Locals, Adventurers, Travelers. You each carry many names, play many roles, but at this time you have all come to know each other by one way or another.
Currently, you all find yourselves at the Everflame Inn (yes I know, classic start) and are in the middle of conversation. The topic of Khonnir Baine comes up, and you all find yourselves agreeing that something should be done. Between bites of food and decent drink, you begin to share a bit about yourselves.
Please roleplay a bit this inn scene and use it to introduce your character to the others. Also, there is a flurries of conversation occurring around you. Please roll a d20 to listen to rumors.
You are all aware of the following information:
Extinguished Torch: The violet flame that has burned atop Black Hill for over a century has gone out, leaving a strangely seeping pit of rubble and bubbling fluids where the town’s livelihood once glowed day and night.
Missing Councilor: Ever since Councilor Khonnir Baine, one of Torch’s more powerful wizards and a well-liked individual, went missing on his second expedition under Black Hill, the citizens of the nervous town have edged closer to outright panic. With their hands full handling the growing refuse and waste problems in town now that their primary disposal method is gone, the town council is eager to find out what happened to Khonnir and rescue him— they’ve made public a reward of 4,000 gp to any group that can recover Khonnir’s body; if he can be returned alive, they’ve promised to throw in the scroll of resurrection they’ve been holding on to in case they need to revive him. Interested parties are invited to speak to the council at Town Hall.
Black Hill Caves: Khonnir Baine discovered the signs of unusual traffic on the banks of Weeping Pond, and shortly thereafter, the submerged tunnel that provides access to several heretofore unknown tunnels under Black Hill. His emergence from the caves with a deactivated semi-humanoid automaton sparked worries that something strange might be going on in the caverns, but when he failed to return from his second expedition a few days ago, those worries turned to outright fear. Several other adventuring parties have gone missing in the caves, and Torch finds itself running short on new volunteers.
rumors: 1d20 ⇒ 1
Ember takes another drink of her ale and ponders the large numbers of adventure types in the inn as she addresses her tablemates.
"Have you guys seen some of the losers that have crawled outa the cogworks after that reward was made public? I mean, I am all for encouraging anyone who is able to go out and help find Councilor Baine, but I wouldn't trust some of those idiots to try to find my cat. I get the feeling that some of those guys are going to end up needing someone to find them instead. Just like those other groups that have gone missing up in the Black Hill Caves."
Rumors: 1d20 ⇒ 11
Hali lazes back in her chair, hair a mess of copper and fresh dust. An unusually short example of her sort, the scavenger sits in remarkably clean linens by comparison, though the khaki overcoat hung over her seat gives off a faint cloud of rust and filings with every passing graze. A generous creak of gears and springs gives way beneath the table as she reaches forwards to retrieve her tankard.
"Aye to that. Add a bit a' gilding to anything and you'll get plenty rats comin' from the scrapheap. If Baine came back to collect with two o' the dribblin' bastards that went in after 'im, I don't imagine the reward pot would be lookin' so grand." Hali takes a long draw from her ale. For anyone even vaguely familiar with the Gearalt family and their business, it would be painfully obvious that the 'dribbling' sorts she refers to are her elder brothers, Kaai and Rhys, both missing and lost beneath the caves of Black Hill.
"More interested in what's down there, m'self. You all hear what the Councilor brought back? Whole lot of sparks and metal apparently. Must be something down there. A switch? Forgelight? Something...Something keepin' that damn lot busy..." She swills her drink, lips pursed in thought. "...Y' want something doin' right though, I suppose..." Do it y' damn self.
With that said, Hali places down her pint with a weary smile, the motion again accented with a creaking of cogwork, and shows her teeth to the more-than-handful of folks that clearly aren't local to Torch at the table. "Sorry like; where're my manners? Hali Gearalt, Clan Coalmark born and bred. Don't suppose you lot are in for this land-grab as well, are ye?"
Rumors: 1d20 ⇒ 3
This meeting in the inn was a social event. As such, Basil had left her chain shirt and gun at home. The female android was clad in a very simple dress of black linen that did not limit her mobility or range of motion in any way.
Regardless, she sat in her place in a very rigid way, probably because she was not really used to sitting down. It was well known around these parts that Androids did not grow fatigued or exhausted. Ever. Some of their kind would labor for several days in a row before resting. Basil tried to keep to a regular cycle, but was not used to interrupting her daily chores for something as useless as breaks or small talk(she liked small talk, but she preferred to talk while doing something productive - there was no reason to stop doing something useful just to talk), but the overall situation seemed dire, and she had agreed to take part in this.
Listening to Ember and Hali, she nods: "Most of those looking to earn this reward money will only find death. I suppose with a sufficient monetary compensation you will get people willing to risk everything, no matter how small their chance of survival." - Reading Hali's reaction, Basil remembers: Right. That is...insensitive., staring at the untouched mug of water in front of her for just a moment, before continuing: "Of course, friends or relatives of present company are excluded from the previous statement. I am certain your brothers are fine, Hali Gearalt! We will recover them safely! And Master Drovan! And Master Khonnir!"
After her addendum, Basil slightly cocks her head, an unconscious sign, at least to those who knew her, of her social insecurity, not knowing if she handled the conundrum in a good or bad way, and trying to read an answer to that unasked question in the reactions of the listeners.
Rumors: 1d20 ⇒ 2
Rasellia has never been in a tavern before, it is fascinating. Her long fingers quickly jot down the sights, sounds and smells of the room in cramped shorthand into the notebook in front of her. She can barely contain her excitement, Numeria! finally! she thinks and now here in a genuine tavern as well!. She smiles giddily to herself, between finally arriving in Torch, finding the flame extinguished and townsfolk missing, today is promising to be jolly interesting.
Her brown eyes flick around the table, she tries not to stare at those who fill the other seats but they are just so intriguing. There is Silvester of course, who she knows well, and Ember, who is different to how she imagined her from her letters but everyone else is new to her. She takes a small sip of the ale in front of her and wrinkles her nose at its bitterness, which she notes down. There is so much happening in the tavern that she isn't sure where to look, there is just so much to learn here!
She realizes that Ember has started talking and sticks her pencil through her bun as she turns to pay attention. She sits still and pays careful attention as Ember speaks, keeping her gaze squarely on hr eyes. Her attention grows even more rapt as those she has not met begin to talk. The woman who introduces herself as Hali is charmingly provincial, Rasellia would love to know what it is making the metallic noises as she moves. The woman with the red hair looks fascinating, Rasellia wonders if she is one of the androids that she has heard so much about. Finally, there is a pause in the conversation and she realizes it is her turn to speak.
"Oh, um, hello there. I am Rasellia Seraphaelis, you can call me Rasellia if you would like. As you can probably tell I'm not from here, here being Torch, not Numeria, although I'm not from Numeria at all. Um, sorry. What I mean is that I'm from Ustalav. She swallows, she knows that she is terrible at introductions, she has never had to do a lot of them. I am a scholar, mostly, I have studied Numeria extensively and it is just stunning to hear that the flame of Torch has gone out. I mean, stunning in a bad way of course. I certainly think that this Khonnir Baine would be an excellent person to find, perhaps he knows something. Then again, perhaps you are right Ember, I hope that everyone going into the caves is properly prepared. Although I would like to investigate regardless, unless you think that's a bad idea. Also Basil are you an android?"
She withdraws her pencil to note down any response, before realizing, likely too late that she probably should not have been as direct as she had been with that question. She hopes that no one will be offended, I would so hate to make a bad first impression.
Keldor, silent in his cups and looking less relaxed without his parade armor, only raises his hand in a gesture of futility and gazes off in the distance.
"Money is a good motivator, but in my family's experience, you can get a lot more accomplished by those who care about the outcome of a quest beyond mere survival and monetary gain."
Suddenly looking sheepish, Keldor looks down at his mead and sighs.
"Apologies...I did not mean to preach. I guess it comes naturally to me. I've heard so many from my family, I could probably chant them word for word backwards while chewing on a crispy duck."
Pointing at the odd Basil, Keldor nods.
"I've never met Khonnir in person, but if he really is anything like the man I've imagined from our correspondence, then he's tougher than many people give him credit for."
Rumors: 1d20 ⇒ 11
While taking another drink, Keldor finally hears the words Rasellia spouts penetrate his fogged mind, and Keldor sprays the table with mead: *PPPssssffttsss!*
"I'm sorry...did you say ANDROID? One of those...artificial people? I know enough about engineering to say if I was sitting next to one..."
Rumours: 1d20 ⇒ 15
"Figures that I finally get someplace interesting, and the main attraction's gone," Silvester mutters, shaking his head and looking morose over the top of his mug. He slides a lock of black hair back behind his ear and tries not to stare at the woman who'd introduced herself as 'Basil', nor the odd man with the pointed ears. Instead, he focuses on the noise of the tavern, picking up rumours and - discreetly - staying alert for any sign of trouble, because his charge certainly didn't seem to be doing so.
Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11
The carriage ride had been surprisingly long and uneventful, and while the open road had been good, getting back to creature comforts was certainly welcome. The midday sun was hot, the city of Torch was bustling and dusty, and everything was simply different compared to the cramped, cloistered settlements of home. Initially, he'd wanted to walk around, enjoy the new air and sights, but Rasellia had dragged him into the nearest tavern, the Everflame Inn, determined to sample the 'local colour', whatever that meant - as best he'd been able to tell, the local colours were brown and purple.
He sighs, sets down his mug, and extends his hand across the table to Hali. "Silvester Roland, and I suppose I'll be in this... 'land-grab' soon enough. Miss Seraphaelis certainly seems to have the idea in her head, and once she gets that, it's difficult to get it out again."
Basil seems confused for a moment, before settling on a discontent expression:"I failed, again? It seems your faith in my ability to learn was ill-placed, Ember Firesong."
As if suddenly remembering to do so, Basil drinks a few sips from her Mug, hastily. Then she seeks eye contact with Rasellia:"Yes, I am. What gave it away? I do what I can to fit in, but it seems I cannot even convince strangers."
Without waiting for an answer, Basil then looks at Keldor, not minding the mead that got sprayed her way:"Was that sarcasm? Forgive me for asking, but I am not very good at recognizing sarcasm."
Sense Motive to read situation: 1d20 - 2 ⇒ (17) - 2 = 15
Ember grabs up a napkin from the table and dabs herself with it, not really caring about another stain on her already well-worn clothing already dotted with spots of grease, chemicals and a few singed spots.
"Oh Basil, you forget what an import part of learning failure is. It's the only way that I've learned NOT to do things. No matter how many things I've had fall apart or explode or set the shop on fire again, I'm still learning from all those experiences. Just as you will continue to learn by figuring out what you did wrong and then just not doing it again."
"As for you Keldor, I hope you have no objections to sharing a table with an android." She looks at him sternly.
Jaw dropped, Keldor sits there aghast for the moment.
"You...no...sarcasm? But you're so...pretty..."
Blinking his eyes he turns to Ember, his new local contact on this metaphorical highway of engineering he had set himself on.
"By the arrows of Ol' Deadeye himself! You knew? What if...?"
Realizing he was being rude and the next thing he was about to say would have been even worse, Keldor shuts his mouth quickly, eliciting a noisome 'click' as his teeth slam together inadvertently. Wincing, he sticks out his hand to Basil.
"Greetings! Really! No sarcasm meant, I just...let's just say...you are just fascinating! Khonnir mentioned your kind to me, but he always said your kind tended to be rare, even in these parts. I almost could not believe him, but here you are...and you look so ALIVE too! Did you choose your own appearance..."
From here Keldor begins to fawn over Basil, continually asking intimate or stupid questions, all in the name of science...
Ember just shakes her head. "Announcing what she is would have invalidated the experiment of passing for human."
Ember is unable to prevent herself from the occasional snicker as Keldor asks some truly random and odd questions of the Android.
"So you eat food? Do you actually taste it? Can you get drunk? WAIT! No! I did not mean it that way...but can you? Do you have waste like the rest of us, or do your mechanical systems have a better way of dealing with it...?"
Seeing the gnome's reaction, Keldor suddenly looks worried.
"Ember! Are you alright?"
At this point with everybody's eyes on Keldor, he realizes he was not...helping himself much.
"Ohhh...Ah...yes. Ha ha. Very funny. Ember, are you CRYING? It wasn't that funny was it? Calm down. I was not trying to be funny!"
"Firesong, you start tinkerin' with m' leg down there and I swear I'll smack y' with it."
Eyes rolling at the maddening affair, Hali stands to reach across the table and meet Silvester's hand, the steel-blue, rust, and lime-tinted metal of her knee-brace audibly locking upright. "Welcome to Torch, sir. Were that we 'ad better circumstances, the place would live to its name."
The engineer gives Keldor something of an eye for the now sizable spill between their respective mugs and plates. "And as for you, lad; I agree with ye earlier sentiments...but y' supposed to drink the damn thing." She pats herself down for something to clean up the mess, succeeding in finding an only-somewhat-dusty rag, and moves to wipe clean the mead before it sees fit to stain the wood or worse.
Leaving the Android novelty to Ember, Basil, and he-who-cannot-be-trusted-with-a-pint, Hali looks back across to their Ustalavan guests. "Aye, Baine's a fine mind, no doubt one of our betters...but if that light says out, well...No smelting means no business. No business means no resources, and wi' no resources..." She wrings the cloth into an empty tankard. "Couple months like this and the town'll make a corpse look lively."
Basil patiently waits for the onslaught of questions to pause, which does take a while: "Thank you, Keldor Whisthawk. I appreciate that you find my physical features to your liking. My kind is rare, and does not choose their own appearance, but I assume that whoever was responsible for the design saw little use in introducing artificial flaws. At least that was how Master Drovan explained things to me." (In fact, I consider Basil to be rather "flawless"(of course, beauty still depends on individual taste) in terms of physical looks...it's her personality that's to blame for the 12 Charisma(which is still good for Androids with -2 racial))
Almost without pause, she picks up right with the next question Keldor had asked: "I do eat food, but my sense of taste seems to malfunction ever since I suffered a serious head injury. I can get drunk, but it takes a significantly higher amount of intoxicants than it would take for most members of other species with an equivalent physique. My nanites process organic food and liquids in a sophisticated manner, but I do produce a manner of excreta quite similar to feces and urine. However, the disposal of such has longer intervalls than it would for a human and I need slightly less food and drink to sustain myself."
Wether because there is no more need to pretend, or because Basil is not aware that's not usually a topic for conversation with strangers, the nonchalance with which she explains her disgestive functions quite confirms that she has a lot to learn before she can properly pass herself off as a human. Having answered those things asked, she sits attentive, wondering if there will be more questions, while waiting for Rasellias explanation.
(Some creative liberty there...Androids do drink, eat and sleep. They don't care much about sleep deprivation, and there's little details on nourishment, but I think that's a sensible approach.)
Loving it so far guys. Fortunately, this ap is one of the only ones that I have pdf access to so I can be a bit more liberal with the updates.
With the tavern packed as it is, buzz is abound and a few rumors float to your ears. But as any rumor, the validity of the information varies....
A pair of dwarves got drunk at the Foundry a few nights ago and went up to Black Hill to drink some of the sludge up there on a dare. One of them grew a lot stronger for a few minutes after drinking the stuff, but the other one nearly died after the fluids burnt a hole in his gut!
All these weird headaches folks have been having lately? I bet they’re being caused by someone tampering with Crowfeather Palace. I’ve been drinking only rainwater and I’ve not had a headache yet!
The mechanical creature Councilman Baine found under the hill wasn’t the only one. Others have been crawling out of the ground around town and attacking people!
Old Mylan Radli’s not really a worshipper of Pharasma—he’s a worshiper of Zyphus, and he’s just biding his time before the graveyard’s full so he can raise up an army of the undead!
Garmen’s not the actual boss of the Ropefist gang. They’re actually agents of the Technic League!
It's lunchtime and with your meal almost over, you have a good portion of the day to get things done.
Anyone have a destination in mind? Remember, there is a map of Torch located in the Player's Guide.
Hearing the android's explanations to his questions, Keldor seems astounded one moment, but recovers quickly, if not gracefully.
"WOW! I mean to say...interesting. Very interesting."
Keldor nods his head sagely at the last part. With things calming down, and the alcohol flowing freely, Keldor's forehead wrinkles, and he sighs loudly. Finally he seems to make a decision, but is sweating as if he just finished lifting a heavy boulder with just his thumbs.
"I think we should work together! We all have various talents and abilities, some unseen as of yet of course...but we all have nothing to really lose here. With Khonnir and the others missing...I just HAVE to do something about it. I can't wait for others, who care for little more than money, when those of us with a stake in this...friends and family missing...we could do it better!"
He looks around, at the others at the table. Eyes gleaming slightly with suppressed eagerness and boyish enthusiasm.
"WE could be the heroes our people need and deserve."
Quick change to my last post, my pen-pal in torch is Hali rather than Ember for the purpose of having more diverse character links.
Rasellia is flustered at the rapid-fire conversation that goes back and forth across the table. Keldor seems to be somewhat out of his depth here, something that she understands well. Ember and Basil seem to share some previous relationship that she does not know about. A real android she thinks I knew Numeria would be different but I did not expect it this quickly. Silvester's comment could be construed as cheeky, or at least somewhat presumptuous, but he has always been a little like that, and besides she is too enraptured with everything else to really notice.
She listens closely too Basil's explanation of her anatomy, taking notes as she does. She blushes slightly as Basil covers specifics in more detail than she would have expected, but resists the urge to avert her eyes. Finally, Keldor suggests what he had clearly been working toward. Heroes, what a strange idea, although I suppose he does look quite young, perhaps Silvester's age. Although, she supposes that investigating Baine's disappearance would be a good chance to study the ruins, not to mention how much help it would be to torch to have him back. The conversation seems to lapse for a moment so she opens her mouth to speak.
"Um, I think that we, um" she realises that she has no idea what she was going to say. She blushes and pauses for a moment before continuing in a more sure voice. "I think that it would certainly be a good idea to rescue this mister Baine. But as you said Ember, many people have already vanished looking, and um, what is to say we won't also, um, disappear. Not that I think we would of course. It is just, I am just a scholar. I don't really think I am cut out to be a hero."
She says this and then looks away from the table, down at her booted feet. She feels as though things are moving far too quickly, perhaps finding Khonnir Baine would be a good idea but she barely knows most of the people at this table. She sits like this for a moment until, before anyone else can speak she says.
"Although, um, I suppose we could help with the search. Maybe, find some information to help with the effort.
She looks to Silvester, he has always seemed the adventurous type. With him to help her she thinks she could handle looking for some clues. Perhaps once she has gotten to know these people better she would be happier going looking directly.
"Hali," she continues "you said something about the thing he brought back with him, and also the Torch fire going out right. I do not really know my way around town, but perhaps we could look into them, see if we can find anything out? Especially the fire, that seems important. If, that is, if it is okay with you that is..." She trails off, still flustered, things are moving far too quickly. She cannot help but feel like they will be ending up inside those caves, and whilst Keldor seems ready for heroics, she is certainly not. She hopes Silvester is more together than she is.
Sorry for the very long post, a lot of stuff happened that I wanted to cover.
I'll take a well written long-post any day.
To Keldor, Hali offers only an exasperated look; the sort a disappointed parent might wear if their child were clambering over a table. Being as she is, however, the expression immediately loses the worst of its bite, and for a few moments Hali succeeds only in emulating the guise of a small and slightly riled ginger terrier. "Canny enthusiasm you've got, lad; but learn t' look into things a bit before y' leap. Runnin' in blind's what lost two Gearalts already, and I'll be damned if it'll take a third."
Cloth thoroughly wrung, she hangs the rag from a pocket and pushes in her chair, leaning her weight on the coat at its back, before turning to Rasellia. The young noble's offer is far from expected, as most would-be explorers have had proper motivation in one form or another – gold and glory for the most part. The gratitude Hali has for someone in need of neither shows quite blatantly on her face. "I'm sure as Hells not about to stop ye. Bad enough that people are talking scrap around 'ere without the loomin' threat of the 'League's tribute on the horizon. Someone's got t' get that damn forge lit. Swear if I go down there and find those three rollin' bones..."
That last thought in mind, Hali heaves a low sigh and promptly yanks up her overcoat, throwing it on with practiced ease and a muffled clatter of tools emanating from the myriad of pockets and holsters within. "Mayhaps I cannae show y' the sights, but wi' luck the good Councilor left us something worth knowing. Let's see to that first, aye? Then see if you're up to the task." She crosses her arms, brow furrowing in thought. "Last I heard, Khonnir'd thrown his find 'round the back of his Foundry, not far from here I think. Can't imagine Black Hill's seen much in the way o' smiths since the extinguishing either, if you're wanting a look."
Still musing, the engineer scratches her chin. "Am open to suggestions, like. Heck, the Council themselves might know something more specific if they're prepared to drop four gilded rocks on a recovery effort. Could be worth an ask."
Nodding, Keldor drinks his mead quickly to finish it, and waves toward the door.
"Gummmph....Uh..Let's check out the torch real quick, then Khonnir's place. We can always go to the councilors later."
With a little effort, Ember manages to wiggle back out from under the table and haul herself back up into the human sized chair. She finishes off what's left in her mug and gives Keldor a nod.
"Sure, why not? It'd be good to get out and do something."
Ember will grab up her ever present bag of random tools and bits and be ready to head out.
"Black Hill first it is," Hali concurs with a nod. "If nothin' else, you'll get a decent view of the place while we're at it."
With the majority wanting to first inspect Black Hill, the party pays for their meal and departs.
The path to the top of Black Hill winds around so as to ease the trip for the smiths and their portable forges. It was long ago that the town of Torch learned to read when the ever burning flame would spurt destruction around it. As you walk you look to see the Crownfeather palace, and eventually the weeping pond, as you slowly climb up.
After the long trek, you arrive to find the place abandoned, with the road ending at a blackened hilltop pierced at the center by what appears to be a relatively small, five-foot-diameter sinkhole. It was from this hole that the violet fire once burned, but now, the hole has collapsed on itself, forming a funnel-shaped dent in the ground that’s just over 3 feet deep. The bottom half of the depression is filled with strange, rippling black fluid, the surface of which swirls with a prismatic sheen. Now and then, a bubble forms and bursts, giving vent to strangely incongruous scents like vanilla, burning wildflowers, crude oil, citrus, vinegar, and countless others.
Half-hobbling all the way, Hali makes an effort to point out the various areas of interest within the town, gesturing to bits of this and that and occasionally referring to Basil or Ember on points and places she's less (or entirely) unfamiliar with.
Coming to the forge itself, Hali stands by the sinkhole, nose scrunching in disgust. The smell she couldn't care less about; but for the flame to leave nothing but a pool of viscous nonsense behind is so blatantly offensive that, for a moment, all the clocksmith can do is stare angrily at the fluid. Eventually she kicks in a stone, waiting for a reaction...though she knows nothing she does here will make the violet pillar or the lost expeditions spontaneously reappear.
"Suppose this is all that's left then, eh?" Hali clicks her tongue, falling onto her good knee with a noisy crank of gears, the better to get a look at the state of the basin. The glaucite brace cracks wider than previously seen, revealing a myriad of crystal-green skymetal fused within, and Hali's fingers subconsciously rasp the noqual interior as she remembers a line from the tavern. "Not somethin' I'd put in me mouth, certainly."
Keldor seems to be lost in the oddness of the place, leaning down over the crumbling pit wall to get a better whiff of the ooze at the bottom.
"The various scents reveal that the ooze is probably a melange of things all mixed together.
The question is whether the mixture is meant to be or is, by its very nature, an accident?"
Sighing, Keldor will carefully back away from the crumbling edge of the pit. He looks longingly however, as if he were a child that just saw a stuffed dragon in a toy master's shop window.
"If only we could get a sample of it! I'm sure we could determine its basic nature and benefits, or even its poisonous natures! Who knows...!!"
While Basil was not really able to understand Keldor's sudden enthusiasm, she was more than willing to act when the others got ready to leave. It certainly would be better than sitting around. Investigating the top of Black Hill, where the violet torch used to be, seemed a reasonable start to learn more.
On the way there, she matched her speed with Rasellia's:"Rasellia Seraphaelis, a minute of your time?", she waits for some sign of agreement before continuing:"The fact you have not answered my question has not eluded me. Since I am uncertain if you forgot or evaded it, I will ask again: It would be helpful for me to know how I gave away my nature. Alternatively, to know why you do not want to tell me.", Basil smiled friendly, then added:"I am aware I have a long way to go. But numerous small steps still add up to a complete journey-"
The remainder of the walk, she spoke up when referenced by Hali, or asked further questions by Keldor. When they passed the workshop of Drovan, her own home as well, she excused herself for a moment to fetch her belongings. It seemed the social part was over, and it simply felt better to be prepared.
At the edge of the pit, she stood back a bit as the others mumbled, working by herself. Then, as Keldor suggested determining the liquids nature, Basil approached again, an iron pot affixed to the end of a rope:"I concur, we should get a sample.", throwing it into the middle of the rippling fluid, just letting a bit of it flow in before retrieving it.
Dipping into the liquid with her finger, she smells it and proceeds to taste it.
Craft(Alchemy): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (1) + 7 = 8 Yay Nat 1...taste sample, here we go!
What a group, Silvester thinks, allowing his mind to distract him from the monotony of the climb and the eventual ache in his legs. Trust Rasellia to find the most colourful bunch she can. A gnome? Some kind of... He pauses, racking his mind for the word, Not-quite-human human? What did Rasellia call her - an android? he shakes his head, sidestepping a slightly steaming vent.
At least Hali seems to have a good head on her shoulders, he muses, wiping his brow on a coarse handkerchief, about as much as Keldor seems to lack one. How can anyone be that excitable all the time? Isn't it exhausting? He glances back over his shoulder to see Basil bend her head towards Rasellia, and allows his step to slow, so as to fall closer in line. Can't have anything happening to her if that... woman turns out to not be trustworthy, he tells himself, his legs aching terribly by the time the path levels out and the small group reaches the dent in the ground.
After a few moments, he blinks in surprise, affirms that this is indeed their destination, and flatly asks, "This is it?"
1d100 ⇒ 35
1d100 ⇒ 83
1d100 ⇒ 85
Basil samples the liquid, and for a moment, nothing seems to happen. Then suddenly you see her wretch over and her something similar to mechanical shifting.
When she uprights herself, Basil doesn't seem different at first, but upon closer inspecting she now has a diamond lattice overlay across the entirety of her face. However, when she moves to inspect the change, she also notices that her limbs seem a bit more restrained than normal.
Congrats, you have a gained a +2 bonus to your natural armor, but a -2 penalty to your Dexterity. This effect is temporary and will naturally fade after quite some time has passed.
If you're all done here, you have other potential destinations, or if you're looking around more, ask away.
"Terrible, ain't it?" Hali sighs to Silvester, just in time to duck as their Android companion tosses in a pot into the sludge. Though not entirely sold on the idea of sampling the nonsense herself, Hali does find a few spots where the container's exterior has dribbled and swipes at it, smearing the oily substance between her fingers and thumb. "Some kinda...hydraulic? Coolant? Lubricant? Think me old man had a vial or two o' this knocking around somewh—Basil y' daft bat!"
Swearing in a colourful array of Hallit curses, Hail throws herself back to her feet with an uncanny speed and moves to ensure Basil isn't about to up and dissolve on them. Gods, if she went and broke Drovan's damn Android, she'd never hear the end of it.
Heal (Precise Treatment): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24 To define 'quite some time', if at all possible.
A few quick checks, Basil permitting, reveals the spontaneous lattice work and Hali breathes a sigh of relief that this particular after-effect doesn't seem immediately crippling.
"I'm sure I've no need to say this to y' southerners, but..." Hali stops to wipe her hands clean on the mead-stained rag hanging from her pocket; 'southerners', in this case, being a borrow-word from her father: sons and daughters without a drop of Kellid blood. "...Don't do that."
Hali's not got much for the place; consider her good to go when you all are!
Rasellia endures the long walk to the top of black hill easily. This walk is good She thinks I probably won't have time for my usual routine today. As she walks, Basil matches her stride and talks to her. As she listens she grows progressively more embarrass.
"Oh I am terribly sorry," she says when Basil has finished "Your question completely slipped my mind. I did not mean to cause offence, I really am so so sorry." She bows her head a few times and wrings her hands before continuing. "It is just that I have read a great deal about Numeria, and you were acting, um, strange, not bad strange! oh heavens no. I just thought, perhaps you were an android, and I ever so wanted to meet one, I did not mean to offend. I think you are doing a wonderful job at, um, hiding yourself, it is just, the way you spoke about those who vanished in the tunnels, and your skin, so smooth..."She lapses into an awkward silence that continues for the rest of the journey.
Once reaching the top of the hill she perks up, taking a pen from her hair to write notes about the pool of sludge. This is all fascinating she thinks, making sure to get down as many details as she can. Preoccupied as she is, she doesn't notice Basil getting some of the liquid until she has already drank it. Rasellia watches the trasnformation that overcomes her with worry, and then, once it is clear that is not going to harm her, interest. It really is like nothing she has ever seen before. Her hand scribbles faster to note down everything.
She listens to what Hali has to say on the matter, and begins to blush.
"Um, of course, I have no interest in drinking that sludge, and I think I am actually from your west. But, um, Hali" she begins, thinking back to the string of curses "I can also speak Hallit."
Ember sighs at Basil's actions. "Congratulation Basil. You have just demonstrated a very human trait of foolish curiosity."
Ember looks at and examines the remains of Basil's sample of the sludge. (Without tasting it.)
craft alchemy: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25
"Hynny'n wir?" Hali muses, brow raised. She'd known Rasellia was a smart lass—those letters were too well drafted for the average courtier, to be sure—but to bother learning the local tongue? The engineer snorts, still a little flustered with an immediate sense of impending doom, but otherwise gives the lady an exaggerated bow (well, as much as her joints will allow, clockwork and all) and a grin. If nothing else, Hali is supremely more articulate in her mother tongue, and speaks with a fluidity not found in her Taldane. "Dylech chi wedi dweud! Ystyried fi argraff. Byddwn yn gofyn i chi i esgusodi'r iaith, ond mae hynny'n fwy na thebyg yn ymarfer ddibwrpas."
Of course the moment doesn't last, and Hali wastes no time rolling her eyes at Ember's contribution, bleeding back into the Common tongue as she continues to check over Basil's predicament. "Nothin' wrong with a bit o' curiosity, Firesong...though Pa' did say t' never stick anythin' in yer mouth y' don't intend t' swallow." She pauses, poorly suppressing a smirk. "Terrible phrasin', like; but good advice."
"You should've said! Consider me impressed. I would ask that you excuse the language, but that's probably a pointless exercise."
A worried look crosses Keldor's face as he moves to aid the retching android.
"You should never have...I didn't mean for you...just curious..."
Turing to Hali, he gasps.
"Is she OK? I hope she did not just poison herself? I mean...can she poison herself? She's not like us right? CAN she even be poisoned?"
Hearing the new conversation in Hallit, Keldor frowns and continues in Hallit himself.
"Hens! 'Dwor fegit weese. Anda horr'wick dos'sa?"*
Basil does her best not to vomit.
What just happened? This taste.
Checking her hand and the pot, with everybody else agitated and looking at her, Basil realises that something must have happened.
I still have arms. Legs. No serious wounds. Movement range and speed seem limited. Facial features feel strange.
Using the iron pot as a makeshift mirror, Basil takes note of a overlay that had spread.
"I...seem to have had a blackout. I meant to sample it...when..."
Basil tries to remember very hard what happened after she dipped her finger into the fluid, but can't.
"I assume that I took in more of the substance than I had planned. I did so in error and would not recommend replicating that behaviour."
Did I swap languages?
"Dwi'n iawn. Peidiwch â phoeni amdanaf i. Beth sydd o'i le ar y dywediad? Mae'r geiriad yn ymddangos yn beirniadu cywir drwy ramadeg yr iaith-"
No, they did speak regular before...they swapped
"It seems a nanite-based defense subsystem was triggered. Unfortunately that reaction has somewhat stiffened my joints."
Basil methodically checked herself after recovering from the momentary nausea, moving each limb, finger and muscle, their full range of motion, as if to make sure everything still worked.
Watching Ember check the pot and the remainder of the substance, she adds:"Also, I believe there is little else to do here after retrieving a sample. Shall we move on? In case there are after-effects that further diminish my mobility, I would prefer being closer to Master Drovan's workshop."
"'Responsible'? For what? Didn't see y' force the slag down 'er trap, Whisthawk." Hali continues to keep an eye on Basil as she bends her limbs, recognising the signs of stiffened joints and restricted musculature, but tries not to complicate the party's concerns further with unnecessary babble for the time being and instead resolves to doing what she does best: getting on with the present and leaving the technicalities 'till later.
"Aye, Bas; before Ser Keldor 'ere suffers cardiac arrest." She gives the pot a second look, but quickly reconsiders and turns back to the view over Torch. "Foundery's that-a way, if yer all still up for treckin'." With that, Hali gives Silvester (who, as neither a scholar nor a technician, she supposes has already suffered enough banality) something of a sympathetic smile. "Sorry lad."
"Well...I'm the one that suggested we get a sample. So it's at least partially my fault she did what she did.
What if it had killed her...or worse!"
Keldor looks a bit stricken, but he quickly rises to the occasion and 'pulls himself together.'
However, it is obvious he feels at fault still, he's just hiding it as best he can in order to look
professional among these strangers.
"We should move on from here. This place is as dead as it gets. The Foundry you say...?"
Ember takes a close look at the sludege, and though she is without any formal equipment, she can tell there is something very chaotic and reactionary in this mixture.
Hali does her best to examine the changes made to Basil's form, and even with android's odd body structure she can tell the effects may last up to 1-2 months.
=======Heading to the Foundry=========
It's odd for a couple of you to be heading to the foundry. Keldor feels the excitement of meeting the place where his pen-pal would have been, but is beset by the knowledge that they are no longer there. For Ember, this is trip to an old friend but concern washes over you as you think about Val and what she must be going through.
A scream rips through the air as you near the foudnry's door, but instead of coming from inside, it seems to come around from Khonnir Bane's small home behind the tavern!
En route to the Foundry, Hali remains somewhat paused in thought, still occasionally eyeing the strange lattice-work on Basil's skin and muddling an expression between thoughtful and confounded. As they come upon the property proper, she voices a thought or two on probable causes—sudden shifts in skin and muscle density or composition being most likely causes—and sullenly advises that the condition is liable to be a long-term affliction for the while. Who knows, maybe the temple could give it a proper look over? Perhaps when it's not so busy with the roaming headaches and fretting over the missing councillor, o' course.
So with the local clergy of Brigh fresh in mind, it's little wonder why the engineer's answer to the scream is to immediately draw for the knife at her belt and shout, "What in the bronze were that?!"
Immediately redirecting towards the Baine residence, Hali's half-hobble whirs into a sprint, ears out for the source as she pilfers into her coat. She might not have her full range of armaments to hand, but Hali's rarely without due precautions; and there's a distinctive mechanical hiss and a spark of arcana as the height-challenged Kellid activates her Shield generator.
Perception: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
Hali activates her Shield gadget, gaining +4 to AC for 1 minute. Better to be safe than sorry!
Wow...1-2 months is a long time. Don't wanna know what would have happened if I actually had downed that stuff rather than just sample it-
On the way down from the hill, Basil continually opens and closes her left hand, trying to keep track of the lattice-works spread and it's effects.
Master Drovan would know what to do...what now?, she looks at Hali and Ember in turn. Doesn't hurt to let them take a look.
Hearing the scream from behind the tavern, Basil takes a moment longer to react than Hali, but decides on the same course of action. Retrieving her Blunderbuss(loaded with powder+bullet...no spread stuff in the town unless trouble is expected - which it was not) the Android sprints directly behind Hali, only half-focused as she answers her question:"That was a scream.".
Hali should take a look at me. That leg of hers allows her to move at full speed as if she was unimpaired. Ember's family business is a scrapyard. The former seems more inviting.
Keldor, following the others almost unconsciously, seems lost in thought.
I have never seen such an effect before! I of course was warned of the various effluvium that leaks from Numerian ruins, and their strange effects,
but to see it in action is a whole other matter!
At that point, a scream drags Keldor back to reality!
But his new friends were already pouncing toward the scene, leaving Keldor behind.
Drawing his only current weapon, a dagger, Keldor curses the fact that he left his armor and his family's Elven Curveblade behind in his room.
As you all rush onto the scene, you can the sound of wood being smashed apart and splintering. Following the sounds of mayhem, you throw open the door to Khonnir's home and rush down a hallway, throw open a door to the room in the southeast corner of Khonnir Bane's home.
The storeroom is in shambles, and other than the frightened Val huddling in the corner you see the strangest thing. A mechanical being jerks to and fro on three spidery legs as it moves around the room. It is constructed from a gray and white metallic substance, has two arms with four fingers on each hand, and a blazing red eye in the center of its head. The chassis that makes up its body is missing several pieces, revealing sparking circuitry underneath.
Currently, it is systematically tearing down the east wall of the storeroom, removing stones piece by piece all the while emitting a horrible grinding and meshing sound.
"Hello, Val. How are you?" Good, I'm getting better at greetings...
While waiting for a reply, Basil takes note of what the mechanical being does, eventually adding:"Did you order it to do that?" to her original inquiry, followed by: "It doesn't sound very functional. Maybe you should get it fixed first."
Maybe she is expanding the storeroom, as a surprise for Khonnir when he returns?
"Val! Are you injured?"
Ember takes in the sight of the mechanical creature tearing apart the house.
"Basil, it's obviously malfunctioning! We need to shut it down before it damages the house enough to affect it's structural integrity and bring the roof down on our head."
Can I do a craft mechanical check or something to figure out a way to shut it down?
Much as she'd like to ensure Baine's lass hasn't suffered much in the way of injury, the metallic creature has Hali's attention gripped. When they said it was something 'humanoid', she expected something more...golem in appearance. Like those depicted in Varisian texts. Instead the build structure is much more linear in design, and certainly more advanced...but Ember's bellow wakes Hali up before she's able to give much more mind to it.
Knw. (Engineering): 1d20 + 7 + 1d6 ⇒ (9) + 7 + (4) = 20 For identification purposes, if relevant.
"Right. Shut down. Aye. That." Hali's fist clenches about her knife and she too-rightly lunges at the half-built thing, following her brothers' eternal advice to drag a rogue machine to ground and ram a blade in the battery.
Grapple (Yes, Really): 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (19) + 1 = 20 Provokes an AoO, but do you really think Ms. Gearalt cares?