"Well done, Ogon. Chiquq would have been very disappointed if the worgs had caused the stag to flee or otherwise interrupted the ritual. She has seemed a little unmoored since she lost, Ila. Understandable, of course."
"Wolves are good animals." Ogon says, looking into the darkness. "My tribe worked closely with them - we had many Beastspeakers. Until the witches corrupted them."
The flames go out around him suddenly, leaving the night blacker than ever before even to Dezso's superb eyesight. "Chiquq will have her companion at least. She is strong Beastspeaker - that is good."
Feel free to roleplay any further evening post-lupine encounter. Well done, intrepid nocturnal warriors!
In the morning, the stag--Aitut--seems to almost glow with unseen power, and yet...is diminished in stature? Was it ever as huge as you recall from yesterday?
Chiquq's bone-weariness is wiped away by Orik's divine touch, and Nadya and the children come striding over from their perimeter camp, smiling.
|Nadya Petska DMPC|
Orik is still sleepy, but as he heals Chiquq's fatigue he says, "what, wolves!? Why didn't you wake me up?" He yawns and scratches himself on his beard. "Eh, no matter, anyone else tired from your midnight escapades?"
Orik performs his binding ritual, including Aitut in the process.
Orik slept through all the stuff, I assume. He needed his beauty sleep. He will heal anyone else's fatigue.
He pats the ground as they leave, after fastidiously packing up his things again, "Be well, little plants, Yrja and I have planted you well. You are stronger than the frost. I believe in you!" He whispers something and then straps the empty sled to Sasha, who he introduces to Aitut at his earliest convenience. "Aye Nadya, lets get back on the snow, we'll make better time, too. Sleds aren't designed for grass."
Ogon has no fatigue!
Still quiet and introspective Ogon nods his agreement to Nadya's suggestion and sets off, after favouring Aitut with a bow.
"You are strong beastspeaker, Chiquq the Hunter." He says as they march onwards. "Good fortune and mighty hunts to you both."
"There were wolves here last night? I didn't hear anything." Yrja looks concerned for a moment, then relaxes as it becomes obvious that Ogon and Dez had handled the matter easily.
Leaving the summer pocket and returning to the cold and snow is difficult, but she keeps telling herself that it is necessary if they want to face the winter witches.
Your breakfast is swift, aided by fresh herbs from the summer pocket, and a few lemmings and voles that Nadya snared last night are smoked for consumption later--they don't smell half bad, seasoned with salt and wild onion and arctic peas.
The sunny weather and warmth of the pocket of summer soon fades behind you, and the day rapidly turns into another gloom-filled, listless Irriseni slog. The wind turns biting, nipping at your heels and freezing your behinds and tails, for those of you with tails. Even the dogs whine a little.
"Ulsgaard," shouts Nadya. "A nothing of a place, but we can stop for lunch and get out of the wind--maybe."
She doesn't offer any further explanation, but after a few more Yrja-aided miles, your mid-day destination appears. You can see why Nadya didn't talk it up further. The one saving grace as you descend a slight slope into town is that the trees near it were cultivated as windbreaks and avalanche stoppers from the nearby ridges. You stroll into the silent emptiness of Ulsgaard.
This place was once a small town or village prior to the Winter War. Most of the buildings are little more than piles of snow- covered stones, with crumbled sections of their walls rising from the ruins. The only structure that might offer temporary shelter appears to be an old temple inside a walled circular churchyard with an arch at the entrance. The front door of the temple has rotted away, but a smooth stone circle engraved with the outline of a butterfly is mounted above the doorway.
Nadya nods. "Here it is. Some say it's haunted--I never hear of people staying the night. But the temple there still has its roof, and I've been in there as a rest stop."
I'm so sorry, I meant to post Friday and some family stuff completely swallowed up my day.
Chiquq looks several years younger, though that may just be the smile that recurringly finds its way onto her face every few seconds as she gazes at the magnificent elk and hand-feeds him choice bits of grass for as long as they stand on the periphery of the summer pocket.
"There were wolves?" she says, vaguely. "I did not notice them. My heart was running with Aitut."
Shaking herself, she says, "But I believe you. And I thank you for your protection during the night, Dezso, Ogon. We are a strange group to be thrown together, but like the braided grass we are stronger together. I thank you for your words as well, Ogon."
Her smile does not fade as Aitut and Sasha get acquainted, probably with some sniffing at each other. "Whatever comes, I feel ready again. It is good, not to be alone."
Even the chill wind does not immediately dull Chiquq's new high, though by hour two of slogging in it she has stopped humming snatches of childhood songs to herself. She walks with a hand on Aitut's hide, muttering low apologies to him that she took him from the green warmth into this.
The village sits like so many snow-covered gravestones around them, and Chiquq shivers once for a reason other than the cold. "I think the spirits do not rest easy here..."
Take 10 on Kn religion to ID the butterfly, for a 14
"...but that symbol, that is probably the goddess Desna. If any power remains to her temple there, then it is a good place. Let's go see."
She starts trudging towards the temple with Aitut, scanning all the same for trouble, Desna or no Desna. Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (19) + 8 = 27
"Butterflies are pretty." Yrja remarks as she looks around the ruined temple.
"Ooof, it's good to be out of the wind. Ciquq, would you like me to make a coat for Aitut? To keep him warm a little. I could probably sew a couple of blankets together."
"....falcons on the roof. Two," Chiquq says quietly. "...not wild birds; they have jesses. This place may not be as abandoned as it seems. I do not think of falcons as servants of the witches, but... they might be."
New map is up, by the way. The temple is the thingy that's blocked out--it's the only building with a roof. The stairs rise 15' up to the temple entrance. All walls in the village still spanning an entire 5' mark are considered 5' tall...other broken down walls do not provide cover and are also difficult terrain in terms of crossing. I'll place the falcons on the map .
perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (1) + 8 = 9
religion: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16
"Aye, seems Desnan. But just because a temple was once consecrated, doens't mean it still is."
He seems startled when he sees the falcons, "what in the... hells. More birds!?" He shakes his head, "are these birds evil or good or what? Anyone want to talk to them before they try to peck our eyes out or carry off the kids?" Orik grumbles, clearly tired of all the bird-based conflict.
Dez carefully eyes the area, looking for traps or anything else unusual.
Perception: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (6) + 11 = 17
"It does seem strange. We should proceed with caution, but we have been through a lot so it is possible we are a bit paranoid as well."
The player doesn't think so!
Is the location or behavior of the falcons unusual?
knowledge nature with free inspiration: 1d20 + 8 + 1d6 ⇒ (10) + 8 + (2) = 20
I'm sorry! I was thinking I should be waiting for other players. My bad.
Dez hears the squeak of the dry snow behind him. Something is about to happen.
Orik can sense the temple is deserted and possibly blasted with desecration.
Dez can tell these are trained falcons, about to go aloft.
Ogon never has much to contribute to this sort of situation.
Ogon glowers at the birds, his shield hand moving to grasp one of the iron nails attached to the inside of the engraved dragonshead.
Chiquq purses her lips with a dark gaze at the falcons. She takes some steps back to have a good view of the birds. "Hai! If you can understand speech and mean no harm, then stay where you are. If you fly away we will assume you go to tell someone we are here."
She watches, an arrow on the string, to see if the birds react at all.
"If they are just birds it may be better to strike rather than risk it," she says warily to the others. "But if they are more than that...
"I do not wish to simply pass by. We still need shelter. And the spirits have given us a sign, with Aitut: we should be bold, when we can."
Yrja shudders at the thought of sheltering in a desecrated temple, and eyes the birds warily. Seeing Dez tense and Chiquq nock her arrow, the tiefling quickly casts a protective spell on herself.
Cast Mage Armor on self, duration 4 hours, AC is now 16.
Chiquq waits long enough to see if the falcons are going to make any sign to her speech, then shrugs.
"I will keep my bow trained on them. Orik, will you help with that? Ogon and Dezso, do you wish to investigate the entrance? Yrja...." Chiquq half-smiles. "...provide moral support?"
”Those are trained falcons — their posture and gaze is unnatural— and they are about to take wing. If we can assume their masters are evil, we should shoot them down.”. Dez draws his bow and nocks an arrow.
"I will check the door." Ogon agrees, marching forwards as his armour begins to glow the tell-tale red that presages pyromantic violence.
As Ogon starts forward you hear a huge, deep growl behind you. At the same time, the falcons lift off the roof, headed towards you. From inside the church, you can hear a curt, barked order in Skald: "Ready!"
You can see a nocked arrow pointing out the front door of the temple.
You can see several more nocked arrows out of the windows of the temple. Trees block their marks, though.
Dez: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 19
Chiquq: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21
Yrja: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7
Ogon: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6
Orik: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4
Showdown in Ulsgaard, Round 1
Large white wolf
The enormous, bear sized white wolf snarls again and says in a gutteral voice, "Know that you die by the teeth of Norgrimm. Nazhena sends her regards."
Instinctively, Sasha and Momo retreat, the donkey behind the ox.
GM rule after reading a bit: non-combatant animals will not be attacked in combat unless it is absolutely inevitable, i.e. in a tight corridor or in an AoE attack.
Grinning (?), the wolf charges at Yrja.
Before I resolve the attack--Dez, you have an attack of opportunity.
"I do not know if we can assume that, yet," Chiquq says with a shrug to Dez's words. Her eyes flicker briefly to Aitut, then back to the birds. "And I am loathe to kill someone's animal until it seems there is no better choice. If they take wing, we take them down. Until they they are harming nothing."
|Nadya Petska DMPC|
AoO Rapier: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (7) + 7 = 14
Dez's swing swishes past the charging wolf.
Bite, Charge: 1d20 + 10 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 10 + 2 = 20
Norgrimm's slavering jaws close on Yrja!
Bite: 1d8 + 7 ⇒ (8) + 7 = 15
He bites down on her purplish hand and arm, his jaws rimed with frost.
Cold damage: 1d6 ⇒ 2
However, the tiefling's fiendish resistance to cold prevents any harm from his frozen bite.
Trip: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (13) + 12 = 25
With a twist, Yrja is unceremoniously knocked on her side, her arm oozing ichor from the devastating attack.
Simultaneously, the falcons swoop down to attack you. Unseen archers shout to two of them, which flutter around the faces of Nadya and Chiquq:
Handle Animal: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (16) + 5 = 21
Handle Animal: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25
Handle Animal: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
Handle Animal: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (19) + 5 = 24
Both falcons obey their masters and become swirling feathered whirlwinds around the two archers.
Attack: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6
Attack: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (14) + 4 = 18
Chiquq fails to be distracted, but Nadya spends precious time knocking a falcon away. Nadya is shaken for one round due to distraction.
Two more falcons appear from behind the ridge of the roof. One veers away, failing to attack, but the other heads towards Orik, talons extended.
Attack: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8
for: 1d4 ⇒ 4
It misses the holy half-orc.
Showdown in Ulsgaard, Round 1
Large white wolf
Yrja, prone, -15 HP
Orik The Falcon Resister
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Woops, the GM ninja'd my post above, hehe. Well Chiquq said it right before everything went to hell...
No sooner has Chiquq said her bit about 'doing no harm' when... Harm gets done.
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (14) + 8 = 22
"WARE!" she cries out. "ARCHERS!-- hang on, Yrja!
I assume the falcons are too small to threaten with attacks of op. I also assume the wolf is not wholly natural but that I don't believe I have the necessarily skill to ID it. Swift action for 1 minute aspect of the tiger
Tiger, PBS, vs wolf: 1d20 + 8 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (14) + 8 + 1 + 1 = 24
Damage: 1d8 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 + 1 = 8
Her arrow streaks true. "Aitut!" Chiquq shouts. "Teach the wolf the power of the land-- and your antlers!"
The elk snorts and tosses its massive head, then lumbers around the bushes to the other side of the wolf. Its eyes flash a strange, icy blue as it registers its enemy. Aitut attacks!
Gore, bull aspect: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (15) + 6 = 21
Damage: 1d8 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5
"...Ila's eyes never burned blue," Chiquq says to nobody, momentarily distracted.
I'll get a proper sheet up for Aitut shortly-- I just realized Chiquq's posted sheet is still her level three one *facepalm*. For right now though, Chiquq's AC should be 18 and Aitut's should be 19. Aitut also has resist cold 5 as part of his celestial template. I'll keep aspect of the bull running on him as default unless I say otherwise. Proper sheets coming Sunday night.
Yrja screams in shock and pain as the wolf tears into her arm, blood flowing freely and dripping on the snow in crimson spatters. No time for a proper spell, no time to fumble at her belt and retrieve her dagger, the only thing she can think of is the other magic she has, the instinctive gestures and focusing that takes but a few heartbeats.
With her uninjured hand, she makes the sign that resembles an eye, then closes her fist over it.
Cast Slumber, DC 17 Will or sleep for 4 rounds.
As Ogon sees the wolf there's a sudden burst of light and the snow two feet around him vaporises in a cloud of vapor.
"Nazhena! Die beast!"
He charges with a roar, his flaming sword glowing white hot.
Charge: 1d20 + 8 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 8 + 2 = 19 Damage: 2d6 + 5 ⇒ (1, 6) + 5 = 12
All Ogon's attacks are. It'w why I put (vs. Touch) in his stat line. :)
Slow to notice anything bad happening, Orik's eyes are nonetheless keen.
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (10) + 8 = 18
"TAKE COVER, ARCHER IN THE CHURCH." Breathing heavily, Orik adds, "Chiquq, remember how I said I can embiggen someone? Should I enlarge Aitut when I can?" His bow is out, but he looks like he's going to draw his greatsword as soon as he can.
Would change gore damage to 2d6+5, I can do it as a free action on my turn.
”Yrja, move back away from the wolf!” at least a 5 foot crawl
Dez strikes at the wolf with his rapier then takes a 5 foot step back.
Rapier: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (13) + 9 = 22
damage: 1d6 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11
Knowledge nature or arcana about the wolf? Or need a different check?: 1d20 + 8 + 1d6 ⇒ (4) + 8 + (1) = 13
Dez says to Orik in orcish: ”I think one of us had better take the fight to the archers. You agree? You or me?”
A Kellid arrow sprouts from the shoulder of the giant wolf, who doesn't even bother snarling as it appears. Aitut's sweeping antler attack, his broad shells of bone tipped with spikes, does elicit a grunt of pain, however.
Will: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
Yrja's hex ripples out and transfixes the giant beast--who topples over, asleep!
Dez and Ogon, you may change your actions. I believe either one of you can attempt coup de grace!
Dez looks at Yrja with an expression of surprise and drives his rapier into the wolf’s heart.
Coup de Grace: 2d6 + 10 ⇒ (6, 1) + 10 = 17
Fort save DC 27.
Ogon slams his flaming blade deep into the sleeping wolf with a roar!
CDG: 4d6 + 10 ⇒ (3, 4, 3, 1) + 10 = 21
Not sensible I agree but he wouldn't not stab a winter wolf like that.
Fort Save: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (17) + 9 = 26
For a second, Dez thinks he's missed his mark, but then is rewarded with a gush of blood from the wolf's muzzle and a slackening of the giant body that proves its utter demise.
Ogon, you can change your action AGAIN :D And yay for Slumber working for once--well played!
No change. Ogon is stabbing it no matter what. Lets just say if he ever meets a winter witch asleep he won't just be stabbing them once...
The fierceness with which Ogon stabs into the dead Norgrimm resounds in the snowy air. Lifeblood sizzles on the snowy ground, spattering away from his blade of pure flame.
The archers' formerly confident commands turn to shouts of alarm. Rapidly, the two standing in the darkness of the doorway retreat into the complete gloom of the temple. Two remain at the ready, but take no action.
Slaughter in Ulsgaard, Round 2!
Large white wolf, dead
Yrja, prone, -15 HP
The falcons flap away from their targets, returning to their masters.
Full Withdraw, so no AoO
Nadya wipes feathers from her face. [b]"That's a winter wolf you slew! Nazhena," she says, her voice full of pain, anger and venom.
Something is wrong with the auras you sense around the temple. You can feel a pulsing, like a swollen lip. You aren't sure where or what is going on, but there's a presence.
Orik, reacting slowly to the circumstances, blinks and approaches the temple door quickly, tossing a spell into the entrance, to get at least two of the archers.
Reflex save DC 17 or be blinded, see my yellow shape.
damage against all evil creatures in the yellow area, hopefully two (let me know if they aren't within the area and I'll change my action).: 4d4 ⇒ (4, 4, 3, 3) = 14
"Let me send something else in ahead for us," Chiquq says softly to her allies, and begins a prayer. Casting summon nature's ally I, full round action
Given no immediate command, Aitut bellows inquisitively at Chiquq, but her attention is on her prayer. Should have given him the 'come' trick, ah well
Taking advantage of the brief respite, Yrja climbs to her feet and gestures towards the temple. For a moment, the air shimmers as if with ice crystals, then the shimmer intensifies and stays in place, a cloud of glittering particles.
Casting Glitterdust in an area (purple circle on the map) where it catches the two archers that she can still see (?), DC 17 Will or be blinded for 4 rounds, also outlines all invisible creatures, if any.