Realization dawns on Silas' face.
"Ah. So he was a werewolf," he says as he begins untying the man to lower his body to the ground. "Or at least someone wants us to think he's a werewolf."
Once the man's body is down, Silas removes the silver dagger from his chest and examines it before assisting in burying the man.
"Why would the flowers be stuffed into his mouth?"
Knowledge (nature) + inspiration: 1d20 + 12 + 1d6 ⇒ (8) + 12 + (2) = 22
"A lycanthrope, Miss Eliade? That's a disturbing idea, considering how much of our path through these unsettling woods still lies ahead of us. May I take a closer look at the poor man before we remove the flowers from his mouth or the dagger from his chest?"
Knowledge (local) + inspiration: 1d20 + 10 + 1d6 ⇒ (17) + 10 + (6) = 33
He also spends another minute examining the corpse to Read the Bones once again. Once his investigation is complete, Niculaie hoists his shovel to assist with the burial.
"People can be cruel; I presume that it is a warning to any other lycanthropes in the area." Tara sighs heavily as she finishes saying funerary rights, and burying the man, ensuring to leave a small marking for others to find.
A few of you do indeed recognize the flowers as wolfsbane, a toxic plant also noted for its ability to drive off werewolves or cure the
curse of lycanthropy.
Unfortunately, as you approach the body, you also set off a trap! You are showered in crossbow bolts.
Niculae: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (19) + 15 = 34 Damage: 5d8 ⇒ (7, 4, 2, 4, 2) = 19
Pontia: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (10) + 15 = 25 Damage: 5d8 ⇒ (5, 1, 6, 1, 2) = 15
Silas: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (2) + 15 = 17
Sophie: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (19) + 15 = 34 Damage: 5d8 ⇒ (3, 4, 1, 6, 5) = 19
Tara: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (9) + 15 = 24 Damage: 5d8 ⇒ (5, 8, 2, 1, 7) = 23
Vivian: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (14) + 15 = 29 Damage: 5d8 ⇒ (3, 6, 2, 5, 8) = 24
You have already correctly surmised that this fellow was a werewolf, reverted back to human form upon death.
In addition to the silver hunting knife (which functions as a masterwork silver dagger), there are enough wolfsbane flowers to yield 3 doses of the poison.
Tara is quietly sobbing in the background... When will I ever learn?
Clutching her side as several bolts dig deep into her torso, Tara wheezes out a gasp of pain. "Apologies, I was never good at looking for traps. I'll try to remember to look for them in the future." Mentally preparing herself for the pain, she grasps the bolts and carefully jerks them out of her wounds, one at a time. Once she is finished she moves on to the others, trying to seem calm and collected, before clutching her holy symbol to channel her goddesses energy over them all.
Channel Positive Energy: 4d6 ⇒ (4, 3, 2, 5) = 14
@GM: sorry, just remembered I got the "Trap Spotter" rogue talent, which means I have a Perception roll when I am 10 feet from a trap. Let's dismiss this option this time, but keep it both in mind for later
Once the worst of the injuries are tended to and the dead man is lain to rest, Silas heads back to the horses to resume the journey through the forest.
Niculaie grits his teeth and sits up slowly, woozy from both his own blood loss and the scent of the blood spilled from his comrades.
Easy, man. Just breathe through your mouth and think about music.
Niculaie sings a few quiet words and casts inflict light wounds on himself once, then draws his wand and casts it again.
Inflict light wounds, CL 8: 1d8 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
Inflict light wounds, CL 1: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 1 = 8
Grimacing, he picks up his shovel and joins Silas in digging. "I understand people fearing lycanthropes in their midst, but what possible reason could anyone have for booby-trapping a corpse?"
Pontia staggers at the impacts as the bolts tear through her magical defenses. She claps a hand to her side to stem the bleeding before Tara's healing takes hold and restores her health. Then she straightens up, tsking before casting another cantrip to clean the bloodstains from her clothing. "Were the crossbow bolts also alchemical silver? That would tell us who--or what--the trappers expected to deal with, hm?"
Tara furrows her brow as Niculaie's injuries do not heal themselves. "Mr. Pavlencas, are you," clearing her throat, Tara tries again, "do you require different accommodations for injuries?" she asks carefully, watching as the man pulls out a wand and seeing his wounds knit closed. "If so, I'm more than happy to reevaluate my prayers for the day to ensure better care for injuries."
Niculaie glances quickly at Pontia - I told you this would be a problem! - then turns to Tara and bows.
"Ah, well, about that. Thank you for asking Miss Eliade, and for your generous offer." Uncharacteristically at a loss for words, the funereal singer pauses to gather his thoughts, then stammers out a partial explanation, face turned to the ground.
"I am ... I have ... ummm ... a regrettable condition. Inherited from my father, you might say. I can only be healed by, that is, magically healed by the forces of unlife, so to speak. The dark reflection of the energy you draw on for your healing spells and channeled power." He sighs, still avoiding Tara's eyes. Damnation! I do hope I do not have to spell it out for her. The situation is awkward enough. "After intense study, I have learned to cast a minor version of this negative healing spell myself, and I was able to commission the creation of this wand from a traveling priest who had made a study of ... hrmmm ... individuals with afflictions similar to my own. In any case, I am able to manage most of my own healing as needed, Miss Eliade, albeit somewhat inefficiently, harnessing considerably less power than your own. But there is no need for you to go to extraordinary lengths on my account, and I suspect your goddess might be less than enthusiastic about granting you the necessary spells."
Mechanically speaking, one of the benefits of the "Secrets of the Grave" feature from Niculaie's dirge bard archetype allows him to add one necromancy spell from the spell list of any arcane spellcasting class to his list of spells known at 2nd level and every four levels thereafter. This ability replaces versatile performance. At 2nd level, he learned inflict light wounds (from the witch spell list) so he can cast it himself and use the wand. It doesn't give him the rest of the inflict wounds spells unless he specifically adds them.
We cannot, and won't, hold you responsable for how you were born, Mister Pavlencas. Or else, I should be responsable for being a redhead, too. We have seen you, how you act, and behave. We trust you. If Pharasma, our goddess, had a trouble with that, you would probably be already dead. But you're here, and alive, like us. It not how we are born that counts, and maybe not even how we will die, apart from specific cases, but how we live.
I'm pretty sure if it was the case you would have told us, or we would have seen it, but when Miss Eliade uses her divine powers to heal us, you're not harmed by it? I just don't want to put you at risk, that's all. That's why I ask this silly question
Silas doesn't bat an eye at Niculaie's heritage. At Vivian's words, however, he raises an eyebrow.
"I don't know. I've known a couple of redheads and, between you and me, I'd trust 'em about as far as I could throw 'em," he says. A wink follows in the rogue's direction and he spurs his horse along a little faster.
Tara nods along with Vivian's words, "I am of a like mind. You are alive, and much like anyone here, you had little choice in the matter of your lineage. I am more than happy to accommodate your needs and seek Pharasma's guidance in the matter." Offering the damphir a shy smile, Tara toes the ground, "Besides, you are not the first one I've traveled with that required something similar. I should have put it together faster."
Watching as Silas remounts his horse and spurs it onward, Tara's shoulders visibly slump as she slowly makes her way back onto her own steed. "We can't be that far from our destination." she mumbles miserably to herself as she keeps pace with the group.
After several days of travel, you finally reach their destination—Ascanor Lodge, a large and decadently appointed manor deep in the heart of the Shudderwood, used by Ustalav’s elite as a hunting retreat. Once a private hunting lodge owned by Lozeri’s deposed count Beauturne, the Palatine Council of Lozeri appropriated the estate when Beauturne fled the county and opened it year round to paying guests.
We can assume you have managed to fully heal on the rest of the trip. We are moving into a very heavy role-play portion of this module. For those that may have forgotten the driving force here, you are trying to track down the Whispering Way cult who seems to be collecting strange items and leaving death and destruction in their wake.
I put the layout for the lodge on slides 1 & 2. As we explore, I will keep a key as well. This is basically just for reference, though. You may want to keep notes as well - feel free to use these slides to do so.
Wanna try to throw me, big boy?
Silas turns slightly in his saddle and holds his hand to his ear as if he couldn't quite hear the Vivian. "I'm sorry, did you say something?" he calls out with a laugh.
The large man slows his horse as the lodge comes into view. "The playground of the rich," he mutters to himself. His mount walks slowly up to the entrance and he dismounts with a clatter and clang of plate mail.
Niculaie bows solemnly to Tara and Vivian. "I thank you both for your ... broadmindedness, and of course would not presume to gainsay your understanding of the wishes of the Lady of Graves in such matters."
Sorry for the delay - I was on a short business trip yesterday and today and thought I would have time to keep up, but the trip was more exhausting than I expected. Will be back on track tomorrow.
Knowledge (local) + inspiration, Echtmoor: 1d20 + 10 + 1d6 ⇒ (10) + 10 + (6) = 26
Knowledge (local) + inspiration, Cilas: 1d20 + 10 + 1d6 ⇒ (18) + 10 + (2) = 30
If Know (nobility) is the appropriate skill, Niculaie's modifier is +9 instead of +10.
Sophie takes in the conversation about Niculaie's heritage without saying anything.
she is in denial that her own mother was a hag
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Knowledge (bash-things-with-swords): 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (19) + 15 = 34
What do you mean that's not a knowledge skill?! Don't be sillly. Here, let me demonstrate ...
Cilas Graydon is nearing 50 years old, and stands nearly 6 feet tall, with a slender build, long features, and a sharp nose. He wears his hair cropped short and has a carefully trimmed goatee and waxed mustache.
The Margrave of Sturnidae, is a retired military commander who served under Count Neska of Barstoi. Graydon is infamous for the ruthless brutality of his martial strategies, and is almost universally loathed by citizens of both Ardeal and Barstoi. Toward the end of the civil war between Barstoi and Ardeal, Graydon broke with Neska and openly denounced him as a tyrant, an act that many credit as one of the causes behind Neska’s retreat from Ardeal. Forced to flee his home county, Graydon sought amnesty in Lozeri and soon became a strong voice in Palatine politics. Back in Barstoi, Neska convicted Graydon of treason, revoked his title, and placed a sizable bounty on his head. For his part, Graydon continues to identify himself by his ancestral title as an act of fearlessness and defiance.
Echtmoor you know little about.
"Well then. Shall we enter?"
so do I understand correctly that we found these two dudes bodies at the spider's lair and are using an invite to/from them to get in?
I thought we already had a written introduction from the Count that we saved back at the Schloss?
"Who's got the letter of introduction the Count gave us?" Silas asks as he leads his horse into the compound.
Sophie, I believe Echtmoor was the dead man in the weaverworm's cocoon, and Graydon is the person he was coming here to meet.
"I wonder why Graydon wanted Echtmoor to meet him here, of all places? Although if Graydon is still here waiting for his delayed guest, I suppose we will have a chance to ask him ourselves."
Niculaie looks around at the unfriendly forest and cannot shake the feeling that the trees themselves are closing in on the party.
He shivers, and says, "Yes, Ms. Kundergard, by all means let us go inside. I thought you had the letter, Mr. Womarsh?"
The bard pats at his pockets and frowns.
Not sure we decided who has the letter and invitations. See spoiler.
Even though Caromarc no longer rules Vieland, he retains his title of count, and as a member of Ustalav’s hereditary nobility, he offers to write you letter of introduction to the lodge’s warden, Estovion Lozarov. Likewise, Judge Daramid can use her connections with the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye to acquire blank invitations for you to use to gain entry.
"It is out of the way, but known to be used by the area's elite. So, very little chance of discovery, if they wished to be covert, and even if discovered their presence is understandable for reasons other than the actual."
Silas searches around through his bag and finds that, yes, he indeed, does have the letter of introduction and invitation that was given to the group.
He approaches the guards, keeping his hands away from his weapons.
"Good afternoon," he says to the one on the right. "My name is Silas Womarsh. My companions and I have come to stay at the lodge."
The guard looks over the paper. The letter of introduction was given, but not a formal reservation.
"This is not a formal reservation. Go get Belik, " he says to the other guard.
In a few minutes, another man appears and the first guard hands him the letter of introduction. The new man, Belik, you presume, spends several minutes perusing them in minute detail, lips pursed pensively. He finally looks up, and hands the papers back to Silas.
"I apologize for any misunderstanding, but as the porter of Ascanor Lodge, I cannot permit your entrance at this time. You do not have reservations in our books, and despite your claims, I have no evidence to justify allowing strangers into the lodge. From the looks of you, unlike the rest of my guests, you haven’t come here to take a peaceful retreat. I want no trouble, so off with you all, and take whatever troubles you bring somewhere else!”"
Meanwhile, the incident draws the attention of the lodge’s guests, and a small crowd gathers near the gatehouse. Some of the onlookers seem curious, while others wear haughty sneers, but all whisper to one another, as if anxious to see the outcome of the disagreement.
Belik's attitude is unfriendly, but perhaps some Diplomacy or Bluff will work?
"Please excuse our rough appearance, my good sir," Niculaie says. "Our journey through the Shudderwood to your door was not without incident. We encountered a most monstrous creature along the way -- lured into a ruin by the sound of beautiful music, whereupon we were attacked by an enormous, carnivorous worm. It had already killed and cocooned several other wayward travelers. Were it not for the quick sword-work of my companions, we would certainly have met a similar fate."
Niculaie lets out a sad sigh. "As it is, I regret to inform you that you may already be short one expected guest. One of the ... bodies we found bound up in the creature's cocoons bore a scrap of a letter suggesting his name was Echtmoor Dravin, and that he was traveling to your establishment when he was attacked."
GM - while this is not the whole story, it is mostly true. As Niculaie's goal is to improve the innkeeper's attitude, perhaps Diplomacy is the right roll? Modifier is the same for Bluff, though, so whatever you think best.
Diplomacy + inspiration: 1d20 + 9 + 1d6 ⇒ (15) + 9 + (1) = 25
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (1) + 8 = 9
Would he ccept a bribe? I don't suppose so.. not here, in front of everyone, I guess, at least. Or I don't suppose we'll be able to meet his prize. Let's talk, it's cheaper.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (17) + 11 = 28
Mister Belik, I understand your reluctance to letting us enter. Despite our appearance, we are quite civil, and arent here to cause some ruckus that could harm the reputation of the prestigious Ascanor Lodge. We are carrying weapons, it's true, and it's a good thing we know how to defend ourselves, because we saw many strange things on our trip here, and had to defend ourselves from eerie beasts. In fact, the roads are so dangerous it's a wonder these gentlemen were able to come to the Lodge. So rest assure that not only we are no trouble, but we can be useful to defend Ascanor and its guests from troubles, if the case may be. Of course, we are willing and able to pay for rooms and meals, and Mister Pavlencas here is a skilled musician and entertainer, which can be precious to pass the time on dull evenings. Would you be so kind as to reconsider your position, let us in for tonight at least, and see how fine we could all get along? The respected and well known Judge Daramir wouldn't have signed this letter of introduction if we were a troublesome, untrustable lot, don't you think?
I'll give you trouble!
As Silas's first instinct was to punch the pompous man in the face and see if he'd let them in then, the warrior is glad that more diplomatic heads stepped in to handle the situation.
Tara watches the exchanged with a nervous glances as a crowd begins to form. Taking a step back behind the taller members of their party, the young cleric glances around the lodge's guest, feeling exposed and on display.
Pontia adds, "Ser Dravin was apparently to meet with another guest here, the esteemed Margrave of Sturnidae. We would like to at the least convey this information to the Margrave."
Diplomacy Aid Another: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6
auto succeed on aiding diplomacy here
Sophie smiles at the porter. "Don't you worry about peace and order. I keep this lot in line and minding their elders well enough."
side note, but the value of our assets already makes us pretty wealthy. Funny that they are snubbing us
I guess this is old money vs new money mentality. Yes, you may have as much money as us, but because our family had money before your family, it makes us better :P