the rest of the group, awaiting their opinion on the matter.

Female Human Oracle 3
Init: +8 | HP: 22/25 | AC: 16 | FF: 14 | Tch: 12 | Fort: +2 | Ref: +3 | Will: +3 | Perc: +3 | 1; 0/6 Spells Left

Aza thinks about how there's only one person here who has any experience in religion.

Aza looks curiously at Vedic. "Gozreh?" She bites her lip and raises a blackened hand up to her chin, thinking. "I w-wonder, if by 'master the same energies that birthed it' they mean becoming followers of Goz... or maybe they were searching for their own path to divinity. 'Take control of our destiny...'"

Aza passes on the Kukri, but still takes it into her hands to detect magic on it - if it's alongside a holy symbol, it seemed plausible that it might be some magical holy weapon.

Spellcraft if Magical: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10

"Y-you think she would?" The oracle looks over the holy symbol with some curiosity. A shark's fin seemed like a violent sort of symbol for a religion, but she supposed it was better than the tooth of a shark. That might be a bit more intimidating. She'll pocket it if no one stops her.

As they move, Aza is very aware that her slapdash solution to transporting the flowing fountain was likely a temporary measure, and resolves to do a bit more experimentation when they next have the chance, starting with trying to wrap down whatever magical faucet was pouring the water as tightly as possible... of course, she didn't get the chance to think about this or long, as they spotted the Song'o tracks.

"They probably know more about this area than we do," Aza agrees. "They could help guide us to the l-lizardfolk, or perhaps point us in the right direction."

ranger stuff

Watching as Chest Thumper moves the brick and locate the items, he notices the kukri. As the druid passes it to Aza, Iradyiel accepts it from her looking it over then tucking it in his belt. "Thank you Aza, this is a wonderful chopping tool. We can use it to cut through the underbrush, like a machete."

Looking to the others, "I wonder why it doesn't show any aging, do you think it's magical?"

Shrugging his shoulders to Aza's question. "You know gnomes, hard to tell what they will do until you ask."

Seeing the tracks caused by the halfings he adds, pointing the other direction. "Well the direction we need to go to the tar pits is that way, we should be able to find it without the natives help. But if you all want to speak to them, we might be able to make contact with out to much cambat."

As the storm clouds above dashed across a darkening sky, pelting the undergrowth around them with a gusting barrage of rain, the party stood considering their next move.

I can't see a consensus above...?

Female Human Oracle 3
Init: +8 | HP: 22/25 | AC: 16 | FF: 14 | Tch: 12 | Fort: +2 | Ref: +3 | Will: +3 | Perc: +3 | 1; 0/6 Spells Left

I think everyone was kind of waiting on everyone else's opinion, but Aza is strongly for tracking down the Song'o.

Grand Lodge

Male Half-Orc Male Half-Orc 3rd level Druid CG Medium humanoid (orc) Init +1; Senses darkvision, scent; Perc: +12 Francis - Init +4; Senses Lowlight vison, Perc: +1

That's what I'm getting, too. Chest Thumper sees the merits in both. The halflings probably have some information or assistance they can give, on one hand, but getting to the lizardfolk as quickly as possible is important, too. It seems like Aza is for following the halflings and Iradyiel is for going straight to the lizardfolk. Vedic can be the tie breaker unless I am incorrect about Iradyiel's opinion.

"Let not the passion of retribution draw your gaze from the souls of the lost. For the lost are the future where retribution is of the past"

As Pious rises to his feet having inspected the tracks, wiping his hands on his filthy britches.

"I think we must find these lost, the Song'o. They may be able to tell us of the lizardmen." and they must be saved

Know:Religion: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (20) + 10 = 30 unbelievable

Pious is happy that the sharks tooth has gone away. He had seen its like before in his time and the primal energy it represented jarred with the order of Pious's personal faith. He keeps quiet on what he knows about the thing.

The dribble from Aza's bag, at first a welcome melody to the patter of their footfalls, grows louder and louder to Pious as the group progress until it sounds like a waterfall chasing him wearing away at his psyche. Washing away his calm.

HP 10/14, AC 16, CMD 10, Fort -1, +1 Ref, +2 Will, +6 Perception Admixture 7/7, Active Effects: Message, Dancing Lights, Prestidigitation, Mage Armor

Detect magic on the new sword, and the other things we picked up. (I thought I posted that already but it looks like the postmonster ate it)

Vedic scanned their new finds for magical auras, his mind already racing with possibilities of an endless source of clean water.

As you see the notched shark fin you make the connection that it relates to Kelizandri but more than this, youknow deep down it does, and that this is not the first time you have sensed his influence in recent days. In a startling vision you sense colossal looming shapes shifting in the deep, feel the immense weight of the depths, and shiver at the numbing cold of dark still water seeping into your bones. Then it is gone. It leaves behind a sense of divine righteousness - Kelizandri’s unholy influence in this land is growing via the storms, and this is something you must oppose with every resource, every ally you can muster. This cannot stand.

Of the party’s latest finds two items radiate magic. One is of course the silver platter, from which Vedic senses a potent divine conjuration magic; and the other is the Kukri, which radiates a weak aura of arcane evocation magic.

With your terrible spellcraft roll, you are unable to sense whether the Kukri is magical.

[spoiler=GM dice roll]1d20 + 12 ⇒ (4) + 12 = 161d20 + 12 ⇒ (14) + 12 = 26

After some debate, the Papaya Knights decide to cross the river and follow the Song’o halflings northwest, seeking answers about the lizardfolk raiders. On the far side there is a pause, as both Pious and Chest Thumper try but fail to pick up the trail. It is only when you realise that the Song’o must have travelled some distance upriver within the river bed that progress is made; after wading against the flow for 10 minutes or more, Chest Thumper spots tracks climbing a muddy riverbank and the chase is once more afoot.

The tracks follow a game trail and lead though light woodland. The trail is hard work for the two trackers, and for Francis who is still carrying the keg of Dika brandy, but easier on the others; the undergrowth here is lighter and the ground harder underfoot, and there are no perilous wildlife encounters beyond a few pesky leeches which both Iradyiel and Aza catch on their arms before removing them. Above them the storm continues to grow in violence; it is clear that another major storm is heading for this coast in the coming days.

After half a day the party find an abandoned campsite; they find a covered-over firepit plus evidence that a small group of humanoids slept here perhaps only a few hours ago. Francis’ nose detects evidence that at least one of the Song’o is wounded – a bloodstained poultice dressing, hastily buried in a shallow pit. The trail leads onward – it is fortunate indeed that the land here is open otherwise tracking the Song’o would be far more difficult. Given the diminutive size of the Song’o, and the hope that their wounded member might slow them further, the party have high confidence of catching up with them in quick time, if only they can keep on their heels. And so it turns out; mid-afternoon the party emerge over a low rise from a palm-tree thicket above a clearer area of land, and spot six brown-skinned Song’o halflings ahead and below, one of whom is clearly limping, walking wearily towards the treeline maybe half a mile distant.

At half a mile distance you’re some way away from the Song’o. The ground between you and them is quite open – you would be quite visible advancing across it for the next 10 minutes or so. What are you doing? Oh and would anyone care to give me a DC20 survival check? No reason…

Survival: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (4) + 9 = 13 +1 in the unlikely event that this is to track something

Pious breaks cover and begins to move toward the halflings. His sword is sheathed but he is carrying his holy text open in one had and the other is held out to show he carries nothing.

ranger stuff

survival: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21

After picked the leech off of his arm Iradyiel asks Aza, "Hey do you see that?"

Grand Lodge

Male Half-Orc Male Half-Orc 3rd level Druid CG Medium humanoid (orc) Init +1; Senses darkvision, scent; Perc: +12 Francis - Init +4; Senses Lowlight vison, Perc: +1

Chest Thumper grows ever more impressed by the Song'o as he and Pious track them. He has to respect their ability to hide their path. It was clear that they knew how to survive in the wild and keep hidden from their enemies.

He is relieved when they come within sight of the halflings. He waves Francis back as Pious moves forward. He joins his friend, walking a few steps behind him. At this distance they won't be able to hear anything he says, so he does not bother calling out to them, but he is careful to walk with his hands at his sides and away from his weapons. Though, he does wave briefly as they approach the target of their search.

Female Human Oracle 3
Init: +8 | HP: 22/25 | AC: 16 | FF: 14 | Tch: 12 | Fort: +2 | Ref: +3 | Will: +3 | Perc: +3 | 1; 0/6 Spells Left

Aza scrabbles at the leech, a but put off by something sucking at her blood (and vaguely remembering an obscure magical practice of stealing magical creature's blood to fuel some dark sorcery), flicking it off into the jungle. "The storm?" she asks Iradyiel in response. "It... I hope it is n-not like the l-last one..." . She shudders at the thought of the blood, washing alongside the waters of that storm...

Aza leans on her quarterstaff, doing her best to look as meek as possible - something she didn't think would be too difficult. Still, a flash of paranoia made her whisper something under her breath, and invisible winds began to surround her. Just in case. One hand is held up, as with the others, showing that she had no weapons as they approach.

Air barrier, activate!

Iradyiel only:
Over the course of the morning following the Song’o tracks, your intuition has been nagging at you, triggered by something on the edge of your perception. You’ve put it off until now, suspicious that the shapes and shadows of the jungle were playing tricks on your mind, but it hits you again as the party pauses on sighting the halflings. Behind you, back the way you came, a small flock of long-legged cranes flutters up from the jungle canopy with a chorus of alarm. They have been startled by something, and this is not the first time you have noticed a similar event today. It may be that the Song’o are not the only ones being tracked…

It is not long before the Song’o in the open ground ahead catch sight of the party emerging from the tree-line and approaching down the slope. From a distance, it is evident that this causes the halflings immediate and grave concern; they gather together, helping their injured fellow along and conferring closely but in an agitated manner with much pointing in the party’s direction, despite Pious and Chest Thumper’s non-aggressive demeanour.

It seems a decision is made. The Song’o hunters make for an isolated copse dominated by a huge baobab tree, its gnarled and twisted limbs spreading over a scattering of smaller trees around. Several of the halflings work to climb the baobab, hoisting the injured figure up with them. Others appear to be working in the shrubs and grasses around the base of the tree, before some but not all join their fellows above. And there they wait, hidden and silent, as the six party members make their way down the slope towards them.

HP 10/14, AC 16, CMD 10, Fort -1, +1 Ref, +2 Will, +6 Perception Admixture 7/7, Active Effects: Message, Dancing Lights, Prestidigitation, Mage Armor

As they traveled, Vedic asked to see the Kukri they'd found. His little floating orb moved over the blade slowly, briefly illuminating an arcane aura with it's glow. A series of runes that looked like a complex equation in another language revealed themselves in a lattice across the weapon. Vedic nodded to himself.

I take 10 on Spellcraft to Identify, with Aid Another from my familiar. Total of 23

When Pious began moving toward the halflings and their tree, Vedic cast a defensive spell just in case.

Mage Armor.

It's a +1 kukri.

HP 10/14, AC 16, CMD 10, Fort -1, +1 Ref, +2 Will, +6 Perception Admixture 7/7, Active Effects: Message, Dancing Lights, Prestidigitation, Mage Armor

"It is a standard combat enhancement." Vedic said passing the curved knife back. +1 Kukri.

Grand Lodge

Male Half-Orc Male Half-Orc 3rd level Druid CG Medium humanoid (orc) Init +1; Senses darkvision, scent; Perc: +12 Francis - Init +4; Senses Lowlight vison, Perc: +1

Chest Thumper releases a rueful, grunting laugh as he sees the halflings make their preparations. He slows in his approach and stops completely before they're within weapons range on either side.

"I am certain they've set some traps for us at the base of that tree and that they'll shoot before asking any questions," he says to his companions.

"We can heal their friend but we may have a hard time convincing them that we mean to help them."

ranger stuff

Looking back over his shoulder, Iradyiel shakes his head in response to Aza, "No not the storm, though that has me worried also. It was a small flock of long-legged cranes fluttering up from the jungle canopy with a chorus of alarm. did you notice it? I think were being followed."

Iradhiel places his hand on Chest Thumpers shoulder. "Master Thumper, the traps they are setting may not be for us. They may be for whoever is following us. Whoever they are may have been following the Song'O's first."

He nods to the side of the path, "we could move off to the side and see if the ones behind us are following us or the halflings."

Female Human Oracle 3
Init: +8 | HP: 22/25 | AC: 16 | FF: 14 | Tch: 12 | Fort: +2 | Ref: +3 | Will: +3 | Perc: +3 | 1; 0/6 Spells Left

"I d-didn't..." Aza mumbles back, a bit embarrassed at her oversight, though it was unlikely that she would have drawn the same conclusion even if she had. "If something else is hunting the Song'o, helping them scare it off might help our cause..." she looks around behind her, searching for any evidence of this third party. "I believe that we can talk to them and offer our h-help," the oracle suggests, looking out at the place where they have hidden. "They might be suspicious, but I don't think they are s-s-s... unwise."

Pious makes to prepare a spell casting when Iradyiel speaks up. Casting a rueful look at the entrenched Song'o he moves to take cover with the others.

"The trial before a traveller is but one obstacle on life's path. Troubles lie on all sides. Let us see what follows."

If what appears is anything not obviously unreasonably hostile Pious plans to pop sanctuary and start threatening stuff.

Picture a wide open meadow sloping down from the light forest you just left, towards where the tree line resumes a mile off. The meadow is dotted with sparse clumps of slender palms plus occasional wild dika shrubs, and the undergrowth is coarse yellowy-grey grasses, mixed with divots, stray roots and ant hills - quite treacherous ground if one had to cover it at speed. A few jungle antelope can be seen grazing; they keep a safe distance from both groups. In places huge baobob trees stand alone, and it is one such the halflings have sought refuge within and around.

I need some help here regards positioning. When the Song'o spotted you, you were maybe 1,000 yards from them, and you've advanced slowly since then as they made their stand. I need to understand whether you're approaching to the edge of bowshot range (400' away) as per CT's post and taking cover in the grasses or by a stand of palms, or retreating some distance from the Song'o (say, 1000' away but to one side) to put distance between you as per Iradyiel's post. Or something else?

I think there was agreement for the latter from Aza and Pious, but I want to paint a more fulsome picture and be sure. And are you all clumped together within 10' or so, or spaced apart?

What do you say? It might be important...

HP 10/14, AC 16, CMD 10, Fort -1, +1 Ref, +2 Will, +6 Perception Admixture 7/7, Active Effects: Message, Dancing Lights, Prestidigitation, Mage Armor

Time to cast Shield. AC currently 20.

Vedic put up a screen of force in front of him that faded from sight after a moment.

I'm about 10 feet behind the main group.

"Spread out." Vedic advised. "If any of them can cast spells, we do not want to be close together."

Grand Lodge

Male Half-Orc Male Half-Orc 3rd level Druid CG Medium humanoid (orc) Init +1; Senses darkvision, scent; Perc: +12 Francis - Init +4; Senses Lowlight vison, Perc: +1

Chest Thumper sees the wisdom of not getting too close to the halflings and relishes the possibility of ambushing some of their opponents. Even more so since they might get to fight side-by-side with the Song'o.

He waves Francis away some distance and spreads out from his companions. He takes cover in the vegetation to hide from those following them.

"A good eye, Iradyiel," he compliments the half-elf, impressed he noticed something he, himself missed.

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