Ruins of Pathfinder: Reign of Winter (Inactive)

Game Master Robert Brookes

"I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust."

T.S. Eliot


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With the interrogation completed, the fate of the surviving enemies is decided by the group's de-facto leader Styvanus Rozier with little resistance. The winter-touched fey Shor eagerly offers to make amends for his and his siblings misdeeds by leading the team through the remainder of the Darkmoon wood to the winter portal. The captive hunter that swore loyalty to Thuldrin will remain bound in the cellar under watch, while Dann and the survivors of Falcon's Hollow hold the lodge until the group's eventual return.

Ar'Zarrcal repairs the rope-bridge by commanding the fibers of the rope to rebind itself to the stakes across the ravine, while musket-armed villagers watch the other side of the divide to ensure safe passage of their liberators for as long as they can.

By the time affairs have been set in order at the lodge in the mid-afternoon hours, spirits are higher among the former conscripts than they have ever been. While nothing that has been done can bring back those who have died thanks to Thuldrin's actions, the liberation has gone a long way towards repairing the damage done and returning Falcon's Hollow to what it once was. The road of repair may well be a long one.

But all journeys, even seemingly insurmountable ones, begin the same way.

A single step at a time.
 
 
 
 
 
 
  << Darkmoon Wood, Andoran | Mid-Afternoon | Very Cold (2° F/-16° C) | Toilday, Erastus 10th, 4715 AR >>
 
 
 
 
 

Beyond the ravine Darkmoon Wood slouches into the Andoran countryside like poorly risen bread. Where once there were rising foothills there now is a deep depression in the land densely packed with towering trees with night-black bark. Darkwood trees are extremely rare, and the monopoly here of this exotic material has made Andoran extremely rich. The dark wood and midnight blue needles of these coniferous trees lends a dusky quality to the forest, where even the white of fallen snow appears to be muted in shadow.

The trail that Styvanus' team descends on is a perilous switchback trail that descends the northwestern face of Talon's Hill, a much more treacherous path that they had made on the ascent, though one that appears to have been well-traveled over the past few months. While still contained inside of the wall of winter, snowfall is diminished here to a dusting and the dense canopy of darkwood branches overhead serves to keep that dusting from ever reaching the forest floor.

Temperatures, though, are still bone-chillingly cold and even the winter gear the team wears is cut through by sharp polar winds that blow impossibly through the woods along the forest floor, undoubtedly blown from the winter portal. Shor seems largely unaffected by the cold, dressed in little more than armor made from woven leaves, his bare blue skin shows in many places, highlighted by ice white tattoos along his legs and abdomen.

"You're lucky you brought me," Shor comments from a perch upon a low-hanging darkwood branch. "This portion of the woods we call the shadow maze." Happily exercising his knowledge of the Taldan tongue, Shor flits from branch to branch, his tiny wings buzzing as he flies, making sure to keep a wide berth from Ordrud for both their sakes.

"We learned not to trust our eyes here, or we'd be turned around for days." Shor buzzes past Styvanus, leaving a faint rim of frost on the shoulder of his cold-weather gear from his passing. "The darkwood trees occlude vision of the mountains, makes it like a labyrinth. There's things in this dark place," Shor comments in a quieter tone, "things even Nazhena didn't bring here."

As if on queue, Shor comes to an abrupt halt and makes a disquieted noise in the back of his throat. With a wave of his hand, he casts dancing lights the color of an azure sky out towards a shadowed cluster of trees.

Wordlessly, he directs attention to the dancing lights and reveals the figure of a man in winter gear, huddled between three trees in a makeshift lean-to. Darkwood branches with thick boughs have been stacked up at an angle to shelter around a fire pit long since gone cold. The man lays on his side, rent asunder at his midsection, face eaten off and one arm nowhere to be seen. His musket remains leaning against a nearby tree, a frost-covered book a few feet away from his corpse, spattered in blood.

"Dark things," Shor reiterates, keeping his distance up on a branch overhead.

___________
You have stumbled upon the frozen corpse of one of Thuldrin's hunters. He looks to have been savaged by some kind of animal. His makeshift camp is still intact and it looks as though he may have survived the cold were it not for whatever unwelcomed guest brought him to his end.

@Everyone: Let me know what, if anything, you are doing here at the campsite and when you are ready say so, and you'll be able to move on deeper into the wood. You have been traveling about 15 minutes thus far.

Hunter's Body (Heal Check DC 20):

The hunter has been dead for at least a month, judging from the limited decay he has experienced due to exposure to the cold.

 
Hunter's Body (Heal Check DC 15):

The obvious injuries were the cause of the hunter's death. He was attacked, likely in his sleep. The fatal injury appears to have been teeth at the hunter's throat, followed by feasting on his face, stomach and entrails before apparently dragging off his arm. The intense cold has preserved the gruesome scene remarkably, making assessing the time of death difficult.

 
Loot:

1 musket (broken)
10 cold-iron bullets
5 charges of black powder (powderhorn)
1 shortsword
1 dagger
1 leatherbound journal (see below)

 
Hunter's Journal:

The softcover leatherbound book beside the hunter's body is a journal. Most of the early entries are scouting reports just a little over four old, and it appears that this hunter's job was traveling the Darkmoon Forest and keeping an eye on the expansion of the "Irriseni Occupation" without being spotted. It looks as though Thuldrin didn't trust Nazhena's people and was observing them and their actions, at least for a while.
 
The later entries describe observations of what the hunter calls a "wound in the seasons" which he details as a "spinning storm like the dust devils of southern Varisia but larger than any. The storm is ringed by a pallisade of icy spikes, but the whole thing is erupting out of an older, Azlanti ruin that had been left forgotten in the Forest Elder for centuries. We knew this place was haunted, but the Irriseni seem unconcerned."
 
Some of the last entries describe the hunters' worry over the alarming number of undead coming from within the heart of the storm, most of them he recognizes as Andoran villagers from Falcon's Hollow, however some -- heavily armored -- appear to be Ulfen.
 
The last journal entry, dated two weeks and three days ago, describes being caught in a blizzard that came out of nowhere and that the "wall of bone-chilling wind" appeared to have expanded outward, creating the storm in its wake.

Knowledge (local) DC 18:

The Darkmoon Wood has a very small population of shadow mastiffs that seem to slip in from the plane of shadow. It is possible one of these creatures killed the hunter.

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Walking around the campsite, Gwynn appears troubled by the grisly display. Unholstering her revolver, she paces away from the grove of trees the camp is situated in, watching the perimeter of the forest. Brows furrowed, she offers a shake of her head, then looks back to the others. "I'd recommend making it quick," she suggests in a hushed tone of voice, "I don't want whatever killed him coming back for us."

Looking back out to the forest, Gwynn worriedly chews at her bottom lip and shoots a furtive glance at Shor up on his branch, then looks over to Ordrud. Worry paints itself clearly across Gwynn's face, worry for the others, worry for the ones left behind at the lodge, worry for a lot of things.

Spotting Talavuc, Gwynn approaches the erutaki woman and motions towards the carcass. "Styvanus tells me you're a druid, from... the crown of the world?" There's a tone of disbelief in her voice. "Is it worse up there? I mean-- than it is here? I can't even..." she looks briefly at the corpse. "I can't even imagine."


First levels: 2/4; THP:17/21; HP:43/43; MP:4/5
Stats:
HP:43 THP:21 / AC 17/21, T 11, FF 16 / Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +5 / Perception +2 / Initiative +3

"I agree wit' Cap'n Gwynn. Let's take what we can use and keep movin'. Last thing we need is ter get ambushed again." Rasso's eyes narrow in paranoia as he examines the body. His medical knowledge is poor enough that one corpse looks much like the next to him. Especially humans, he finds it somewhat difficult to tell them apart once they've been dead a while. Knowing his instincts are usually right about these things, he prepares to cast a defensive spell at the first sign of danger.

__________________________

Heal: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (13) + 1 = 14

I'll be walking around with a readied action to cast Mage Armor should something jump out at us from this point. That limits me to 30' of movement a round, but better safe then sorry.

Liberty's Edge

Stats
Spoiler:
  • HP 25/25
  • AC 20( T: 12/ FF:16)
  • Fort + 4|Ref + 2|Will + 2
  • Init + 2
  • Perception +1

Styvanus nods, agreeing with Gwynn and Rasso's sentiment. The last thing they needed was an unexpected ambush. He moved quickly towards the fallen man and rummaged through the belongings gathered there. The hunter's bullets caught his eye with their cold shine. He compared the metal with the metal of Andis' spear and as best as he could tell with his untrained eye, it looked like the same material."Looks like cold iron, could prove useful." He tosses the ammo pouch over his shoulder, where they land at the feet of Kain( the group's resident musketeer).

By the time Kain glanced down at the pouch Styv was already on his feet, thumbing through the hunter's leather-bound journal." Looks like Thuldrin instructed this man to keep an eye on Nazhena's people" He begins.

"The later entries describe observations of what the hunter calls a 'wound in the seasons'... A 'spinning storm like the dust devils of southern Varisia but larger than any. The storm is ringed by a pallisade of icy spikes, but the whole thing is erupting out of an older, Azlanti ruin that had been left forgotten in the Forest Elder for centuries. We knew this place was haunted, but the Irriseni seem unconcerned.'

Some of the last entries describe the hunters' worry over the alarming number of dead coming from within the heart of the storm, most of them he recognized as 'Andoran men and women from Falcon's Hollow, however some -- heavily armored -- appear to be Ulfen'.....Just like the group of dead that first attacked us." Styv added his observation to the words he read verbatim.

The last journal entry is dated two weeks and three days ago and describes being caught in a blizzard that came out of nowhere and that the 'wall of bone-chilling wind' appeared to have expanded outward, creating the storm in its wake." He concluded, tucking the journal into his pack. It was a first-hand account of the events and it might serve as evidence in the court of law, Styv would be sure to deliver it.

" Nothing else of value here." Styv states flatly." Let's keep moving."


Male Dwarf Cleric (Forge-Master) / 3 Mythic Guardian 1

Ar'Zarrcal stalked over to the torn and half-eaten remains of the hunter. The cold had at least contained some of the stench the corpse would have otherwise given off. He listened to the Andorran Captain's words, even as he began to examine the injuries that caused the hunter's death.

He whispered a prayer for guidance, but out in this wretched wilderness his goddess did not offer him any further insight into the death of the hunter. With a rolling shrug of his armored shoulders, he stepped away from the corpse and began to search the snow around the body. It seemed possible he might be able to find some form of track or identifying trace of whatever killed the hunter.

After a few minutes of searching all he found was more snow and fallen midnight blue needles. He gave a dissatisfied grunt. It was best to keep moving.
_______________________
Heal check: 1d20 + 8 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 8 + 1 = 14
Survival tracking check: 1d20 + 4 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 4 + 1 = 13
Using guidance for heal and then survival.


Half-orc warrior | HP 72/72 | Bond 6/6 | LoH 5/5 | Smite 2/2 | 1st 2/2 | Ferocity 1/1 | AC 21 Touch 11 FF 20 CMD 20 | Fort +8 Ref +5 Will +7(+9) | Initiative +1 | Perception +6, Darkvision 60 ft.

Ordrud had not been marching long enough to conclude anything of the mornings events. He wondered how similar his hostage at Lastwall was with the little fey's deception by the white witches. Was it too big for him? The size of the thoughts felt like he was trying to tear an old tree from the ground. His thoughts were weak.

Then, he saw the frozen hunter, which snapped his attention into the present. That could have been himself several days ago. Amazing how life is. He watched the merman, dwarf, and captain approach the corpse. He surveyed and stretched his hearing toward the surroundings. He half-expected another trap: the corpse to stand up and fight, or the whole area to explode from black powder. Nothing appeared as it is here, he thought to himself. So he stayed vigilant.
________________________________________
Perception take 20+6=26


Male Grey Elf (Fey) Magus 3/Champion/Archmage 1 AC 16/12/14/ HP 30/30 / F +5 R +3 W +3 (+9 vs cold weather) / Init. +2 / Perc. +9 / Mythic 3/5)

Hearing the words from the Andoran Captain, Teladon moved silently among the massive darkwood trees. The air was still and carried with it a foreboding sense of quiet. It felt like the moment before a blade would be drawn from the shadows. Glance at the trees, Teladon frowned from behind his mask. He kept a particular lookout for anything that might be covered in moss, especially so in this area where the trees and snow would blanket out any sunlight. He kept his bow ready. If nothing else the team had learned by new to be alert and sharp. Gone was the day when they had drank among the ruined tavern. They had learned what Teladon had already know. Danger could be all around them.


Sin Mage (Gluttony) 3
Stats:
HP 22/22; AC 11, Flat Footed 10, Touch 11; CMD 11; Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +4; Perception +4; Initiative +1

Fenyx approaches the body's resting place as a detached observer. He recalls briefly the countless hours he had spent in Xin-Shalast's "Mortuary"—A title owing to the volume of dead that were filtered through its halls on a regular basis rather than any actual capacity as a mortuary. It had been here that Fenyx's rise to prominence in Karzoug's forces had found its meager beginnings. First he had been simply tasked with the transport of the bodies, though his keen intellect soon afforded him the treasured position of one who dissected the remains for further study. The horrible stench was hard to forget. He had come far since then, now an ambassador for the Runelord directly. But the stench of the Mortuary he would never forget.

Fenyx pokes briefly at the dead corpse, uncaringly sifting through the man's innards and injuries as he tries to piece together when the man was ambushed and killed. Unfortunately, he has little practice with frozen corpses, however, and is able to determine little of note. "Likely as curious as it is irrelevant. I agree with the Captain—both of them: let us continue."

_________________________
Heal Check: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8

Dark Archive

Male Chelish Human Fighter 1/Gunslinger 2/Guardian 1
Stats:
HP 39/39; AC 19, Flat Footed 17, Touch 12; CMD 19; Fort +8, Ref +4, Will +2; Perception +7; Initiative +3

Rifle in hand, Marcellano watches the fey like a hawk, not entirely trusting the little creature. As the group follows the trail, he keeps a stoic silence, keeping an eye on their guide. When the group approaches the dead hunter, Marcellano barely takes notice - to him, the corpse only represents another failure - likely, this person deserved his fate.

He nods when Styvanus says the group should keep moving. Best not to dwell on such a trivial death. They were here for something more important. Still, he keeps an eye out on the surrounding wilderness - he doesn't trust this portion of the wilderness anymore than he trusts their new 'ally'.

____________________________

Perception Check: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7
I be all for movin' on, Cap'n!

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Departing from the site of the hunter's demise, the group finishes their descent down the switchback path that cut across the northwestern face of Talon's Hill. The trail led them deeper into the heart of the Darkmoon Wood, where daylight was swallowed by the midnight branches of the darkwood trees, turning the landscape around them into a forest of perpetual twilight.

The darkwood trees here are ancient and towering things, some more than two-hundred feet tall and teen feet thick or more. They are among the largest trees in Andoran, some thousands of years old. These looming giants are sacrosanct in the eyes of the Lumber Consortium, and the oldest of the darkwood trees are all marked by sigils carved into their bark at the base of the tree indicating that they may not be felled for lumber. The stumps of smaller darkwood trees litter the forest floor and put great distance between the trunks of these midnight titans, making it feel as though Styvanus' team were in some great hall of pillars underground, rather than in a forest.

The ground here is rocky and littered with midnight blue pine needles, creating a shadowy carpet that is broken up by the protrusion of large igneous rock formations; granite boulders and shale outcroppings. There are no discernable lumber trails here due to the sparseness of the forest, and what little light from the cloudy sky can be seen looks more like pinpoints of starlight when viewed through the thick canopy of darkwood boughs hundreds of feet above.
 
 
 
 
 
    << Darkmoon Wood, Andoran | Mid-Afternoon | Very Cold (1° F/-17° C) | Toilday, Erastus 10th, 4715 AR >>
 
 
 
 
For Ar'Zarrcal this place is haunting. The high canopy and thick trunks of the towering darkwood trees does not look like a forest at all to his tired eyes, but rather as the ghosts of looming stone pillars and vaulted ceilings so distant that they are swallowed in darkness. It is effigy of the deepest vaults of Highhelm, of the sky citadels of his people that feel like something from a waking dream, or perhaps a nightmare.

The others don't see it -- can't see it -- and even Ar'Zarrcal has a hard time reconciling the distant memories of something older than the scar on his brow, older than the Sihedron, older than the throbbing ache at the center of his mind that wordlessly screams, this is not you.

"Never in my life," Talavuc whispers breathlessly, "did I ever imagine to see anything like this." Eyes upturned to the illusion of starlight overhead, Talavuc comes to a stop in her walking, watching the way the branches shift and sway in the strong breezes much higher up. Naasvit comes to heel, sniffing at his master's ankles before looking up to see what it is she's staring at as well. They see different things, but both seem to find something to appreciate in it.

Knight-Captain Gwynn walks past Talavuc, one hand on her holstered side-arm, looking up as well. "It's really unbelievable," she murmurs, climbing atop one of the granite boulders to get a better view of the hilly landscape around them. "I think we're headed... this way?" She gives a wave of her hand towards where the land continues to sag downwards.

Talavuc glances over at Gwynn, then retrieves from within a pocket in her cold weather gear an old wayfinder. Clicking the latch on it, the old, engraved pocket compass flips open and the needle within sways left and right before finding north. She nods, affirming, "Northeast," to Gwynn.

"There's a grove of smaller fir trees that way, they could provide some cover," the Knight-Captain admits with a squint. "We'd have to go more than a mile out of our way to cut around it, and through rockier terrain." Turning back to Styvanus, Gwynn threads a lock of blonde hair behind one ear. "I'd recommend if there's any preparations we need to make before going into hostile territory, now's the time to do it. We've got to be getting close now."

Zipping down from the trees, Shor concurs with Gwynn. "Yes!" He notes sharply, "Short walk for tall-legs from here," he motions to the firs. "We never went through the thickets, though. Were warned not to. Told that there were monsters in there. But Hommelstaub didn't tell us what kind."

Looking up to Gwynn, Shor flutters around her head and then buzzes over to Styvanus. "Shortest way is through, and no fey. Go around path is longer and more open, but has fey scouts."

That they hadn't encountered any resistance yet worried Gwynn immensely.


Male Dwarf Cleric (Forge-Master) / 3 Mythic Guardian 1

Ar'Zarrcal looked all around him, taking in the haunting majesty of the Darkwood Forest. He placed one gloved hand on one of the ancient pillars, scraping some frost from the base. He gazed long into the darkness, created by the snow covered canopy, letting his darkvision take over and plunging his sight into many shades between black and white. With the lack of the color spectrum, the vision from his past became more prominant in his mind.

"The whole point of this miserable trek through snow and forest is to avoid detection." There was a bite to the words of the rune-scarred dwarf, as he turned suddenly about. His beard tossed some snow from its wiry length as his sunken eyes focused on the two Andorran captains. He glared for a moment, before looking back to the towering sentinels that stood against the tide of unnatural winter. "It would be in our interests to avoid any entanglements with Hommelstaub's forces for as long as possible." He added, unconsciously measuring the weight of his warhammer in his hand.

He stole a glance back at Gwynn and Styvanus. They might not admit it publically, but he knew that they would have prefered this to be an all Andorran mission. His presence, along with that of Fenyx and the Cheliaxian were a necessity, unwatned, but needed. The Andorran's had tried this once already, without the inclusion of Karzoug's representatives and all save the half-orc Ordrud had fallen. Ar'Zarrcal felt his teeth grinding together. There was an anger bubbling up from somewhere deep inside him and it sought to find something temporal to latch onto, for it's true root was still buried deep in layers of his subconscious too painful to unearth.

Taking 20 on Perception
20 + 4 = 24


First levels: 2/4; THP:17/21; HP:43/43; MP:4/5
Stats:
HP:43 THP:21 / AC 17/21, T 11, FF 16 / Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +5 / Perception +2 / Initiative +3

Rasso casts his defensive spell, coating his body in a layer of invisible armor. "Gotta agree with the dwarf on this one. Speed and stealth, as poor as we may be at it, are 'ur only advantages." He clacks his claws nervously open and shut as he also stares up at the magnificent canopy above. "Would that I could be here in happier times. What a gorgeous place." He looks at the symbols forbidding logging. "I'm surprised you monkies have the good sense ter leave these trees be. They'd be worth a lot of money, sinful as it might be ter chop 'em."

___________________________

Casting Mage Armor.

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Having surveyed the surroundings and listened to the input of the others, Styvanus is satisfied with the input from the others and while there has been a case made for taking the long road, the path directly through the dense grove of fir trees below the shadowed boughs of darkwood seems the most logical. Cutting down deeper into the valley, Styvanus leads his team off of the primary logging trails and onto an alternate route that shortcuts the winding path that would leave them exposed in the dark forest.

The fir grove proves to be a haunting location to traverse, through, with their thick pine branches obfuscating visibility beyond more than fifteen or twenty feet at best. The tees are not paricularly large, the tallest being twenty feet high; a fraction of the towering darkwoods. But these densely packed trees have the effect of creating a hedge-maze within the forest, a narrow path of dense foliage and bristling branches that at times funnels Styvanus' group into a single-file line.

The cold begins to grow more substantial as they emerge into a clearing within the firs, where the trees are more spread out and -- so it appears -- the darkwood trees are as well. A hole in the canopy overhead has allowed snow to fall into the grove's clearing, blanketing the ground with a few inches of thick, wet snow. Branches sag gingerly at the snow's presence, and this frosted forest-within-a-forest appears deceptively peaceful.

With more room to maneuver, the group turns back to formation, with Gwynn filling a gap towards the back between Fenyx and Talavuc. Though Gwynn's attention often falls with wary stare on the shambling carcass of an Andoran villager that Fenyx has spiritually lashed to his will and command. "Does it bother you?" Gwynn asks at Fenyx's back as they walk, "keeping that woman's corpse in your servitude?" There's some unmasked derision in Gwynn's tone, measured and controlled, but visible.

When Fenyx looks over his shoulder to speak to Gwynn, he fails to see movement in the treeline to his right as his eyes sweep over the sagging pine branches. No one in the group seems to notice the way some of the trees move, notices the creak of the wood as anything out of the ordinary. Even Shor, who calls this forest home now, is unaware of the more subtle noises happening below the conversational barking of the bigger races.

Ordrud, however, hears and sees what the others are unable to.

He sees the forest for more than trees, sees the eight foot tall saplings of bristling firs as more than just deciduous sentinels watching the forest. He sees their eyes.

Bulbous, murky eyes the color of a sunset stare out from beneath the frost-covered pine branches, and while everyone has been watching for more conventional signs of danger, more obvious threats, it has been the forest itself that is the danger. In a heartbeat, these looming tree-like creatures begin to shift and move away from where they were once rooted into the ground, lanky branch-like limbs covered in a sticky, tar-like sap glisten with ice crystals.

In a single, steaming breath, Ordrud can see that they are surrounded.
 
 
 
 
 
      << Encounter: Forest For The Trees | Surprise Round | Encounter Map: Frozen Grove Clearing >>
 
 
 
 
 
 
____________

Rolls:

FF Stealth: Take 10 (DC 22)
Ar'Z Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19
Fenyx Perception: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 3 = 10
Talavuc Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (4) + 9 = 13
Naasvit Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11
Gwynn Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (9) + 8 = 17
Rasso Perception: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 8
Styv Perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 1 = 8
Ordrud Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24
Marc Perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2
Shor Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16
Teladon Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19

Initiative Rolls:

Ar'Z, Initiative: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (10) + 0 = 10
Talavuc/Naasvit, Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
Fenyx, Initiative: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 1 = 8
Ordrud, Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 = 21
Rasso, Initiative: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (9) + 3 = 12
Styvanus, Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 2 = 17
Teladon, Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 2 = 14
Marcellano, Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
Gwynn, Initiative: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10
Shor, Initiative: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (11) + 3 = 14
Frost Fir, Initiative: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (9) + 0 = 9

SURPRISE ROUND INITIATIVE
Ordrud ⇒ 21
Frost Firs ⇒ 9

Full Initiative:

Ordrud ⇒ 21
Styvanus ⇒ 17
Shor ⇒ 14
Teladon ⇒ 14
Rasso ⇒ 12
Gwynn ⇒ 10
Ar'Z ⇒ 10
Frost Fir ⇒ 9
Marcellano ⇒ 8
Talavuc/Naasvit ⇒ 8
Fenyx, Initiative ⇒ 8

POSITIONING
Styvanus: J4
Teladon: J5
Ar'Z: J6
Fenyx: J7
Gwynn: J8
Talavuc: J9
Zombie: K7
Naasvit: K9
Marcellano: I9
Rasso: H5
Ordrud: L5
Frost Firs: F2, E4, E6, N2, P10, E8

FENYX:

Knowledge (nature): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16
These tree things are some kind of plant creature (reveals all plant creature traits), but they're too small to be treants... maybe some kind of cousin?

TALAVUC:

Knowledge (nature): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22
Plant traits + 2 traits revealed on her turn

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Ordrud, you're up!
 
For purposes of spell duration, you've been traveling for about 20 minutes in the firs since you were last stopped to make the decision on where to go.

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And the only art I can find of these damned creatures is from the cover of the paper minis... they don't look as adorable up close...

Dark Archive

Male Chelish Human Fighter 1/Gunslinger 2/Guardian 1
Stats:
HP 39/39; AC 19, Flat Footed 17, Touch 12; CMD 19; Fort +8, Ref +4, Will +2; Perception +7; Initiative +3

Hey guys lets take the short route, it'll be ‼fun‼ >.>


First levels: 2/4; THP:17/21; HP:43/43; MP:4/5
Stats:
HP:43 THP:21 / AC 17/21, T 11, FF 16 / Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +5 / Perception +2 / Initiative +3

Any movement penalties from the snow?


Half-orc warrior | HP 72/72 | Bond 6/6 | LoH 5/5 | Smite 2/2 | 1st 2/2 | Ferocity 1/1 | AC 21 Touch 11 FF 20 CMD 20 | Fort +8 Ref +5 Will +7(+9) | Initiative +1 | Perception +6, Darkvision 60 ft.

After passing the frozen hunter, Ordrud continued to wonder how similar his hostage at Lastwall was with the little fey's deception by the white witches. His mother was a white witch. Did she treat him the same?

His expectation of another trap was realized, because he stayed vigilant. Instead of a corpse hiding and fighting, it was a copse of trees hiding and fighting. Lovely. Nothing appeared as it was here, he thought to himself.

"The trees. They attack." Ordrud loudly hisses to avoid his voice of alarm carrying too far in this silent forest. He unslings his loaded musket from his shoulder and hopes it works.
____________________________
move action to ready musket

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Rasso wrote:
Any movement penalties from the snow?

No, it's only a few inches deep.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

Following Ordrud's warning, a howling cry of groaning wood and creaking branches erupts from within the forest. Thundering out of the treeline come tall but wiry coniferous tree creatures covered with glistening amber sap and encrusted with ice and snow. The trees bellow in the language of treants, a booming earthen voice that sounds like all the trees of a forest creaking under the pressure of high winds.

One comes crashing out of the woods in a loping charge, both arms lifted into the air as it barrels down on Ordrud as he raises his musket. The treant-like creature comes to a clomping stop and swings its arms down, but Ordrud is able to leap aside and watch as the creature's limbs pass by and collide with the snow.

Two more come barreling out of the woods, exploding through branches of normal trees as they close in on Rasso. Caught unawares, the summoner is battered by their branch-like limbs, but the protective shell of his eidolon absurbs the blows harmlessly, the force of their attacks not noearly strong enough to penetrate his chitinous hide.

Styvanus is not so lucky as one comes running out of the treeline and smashes a bough across his chest and face, knocking the knight back and leaving a tarry residue stuck into his face, hair and across one arm and his armor. Soon, Styvanus finds himself sticking to everything, stringy strands of tacky sap dangling between everything he touches, making defending himself difficult.

After the blow Styvanus took, Marcellano finds himself the target of another of the creatures, loping out of the treeline and colliding with the Chelish marine. He is launched sideways by the force of the blow, rolls through the snow and winds up right back on his feet after his movement ents. The tree lets out a howling bark and slaps its needled hands against the ground in a puff of snow.

"Frost Firs!" Talavuc shouts, watching as one comes lumbering out of the treeline to her right. "Attack them as you would a tree," Talavuc instructs, bracing herself for anything as it approaches. "Fire and blades!"
 
 
 
 
 
    << Encounter: Forest For the Trees | Round I | Encounter Map: Frozen Grove Clearing >>
 
 
 
 
________________
INITIATIVE
Ordrud ⇒ 21
Styvanus ⇒ 17
Shor ⇒ 14
Teladon ⇒ 14
Rasso ⇒ 12
Gwynn ⇒ 10
Ar'Z ⇒ 10
Frost Fir ⇒ 9
Marcellano ⇒ 8
Talavuc/Naasvit ⇒ 8
Fenyx, Initiative ⇒ 8
 
Ordrud, Styvanus, Teladon, Rasso and Ar'Z, you're up!

___________

Special Standard Action: M4 Frost-Fir Charge on Ordrud: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8 (miss)
Special Standard Action: I3 Frost-Fir Charge on Styvanus: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (15) + 5 = 20 (hit)
>> Damage: 1d6 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7 (fail)
>>> Styvanus, Reflex Save vs. Sap: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5
Special Standard Action: G4 Frost-Fir Charge on Rasso: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14 (miss)
Special Standard Action: G6 Frost-Fir Charge on Rasso: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8 (miss)
Special Standard Action: H8 Frost-Fir Charge on Marcellano: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (10) + 5 = 15 (miss)
P10 Frost-Fir move to L8


Half-orc warrior | HP 72/72 | Bond 6/6 | LoH 5/5 | Smite 2/2 | 1st 2/2 | Ferocity 1/1 | AC 21 Touch 11 FF 20 CMD 20 | Fort +8 Ref +5 Will +7(+9) | Initiative +1 | Perception +6, Darkvision 60 ft.

Round 1

Ordrud hears the "fire and blades" comment and shrugs dropping his musket. He draws his cold iron greatsword from his waist sheath into his Lastwall high guard position. He steps around the frost-fir to focus its attention and chops at the frost-fir with his blade.
________________________
free action to step to 5M
attack 4M: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17
if hit, damage: 2d6 + 6 ⇒ (4, 6) + 6 = 16

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

Like a woodsman splitting lumber with an axe, Ordrud's fluidic raise of his sword allows his downwards swing to build sufficient momentum to cleave through the midsection of the Frost Fir's trunk. The creature lets out a howling shriek as Ordurd's cold iron blade hacks clear through its entire body, causing a splitting sound of wood to erupt as the top half falls before the lower half.

The Frost Fir topples like a chopped down tree, crashing to the snowy ground and leaving Ordrud clear of enemies.

Nice hit!


First levels: 2/4; THP:17/21; HP:43/43; MP:4/5
Stats:
HP:43 THP:21 / AC 17/21, T 11, FF 16 / Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +5 / Perception +2 / Initiative +3

Let's see what that arseh*le's necklace can do, Rasso thinks, grinning. He's got plenty of targets so he starts with the one on his left. Grabbing it with both claws, he picks it up a couple inches off the ground and twists, breaking it clean in half. "Yahar!" he says triumphantly before turning to bite the one on his right. Gonna regret this, he muses as he opens wide and lunges forward.

If bite hits:
Rasso's shark like teeth saw into the trunk cutting it deeply. A man would have been bitten nearly in half, but hard wood is not so soft as flesh, and his pointed teeth don't pierce as deep as they normally would. As the sticky sap fills his mouth Rasso recoils, retching. "Worst gin ever!" he exclaims.

_________________________________

Claw 1 on G6: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (15) + 8 = 23
Damage: 1d4 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
Claw 2 on G6: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16
Damage: 1d4 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7

Based on Ordrud's rolls, I'm gonna assume those both hit and that that kills one.

Bite on G4: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (6) + 8 = 14
Damage if hit: 1d6 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12
Also assuming they have DR 5 or 10 slashing, so that prolly won't do too much. If it even hits.

No movement.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

Did you know that bites are slashing, piercing and bludgeoning? They're crazy sauce.


First levels: 2/4; THP:17/21; HP:43/43; MP:4/5
Stats:
HP:43 THP:21 / AC 17/21, T 11, FF 16 / Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +5 / Perception +2 / Initiative +3
Robert Brookes wrote:
Did you know that bites are slashing, piercing and bludgeoning? They're crazy sauce.

Say whaaa? Sweet.


Male Grey Elf (Fey) Magus 3/Champion/Archmage 1 AC 16/12/14/ HP 30/30 / F +5 R +3 W +3 (+9 vs cold weather) / Init. +2 / Perc. +9 / Mythic 3/5)

ROUND 1, INITIATIVE 14

Snow fell softly on the wooden glade as the rescue team pushed their way through the massive darkwood trees. The sound of snow crouching under the elfs boots quietly accompanied the group as they trudged onwards to the heart of the spinning vortex of snow. Puffs of warm air could be seen rising from the long eared elfs masks.

CRUNCH

puff

CRUNCH

puff

Everything seemed silent, but it was not to last. A heartbeat later, Teladons eyes widened in shock as Ordrud hissed out a warning. Glancing to his left and right, the elf nodded to himself. Some sort of treant or the like. Acting without thought, in a state of calm focus, the elf dropped his bow to the ground. He briefly studied the area and decided on his target he drew his blacken scimitar from its sheath. In a lilting whisper, Teladon invoked the 23th incantation of empowerment. The blade glowed blue for a moment, before the magi pulled more energy from around him into the blade causing to glow red from the 3th invocation of combustion. Colors swirling about the razor sharp edge in a haze ethereal red and blue, Teladon bounded forward and ran around the edge of the tree-like creatures. Circling around like a wolf, the elf gripped the blade tight in two hand and delivered a powerful blow to the creature causing sap to spray outward as the blade struck down hard into its wooden exterior.

______________________________
> FA: Drop Bow
>>MA: Move to H2 (25') and draw blade.
>>> FA: Arcane Pool +1 enhancement to weapon
>>>> SA: Cast brand and via spellstrike deliver the attack via sword. Attack I3 with flanking, two hand, slashing weapon 1d20 + 5 + 2 + 1 ⇒ (10) + 5 + 2 + 1 = 18
>>>>> Damage: 1d6 + 4 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 4 + 1 + 1 = 8

Liberty's Edge

Stats
Spoiler:
  • HP 25/25
  • AC 20( T: 12/ FF:16)
  • Fort + 4|Ref + 2|Will + 2
  • Init + 2
  • Perception +1

Round 1, Initiative 17, Delaying until 14

Styvanus was weary as he led the group through the clearing. His weariness was perhaps outweighed by his relief to be out of the trees, in the open where he could walk without pushing aside a tide of branches."Well Sh#+" Styv thinks as he hears Ordrud's warning just a moment before he sees the trees themselves erupting from the foreground. The irony of his thoughts did not escape him.

Reeling backwards as he takes a knife-edge chop from the ferocious fir, he quickly spits out a mixture of blood from a busted lip and the thick sap that had coated the Captain. He rolled his shoulders and sighed as he knew his shield wouldn't be much good in chopping trees and chose to bide his time for the perfect opening. As he stares down the tree he sees the masked Elf circle around to it's flank and slash into the wooden creature. He felt the resonating heat from the glowing blade and his nose recognized the familiar charcoal like scent. Without any doubt, the attack would likely draw the ire of the tree and Styvanus decided on his course of action.

"Keep it up Elf!" He commands the obvious, as he Clenches his fists within his eagle-motif spiked gauntlets. Styvanus takes up a boxer's stance as he lays into the fir, focusing more on harrying the monster with multiple jabs and hooks, pulling on a branch here or there to throw the thing off guard rather than to do any real damage. With any real luck, it would keep the fir too distracted to land a telling blow on Styvanus' flanking ally.

________________________________________________________________________
Delaying Initiative from 17 to 14, No Movement
Standard Action: Aid Another
Aid another to give Teladon +2 vs the Frost Fir's Next attack: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13


Male Dwarf Cleric (Forge-Master) / 3 Mythic Guardian 1

It was the half-orc who spotted them first. His warning was simple and effective. The dwarf respected that and paid little true attention to the expanded explanation provided by Talavuc.

Ar’Zarrcal did not know what manner of creature attacked them nor did he care. There was an anger building within his gut that he embraced and let carry him into battle. The Ulfen Waraxe he had wisely traded for before departing the ice-breaking ship was pulled from over his shoulder as the armored dwarf plowed through the snow toward the nearest of the miniature Ents. They looked like trees, they moved how he suspected trees would move, and he suspected they would die like tree's beneath a good axe. Though he spoke no battle cry as he charged at the nearest of the Ent's to him, his mouth was open and spit flew free to freeze on his beard. With his shield upraised, he crashed firmly into the trunk of the creature with a resounding clatter of metal on wood.

Attack hits:
He kept pushing, using the force of his charge to throw the creature of moving wood and sap off balance. When that moment came, he took full advantage of his fury and the natural skill he possessed with an axe. He planted his feet and let the curved blade do its work. With relish the rune scarred dwarf swung hard at the Frost Fir’s trunk. His axe slammed in, cutting deep grooves into the bark. Again he struck and then once more, causing a stream of hot sap to gush free and spill upon the snow dusted floor of the forest path.

_________________________________
Chop the Ent: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (11) + 4 = 15
Damage: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
Charged nearest of the Frost Fir's. I can't open the map currently, so I am guessing one was within charging range. If my roll is a miss, please use the below instead.

Another miss?:
The frost Fir was heavier than he expected and the impact took more out of Ar'Zarrcal than he had anticipated. Rage was a poor substitute for calm tactical planning. He should have stayed back and let the others handle the Ent's, while he used the power of his rune magic to enhance the lethality of Ordrud or the Mordent Spire Elf. Instead he found himself face to frozen trunk with this monstrosity. His axe blade failed to gain purchase against the ice rimed skin of the frost fir and Ar'Zarrcal stumbled back with shield raised.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

Ar'Zarrcal's axe cleaves into the frost fir, sending a line of sticky sap down the axe head. As the blade is wrenched out, the tree whines with a wailing cry, its branches flailing wildly and large, amber-colored eyes wide with fright. The dwarf's axe brings back terrible memories, terrible memories that turn fear into rage.

With the fighting all around, Shor makes a quiet yelping sound and disappears up into the branches of one of the larger, less animate fir trees nearby. His tiny wings flutter and buzz until he's out of sight, watching the battle from behind the bough of safer elevations. Gwynn watches Shor's retreat out of the corner of one eye as she draws her revolver, initially pointing it at the nearest frost fir before reconsidering the level of noise muzzle report would make.

Clutching her drawn firearm tightly in one hand, Gwynn snarls and withdraws back around Fenyx, getting closer to Ordrud's position. "No gunfire!" Gwynn shouts to Marcellano, seeing as he's the only other person yet to attack. "We're too close to the Winter Portal to risk giving our position away now!" Instead, Gwynn stands back to back with Fenyx, watching the movement of the firs.

"I've got your back, Necromancer," Gwynn informs as she holsters her revolver, clutching gauntleted hands into fists, ready for anything.

The firs continue their assault, with the fir now flanked by Teladon and Styvanus swinging wildly, but unable to land a blow on the agile, masked warrior from the Mordant Spire. Ar'Zarrcal likewise fares well with the tree he battles, his raised shield deflecting a mighty swing by the tree harmlessly, leaving only a sticky streak of sap slathered across its surface.

Drawing in the memory of heat and warmth by the fire, Talavuc channels elemental forces to come to Ar'Zarrcal and Marcellano's air. Her right hand begins to glow with orange embers and tongues of flame, cinders drifting through the air in the trail of her precise gestures. A fire erupts around her fingers and roils in a sphere in her palm. "Begone, cursed spirits!" The druid screams before hurling a crackling sphere of fire towards the fir that assaults Marcellano. The flames explode across its body, vaporizing snow in a gout of steam, igniting branches and causing damp wood to hiss and pop. The tree flails wildly, bark blasted off by the explosion. With a whining cry, the tree stumbles backwards and crashes over onto the ground, burning branches sending a wafting cloud of cinders and ash into the air.

Behind Talavuc, Naasvit yelps as the mink is struck by one of the branches, thrown aside from the force and bouncing through the snow. Talavuc turns, sharply, and with a high-pitched whistle directs Naasvit to strike back. The mink lunges forward, its teeth glancing off the sticky bark, but the minks ferocious claws leave huge strips of the fir's lower body missing bark and weeping amber sap.

____________

Teladon's movement provokes an AoO from I3 Frost Fir.
I3 Frost Fir: Attack of Opportunity on Teladon: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17 (miss)
Gwynn: Aid Another (AC) @ Fenyx: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17 (success; +2 AC for 1 Round to Fenyx)
I3 Frost Fir: Attack Teladon (power attack): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5 (miss)
G4 Frost Fir: Attack Rasso (power attack): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (14) + 2 = 16 (miss)
H8 Frost Fir: Attack Ar'Zarrcal (power attack): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10 (miss)
L8 Frost Fir: Attack Naasvit (power attack): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 = 19 (hit)
>> Damage: 1d6 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
Talavuc: Standard Action; Cast produce flame and hurl fire at H8 Frost Fir.
> Ranged Touch Attack: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (20) + 3 = 23 (threat!)
>> > Crit Confirmation: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (10) + 3 = 13 (critical hit!)
>> Critical Damage (Fire Vulnerability): 2d6 + 4 ⇒ (6, 1) + 4 = 11 +50% = 16 damage
Naasvit: Full-Attack @ L8 Frost Fir
> Bite: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (9) + 3 = 12 (miss)
> Claw: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (16) + 3 = 19 (hit)
>> Damage: 1d4 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4
> Claw: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21 (hit)
>> Damage: 1d4 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4

 
 
Marcellano, Fenyx, you're up! Be sure to check the map, quite a few of them are down. I'll have better descriptions on the round recap.

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

Naasvit: Reflex Save vs. Sticky Resin: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18 (pass)

Dark Archive

Male Chelish Human Fighter 1/Gunslinger 2/Guardian 1
Stats:
HP 39/39; AC 19, Flat Footed 17, Touch 12; CMD 19; Fort +8, Ref +4, Will +2; Perception +7; Initiative +3

Trees? Attacking? What nonse- Marcellano's thought process is interrupted by the very same thing he thought was nonsense. The trees were attacking, after all. Never had he seen such odd behavior from trees - or 'Frost Firs', as Talavuc called them. Whatever they were, Marcellano wasn't going to let them live.

Hearing the order to use Fire and Blades, Marcellano quickly drops his rifle, draws his cutlass, and charges the tree directly in front of him, the one between Styvanus and the elf. He grips his cutlass with both hands and puts all of his strength into the blow, intending to slice right through the creature.

_________________________________

Starting Location: I9
Free Action: Drop Rifle
Free Action while Moving: Draw Cutlass
Full Round Action: Charge Frost Fir (Two-Handed Power Attack) @ I3

Marcellano's Charge: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12
Damage: 1d6 + 9 ⇒ (5) + 9 = 14 (If I hit, I don't think I did)
Ending Location: I4


Sin Mage (Gluttony) 3
Stats:
HP 22/22; AC 11, Flat Footed 10, Touch 11; CMD 11; Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +4; Perception +4; Initiative +1
Gwynn wrote:
"Does it bother you?" Gwynn asks at Fenyx's back as they walk, "keeping that woman's corpse in your servitude?" There's some unmasked derision in Gwynn's tone, measured and controlled, but visible.

"My reservations about using the dead pale in comparison to my reservations about spending the rest of my existence under this winter's full weight." Fenyx turns slightly that he might gain a better view of the woman's reaction, then Ordrud's hissed warning alerts the necromancer to the remarkable danger they are all in. As the treeline itself surges forward to swallow all, Fenyx stumbles backwards a step while his hands fumble around in his pack for the thin iron rod he had procured previously. Scoffing at being caught so unaware and scrambling to meet the aggressors with something more than bumbling foolishness, necromancer hisses out some words of his own, though they are directed to the lifeless form of Yvonne a scant few paces beyond: "Destroy the tree."

The vile sorceries tethering the once-villager to Fenyx's will is absolute, and she lurches forward with a broken, choked groan before swinging rotten, frozen limbs ineffectually against the frost fir attacker. Seeing the zombie's failure, Fenyx mutters a nearly strangled Thassilonian curse before finally producing the instrument of his salvation. Blast! What was the phrase, again? Ah, yes...

"Efulvati!" The veridian spark that forms at the tip of the wand has lost much of its former luster, owing to the wand's impending depletion, though the streaks of energy that manifest and slam into the sin mage's foe seem to have lost none of their potency. Pine, bark, and sap explode from the impact of the blasts. A smirk crawls across Fenyx's face as he exhibits the device's power. A powerful weapon, indeed.

_________________________
Fenyx is withdrawing his magic missile wand and ordering his zombie to attack the approaching frost fir.

Move Action: Retrieve wand of magic missile
Standard Action: Activate wand of magic missile against frost fir at L8. [7 charges remaining]
Magic Missile: 2d4 + 2 ⇒ (4, 1) + 2 = 7

Yvonne Attack: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
Yvonne Damage: 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9


Half-orc warrior | HP 72/72 | Bond 6/6 | LoH 5/5 | Smite 2/2 | 1st 2/2 | Ferocity 1/1 | AC 21 Touch 11 FF 20 CMD 20 | Fort +8 Ref +5 Will +7(+9) | Initiative +1 | Perception +6, Darkvision 60 ft.

Round 2

Ordrud pauses after cleaving the tree and surveys the scene. One more on his side facing the undead and weasel. The Andorans, mask, and marine have two more. They're fine.

He calmly stalks behind the next tree moving his cold iron greatsword into the Lastwall high guard and chops again. Just like firewood.
________________________
move to 7M flanking with Naasvit
power attack 8L: 1d20 + 7 + 2 - 1 ⇒ (11) + 7 + 2 - 1 = 19
if hit, damage: 2d6 + 6 + 3 ⇒ (5, 6) + 6 + 3 = 20

Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

     << ROUND I RECAP >>
 
 
 
 
"My reservations about using the dead pale in comparison to my reservations about spending the rest of my existence under this winter's full weight..." Fenyx turns slightly that he might gain a better view of the woman's reaction, but then Ordrud's hissed warning alerts the necromancer to the remarkable danger they are all in.

"The trees. They attack." Ordrud loudly hisses to avoid his voice of alarm carrying too far in this silent forest. He unslings his loaded musket from his shoulder and hopes it works.

Following Ordrud's warning, a howling cry of groaning wood and creaking branches erupts from within the forest. Thundering out of the treeline come tall but wiry coniferous tree creatures covered with glistening amber sap and encrusted with ice and snow. The trees bellow in the language of treants, a booming earthen voice that sounds like all the trees of a forest creaking under the pressure of high winds.

One comes crashing out of the woods in a loping charge, both arms lifted into the air as it barrels down on Ordrud as he raises his musket. The treant-like creature comes to a clomping stop and swings its arms down, but Ordrud is able to leap aside and watch as the creature's limbs pass by and collide with the snow.

Two more come barreling out of the woods, exploding through branches of normal trees as they close in on Rasso. Caught unawares, the summoner is battered by their branch-like limbs, but the protective shell of his eidolon absurbs the blows harmlessly, the force of their attacks not noearly strong enough to penetrate his chitinous hide.

Styvanus is not so lucky as one comes running out of the treeline and smashes a bough across his chest and face, knocking the knight back and leaving a tarry residue stuck into his face, hair and across one arm and his armor. Soon, Styvanus finds himself sticking to everything, stringy strands of tacky sap dangling between everything he touches, making defending himself difficult.

After the blow Styvanus took, Marcellano finds himself the target of another of the creatures, loping out of the treeline and colliding with the Chelish marine. He is launched sideways by the force of the blow, rolls through the snow and winds up right back on his feet after his movement ents. The tree lets out a howling bark and slaps its needled hands against the ground in a puff of snow.

"Frost Firs!" Talavuc shouts, watching as one comes lumbering out of the treeline to her right. "Attack them as you would a tree," Talavuc instructs, bracing herself for anything as it approaches. "Fire and blades!"

Ordrud hears the "fire and blades" comment and shrugs dropping his musket. He draws his cold iron greatsword from his waist sheath into his Lastwall high guard position. He steps around the frost-fir to focus its attention and chops at the frost-fir with his blade.

Like a woodsman splitting lumber with an axe, Ordrud's fluidic raise of his sword allows his downwards swing to build sufficient momentum to cleave through the midsection of the Frost Fir's trunk. The creature lets out a howling shriek as Ordurd's cold iron blade hacks clear through its entire body, causing a splitting sound of wood to erupt as the top half falls before the lower half.

The Frost Fir topples like a chopped down tree, crashing to the snowy ground and leaving Ordrud clear of enemies.

With the fighting all around, Shor makes a quiet yelping sound and disappears up into the branches of one of the larger, less animate fir trees nearby. His tiny wings flutter and buzz until he's out of sight, watching the battle from behind the bough of safer elevations. Gwynn watches Shor's retreat out of the corner of one eye as she draws her revolver, initially pointing it at the nearest frost fir before reconsidering the level of noise muzzle report would make.

Teladons eyes widened in shock as Ordrud hissed out a warning. Glancing to his left and right, the elf nodded to himself. Some sort of treant or the like. Acting without thought, in a state of calm focus, the elf dropped his bow to the ground. He briefly studied the area and decided on his target he drew his blacken scimitar from its sheath. In a lilting whisper, Teladon invoked the 23th incantation of empowerment. The blade glowed blue for a moment, before the magi pulled more energy from around him into the blade causing to glow red from the 3th invocation of combustion. Colors swirling about the razor sharp edge in a haze ethereal red and blue, Teladon bounded forward and ran around the edge of the tree-like creatures. Circling around like a wolf, the elf gripped the blade tight in two hand and delivered a powerful blow to the creature causing sap to spray outward as the blade struck down hard into its wooden exterior.

The Frost Fir recoiled from Teladon's strike, hissing loudly and staring down at the elf through its luminous, amber bulbs of eyes. Its arms reached out, prickly pine branches glistening with a sticky ichor.

Still reeling from the knife-edge chop of the ferocious fir, Styvanus quickly spits out a mixture of blood from a busted lip and the thick sap that had him. He rolls his shoulders and sighs as he knows his shield wouldn't be much good in chopping trees and chose to bide his time for the perfect opening. As he stares down the tree he sees the masked Elf circle around to it's flank and slash into the wooden creature. He felt the resonating heat from the glowing blade and his nose recognized the familiar charcoal like scent. Without any doubt, the attack would likely draw the ire of the tree and Styvanus decided on his course of action.
Keep it up Elf!" He commands the obvious, as he Clenches his fists within his eagle-motif spiked gauntlets. Styvanus takes up a boxer's stance as he lays into the fir, focusing more on harrying the monster with multiple jabs and hooks, pulling on a branch here or there to throw the thing off guard rather than to do any real damage. With any real luck, it would keep the fir too distracted to land a telling blow on Styvanus' flanking ally.

Let's see what that arseh*le's necklace can do, Rasso thinks, grinning. He's got plenty of targets so he starts with the one on his left. Grabbing it with both claws, he picks it up a couple inches off the ground and twists, breaking it clean in half. "Yahar!" he says triumphantly before turning to bite the one on his right. Gonna regret this, he muses as he opens wide and lunges forward.

Rasso's shark like teeth saw into the trunk cutting it deeply. Just like biting into a dry branch, the frost fir's body splinters under the power of Rasso's jaws and as it flails wildly, helplessly, the violent tree finds itself splitting from the weight of its upper bough against its now nearly bisected midsection. It lets out one horrified scream before falling over onto its side in a crash of branches. As that sticky sap fills his mouth Rasso recoils, retching. "Worst gin ever!" he exclaims.

Clutching her drawn firearm tightly in one hand, Gwynn snarls and withdraws back around Fenyx, getting closer to Ordrud's position. "No gunfire!" Gwynn shouts to Marcellano, seeing as he's the only other person yet to attack. "We're too close to the Winter Portal to risk giving our position away now!" Instead, Gwynn stands back to back with Fenyx, watching the movement of the firs.

"I've got your back, Necromancer," Gwynn informs as she holsters her revolver, clutching gauntleted hands into fists, ready for anything.

The firs continue their assault, with the fir now flanked by Teladon and Styvanus swinging wildly, but unable to land a blow on the agile, masked warrior from the Mordant Spire. Ar'Zarrcal likewise fares well with the tree he battles, his raised shield deflecting a mighty swing by the tree harmlessly, leaving only a sticky streak of sap slathered across its surface.

Drawing in the memory of heat and warmth by the fire, Talavuc channels elemental forces to come to Ar'Zarrcal and Marcellano's air. Her right hand begins to glow with orange embers and tongues of flame, cinders drifting through the air in the trail of her precise gestures. A fire erupts around her fingers and roils in a sphere in her palm. "Begone, cursed spirits!" The druid screams before hurling a crackling sphere of fire towards the fir that assaults Marcellano. The flames explode across its body, vaporizing snow in a gout of steam, igniting branches and causing damp wood to hiss and pop.

Behind Talavuc, Naasvit yelps as the mink is struck by one of the branches, thrown aside from the force and bouncing through the snow. Talavuc turns, sharply, and with a high-pitched whistle directs Naasvit to strike back. The mink lunges forward, its teeth glancing off the sticky bark, but the minks ferocious claws leave huge strips of the fir's lower body missing bark and weeping amber sap.

It was the half-orc who spotted them first. His warning was simple and effective. The dwarf respected that and paid little true attention to the expanded explanation provided by Talavuc.

Ar’Zarrcal did not know what manner of creature attacked them nor did he care. There was an anger building within his gut that he embraced and let carry him into battle. The Ulfen Waraxe he had wisely traded for before departing the ice-breaking ship was pulled from over his shoulder as the armored dwarf plowed through the snow toward the nearest of the miniature Ents. They looked like trees, they moved how he suspected trees would move, and he suspected they would die like tree's beneath a good axe. Though he spoke no battle cry as he charged at the nearest of the Ent's to him, his mouth was open and spit flew free to freeze on his beard. With his shield upraised, he crashed firmly into the trunk of the creature with a resounding clatter of metal on wood.

The tree flails wildly, bark having been blasted off by the explosion. With a whining cry at Ar'Zarrcal's axe embedded in its trunk, the tree stumbles backwards and crashes over onto the ground, burning branches sending a wafting cloud of cinders and ash into the air, surrounding the runescarred priest with flickering motes of fire and snowflakes.

As the treeline itself surges forward to swallow all, Fenyx stumbles backwards a step while his hands fumble around in his pack for the thin iron rod he had procured previously. Scoffing at being caught so unaware and scrambling to meet the aggressors with something more than bumbling foolishness, necromancer hisses out some words of his own, though they are directed to the lifeless form of Yvonne a scant few paces beyond: "Destroy the tree."

The vile sorceries tethering the once-villager to Fenyx's will is absolute, and she lurches forward with a broken, choked groan before swinging rotten, frozen limbs ineffectually against the frost fir attacker. Seeing the zombie's failure, Fenyx mutters a nearly strangled Thassilonian curse before finally producing the instrument of his salvation. Blast! What was the phrase, again? Ah, yes...

"Efulvati!" The veridian spark that forms at the tip of the wand has lost much of its former luster, owing to the wand's impending depletion, though the streaks of energy that manifest and slam into the sin mage's foe seem to have lost none of their potency. Pine, bark, and sap explode from the impact of the blasts leaving hardly anything of the frost fir behind. A smirk crawls across Fenyx's face as he exhibits the device's power. A powerful weapon, indeed.

Trees? Attacking? What nonse- Marcellano's thought process is interrupted by the very same thing he thought was nonsense. The trees were attacking, after all. Never had he seen such odd behavior from trees - or 'Frost Firs', as Talavuc called them. Whatever they were, Marcellano wasn't going to let them live.

Hearing the order to use Fire and Blades, Marcellano quickly drops his rifle, draws his cutlass, and charges the tree directly in front of him, the one between Styvanus and the elf. He grips his cutlass with both hands and puts all of his strength into the blow, intending to slice right through the creature. His cutlass bounces off of the cold wood, leaving reverberations shaking through the marine's hand from a poorly timed swing.
 
 
 
 
     << Encounter: Forest For the Trees | Round II | Encounter Map: Frozen Grove Clearing >>
 
 
 
Ordrud pauses after cleaving the tree and surveys the scene. The necromancer had destroyed the tree fighting the undead and the weasel. The Andorans, mask, and marine have one more. Rasso has a dancing partner. Kill the closest. He calmly stalks behind the next tree moving his cold iron greatsword into the Lastwall high guard and chops again.

While Teladon had left a riven cleft in the frost fir, Ordrud's sudden appearance leaves the tree split diagonally into two separate, screaming pieces of wood, flinders of the tree stuck to the fur of Ordrud's cold weather outfit, pine and pitch glittering on the surface of his blade.

Just like firewood.
 
 
 
 
______________
INITIATIVE
Ordrud ⇒ 21
Shor ⇒ 14
Teladon ⇒ 14
Styvanus ⇒ 14
Rasso ⇒ 12
Gwynn ⇒ 10
Ar'Z ⇒ 10
Frost Fir ⇒ 9
Marcellano ⇒ 8
Talavuc/Naasvit ⇒ 8
Fenyx, Initiative ⇒ 8
 
Also, since there is only one tree left I will let you know that it has AC 13; HP 15; DR 2/slashing
 
It currently has no damage taken, so if anyone does ridiculous damage to it you can finish it off in your post, obviously.

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Moved Ordrud on his turn to join Styv and the others. Fenyx's magic missile made that tree down by Naasvit ASPLODE.


Half-orc warrior | HP 72/72 | Bond 6/6 | LoH 5/5 | Smite 2/2 | 1st 2/2 | Ferocity 1/1 | AC 21 Touch 11 FF 20 CMD 20 | Fort +8 Ref +5 Will +7(+9) | Initiative +1 | Perception +6, Darkvision 60 ft.
Robert Brookes wrote:
Moved Ordrud on his turn to join Styv and the others. Fenyx's magic missile made that tree down by Naasvit ASPLODE.

Thanks for the DMPC


First levels: 2/4; THP:17/21; HP:43/43; MP:4/5
Stats:
HP:43 THP:21 / AC 17/21, T 11, FF 16 / Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +5 / Perception +2 / Initiative +3

Teladon, Styvanus, Rasso and Ar'Z need to act then?

I'll wait for Teladon at least to post my action, since he might kill it.


Male Grey Elf (Fey) Magus 3/Champion/Archmage 1 AC 16/12/14/ HP 30/30 / F +5 R +3 W +3 (+9 vs cold weather) / Init. +2 / Perc. +9 / Mythic 3/5)

Dodging out of the way of the gnarled wooden limb, Teladon slid to the right as the creature tried to slam itself into the slight, muscular elf. Behind his mask, the elven mans lips curled up in a smile. Despite the success of the ambush the creatures had quickly fallen to the rescue party and this was the only remaining threat. Stepping back, the warrior raised his sword and curled his fingers into the beginnings of the invocation of empowerment. Comically nether spell nor the sword was fated to land. Leaning back on his finely tooled leather boots Teladon found a patch of ice, one covered with just the lightest dustings of snow. He flailed backwards, his sword flying forward and the gathering motes of his power scattering like snow on the wind. Scrambling backward the elf was barely able to retain his balance, thanks in large part to his quick reflexes. His smile of victory had been replaced by a scowl. He of all people should have known better. He was not a clumsy human or a plodding dwarf. For the others to see him stumble where they succeeded galled him. Regardless of it being a victory for the group it was a defeat for him.

____________________________
> MA: 5' step to G3
>> SA: Cast brand and via spellstrike deliver and the attack via sword. Attack G4 with flanking, two hand, slashing weapon and aid another 1d20 + 5 + 2 + 1 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 5 + 2 + 1 + 2 = 11
>>> Cast brand defensively 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (1) + 7 = 8


First levels: 2/4; THP:17/21; HP:43/43; MP:4/5
Stats:
HP:43 THP:21 / AC 17/21, T 11, FF 16 / Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +5 / Perception +2 / Initiative +3

Rasso watches Teladon flailing as he slips momentarily on the ice. "Don't sweat it twinkle toes, I got this," he jibes, scuttling into position across from the elf. Rasso grabs the frost fir by the mouth with one claw, and the ankles with the other. Then he picks it up and munches on it like a cob of corn slathered in butter. Once he's got a good grip with both claws and his teeth he squeezes down hard, causing the tree creature to burst violently apart into dozens of sap covered splinters.

Rasso's face is completely covered in shards of wood and sticky yellow sap, as are his claws. He licks at his lips experimentally then says, "Guys, I might have missed me callin'. I should have joined the Lumber Consortium." Then a second later, "Owwwmm. Tongue splinters."
___________________________________________

Something had to eventually make Teladon slip, but two ones in a row?! Brutal.

Bite (flanking): 1d20 + 8 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 8 + 2 = 22
Claw (flanking): 1d20 + 8 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 8 + 2 = 30
Confirm: 1d20 + 8 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 8 + 2 = 19
Claw (flanking): 1d20 + 8 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 8 + 2 = 28

Damage: 1d6 + 3d4 + 18 ⇒ (5) + (4, 4, 2) + 18 = 33


Sin Mage (Gluttony) 3
Stats:
HP 22/22; AC 11, Flat Footed 10, Touch 11; CMD 11; Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +4; Perception +4; Initiative +1

Cripes, haha!

Dark Archive

Male Chelish Human Fighter 1/Gunslinger 2/Guardian 1
Stats:
HP 39/39; AC 19, Flat Footed 17, Touch 12; CMD 19; Fort +8, Ref +4, Will +2; Perception +7; Initiative +3

Once in Rob's Ascension campaign, I rolled.. what 3 20's in a row? or was it 2? Just after the other guys were rolling sub-10's including numerous 1's. I rolled my 20's on an Aid Another check. I critically critically confirmed that Aid Another.

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<< ENCOUNTER RESOLVED | Reward: 300xp to each PC >>
 
 
 

The tree-like defender of this grove lays in wooden splinters at Rasso's feet. Seeing the last of the warrior plants felled, Talavuc breathes a sigh of relief and dismisses the hazy fire around her hand.

"Good job," Gwynn offers in praise to Rasso. "Unconventional," she notes to his fighting style, "but a damn fine job." Offering a look around the clearing, Gwynn seems sure that the threat has passed for now. With a jerk of her head, she motions towards the continuation of the path, and falls back in line to join the others.

 
 
 
<< Druidic Ruins, Darkmoon Wood | Mid-Afternoon | Very Cold (2° F/-16° C) | Toilday, Erastus 10th, 4715 AR >>
 
 
 
 
 

When the group falls back in line after demolishing the fir trees, they make their way out of the grove that they had been ambushed in, cutting across the valley and arriving in a sparsely forested clearing where the land begins to swell upwards again towards a small knoll. The clearing is surrounded by tall and ancient darkwood trees, making it seem as though it is walled in. From the direction of the group's approach, their path either over or around the knoll is obscured by free-standing stones covered in ice.

These ancient menhir, roughly ten feet in height each, look to have been a part of some sort of structure in the forest's past and are etched with faded runic writing in the Hallit tongue. Now, these time-eroded granite standing stones are little more than obstacles half-buried in snow. A bitterly cold wind whips between the tall stones.

Atop the knoll that is surrounded by those menhir rests a recent looking construction, a small wooden hut on four timber stilts standing some fifteen feet above the knoll. The hut is constructed of heavy logs with a patchwork roof of shaved bark shingles mostly covered with freshly fallen snow.

While Marcellano, Ar'Zarrcal and Fenyx lag back, discussing the battle with the firs the others up ahead spot something flitting between the standing stones. Ghostly figments that briefly resemble humanoid figures dart from stone to stone and the whispering call of children's voices joins the phantasms, barely audible on the wind.

Shor, recognizing what he's seeing, halts entirely. "W-- we should go around." Gwynn shoots a look up to the buzzing fey, watching him wring his hands together anxiously. "That hut belongs to one of Nazhena's creations. She-- tore the soul out of a human child, and sewed it into the cloth and wood of a doll."

Gwynn's expression pales when this monstrous act is described, one brow twitching slightly. Shor, however, continues his explanation. "The doll now serves Nazhena Valisovna, and its soul is trapped in a gem," he points at his right eye, "in its head." Then, motioning to his other eye Shor warns, "the other eye is a mirror, through which Nazhena can see all that the doll does."

As to the strange spirits drifting around the menhir, however, Shor simply shares his head. "I know not what those are..."

Gwynn exhales a sigh and looks distraught at the hut, then turns her attention to Styvanus. "I'm not entirely comfortable leaving the... the soul of some child trapped in a witch's doll. But, if what the fae is saying is true, I don't know if it would be wise to risk being spotted by Nazhena's sensor."

_____________

Perception Rolls:

Ar'Z: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7
Gwynn: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 22
Talavuc: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (9) + 9 = 18
Naasvit: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22
Fenyx: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
Marc: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6
Ordrud: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22
Rasso: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 2 = 20
Styv: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 1 = 19
Teladon: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (14) + 4 = 18
Shor: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26

Ar'Zarrcal:

Knowledge (arcana): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16
Ar'Zarrcal has never heard of these magics that Shor is speaking of, but given the geographical isolation of Irrisen it is likely that they have magical traditions unheard of further south.

Fenyx:

Knowledge (arcana): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (14) + 10 = 24
Unfortunately, what Shor described does exist. The witches of Irrisen possess a powerful magic that allows them to turn any mirror into a scrying surface, and if legends are true whole men made of mirrors patrol the city of Whitethrone. What Nazhena did to the child, though, is cruel.

Guardian dolls are similar to soulbound dolls, but more refined. They are constructs fueled by the essence of a once-living creature. The soul is ripped from the bosom of a still-living child and forced into a life-like replica typically made of wood or porcelain. The doll possesses spells that hold power over the cold (though Fenyx cannot recall what spells.)

The dolls are vicious and strong for their tiny size and can imbue paralysis in people they stab with their needle-like knives. These dolls are also inured with the cold essence of Irrisen, and as such are vulnerable to fire. Their soul-bound nature also makes them susceptible to mind-affecting magic, unlike other construct creatures.

Teladon:

Knowledge (arcana): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (9) + 8 = 17
Trapping a child's soul in a doll? Teladon has never heard of anything quite like this before, nor has he heard of any sort of mirror-based scrying magic.

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Also, Fenyx:

Knowledge (religion): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (10) + 8 = 18
Those haunting, ghostly images flitting between the menhir are a haunting. There are powerful emotions of the dead here, tied to this place. From a casual assessment, Fenyx surmises that the haunt appears to be centered on the hut itself and spreads to the surrounding menhir.

Typically a haunt's size is based on its strength, but Fenyx assesses that thew menhir circles are somehow allowing this haunt to expand beyond the small area it would likely encompass normally.

A burst of positive energy centered anywhere in the menhir (such as from channeling positive energy) will damage the haunt and cause it to temporarily disperse. It could also be commanded, like any other form of undead, to "behave."

What it's disposition is, however, Fenyx is unaware of.


First levels: 2/4; THP:17/21; HP:43/43; MP:4/5
Stats:
HP:43 THP:21 / AC 17/21, T 11, FF 16 / Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +5 / Perception +2 / Initiative +3

"We can always come back fer it later. Probably aint goin' anywhere," Rasso replies to Gwynn, raising one hairless brow apprehensively at the spirits. Give me evil trees over ghosts any day.


Male Human (Brevoyic) Fighter (Polearm Master) / 4

Robert, I have knowledge Religion +7 and Knowledge planes +7, any chance Ar'Zarrcal has any idea what the signifigance of the Menhir is or of the ghostly powers flittering about them are? Are they tied to this soul doll Shor mentions or something else entirely.

Ar'Zarrcal halted and grew silent as he listened to the cowardly words of the Fey and let his eyes dart from the hut to the Menhir stone, allowing himself to become more alert and attuned to his surroundings. For a long moment he studied the hut itself. Letting his gaze take in its construction, its strengths and its flaws. If they were going to take on this living doll, perhaps it made the most sense to just bury it beneath a building or seal it inside and burn the place to the ground.

"We could trap it within the hut and burn the building down. Let the witch see only fire and collapsing wood." Ar'Zarrcal said in a forced whisper to the Eidolon fused Merman.

Taking 20 on Perception, until we begin to move onwards. Ar'Zarrcal holds his ground. Lissala and his mastery of Rune Magic have given him little means to deal with the undead.

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Ah! I totally forgot the cleric's knowledge (religion) checks. The Menhir were arcana and no one got high enough to recognize them for what they were. Yes, you can attempt to identify the haunt with a knowledge (religion) check. The DC is 15 to recognize it as a haunt, 18 to get the specific details Fenyx did. 23+ for how to destroy this particular haunt, should you choose to.


Sin Mage (Gluttony) 3
Stats:
HP 22/22; AC 11, Flat Footed 10, Touch 11; CMD 11; Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +4; Perception +4; Initiative +1

A grimace forming on his face, Fenyx shoots a glance to both the fey and Captain Gwynn. The standing menhir are likely but a distraction at worst, but the sentry-doll could spell disaster for the team. He considers their situation carefully, weighing options and calculating strategies as the merman offers counsel just ahead of where the Necromancer huddles in the snow. While he did not disagree with Rasso's assessment, Fenyx finds himself wondering if there was an alternative that might satisfy all involved. The sin mage is not sure himself how he feels about the soul of a child being used for such vile purposes. If afforded no other option perhaps, but given the reports of villagers being hauled off through the portal and bound to undeath, he supposed the odds of the child's fate being a necessity decidedly slim.

Sighing softly to himself, Fenyx allows the rights and wrongs to melt away behind him; to fade into obscurity. He had forgotten himself. He was not the leader of the expedition—a fact that afforded him the freedom to excuse himself from making final decisions on questionable affairs such as this. Instead, he would simply observe what they were confronted with and allow their leader to pass judgment on whether the risk outweighed the need of a sympathetic heart's justice.

"The magical currents that lend that doll its tortured existence are not unlike those used in the creation of other arcane constructs; golems, and the like." Fenyx, assuming his words will find no purchase with most among their number, seems to mostly be directing his appraisals towards Teladon. "The noted exception here, however, is that dolls such as these are imbued with a trace of sentience. Typically, when dealing with a golem—say, one made entirely of stone or metal—you will encounter a mindless thing. With the doll, however, I must note that the methods of creation differ vastly. In simple terms, the witch, as our small winged friend has pointed out, plucked the soul out of a child and installed it into this... creature."

Fenyx shakes his head briefly before gesturing to the standing stones beyond. "The standing stones seems to be playing host to a swell of trapped souls. They're haunted. It is likely that great quantities or one single, terrible act of horror has been visited upon this place. I believe I can quieten them easily enough should we choose to encroach on their demesne, though that still leaves the issue of the sentry." Briefly rubbing his chin in thought, the sin mage turns to Gwynn for a second before settling on Captain Styvanus. "I believe breaking the mirror would suffice in regards to stripping the witch of her clairvoyance. If we can destroy it before being seen, it would do much to assuage our collective concerns of revealing ourselves prematurely." Turning now to Rasso, Fenyx continues. "On the other hand, even damaging the doll would alert the witch that something is afoot. And even should we succeed in removing the sensor, the doll itself is not without its own perils. It has been infused with winter witchcraft; capable of frigid dweom— excuse me; ice magic and deceptively powerful in spite of its tiny form. Fortunately, this also means that they are particularly susceptible to heat and fire. They are often in possession of a paralytic weapon as well, which would spell disaster for any unlucky enough to succumb to such an assault."

Fenyx's face remains a blank slate as he regards everyone arrayed around him. No doubt they are as unsettled by this as I. Perhaps now is the time to see where the scales rest; practicality or sentimentality. "Ah yes, I had nearly forgotten! I had mentioned that the dolls are unlike many arcane assemblies on account of their possession of an intact soul. This allows certain methods to work that might otherwise be untenable; there resides within that doll a mind—more of a simulacrum of a mind, really, though magic itself seems not to care for the distinction. Regardless, should we have any capable, a spell such as the ones exhibited by our winter fey and his kin would certainly take hold against the sentry."

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At indirect mention of Shor and his kin, the winter-touched sprite looks tense as he stares from his perch a low-hanging branch. "I'm..." brows furrow, and the fae looks torn on the notion of whether or not to help. "My magic could be of assistance," he explains, but it comes with a rather obstructing caveat. "But, I'm not foolish enough to confront one of Nazhena's servants. I-- " it's obvious that the sprite is still fearful of the Jadwiga. "I won't."

There's some pliant verbiage in Shor's words, however, and the others can sense it. He wants to help, somewhere deep down, but is too afraid to.


Male Dwarf Cleric (Forge-Master) / 3 Mythic Guardian 1

Knowledge Religion: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (7) + 7 = 14

Ar'Zarrcal looked to the standing stones and the flickering energy present around it. If Fenyx said it was a haunt, then it must be a haunt. His knowledge of the realms of the unliving were limited and he had difficulty pulling rememberance from his mind. He listened to the necromancer explain the nature of the possessed doll and the haunt as well. The most logical course of action was to go around and avoid this place, but something tugged at him to remain. To put an end to the vile witchcraft of the living doll. He realized he would be more than content to deal with the soul possessed doll, but how did not matter to him. Either they fought it in direct confrontation or they dealt with it by rolling a keg of gunpowder near the hut and setting it aflame.

Knocking some snow from the face of his shield, he let his eyes wander back to the Fenyx and then to the undead soldier that obeyed him. He lifted a brow and rolled some saliva inside his mouth, chewing on an idea. "Perhaps the walking corpse can be our distraction. These creatures are supposed to be in these woods. We could use it to seize the possessed doll or lure it out to strike it unseen."

Hearing the words of the Fey, Ar'Zarrcal turned his unsettling gaze upon the winter-touched creature, a decidedly wicked sneer on his face. His eyes narrowed and he clutched his Axe tighter, as if it gave added strength to his words. "What use could you be faerie? I saw your cowardice when we fought the trees and I see your cowardice shines once more." He cast his head to the side and spit on the ground, his saliva quickly freezing in the snow.

"You certainly had no trouble working for Nazhena. How many did you help her enslave, slaughter or enchant? I had been told you sought to redeem yourself, but it seems your loyalties still reside elsewhere. Ar'Zarrcal had little patience for the fickle Shor.

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 = 21

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Ar'Zarrcal's litany against the fey has Shors tiny face turning purple from frustration and embarrassment. The insect-winged creature flutters around the dwarf like an angry mosquito, arms flailing wildly. "I'll have you know I come from a famed line of warriors!" The pixie's tiny voice is shrill and agitated, but also tiny and squeaky in ways that makes it difficult to be threatened by.

"I am descended of Sultheain the Scarred, triumphant over the Fox King and-- and-- " Shor balls up his tiny fists and lets out a squeaky growl. "I am born with illusion magic in my blood greater than you will ever master, dwarf!" Shor's tiny, ice blue eyes peer intently at the runescarred cleric.

"I'll show you! I'll-- I'll..." Shor's eyes narrow, for suddenly he realizes what the dwarf is doing. His scowl curls slowly into a smile, of all things, and he slaps one tiny fist into his palm.

"Clever," Shor compliments, "for a dwarf. Fine, you'll have my assistance in this if you need. I can appreciate a good verbal trap."

__________
Shor has been moved from friendly to helpful and will not be willing to assist in combat, but only when asked to.

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