SR's - Silent Gods (Inactive)

Game Master stormraven


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Unfortunately, I don't think Telepathy is two-way, but points for trying Marcus. Of course, you could just say that out loud with all these crows around. :)

After a polite lag, the whistling resumes and Black walks back down the road, past the barn, and rounds the bend coming into the town center on his way to the Church. You slowly make out his emerging form from the mist. His silhouette appears, disappointingly, humanoid - lacking wings, horns, a spiked tail tipped in venom... or anything vaguely 'demonic' as the tales would describe them. In fact, Black might be a little on the lean side... As he approaches closer, you realize he is tall. Quite tall. Very tall - like 9' of tall. As his mist shrouded silhouette becomes a defined form, you see that his arms are overlong and terminate in long straight claws. There seems to be a strange bagginess about his mid-section. As he comes clearly into view, the reality of Black become clear.

In a macabre joke, he is wearing a skin stripped from the corpse of Fruhand Fletcher, down to the anatomically correct self-inflicted slash to the throat. Unfortunately, the bearish and pudgy Fletcher skin is ill-suited to the demon's lanky form. The skin is stretched like taffy while the over-wide barrel-chest drapes and pools around the demon's thinner mid-section. Fruhand's face is distorted by the unnatural stretching, looking like it is melting off the demon's head. Bad as that is, the sight of the demon wearing Fruhand's skin is worse. He is all black. His mouth stretches from Fruhand's mouth hole down to the slash across his neck. The mouth is filled with rows of razor teeth. When he speaks, bits of Fruhand meat gets caught in his teeth, shredding the mask of flesh he wears. But the stretched and torn flesh at head, neck, and arms reveals more of the demon. Black's head is a bulbous and smooth thing, glossy black, with no hint of eyes, nose, or ears... just the horrid mouth. His whistling stops as he regards the party and the cringing deal-makers. To the deal-makers he says, "The old man owes me nothing. But you two... you're delinquent in your payments. Naughty."

I think that's worth a Horror Check (Fort Save) at DC:18

Jak, finally able to see the creature, recalls the tales heard at his mother's knee... and finds a creature like Black featured in one or two of her stories. He still recalls the level of dread with which she spoke of the Faceless Demon.

So that you can make informed decisions here, you can all read the spoiler.

Faceless Demon:
The Gallu-, also called the Faceless Demon, is a soldier/spy most often directly employed by Demon Lords and Balors. They are shock troops, feared for their flawless shape-shifting abilities. They can appear as anyone. They are often deployed to the material plane for long periods of time to befriend mortals and drag them back to the Abyss to be the play-things of their Lords. They are renowned for being quick to anger and hard to control.

CR:6
CE Large Outsider
AC: 20 / Touch 9
HD: Really Good (considering their defenses)
Saves: Fort is Best, Will is Worst

Defenses are impressive:
DR 10/cold iron
SR 17
Immune to Poison/Electricity
Strong Resistence to Acid/Cold/Fire

Attacks:
The Faceless Demon attacks with claws and/or a bite
To HITs are quite good on all attacks
His attacks are enhanced by a 22 STR... so +6 DAM on all blows
His attacks are further improved by feats like Power Attack and Cleave

Specials:
Alter Shape (Su)
Dimension Door (Su)
Plane Shift (Su)

The Faceless Demon can Grab as part of its claw attack. A successfully grappled person is subject to the Demon's D-Door or Plane Shift ability with no save. Once grabbed the Faceless Demon can vanish with a victim and deposit them on one of several alternate planes of existence, including any layer of the Abyss.

DM Stuff:
Mayor Horror: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (13) + 1 = 14
Tull Horror: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10
Both Morale: 1d20 - 5 ⇒ (2) - 5 = -3


Faced with the true horror of the creature before them, the Mayor and the Tulls fall apart and flee. Seeking any salvation, they do the only thing they can think of that will provide an ounce of safety. They stumble/run across the road and throw themselves over the church-yard fence trying to get onto holy ground. The crows that were sitting along the fence explode into the air, startled by the panicked humans. Fear propels the threesome into the churchyard despite their years. They stumble towards the Church door and pound on it. "LET US IN! FOR THE GODS' SAKE, OPEN UP!"


The Demon's eyeless face turns to regard the fleeing sinners, as do the Scarecrow's glowing eye-holes. Neither makes any move to stop them. The Faceless Demon's tone remains light, "So much for dignity and self-respect."


Fort: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (2) + 7 = 9

Yikes--I'll wait to see the effects of that before I post my IC response.


Rat Bastard

There is no obvious effect from a single Horror Point.


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

Fort Save: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (10) + 8 = 18 (Phew! That was close! )

Lyrica watches intently as she sizes up the demon. Even as she realizes that she is no match for this demon, she clings to the hope that some day she will be able to smite it down.

Finally, she builds up enough courage to ask, "What was their payment that they have failed to pay?"


The Demon chews on some of Fruhand's neck flesh. "You already know the answer to that question, don't you? The priest told you over poor Fruhand's corpse. Or weren't you paying attention?" He savors the dead man's skin for a moment. "To be truthful, that's just part of the story. Oh, yes, Tull and Trannyth haven't told you everything. A trinket I leant them needs to be returned to me, that was part of the deal. They've got it squirreled away in one or another field, trying to squeeze out more profits even after their time is up." He lazily waves towards the abundance of crop-lands. "But that isn't the important question, no. The question that should most concern you is what do you owe me?"


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

Lyrica gulps at the demon's words, but finds the courage to keep speaking to the monstrous fiend."We have not made any deals with you and we do not wish to do so. What is it you want from these people? They are as poor as church mice and I am certain that they have nothing to offer you. Why doesn't one who is as powerful as you look to other realms to find whatever it is that you are looking for?"


Marcus, frozen in place with fear, responds to Lyrica's question softly.

They don't have anything to offer because they already sold it to him--their souls. Mr. Black--we want to renegotiate the terms of their contract. Can we examine it first, to view the specifics?

Diplomacy, yeesh: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (14) - 1 = 13


Lyrica Strom wrote:
Lyrica gulps at the demon's words, but finds the courage to keep speaking to the monstrous fiend."We have not made any deals with you and we do not wish to do so..."

The wide mouth of the Faceless Demon stretches into a impossible cheshire grin, "Deals and debts are separate things. You destroyed my lovely toy - one of my favorite assistants - that was quite costly to create. Worse, you've banished its animating soul back to the Abyss where it must wait a year and a day before it can be brought forth onto this plane again. You've inconvenienced me, to say the least, and you'll need to square that debt... or I will." He flexes a handful of claws to make his meaning clear.

Lyrica Strom wrote:
"What is it you want from these people? They are as poor as church mice and I am certain that they have nothing to offer you. Why doesn't one who is as powerful as you look to other realms to find whatever it is that you are looking for?"

"What astounding ignorance. Didn't you say..." his voice passes into a believable imitation of Lyrica's own as he repeats the words she spoke to Galt when they arrived in Albridge, " My father was a priest of Sarenrae and he's taught me to have a strong faith in the divine... Clearly he neglected your education about the countering forces in the universe, so let me enlighten you. Mortal flesh is delicious; you should really try it. But better than that is sucking the spiritual marrow from your tormented souls. This town is a feast."


Marcus Braun wrote:
"Mr. Black--we want to renegotiate the terms of their contract. Can we examine it first, to view the specifics?"

Black sighs, disappointed, "No, you want to see the contract to look for courthouse loopholes. Then you'll try legal hair-splitting or - worse - arguing the 'spirit' not the letter of the agreement. Let me be clear, I'm here because the contract has been fulfilled. If it weren't, if I hadn't already lived up to the letter of the agreement, I wouldn't be here. Humans try to collect when they aren't owed - we don't. I'm still owed two souls and my trinket... and I could argue for them owing me more since they are still benefiting from my trinket which should have been unearthed after the last planting season. I'm willing to forgive that debt... we'll tack it on to the price Jannys' family paid. Consider it a gift. But I'm leaving here with what is owed to me. If you truly want to 'renegotiate'... what souls are you offering in place of the ones owed me? Bear in mind, not all souls are equal. Would you offer up your own souls in place of these corrupt things?" He points a claw at the three people now begging to be let into the church.

From inside the church, you hear a rising argument about letting the Tulls and Trannyth in.


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

The druid's voice booms upon hearing the argument from inside the church.

"Do NOT let them in! No matter what you hear!"

Then he eyes Black, and tries to hide his contempt, realizing he and his comrades are outmatched.

"Tell me what it looks like, and I'll get the trinket. I wouldn't trust them not to run."

Fort: 1d1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7


Villainous Outsider wrote:
Marcus Braun wrote:
"Mr. Black--we want to renegotiate the terms of their contract. Can we examine it first, to view the specifics?"

Black sighs, disappointed, "No, you want to see the contract to look for courthouse loopholes. Then you'll try legal hair-splitting or - worse - arguing the 'spirit' not the letter of the agreement. Let me be clear, I'm here because the contract has been fulfilled. If it weren't, if I hadn't already lived up to the letter of the agreement, I wouldn't be here. Humans try to collect when they aren't owed - we don't. I'm still owed two souls and my trinket... and I could argue for them owing me more since they are still benefiting from my trinket which should have been unearthed after the last planting season. I'm willing to forgive that debt... we'll tack it on to the price Jannys' family paid. Consider it a gift. But I'm leaving here with what is owed to me. If you truly want to 'renegotiate'... what souls are you offering in place of the ones owed me? Bear in mind, not all souls are equal. Would you offer up your own souls in place of these corrupt things?" He points a claw at the three people now begging to be let into the church.

From inside the church, you hear a rising argument about letting the Tulls and Trannyth in.

You're right--Tull and Trannyth are vermin, their souls can't be worth much. Ours are, though. You can kill all us if you want, but then you'll never be able to get what we could've given in fair exchange.

Marcus points to his companions in turn as he talks about them:

Lyrica has been chosen by a goddess and been given divine power. Zeke was brought back from the dead by a different goddess. Jak has in-born magic and Aerik can speak with Nature. Me, well, I took the hand from the Forgotten, and, like all these folk, survived the mist that come to the 'Drear. The worth of our souls is high--but I think you already knew that. That's why you're here, right? You don't care too much about these two fools you're still owed.

Marcus waits a minute to gauge the demon's reaction, then continues:

Sense Motive: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (9) + 3 = 12

I think I have a way that you can get what you want, and no one else has to die here. You've already shown that piecemeal deals are fair in your eyes--13 years, but only for one family at a time? Would you have any interest in a similar deal?


Aerik Wynn wrote:

The druid's voice booms upon hearing the argument from inside the church.

"Do NOT let them in! No matter what you hear!"

The Demon seems both pleased and disappointed, "Smart choice."

Aerik Wynn wrote:

Then he eyes Black, and tries to hide his contempt, realizing he and his comrades are outmatched.

"Tell me what it looks like, and I'll get the trinket. I wouldn't trust them not to run."

The Demon practically purrs, "What a kind offer... It is an orb, about 2' across. It is rather heavy; it will take several of you to carry it. I'd suggest you bring a tarp. Feel free to take Tull with you as a guide, I'm sure she won't 'get lost' under your watchful eyes."


Marcus Braun wrote:
"You're right--Tull and Trannyth are vermin, their souls can't be worth much. Ours are, though. You can kill all us if you want, but then you'll never be able to get what we could've given in fair exchange."

The Demon waggles a correcting claw. "Their arrogance and folly makes their souls valuable. Thinking so highly of themselves, they have so much further to fall when I extend to them the 'hospitality' of the Abyss. It isn't as delightful as debasing the innocent or breaking the spirit of the devout... but it is a treat. Your soul, no offence, being neither angelic nor wholly innocent, is far less appealing. Also, these people have kept me waiting for 13 years. I had expected them to turn on one another years ago... delivering a few of them to me ahead of schedule. Having that desire thwarted, I am hungry for them."

Marcus Braun wrote:

Marcus points to his companions in turn as he talks about them:

"Lyrica has been chosen by a goddess and been given divine power. Zeke was brought back from the dead by a different goddess. Jak has in-born magic and Aerik can speak with Nature. Me, well, I took the hand from the Forgotten, and, like all these folk, survived the mist that come to the 'Drear. The worth of our souls is high -- but I think you already knew that. That's why you're here, right?"

Sense Motive: 12

"Perhaps I was wrong. Your sense of self-importance almost matches that of the Tull woman. It seems the world turns on your very existence." The Demon issues a full-throated laugh. "The girl, as a holy vessel, has considerable value. The others... have some appeal, though not so much as you seem to think." This seems to be an honest assessment by the Demon.

Marcus Braun wrote:
"I think I have a way that you can get what you want, and no one else has to die here. You've already shown that piecemeal deals are fair in your eyes--13 years, but only for one family at a time? Would you have any interest in a similar deal?"

The Demon tugs at Fruhand's ragged ear with a claw, "I don't know what you mean by 'piecemeal' but... I'm listening."

DM Stuff:
If rolls are needed, they have been rolled and omitted.


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

"Dear God, Marcus! Lyrica whispers,"Don't let that evil fiend take my soul! I could never live with myself!"


"He can only offer his own soul - not yours. And I can't take your soul without your agreement, sadly. Perhaps you'd like to offer yours to save poor Mrs. Tull and Mayor Trannyth? Your soul would definitely be worth both of theirs. It would be a noble sacrifice..." He smiles.


Lyrica Strom wrote:
"Dear God, Marcus! Lyrica whispers,"Don't let that evil fiend take my soul! I could never live with myself!"

Not your soul, exactly,least not the whole thing--just a part of it. Whatever it is that makes us so damn special to be part of this prophecy. Let Black have it--but not permanently.

Marcus tries to look at the skin-wearing creature, but finds it hard to meet his gaze.

We killed your doll, s'right, but its soul isn't gone to you for good, just for a year. What if we give you some of our essence, grace, whatever but only for a year, say, 75 days each. All at once or spread out over the year. What would that be worth to you?


"I deal in souls or lives or both. When I'm feeling whimsical, I deal in services. I wouldn't know how to extract 'grace' from a soul - temporarily or permanently - even if I were interested in it." The Demon eyes the lumberjack, the wheels turning in his infernal mind. "But it sounds like you'd be well rid of this prophecy or possibly figure out how to make it come true in a manner favorable to you. I could help with that... for a price."


Fort Save DC 18: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5; oof. that not good. Jak's got 1 horror point.

Jak spends more than a few moments shocked by the sight of the demon. By the time he recovers, the game is already into its first round of bluffs and checks. He looks over at Marcus, clearly not liking the man’s approach.

”I think it best that we revisit the idea of you showing us that original contract, Mr. Black,” he cuts his eyes to Marcus, especially as it concerns any claims you make on what you think we owe you. Your doll was destroyed after it took the lives of people who—from my understanding, and from the word of some of your deal-makers—were not covered in that original contract. I’m not in the business of appraising souls, but I can’t imagine a child’s soul to be worth so little. Plus, any trader worth his salt knows to check an agreement first-hand when he's brought into a pre-existing arrangement.”

”And why don’t we go collect your trinket… get all the cards on the table. In fact, let’s all go… right now.” Jak points at the pumpkin-head, ”… including that thing. You’re here to square the deal. None of the people in that church are involved. So let’s take all this to whatever field the trinket is in. And I don’t believe for a second that you don’t know where it is.”


Jak Howell wrote:
"I think it best that we revisit the idea of you showing us that original contract, Mr. Black," he cuts his eyes to Marcus, "especially as it concerns any claims you make on what you think we owe you."

"You are mistaking my deal with Albridge's finest," which he says laced with a healthy dose of sarcasm, "with the debt you owe for breaking my toy. The first is set in blood, involves souls, and - frankly - isn't your business. The second is about the destruction of my property at your hands and doesn't involve a soul-price since it isn't a deal between us."

Jak Howell wrote:
"Your doll was destroyed after it took the lives of people who - from my understanding, and from the word of some of your deal-makers - were not covered in that original contract. I’m not in the business of appraising souls, but I can’t imagine a child’s soul to be worth so little."

The Demon smiles. "The contract protected the town and its inhabitants from any damage... IF your deal-makers met the terms of the agreement. They were to return my property and give over their souls at the end of the last planting season. When they decided to violate the agreement, I was no longer obligated to leave the town alone. In fact, your deal-makers were informed that there would be dire consequences for violating our agreement. They could have seen the foolishness of their choice after Phibes' death. Since they persisted in their stupidity, I made a more definitive statement with the Pegason family." He shrugs casually,"I won't say I didn't enjoy it - it's one of the perks of my job. As for souls... the only souls I've collected belonged to your deal-makers. The Pegason family were only killed; their souls reside on the planes for which they were bound."

Jak Howell wrote:
"Plus, any trader worth his salt knows to check an agreement first-hand when he's brought into a pre-existing arrangement."

The Demon's smile widens, "And you would be the 'trader' in this scenario?"

Jak Howell wrote:
"And why don’t we go collect your trinket... get all the cards on the table. In fact, let’s all go... right now." Jak points at the pumpkin-head, "...including that thing. You’re here to square the deal. None of the people in that church are involved. So let’s take all this to whatever field the trinket is in. And I don’t believe for a second that you don’t know where it is."

The Demon shakes Fruhand's head like a hat. "I'm not a farmer. I have no interest in mucking around in some muddy field particularly when our agreement specified your friends return the orb to me. But I will accompany you to the fields - if you wish - to prove I'm an agreeable fellow. But my friend here..." he stretches a double-jointed arm backwards to tap the scarecrow on its pumpkin head, "will remain here to ensure your good behavior. In a situation like this, 'heroes' might plan to attack a vile Demon such as myself. If that were to happen, the very first thing I'll be forced to do is have my minion butcher the Priest and every child in that church... and then start on the women. And you are right, none of them are involved in this... unless you make me involve them."


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

"May Sarenrae protect me for what I am about to say, but you are a vicious, wicked creature, Mr. Black! Have you no mercy for those who are innocent? You scheme and deal with bargains that bring no lasting benefits to the recipients. Why would they willingly make an agreement with you if you are so eager and willing to harvest their souls for a life time?"


Lyrica Strom wrote:
"May Sarenrae protect me for what I am about to say, but you are a vicious, wicked creature, Mr. Black! Have you no mercy for those who are innocent?"

The Demon laughs with delight, "I have none, not a jot. I am a creature of absolute evil and chaos. Given sufficient reason, I would gladly leave this village a flaming ruin filled with corpses."

Lyrica Strom wrote:
"Why would they willingly make an agreement with you if you are so eager and willing to harvest their souls for a life time?"

"Because the greed and short-sightedness of mortal races trumps any semblance of logic and reason."


"And how do we know when you have what's yours you don't set that....thing off anyway?"

Horror: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13


The Demon mulls the alchemist's words, "That's a good question. First, were I inclined to butchery, I could have started already and you'd still be in the same position you are now... just worrying about fewer people. Second, though you probably see it differently, my response to the breaking of our deal has been 'restrained'. I gave them time after harvesting Phibes to make good on the deal and I didn't have to limit my toy to claiming the Pegason family. Third - and most compelling for you - when they have fulfilled their side of the contract, I have to honor my side since they are no longer breaching the agreement. And the terms are clear - Albridge's crops and people must be left in peace."


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

"Why are we still talking? Let's get the device and be done with this!"


Jak nods, "Black, let's go get your device. You do know where it is, yes?" Jak makes it obvious he's wiling to set out now to get it, taking the lead if necessary.

He looks at Marcus and Aerik, "We need to bring the mayor and Mrs. Tull..." his voice drops as he considers them. "It'd be best if they came willingly, but they need to come. They're a liability near the townsfolk."


Black wrote:
"You are mistaking my deal with Albridge's finest,” which he says laced with a healthy dose of sarcasm, “with the debt you owe for breaking my toy. The first is set in blood, involves souls, and - frankly - isn't your business. The second is about the destruction of my property at your hands and doesn't involve a soul-price since it isn't a deal between us.”

Jak looks back at Black. While the fear is obvious in his features, some mix of youthful recklessness and bravado steels his resolve. ”And your deal was with the deal-makers, not the other innocent people your doll slaughtered. You wanted to collect on their overdue debt, you collect on it. Your doll was forfeit when it killed those innocents. You said yourself, you can reclaim the empowering soul at the end of a year. All it costs you is time. You keep referencing this agreement, which you have yet to produce.”

Jak ignores the comment about him being the trader.


Jak Howell wrote:
Jak nods, "Black, let's go get your device. You do know where it is, yes?"

Black turns his back on the Drearians and starts strolling east toward the fields that way. "Actually, I don't know exactly where it is. It's somewhere in the Waveharp and Phibes fields. When we're very close, I'll know it... but I lack the patience to be searching through every square foot of fields trying to stumble over it. I'll trust you to convince Tull and Trannyth to lead us there directly."

Jak Howell wrote:
He looks at Marcus and Aerik, "We need to bring the mayor and Mrs. Tull..." his voice drops as he considers them. "It'd be best if they came willingly, but they need to come. They're a liability near the townsfolk."

You'll have to 'escort' them, to put it politely. But you won't need to go through any rolls to make it happen. They aren't capable of resisting you with any great effort but they won't go willingly. Please give me some Intimidate or Diplo rolls to get the dealmakers to lead you to the orb.

As Tull and Trannyth are forced out of the churchyard, they beg and weep, clearly undone by their looming fates.

Jak Howell wrote:
"And your deal was with the deal-makers, not the other innocent people your doll slaughtered. You wanted to collect on their overdue debt, you collect on it. Your doll was forfeit when it killed those innocents."

"...In your opinion. To me those innocents were a 'late fee'."

Jak Howell wrote:
"...You said yourself, you can reclaim the empowering soul at the end of a year. All it costs you is time."

The Demon seems to be enjoying this theoretical argument, "Oh, it has other costs - but that isn't relevent. What is relevent is you destroyed my property, regardless of the use I put it to. You insist on trying to add a moral component to what is a property issue. Put it this way..." He glances eyelessly at Jak for a moment. "You have a lovely and expensive magical whip. You've had it for decades. I come by and destroy it willy-nilly. Would you not feel that I ought to reimburse you for it? Wouldn't you resent its destruction? That's how I feel about the doll."

Jak Howell wrote:
"You keep referencing this agreement, which you have yet to produce."

The Demon scoffs, "Nonsense. You people brought the contract up and refuse to let the matter drop... with your talk of 'renegotiation', wheedling to ferret out the terms of the agreement, and trader analogies... thinking somehow you can pull a rabbit out of a hat by seeing it."

To facilitate the unearthing process I'm going to assume you grab a tarp and several shovels which should be more than enough for the damp earth.


Jak walks over to the deal-makers, his voice soft but firm. ”Mayor. Mrs. Tull. You’re not getting into the church. The best thing you can do is come with us. You got into this to help the town, please keep them in mind. We need to protect them, and right now that means recovering that device. Please?”

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (9) + 8 = 17
If that roll (combined with any additional efforts from the rest of the team) isn’t enough…

Jak’s tone shifts. It’s no more loud, but the firmness grows into a steely resolve, the unspoken threat obvious. ”Mayor. Mrs. Tull. Your presence puts these good people in danger. I know you don't want that. You’re coming with us to retrieve the device. Whether you do so while retaining some shred of dignity is up to you.”

Intimidate: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (19) + 8 = 27

Assuming the comply to one of these two…

As the deal-makers go to join the group, Jak gives Marcus a look that says, watch these two.. Then, Jak looks over at Black. ”I need a minute with those inside… alone. They need to know what’s going on.” He looks at the demon, then at the pumpkin-head, ”We can pick up the discussion of what we owe you when I’m back out here. You and your big toy here are to remain out here until then. Agreed?”


Jak has to use a bit of diplomacy and a good deal of coercion to get Tull and Trannyth to agree to come along... but in the end, they do, though they stay as far away from Black as possible.

Jak wrote:
”I need a minute with those inside… alone. They need to know what’s going on.” He looks at the demon, then at the pumpkin-head, ”We can pick up the discussion of what we owe you when I’m back out here. You and your big toy here are to remain out here until then. Agreed?”

The Demon grins, "Are you acknowledging you owe me something?" It seems your answer to his question will affect his answer to your last question.


"I'm acknowledging it's worth discussing further. Clearly you and I have different perspectives on it, but I can understand yours, at least."


The Demon waggles his finger, "That's a slippery answer. You want me to agree to respect your private conversation and promise neither me nor my associate will intrude. What do I get from that deal? Nothing. As a trader, you know it's a poor bargain to give something and get nothing... So what do I get for my promise?"


Jak squares up to the demon, once again his nature getting the better of him. ”Oh, for fvck’s sake, what do you get? You get my word that the conversation continues. You think you hold all the cards, here, Black?” He has the bit in his teeth, ”You threaten us with violence to keep us in check, but here’s the reality. You don’t work with us… and the best that you get is the two souls and the device that you already own. Yes, you can kill us and the people of this town, but guess what,” he looks unblinking at Black, ”you’re not immortal. Last time someone forced our hand, we put that b!tch in the ground. We paid a price, for sure, but we had no choice. So go ahead, Black, leave us with no choice and see how that works out.”

Intimidate: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15; sigh, i guess i've seen worse rolls.... little help guys?

”Or you could just give me a few minutes of gods-forsaken privacy.”


The Demon looks amused by Jak's outburst and cocks his head curiously at some of his comments, "I hate to wake your terrible wrath, but let me be clear. I expect to leave with only my trinket and two souls..." He glances at Lyrica, "... or their equivalent. You've made it clear that you aren't willing to 'work' with me. So let's not pretend otherwise. If you were interested in dealing, we'd be discussing recompense for my doll, the prophecy that dogs you, or the terrible monster you will unleash upon this world in the process of fulfilling that prophecy and how you can best destroy it."

Black lets that sink in for a moment before proceeding, "Continuing this conversation about property value versus the 'cost of doing business' holds no interest for me. I was obliged to give you a chance to negotiate for the doll's recompense. I've done so. Since you won't even agree that it has a value that requires repayment, the discussion is pointless."

"To speak privately with the locals... here is the deal I offer you. I'll give you what you want, as you specified. In exchange, there will be no further discussion, no negotiations whatsoever, about recompense for the doll - ever. That door is shut. Agreed?"


Jak considers for a few moments, then shakes his head with a quiet curse, "Let's go get your device."


At Jak's response, the Demon moves out towards the fields. Our heroes accompany or follow along as they feel is safest, with at least two of them escorting the deal-makers. With some prompting Trannyth leads you quite a bit east of town where, not listed on the town records, the Phibes and Waveharp fields meet. Conscious of his effect on the deal-makers, the Demon is silent and stays out of the way.

Sadly, the Mayor says, "We buried it there." He points to an innocuous spot beneath the hoed rows.

OK, who is doing the digging, watching the deal-makers, keeping an eye on the Demon, etc.?


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

I'll dig

"What exactly do you think we owe in exchange for the doll? Can you give us some idea? I know what a goat is worth. I know what a shovel is worth. Don't know what a demon soul doll is worth."


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

"Aerik, let us not discuss the doll any further. That is not to be put on the negotiation table. We simply need to find the demon's trinket, and decide what to do for our dealers."


The Demon is about to answer the Druid's question, then stops when Lyrica voices her opinion. He shrugs in Fruhand's flesh and steps lightly in the damp field, his claws testing the earth.


Marcus looks at the Mayor and gestures to one of the shovels, picking one up as well. He stands on the side of the burial site such that he faces Black while digging.

Mr. Black--you come to collect what's yours, so I'd think you'd want some cooperation. What I don't get, is why're you treating Fletcher like he's the one who shirked on the deal? He comes forward and delivers what you want, and you wear his skin like a suit, taunt his sacrifice. Doesn't give much reason for these two to cooperate, does it?


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

"I thank you for your concern, Lyrica. And I would hear his response just the same. You all don't seem to understand that he thinks of us as cattle. Suppose he decides your left arm is fair payment for the doll if we don't decide to offer something else up instead? As I said, I would hear what he has to say of the creature's worth."


Marcus Braun wrote:
"What I don't get, is why're you treating Fletcher like he's the one who shirked on the deal? He comes forward and delivers what you want, and you wear his skin like a suit, taunt his sacrifice. Doesn't give much reason for these two to cooperate, does it?"

"They weren't going to cooperate, and I don't need their cooperation in any case. The Abyss awaits them and they cannot escape it. My fashion statement is to give them a sample of what awaits them... a little 'thank you' for their tardiness." The Demon seems briefly thoughtful, "Fletcher eventually did honor his agreement and suicide was a smart choice. The man had a strong will."


Aerik Wynn wrote:
"...I would hear his response just the same. You all don't seem to understand that he thinks of us as cattle. Suppose he decides your left arm is fair payment for the doll if we don't decide to offer something else up instead? As I said, I would hear what he has to say of the creature's worth."

Black considers, "If gold coins were of interest to me, the doll would cost some 20,000 to create. Infusing it with the soul of a serial killer who can follow directions - that was the real trick. I can't put a price on that. But coins bore me. I'd say he's worth less than a soul but more than a few corpses... call it the value of a service or two, depending on the service, naturally."


Jak tapped the mayor on the shoulder as the man began digging, holding his own hand out in an offer to take the shovel and begin digging across from Marcus. It just seemed like he was watching the man dig his own grave. A painful thought.

He shakes his head and tries to focus on the conversation between the group and Black as he begins digging.


Rat Bastard

OK, we have Jak and Marcus digging, possibly with some assistance by the Mayor. Anyone else want to commit to an action, speak up, otherwise, I'll just assign what seems reasonable.


Zeke assist digging for the artifact, the labor a way to keep calm in the situation. "Like the service of finding out where the artifact is and digging it out?"


The Demon laughs, "That would have been a fair trade... had you made it before you did all that work." He waves off any objection. "In the spirit of cooperation and because I've enjoyed our time together... we'll say your retrieval of my trinket and riding herd on these two is fair payment. Your debt with me is settled as soon as my property is returned."


Where did we put the pieces of that doll? do we have them?


Rat Bastard

Black meant the orb, not the remains of the doll. You can keep those as a souvenir. :)

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