It is New Year’s Eve, and near midnight on this frigid evening you're gathered near a small condemned tavern in the Free Citystate of Gate Pass. Located in the mountain pass which separates two hostile nations — Ragesia and Shahalesti — Gate Pass has been neutral since the end of their last war, but now from Ragesia a scourge comes for the city.
By now, every magic-user in Gate Pass knows of the Scourge. The Emperor of Ragesia died barely a month ago, and in a move to cement herself as the next emperor of Ragesia, Leska, leader of the Ragesian inquisitors, has decreed that all disloyal users of magic — arcane or divine — are to be tracked down and killed, to prevent future threats to the empire.
To carry out Leska’s command, the inquisitors, clerics specialized in countermagic, travel with military escorts to the borders of Ragesia. Their first target is Gate Pass, its neutrality long viewed as an insult to the nation’s honor. Those who resist them will have to face the searing power of the Ragesian Empire.
An entire army marches for Gate Pass, and the people of the city fear that they will not be able to resist the might of the Ragesian military. The city leaders are bowing under pressure, and have barred the exit from the city, intending to welcome the inquisitors that come with the army, for they foolishly hope that the Ragesians will reward their cooperation with mercy.
The local resistance movement, devoted to keeping both the Ragesians and the Shahalesti out of the city, has gathered vital military intelligence, and they need messengers to deliver the information to allies at a distant wizard’s school. With all their strongest warriors preparing to hold back the Ragesian assault, this vital mission falls to a party of inexperienced heroes — you.
The Ragesian army is nearly at Gate Pass’s doorstep, so time is short. The war is about to begin.
You've been told to meet Torrent - a local member of the Resistance, and someone you've met before - at the Poison Apple Pub a little before midnight on New Year’s Eve, and to use the alley door. The pub has been closed down since its owner was arrested, but Torrent got permission from the owner’s wife to use the building for the evening.
The people of the city know an army is on the way, so the streets are fairly deserted and normal festivities muted, letting you travel unmolested. The pub is in a poorer district about a mile from the western city wall, filled with slush-covered cobblestone streets and dark, snow-filled alleyways. The evening is dark and claustrophobic, the multistory buildings of the city looming in the night, no lights in most windows.
The pub is a two-story building attached by a rooftop bridge to a neighboring house. The door and windows are boarded up, and the curtains drawn (though a faint light can be seen if someone checks closely). A notice has been posted on its door:
Trehan Finner, owner of the
Poison Apple Pub, has been taken
into temporary custody under the
protection of the city guard, until
such time that he can be questioned
by representatives of the Ragesian
Empire, and found innocent
of hostile collusion.
The Poison Apple Pub is hereby
closed until further notice.
Still, that's not the door you're using, and you're able to slip around to the side and knock on the alley door instead. It opens after a few moments, and Torrent looks out, checking to make sure the area is safe before she opens the door to let you in and gestures to a table stacked with a lamp, a map, several mugs, and a small keg.
"Thanks for coming," she said. "Have a drink. Just because we’re about to go to war doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate the new year."
The darkened pub is mostly empty now, its many tables and chairs pushed to one wall and covered with sheets. A single table sits in the middle of the room, with enough chairs for all of you. At the back corner of the common room - beside the bar - a staircase leads upstairs. The windows and door facing onto the street are closed, and you know they have been boarded up from the outside. On the wall behind the bar hangs a bronze bust of the former emperor of Ragesia, Drakus Coaltongue, a regal, aged half-orc with a scar cutting diagonally across his face. You and Torrent are the only people in the room.
Thom quickly enters the condemned tavern, anxious to get out of the cold. He rubs his hands together for warmth and begins to stomps his feet a few time on the ground in an effort to get the slush of the road off them. Thom smiles at Torrent's offer of a drink and replies, "Of course a new year is always cause for celebration."
While he moves toward the keg he begins blowing on his hands trying to help them regain some of the warmth they have lost on his journey here. Thom reaches the table in several quick brisk strides and grabs a mug off the table. He begins to tap the keg and pours the liquid into his mug when he notices the empty chairs at the table and asks, "How many more are you expecting?"
He nods his head at Torrents response and takes a seat at the table, raising his mug in salute, "A drink to a free Gate Pass!"
Ridley enters the tavern a little after, and scans the place carefully before sitting down. He picks up a mug far larger than his hand, then scowls and puts it down. "Sorry, old habits; but I'm going to need to keep my wits. She'll let me drink to a job well done, and not sooner. Gate Pass is not a good place to make mistakes these days, and it's getting real hard to smuggle people out of the city."
"I'm Ridley," he adds, "Deacon of Sarenrae, bringing a connection to the spiritual that could not have shown up at a worse time."
"Booze ye say? I can see my way to a wee draft of 'dat, mam, with gratitude and thanks. Me thanks, and the blessings of Angradd on thee house and husband. Oh! And a Happy New Years!" The heavily built Dwarf took the offered mug as he entered, and drank deep, with relish. And a loud sigh. He didn't go as far as to belch, however, and his well kept beard was surprisingly clear of foam.
Glancing around the pub, the Dwarf rolled up his sleeve and revealed glowing tattoos which shed light into the room. "Not of all of ye have eyes like mine," he said with a grin as he took a seat at the table, "So I figure, 'why nae shed some light on the situation?' It's the least I can do, free drinkie and an all."
Leaning the huge axe he'd carried against the table next to him. "Hoya Torrent, whatcha been doin'? It been some time since ye needed me callings. And well met! I suspect that there may well be three of us meetin' this eve, on account of me, and you, and him being here." Glancing down at his fingers for a moment, he added, "Aye! At least three."
Considering for a moment, the bulky Dwarf added, [b]"Me name is Umbriak Embersworn, servant to the Forgelord Angradd and a hewer of the less kindly folk. Pleased to meet another of a religious bent, Ridley!" The Dwarf thrust out one huge hand.
Thom watches as the others arrive, A Halfling and a Dwarf, and both vicar's to boot. At least the little one seem the cautious sort. He introduces himself to the two clergy men, "Greeting friends, I'm Thom." He look from one to the other and adds, "At least well have the gods on our side in this endeavor."
Torrent grimaced and straightened in her chair. "And a good thing, too. I suspect we'll have need of them before long. I guess it’s
time to get down to business."
"The city’s in trouble. The Ragesian army is marching on us, and will be here by tomorrow. Before then, we have a mission. I used to study at a magic academy to the south, called Lyceum. They’re good people. So when word reached them about Ragesia’s ‘Scourge,’ they sent out messages calling for anyone fleeing Ragesia to come to them. They want to stand against the Ragesians, and the resistance wants their help. We just need to get a message to them."
"Normally, we would have sent something by teleporting courier, but something strange is going on with planar magic. The last courier who teleported into Gate Pass, rumor is that he showed up burnt to a crisp. Not that I have that sort of magic anyway, but if we’re going to talk to Lyceum, we’re going to have to go overland. And that’s a problem, because the city’s walls are sealed."
"Ever since their emperor died, the Ragesians have been trying to show that they’re not weak, and they’re marching an army in our direction, since the mountain pass we’re in is apparently ‘strategically valuable.’ Either way, a few idiots on the city council want to negotiate with the Ragesians, and rumor is they’re going to invite a group of inquisitors into the city to look for ‘magic users who are hostile to the empire.’ They’ve sealed the gates of the city so no one can get out, to make sure they look like they’re cooperating, and only military personnel can get in or out."
"We’re going to have to get out of the city anyway, and I’m open to suggestions as to how. Once we’re out, I can get us safely to Lyceum, but before we get ahead of ourselves, we have a mission tonight."
"The short version is that we’ve got to meet a contact — a gnome named Rivereye Badgerface — in about an hour at a guarded depository about a half-mile from here. He’s carrying a case of vital military intelligence which he stole from the Ragesian palace, and the heads of the resistance think that it needs to reach Lyceum. We’ve got to get that case, get out of the city, and get far away from here before the idiot city council lets the Ragesian inquisitors in. Once that happens, the odds of us escaping are —" she finished off her mug of beer in one long guzzle "— slim."
"I know I’d love to stay here and fight against the Ragesians, but I’m no soldier, and this mission might be more important. Worst case, you get away from the Ragesians and we can part ways a few days down the road. Best case, you can come with me to Lyceum, and we come back with an army of our own to drive off the Ragesians. But we’ve got to act fast either way. Are you ready for this?"
For more information about Lyceum, make an Arcana or History check. For more about the Ragesian Inquisitors, make an Arcana or Religion check. Both are little-known to common citizens, hence the rolls. XD You can also ask Torrent about a number of the topics brought up.
"No god gets happy when their most devout are burned alive," Ridley responds, "But that's a far cry from saying they'll help us directly. But no matter."
"It seems like your 'solution' is a poison pill, then." He shakes his head. "Ragesia will be here in one day. Lyceum certainly won't. And while I appreciate a ticket out of the city while that happens, many of our greatest mages have already been rounded up by corrupt guards, ready to be burned at the stake the second the inquisitors take the city. Not to mention that, once the place has been fortified, it'll be much harder for any army on our side to take it back."
"Still, it's a better plan than 'drink 'til they kill us,' which I've heard from a few of my old friends, and certainly better than the 'trust that salvation will arrive' line I've heard too often in the temple district."
"So my suggestion is tunnels, roofs, cellars—this city used to have plenty of thieves' haunts, and they can't have all been used by the resistance and boarded up yet. I'll see if I can remember anything of use."
And with that, he raps on his forehead, closes his eyes, and begins whispering in Celestial, a mnemonic prayer invoking his mind and its magic to call out anything it may have learned of late or overheard in some tavern regarding secret paths out of the city.
Knowledge (religion) + Focused Trance for info on inquisitors: 1d20 + 6 + 20 ⇒ (3) + 6 + 20 = 29
Knowledge (local) + Focused Trance for info on smugglers' tunnels or city secrets: 1d20 + 6 + 20 ⇒ (15) + 6 + 20 = 41
Knowledge, Arcana: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21 Lyceum
Knowledge, Arcana: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12 Inquisitors
Thom strokes his mustache as he listens to Torrent, I'm not one for running away from this fight. Although, I see the wisdom in Torrent's plan and to be honest a few unproven warriors will not turn the tide of this battle.
"If time is of the essence we should get moving and ask any questions along the way," Thom replies as he pushes himself away from the table and stands up. He stops heading for the door when the halfling speaks nodding his head in agreement. He is intrigued when the halfling enter his trance, I wonder if it for real or for show like some five copper charlatan.
"I cannae imagine they'll just roast the wee magelings alive, ye ken?" Umbriak drained another third of his mug before musing thoughtfully, "Ye need the show trials, the paradin' of prisoneers, that sorta buisness first, to show all that ye be what's in charge. And it'll take time for them to hunt doon even a minor mage, especially with yon friends in the Resistance keepin' the hidin' places. The Raggies be commin' to talk aboot conquering, not conquering straight off if Torrent be correct, so...we have time. 'Tis a harsh table of it, true, but there's some."
The hulking Dwarf paused for a moment. "So, my thinking is simple, ye ken? I am nae one for the brainy bits. But we grabs the Gnome and his info, scarper through tunnels as the goo' Deacon suggests - I cannae believe there's none, although I dinnae think I know any personal - and get to the Lycieum. Once the info is with them we come back, hopin' the Inquistor folks haven't gotten there pyres lit, and sneak in the mageies to free our mageies through same tunnels, or ones yon resitance folks have found aknew if we be needing the cunning collapse of tunnels to escape. Then we beat back yon Raggies and get to the feastin', and the drinkin', and other lusty activities worthy of battles end."
Umbriak shrugged his huge shoulders. [b]"Now, if it 'twere a bard's tale it would all be that simple, but until we know more our first task is clear - rescue yon Gnome and find a way out, in that order. Dinnae want the info we be needin' goin' up in smoke. We can always hide him a few hours, if needs be, while we poke smugglers until tunnels fall out."
Don't forget to mark off ability usages in your profile, so you remember you expended them. ^^
DC 15: The head of Lyceum, a diviner named Simeon, has visited all the major cities in the region and has friends and contacts among the mages of those cities. He founded his school to encourage solidarity among magic-users, and to find ways to use magic for the benefit of everyday people. Many governments think of him as a meddler.
DC 20: Simeon, primarily an adviser for nobles and rich merchants, has recruited a cadre of talented warmages and battle clerics, and has offered Seaquen’s harbor as a home port for the Wayfarers, a group of magically-inclined entertainers, to both make his school seem more legitimate and to discourage Dassen from trying to levy taxes against it.
DC 15: Inquisitors are almost exclusively clerics, with access to divine fire, magic, and protection domains. They wear masks to shield their souls, and thus are more resistant to mind-affecting magic. No one has seen Supreme Inquisitor Leska’s face for nearly forty years.
DC 20: Inquisitors cannot turn or control undead; instead, they channel negative energy to dispel magic. Positive energy can inhibit their counterspelling abilities.
Thom watches the halfling Ridley and waits for him to be done with his prayer. He can't help but smile and ask when Ridley is done, "So have the gods told you a way out of this predicament?"
"Mine ain't," Umbriak replied, draining his tankard. "But Angradd, he helps them as plans for themselves. That, and provides a wee bit o' divine might to the situation." Shrugging, the Dwarf pushed the mug to one side.
"Well the Dwarven gods seem to be a little more pragmatic," he picks his mug up and takes another drink. Finishing his thought, "I like pragmatimc."
"Yeah, there's... not a whole lot to go with there," Ridley adds. "We might be able to find a path through the sewers toward Ragesia, but nothing for where we're going."
As I thought, Thom thinks as he finishes his drink. "Well I guess Umbriak is right we meet the gnome and then figure away over or through the wall"
"It's not going to be easy." Torrent mused. "Honestly, I think our best bet would be to get some help - a sympathetic councilman, the mages, or something like that." As she spoke, you could hear the sound of the ringing bells calling the new year fade out.
Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
As Thom stands listening to New Years bells fade in the distance he picks up another noise coming from upstairs. Creaking floor could mean someone is upstairs, he thinks as he puts his hand on the pommel of his rapier. He lowers his voice and says, "Did you here that? There is somebody upstairs."
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (13) + 8 = 21
"And what exactly is a councilman going to help us with? Plus, the mages are under too much scrutiny." And, to Thom, "I hear it too."
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25
Hefting his axe from where it lay, Umbriak nodded that he, too, heard it. He glanced at Torrent. "Any kin above our heads this eve?"
Hearing a multitude of distant thumps Thom thinks, Whats that, has the army reached our city earlier then expected? Crud, I hope not. I haven't heard the alarm raised yet. He strokes his mustache as he continues reasoning, Could it be the guard coming our way to snatch us up? Perhaps. What ever it is I don't like it.
"I think we've over stayed our welcome and should go and meet up with this gnome, Thom offers as he looks up at the ceiling. Lowering his voice and pointing toward the ceiling he adds, "Do we want to see whats up there?"
Not waiting for an answer he draws his rapier and silently moves toward the stairs trying to listen for the noise again.
Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17
Stealth: 1d20 + 8 - 1 ⇒ (11) + 8 - 1 = 18
"Front door, go!"
A loud voice could be heard outside, moments before something heavy slammed against the front door of the building.
Break DC 18: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25
The door quite literally exploded under the force of the strike, splinters flying into the room. Several men could be seen outside, dropping a battering ram.
"Drop your weapons and come quietly. We don’t want to break your valuable little heads." one of them declared.
Torrent simply laughed. "Just try it, buddy." she said.
"I tell ye what, folks," the bulky Warpriest said as he moved towards the door, "If ye can subdue my personage, I shall go quietly. I am nae goin' nowhere withoot a broken noggin, so ye may as well try. Of course...I willnae specify what I intend to break on ye boys." Hefting his greataxe, Umbriak smirked evilly.
Intimidate: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17
Thom freezes trying to remain unseen by the stairs. I wonder if there are more of them upstairs, he thinks.
As it turned out, there wasn't much of a need to create a distraction - two figures darted down the stairs, but even as they did so, the entire building shook as a deafening boom could be heard directly overhead. Ceiling boards crack and buckle, and flaming oil leaks down into the room like a fiery rain. Overhead, a handful of screams sound out - and a dying scout stumbles down the stairs, on fire. The bronze bust of Emperor Coaltongue falls off the wall and lands with a heavy thud.
Reflex DC 10 to avoid 1 point of fire-type splash damage from the burning oil. For those who haven't played with me before, I roll a fair number of things - Initiative, some saves, etc. - for you, in the interest of keeping the game moving at a good pace. The bright side to this is that I'm also generous with rerolls, and you'll often be able to use them even after you see the results of your rolls (whether or not this is normally allowed).
Reflex (Ridley): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10
Reflex (Thom): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22
Reflex (Umbriak): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21
All three of you are able to duck out of the way of the oil (though it was a pretty close call for Ridley) - more troublesome was the falling debris that accompanied it, scattering across quite a bit of the pub. (Spaces marked with X's on the map are difficult terrain. The debris didn't hit any of you. Umbriak is by the front door, Thom is by the stairs, Ridley is by the table. Torrent is by the east wall.)
Amidst the yelling, some of the intruders had managed to pull out their weapons - and began thrusting out with their saps, trying to bring you down before things in the building got even worse.
Melee (Thom): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 8
Melee (Thom): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15
Melee (Umbriak): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11
Melee (Umbriak): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (16) + 3 = 19 for Nonlethal Damage: 1d6 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4
Taking the sharp blow to the heard, the Dwarf rocked back for a second, a blank look in his eyes, before rocking fowards again...swinging the axe. "Dinnae let it be said I dinnae warn ye!"
Power Attack: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (15) + 5 = 20
Damage: 1d12 + 9 ⇒ (1) + 9 = 10
Thom curses to himself and flicks the flat of his blade at one of his assailant's head. He yells, "Is there a way out if we go up?"
Attack: 1d20 + 6 - 4 ⇒ (17) + 6 - 4 = 19 Non lethal
Damage: 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7 Non lethal
"Judging from the man on fire, I'm not sure if up is a great idea," Ridley responds. He casts Create Water over the dying scout, hoping that quenching the flames will leave him unconscious but not dead, and then draws his shield.
Umbriak's blow wasn't quite enough to down the scout, and the man winced as he withdrew out the front doors, bleeding rather heavily from his wound. Thom's blow was also a hit though, like the men who'd entered the room, it wasn't lethal damage. Working together, two of the men carefully stepped around, flanking Thom as burning oil continues to drip down from above and sizzled on the table.
Melee (Thom): 1d20 + 3 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 3 + 2 = 7
Melee (Thom): 1d20 + 3 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 3 + 2 = 17 for Nonlethal Damage: 1d6 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5
Melee (Umbriak): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 8
"Dinnae run! Dinnae run! I have axe enough for all of ye friends, and a second taste for ye!" Umbriak laughed evilly as the guard withdrew before turning his attention to his fellow.
Power Attack: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16
Damage: 1d12 + 9 ⇒ (5) + 9 = 14
As the men flank him Thom steps towards the one he hit earlier and jabs the hilt of his rapier at the mans face.
Attack: 1d20 + 6 - 4 ⇒ (19) + 6 - 4 = 21
Crit: 1d20 + 6 - 4 ⇒ (8) + 6 - 4 = 10
Damage: 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6
With a cry, the one fighting Umbriak fell, and his fellows by Thom let out noises of concern - and promptly withdrew out the doors (one of them a bit injured), and various noises could be heard from out of the front door. Unfortunately, with smoke starting to fill the air, it wasn't easy to see what they might have been doing out there.
Umbriak cursed softly as they fell back, the manic glee draining from his face as the enemies withdrew. The two halves of his nature were not entirely in sync - the Berserk and the Priest. His God had rebuked him before for his behaviour, and might again if he wasn't careful. Although part of it had been to terrify his enemies, part of it had been glee in battle. He would have to be wiser than this.
"I dinnae think we should be here much longer," the Dwarf called out as he kept his eye on the door. "I suspect they mean to smoke us out and fight us in the open. I dinnae think we want to see how many archers are waitin', though. Side door may well be guarded, too. Is there a window in the rear we can climb out of?"
Thom move towards the door behind the bar and opens it. He looks in and quickly determines that there is no window in this room, "No exit here." Lookg toward Torrent he asks, Is there another way out?"
"We're the only ones here." Torrent said. "...And anyone up there probably isn't alive anymore anyway." Even as she spoke, more burning oil trickled down, and the ceiling groaned. The four of you were heading out the side door a moment later. To one side was a raised, makeshift barricade - it might be possible to destroy it if you could move fast enough. On the other side, you could see several of your attackers waiting with weapons drawn, lead by a tall man mounted on a horse.
"Give yourselves up!" one of them called.
"And if I say nay?" Umbriak asked, axe held by his side, scanning the area for signs of long ranged archers or mages who could pummel them to the floor. Or alternative routes. "Just so I knows of all me choices, ye ken? I'd hate to surrender when running away would work. A dramatic chase scene across moonlit city appeals, aye?"
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 23
Thom hurriedly consumes an extract saying, [b]"Umbriak take down the barrier I'll hold them off. Deacon if you've any tricks up your sleeve now would be a good time to use them." Thom takes a position in the alley so that his enemies can only come at him one at a time.
Through the barricade or through the men - those seem to be the only options here. Climbing a building might be a little more workable if, y'know, it wasn't clearly on fire up there. You couldn't see much beyond the narrow patch of sky... but the entire sky seemed to have been lit red, and the frequency of the heavy roars from above was increasing. The attackers didn't have any ranged weapons visible.
"I don't think the three of you want to run wildly through the streets right now." One of them answered grimly.
Smiling widely, Umbriak replied, "Then ye dinnae know me yet! Dinnae worry. Give it a wee bit o'time and you'll hear me name from every bard ye pass." Turning with a shocking suddenness no one would ever expect from a Dwarf, Umbriak hurled himself at the make shift wall, grabbing it and wrenching back. Muscles bulged beneath the berserker's armour as he strained, attempting to simply rip the wood out of the way.
Strength Check: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 = 21
By the way, if you're ever doing something you think should have a response before anyone else posts, poke me in the discussion thread or send a PM. I usually don't check gameplay threads until everyone's posted, just so I can keep things straight.
Also, I think narrative mode'll work here... as fun as sidequests can be, PbP is slow, and I want to keep things moving. *Coughs*
The barricade groans under the force, then breaks outright as Umbriak heaves with all of his considerable strength - and the back route away from the pub is open.
"Let's go!" Torrent cried, racing for the opening.
You exit the alley, past the burning building you were just in, and monsters are flying through the skies overhead. Buildings are crumpling and exploding a few streets over. People clog the streets trying to see what’s happening, and you have to get through them to accomplish your mission. You press out into the crowds, heading east, where you see a huge cluster of burning buildings, and as you get close to the gate to the next district, you are swallowed up in a huge throng of panicked townsfolk.
Soldiers from the eastern districts are trying to push through the crowd to reach the battle at the main gate, while normal people try to flee in the opposite direction. The gates, designed to hold back invaders, are too narrow to let you all through. You’re being crushed, pushed back and forth, and though many are trying to yell for order, for people to let the soldiers through first, mayhem reigns.
And then something overhead roars, and all reason flees your mind. You are prey, helpless, and hundreds of shapes silhouetted against firelight swell close to you. As one, the crowd screams, and you fight to get away from the horror in the clouds, the thundering, dread-inspiring beats of its wings driving you on in swarming terror. It’s all you can do to avoid being crushed in the press of bodies, and after minutes of struggling, you stagger wearily out of the crowd on the far side of the gate.
You regroup with your friends, watching panicked mothers crying out for their children, fathers carrying children burned near to death by the firebombing. Despair and confusion fills nearly every face, but you force your way onward, and you see your destination — the tower — standing high above the glow of your burning city. You rush past a building on fire, hearing the screams of a woman trapped on a top floor, the roars of pain of those few who have managed to stagger out of the inferno.
You pass looters smashing down doors of shops and pulling away trinkets that will be worthless in the coming days of battle. You even see a bewildered noble, so shocked by the attack that all he cares about is finding a lost pet.
Sometimes you see people fighting against the chaos — a city guardsman carrying a young girl, trying to find her mother; thugs from the local thieves’ guild gathered out in front of their hideout, shouting orders to organize a fire brigade; a cluster of young men in white cloaks shouting for the injured to follow them to a nearby church — but most just look to the skies, watching helplessly as Gate Pass griffon riders battle the wyvern knights of the Ragesians.
Overhead you spot one of these battles, and then hear a thunderous crack as the griffon rider shatters his lance in the throat of a wyvern. He tosses his broken lance down to the crowd with a cheer as the wyvern spirals out of control and crashes to the roof of a building the next street over. Then moments later a deep, challenging roar fills the air, thumping, pulsing wingbeats fan the city flames and kick cinders into the sky, and you witness a massive red dragon fly forth
from the smoke and crush the stunned griffon and rider in its snapping maw with a sickening, crunching sound.
Once again, after too short a reprieve, pandemonium besets the crowd. The streets clear as people flee desperately, foolishly into the nearest building, and as the dragon swoops away into the night, headed for the colossal statue of Emperor Coaltongue in the central district, you see that your path to the depository tower is clear.
"Let's go!" Torrent cried, racing for the opening. Thom wastes no time and quickly follows Torrent and is drawn into a scene of utter pandemonium. As he fights his way through the crowd he is surprised Chaos, this is what it has come to? He takes hart as he see some of the citizens banding together to tend the wounded and fight the fires. He continues to make his way keeping close to his companions feeling insignificant in the shadow of the dragon.
Focus, he cautiouns himself and finds is bearings. Spotting Depository Tower he calls to his companions, ”This way, as he hastily makes his way to the spire.
"Offski!" the Dwarf yelled, tossing the shattered barrier to one side and running away at surprising speed. His short legs are a blur of motion as he manages to keep up with the others.
Umbriak watched the chaos, his axe itching to deal with the looters and his hands twitching to help the injured, but neither would help the city as a whole. Still, he glowered at more than looters as he passed, making the odd muttered comment, and vowed to spend a week healing the injured when things were less chaotic.
The Dwarf cried out in appreciation as the Griffon Rider took out the Wyvern, and winced as the Red Dragon ate it in turn. I do believe I'll need a bigger axe to deal with that, the Dwarf considered, rubbing his beard with his free hand.
As the chaos parted a path for them, Umbriak followed along, cautious now for trouble. With a Dragon there wasn't much the city could do to hold, he suspected. They needed to move fast and use the chaos to escape.