GM Neirikr's "The Dragon's Demand"

Game Master Neirikr

"Come not between the dragon and his wrath."

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Female Human Ranger 4 | 34/34 HP | AC 16 T 13 FF 13 | Fort +7 Ref +9 Will +2 | Initiative +3 (+5) | Perception +8/+10(+12), Sense Motive +8/+10

Grinning at both the banter, and the thought of the fun they'd be having later, Vibenia waves at them both as they leave, giving Dusk her delicious treat.

"Yep I'll get everything ready and get some water heated up!" she calls back.


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Sir Pelle's Apology:

Bernard Hammersmith wrote:
He takes a deep, husky breath, and forces a smile. "I care deeply about our community, Sir Pelle. My standing in it has been worth less than an empty bottle of wine these past few years. I'd appreciate your making a statement. More to settle the shades of my wife and son than anything else, and give us all closure."

Sir Pelle clears his throat, more than a little uncomfortable with the situation. "Ahem. Well, it is settled then..."

Bernard Hammersmith wrote:

Then he claps the older knight on the shoulder, something of his old, irrepressible cheer coming back to him. "And I shall endeavor to stay out of your way, sir! Though I must warn you, my joints are growing old. If I don't hustle out of the way of your steed as your ride through town, blame my stiffening sinews, and not any lack of respect!"

On a more sober note: "But yes. I look forward to working toward the same goals once more. Please, don't hesitate to call on my companions and I if anything comes up. We're a strange bunch, with strange, varied skills. Magic, esoteric knowledge, a penchant for getting ourselves into dark and dangerous situations... we're at your disposal, Sir Pelle."

"Bah! You will be dodging horses when I am long in my dotage," scoffs the knight, the smallest hint of a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. "Our first chance at cooperation is fast approaching: as I understand, you shall be in the thick of it, come the auction. The guard will be on standby, ready to offer reinforcements in case of any unexpected trouble. Should anything happen in the meantime, I will make sure to come to you."

He looks as if he is about to give a salute, but reconsiders, instead nodding evenly. "Make us proud, Bernard."

~

For all his faults, Sir Pelle is a man of his word: the following day, junior deputies make their rounds, nailing official declarations on signposts and the walls of public buildings. These are affixed with the knight's personal seal, making it known that 'Bernard Hammersmith's unit' is officially sanctioned by the guard, though separate from the chain of command, and that 'Hammersmith is hereby exonerated of all past accusations, by the decree of the baroness.' This notice also includes a list of all Hunclay's known crimes, including the murders of Bernard's family. Even though the wizard cannot be posthumously accused in a court of law, this makes it clear that you were right, and that Sir Pelle and the late baron were to blame for allowing his continued delinquency. The sheriff's apology is short and terse, but without any of his habitual circumlocution—he takes full responsibility for his error in judgement.

All this causes a great buzz amongst those townsfolk given to gossip, giving the rumour mills grist for their wheels for weeks to come. Your fellow Abadarans are soon falling over each other to outdo each other in their shows of support, the Shelynites are glad to quietly forgive and forget, and the people of the Green Faith are satisfied to see the haughty knight so humbled. While his reputation has suffered, there are no immediate calls for Sir Pelle's resignation, or anything of the sort. He has served Belhaim long and ably, which is duly weighed against this newest revelation.

I wasn't really planning on it, but that actually plays quite well into your earlier plans for ingratiating yourself to the community. How does Bernard capitalise on this development? Give me a description and a roll with a +4 bonus from Sir Pelle's public apology, whatever you deem suitable. Hell, give me two and pick the better one!

~

Teatime at Aunt Bassy's:

Syksy Kalma wrote:
Syksy smiles at Bassy’s contagious glee, glad the “gifts” had turned out to be something she liked. When the excitement turns to worried curiosity Syksy divulged all she was aware of. ”Nah, the Baroness didn’t take kind to me snooping for dragons like that. But these we got from the kobolds after we helped them out. The green ones are a lot more recent. A lot more.”

"Figures," mutters Bassy. "Kobolds! Well, I'm not always the greatest fan of Origena bossing people around—maybe it comes with the territory, being the oldest person in town. Hard to take someone's authority all that seriously, when you've seen them in their swaddling clothes! But in this case, I'm inclined to agree with her: the Dragonfen might not host any great wyrms at the present, but more than a few drakes to make up for the difference."

She runs her fingers over the green scales once more, picking one up to inspect it more closely.

"These might be from a big forest drake," muses the gnome. "Or perhaps a water orm. Or, if you want to get crazy... a smallish green dragon, maybe a young adult. I couldn't tell, really. As much as I've read about them, I've never seen one, nor can I call myself an expert in the 'formally educated' sense..."

She shrugs. "But in any case, if these are from a green dragon, they'd have to be from a ways off. There were—and doubtlessly are—some of them deeper in the Verduran Forest, but not anywhere near Belhaim. Aeteperax made sure to chase any competitors away from his territory, and Tula's legacy has been keeping them away ever since. Dragons have good memories, and they live for a long time. Just as my grandmother passed down her stories, you can be sure the survivors of the Plague told their hatchlings to steer clear of the town of dragonslayers. They'd need a damn good reason to come here."

Anything else you'd like to ask Bassy? No pressure: you'll have a chance to talk to her again later. I'm just trying to wrap up the downtime phase.

~

Dusk's Homecoming:

The wolf-dog devours her meal quickly and messily, casting into doubt whether she has time to savour it in any meaningful way. Afterwards, she settles on the threshold to chew on the bones, blissfully unaware of the bath awaiting in her near future. For the moment, at least, she seems content with her new home.

I think that's 'end scene,' for now. Nisany will be able to take care of Dusk's skin problem, as long as someone spends the 5 gp for the lime. Vibenia, do you want to teach her any extra tricks during the remaining downtime? Feel free to give us a little vignette of you training her, before we move on!


HP: 44/44 | AC 18/12/16 CMD 18 | F+7 R+3 W+1 | ER A,E,S 5
Skills:
Arcana +6 Geography +6 Handle Animal +10 Intimidate +1 Nature +6 Perception +0
Challenge 2/2 Tactician 1/1 x5 | Darkvision 60ft | Init +2

Bassy

Syksy watches and listens with intent, eagerly going over everything the Gnome had to offer in her head, even if she did try to realistically downplay certain outcomes.

And yet. "And if you were to guess, what would be that damn good reason?" she simply asks the storyteller.


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Syksy Kalma wrote:
"And if you were to guess, what would be that damn good reason?" she simply asks the storyteller.

Bassy deliberates for a few long moments, drumming her fingertips against her cooling teacup.

"Knowledge," she finally says. "They value lore and wisdom above almost all other treasures, at least in the tales. While other chromatics hoard treasure, the greens hoard books. Supposedly, they can be very obsessive about particular topics—kind of like gnomes, actually! Just... a lot bigger and meaner."


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HP: 44/44 | AC 18/12/16 CMD 18 | F+7 R+3 W+1 | ER A,E,S 5
Skills:
Arcana +6 Geography +6 Handle Animal +10 Intimidate +1 Nature +6 Perception +0
Challenge 2/2 Tactician 1/1 x5 | Darkvision 60ft | Init +2

Dusk

Nisany Blim wrote:
Smiling back at Syksy, "But I don't have to walk thing way.."

"True," Syksy chuckles before hoisting the gnome up onto her shoudler as they made their way in search of Dusk's treatment.

Bassy

"And less cuddly." Syksy remarks with a smile before giving a knowing look to Vibenia and Nisany, And who around here had a LOT of specific books about particular topics that a dragon might have been interested in?


Male Dwarf Occultist (Reliquarian) 4 | HP 31/31 | AC 18 T 10 FF 18 | Fort +6 Ref +1 Will +7 | Initiative +0 | Perception +10 | Mental Focus 2/6; 2 conjuration, 2 enchantment | Touch of Good 6/6 | Occultist Spells: 1st—3/4 2nd—2/2

With the masons:

"Since I mentioned the risky notion," Khardir says, "I'll see it through. I'll take the papers over and escort any volunteers while I deliver the tools to the kobolds. Hopefully if this project works and we can drain the water, it'll give you plenty of new stone to use to fulfill your other contracts."

Khardir squares his gear and prepares to visit the kobolds...

With the kobolds

Khardir is on his guard around the kobolds - they could, after all, just kill him and take all of his possessions; he has to hope that the reward of further town outweighs the possibility of treachery.

When he meets with Nighttail he brings the chief up to speed quickly and without circumlocution.

"The town would like to propose a team project," he says. "They may be able to spare some apprentice masons to assist in draining the water from the pit. It will take some work for the two groups to learn to work together, but it could be mutually profitable. The townsfolk would like to extract stone from the pit, and in return could help with some of your other projects to improve your warrens and their defenses here."

He takes the large leather sack from his pack that holds the tools and unrolls it.

"As a show of good faith in negotiations, I am gifting these tools to your tribe. As chief it's up to you to decide how to use them and who gets to do so. If they are broken or lost, I won't be able to get replacements, so make sure that nobody fights over them or tries to steal them and run away. Beyond that, they are yours to do with as you wish," he says.

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (7) + 9 = 16


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female CG Gnome Oracle of Life 4 HP 32/32|AC-16 T-13 FF-14 | F+2 R+3 W+6 |CMB+2 CMD14 | Init+2 | Perc +8 | Channel 2d6, 1/4 per day, 30ft, DC15, neg 3 square | Spells (1st - 6/7, 2nd 4/4)

Bassy's

There would be so much gold out there, just waiting to be found. That's what dragons hoard right? Frowning at the idea of books. Not that books are a bad thing but books don't survive very well out in nature. Hmm... I would end up hoarding random junk. Oh, lamps. Everything would glitter.

Smiling back at Syksy, its fairly easy to guess which kind of smile should be offered. Finishing her tea and wrinkling her nose. Cold tea is not right. Catching Bassy's gaze, "Thank you for letting us take up part of your day. Would it be ok if I came back just to chat later?"

---outside of Bassy's----

Once the door closes the tiny gnome throws her arms around Syksy and hugs her tight. Mumbling into her stomach, "Thank you."

Dusk

Laughing and lacing her fingers into the Hellknights hair, not to pull but to play with as they walk. Happily spending the gold necessary for Dusk.

Once they return Nisany cautiously but confidently, this one is less likely to maul her than the last wolf she chatted with. Taking a breath and feeling a bit of magic wrap around her tongue, making her able to speak to Dusk, "Hi. So I can only talk to you like this for so long. You made Vibenia really happy coming with her so thank you. And I think you have what a pup I lived with when I was younger had. Makes your skin really itchy? I can fix that. It's gonna take a few baths and probably not smell real good but your skin will be nice and smooth when its all over. Is that ok?"


HP: 44/44 | AC 18/12/16 CMD 18 | F+7 R+3 W+1 | ER A,E,S 5
Skills:
Arcana +6 Geography +6 Handle Animal +10 Intimidate +1 Nature +6 Perception +0
Challenge 2/2 Tactician 1/1 x5 | Darkvision 60ft | Init +2

Outside of Bassy’s

”Oh! You’re welcome.” Syksy responds while gently running her fingers through the Gnome’s hair, not entirely sure what brought this on at the moment.

Dusk

Likewise, Syksy happily hmmed and purred as Nisany played with her plum hair. Once they return she watches with rapt attention as the Oracle speaks with the wolf dog.


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female CG Gnome Oracle of Life 4 HP 32/32|AC-16 T-13 FF-14 | F+2 R+3 W+6 |CMB+2 CMD14 | Init+2 | Perc +8 | Channel 2d6, 1/4 per day, 30ft, DC15, neg 3 square | Spells (1st - 6/7, 2nd 4/4)

Outside of Bassy’s

Pulling her head back and looking straight up with glassy eyes, "She is old and only looking into the past. Nothing new. When a gnome goes stagnate and doesn't seek new things we get weird and go grey. And once the Bleaching starts it is really hard to stop."


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Female Human Ranger 4 | 34/34 HP | AC 16 T 13 FF 13 | Fort +7 Ref +9 Will +2 | Initiative +3 (+5) | Perception +8/+10(+12), Sense Motive +8/+10

Bassy (before we left)

"So if work of Hunclay's death and his massive collection of books and obsure knowledge came to light?....." Vibenia thinks aloud.

-----------------------------------------------------
Dusk

When Nisany and Syksy return, Vibenia kneels beside the gnome as she speaks with her, both out of fascination with her magic, and to show Dusk that Nisany was a part of her pack, to be accepted as Vibenia was.

________________________

Outside of Bassy’s
Standing on the other side of her, Vibenia goes down on one knee to cup Nisany's cheek in her hand gently. "Well then it's a good thing you've got us then. We promise stagnation will not be an option, right?" she asks looking up at Syksy with the now familiar grin,the three of them often share.

_______________________________

Training Dusk

Over the next few weeks, Vibenia works on training Dusk, sometimes alone, sometimes with the others, like teaching her to keep herself between Nisany and any enemies, to protect her while spellcasting, or working with Syksy to flank and harry an opponent.


HP: 44/44 | AC 18/12/16 CMD 18 | F+7 R+3 W+1 | ER A,E,S 5
Skills:
Arcana +6 Geography +6 Handle Animal +10 Intimidate +1 Nature +6 Perception +0
Challenge 2/2 Tactician 1/1 x5 | Darkvision 60ft | Init +2

Inside

”This auction is gone be fuuuuuuun” Syksy says with a grin.

Outside

”Ohhhh, I... I didn’t know that.” she says as she affectionately pats the gnome on the head. Turning she nods to Vibenia. ”Right! I’m pretty sure it’s physically impossible for me to do that, I’ve got chaos running through my veins.”

Training

Syksy is delighted to get to train with Vibenia and Dusk, whether in tandem or as a training dummy. She just had to be more careful where she used and left her javelins...


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Dragon's Demand Maps | Dragon's Demand Monsters | Dragon's Demand NPCs

With the Kobolds:

Khardir Braktan wrote:
Khardir is on his guard around the kobolds - they could, after all, just kill him and take all of his possessions; he has to hope that the reward of further town outweighs the possibility of treachery.

Approaching the quarry, you can see the beginnings of a channel forming on its southern edge. Groups of green-scaled labourers scamper around it, on what look like passably safe wooden scaffolds. You are met by a group of hunters, who—despite their lack of practice in Taldane—do their best to respectably lead you to Nighttail. Some of them still nurse partly healed injuries from their last encounter with you and your companions, which might add to their present servility.

The interior of the warren already shows improvements: fresh staw and furs are spread across the floors as lavishly as they had been Roaghaz's private den, and the ground level now bears higher ceilings, more fit to receive larger visitors. Nighttail meets you here, by a roaring bonfire, with the rest of the tribe skulking about the shadows at the edges of the large chamber. Possessions—tools and weapons alike—have also been divided in a more egalitarian manner: unlike Roaghaz, Nighttail does not appear to have gathered a group of privileged flunkies to prop up her rule. Whether this has resulted in more loyal subjects is hard to judge.

Khardir Braktan wrote:

"The town would like to propose a team project," he says. "They may be able to spare some apprentice masons to assist in draining the water from the pit. It will take some work for the two groups to learn to work together, but it could be mutually profitable. The townsfolk would like to extract stone from the pit, and in return could help with some of your other projects to improve your warrens and their defenses here."

He takes the large leather sack from his pack that holds the tools and unrolls it.

"As a show of good faith in negotiations, I am gifting these tools to your tribe. As chief it's up to you to decide how to use them and who gets to do so. If they are broken or lost, I won't be able to get replacements, so make sure that nobody fights over them or tries to steal them and run away. Beyond that, they are yours to do with as you wish," he says.

Diplomacy: 7 + 9 = 16

Nighttail nods along with each point of your proposals, looking at the tools with a gleam in her eye. She passes the picks and hammers on to a pair of older kobolds, both of whom look—to your eye—like experienced miners. One would have to be, to live to a respectable age in a kobold warren. There is a constant murmur of conversations all around the chamber, as more fluent kobolds translate the conversation for their tribesmates—overall, you get the impression that Nighttail is already aboard, but is allowing you to present your case for the benefit of her subjects. Once you are done, she rises from her seat, raising her arms commandingly.

"Chief Nighttail agrees with softskin proposals," she says in an exaggeratedly solemn tone, clearly meant to project across the entire chamber. "Humans come help kobolds dig, and kobolds help humans gather rocks. Humans buy rocks from kobolds, and give gold in return. Good deal!"

She puts a lot of emphasis on the word 'gold,' which is met with a cheer from the gathered dragonlings—obviously, this is not exactly what you promised, but Nighttail is not leaving much room for negotiation on that front. Lowering her voice and leaning closer, the chief adds, "Nighttail teaches the others softskin-tongue, some already takes to it. She can looks after the first humans herself, so there's no trouble. Might get into few scuffles firstly, but Nighttail will ban weapons at dig-site. Best for softskins to not bring weapons, either. That's good enough for you, friend Khardir?"

~

Teatime at Aunt Bassy's:

Vibenia Scaeva wrote:
"So if work of Hunclay's death and his massive collection of books and obsure knowledge came to light?....." Vibenia thinks aloud.

Bassy blinks.

"Oh?" she mutters, her eyes widening. "Oh! Right, he's dead... and the auction is... wow. WOW. But surely not... but what if?!"

After a moment of complete befuddlement, she finally says, more coherently, "It's prooo-bably nothing. But just in case, I'm gonna read up on green dragons..."

Nisany Blim wrote:
Smiling back at Syksy, its fairly easy to guess which kind of smile should be offered. Finishing her tea and wrinkling her nose. Cold tea is not right. Catching Bassy's gaze, "Thank you for letting us take up part of your day. Would it be ok if I came back just to chat later?"

The old gnome smiles sweetly. First, she attempts to reach over the desk, and failing that, she hops out of her seat and rounds the barrier entirely to give Nisany another hug.

"This has been an absolute pleasure," she says. "You are welcome here anytime, my dear! Think of this as your home away from home! Hm, or not, if that's... like, a bad thing. This is supposed to be good thing! I know, I know, your mother was always such a killjoy. Even from a young age, always nattering about community and responsibility. 'Blah blah blah!' Frankly, it's a wonder she's still not gone to grey. Not that I'd wish that on anyone, goodness no! But it's precisely why I left Wispil, to get away from all that... clucking. Anyhow, I'd love for you to come over... or maybe we can go on a picnic..."

Finally, after a few more tangents, you are able to disentangle yourselves from Bassy's company. For all her claims at hermitage, she is certainly not lacking for convivial twaddling.

~

Dusk's Homecoming:

Nisany Blim wrote:
Once they return Nisany cautiously but confidently, this one is less likely to maul her than the last wolf she chatted with. Taking a breath and feeling a bit of magic wrap around her tongue, making her able to speak to Dusk, "Hi. So I can only talk to you like this for so long. You made Vibenia really happy coming with her so thank you. And I think you have what a pup I lived with when I was younger had. Makes your skin really itchy? I can fix that. It's gonna take a few baths and probably not smell real good but your skin will be nice and smooth when its all over. Is that ok?"

Oh, right. You can talk to animals. :D

Dusk tilts her head at Nisany, listening intently. Once again, every little movement of the animal is magically imbued with meaning, giving the vague impression of speech without actual words being spoken. "Acknowledged. Water is bad, but the itching is worse. Do you have more food?"

For emphasis, the wolf-dog scratches her ear. Aside from being less inclined to aggression by circumstance, she is not nearly as surprised by the talking prey item as its larger cousin had been previously. You get the sense that she is not completely unfamiliar with this sort of communication.


female CG Gnome Oracle of Life 4 HP 32/32|AC-16 T-13 FF-14 | F+2 R+3 W+6 |CMB+2 CMD14 | Init+2 | Perc +8 | Channel 2d6, 1/4 per day, 30ft, DC15, neg 3 square | Spells (1st - 6/7, 2nd 4/4)

Bassy's

Happily accepting the hug and squeezing back. She smells like tea and ink. And there is something so comforting about that smell. Nodding, "I have had the same thought about her but she made her choices and I made mine."

Shrugging, "Picnic sounds wonderful. Can't recall the last time I did that. Will you pick out a place? And you have a garden I wanna dig though. Promise I will come back."

Dusk

Smiling widely, "It will help, I promise. And I can ask about the food. Umm, is it ok if we call you Dusk?"

Looking back over at Vibenia with a smile, "More food is wanted. And it will take a bit but a few baths will get rid of the mange."


Female Half-orc HP 27/27| AC 13 | FF 11 | T 12 | Per +6 | F: 4 | R: 4 | W: 6 | Init +2
Skills:
SC +12 | Know (arc) +12 | Know (loc) +10 | UMD +10 | App +10 | Ling +10
Sage-blooded tattooed sorcerer 3
GM Neirikr wrote:
So, knowing what she knows now, will Zaijka advise the baroness to include the book in the auction, or withhold it? We don't have to roleplay it out, but I want to make sure before we move on. From her past experience as a procurer of rare objects, Zaijka has a pretty good idea about what these sorts of curiosities are worth to collectors: since the book is in relatively poor condition, it's likely priced at about 11,000 gp. A complete, undamaged copy would likely be far more valuable.
With the Baroness wrote:
She does not say the words out loud, but they loom heavy over the entire discussion. How many years does Arnholde have, in his current state? How many months, or weeks? Lady Origena looks to be in her late fifties—bound to outlive her son, discounting some accident or misadventure.

"He will be a great baron, it's true." The care and concern in the baroness's features is almost overwhelming. My own mother, in her way, invested no less in me...if you asked her about me, now, would that same tenderness cross her features?

"Now, about the book kept in the vault. It is no doubt...odd," Zaijka continues after a moment. She lacks the tact to make the change of topic more subtle. "It took me no brief time to finally work it out - whoever wrote it had a tenuous grasp on sanity, to say the least. Its contents are not inherently dangerous in the same manner the bust was, but could certainly be used to great detriment to anyone nearby. However, the same could be said of a book discussing poisons, or fire-starting, or forge-work, even! And its value as a scholarly work is immense." For a moment, she falls silent again. "I wonder...would you be able to retain it just a little while longer, withhold it from the auction to sell later? I certainly do not have the means to buy it from you, but I feel there are secrets there yet to be revealed. Of course, as executor of the estate, the final decision rests with you."


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Male Human HP 37/44 | AC 20/ FF 19/ T 11 | Per +4 | F: 5/ R: 3/ W: 1 | Init +5 | Active Conditions:

When Bernard sees the written notice, his chest locks up. He stands there, tunnel vision causing the post and paper to fade into the distance, and hears nothing but a rushing roar in his ears.

Feels, he thinks, a small hand slip into his own. Another, so achingly familiar, caress the nape of his neck. Feels, for the briefest of seconds, that he no longer stands alone, but is whole, complete, in a way that he will never, ever be again.

The moment passes.

He reads Sir Pelle's announcement. Stiffly nods to all those who salute him. Returns home, closes the door, then slides down its inside to weep, as brokenly as he first did so many years ago.

Only, finally, when the tears run their course, he looks up at his filthy, disheveled home, and whispers, "You are avenged, my loves."

The next morning sees Bernard a changed man. Windows thrown up, broom unearthed from the back of some closet, he sweeps out years' worth of dust and dirt, dunks all his clothing into a large vat of soapy water outside but for his tunic and breeches, and spends the day scrubbing and waxing and painting and repairing.

Doing everything he can, within such a brief span of time, to make him home resemble that which it once was. Any who pass by are hailed in a cheery manner and invited to join him for a glass of juice on the porch. He banters, laughs, and defends Sir Pelle and the baroness to a degree. But when pressed on Hunclay and his crimes, he demurs.

"That is behind me now," is all he'll say.

He visits old friends and new. Orders new furniture. New shutters to replace the broken ones. For the roof to be fixed, a new kitchen counter to be laid down, flowers to be delivered.

Throws out all the old bottles. Sweeps out the broken glass.

That afternoon, he heads down to the Piper and there makes merry, ordering food and drink for everyone, marveling still at how much gold he yet has. Yet he turns down every offer of wine, beer, or spirits. Laughs loudest, laughs longest, and is free with hugs and good cheer.

Over the next few days he becomes almost ubiquitous; almost every tradesman receives an order from him, and he has time for all, stopping to chat and invite people to come by when they can. And always, running through every conversation, is the simple refrain: we must forgive and move on. Abadaran and Shelynite, all must embrace the future, a future rife with possibility, a future that is golden and precious and filled with the potential for newfound joy and happiness.

He hosts a large dinner that night. Any and all are invited, and he has a huge table installed under the beech tree in his garden, its branches interwoven with cords from which candle-filled jars hang. Commissions a feast, hires musicians, and at it the meal's peak, clinks on his glass of apple juice, stands, and raises his glass on high.

"Friends. I'll not drone on, don't you worry. But I would say a word. Yes, yes, I know I've not been shy on that account of late, believe you me."

Chuckles all around.

"But I just want to say thank you. To the baroness, for giving me a chance. For Sir Pelle, for not challenging my return. To all of you, for your kindness and generosity, for being a community I've always loved, but come to love again more than ever before. And to my new friends."

He turns to his new companions. Khardir, Vibenia, Syksy, and Nisany. "For giving me new life. My heart felt thanks. I'll never be able to repay the debt. Cheers!"

He clinks his glass with that of the others, laughs, drains it dry, then sits back down to help finish the feast in the candelight as the music plays on.

Diplomacy: 1d20 - 1 + 4 ⇒ (19) - 1 + 4 = 22
Diplomacy: 1d20 - 1 + 4 ⇒ (2) - 1 + 4 = 5


HP: 44/44 | AC 18/12/16 CMD 18 | F+7 R+3 W+1 | ER A,E,S 5
Skills:
Arcana +6 Geography +6 Handle Animal +10 Intimidate +1 Nature +6 Perception +0
Challenge 2/2 Tactician 1/1 x5 | Darkvision 60ft | Init +2

"Here-here!" Syksy says in cheer at Bernard's party.


Male Dwarf Occultist (Reliquarian) 4 | HP 31/31 | AC 18 T 10 FF 18 | Fort +6 Ref +1 Will +7 | Initiative +0 | Perception +10 | Mental Focus 2/6; 2 conjuration, 2 enchantment | Touch of Good 6/6 | Occultist Spells: 1st—3/4 2nd—2/2

Khardir has been notably absent, busy working with the masons and traveling to the kobolds' lair. Yet he wouldn't miss Bernard's new party for the world.

"My friend," he says, smacking Bernard on the back, "it's good to see you getting back into the swing of things. Out with the old, making room for the new! Here's to a new future." The dwarf, unlike his guardsman friend, isn't shy with the beer and takes a long pull from a large, frothing mug.

"Why it's looking like a new future for this whole burg - a new town of industry and trade!"


Female Half-orc HP 27/27| AC 13 | FF 11 | T 12 | Per +6 | F: 4 | R: 4 | W: 6 | Init +2
Skills:
SC +12 | Know (arc) +12 | Know (loc) +10 | UMD +10 | App +10 | Ling +10
Sage-blooded tattooed sorcerer 3

Zaijka, on the edge of the celebrations, can't help but smile at Bernard's exuberance. The change in him is immediately evident, even as unfamiliar as he still was to her - and from what she knew of his past, he deserved some peace. Raising her glass in unison with the rest of the garden's inhabitants, she drinks deeply of the water within, letting the warmth of the candlelight and the crowd wash over her.


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With the Baroness:

Zaijka Raven-born wrote:
"Now, about the book kept in the vault. It is no doubt...odd," Zaijka continues after a moment. She lacks the tact to make the change of topic more subtle. "It took me no brief time to finally work it out - whoever wrote it had a tenuous grasp on sanity, to say the least. Its contents are not inherently dangerous in the same manner the bust was, but could certainly be used to great detriment to anyone nearby. However, the same could be said of a book discussing poisons, or fire-starting, or forge-work, even! And its value as a scholarly work is immense." For a moment, she falls silent again. "I wonder...would you be able to retain it just a little while longer, withhold it from the auction to sell later? I certainly do not have the means to buy it from you, but I feel there are secrets there yet to be revealed. Of course, as executor of the estate, the final decision rests with you."

Lady Origena is simultaneously relieved to change the subject back to business, and eminently self-conscious about her previous lapse into sentimentality.

"Of course," she mutters, clearing her throat. "Even with two items withheld, there is more than enough miscellanea to attract a diverse selection of bidders—we can arrange for a private transaction later. Meanwhile, I propose you employ the book to a constructive end: should you find anything that might aid in ridding my heir of the curse, you will be richly rewarded, beyond the generous salary I would be willing to offer to a qualified tutor..."

~

Bernard's Garden Party:

Bernard Hammersmith wrote:

He hosts a large dinner that night. Any and all are invited, and he has a huge table installed under the beech tree in his garden, its branches interwoven with cords from which candle-filled jars hang. Commissions a feast, hires musicians, and at it the meal's peak, clinks on his glass of apple juice, stands, and raises his glass on high.

"Friends. I'll not drone on, don't you worry. But I would say a word. Yes, yes, I know I've not been shy on that account of late, believe you me."

Chuckles all around.

"But I just want to say thank you. To the baroness, for giving me a chance. For Sir Pelle, for not challenging my return. To all of you, for your kindness and generosity, for being a community I've always loved, but come to love again more than ever before. And to my new friends."

He turns to his new companions. Khardir, Vibenia, Syksy, and Nisany. "For giving me new life. My heart felt thanks. I'll never be able to repay the debt. Cheers!"

He clinks his glass with that of the others, laughs, drains it dry, then sits back down to help finish the feast in the candelight as the music plays on.

Diplomacy: 19 - 1 + 4 = 22

Khardir Braktan wrote:

"My friend," he says, smacking Bernard on the back, "it's good to see you getting back into the swing of things. Out with the old, making room for the new! Here's to a new future." The dwarf, unlike his guardsman friend, isn't shy with the beer and takes a long pull from a large, frothing mug.

"Why it's looking like a new future for this whole burg - a new town of industry and trade!"

Bernard's toast is received well, though not without a muttered undertone of discordant contradiction. Especially after Khardir's prediction of an economical upturn, there is a clear delineation between the congregations, with the Abadarans joining in with apparent enthusiasm, while the Shelynites eye one another skeptically. The pre-eminent topic of controversy has traditionally been the fate of Belhaim, should the town regain its former prestige: Abadarans have repeatedly called for aggressive revitalisation of the local economy—whatever the cost—while the Shelynites have always been content with their quaint little stretch of the riverside.

Following a somewhat awkward half-cheer from those assembled, Nilos Genser rises from his seat. He looks the part of an elven prince from a fairy-tale, having discarded his dust-covered work clothes and straw hat for a rainbow-coloured vestment of bright silks, with a crown of flowers on his brow.

"True words," says the priest, with genuine tears in the corners of his eyes, "spoken from the heart. There is room in our town for beauty as well as prosperity. We are a family, and families squabble—but they also make up, and move forward. Just look at these noble souls, our heroes from near and afar, all from wildly disparate backgrounds. Surely, if they can work together for our benefit, we can put aside our differences and do the same."

The half-elf raises a thin flute of rosé wine, smiling widely. "To making amends!"

Talia the innkeeper is the first of the lay Shelynites to rise and join the toast, and it does not take long for the rest to follow her example. While there are not many Green Faith followers in attendance, Baccus and Isadorer Malak lend their voice to the chorus—the Malak children alone bring up the number by quite a bit.

After everyone but the Abadarans have joined Nilos' exultation, Gregol Lenton wobbles to his feet. He is a slightly red in the face, clearly well into his fifth or sixth glass of brandy. Raising his sixth or seventh, he stares defiantly at his fellow believers, as if daring someone to counteract him. None do.

"I'll drink to that!" barks the guildmaster, his voice is still relatively even and unslurred. "Abadar be my witness, I can admit when I've been wrong! Surely, if we can make peace with kobolds—the very same kobolds that attacked us earlier, mind you—we should be able to sit at the same table without coming to blows. Let's leave hypocrisy to the city folk down south, and drink to some honest godsdamned dialogue, yeah? Bottoms up!"

Lenton is widely known for his stubbornness, and hearing such a declaration from him takes many by surprise. A group of grizzled stonemasons join in almost immediately, soon followed by Otho Burr, the now well-contended overseer of the recently refurbished Belhaim Commons. After that, the wave of participants builds into a swell, finally leaving all of the party-goers standing and with their assorted drinking vessels lifted up to the heavens. The noise is enough to rouse a murmuration of starlings resting in the beech above, sending them skyward in a wispy stream—this is largely regarded as a good omen by the Shelynites.

Thereafter, you spot a delicate, yet notable changes in the celebrants' behaviour: people cross the aisle, both figuratively and literally, taking their first tentative steps to intermingle without bickering. While there are still minor arguments and misunderstandings, everyone makes an effort to be open with one another.


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Female Human Ranger 4 | 34/34 HP | AC 16 T 13 FF 13 | Fort +7 Ref +9 Will +2 | Initiative +3 (+5) | Perception +8/+10(+12), Sense Motive +8/+10

Dusk

Vibenia smiles as she watches Nisany with Dusk, clearly communicating in a fascinating manner. "More food we can definitely do"[/n
B] she says emphatically. [B]"We'll need to get some more muscle on you, and get you healthy again."
she says to Dusk.

--------------------
Bernard

Seeing the change in Bernard, the recovered strength and confidence, the easy manner with which he interacted with his community, Vibenia found it impossible for her eyes to remain dry. This strong, warm protector of the town was who she remembered, the person who along with his wife had taken her in and made her feel safe when she'd needed it most.

When he finishes his toast, the ranger steps forward and impulsively gives him an emotional hug, before stepping back wiping her eyes. "Welcome back"


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HP: 44/44 | AC 18/12/16 CMD 18 | F+7 R+3 W+1 | ER A,E,S 5
Skills:
Arcana +6 Geography +6 Handle Animal +10 Intimidate +1 Nature +6 Perception +0
Challenge 2/2 Tactician 1/1 x5 | Darkvision 60ft | Init +2

Do not cry... Hellknights are not allowed to cry... for some reason Syksy tells herself as she watches the night unfold, and the effect it had on Vibenia and Bernard.


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female CG Gnome Oracle of Life 4 HP 32/32|AC-16 T-13 FF-14 | F+2 R+3 W+6 |CMB+2 CMD14 | Init+2 | Perc +8 | Channel 2d6, 1/4 per day, 30ft, DC15, neg 3 square | Spells (1st - 6/7, 2nd 4/4)

Smiling at the patchwork man, watching some of his stitching getting tighter. And a few tears join her smile at the huntress's joy. Something bad is gonna happen. This is way to much good.

Shaking her head and deciding that is a problem for future Nisany. Lowering her mostly empty glass, "There is nothing to repay Bernard."


Female Half-orc HP 27/27| AC 13 | FF 11 | T 12 | Per +6 | F: 4 | R: 4 | W: 6 | Init +2
Skills:
SC +12 | Know (arc) +12 | Know (loc) +10 | UMD +10 | App +10 | Ling +10
Sage-blooded tattooed sorcerer 3
With the Baroness wrote:

Lady Origena is simultaneously relieved to change the subject back to business, and eminently self-conscious about her previous lapse into sentimentality.

"Of course," she mutters, clearing her throat. "Even with two items withheld, there is more than enough miscellanea to attract a diverse selection of bidders—we can arrange for a private transaction later. Meanwhile, I propose you employ the book to a constructive end: should you find anything that might aid in ridding my heir of the curse, you will be richly rewarded, beyond the generous salary I would be willing to offer to a qualified tutor..."

"Of course - it was one of the foremost topics on my mind as well," Zaijka reassures the Baroness sincerely. "There are answers to be found, I believe, and I am confident that someday we will triumph. I will begin as soon as circumstances allow."

If there's time before the auction, Zaijka will begin researching the bust/the curse in Secrets. I think the number of attempts it took to decipher the book in the first place may run me up against available time, though. Zev will take 10 to aid as well for a +2 on the check.

Knowledge (arcana?) concerning bust/curse with book's bonus, aid another: 1d20 + 12 + 6 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 12 + 6 + 2 = 26


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Male Human HP 37/44 | AC 20/ FF 19/ T 11 | Per +4 | F: 5/ R: 3/ W: 1 | Init +5 | Active Conditions:

Bernard is all smiles interspersed with moments of open emotion. He hugs Vibenia tightly with one arm, then spontaneously kisses the top of her head; winks at Nisany and gives her an infectious grin; and clacks his mug of apple juice against Syksy's own tankard as he toasts his sparring partner.

Later, when everyone's left, when the music has ended and the candles been snuffed, Bernard remains, alone, on his front porch, rocking back and forth on his old chair, humming old songs, remembering old memories, and though he wishes, as always, that his wife were by his side, for the first time he finds peace in her absence, and maybe, the beginning of his true healing.

Done! Thanks everyone for the scene ;)


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@Zaijka:

Zaijka Raven-born wrote:

If there's time before the auction, Zaijka will begin researching the bust/the curse in Secrets. I think the number of attempts it took to decipher the book in the first place may run me up against available time, though. Zev will take 10 to aid as well for a +2 on the check.

Knowledge (arcana?) concerning bust/curse with book's bonus, aid another: 6 + 12 + 6 + 2 = 26

Sure, there's still time! I'll go ahead and describe this a bit more straightforwardly and OOC, for the sake of clarity—feel free to embellish on the following in-game. So... Zaijka is still a bit foggy on the specifics about the bust itself, what exactly it's supposed to portray, and the curse it bears. However, the book describes a ritual called the "Controversion of the Crawling Chaos," which appears to suit her needs: it is said to redirect the attention of the entity known as the Black Pharaoh away from objects consecrated to him, if only for a short time. This will give Zaijka a short window of opportunity to destroy the bust, which might just rid Arnholde of the curse.

Here's the catch: with the Secrets of the Dreaming Dark in hand, you can perform the ritual chant and draw the needed diagrams easily enough (requiring a DC 20 Arcana check with the book's bonus). What you need to actually destroy the bust—assuming your information is correct—is one of the following implements: a blade of "voidglass" (seemingly an obsidian-like material from outside Golarion, sometimes found in meteorites), anointed with the (reasonably fresh) blood of an aberration.

This basically a simplified occult ritual, in case it sounds familiar. You can get aid, but all the participants must be fluent in Aklo to be able to join in the chant.

~

7 Arodus, 4713 AR

Weeks pass by in eager anticipation. Despite the large number of invitations sent out by Lady Origena, only a handful of prospective buyers arrive in town—the remoteness of Belhaim and the reclusive Hunclay's limited fame in arcanist circles make the auction less of an attraction than the baroness hoped. First visitors are a pair representatives from the Mercantile Consortium of Maheto, who make their entrance in a carriage guarded by dwarven mercenaries: an elderly dwarven woman assisted by a younger human scribe, both dressed in conservative black suits with silver pins at their lapels. Soon after, there is a trio of gloved, white-clad Kalistocrats from Druma, teleported into Belhaim (to some alarm by the unsuspecting locals) by a hired wizard: two acolytes, led by an androgynously lithe Prophet wearing a veil of glittering gold thread. The above parties do not mix well—they soon take over opposing ends of the Wise Piper, and do nothing to mingle with one another.

Aside from these larger commercial interests, there is the incongruously well-dressed, snarling half-orc going by the moniker "Mr. Pickets," representing Duchess Selphine Telegonus of Cassomir herself. Mr. Pickets arrives by boat, escorted by a group of River Guards. He takes an immediate and noticeable interest in Nisany, though he remains aloof—it is unclear if he is expecting her to report on her original group's progress, or waiting until after the auction to broach the subject himself. Last of all, arriving the day of the auction without much fanfare is a mild, untalkative Taldan man calling himself Clausyre, who claims to represent an anonymous private collector. He is dressed in unassuming brown-and-grey clothing, contrasted by a red felt hat with a large blue feather stuck in its side.

The auction is scheduled to take place in the afternoon on Oathday at the Belhaim Commons, an open-air amphitheatre newly refurbished with stone from the fallen Witch Tower. When it finally arrives, the aforementioned Oathday ends up being heavily overcast, with the long-expected rain weighing down the gathering clouds above—canopies of oilcloth have been prepared in case of precipitation. By the decree of the baroness, the event is open to the public, and many of Belhaim's townsfolk attend out of curiosity, even though few have the means to compete for the items on auction. All of you, regardless of whether you plan on bidding or not—and in accordance with your agreement with the baroness—are given places of honour with front-row seats. Serious bidders are seated within the first two tiers closest to the stage: aside from the visitors, these include locals such as the wealthy Adras family, Sir Pelle Benhovy, Arnholde Devy, the Belhaim historian Bassy, and Swerlo Grayhands the halfling (who has been rather vocal about wanting Hunclay's stuffed grizzly for the common room of his tavern). Spectators fill whatever other seats are available. The baroness is also present and seated next to her son Arnholde, though she has pre-emptively excluded herself from participating in the auction.

See the discussion thread for more info!


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Female Half-orc HP 27/27| AC 13 | FF 11 | T 12 | Per +6 | F: 4 | R: 4 | W: 6 | Init +2
Skills:
SC +12 | Know (arc) +12 | Know (loc) +10 | UMD +10 | App +10 | Ling +10
Sage-blooded tattooed sorcerer 3

Zaijka weaves her way toward the empty seats in the front row of the Commons, her mind still swimming with fatigue and with a jumble of disjointed, chaotic incantations. She had been up into the wee hours of the morning in the House of Abadar, poring over Secrets of the Dreaming Dark once again, and while the book was still far from clear, it was proving to be an incredibly valuable source of information. It's complex, but it does make sense, in a twisted sort of way...I think I can make it work, if I can get a hold of some of that voidglass the book spoke of...

"My lady?" she calls softly, bowing slightly to the Baroness in her place of prominence. "I would speak with you later - there are some developments in my research I would like you to examine more closely." Arnholde's malady was clearly no secret, but Zaijka was uncertain how much the Baroness would want these visitors to know of her research into its cause and potential cure; she would leave it until later. There would still be time after the auction for Lady Origenia to speak with the visitors about procuring the necessary blade, if she chose to. For now, Zaijka settles into her seat, preparing to watch the parceling out of Master Hunclay's estate.

I would love to keep any of his spellbooks, all the scrolls, even that scroll tube...but even with Baroness Devy's generous subsidy, I could never afford them. Just getting the house will be trouble enough, I think, even with us working together. Sysky had broached the idea of combining their wages from clearing the house to purchase it as a center of operations, and Zaijka had agreed readily. If she was to remain in Belhaim on retainer with the Baroness, she would need a place to stay - while sleeping in the open was generally fine, storing delicate parchments and expensive inks out of doors was less ideal. Her arcane research was better suited to a place like the Hunclay estate...after all, that was what it had been built for.


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Zaijka Raven-born wrote:
"My lady?" she calls softly, bowing slightly to the Baroness in her place of prominence. "I would speak with you later - there are some developments in my research I would like you to examine more closely."

Out in a public venue, the baroness' usual veneer of aristocratic detachment is in place as firmly as ever. She makes eye contact and nods in acknowledgement, but says nothing. Arhnolde's excited queries are silenced with a glance and an urgent wave.

~

After the bidders have taken their places near the front, the rest of the seats immediately fill with curious townsfolk. People not lucky enough be seated are lined outside the doors, elbowing one another to get a glimpse of the mad wizard's treasures, as well as the exotic out-of-towners. The auctioneer's podium is inhabited by Chosk Grellen, the local moneychanger and pawnbroker. Notaries from the House of Abadar rush to and fro, carrying sheaves of papers and scribes' paraphernalia. Grellen's three adult sons stand ready to transport objects of interest to and from the stage.

Moments before the auction is set to begin, all of you notice a flustered Clausyre arguing with Grellen. The man is motioning at the objects on display with obvious nervousness, the blue feather in his cap fluttering in rhythm with each gesticulation. While animated, the conversation itself is hushed and easily lost in the clamour of the crowd. The two seem to reach some sort of an agreement, and Clausyre withdraws.

Perception DC 20:
Clausyre keeps insisting that the baroness has not put all of Hunclay's estate up for auction, and repeatedly demands to speak to her privately about the missing items. Finally Grellen manages to calm him down, by promising him a meeting with Lady Origena after the proceedings are over.

~

After the disgruntled gentleman has found his place, a sharp hammering from Grellen's wooden gavel silences the crowd—the game is on!

Hunclay's songbirds are claimed by Sir Pelle without contest. The knight declines to bid on anything else for the rest of the auction—obviously, he is present just to be seen in important company. Arnholde wins the decorations of the wizard's parlour, including the globe, and then settles into an expectant silence. Mr. Pickets focuses on procuring artwork and pieces of luxurious furniture for his noble patron, the duchess' deep pockets winning out against local bourgeoisie, like the pottery-enriched Adras family. The Kalistocrats and the Mercantile Consortium dance around each other like duelists, careful to avoid unnecessary confrontations: the former party goes for singular objects of quality, while the latter focus on quantity. Most of the magical tomes are claimed by one or the other, with no engagements between them.

Swerlo wins his grizzly: with no other claimants to the grisly trophy, he departs with eminent satisfaction to prepare his tavern for the influx of revellers to follow.

The contents of Hunclay's library prove to be the first real contest of the evening. Bassy and the Mercantile Consortium spokesperson get into a shouting match, mostly drowning out Clausyre's feeble attempts to get in a word edgewise. He does not make for a sterling haggler: the man looks almost terrified of crowds, instinctively shying away from the noisier participants. Finally, the old gnome pulls out of the bidding race, satisfied with having hitched up the price sufficiently to spite the eastern merchants. Clausyre is not pleased, and it shows—having already lost the parlour lot to Arnholde, he appears increasingly red-faced and desperate.

Finally, the potions are brought forth: set into a wooden rack, each of the five vials is neatly labelled and polished to a sparkling sheen.

"Here we have a fine selection of elixirs and magical tonics," hollers Grellen, "for protection, both in the martial realm, as well as courtly affairs! The starting price is a mere 660 gold pieces! Six-sixty, starting at six-sixty! Any takers?"


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Female Human Ranger 4 | 34/34 HP | AC 16 T 13 FF 13 | Fort +7 Ref +9 Will +2 | Initiative +3 (+5) | Perception +8/+10(+12), Sense Motive +8/+10

"Six sixty" Vibenia says with a hint of confidence in her tone.

Intimidate: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16


Male Human HP 37/44 | AC 20/ FF 19/ T 11 | Per +4 | F: 5/ R: 3/ W: 1 | Init +5 | Active Conditions:

Bernard eschews the front row seats for a roving patrol of the amphitheater's perimeter; not intending to bid on anything, he instead focuses on the baroness's charge, and keeps a sharp eye out for any trouble or disturbances. Pick pockets, any potential arguments between the bidders, or anything of the like.

To be honest, he doesn't expect much trouble, but with this much wealth concentrated in such a small place, he can't deny the appeal to a band of robbers or magical infiltrators to try and make off with the loot.

So he walks, smiling and nodding to everyone who catches his eye, and keeps his wits about him.

Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13


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Bassy looks as if she is going to bid on the potions, but takes Vibenia's keen interest as a sign to back off. The old gnome smiles and winks, leaning back in her seat. Meanwhile, the people from the Mercantile Consortium mutter amongst themselves, but decline to join the race.

Grellen does his best to coax out more offers, but to little success."Six sixty offered, the current is six sixty, anyone going for more? No? Going once, going twice... aaa-nd sold to the young lady in the front! Quite bargain you got there, if you don't mind me saying..."

The auctioneer's gavel hits the podium with a resounding crack, and notaries hurry to fetch Vibenia's signature. The potions are either set aside for later delivery or brought directly to the ranger, as she prefers. One of Grellen's sons is already bringing out the next items of interest: Hunclay's collection of magical scrolls. This time, Bassy is quick to strike, spending everything she had intended to bid on the potions to win the lot outright.

From there on, the bidding gets more heated: the Kalistocrats and the Mercantile Consortium finally clash, competing over Hunclay's spellbooks, with the former winning out on sheer wealth. Most of the other rare objects are taken by them as well, including the contents of Hunclay's observatory and his clockworks, as well as the summoning journal. The delegation from Maheto is thoroughly humbled, and not at all pleased by the Drumans' superior purchasing power.

Time and time again, Clausyre is left gasping for air as these giants of commerce spout out sums that would make a duke blush with envy. After the papyrus scrolls are swept out of his grasp, he finally seems to have had enough: the man jumps up from his seat dramatically.

"Very well!" he says loudly, all but shouting. "I must deliver these bad news to my employer immediately. I bid you all good day!"

He then storms out of the amphitheatre, leaving an awkward silence in his wake. After a pause, Bassy says, "I suspect he didn't mean that last bit..."

The gnome's jest breaks the tension, causing laughter to fill the crowd. Soon, the auction carries on without Clausyre's morose presence.

~

No other unexpected incidents mar the rest of the evening. The auction extends long past sunset, with colourful lanterns being lit to compensate for the dimming illumination. A slight drizzle patters against the oilcloth above, though the lingering ghost of summer—combined with the body heat of dozens of tightly packed people—keeps away the chill of night-time rain.

"That brings us to our last lot of the evening!" announces Grellen, following the sale of the mithral scroll tube. "The manor house itself, prime real estate right next to town centre. Scenic views of the surrounding forest and Rogue Creek—or the night sky, if you're that way inclined! Good for immediate inhabitation, or perhaps renting out to third parties. I will note that the property is mostly unfurnished, though the price does include a custom-made telescope of significant value. The starting price is 2,500 gold pieces. Any takers?"


HP: 44/44 | AC 18/12/16 CMD 18 | F+7 R+3 W+1 | ER A,E,S 5
Skills:
Arcana +6 Geography +6 Handle Animal +10 Intimidate +1 Nature +6 Perception +0
Challenge 2/2 Tactician 1/1 x5 | Darkvision 60ft | Init +2

Okay, deep breath Syksy, just do what Dad would do. Standing imperiously Syksy clearly announces her bid. ”Two-thousand and five hundred gold pieces.”

Intimidate: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (3) + 10 = 13
Of course I’d get that XD


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"That's 2,500 gold pieces from the warrior in the front!" shouts Grellen, who is clearly enjoying his role, even though his voice has been getting increasingly hoarse throughout the evening. "I repeat, we're up to twenty-five hundred! Anyone willing to offer five thousand?"

There is only a slight pause before the delegate from Maheto joins in, full of bluster.

"Five thousand!" calls the stern dwarven woman.

"Seventy-five hundred!" counters the leading Kalistocrat, without as much as a second's hesitation.

The auctioneer smirks, leaning forward on his podium. "That's the spirit! Okay, we're up to seventy-five hundred! Anyone in for ten thousand?"


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HP: 44/44 | AC 18/12/16 CMD 18 | F+7 R+3 W+1 | ER A,E,S 5
Skills:
Arcana +6 Geography +6 Handle Animal +10 Intimidate +1 Nature +6 Perception +0
Challenge 2/2 Tactician 1/1 x5 | Darkvision 60ft | Init +2

What the f#$~ do they need that manor for?!?


Female Half-orc HP 27/27| AC 13 | FF 11 | T 12 | Per +6 | F: 4 | R: 4 | W: 6 | Init +2
Skills:
SC +12 | Know (arc) +12 | Know (loc) +10 | UMD +10 | App +10 | Ling +10
Sage-blooded tattooed sorcerer 3

"Remember, the Baroness offered to pay for half of whatever we bid on," Zaijka murmurs to Sysky sotto voce. "Can we come up with five thousand?"


HP: 44/44 | AC 18/12/16 CMD 18 | F+7 R+3 W+1 | ER A,E,S 5
Skills:
Arcana +6 Geography +6 Handle Animal +10 Intimidate +1 Nature +6 Perception +0
Challenge 2/2 Tactician 1/1 x5 | Darkvision 60ft | Init +2

”I remember, but we’d still be short some.”

Me, you, and Nisany and we only have 3k.


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Male Human HP 37/44 | AC 20/ FF 19/ T 11 | Per +4 | F: 5/ R: 3/ W: 1 | Init +5 | Active Conditions:

Bernard offered his money for whatever you guys wanted to purchase.


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female CG Gnome Oracle of Life 4 HP 32/32|AC-16 T-13 FF-14 | F+2 R+3 W+6 |CMB+2 CMD14 | Init+2 | Perc +8 | Channel 2d6, 1/4 per day, 30ft, DC15, neg 3 square | Spells (1st - 6/7, 2nd 4/4)

Glaring at the other bidders and mumbling, "I have little over 400 gold in the bank."

I have 54pp on the character sheet and I assume that is from the original group but I am not sure.


HP: 44/44 | AC 18/12/16 CMD 18 | F+7 R+3 W+1 | ER A,E,S 5
Skills:
Arcana +6 Geography +6 Handle Animal +10 Intimidate +1 Nature +6 Perception +0
Challenge 2/2 Tactician 1/1 x5 | Darkvision 60ft | Init +2

So with Bernard that’s 4k, with Nisany’s extra that 4,400g. Still 600g short.


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Female Human Ranger 4 | 34/34 HP | AC 16 T 13 FF 13 | Fort +7 Ref +9 Will +2 | Initiative +3 (+5) | Perception +8/+10(+12), Sense Motive +8/+10

I'll throw in the rest, I only spent 660. That should be another 907. Besides which if we move into the manor I could sell my place after the fact to recoup some of the money.


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Female Human Ranger 4 | 34/34 HP | AC 16 T 13 FF 13 | Fort +7 Ref +9 Will +2 | Initiative +3 (+5) | Perception +8/+10(+12), Sense Motive +8/+10

"Ten Thousand!" Vibenia says standing up and turning an imposing gaze in the direction of the other bidders.

Intimidate: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (19) + 4 = 23


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Male Dwarf Occultist (Reliquarian) 4 | HP 31/31 | AC 18 T 10 FF 18 | Fort +6 Ref +1 Will +7 | Initiative +0 | Perception +10 | Mental Focus 2/6; 2 conjuration, 2 enchantment | Touch of Good 6/6 | Occultist Spells: 1st—3/4 2nd—2/2

I think I have about 1,800 gp.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
HP: 44/44 | AC 18/12/16 CMD 18 | F+7 R+3 W+1 | ER A,E,S 5
Skills:
Arcana +6 Geography +6 Handle Animal +10 Intimidate +1 Nature +6 Perception +0
Challenge 2/2 Tactician 1/1 x5 | Darkvision 60ft | Init +2

Syksy resisted the urge toe let out a rather un-Hellknight squeel of joy when Vibenia placed a more composed bid.

She would have to think of ways to repay everyone after this. Vibe and Nisany she kinda knew what to do already, but she was grateful for everyone pitching in.


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Dragon's Demand Maps | Dragon's Demand Monsters | Dragon's Demand NPCs

GM Screen:
Bernard's Initiative: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
Khardir's Initiative: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (3) + 0 = 3
Nisany's Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10
Syksy's Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 2 = 11
Vibenia's Initiative: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15
Zaijka's Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3

Red Grioth Initiative: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10
Blue Grioth Initiative: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18
Yellow Grioth Initiative: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
Green Grioth Initiative: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19
Orange Grioth Initiative: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26
Purple Grioth Initiative: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8

Vibenia's self-assuredness puts the competition in their place: unsure as to the depth of the strange local's pockets, both the Kalistocrats and the Mercantile Consortium abstain from additional bids. Whatever their plans for the estate, they are apparently not worth more than ten thousand gold.

"Ten thousand offered!" exults Grellen. "No more takers, eh? Ten thousand, going once, going twice..."

Just as he is about to seal the deal with a final thump from his gavel, there is a horrified scream from the crowd.

"Demons!" someone yelps in quick succession, leading to more pointing and screaming.

The source of their terror soon becomes apparent: from the darkened sky flit six batlike humanoids, with leathery wings, bristly fur, and long, ratlike tails. They have flattened noses, and four narrow, phosphorescent eyes. As they swoop down to land amidst the audience and on the amphitheatre stage, the people start panicking and run for the entrance. The creatures themselves are eerily quiet, never vocalising even as they start lashing out at the crowd with their strange, crystalline knives—as well as their sharp teeth, which are dripping with glistening saliva. All their movements are shudderingly fluid, as if their limbs have too many joints, or their bones bend in different ways than a normal earthbound humanoids' do. Screams of terror turn to cries of pain as they viciously assail the helpless townsfolk.

Sir Pelle, true to his vows, personally escorts Lady Origena and Arnholde across the stage and out the back. The guardsmen outside are varyingly pushing against the crowd and trying to ensure that no-one is trampled in the press—either way, they are unable to enter.

The visitors are of little help: the Consortium delegates are surrounded by their dwarven mercenaries, who form a shield-wall and make a bee-line for the door, and the Kalistocrats' hired wizard whisks them away with magic, leaving a conspicuous opening in the mob.

The following spoilers are all-inclusive. Roll once: by succeeding at the higher DC, you gain access to all the lower ones as well.

Knowledge (dungeoneering) DC 16:
Grioths are dark fables, batlike monsters said to inhabit rogue worlds cast away from their stars—sometimes, they are said to travel into far away places via powerful magic portals during eclipses to pillage resources rare on their frozen homes. They are a supposedly culture of ruthless marauders, operating on a sense of morality so alien as to be incomprehensible to Golarians. Little is actually known about them, however—most scholars do not even agree on the veracity of their existence.

Knowledge (dungeoneering) DC 21:
Being exposed to the Dark Tapestry has warped grioths in both body and mind: they possess innate psychic abilities, and though they can speak a language composed of squeaks, clicks, and other nonsensical animal noises, they prefer telepathic communication. Their race is prone to strange mutations—such as their psychoactive saliva—and their forms are sometimes twisted by eldritch forces into lumbering giants or deformed horrors. The most powerful of their kind often possess great physical prowess, as well as unique psychic magic that aids them in ruling their dark spire cities and in their constant wars against even more alien entities.

Grioths favour blades crafted from crystals and metallic alloys that synergise with their psychic powers: these sympathetic vibrations help them drive their weapons home with devastating effect.

Knowledge (dungeoneering) DC 26:
Though one might not assume so at a glance, grioths are a highly religious culture. Many of these evil creatures are known for their devotion to a blasphemous horror known as the Haunter of the Dark, and it is not uncommon for colonies of grioths to be led by priests of the Outer God.

We are in initiative! Technically, the grioths go first, but they are not immediately singling you out: 1d4 - 1 ⇒ (1) - 1 = 0 townsfolk lose their lives this turn.

All of you are up! The map has been uploaded—just imagine everything's stone instead of wood. I won't put down tokens for all the NPCs, because... well, that's insane. Suffice to say, everywhere but the stage is difficult terrain due to the panicking crowd.


Male Human HP 37/44 | AC 20/ FF 19/ T 11 | Per +4 | F: 5/ R: 3/ W: 1 | Init +5 | Active Conditions:

Knowledge Dungeoneering: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19

Hugh's moment of ebullience over his friends' victory is crushed by the arrival of the winged beasts. He stares, stunned, as the monsters descend upon the crowd, and it's as if his worst nightmare has come to life before his eyes.

The screams, the snickersnack of the crystal blades - for a moment he feels helpless, overwhelmed, and then he roars out his fury and defiance, wading through the frantic crowd, thrusting and swimming between the press of bodies to reach the closest one, drawing his blade at the last moment so as to not risk cutting a bystander - and attacks!

With a roar he places a boot on the closest chair back and launches himself up, rising for a brief moment to eclipse the low hanging sun, his shadow falling upon the grioth's upturned face - and then he crashes down, blade wielded in two hands, to smash its edge with desperate fury into the monster's face.

Furious Focus Power Attack: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (19) + 9 = 28
Furious Focus Power Attack Crit?: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (10) + 9 = 19
Damage: 2d6 + 10 ⇒ (1, 4) + 10 = 15
Crit Damage: 2d6 + 10 ⇒ (6, 2) + 10 = 18

"Grioths! he bellows to his friends, though he can hardly credit it himself. "Get the hell out of our town!"


Female Human Ranger 4 | 34/34 HP | AC 16 T 13 FF 13 | Fort +7 Ref +9 Will +2 | Initiative +3 (+5) | Perception +8/+10(+12), Sense Motive +8/+10

Smiling at Syksy and Nisany triumphantly, Vibenia is in no way prepared for the horror that unfolds next, or the chaos it plunges them into.

Knowledge Dungeoneering: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14

Nonplussed by Bernard's warning about, she nevertheless erupts into action, grabbing up her crossbow even as a part of her mind registers the magnificent sight of Bernard's devastating attack, she adopts a shooting stance, behind and over Nisany, taking aim at one of the monsters attacking a townsperson while commanding Dusk to fight alongside Syksy. "Dusk, with Syksy! Kill!"

The mighty wolfdog hesitates only long enough for the knight to pick a target, before racing towards the fiend, tearing into them savagely.

+1 heavy crossbow: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (15) + 6 = 21
magic/piercing: 1d10 ⇒ 8

Dusk bite: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (13) + 8 = 21
piercing: 1d6 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
Bleed: 1d4 ⇒ 4


Female Half-orc HP 27/27| AC 13 | FF 11 | T 12 | Per +6 | F: 4 | R: 4 | W: 6 | Init +2
Skills:
SC +12 | Know (arc) +12 | Know (loc) +10 | UMD +10 | App +10 | Ling +10
Sage-blooded tattooed sorcerer 3

For a moment, elation washes over Zaijka - only to be replaced by alarm at the sight of the strange creatures. The lines on her arms whip into a frenzy, and a few pull away from her exposed shoulder to form into her wise companion.

Knowledge (dungeoneering) - Zev: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (15) + 5 = 20

"Gri--o-oths! E-e-eaters of worlds! Hunters, ta-a-king all they can find!" Zev's eerie croak rings over the panicked crowd, and Zaijka springs into action. Ducking down to get whatever cover she can from both the grioths and the crowd, she begins incanting furiously, drawing more lines up from her arms to give herself more winged allies in the fight. I hope he means that celestial energy will harm them...

Casting summon monster ii to summon 1d3 ⇒ 3 celestial eagles. I presume the crowd's motion is probably violent enough to warrant a concentration check: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10 Well, I hope now that it isn't... XD


HP: 44/44 | AC 18/12/16 CMD 18 | F+7 R+3 W+1 | ER A,E,S 5
Skills:
Arcana +6 Geography +6 Handle Animal +10 Intimidate +1 Nature +6 Perception +0
Challenge 2/2 Tactician 1/1 x5 | Darkvision 60ft | Init +2

"Demons aren't a currency!" Syksy reflexively shouts, caught up in the moment before realizing that wasn't a bid.

"Focus on the people with weapons!" Syksy roars at the brutal creatures before marching over to the nearest one before it can get a civilian.

Nodachi: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (1) + 7 = 8
Slashing: 1d10 + 9 ⇒ (6) + 9 = 15

Though the wild crowd made swinging at the attackers haphazard, Syksy was heartened when she heard Vibenia order Dusk to her opponent. "Just like we practiced!"


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female CG Gnome Oracle of Life 4 HP 32/32|AC-16 T-13 FF-14 | F+2 R+3 W+6 |CMB+2 CMD14 | Init+2 | Perc +8 | Channel 2d6, 1/4 per day, 30ft, DC15, neg 3 square | Spells (1st - 6/7, 2nd 4/4)

Smiling a little wider at Vibenia's bid. So much money! Hehe but a wizards house. Wonder if we missed.. Standing up and looking around that pit of anxiety forming rapidly in her belly. Things had been going so well.

Looking around and taking a breath. Bernard seems to be fine at the moment. Skysy, Dusk, Skysy Dusk? Watching the wolf-dog rush forward and linking her life to the canine.

Life Link on Dusk


Dragon's Demand Maps | Dragon's Demand Monsters | Dragon's Demand NPCs

Botting Khardir.

GM Screen:
Blue Grioth Attack: 1d20 + 9 + 2 ⇒ (11) + 9 + 2 = 22
Blue Grioth Damage: 1d4 + 2 + 1d4 + 1d6 ⇒ (3) + 2 + (3) + (3) = 11
Red Grioth Attack: 1d20 + 9 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 9 + 2 = 14
Red Grioth Damage: 1d4 + 2 + 1d4 + 1d6 ⇒ (3) + 2 + (3) + (6) = 14

Green Grioth Acrobatics: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 23
Green Grioth Acrobatics: 1d20 + 6 - 2 ⇒ (17) + 6 - 2 = 21

Potion of Cure Light Wounds: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6

Green Grioth HP: 20/26; Yellow Grioth HP: 18/26

Bernard's victim has little time to contemplate its demise, its feeble attempt at a parry knocked aside by the sheer, furious strength of his swing. Even as it crumples in a roughly bisected heap on the nearest seat, spewing inky blood upon its cushions, the grioth is deathly silent. This has the effect of instantly alerting the others, however—each and every grioth turns their head in unison to glare at the former guardsman, as if alerted by a sound only they can hear.

Half of them are soon very distracted by the unified assault of Vibenia, Dusk, and Syksy. Vibenia's bolt wounds one harassing a group of townsfolk scrambling for the exit, sinking in as readily as it would into a boar's flank. Syksy's attack is dodged nimbly by her chosen quarry, its spine bending at an unnatural angle to avoid the slash. Dusk's predator-like approach goes unnoticed, however, until she is already upon the grioth, savaging its wiry shins with her teeth.

While his friends rush to defend the townsfolk, Khardir raises his age-worn figurine and calls for Torag's blessing in the effort. The dwarf moves in between the monsters and Zaijka, raising his shield to cover her while she concentrates on weaving her summoning incantation.

The grioths' counterattack is quick and wordlessly coordinated: as Bernard is appraising the situation and deciding on his next move, he makes eye contact with the grioth standing on the stage. The creature is holding onto its temple with one clawed hand, baring its teeth. Bernard's mind is suddenly drawn into a stuttering loop, synapses firing off at random, unable to process anything but the luminous glowering of those four hate-filled eyes...

Concurrently, grioths nearer to the north of the amphitheatre (left on the map) look to Khardir and Zaijka, their gaze fixing on the latter. They ignore the dwarf entirely, leaping up and gliding over the crowd to attack the sorceress. As their crystalline blades cut into her flesh, physical pain quickly fades to the background: it is the pain within her mind that proves the most horrendous, like a discordant, echoing note scraped across the fabric of her consciousness.

At the other end of the Commons, the grioths are more hard-pressed. Wounded, they flap their way into the air: one of them hovers over the fray as the other alights on the edge of the amphitheatre, twenty and fifteen feet above the crowd, respectively. The latter, bleeding profusely from Dusk's bite, gulps down something green from a small glass vial—the bleeding soon ceases. The former glares at Vibenia, its eyes narrowing in concentration. Suddenly, her mind explodes with a confusing flash of images, past experiences of violence—both her own and the grioth's—mingling together until she cannot tell where one memory ends and the other begins.

~

To sum up: Purple Grioth is absolutely decimated by Bernard. Green and Yellow are wounded by Vibenia and Dusk, though Green flees and drinks a potion to compensate—it really lucked out on its Acrobatics check to avoid attacks of opportunity. Khardir casts bless. Zaijka takes a total of 19 damage and 6 non-lethal damage for Blue and Red. That means she'll have to make two concentration checks: one at DC 23 and the other at DC 26. No need to roll for the crowd, though.

Bernard is psychically attacked by Orange Grioth, and needs to make a DC 13 Will or be dazed for his next turn, taking no actions. Vibenia is similarly attacked by Yellow Grioth, and needs to make a DC 13 Will save or be confused for... well, potentially longer than one round. Feel free to roll for the effects yourself, should you fail.

All of you are up!


Male Human HP 37/44 | AC 20/ FF 19/ T 11 | Per +4 | F: 5/ R: 3/ W: 1 | Init +5 | Active Conditions:

Will: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (20) + 1 = 21

Bernard momentarily staggers as the images swirl through his mind, but then with a cry of anger he costs off the influence, and charges towards the closest for.

Attack+Bless!: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (2) + 10 = 12
Damage: 2d6 + 10 ⇒ (5, 4) + 10 = 19

If I can charge, please add two!

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