|2 people marked this as a favorite.|
Dez is much better at bluster and bluffing than I am, but here goes..."
Dez gulps and steps forward, speaking in refined sounding Taldan: "We would be happy to take time to stop and chat with you fine folks, but when we arrive at Whitethrone and apply for a business license at the city gate, in my experience we will be asked regarding all of our previous interactions with Whitethrone authorities. As I'm sure you are aware this is not an authorized inspection point. Now, normally I would be happy to overlook that and not mention it to the authorities at the gate, but I'm sure you are aware that my kind are biologically incapable of telling a falsehood. So, I suggest that you let us be on our way, because I would hate for the city guards to come and interfere with this nice little operation you have going here..."
Bluff with inspiration: 1d20 + 8 + 1d6 ⇒ (16) + 8 + (3) = 27
The shoulders of the merrow slump. "Him speak true," says one in a 'quiet' voice to another. "What him?" says the second. "Stupid, Gurshup! Clearly him contract devil," says the third. "You papers in order. May pass.", he continues in an attempt at an official voice.
At that point the three merrows unceremoniously dive into the river, disappearing beneath the slow moving water.
If anyone glances at the Jadwiga, you may notice that she is smirking. You get the feeling she'd be smirking if the merrow ate you as well. Jadwiga are not the kindest of people.
Dezső quickly glances at his companions feeling very satisfied with himself. He's also impressed by one of the merrow, commenting "You know, I've long suspected that it is the influence of a contract devil running through my blood, but I never suspected that one of the likes of those would be the first to point it out!"
Dez looks around for any unnoticed risks or threats and comments: "Folks, I see a body down there that looks like it has some interesting items on it. I am quickly going to scoot down and check it out. Be right back."
Perception: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (16) + 11 = 27
With that, barring noticing anything new of concern, Dez will make his way over to the body.
Merrow are not dainty eaters. Whoever this was, they have had their head bitten off and disposed of, and legs ripped of flesh, one gleaming hip joint pulled right out of its socket. They have ripped out the guts of the person from the groin upwards. Mercifully, all the gore has frozen.
On or near the body, you find:
three arrows that seem magical
three arrows with different fletching that also seem magical
an interesting chain shirt (with a bit of blood on it, of course)
a masterwork cold iron battleaxe
a leather pouch containing two blue sapphires (worth 50 gp each) and 20 gp in coins
Doing his best to ignore the gore, Dez quickly puts the valuables in a sack and carefully makes his way back up to his companions. His signals with his expression that he found some interesting stuff, but does not open the sack until they are well away from the bridge.
See items under spoiler tab!
Once they are clear of the bridge, Dez is curious to find out what is "interesting" about the chain shirt. Orik, you use battleaxes, right?
Yep! Good replacement for my non-masterwork cold iron battleaxe. One of my weapons when I use a shield.
Orik cheers at Dezsö. ”Good find! It’s always nice to find things. Erastil bless this man... I’m a bit... these merrow are going to keep killing people. Let’s mark this on the map - come back when the jadwiga is gone. Get him some justice. I’m sure we’ll come back this way when we consecrate that ruined temple.”
|Nadya Petska DMPC|
It had taken some coaxing to get Momo over the ice bridge, but with patience and promises of treats, she had managed it. As they reach the far shore, Yrja sets down her bag to look for the promised treats, and that is when she spots the body. She is too afraid of the Jadwiga to react, but fearless Dez quickly scrambles down the bank and returns with a sack of items.
"Did you get a look at his face? Perhaps he has family who await news of him."
She inspects the dead man's things once they are a safe distance away from the bridge.
Spellcraft arrows: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (13) + 12 = 25
Spellcraft other arrows: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (1) + 12 = 13
Spellcraft chainshirt: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (17) + 12 = 29
"I'm afraid not, Yrja. The body's head was ripped off and either eaten or thrown elsewhere."
|Nadya Petska DMPC|
There are three +2 arrows, three arrows that Yrja cannot identify, and the chain mail shirt is frost-forged, affording the wearer some resistance against cold attacks.
Nadya leads you through a forest of leafless birch trees, and you stop to eat and feed the animals at mid-day. "There it is--Whitethrone," she says. Further along the shore of the lake, a gleaming white city is perched upon a high cliff. You can see tall towers and domes, some clearly made of ice that sparkle in the mid-day sun.
"The road to the Palace is paved with skulls of the enemies of the Jadwiga," says Nadya conversationally, munching down on provisions. "As you can see, you can't fish from there, which is why the Fishcamps are down here. That's where we're going today, and you can pretty much smell the 'camps from here."
Nadya takes another bite, gazing at Whitethrone calmly. "I'd love to go into that town and kill as many of those damned winter wolves and Jadwiga as possible. But that isn't how life works, eh? They kidnap you here and put you in prison or send you places far from Whitethrone. The spies of Whitethrone are endless."
She sighs and nods. "My husband, you never met him. His name was Hjalnek. He has a brother of his mother here in Fishcamps, Ringgeir Malenkov. When Hjalnek was a boy, the White Witches took Ringgeir's wife and boy, and brought them to Whitethrone. It happens. They need a servant, or worse. Ringgeir was like you and me, young, full of fire. So, he tried to get into Whitethrone but kept getting kicked out, or beaten up. He learned to sneak in and out using his own ways. He got very good at going around Whitethrone without being noticed."
She wipes her hands on her breeches. "He never did find his wife and boy, though. We assume they are dead. Well, sometimes, either hot or cold approach, you still lose. Shall we go meet Ringgeir?"
Orik nods at Nadya, ”I’m ready, though like you it turns my stomach that we can’t get justice - yet. You and your people have had to put up with so much tyranny... Nothing to be done, I suppose. But it will inform how I train. What’s the plan once we get in?”
Dezső listens attentively to all of Nadya's explanations, mentally storing and sorting all the details to compose a picture of the family trauma and the existence in Fishcamps.
"I'm sorry for all you and your husband's family has been through. I am ready to follow."
Ogon simply grunts. He doesn't seem overly affected by Nadya's story, or perhaps its just his general stoicism.
"Killing wolves and witches is good." He growls. "Need no more of them."
|Nadya Petska DMPC|
Nadya nods to Dez and Orik, as if to say, death is a constant in Irrisen, and then smirks at Ogon, whilst sliding her eyes toward Yrja. "We'll let a few witches alone."
She crosses her arms. "Now. We have choices to make. Fishcamps is mistrustful place. You show up with armor and weapon, people will think you are part of 'Camps Guard, or mercenaries for Winter Witches, which is even worse. Or it's hard to say which is worse, because 'Camps Guards are weaker, but stupider and less disciplined. However, if you hide weapons and armor, then it will be hard when Guards do come around--and..." Nadya mentally counts out odd-looking members of the party: tiefling, half-orc, hobgoblin, tiefling.
"I'm not sure we will blend in, in any case. Rimepelt can come in handy at Whitethrone. Will anyone wear it?"
She chuckles. "This would be easier if I was going there alone--I at least look like good Irriseni." She thumps her chest for emphasis. "I would go there with Chiquq, maybe have girl day, but splitting up is very, very bad idea in this area."
How do you outfit yourselves for Fishcamps, gentlefolk?
"Am I right that Ogon, as fiery as he is, is the most problematic in appearance? Would you be willing to use the rimepelt, Ogon?"
Ogon looks at the pelt with enough heat that, by all rights, it should burst into flames on the spot. When it stubbornly refuses to do so he gives a short grunt of agreement.
He clearly is not happy about the idea, but is enough of a warrior to appreciate a good plan when he hears one.
Dez shrugs, gestures for permission to put his provocative items on one of the animals, and does so.
Ogon meanwhile dons the Rimepelt without pulling it over his head. It actually contrasts rather well with his armor - but he is not in the mood to appreciate the fashion benefits.
Reality wavers briefly as Ogon puts on the rimepelt. Just for a moment, Ogon looks like a tall, pale skinned human, with white hair and amber eyes. Then he is back to his slightly simmering hobgoblin self.
Nadya's eyes widen. "It's because we're close to Howlings. You'll look like human winter wolf a quarter league or so from there." She elbows Chiquq. "You saw? He looked handsome for a moment there."
Chiquq chuckles, then huffs. "I only have room in my heart for Aitut," she says, sticking her tongue out at the Irriseni ranger.
With fewer weapons and more furs, you clomp towards Fishcamps. After a few snowy rises, it comes into view. The ground is less snow and more frozen ground here, trailing to the vastness of Glacier Lake. Arctic gulls fill the overcast sky with their cries over this small shantytown. Ramshackle huts are erected on the cold ground, hard packed and barren from generations of foot traffic. Dories and other small fishing boats are moored to dilapidated piers nearby or pulled ashore on the gray pebbled beach of Glacier Lake. The pervasive smell of fish is everywhere, sometimes fresh, but often with the underlying stench of centuries of decay. Middens mound on the beach, of shells and of course, fishbones. People congregate on the docks or tread through town, either whispering or focusing on the hard work of a fisher's life. It is not a joyous town.
"Time to ask for Ring--ah matyeryebyets!" Nadya suddenly ducks behind Sascha and the cart. "Borger. That damned ogre. He'll recognize me." You can see, indeed, an ogre clad in furs and a rather silly little hat, making his way clumsily through the camps, pushing people aside, wiping his nose and generally being a bossy, intrusive nuisance. "You'll have to ask people about where Ringgeir is...I can't do it. And don't ask Borger." She does her best to look like a lowly peasant next to her musk ox cart.
Orik nods, and wades through the crowd with the others, avoiding Borger. ”Good morning, we’re looking for Ringgeir, could someone point us to him?” he asks, quietly and in a friendly manner, asking whoever seems to manage the best spirits, and who isn’t near Borger.
Diplomacy to gather information: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (20) + 3 = 23
Dez is so in his own head taking in the town that it takes him a moment to remember that he's actually pretty good at gathering information, despite his appearance.
If Orik will have him, he goes along with the half-orc to assist, also making sure they are keeping well away from the Ogre's earshot. He presents as formal but trustworthy. As a way to smooth the interactions, he seeds their conversations with small friendly details he picks up from observing those they talk to.
Diplomacy to gather information with free inspiration: 1d20 + 8 + 1d6 ⇒ (9) + 8 + (4) = 21
Or aid another, I guess!
Despite Dez' and Orik's friendly and personable mien, the villagers are wary and reticent. An old woman makes the sign of the evil eye at the tiefling and spits on the frozen ground, saying nothing. A woman bearing a basket of what else, dried fish, scolds her curious child for getting near the half-orc. Most try to ignore the newcomers.
A teenage girl, looking sour as a rotten lemon, stares at Orik and Dez. "You should stop asking questions where you aren't welcome." She crosses her arms defiantly.
More quietly she adds, not breaking her impressive scowl and appearing to spit out the words like little hardened nuggets, "he was arrested for 'disturbing the peace' by the guards. They're a bunch of thugs who will arrest anyone. They'll ask for protection money. You never met me."
"..and Borger should eat the both of you!" she shouts, pushing Orik hard enough to make him stumble. She twirls and stalks off.
Orik whispers a silent prayer for all of the poor people he meets, but stays focused on the task.
Orik nods at Dezsö, ”next time you can take the lead, I’ll back you up.” He moves to the others and whispers to his companions, ”arrested by the guards. Shall we bust him out and crack some witch minion heads?” He turns to Nadya, ”Don’t suppose you know where the guard house is?”
|Nadya Petska DMPC|
Nadya is about to reply when she hisses in alarm. Borger and four other Fishcamps Guards (who are mercifully, human), have surrounded a local fisherman, his wife and their crying child. The man is knocked to the ground, bleeding and pleading, and his wife is frozen in fear.
"You is late on tax, Berislav," says the ogre, lifting a hand menacingly. The other guards stand in a circle, laughing.
Orik mutters, "I'm getting tired of this. There's five of them total, no witches in sight. Let's take them out. One of the guards will take us to the guardhouse. I'm exhausted by these bullies, is anyone else?" He rests his hand on Sasha, where his sword is stored, and looks at everyone else's expression.
Yrja is torn between her desire to help the people being bullied, and the fear of going up against the guards. Sure, there were no witches in sight now, but that didn't mean they weren't watching, or that they wouldn't hear about this later.
"Nadya, what should we do?"
"Back off!" Ogon commands, marching up to the guards. He stares straight at the ogre, "I will burn your puny witch loving brain to ashes, unless you GO AWAY. NOW!"
Intimidate: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
Well... gotta laugh!
Dez stands assessing the situation and grabs the hobgoblins arm when he starts to make a move, warning:
"Stop, Ogon. Nadya has already told us she can't be seen. Let us wait and take care of this ogre and his thugs in a less public setting."
With that, Dez tries to steer the group to move away.
|Nadya Petska DMPC|
Let's get this rumble started!
Dez: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11
Chiquq: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (6) + 3 = 9
Yrja: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17
Ogon: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (9) + 1 = 10
Orik: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 2 = 14
Bad Guys: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5
"I EAT YOUR EYES, TRADER!" yells Borger, and gnashes his mismatched teeth. The other guards hold their position for the moment, but turn to face you, the terrorized family forgotten for the moment.
Rumble on the Docks, Round 1!
Borger and Baddies
Nadya's answer is to aim at Borger's eye.
Longbow: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
for: 1d8 ⇒ 5
It pierces his cheek instead, causing him to bellow and pull the arrow out, spitting out bloody gobbets. She nods in grim satisfaction. "That's for eating my dog," she says, clearly referring to something in the past.
Ogon strides on.
"Come and face me, witch lover!" He roars. That's a serious insult coming from the hobgoblin...
Orik, not bothering with his melee weapon, hurries up towards the foes, and blasts the lot of them with the light of heaven.
Cast burst of radiance on all of them. DC 16 reflex save or be blinded.
evil characters take, no save: 4d4 ⇒ (1, 3, 2, 2) = 8
number of blind/dazzled rounds: 1d4 ⇒ 1
Dez moves over to Sasha so he can retrieve his rapier and, in the meantime, fires his bow at the ogre.
Longbow: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (15) + 8 = 23
damage: 1d8 - 1 ⇒ (7) - 1 = 6
"Let him get a taste of what it means to be on the wrong end of a witch." Yrja murmurs as she curses the ogre.
Evil Eye on Borger, DC 17 Will, -2 to saves for 8 rounds, or 1 round if save is successful.
Hey Yrja, that hex will only work if you're 30' from your target or closer. Care to take a different action?
Orik's blast of light smashes into the entire group, leaving the fisher family unscathed, but causing the guards and the ogre to clap at their eyes in pain. You can tell that Borger and one guard are blinded.
Another arrow, this time from Dez, lands in the ogre with a satisfying howl emanating from the giant-kin.
Chiquq follows with her own shot.
Composite longbow: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (2) + 10 = 12
for: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6
It goes wide and fails to hit Borger, however.
Borger bellows and runs at the party. However, he fails to complete his charge, blinded as he is, and is stopped by the steps leading to the launch, smashing into rock with arm and foot. He screams in impotent rage.
The sighted guards fan out, trying to look menacingly at Ogon and generally failing. They don't stray too far from the blinded ogre, although they don't want him to hit them. Their blind companion stays put, snarling at the family. "I'll smash you if you run! Now lead me out of here!" For the moment, the family freezes.
Rumble on the Docks, Round 2!
Yrja [still need action from R1]
Borger, blind this round, -19 HP
Guard 1 -8 HP
Guard 2 -8 HP
Guard 3 -8 HP
Guard 4 blind this round, -8HP
Nadya aims another arrow, this time at Guard 4.
Longbow: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18
for: 1d8 ⇒ 4
"I'm not going to negotiate, you blind scum!" she shouts.
Seeing this, the blinded guard drops his weapon, falling back and generally bleeding. The others look fairly demoralized by his quick defeat.
Ogon charges in, his flaming blade appearing as he does so.
Charge vs. Touch!: 1d20 + 8 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 8 + 2 = 15 Damage: 2d6 + 2 ⇒ (5, 3) + 2 = 10
Before Ogon reaches the ogre, Dez sends another arrow at the beast, but shoots wildly in his rush.
Longbow: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (1) + 8 = 9
Damage: 1d8 - 1 ⇒ (6) - 1 = 5
He then drops his bow and retrieves his rapier from Sasha's packs.