SR's - Silent Gods (Inactive)

Game Master stormraven

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Removed 2 horror points. :)

"He is, and I think helping him is a good idea." Jak responds, not verbalizing his hope that for once it would be nice not to have to do all the grunt-work for his da. He shrugs at the mention of apples and trees, "I guess there are worse people to be compared to than my da… I guess."

Rat Bastard

Four somewhat relaxing days pass in Dies Drear while our heroes recover and the wagon-load of goods is prepared for travel. With the towns-folks busy preparing the goods for sale and speculating hopefully on what necessities Master Howell is likely to acquire with his legendary haggling skills, there is little time for anyone to consider whom they have lost less than a month ago. The concerns of the present outweigh the regrets of the past.

Having said that, there are some interesting changes and an exception or two to the rule. After a couple days of rest, Lyrica (upon reflection) realizes that the cloudy and disapproving Sarenrae was likely a figment of her overworked and overwrought imagination. Similarly, Jak is able to dismiss his concerns about Ezekiel as jumpiness as a result of tension and stress.

For Ezekiel... well... the past and his present merge in ways both disturbing and surreal. He returns to his yurt to find a thin stream of smoke issuing from the chimney, a wafting hint of baking bread, and his front yard cleared of weeds and detritus. The clink of crockery greets him and he knows, at least in part, what to expect. Rowan and Olivia have come to the only family home that remains to them. Lost in a replay of his memories after death, he hesitates at the doorway of the hut and misses Rowan coming around the homestead lugging a large brass bowl, like a deep shield, on her back. The Apothecary has seen this very bowl before.

Rowan looks embarrassed and almost hides beneath the weight of the bowl. "I hope you don't mind, Ezekiel. We had nowhere else to go... Olivia needs a real home and I thought a little straightening might not offend you. We haven't touched any of your experiments." She glances at the turtle-shell bowl and offers an explanation. "You don't have a bathing basin. May I find an empty corner for this?"

Not trusting himself to speak yet, Ezekiel only nods and opens the door - realizing his life was about to get far more complicated.

Ez - this is not to drag you into a RP bit right now. I just wanted to set the stage as it were.

(hp 38/38, AC 17, T 11, FF 11, Initiative +1, Perception +5, Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +10)

Lyrica feels much better after her rest and is happy to talk to anyone who will listen to her about the changes she feels within her heart.

"You know, my friends, I was reading the tenants of Sarenrae back at my family's house and I have to tell you, I am feeling so much stronger in my own faith! You see, I realize that each day and with every problem that I face, I am simply taking small steps along a path leading me toward perfection. With the Dawnflower's abiding presence I need never turn back to the darkness. If I take the time to pray and meditate each day, opening myself to her presence, I will never flinch from my faith, and need never fear embarrassment. You see, my soul cannot be bought for all the stars in the sky. The Everlight is such a warm, gentle and powerful guiding presence that I have no doubt that together, we will bring down the evil that threatens this land! I cannot wait to get back on the road of adventure and work towards bringing peace and healing back to our village."

Ah, Pride and Vanity... definitely my favorite sins.

As the few restful days stretched out, Jak had begun feeling much, much better. Then, suddenly, right smack in the middle of a morning full of his usual pre-trip anticipation and optimism, a deluge of preaching began harshly eroding his optimism.

He's quick to delegate a job to Lyrica that takes her as far away from his own work as possible… the day was suddenly looking much more enjoyable again.


(hp 38/38, AC 17, T 11, FF 11, Initiative +1, Perception +5, Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +10)

"Jak! You don't seem very excited about the good news! Don't you realize that the Everlight is there for all of us, even you! No matter how far you fall from the path of goodness, she is there to forgive you and help you find redemption. All you have to do is quiet your mind and open your heart to her presence. Ahhhhh! Isn't life wonderful!"

"Was five minutes ago," he mutters, looking for a way of escape. He briefly considers his new vanishing trick.

Marcus looks on, unsure of how to contribute to the theological discussion. He doesn't want to interrupt, but he looks as though he want to say something. After awhile, he breaks in:

Ahem, right! So, um, Mattin--what's the plan, then, in Muuscarta? Anyway I could help you with your business, just let me know.

(hp 38/38, AC 17, T 11, FF 11, Initiative +1, Perception +5, Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +10)

Lyrica smiles to herself as she enjoys making Jak uncomfortable, but decides to let him off free. "No matter, Jak. I see that you've had enough theological discussion for today. Perhaps you'd be more interested in talking about the weather. Do you ever wonder if all of this rain will help the grass grow greener?"

When Lyrica hears Marcus offer assistance, she too expresses her willingness to be of service. "Mister Howell, please let me know as well if I can do anything to help. I am more than willing to run errands or load or unload the cart. I'm not afraid of any hard work."

Jak grunts as he tosses another sack of trade goods into the wagon, climbing up to slide it flush with the others like it, "You have an interesting definition of 'discussion', there, Lyrica." He whacks the bag thrice on the side to jam it into a more compact alignment before hopping over the side and grabbing another bag, "I'd have called that a diatribe... or preaching. I think I have to give a damn in order for it to be a proper discussion."

Lyrica wrote:
"I'm not afraid of any hard work."

Jak stops heaving the bag onto the wagong and gives her a 'what the hell?' look. "I been loading the cart this whole time... ya know, when you were 'discussing'" he puts the words in one-handed air quotes. "I even told you how you could be helpful. But hey, there's a helluva lot of work to be done, so if you don't wanna grab the wares, feel free to go look in on the mules. Or help line out the provisions for the team. Or double-check the mule-hitch. Or go ask my da, I'm sure he'd love the interruption.. not like he doesnt' have a million of his own concerns to round up before we can get this train headed outta town."

While the words carry sarcasm, he sounds distracted... or rather, he sounds like his full attention is on the work he's doing. It's odd... Jak always avoided work in town. Didn't' matter the work. But here, doing his da's work, he seems to work efficiently, tirelessly, and without supervision.

Like Marcus, the elder merchant largely ignores the sniping between the youths leaving his only comment a brief, cool, glare at both of them.

Marcus Braun wrote:
Ahem, right! So, um, Mattin--what's the plan, then, in Muuscarta? Anyway I could help you with your business, just let me know.

"Trading in Muuscarta shouldn't be a problem... unless these strange happenings have caused a lot more problems than we know. No, I'm afraid the problem will be getting to Muuscarta. We've lost our strongest mules to the mist. We're going to have to step in and help out the little ones we have left. We're going to be pushing and pulling that cart a long way."

Lyrica Strom wrote:
When Lyrica hears Marcus offer assistance, she too expresses her willingness to be of service. "Mister Howell, please let me know as well if I can do anything to help. I am more than willing to run errands or load or unload the cart. I'm not afraid of any hard work."

Seeing it best to separate these two, Mattin seizes on the opportunity. "If you would, Lyrica, please fetch our four largest mules."

Rat Bastard


Plans are made and efforts are organized. In a few hours, our heroes - accompanying the elder Howell - find themselves walking the slow-moving and creaking cart alongside a small herd of mules down valley. They wind along the gorge created by the Wahika.

Hours later, they approach the humble lake called the Tumbling Pool - site of many romantic assignations and Jak's battle with the skeleton of Old Man Ruske. The track to the Tumbling Pool has only a few difficult spots which are easily dealt with by the strong crew levering, prying, and pushing the cart. Below the Pool, the gorge slowly encroaches becoming more of a steep-sided ravine as the trees become more plentiful. Lichen drips from them as our heroes press forward into dusk.

DM Stuff:
Hand of Fate: 1d100 ⇒ 77
Danger Level: 1d5 ⇒ 1

Hand of Fate: 1d100 ⇒ 45
Danger Level: 1d5 ⇒ 3

Hand of Fate: 1d100 ⇒ 92
Danger Level: 1d5 ⇒ 3

Hand of Fate: 1d100 ⇒ 4
Danger Level: 1d5 ⇒ 1

Hand of Fate: 1d100 ⇒ 30
Danger Level: 1d5 ⇒ 1

Hand of Fate: 1d100 ⇒ 61
Danger Level: 1d5 ⇒ 2

Hand of Fate: 1d100 ⇒ 1
Danger Level: 1d5 ⇒ 1

Hand of Fate: 1d100 ⇒ 79
Danger Level: 1d5 ⇒ 3

Mr. Grey:
Fog: 1d100 ⇒ 88%
Time: 1d6 + 18 ⇒ (3) + 18 = 21
Duration: 1d24 ⇒ 16
01-10 Clear
11-31 Thin - Visibility to 60', partial to 80', full cover beyond
32-53 Present - Visibility to 30', partial cover to 40', full cover beyond
54-74 Mr. Grey - Visibility to 10', partial cover to 20', full cover beyond
75-89 Dense - Visibility to 5', partial cover to 10', full cover beyond
90-00 Moor Fog - Full visibility above 3', No visibility below 3' off the ground

Weather (8 days):
Weather: 1d100 + 0 ⇒ (91) + 0 = 91 Spring
High Temp: 20 + 4d10 + 0 + 30 ⇒ 20 + (3, 1, 7, 2) + 0 + 30 = 63
Duration: 1d3 ⇒ 1
Wind Dir: 1d8 ⇒ 6
Wind Spd: 1d20 ⇒ 17

Weather: 1d100 + 0 ⇒ (93) + 0 = 93 Spring
High Temp: 20 + 4d10 + 0 + 30 ⇒ 20 + (1, 7, 9, 5) + 0 + 30 = 72
Duration: 1d3 ⇒ 1
Wind Dir: 1d8 ⇒ 2
Wind Spd: 1d20 ⇒ 2

Weather: 1d100 + 0 ⇒ (56) + 0 = 56 Spring
High Temp: 20 + 4d10 + 0 ⇒ 20 + (2, 6, 6, 10) + 0 = 44
Duration: 1d3 ⇒ 1
Wind Dir: 1d8 ⇒ 4
Wind Spd: 1d20 ⇒ 1

Weather: 1d100 + 0 ⇒ (69) + 0 = 69 Spring
High Temp: 20 + 4d10 + 0 + 10 ⇒ 20 + (5, 6, 9, 2) + 0 + 10 = 52
Duration: 1d3 ⇒ 3
Wind Dir: 1d8 ⇒ 3
Wind Spd: 1d20 ⇒ 13

Weather: 1d100 + 0 ⇒ (42) + 0 = 42 Spring
High Temp: 20 + 4d10 + 0 + 10 ⇒ 20 + (7, 1, 1, 8) + 0 + 10 = 47
Duration: 1d3 ⇒ 2
Wind Dir: 1d8 ⇒ 8
Wind Spd: 1d20 ⇒ 20

Night falls and our heroes set up camp, establish a watch, build a fire, and set their bedrolls in or beneath the cart... for the first of many times on the trip to Muuscarta. The next week passes slowly punctuated by the creaks of the cart wheels and the curses of the party as they lever the cart over and around obstacles, free it from mud, repair snapped struts, and keep the mules motivated and healthy.

The first few days are spent navigating the gorge/ravine/gully cut by the Wahika down the mountains. The weather turns abruptly summery. A string of warm days pass with temperatures in the 60's and 70's. It would be pleasant save for the muscle straining work.

Eventually the mountains give way to the low-lands where the Wahika spreads its fingers creating dozens of sluggish streams that feed a labyrinthine set of fens and swamps. The trees hang low and dense here. On sparse breezes, lichens waves fitfully from the gnarled branches and rake our heroes' heads with their clammy claws. It would be a daunting task to navigate it if it weren't for the Howells who know the route like the back of their hands from long practice. That isn't to say the trip is pleasant. The chaotic shiftings of the tributaries make the known path more of a guideline. Mud flats and washouts makes it a process of trial and error frustrated by the clouds of midges and gnats that are eager for a spring meal. A change to cooler weather makes the bugs lethargic after a day or so - giving the party a much needed break.

On the first night in the fens, sheltered by the night's persistent fog, wolves howl and test the steadiness of the mules and the strength of the party. They are quickly run off by the skills of the Druid and Ranger as well as the steely resolve of the rest of the team. Two nights later, they return again, stalking around the campsite in the darkness but again are driven off.

Through the six days of the trek so far, Mattin has been optimistic and unswervingly pleasant, spending his evenings telling tales of his travels, clients, and strange deals. Separating fact from fiction is no easy task with the jovial merchant.

After the second wolf skirmish, Mattin is practically whistling. "Unless I miss my guess, we're almost to the road. Things will get easier from here." The merchant is proved correct. By the middle of the next morning, the cart wrenches free from the soft earth and rolls onto the hard-packed surface of a slightly raised roadway. It seems that even the mules are a bit relieved. The party clambers into the cart and enjoys the clacking ride as the mules set a good pace on the road to Muuscarta.

A day later, the cart rounds a bend and pulls in sight of the town of Muuscarta - a sprawling web of one and two story buildings surrounding a central square. The noise and bustle is impressive to anyone who hasn't seen it before. Adding to the hub-bub is a patchwork city of makeshift tents across the road from the town proper. Mattin pulls the mules to a halt. "I've never seen those tents before. He looks over the people moving amid the tents. They don't look like gypsies... more like refugees. Hmmm. Well, business first." He clucks to the mules to set them going again. The cart trundles towards the town.

Welcome to Muuscarta. Mattin's path will take him into the town's center (a left turn off the main roadway). You are free to accompany him or go where you wish. On the right side of the road is the tent camp.
I'll be fast-forwarding when you've all completed whatever you want to accomplish (or not) in town.

OK... moving on. You snooze, you lose.

Our heroes catch a drink in the local tavern while Mattin works his network of connections. After an hour or so, the older Howell strolls in, waves to a few acquaintances, joins the younger Drearians, and cuts to the chase. "It's going to take me several days to wrap things up here - but our prospects are good. I know you are anxious to get on the road, and I think you should do that. I can handle the wheeling and dealing here. So, be safe and hopefully I'll see you on the way home." He gives Jak a look that says be careful and then the older man is gone.

The Drearians, anxious to get to Albridge, head out - for the moment turning a blind eye to the strange tent town across the road.

DM Stuff:
Hand of Fate: 1d100 ⇒ 93
Danger Level: 1d5 ⇒ 4

Hand of Fate: 1d100 ⇒ 47
Danger Level: 1d5 ⇒ 2

Hand of Fate: 1d100 ⇒ 73
Danger Level: 1d5 ⇒ 1

Hand of Fate: 1d100 ⇒ 12
Danger Level: 1d5 ⇒ 1

Hand of Fate: 1d100 ⇒ 65
Danger Level: 1d5 ⇒ 3

Hand of Fate: 1d100 ⇒ 12
Danger Level: 1d5 ⇒ 1

Dang! Sorry, I meant to get a post up, but had some other things take precedence. Oh well, I can abide.

Only thing I wanted to do was spend some time (and coin, if necessary) Gathering Info from the locals on recent events… especially those that brought all the refugees and seem possibly related to the horrible events that happened at the Drear. He'd also pump people for any information they may have about Albridge; be they recent events or current needs of the town (turning a profit is always on Mattin's son's mind)
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (13) + 8 = 21; +1 if Charming is in play.

Jak returns his da's look, hiking his pack as he checks his weapons and gear for the road ahead. As he walks, he considers what he learned in their short time in Muuscarta.

Rat Bastard

Jak - You can keep the roll but finding out that information will have to wait until you come back through Muuscarta.

Lol. No problem.. I snoozed and lost. :)

Our stalwart adventurers march down the road at an easy pace, enjoying the level path and hard-packed surface. After a week of slowly navigating through the wilds, it is a blessed relief to hike along without having to worry over turning an ankle. The miles disappear beneath their boots as do the days...

Nearly a week later, they shake the dust from their boots on the pebbly cart path that leads into Albridge. The heroes wander through open fields along the winding path - called the King's Road - dotted with trees. The open fields give way to tilled furrows and houses, some humble as those in Drear and some more impressive.

Albridge Map
This isn't my map so ignore the numbers and the compass should be inverted. You are standing on the road near the bottom of the bridge - between #1 and #2

The babble of the river beckons you forward to the edge of a stone bridge spanning the distance. On the far side, is the town of Albridge nestled amid fields of various crops, mostly corn. Thin wisps of smoke spiral from a few chimneys. The town is quiet, almost subdued. Directly to your right is a small field of leeks fronting a well-worn shack. Working the field are a young couple perhaps thirty years old. Both of them stop their hoeing and watch your party beneath the dirty brims of their corn-husk hats. The man looks to his wife, wipes his hands on his pants, and approaches stopping at the edge of his field. He nods, "Afternoon, folks, I'm Mordecai. Help you with somethin'?"

Rat Bastard

Bah, ignore that comment about the map orientation. It is correct. North is 'up' and South is 'down'.

Jak puts on his winningest grin, giving the man and woman a quick nod before putting out a hand to shake. "Yah, thanks, Mordecai. I'm Jak. We're from Dies Drear by way of Muuscarta. I don't suppose you folks have some fresh water and a place to sit for a bit… it's been a long walk."

Trying to use Diplomacy to improve their attitude towards us.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16; +1 if Charming is in play.

As he waits (or as they walk, if they're invited to get water and a rest) Jak watches for signs of anything interesting or possibly abnormal as he chit-chats with them… he intentionally tries to keep the conversation light for the time being… avoiding talking about the reason they're here.

Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23

Mordecai gives Jak and the rest the same discerning look Jak's seen his father use when offered questionable wares. He turns and fetches a large clay jug from among the leeks and motions our heroes over to the rickety deck that sits off the front of the raised shack. The deck is battered but it is clean, high enough to make a passable bench, and is under the shade of the shack's awning.

After you all sit down on the deck, Mordecai takes a healthy swig from the jug and passes it along as he leans against one of the awning posts. "Sorry about the lack of chairs. We don't get many visitors." The water (for those who drink) is clean and cool. "Heard of Dies Drear. We've done some trading with a fella from there, but it's been a couple of years." The woman in the field continues to hoe her row but is clearly keeping an eye on everyone.

Jak notices nothing out of the ordinary so far.

Jak waves away the apology as he takes a long drink, giving a genuine nod of thanks at the cool water. Jak's eyebrows rise at mention of the Drear trader, "That so?" He gives a quick description of his father, "… if that's the guy, I hope you won't hold whatever he did here against us." His tone is light with a friendly half-smile.

Sense Motive (just to get a gut read on the situation): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19

He buys some time to consider how to handle the situation (and let other players jump in if they want) as he takes another long series of drinks, making a show of using a little of the water to pat on the back of his neck.

Mordecai gives a friendly nod, "That's the fella! Don't recall he did anything that'd cause you trouble here... but then agin I wasn't there. He was haggling with some of the important folk." He casts his eyes across the road at the large white-washed house with the groomed yard.

SM Check: You'd say Mordecai is being friendly in an understated way. If he is leery, it's because of the armaments and armor you guys are sporting.

Sorry, SR. I had time to post yesterday and the site was down for me for a really long time. :-/

Marcus also drinks a long pull of the water. Then, lacking Jak's subtlety, he almost blurts out:

Um, actually, is there any way we can help you out, or anyone else around? There were some evil happenings in the Drear, and we feared that some of that may have spilled over into the surrounding towns. Have you seen anything strange of late?

(hp 11/35, AC 18, T 13, FF 15, Initiative +3, Perception +9)
Jak Howell wrote:
Lol. No problem.. I snoozed and lost. :)

hehe. i totally missed the update as well. i was going to walk around the surrounding wilderness to scout the area for signs of the "blight" but its cool, i snoozed and lost too, so ill just do that on the way back. if im still alive. ;)

"There's the red moon, o'course. That's bad enough..." Mordecai's expression goes grim and just a little pale. "Take my advice - just keep walking. You don't want a piece of our problem, unless trackin' a murderer is what you do."

Jak is barely able to suppress his reaction to Marcus's bluntness, quickly faking a fit of coughing to cover his reaction… water down the wrong pipe or something.

"Murderer, huh? That is bad business." He looks towards town, "If you don't mind me prying, who was killed? That kind of thing would be a huge deal in the Drear… even if no one liked the poor guy."

Mordecai looks uncomfortable with this turn of the conversation. "Murder is bad business anywhere, friend. Philmore Phibes," he continues, "was a good man, liked. He never turned away a hand needing help... and someone kilt him cold and cruel."

(hp 38/38, AC 17, T 11, FF 11, Initiative +1, Perception +5, Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +10)

Once Lyrica is assured that the drink is water, she takes a generous helping and thanks her host.

Mordecai wrote:
Mordecai looks uncomfortable with this turn of the conversation. "Murder is bad business anywhere, friend. Philmore Phibes," he continues, "was a good man, liked. He never turned away a hand needing help... and someone kilt him cold and cruel."

"Compared to the death we've seen in the Drear, Mordecai, a single murder doesn't seem like as much trouble, but I wonder if there is a connection. Do you know why anyone would have wanted to kill Philmore? I mean what possible motive would somebody have? Can you tell me more about Philmore Phibes?"

"Or is there someone more appropriate to ask these questions to? We don't mean to be pushy, but—like these two have said—there have been some strange happenings back home. Dark times. And we were sent to check in on other towns."

Close enough to the truth, he thinks to himself.

Lyrica wrote:
"Compared to the death we've seen in the Drear, Mordecai, a single murder doesn't seem like as much trouble..."

Oh boy.

Mordecai's hesitant openness turns into a cold scowl as he chews on Lyrica's words. His voice is hard as he calls out to the woman in the field and takes a firmer grip on his hoe, "Nyssa... time to get supper on."

The woman looks curious and concerned as she approaches the shack. Seeing the look on her husband's face, she casts hard eyes on the new-comers, memorizing faces and equipment. She avoids the group as she steps onto the porch. She heads through the door and receives a curt directive from her husband: "Close the door."

Our heroes hear the squeaky door shut, followed by a solid bolt being thrown, securing the structure. Through the dirt-grimed window, Nyssa watches, fearful, all pretense of supper forgotten.

His wife safe, Mordecai comes away from the post and turns his attention on the armed and armored woman. He repeats her words slowly, his tone acidic. "Compared to the death we've seen.... a single murder doesn't seem much trouble... That's a pretty phrase, girl. You come to our town and tell us the death of one of our own don't matter. Well, it may not matter to you - but it sure as hell matters to us. How many deaths does it take to matter to you, eh? Ten? A hun'ert? Or does it only matter when the dead is one of your'n?" His hands wring the neck of the hoe like he wants to strangle it, the rest of Lyrica's and Jak's questions are lost to his sharp anger.

Just to be clear here - I play all NPCs as real people. If a member of your family died and some stranger walked up to you and said "Only one dead? That's not so bad..." how would you take it? Poorly, I expect. I know I would and that is how Mordecai is reacting.

Jak watches the woman and man's reactions, shaking his head. "I apologize for the misunderstanding. You don't know Lyrica, but I do... though I realize you don't know me for that to mean anything. She's got a good heart and didn't mean anything of the sort." He puts every bit of sincerity and openness he can into his words. "We've seen a lot lately... bad and unnerving things and more death than I could have imagined a month ago. And that's to say we know what it feels like to lose those you love... regardless of it being one or one hundred." He puts his hand out for a shake, "I hope our words haven't injured too deeply, they weren't meant to be hurt. Is there anything I can do to make it right?"

Diplomacy (is this even useful at this point?): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12

Whether or not the man takes the offer or the offered handshake, Jak finishes solemnly, "Even still, we mean to help in town, as it seems some bad times have visited you as it has us. Is there someone in town we could officially introduce ourselves to so we can offer our services official-like?"

Marcus cringes at Lyrica's words, and the farmer's response to them. He approaches slowly, hands raised palm out to show no ill intent.

The night the moon changed, a mist come to the Drear. Not a natural fog, mind you, but a living mist. It destroyed everything in its path. Plants withered, and animals died. Died, and worse, cuz some came back . The dead rose and changed into monsters. Some were touched by the mist and vanished, taken like a mouse by a hawk. Us here are trying to find them, bring them back. We are sorry for your loss, and we do understand. We want to help your town before more evil visits you. That is why we are here.

(hp 38/38, AC 17, T 11, FF 11, Initiative +1, Perception +5, Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +10)
Mordecai wrote:
"Compared to the death we've seen.... a single murder doesn't seem much trouble... That's a pretty phrase, girl. You come to our town and tell us the death of one of our own don't matter. Well, it may not matter to you - but it sure as hell matters to us. How many deaths does it take to matter to you, eh? Ten? A hun'ert? Or does it only matter when the dead is one of your'n?"

Once, Lyrica realizes her mistake, she does her best to make amends and win his trust.

"Forgive me, Mordecai, I certainly meant no offense. In fact, a few weeks ago I would have reacted just the same way as you. However, just a few weeks ago, a strange mist came and left much of our village dead. My mother was one of them and my father was badly wounded. Only now, by some miracle, is he coming back to health."

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (15) + 10 = 25

"With regards to poor Mr. Phibes, I am most sorry for his loss. Truly, if I can be of any service, please let me know. If you had some information regarding the death, we would be happy to look into the circumstances and see what we can find out."

Mordecai gives a surly grunt at the heroes' statements but his grip on the hoe slackens somewhat and his expression no longer displays a desire to bury the hoe in someone's skull. It seems he finds some truth in your words.

"A'right, a'right. Sorry to hear of your troubles... I guess it's best to make allowances for each other in these dark days. If ya been up-mountain all this time, maybe you don't know... things are bad all over. Never saw no mist but strange creatures been coming and going; foul things like twisted wolves and such. The dead, too... Our folks been in some scrapes, fighting these things off, time and again." He sighs and continues, "And then there are the wanderers, all hollow-eyed, telling tales of waves rollin' over their towns, drowning villages, smashing ships to splinters, lighthouses falling into ruin, and the like. It's all bad. But things been quieting down somewhat lately... and then Philmore got butchered. No one saw nothing. He lived on his own, just the other side of the river. Whoever killed him, they hamstrung him first and let him drag himself around awhile before finishing him off." He shakes his head, not comprehending such an act.

"You wanna help, talk with Davril Trannyth - our Hetmon. You'll probably find him at the Inn, right on the other side of the bridge. If you see a sharp-nosed older woman, that's Glinnora Tull, she'd be another one to see."

Map Updated

(hp 38/38, AC 17, T 11, FF 11, Initiative +1, Perception +5, Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +10)
Mordecai wrote:
"You wanna help, talk with Davril Trannyth - our Hetmon. You'll probably find him at the Inn, right on the other side of the bridge. If you see a sharp-nosed older woman, that's Glinnora Tull, she'd be another one to see."

"Davril Trannyth? I'm sure we could find him. We would be happy to help however we can. If my companions are ready, we'll go and see him right away. I thank you kindly for all of your help and the refreshing water. I wish you and your wife well. May the Everlight always shine brightly upon you and your home."

If the others are willing, Lyrica will depart and make her over the bridge with her companions to the inn.

While she strolls along the street, she comments to her companions as she brushes a tear out of her eye. "Have I reached the point where I have become callous enough to make light of a man's death?! I do not like what is becoming of me. So much has happened in such a short time. I apologize to all of you if I have been too preachy or too difficult to be around. I was feeling better back with my family, but as I venture far from home, I'm starting to feel the weight of darkness close in on me again. I just feel as if we are battling some great evil and that we need to strengthen are hearts and give courage to everyone we meet. I'm going to make a conscious decision to try harder than ever to be sensitive to others as well as to listen to each and everyone as they wrestle with their own pain."

(hp 11/35, AC 18, T 13, FF 15, Initiative +3, Perception +9)

Aerik opens his mouth as if to say something, and then lowers his head, thinking better of it.

"I wanna check the wilderness around the town. Look for corruption. Not sure I'd be much help with the townsfolk anyhow... Marcus?"

The druid looks at his friend, the invitation to join him clearly implied.

Jak would have said something polite as they left Mordecai, thanking him for his help.

Jak nods to the departing woodsmen, "You two look sharp. I know it's obvious, but there could be a killer or worse loose… don't do anything too stupid."

As he, Lyrica, and Ezekiel head over the bridge, Jak passes an eye over the town. "Let's go introduce ourselves to the Hetmon first. You never know what opportunities may present themselves. Plus, given our rough first attempt, I'd like for us to make an official introduction to this town's leaders before word-of-mouth can get there first. And i certainly don't mean to beat a dead horse, but let's just do our best to put a good foot forward. It's always harder to get a girl to the Pools if your first step of the dance is on her foot."

He lets a minute pass, quietly watching the town, before he responds to Lyrica's other words. "I wouldn't beat myself up if I were you, Lyrica. It's been a crazy few weeks, and it's been a long walk out this way. I think we're all feeling the pressure. As for being preachy…" He shrugs, not sure how or not wanting to finish the sentence. When he continues, there's an uncharacteristic amount of sincerity in the usual-jokester's light-colored eyes. "I think it's respectable that you know what you believe. I didn't judge your da for it, and I don't judge you. I've been told I joke too much. And that I can take a joke too far. I like to think I know that line when I see it. Thing is... people are funny about what they believe, and even funnier when they think someone's telling them to believe otherwise…" He trails off, once again as they come to the building Mordecai said they're most likely to find the hetmon.

Jak's grin returns like quick-silver, and the solemnity of the past few moments dissipates like Old Grey in the sunlight. "Welp. This looks like the place. Game faces, people. Let's woo ourselves a hetmon." He heads to the door, knocking if it's closed or there's no one in evidence.

Rat Bastard

I'm going to assume Marcus goes with Aerik to keep things moving.

Our heroes cross the stone bridge. A small murder of crows - seven of them - hunch on the wide walls, warily watching the humans approach. Their black eyes reveal nothing. Explosively they launch into flight as the party draws close, their caws fill the air.

On the far side of the bridge, the party splits up. Marcus and Aerik move along the river heading toward the forests and fields that surround the town, looking for the telltale signs of corruption. The rest of the group heads towards the large two story public house.

Once inside the building, it becomes clear that it is more than an Inn. The upper level is given over to rooms for rent. The bottom floor is divided up between a tavern, dining area, the Hetmon's office, and a surveyor's office. It being mid-afternoon, there are few people in the tavern but the offices are active. In short order, you find yourselves sitting at the bar in the tavern and greeting Hetmon Davril Trannyth. He's a clean-shaven man, somewhere in his 50's with enough grey to prove it. His patrician features are topped with a friendly smile and confident personality. He deftly distributes a round of drinks to the party.

"I'm Davril. You could folks are looking for me? What can I do for you?"

No worries, I would have agreed to go with Aerik.

(hp 38/38, AC 17, T 11, FF 11, Initiative +1, Perception +5, Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +10)
Davril wrote:
"I'm Davril. You could folks are looking for me? What can I do for you?"

"Well met, Davril. I understand that you are the Hetmon here in Albridge. I am Lyrica Strom at your service and my companions are Jak and Ezekiel. We are passing through your lovely town from Dies Drear when we met up with one of your residents, a man by the name of Mordecai. He was most helpful and welcoming but he told us of the tragedy of Philmore Phibes. He was telling us that he was murdered. We were just passing through and we offered our services. He told us that the biggest help would be to visit you and see if we could be of any help in solving the case. We are handy with weapons and are not afraid of danger, well maybe except for Jak, here." she adds with a smile.

Lyrica chats socially as she uses her diplomacy to try and improve his attitude towards us.

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (13) + 10 = 23

Rat Bastard

"Charmed, Mistress Strom." He responds politely. "We've had no luck finding who killed Philmore and, frankly, we lack the skills. If you can ferret out the murderer, we'll thank you for it. What do you need from me?"

(hp 38/38, AC 17, T 11, FF 11, Initiative +1, Perception +5, Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +10)
Davril wrote:
"Charmed, Mistress Strom." He responds politely. "We've had no luck finding who killed Philmore and, frankly, we lack the skills. If you can ferret out the murderer, we'll thank you for it. What do you need from me?"

"Well, perhaps you could tell us some information regarding the circumstances of his death. Could you kindly tell us how it happened? We were also wondering if anybody in town would have a motive to kill Philmore? I mean, did he have any enemies, or large hidden stashes of treasure or some such thing?"

Jak shakes his head at Lyrica's introduction, giving the Hetmon a what are ya gonna do? shrug when they make eye contact… his mind still on the disturbing crows they passed on the way in. He smiles through Lyrica's follow-up questions, only letting it slip into a confused look at her final question.

"Or, more broadly, I wonder if you could fill us in on what all has been happening lately. Master Mordecai said there's been strange stuff happening lately. Foul things. Twisted wolves. And the dead?" He gives the inn and the town beyond an all-encompassing gesture, "That's why we're here. We're from over the mountains. Town called Dies Drear. We had some seriously disturbing events happen over the past few weeks. We came to see how the other towns are faring."

"Though it would be good to know the answers to Lyrica's questions. And as hetmon, if you could spread the word that were looking into Philmore's death on your approval could go a long way to make sure we don't make people uncomfortable. We certainly don't want to make people any more upset than they already are."

Rat Bastard

Davril swirls his drink, his voice tense. "Ever since the red moon, odd things have been happening. Deer and other game came down out off the mountains in droves. We didn't realise they were fleeing from what came next. Monsters followed them - mutated wolves, the walking dead, things of that sort. Perhaps they were looking for food, I really can't say. But we've kept them at bay and our losses have been light - mostly due to Father Galt, our Priest."

"It seemed like the worst of it was over in the last week or so. The wolves moved on and we'd destroyed the dead. Things haven't been normal, but they've been better. Then we found Philmore a couple days ago... His house is just down the road a bit. He..." The hetmon slugs his drink and continues, "From the blood and the streaks, someone slashed his leg tendons in his living room and then let him drag himself out onto the porch and down into the street. Maybe he was trying to escape or find help. I don't know. But whoever it was, they knifed him in the back and left him laying in the road. He was found the next morning."

Davril swirls his drink and focuses on the questions not his memories, "Philmore was respected and well-off, but not rich. If he had enemies, I'm not aware of them." He looks over the heroes and concludes "Now, I'll go make sure folks know you are here to help... unless there is something else you need?"

Assuming you've got no further question, Davril leaves to alert the townsfolk.

Rat Bastard

Aerik and Marcus follow along the river until they hit the edge of town to begin their survey. They sweep the area in a large semi-circle encompassing the town and fields North of the river.

Aerik/Marcus - please give me rolls for Perception, Know:Nature, and/or Know:Religion.

Before Davril gets up to leave, Jak raises a question. "Who found Philmore? And who did most of the work to try to figure out what had happened? We might end up wanting to chat with them. And has anyone searched Philmore's house since that night?"

On the most recent map, we have a "Phibe's home", that's different than Philmore's house? Or are those the same guy?

Rat Bastard

Same house... Philmore's last name is Phibes.

Davril points to the tavern-keep across from you. "Regis here found him. He was on his way to work that morning when he stumbled across Philmore. I guess Father Galt looked into the murder most, but we all butcher enough animals around here to see what happened. We - some of the town elders - Father Galt, Glinnora Tull, Fruhand Fletcher, and myself visited Philmore's house. We didn't find any clues. But you are free to check it yourself." He pulls a key from his pocket and slides it over to Jak.

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