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Kilarra scowls at Talivar. "Negotiations over."
Then she looks at the Mantis. "Thanks." She plunges her sabre into his heart.
Coup de Grace Damage: 2d8 + 10 ⇒ (7, 8) + 10 = 25
As she yanks out her sword and flicks the blood off its blade, she shakes her head at Talivar. "You can't trust a Mantis. Ever. Doesn't matter how helpful, or reasonable they seem -- they're NOT."
Yeeeeeah, no. Sorry. Kilarra's not down with that.
She sheathes her sabres and examines the map. "Could all be bullsh--, of course, but well worth the effort."
Knowledge Geography on the map: 1d20 + 7 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 7 + 2 = 14
Knowledge Local on the locations on the map: 1d20 + 8 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 8 + 2 = 13
Unable to glean much from the map she rolls her eyes. "An artist, he was not."
Survival to determine distance?: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (13) + 11 = 24 (She's curious how long it would have taken these agents to meet with Erandlon then return to Bastien, which might help Talia narrow down when we can use her spell to watch Bastien realize these mantis aren't returning. Just trying to piece together a timeline).
The Mantis's eyes widen in shock as Kilarra's blade skewers him. They're still open when Kilarra pulls her blade free, the man having been slain instantly.
Kilarra estimates it would take three days, as the crow flies, to reach the endpoint on the map, assuming no delays.
I'll give y'all some time to discuss next steps.
How far is it to the Kobold camp from here roughly?
"Three days." Kilarra announces, passing the map off to Talia. "Will that help you get a --" She waves her hand in the air dismissively, not quite sure how to articulate her thoughts. "Will it help you get a vision of Bastien? Or... spy on sh%# or whatever?"
Talivar's eyes went flinty as he saw Kilarra's blade erupt from the man's chest. In a dangerously calm voice he told her, "Trust? I was planning to use him you fool, I wouldn't trust him as far as I can throw you! Can't you see the left hand of the mantis doesn't know what the right hand is doing or even who they are! Their greatest strength is also their greatest weakness, a word from the right lips will set the lower ranks against each other!"
Talivar took a deep breath and urged back the destructive forces that had risen unbidden freezing the ground around him and causing frost to form on his fists. He unclenched his fists and flicked the ice away before admitting, "There's no way we're ever going to manipulate one of the Vernai, not unless we get our hooks in first. It'll be a long term project and this one wasn't right, a male for starters and we don't know what made him tick. Killing him was the right thing to do... Regardless of whether you agree with my plan, we do need to research their ranks and their power structure. We know of Bastien and maybe one or two other Vernai but precious little else. That has to change!"
Uruelleth nods in approval as Kilarra kills the Mantis. While having a mole within the organization would be a useful thing, the man's words condemn him. He already said that he would be tortured and killed if he returned to them. Likely the only way he could avoid that fate would be to become a triple agent.
"All right. Not a bad idea, but we should try to identify the right kind of traitor, not one who just wants to avoid a painful death," Uruelleth says to Talivar.
He then turns to Talia to see if she's got an answer to Kilarra's question.
"Yeah, if only I had successfully disabled a senior Mantis that could have given us a lead on that power structure" Talia responds sarcastically, thinking it ironic Talivar seemed to care so much now but had given it less consideration and focus moments previously.
Turning to Kilarra, Talia gives her request thoughtful consideration for a moment, chewing the idea over for a moment before giving a response. "The timeframe is helpful, and I could use it to see Bastien. Unfortunately, what I think we really want to know is how Bastien reacts on the news, and what his orders will be, and we don't have a timeframe on that exactly. I'll do my best to try and see what I can learn, but I'm not optimisitc about learning something useful. I doubt Bastien gets orders to hunt us down though - we already have one Vernai hunting us personally, sending Bastien - someone of lower rank - would be almost redundant"
Talivar sighs and replies sounding rather bored, "Are you still sulking? Snap out of it Talia! Let's think about what we can usefully do from here... There might be some value in arranging a speak with dead ritual for Bastien. I understand his soul will likely resist but perhaps you can wrestle some answers out of him anyway."
I know divinations don't work on the island but speak with dead is s necromancy spell.
"Oh please, get off your high horse Talivar. No-one said a word when you gave Kilarra a verbal blasting a second ago and yet I cannot vent once about Uruelleth's actions without you complaining and telling me to get over it."
"As for a ritual, the spell is called Speak with Dead Talivar, and Bastien is alive. Even if you meant someone else, even if I was able to stop his or her soul resisting, there is nothing at all preventing him to be as deliberately vague or cryptic as possible with his or her answers. All the spell cares about is an answer, not necessarily a helpful one."
Talia folds her arms, her tone now heavy with sarcasm "Since you asked so nicely though, sure, I'll absolutely work on spying on Bastien, and then I'll magic up some way to slaughter him from one hundred miles away and then magic up some way to cast Speak with Dead on his corpse from the same distance. I'll get the answers to every single question we might have out of him and for the heck of it, I'll stick a broom up my ass while I'm doing so, so that I can sweep the floor while I'm at it."
Talia snorts in exasperation while rolling her eyes.
"No. Uruelleth made his decision. I would vehemently argue that it was the wrong one, but it was his decision and it happened. Fine. Don't expect me though to run around after him cleaning up his mess by getting that information another way. He knew damn well what he was doing so don't run to me Talivar, expecting me to fix it for you. Cast your own damn spell."
For what its worth, its actually a good idea to try it on Erandlon (I presume that is who you meant), aside from the issues with the spell about reliable / clear answers. Unfortunately Talia feels that Talivar has been dismissive of how she is feeling which is precisely why she is therefore acting in this way. Sorry :(
More than used to carrying corpses around, Kilarra scoops up Erandlon's dead body, just in case Talia wants it, and stuffs it in her backpack. Then she takes the time to smash the faces and jaws of the other dead mantis, to prevent them from speaking to anyone after death.
As the spell casters continue to prattle on, Kilarra smirks and shakes her head. "Are you two done? You can bicker back at the caves."
Yes I did mean Erandlon.
Talivar turned his back on Talia halfway through her childish rant and told the others, "Oh I'm done all right. We made a pact but apparently Talia feels it's conditioned on things going her way. If we can't cooperate all this is for naught. See if you can talk some sense into her, my presence isn't helping."
He then walked off into to the forest and with a word he vanished and with another he rose into the sky and started the long slog towards the Kobold's lair.
Talia rolls her eyes at her friend throwing a tantrum. "I'm sorry guys, as happy as I am to give him space, I do need to check to make sure he isn't going to make the entire trip back on his own" she apologizes to Rue and Killarra before soaring behind Talivar.
"Are you planning on making the journey back together with us or making the trip on your own? I'm happy to leave you alone until you 'snap out of it' - as you eloquently put it, but if you are intending to wander the jungles alone at night then its probably not going to end well."
Talivar is invisible, you'll need to make perception checks to do that. Moreover he'll activity avoid Talia for the time being.
Midnight has blindsight 60 and can communicate with Talia. I still know exactly where you are. In addition, Midnight has 90 feet flight speed, and can basically follow you for the entire day without issues.
Some creatures possess blindsight, the extraordinary ability to use a non-visual sense (or a combination senses) to operate effectively without vision. Such senses may include sensitivity to vibrations, acute scent, keen hearing, or echolocation. This makes invisibility and concealment (even magical darkness) irrelevant to the creature (though it still can’t see ethereal creatures). This ability operates out to a range specified in the creature description.
One way or another, you all make your way back to the Thunderscale Warrens. Lork is near the entrance with a few kobolds. He nods at you as you enter. The man doesn’t look as pale as the last time you saw him.
Pixxiv greets you shortly after you enter and escorts you back to Makkatat.
The kobold leader hobbles over with the help of his cane before saying, “Welcome back! I’m happy to report that we have a good estimate of our losses from the last battle. It seems we only lost about twenty fighters, much lower than we had dared hoped. It seems you made quite the difference by going straight for the tribe’s leadership. When you wish to conduct another assault, we will be ready. Anything to report on your end?”
"Hey, Lork. How you holding up?" She crosses her arms and smirks. "Growing scales, yet?"
When meeting with Makkatat, Kilarra raises an eyebrow to Talia, surprised the chatterbox hadn't launched off on some long-winded speech yet. There weren't any others around, so her words would be welcome. Shrugging off her concern, Kilarra turns to Makkatat.
"Yeah, sure. We tracked down a mantis agent working outside the city, and some of his lackeys. Got some intel out of them, but nothing that will help with the goblins." she shrugs. "They're dead, so that's something. Won't be coming back and won't be talking."
She considers recent events for a moment, then nods. "Ready to kick some ass again, soon."
@ GM: How do I need to go about removing my negative levels? Are they temporary negative levels, or permanent? Whats the DC to shake them off? Have we slept on the trip back? How many sleeps are there until we move out again? (All these questions are asked for the purposes of her negative level recovery, FYI).
Sounding distant, Talivar stated "Last few days have been... eventful. Anyway I think the plan is to fight the Longlung tribe next. I'm not sure if the plan of staging a wreck is worth it or not. I can see all sorts of ways that could go wrong."
Uruelleth sighs. "We've been trying to be clever and it hasn't been working. How about we just go and attack until they're all dead?"
Lork shakes his head and chuckles at Kilarra's inquiry. "About as well as I could hope. No scales, but I've definitely lost a bit of weight. These kobolds don't mess around."
Makkatat listens to your report before saying, "I'm glad to hear more of the mantis are dead. That is always a good thing.
"Our fighters stand ready to aid you should you decide on a straightforward attack. However, I would note that the Longlung tribe is by far the smallest of the monkey goblin tribes. If a subtler or indirect method were to work, it would likely be with the Longlungs. I leave the decision to you, of course, we just need to know what you plan to do."
Kilarra, they were *especially* temporary negative levels, due to the way they were applied, so they would be gone by the time you arrived at the Warrens, which would be two days after your fought the mantises.
Talivar nodded, "In that case perhaps it would be advisable to save your warriors for a larger fight? There's a lot of goblins among the remaining tribes and this could easily turn into a war of attrition." He glances around to see if his companions agreed.
I had a plan to visit / talk to / command the carnivorous plants and briefly visit the city to purchase Incense of Meditation prior to attacking the tribe. I don't know if GM wants to say that happened off screen or happens later. This battlefield plan I have hinges on at least a brief shopping trip though - if that cannot happen then maybe disregard this post.
Talia decides to give everyone some much needed direction via a battle plan for the others to chew over.
"There is no need for your forces Makkatat. I have extensively scouted the place, we know how large their forces are, common routes the scouts patrol, and so on. Its better than you move your force towards the next tribe since I can travel faster than you can. I could always communicate if we should get stuck or encounter problems."
"As for tactics, I'm not in the mood for time wasting. I'm in the mood for a frontal assault. I'll attack from the sea side and drive them towards the forests where you Kilarra and Uruelleth will be waiting. We can use my knowledge of their patrols to avoid the scouts and get within a reasonable distance. Talivar can do whatever he likes provided he doesn't attack until after we have pushed them in the direction we want. If they successfully make it to the sea then we won't get the desired outcome."
Broadly speaking, Talia's plan boils down to her making her attacking from the seaward side. Ideally she wants to get Roaming Pit off first (ideally undetected) and then Cloudkill immediately after (so if Talivar has an invisibility spell to spare that would be valuable). No goblin is going to run into Cloudkill which means we can drive them into an ambush while Roaming Pit drags any goblins into Cloudkill range. Once Cloudkill is in effect, Talivar (and Talia) can blast the goblins from range, without fear of retaliation. There is a slight risk that Kilarra and Uruelleth might get overwhelmed though if we cannot thin out the numbers well enough. I'll need my shopping trip to minimize this risk. You can assume Talia tells you the above specifics IC if you want.
Just to be on the same page GM, the spell combination Talia is going for is to have the pit initially cast into the same area as Cloudkill. As the mist 'sinks' (per Cloudkill text) into the pit, I'm hoping to then move the pit toward goblin targets, hoping that any goblins that fail their saving throws and fall into the pit also get exposed to Cloudkill. Let me know if this wouldn't work as it cost two 5th level spell slots to be successful so I'd change things up. Just trying to be creative with spell combinations.
That sounds like a good plan
Uruelleth nods, feeling the need to do some wanton violence. "Would you prefer that I enlarge myself, or stay mobile? The pit will work until the goblins reach the trees, since they'll start climbing. Maybe reserve a fly spell for us to go after those? We don't want them to focus their arrows on you and Talivar."
Kilarra nods. "I'm in. Let's do it."
Yes, that combo will work, Talia. Just keep in mind that you won’t be able to control the entire cloud since its area is greater than that of the pit, so some of it will continue on its own. You would also be able to go on a shopping trip.
Makkatat seems impressed with your plan and says, “Very well. I’ll have our fighters prepare for the next battle to come. I’m sure they’ll be glad to have a bit of a reprieve. We’ll be here if you need us.
“As for your next fight, keep in mind that the Longlung tribe have quite a few spellcasters of their own, more than any of the other tribes, in fact. Don’t trust in distance to keep you safe. They may not have many traditional fighters, but they’re still quite dangerous.”
If you want to say anything else to Makkatat, feel free to go ahead and do so, in addition to clarifying and finalizing the plan.
Talivar considers the plan and adds, "I can make Uruelleth and Kilarra fly and shield Talia and myself from sight. Perhaps a couple of illusions might help drive them into the jaws of the trap."
Turning to Makkatat, Talivar asks "I wonder. Are there any large predators they fear in the area?"
Talia continues outlining her plan, confident that they should be able to handle most things that could happen - at least in some small way.
"Ideally, I was hoping that you and Kilarra would eliminate any remaining goblins before they hit the trees, but if not I'm sure we can improvise. As for whether you should stay enlarged or mobile - I don't really mind either way. Be prepared to help out though if any of their spellcasters step up to challenge Talivar or myself since they will always be the greater threat."
"As for them shooting at us, I understand the concern, but I'll have Cloudkill hopefully between me and them. If they wish to fire through the mist in the hope of a luck shot then I'm fine with that, but I'll still be able to see them just fine with Midnights help."
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 9th; concentration +14)
Shaman Spell-Like Abilities (CL 9th; concentration +14)
Shaman Spells Prepared (CL 9th; concentration +14)
5th—cloudkill (DC 20), roaming pit (DC 20); contact other plane[S] or overland flight[S]
4th—emergency force sphere, enervation (2); legend lore[S] or rainbow pattern[S] (DC 19)
3rd—fireball (3, DC 18), wind wall; daylight[S] or locate object[S]
2nd—resist energy (3), warp wood (2, DC 17); hypnotic pattern[S] (DC 17) or tongues[S]
1st—barbed chains[HA] (3, DC 16), heightened awareness[ACG] (2), unbreakable heart[ISWG]; color spray[S] (DC 16) or identify[S]
0 (at will)—create water, dancing lights, detect magic, guidance
S spirit magic spell; Spirit Heavens Wandering Spirit Lore
Makkatat considers Talivar's question for a moment before saying, "Can't say I have any personal knowledge on the matter, but if I had to guess, I would think they wouldn't be afraid of sea animals at all, since they spend a fair bit of time in the water. Predators from deep in the jungle might spook them, though. I doubt they see many of those, living so close to the shore."
General reminder Talivar that if you intend on casting illusion spells, remember that Cloudkill is coming from a seaward direction. So you probably want an aerial or water based predator illusion also coming from that direction since a predator coming from the jungle is going to push them in the opposite direction that we want them to move (ie away from the jungle and towards the sea).
Anything else you need GM?
Do you have a plan for getting them all out of the forest at the start of the fight? Or are you going to deal with the ones in the forest afterwards?
Also, what's the specific plan involving the plants? You'll need to locate them then actually get them to the tribe's location. Just the movement will likely take a couple days, assuming you can find the plants in the first place.
I mean... which ones are already in the forest? We probably need to clarify this GM because everything implies that this is a relatively small goblin tribe - either they are large and have a huge number of scouts we need to deal with or they are small and have a limited number. I'm fairly certain we can bypass the scouts with flight and invisibility + the information I have on their movements.
As for the plants - thats for the capital. Its a long way off and plants need a long time to move so I was Commanding them and moving them into position days / weeks in advance. Should be doable - I rolled high on knowledge if I recall correctly and know where they are. I can do a proper RP with Plants if you want but there are no plants in this encounter - I just want to Command them sooner rather than later so they have time to move.
Battlefield tactics probably involves everyone getting into position undetected and then Talia casting Roaming Pit on an unobserved spot. She then casts Cloudkill on the base / village, pit absorbs some of the gas, and then moves to start snaffling up goblins. At this point (after these two spells have been cast) Talivar can cast whatever he likes. I'd prefer a damaging spell, or something with Rime rather than an illusion, since it stops people escaping Cloudkill and a damage spell discourages a spellcaster to stand there attempting to Dispel Cloudkill but its Talivar's decision I guess. After this combat plays out as it goes.
I thought the illusion was to draw them out to the beach. Because striking them in the jungle just undoes the whole pit+fog idea, since they'll just climb above it. Am I right about that?
Most of the tribe would be in the forest at any given time, unless they're scavenging a wrecked ship. It is a relatively small tribe, so from what you saw they only have two to three scouts or lookouts at anytime. Usually only one or two are at the edge of the forest near the beach.
We don't have to RP the plants, but based on Uruelleth's comment, you may still need to work out some of the logistics of the operation.
Talivar nodded, "Hmm things from the jungle might encourage them to take refuge in the sea. Talia's got something unpleasant planned for them. Perhaps I can add numbers to underscore the threat of the uh... I think they were carnivorous plants. The longlung tribe are going to have a bad day, I almost feel sorry for them."
I'll try and get a wandering star mote off when they get near the pit. That and aoe entangle ought to make life difficult when they need to pass reflex saves to avoid that pit.
Yeah just realized that they all seem to be IN the trees and not on the ground. Which means a pit spell isn't going to be of much use, and Cloudkill won't be great either. I could use Mother-Shaman's Blessing to have her cast a high level Control Winds which (if she was Level 13+) would "Uproot large trees and wooden buildings". I can achieve the same effect on any day that naturally has 'severe wind' without her assistance. Otherwise we might need a new plan.
Knowledge (nature) for weather, if you're trying to determine the likeliest day/time when there would be severe wind, but keep in mind that much of the island would be shielded from any wind from the sea, so that might not be as helpful as it might at first seem.
And unfortunately Mother-Shaman casts spells as a 12th level shaman, so she won't be able to help there.
Based on the weather, Talia expects that a strong breeze will likely come through shortly after dawn two days hence. The wind will come from the sea, so only the outer edge of the forest will be significantly buffeted. The Longlung’s base lies just out of the area likely to be most harshly affected. Talia strongly suspects that the camp’s well-situated location was intentional rather than happenstance.
I don't know if that will work like you think. The spell description says it's like fog cloud which says that a moderate wind disperses the cloud in 4 rounds, and stronger winds in 1 round. Why don't we try the illusions to lure them out to the beach? Their village is going to be too well protected.
Uruelleth is probably right about the winds. One idea comes to mind, have you considered aqueous orb to round em up and dump em in the pit?
The only way to lure them out is a shipwreck but as it’s first interacted with by a scout needs to be an actual shipwreck. If you want to fake a predator it needs to basically be flying in a forest habitat and threatening to a tree top village - and is still less effective against multiple spellcasters. GM hasn’t mentioned anything that fits that criteria yet. If my ideas out I’d rather stand 400 feet away and nuke the damn thing with a million fireballs. We can do it every single day - they either move permanently or leave the village to attack us - either of which I’m fine with.
Aqueous Orb sucks - gives them two saving throws to avoid the effect. It also gives them a save every single round afterwards to leave the orb.
We could try setting fire to the trees outside the village. Goblins in the jungle might flee to the village, and the goblins in the village and outside might try to converge to put it out. Can anyone prep fire spells that linger long enough to light something on fire? Kilarra's got four alchemist's fire.
What about an illusion of a wreck, kill one scout and dominate the other? Get it to deliver a message: lots of shinies but a few dangerous survivors, bring the whole tribe?
I like that idea. The combination of all the previous ideas!
I don't like it as much, because if I'm taking Dominate Person then I cannot prepare my other 'power' 5th level spells. Basically, the open terrain that we might get, doesn't give me a battlefield advantage anymore if I'm prepping Dominate.
Secondly, its a DC 15 Sense Motive for anyone in the tribe that interacts with the dominated Goblin (if I succeed) to realize he is under an enchantment. If anyone succeeds, the jig is basically up. I'm really uncomfortable with that low DC, espcially considering that this is the 'magic' tribe.
I'd rather attack it head on tbh with blast spells, from range. They either come to us (and we get our open battlefield) or they retreat (in which case we torch their base). I still feel like there are better options than my suggestion but I cannot think of any at present. Its irritating paizo never clarified where vegetation / trees / plants all sit in terms of clarification since it makes it impossible to know whether X spell works.
Ruel groans in exasperation. "They're goblins. Goblins that climb; goblins that swim, but goblins. Yeah, some of them cast spells, but I'm very good at killing spellcasters. So let's not worry about the perfect plan. Let's just go kill them. Gorum's balls, you can't be scared to fight goblins, can you?"
Talivar grinned at Urulleth, "I'm pretty sure they bleed and freeze like anything else. Maybe we're over thinking things, find out where they are. Prepare for a fight and teleport in."
"I'm not scared of them, but I learnt from a young age never to underestimate my opponents. Its possibly overcautious but then again, I haven't needed a reincarnate spell yet" she remarks in a wry tone before shrugging.
"I'm ready at any rate, I have my spells planned and with this interesting incense I purchased, I should be capable enough tomorrow."