SR's - Silent Gods (Inactive)

Game Master stormraven


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Rat Bastard

Hut to hut and house to house, our heroes search Dies Drear for survivors and the more numerous dead. Our heroes will only recall the rest of the night in a series of still images in their heads: blood-smeared rooms, the surprised or horrified looks of the dead, hauling away the long line of corpses frozen in thrashing poses courtesy of rigor mortis, and breaking in to houses where the townsfolk died while futilely attempting to stuff or block the gaps where the Mist entered.

At the heroes' direction, able-bodied survivors escort the stunned residents towards the Balatin house. When their numbers swell until they practically choke the river bank, they move en masse to the Assembly Hall. Thankfully, by that time, most of the bodies have been cleared from the streets and moon-set masks many atrocities in shadow. Elsbeth Rallo and the Ruske women set about taking care of the survivors, rounding up blankets, bedding, and food for all at the Assembly Hall. Harmon Strom, still unconscious, is carried in on a litter.


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

Lyrica, not willing to take any more chances, returns to her house briefly and dons her armor once again. Although, her wounds are still very raw and sore, she does not wish to be unprepared again.

After her father is brought in, Lyrica talks to Elsbeth Rallo. "Elsbeth, I do not know what happened to my father, but I believe he is still alive. My sister and I have given him some care, but more than anything, I think he needs rest. However, if there is anything I can do to help you or the other ladies, please let me know. I was never a strong healer, but I am willing to learn."


And so, another hour later, when the sky returns to full black after escaping the bloody moon and a few hours before dawn, the over-wrought and overwhelmed survivors of Dies Drear share the Assembly Hall and listen to the Counting. Instead of Hetmon Elias Marthuoun's strong voice reading the scroll, since he is among the fallen, the townsfolk listen to the reedy and gruff delivery of old Merl Guthwite - the previous Hetmon and oldest resident of Dies Drear.

"Here's what's them that 'a died this night... Gods keep'em all:
We lost the Balatin girls - Umbril and Cassi. Aerhart, Pru, and Gav Finiose. Lost us my kin - Beax, Anka, and Lil' Jode. Poor Marthuons we'll never see again are Elias, Lena, Connie, and Onivaar... leaving only just young Dru. Don't be afeared, Dru, we're all family here and Tobar Zirk there is gonna take good care of you. He knows what you are feelin', he's lost too many this night - Mara, Lohegrin, Nala, Tindel, and Kindel."

Listening to the count and looking over at the boy curled next to the older man, our heroes see the heavy price some families have paid. Dru, just a boy of 12, has lost his entire family. And Tobar is the father of a vanished dynasty. Merl turns back to his scroll, his eyes watering.

His voice remains firm, "Our friends the Odenbrands have lost Milla and Selwyn. Thom Rallo is gone this night. Many thanks to his wife Elsbeth for saving the rest of her family and organizing us here despite her loss. Finally, we mourn Delanor Strom even as we pray for Harmon to recover quick."

He puts down the scroll and picks up another. "That's bad enough. But we've got folks missing too. Can't say as they are living or otherwise. They was taken by this queer fog right in front of others' eyes. I saw it meself and weren't nothing to be done about it. With a heavy heart, I tell you that Jode, Trev, and little Hanna of my family are gone. Likewise, Annika Wynn is also vanished."

He drops the scroll on the table. "Folks, it's been a bad night... worst I ever seen and I been here since the very beginning. Ain't nobody here hasn't suffered grievous losses tonight. But we gotta stay together, gotta help each other, gotta stick together to make sure we all pull through. We are all we got. Everyone who wants to bed down here for the days to come, you are welcome. We'll be serving food and what comfort we can. Until we're sorted out and ready for a new Hetmon, I'll hold the post. I may be an old codger but I done it before. Now, make yourselves comfortable. Everyone on the council and anyone who has seen something this night we oughta know about, got any explanations, or got some skill to help us out of this fix - drag your asses back here. Time to hash some things out."

Without waiting for a response, ole' Merl heads through the back door into the communal kitchen.


Merl's squinty blue eyes don't miss much, even at his advanced age. He watches everyone like a hawk as they enter - looking for signs of fatigue, irrationality, or 'queerness' as he liked to call it. He's a lean-muscled old man who has made it a life-long policy not to take guff from anyone or anything. He was a boy when Dies Drear was founded, leant his hammer to every hut and house built, survived the blood feuds, survived the wolves of 1037 and 1038, survived Swamp Fever, and lived through every hard winter and plagued summer that ever befell the thorp. While his fighting years were well behind him, everyone over the age of 40 in the village spoke of Merl Guthwite as the hardest man alive and a proper danger with a blade, axe, shovel, or willow switch. He buried two wives and a dozen children or grandchildren in 78 years... and tonight he was mourning six more. And none of that showed on his face. He was granite.

He leans against the counter and watches you all file in. After an awkward silence for some, he says "Don't stand to ceremony. Ya got somethin' to say - say it."


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

Lyrica, dressed in the family's old suit of thirty pound scale mail armor with her scimitar held in its scabbard strapped to to her waist belt, walks into the back room feeling rather young, inexperienced and not just a little out of place in the armor. Finally, she builds up enough courage to speak up.

Merl Guthwite wrote:
He leans against the counter and watches you all file in. After an awkward silence for some, he says "Don't stand to ceremony. Ya got somethin' to say - say it."

"I know this may seem strange to many of you, but this evening I was out in the field behind our house when I had a vision. It was a woman with long flaming hair who gave off a brilliant light. When my eyes adjusted, she told me that 'Few will rise, many will fall. Prove yourself worthy.' I am convinced that this was the Dawnflower who spoke to me. Knowing that difficult times lay ahead, I think she was both warning me and calling me to action."

"It was not long afterwards that the deadly fog appeared and I came face to face with a great skeleton. It tried to kill me but I fought it off with my father's blade. I ran home afterwards only to find my mother slain and my father unconscious. Shortly after that, I was out in front of the Wynn's house and a goat that was transformed into a hideous creature attacked. Together, Ezekiel Druiminn , Aerik Wynn , Marcus Braun, Jak Howell and I fought off the creature only to just survive."

"I don't know what these creatures were, but they seemed related to death of some sort. I cannot help but believe these creatures are what is referred to as undead! Although I do not know where this fog came from or the fate of our missing friends and family, I would be willing to go forth in search of answers. My mother died and my father has not yet recovered, but I know they would have supported me in this decision to go forth and prove myself worthy. I ask that you would all support me and give me that chance as well!"


Sorry, couldn't get on earlier and wanted to respond to these points, so here goes...

stormraven wrote:

The Ranger waits for the beast to turn its head before driving his axe at a skew angle between the weapon-snagging horns. The axehead slams deep into the Goat's skull just above its baleful eyes. The foul creature's head whips sideways as its lamprey mouth reflexively snaps in Marcus' face trying to clamp down on his head in its death spasm. A moment later, its legs shake and the vast bulk of the bloated thing slams into the earth. Then the body squelches and separates in a wash of amniotic slime - leaving three broken and partially digested goats in a rotting skin-sack where there was once a single foul creature. You all stand ankle deep in the noisome effluvium of the beast.

With some effort, Marcus wrenches his blades free from the monster's skull before walking to retrieve his other axe. Disgusted, he wipes his ooze-ridden boots on the ground.

Lyrica Strom wrote:


Turning to the ranger, Lyrica apologizes quietly, "Marcus, I am sorry that I did not heed your words and ran out to attack the creature. I just didn't want anybody else to die, and I though that if I acted quickly I could help put this creature down before it could strike at any of us."

The big man gently places a hand on Lyrica's shoulder.

You were brave, and we're alive. No hard feelings here. 'Sides, no one put me in charge. He smiles awkwardly before seeing Jak's horrified face.

You aw'right, Jak? We should keep movin'.

Later...

Merl Guthwite wrote:

Merl's squinty blue eyes don't miss much, even at his advanced age. He watches everyone like a hawk as they enter - looking for signs of fatigue, irrationality, or 'queerness' as he liked to call it. He's a lean-muscled old man who has made it a life-long policy not to take guff from anyone or anything. He was a boy when Dies Drear was founded, leant his hammer to every hut and house built, survived the blood feuds, survived the wolves of 1037 and 1038, survived Swamp Fever, and lived through every hard winter and plagued summer that ever befell the thorp. While his fighting years were well behind him, everyone over the age of 40 in the village spoke of Merl Guthwite as the hardest man alive and a proper danger with a blade, axe, shovel, or willow switch. He buried two wives and a dozen children or grandchildren in 78 years... and tonight he was mourning six more. And none of that showed on his face. He was granite.

He leans against the counter and watches you all file in. After an awkward silence for some, he says "Don't stand to ceremony. Ya got somethin' to say - say it."

Marcus nods along with Lyrica's retelling of her experiences, then adds softly.

Eluon and me were up choppin' some Fey Birch when I got sloppy, got pinned under some rotten timber. Then the mist came, and with it a giant floating skull rose up from the ground. El' got me out from under that tree--he saved my life. We smashed that skull, came back here and...you know the rest.


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

"Likewise. I saw the mist. Got attacked by a Black Root. A corrupted tree. Would that I had had Marcus with me to chop it down. It's still out in the forest."

Aerik kneels and pulls out a handful of mistletoe berries out from his pack, chanting some words over them.

Goodberry: 2d4 ⇒ (4, 2) = 6

"I will help Zeke tend the wounded. But I mean to leave soon. I'm going after that accursed mist, and I'll be bringing back those that were taken. Don't wanna give it too much of a head start."

The druid walks around, distributing the magic-infused berries to his injured companions, insisting they will feel better.

I assume Zeke is going to use an extract to heal himself, because he doesn't have infusions yet, so I'll give 2 berries to Eluon, 1 to Harmon, 1 to Jak, 1 to Lyrica, and 1 to myself. If Zeke doesn't heal himself, Ill give only 1 berry to eluon and 1 to Zeke. Dunno if +1 hp will wake up Harmon, but at least he will be stabilized and considered "fed" for a day, in case he is out cold for a while.

Unless anything else is required of him, Aerik will go around and do what he can to help out further wounded people (please let me know if I need to roll heal checks). He can use create water as much as is needed so no one has to go out to the well and risk being attacked.


(hp 38/38, AC 17, T 11, FF 11, Initiative +1, Perception +5, Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +10)
Aerik wrote:
The druid walks around, distributing the magic-infused berries to his injured companions, insisting they will feel better.

"Thank you, Mister Wynn." Lyrica replies respectfully. "And thank you for giving one to my father. You are most kind."

Lyrica places the berry in her mouth and savors the flavor for a moment before swallowing.


I'm going to waive tending to all of the locals, so no rolls needed. I'll wait to adjust HPs until Ez has a chance to post and let us know if the physician will 'heal thyself'. As for Harmon Strom, coming back from the dead is traumatic so while the Goodberry helps, he is going to be out for awhile.

Eluon pops the berry gratefully and finds he no longer needs help to stand.


Stormraven wrote:
Give yourself 1 Horror Point, Jak. It has no adverse effects.

The horror… :D (couldn't resist)

I'm gonna put any relevant reactions from Jak into a "looking back" post, including Lyrica's, hope that's okay

In the kitchen

Like a wagon wheel unable to climb out of an especially deep rut, Jak's mind flashes back through the events of the night over and over. Stood up at the Tumbling Pool. The blood-red moon. The black mist. Nearly being gutted by Old Man Ruske's gaff. The terrifying trip back to the village followed by a far-more-terrifying arrival. Sara's kids. The bodies. Oh so many bodies. And then that… whatever it was. Jak was often accused of being brave to the point of stupidity, but this was something else altogether. He couldn't shake this feeling… like oil that had seeped down in between the joints of his bones and flowed sluggishly through his veins. 1 Horror point added. :)

He had experienced everything after that fight with the goat thing in the same way he was remembering them now… with an aloof emotional detachment. He remembers giving Aerik's concerned question a mumbling, meaningless grunt, eyes fixated on the pool of black around his boots. Even Lyrica's hug and concerned words–which would have usually brought some wise crack or playful remark given their strange relationship–simply got a half-heartedly returned hug and a muted, "Uh… they're fine."

It was all just so much to take in and process.

Jak tries to bring himself back to the present, where he leans in the corner of the cozy communal kitchen. His hands mindlessly clean his blade for the dozenth time. Despite having cleaned it after 'killing' Old Man Ruske's skeleton–if I can claim to have killed something already dead–as well as scrubbing it three or four times in the river after plunging it into that baby-goat-thing's disgusting black blood, he couldn't shake the feeling that the thing was still contaminated… tainted in some way.

No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't seem to feel it was clean.

Merl Guthwite wrote:
"Don't stand to ceremony. Ya got somethin' to say - say it."

For once, Jak isn't one of the first to jump into the conversation. Though finally he speaks up, his hands still working a now-ragged cloth over the knife, "Bloody milk in a cup, but I got something." He gratefully takes the Goodberry with a nod to the hermit and pops it in his mouth before continuing, "I was down-river earlier tonight… down by the Tumbling Pool." In Jak's current state, he doesn't even have the good sense to cover that last bit up. "When the moon went red and that black mist rolled through, well… some real stuff happened. Old Man Ruske's bones–waders, broken fishing pole, and all–stood up out of the river and came after me. The old man had reason enough to want to take me out to the switching shed when he was breathing, but that old bag of bones tried to hook me with his gaff." He turns to the side, lifting the flap of shirt to reveal the hand-length gash along his ribs. While Aerik's berry had knitted the edges of the cut a bit, the majority of it was still a blood-crusted opening… though the bleeding has nearly stopped altogether in the intervening hours. "I was able to put him… well, it down, but damn me if the bones didn't fall on the ground and spell out a word. 'Angarak.'" He looks around to see if the word brings a look of recognition to anyone's face, then he shrugs, "Doesn't mean anything to me. If no one here knows anything, I thought maybe I'd go ask old lady Zarzanna about it." He repeats his shrug, this time a bit defensively, "Ma always seemed to think she knew a lot more than folks gave her credit for."

He seems unaware that his hand once again fishes out the rag, beginning another mechanical cleaning of his now-polished dagger blade.

Jak has one more 1st level spell, so he could pop a CLW on Lyrica, though he'd try to be really circumspect about it and do it when most folk wouldn't see.


Lyrica Strom wrote:

Lyrica, dressed in the family's old suit of thirty pound scale mail armor with her scimitar held in its scabbard strapped to to her waist belt, walks into the back room feeling rather young, inexperienced and not just a little out of place in the armor. Finally, she builds up enough courage to speak up.

"I know this may seem strange to many of you, but this evening I was out in the field behind our house when I had a vision. It was a woman with long flaming hair who gave off a brilliant light. When my eyes adjusted, she told me that 'Few will rise, many will fall. Prove yourself worthy.' I am convinced that this was the Dawnflower who spoke to me. Knowing that difficult times lay ahead, I think she was both warning me and calling me to action."

"It was not long afterwards that the deadly fog appeared and I came face to face with a great skeleton. It tried to kill me but I fought it off with my father's blade. I ran home afterwards only to find my mother slain and my father unconscious. Shortly after that, I was out in front of the Wynn's house and a goat that was transformed into a hideous creature attacked. Together, Ezekiel Druiminn, Aerik Wynn, Marcus Braun, Jak Howell and I fought off the creature only to just survive."

Merl regards Lyrica quietly for a time. "Haven't seen that armor since your Da last wore it - before you were born. Looks like he took it in some to fit ya... Leastwise, it seems to sit you better than it did him." Merl lets the strange aside stand before he emphasizes his point. "I saw you folks battlin' that goat-headed beastie. No one here coulda done better." He makes a point of turning to Lyrica. "You handled that sword good. After that, nobody is gonna call into question whether you got a right be in this room. This is the Drear; We don't go leaving useful tools on the shelf... even if they don't appear to be naught but skinny girls in hand-me-down armor."

Lyrica Strom wrote:
"I would be willing to go forth in search of answers. My mother died and my father has not yet recovered, but I know they would have supported me in this decision to go forth and prove myself worthy. I ask that you would all support me and give me that chance as well!"

Merl nods, "You'll get your chance... not much we can do to stop you, at any rate. But best you temper that headstrongness with some wisdom, girl. This ain't about proving your worthiness - at least not by my reckoning. This is about saving our thorp and our people. You wanna prove yourself to Sarenrae? Save our town."


Aerik Wynn wrote:

"Likewise. I saw the mist. Got attacked by a Black Root. A corrupted tree. Would that I had had Marcus with me to chop it down. It's still out in the forest."

"I will help Zeke tend the wounded. But I mean to leave soon. I'm going after that accursed mist, and I'll be bringing back those that were taken. Don't wanna give it too much of a head start."

Merl wipes his face with his hand, looking tired, "Three of mine got vanished by that damnable fog. I was holding my grandson when he disappeared. I got more reason than any man alive to chase it down. But that fog rolled faster'n a horse can gallop. Unless you got wings, young Wynn, how you gonna catch it? And what do you plan to do with it if you do pin it down?"


Rat Bastard

For info on 'Angarak' - I'll need a K:Local or K:Geography rolls.

Common Knowledge: Zarzanna is an old hag that lives far outside town, a couple of miles past Aerik's hut. She doesn't have much to do with the town. She is a questionable resource for love potions, hexes, and the like.


Rat Bastard

Feel free to discuss your options and formulate a plan.


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

doh! i was gonna take k. geo at level 2. all i have is k. nature. anyone? i should be on later tonight to post an "in character" post


Know (Geo) 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14


(hp 38/38, AC 17, T 11, FF 11, Initiative +1, Perception +5, Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +10)
Jak wrote:
""I was able to put him… well, it down, but damn me if the bones didn't fall on the ground and spell out a word. 'Angarak.'"

Knowledge, Religion: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26

Does this name mean anything to Lyrica?

Merl Guthwite wrote:
""You'll get your chance... not much we can do to stop you, at any rate. But best you temper that headstrongness with some wisdom, girl. This ain't about proving your worthiness - at least not by my reckoning. This is about saving our thorp and our people. You wanna prove yourself to Sarenrae? Save our town."

"Yes, Master Guthwite," Lyrica replies politely. "I will do my best, but sometimes a fire burns within me and I cannot help myself. However, I will make a point to remember that we are saving the entire village and I can do much more if I stay alive!" Lyrica waits quietly as she genuinely thinks of how to best serve the people. Finally, she speaks up again, "Master Guthwite, I would ask my father if he was awake to answer, but since he is still unconscious, I will ask you instead. Is this mist alive? I mean is it like an undead monster that can come and actually take people? Has anybody in the village seen this sort of thing before?"


Rat Bastard

Lyrica - sorry you need a K:Local or K:Geography to know anything about Angarak.

Marcus Only:
The name Angarak is vaguely familiar to you. In your wanderings up and down the mountains to the Southwest, many miles away, you stumbled upon a set of Standing Stones once. You recall that a trapper you met referred to them as Angarak's Teats.


Lyrica Strom wrote:
"Yes, Master Guthwite," Lyrica replies politely. "I will do my best, but sometimes a fire burns within me and I cannot help myself."

Merl grunts, "I know. I was young once, too. Jes keep your wits about you. We have lost enough Drear folks a'ready."

Lyrica Strom wrote:
"Master Guthwite, I would ask my father if he was awake to answer, but since he is still unconscious, I will ask you instead. Is this mist alive? I mean is it like an undead monster that can come and actually take people? Has anybody in the village seen this sort of thing before?"

"Nobody has seen nothin' like of this before... Maybe it is alive. Maybe it chose to take some, slaughter others, and leave still others alone. I just don't know. But finding the answer to that question might tell us what happened to our vanished people - for good or ill."


Aerik Wynn wrote:

"I will help Zeke tend the wounded. But I mean to leave soon. I'm going after that accursed mist, and I'll be bringing back those that were taken. Don't wanna give it too much of a head start."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I assume Zeke is going to use an extract to heal himself...

"I appreciate the help, Aerik. This isn't going to be a simple matter. I should probably examine the...well, the goat. Maybe it'll have some clue on how it was transformed." Thoughts on Rowan and Olivia pass through his mind, beckoning him not to leave them. With an effort, he forces himself to push the thoughts aside. "I don't like the idea of leaving the town again, but I agree. We need to know what happened to the others. While you all prepare, I'm going to take a look at that thing, see if I can't learn something from it before we go."

Ezekiel will stay if there's any other conversation, but will want to examine the body of the goat. Also before going will prepare his last extract as CLW and use it.

CLW: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3


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

Jak, Lyrica can certainly use the CLW, but she will not likely ask you.

Guthwite wrote:
"Nobody has seen nothin' like of this before... Maybe it is alive. Maybe it chose to take some, slaughter others, and leave still others alone. I just don't know. But finding the answer to that question might tell us what happened to our vanished people - for good or ill."

"Master Guthwite, you know that I will do everything that I can, and with the Everlight willing, we will put an end to the evil that threatens our village!"

Jak wrote:
He looks around to see if the word brings a look of recognition to anyone's face, then he shrugs, "Doesn't mean anything to me. If no one here knows anything, I thought maybe I'd go ask old lady Zarzanna about it." He repeats his shrug, this time a bit defensively, "Ma always seemed to think she knew a lot more than folks gave her credit for."

"Do you really think she can help, Jak? I do not know her all that well, but she doesn't appear very knowledgeable on much?"


Rat Bastard

Ezekiel slugs down an extract. Health courses through his veins...

A's HPs: 8|14
E's HPs: 10|10
J's HPs: 8|10
L's HPs: 6|15
M's HPs: 14|14


(hp 11/35, AC 18, T 13, FF 15, Initiative +3, Perception +9)
Jak Howell wrote:
"I was able to put him… well, it down, but damn me if the bones didn't fall on the ground and spell out a word. 'Angarak.'" He looks around to see if the word brings a look of recognition to anyone's face, then he shrugs, "Doesn't mean anything to me. If no one here knows anything, I thought maybe I'd go ask old lady Zarzanna about it." He repeats his shrug, this time a bit defensively, "Ma always seemed to think she knew a lot more than folks gave her credit for."
Merl Guthwite wrote:
Merl wipes his face with his hand, looking tired, "Three of mine got vanished by that damnable fog. I was holding my grandson when he disappeared. I got more reason than any man alive to chase it down. But that fog rolled faster'n a horse can gallop. Unless you got wings, young Wynn, how you gonna catch it? And what do you plan to do with it if you do pin it down?"

Aerik listens to the discussion, frowning as he addresses Merl:

"I had planned to follow the trail of dead vegetation and animals. Shouldn't be hard to track something like that. I can't claim to know the mind of a living mist. But if an animal snatches prey, it usually means to take it back to its lair and eat."

The tired druid rubs his whiskers as he looks up at the ceiling, contemplating:

"Might be Zarzanna can tell us how to stop this thing. If she hasn't already been killed or taken herself. I'd hear her out if she can help, but we shouldn't wait too long. We should go at first light."


Just to be clear, the Mist originated SW of the village moved out in a circular wave spreading in all directions - a stone dropped in a pond is the only analogy that comes to mind. In any direction you go, you will find corpses and corrupted vegetation. There isn't an obvious single trail of devastation to follow. It's more like you are following in the wake of a nuclear blast.

Aerik wrote:
"I had planned to follow the trail of dead vegetation and animals. Shouldn't be hard to track something like that. I can't claim to know the mind of a living mist. But if an animal snatches prey, it usually means to take it back to its lair and eat."

Merl nods, "True enough. So maybe you should look to where it come from not to where it's goin'? Maybe that's its lair."

stuff:
??? 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (20) + 9 = 29

A's Perception: 1d20 + 7 - 1 ⇒ (4) + 7 - 1 = 10 range
E's Perception: 1d20 + 6 - 1 ⇒ (16) + 6 - 1 = 21
J's Perception: 1d20 + 5 - 1 ⇒ (9) + 5 - 1 = 13
L's Perception: 1d20 + 3 - 1 ⇒ (15) + 3 - 1 = 17
M's Perception: 1d20 + 8 - 1 ⇒ (1) + 8 - 1 = 8

Merl's Perception: 1d20 + 4 - 1 ⇒ (5) + 4 - 1 = 8
Others' Perception 1d20 + 1 - 1 ⇒ (17) + 1 - 1 = 17


As the others discuss their plans, Marcus quietly mumbles the word to himself over and over: Angarak...Angarak... until finally he snaps his fingers and perks up, moment of recognition dawning on his face.

Angarak, knew I'd heard it somewhere. Far off in the mountains, southwest of here, I once saw these stones standing up out the ground. This fellow sees me eying 'em and says, well, beggin' your pardon Miss Strom, but he says: "Those there are 'Angarak's Teats'". I don't know who or what "Angarak" is, but I can take you to those stones if you want. Best to make sure there's no more monsters and such in or around town, first, though.

The big man looks around to the others for input.


Lyrica wrote:
ak, Lyrica can certainly use the CLW, but she will not likely ask you.

Then let's assume he tried to distract her with some comment after the fight (and when the two of them found themselves – at least mostly – alone) and then tried to stealthily cast it on her.

Bluff (to distract): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 13
Stealth (to cast it discreetly -- though i realize there are limitations): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12
CLW: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6

Absolutely killer rolls there, Jak.

Lyrica wrote:
"Do you really think she can help, Jak? I do not know her all that well, but she doesn't appear very knowledgeable on much?"

"I don't know, but my ma seemed to think she was more knowledgeable than she was commonly given credit for." He shrugs, "Any option is worth exploring at this point, I would think."

When Aerik somewhat agrees, Jak nods to the man, "I'll go with ya." When Merl suggests they go to the mist's point of origin, Jak nods once again, "I was going to suggest the same thing. I say we do that after we check in on Zarzana." He shakes his head, realizing once again he's polishing the dagger, and he sheathes it. "I don't know what to expect, but on the off chance that the mist comes back, we should get everyone together in one building with a way of sealing off all entrances. And should probably arm and provision them… all before we head out."


Doh! crossposts!

Aerik wrote:

Angarak, knew I'd heard it somewhere. Far off in the mountains, southwest of here, I once saw these stones standing up out the ground. This fellow sees me eying 'em and says, well, beggin' your pardon Miss Strom, but he says: "Those there are 'Angarak's Teats'". I don't know who or what "Angarak" is, but I can take you to those stones if you want. Best to make sure there's no more monsters and such in or around town, first, though.

The big man looks around to the others for input.

Jak gives a weak grin, "Whatever it is… at least it's named invitingly. And securing the town's a good idea. Some of us can do that while the others are securing a building for everyone else to stay in until we think it's safe for people to move back into their houses." He chews on the information for a few seconds, "So, do you think the stones are called that because they stick up out of the mountain? Or could they serve some other function to be named that way?" He looks around defensively, "I don't have a clue what… just brainstorming."

So, spend a few hour securing the village and creating a communal safe-house for everyone in town? Then rest, and head out in the morning to visit Zarzana, followed by a trip to find the origin point and/or Angarak's Teats?


Rat Bastard

Whether she detects it or not... Lyrica feels suddenly better after Jak accidentally brushes her in passing to stand next to his father.

A's HPs: 8|14
E's HPs: 10|10
J's HPs: 8|10
L's HPs: 12|15
M's HPs: 14|14


Lyrica Strom wrote:
"Master Guthwite, you know that I will do everything that I can, and with the Everlight willing, we will put an end to the evil that threatens our village!"

A strange look crosses the old man's face. His glance strays to the village councillors that could be pulled from their grief to attend - Eluon Balatin, Mattin Howell, Orl Odenbrand, and Beatte Ruske. Unspoken messages pass subtly between them in a series of looks and getures. In the end, with a wave from Merl, Jak's father speaks.

"Would that the situation were that simple.... We may lose the village regardless. We are in a precarious spot here, far more than you know. Drear's prosperity and survival are intertwined in the lives of every person." He looks to Marcus and Eluon. "Our lumber-men and mist-foragers provide the first crops we can sell in the Spring. The money earned immediately goes to buying seedlings and necessities - like tools, salt, et cetera." His eyes find Lyrica, "Then our farmers take those seedlings and do their work. We hope for good weather and wait on the harvest. From the harvest, we feed ourselves as best we can but we also sell crops too... to repay our lumber-men, re-equip them, and gather the supplemental foodstuffs that will see us all through the Winter."

"We've lost half our people already. More will probably leave when Spring comes in full. Their grief will compel them to go. Who wants to walk these streets, now half as full as they once were, remembering the dead at every turn? So, how many mouths do we need to feed now? And how many hands do we have left to lumber, or plant, or harvest, or dry meat, or do all the little things we need done to keep our town alive? We've lost all of our chickens, many of our goats, most of our mules, and all of our dogs. That means no eggs, little cheese, little milk, smaller loads of goods we can move down and up the mountain, and fewer defenders to protect what little we have. We can only thank the Gods that this didn't happen at Midwinter or we'd be finished."

"I, we all hope you find and destroy whatever evil brought this upon us and return our missing family... but if you want to ensure the future of our home, we'll need you from time to time to put down your weapons and pick up common tools... to set about the dirty and mundane tasks that keep this town alive."

So, kids, this is the game in a nutshell... a RPG mixed with a healthy dose of Civilization for the town-building/survival aspects. :)

I will warn you that I'm going to be playing both angles. If you focus 100% on adventuring and ignore the things happening in town, you could defeat a great evil but at the sacrifice of Dies Drear in the process.

Given this game is a RPG - that will be the primary focus - so don't feel like you've got to be lurking in town all the time or obsessing that I'm going to ghost the town without giving you warning. You will get escalating hints when things could go wrong. It will be up to you to act on or ignore those hints. So when I offer you inglorious options like "Escort Mattin as he takes a load of lumber to Muuscarta to trade for seedlings", weigh the consequences of your choices and the fragile eco-system of Dies Drear.

I've already proved I'll kill half a town, don't think for a minute that I won't butcher the remaining NPCs if given a good reason. >:) Now you know why my IRL players call me (with great affection) a Rat Bastard.


Merl nods, agreeing with everything the Trader said, "As you young folks have rightly mentioned, we gotta keep everyone safe and feelin' secure - even if they really ain't. Since we got'em all here in the Hall, and it's the strongest building we got, an' a church no less... this should be our bolt hole. We fogeys can handle that."

"Sweeping the town clean... also a good idea. I seen you been doin' it already so don't let me stand in your way. After that, an' I hate to mention it, we got a grim task. Can't leave the bodies out - neither man nor beast. And we ain't got the hands or wood to do a proper pyre for each one with all the rites."

Arable land is at a premium in the mountains so the accepted burial practice is cremation which both saves on arable land and cuts down on potential undead or, among certain groups (not the Drear), Sky Burial.


Rat Bastard

Not trying to curtail the RP any, just asking a question. Is the plan to:
1. Secure the Assembly Hall (done by the Council/Marcus)
2. Sweep the town for more bodies and baddies (done by the PCs)
3. Examine the Goat (done by Ez)
4. Catch a little rest until morning
5. Track down this Zarzanna woman
6. (Assuming no other leads come your way) Investigate the rock formation called Angarak's Teats

Timecheck... it is now 3AM.


That was certainly my thought. I'm open to other ideas, too. This seems to hit all of our current leads/needs.


Marcus wants to help with the sweep of the town first. Once everyone is rounded up, he'd want to set up some bear traps and simple snares and whatnot near the assembly hall, just as a crude defense. If nothing else, an attacker could trip something and alert guards sooner than if the traps were not set, something like that. Then he'll stand guard for a bit and hone his axes, then hopefully get a couple hours of rest. I'll post IC later tonight.


(hp 38/38, AC 17, T 11, FF 11, Initiative +1, Perception +5, Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +10)
Aerik wrote:
"Might be Zarzanna can tell us how to stop this thing. If she hasn't already been killed or taken herself. I'd hear her out if she can help, but we shouldn't wait too long. We should go at first light."

Lyrica listens to the druid speak and decides that if he respects Zarzanna enough to go pay her a visit, then she must be alright.

"I will come along with you if that would be helpful, Mister Wynn. I am curious what she has to say."

Marcus Braun wrote:
"This fellow sees me eying 'em and says, well, beggin' your pardon Miss Strom, but he says: "Those there are 'Angarak's Teats'". I don't know who or what "Angarak" is, but I can take you to those stones if you want. Best to make sure there's no more monsters and such in or around town, first, though."

Lyrica blushes slightly as the ranger apologizes to her, but she smiles kindly in return. "How far away are they, Marcus? Have you ever been up them?"

Jak wrote:
"So, do you think the stones are called that because they stick up out of the mountain? Or could they serve some other function to be named that way?" He looks around defensively, "I don't have a clue what… just brainstorming."

"Well, I'm sure that if they were named by a young like you Jak, then they were named for their shape! I suppose we will have to wait and see. However, either way, it sounds like it is a good lead to follow."

Jak wrote:

Then let's assume he tried to distract her with some comment after the fight (and when the two of them found themselves – at least mostly – alone) and then tried to stealthily cast it on her.

Bluff (to distract): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 13
Stealth (to cast it discreetly): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12

Perception: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4

When Jak has a moment, he discreetly lays hands on the young paladin, but being distracted by everything else that was happening, she did not notice how quickly her wounds were healing.

quote=Mattin Howell]"I, we all hope you find and destroy whatever evil brought this upon us and return our missing family... but if you want to ensure the future of our home, we'll need you from time to time to put down your weapons and pick up common tools... to set about the dirty and mundane tasks that keep this town alive."

"Mister Howell, I know it will be difficult to tend to the fields without Mama and especially with Papa still in shadow, but Allegra, Mel and I are not afraid of hard work. We will rise to the occasion and do what needs to be done."

I did not realize that it had gotten so late. I think Lyrica would likely fall asleep from exhaustion any moment. Once she is rested, she will likely be of much better help.


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

Not trying to curtail the RP any, just asking a question. Is the plan to:

1. Secure the Assembly Hall (done by the Council/Marcus)
2. Sweep the town for more bodies and baddies (done by the PCs)
3. Examine the Goat (done by Ez)
4. Catch a little rest until morning
5. Track down this Zarzanna woman
6. (Assuming no other leads come your way) Investigate the rock formation called Angarak's Teats

Timecheck... it is now 3AM.

I am Aerik Wynn and I approve of this message :)

didn't realize it was so late though. i'll need 8 hours rest to reprep spells.


With the concerns of the town pressing on everyone's mind, the thorp's council and our heroes adjourn the meeting in the kitchen and set about their tasks, trying to look more confident than any of them feel. The council begins organizing the survivors, securing the building, gathering supplies, and trying to instill confidence in the scared and stunned Drearians. Ezekiel visits his hut briefly to pick up the tools that will have to pass for a true dissection kit before steeling himself to cut into the abomination near the well. Aerik, Jak, Lyrica and Marcus sweep the edges and hidden corners of the thorp for dangers unknown...

Meanwhile, in the now empty kitchen, a sniffle sounds. Lying on one of the crossbeams supporting the roof, Ritti cries in near silence. She snuck in to observe the council meeting.

It wasn't really eavesdropping, cuz they invited anyone who knew anything and I know plenty of stuff.

But she didn't realise the situation was this bad. Didn't know adults could get this worried. And definitely didn't realise that in addition to losing her Da today she might also lose the only home she's ever known.

The Drear is boring and I'd love to see some other neat places... but that don't mean I don't ever wanna come back!

Ritti jams her palms against her eyes, willing the tears to stop.
No Mist is taking away my home. No f@c<ing way!

She rolls off the beam and lands lightly on the table, like a cat. Listening tensely for a moment to make sure she wasn't heard, she scoots off the table and towards the back door. Ritti knows what she's gotta do and it ain't child's play anymore. This is a 'really real' adventure. She has to save her home. How exactly she'll accomplish that is filed away under 'to be determined' but she's fairly sure it will involve helping out Jak, the Strom girl, and those old guys.


Rat Bastard

Oh, somewhere in that list of 'To Dos' should be a part for Cremation... unless you want to leave that to the townsfolk.

Marcus:
In answer to Lyrica's question, Angarak's Teats is probably a three-day walk. You've been up to the stones but, putting it politely, they aren't anatomically similar to any woman's assets that you've seen. :)


Rat Bastard

Aerik, Jak, Lyrica, & Marcus

The sweep of the village is done expertly. No other undead are found - at least not alive. Just behind the Guthwite house, between it and the river, our heroes stumble upon the remains of two zombies. They are dressed in the tattered remains of their finest church clothes and both have been hacked to chunks by a sizable blade, something broader than a woodsman's axe.

Aerik

Aerik, finished with searching for enemies, turns his attention to the well - which may be corrupted by the close presence of the dead or the Ghul Goat carcass. He warns everyone not to drink from the well until it can be tested and casts a spell to create a supply of fresh water for the townsfolk.

Marcus

After finding no threats around the village, the Ranger sets a series of tripwires and snares attached to goat bells across the Low Bridge and around the Assembly Hall. Hopefully, they will provide an early warning.

Ezekiel

Ezekiel finds himself knee-deep in the viscous remains of the Ghul Goat and its constituent 'parts'. He is simultaneously repulsed and fascinated by what he discovers while probing the entrails, processed flesh, and semi-liquified bone...

K: Nature 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24
K: Arcana 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (19) + 8 = 27

Ez - a Horror Check (Fort Save) if you please...

Ez Only:
The Ghul Goat was composed of mostly living flesh and was able to assimilate corpses and then re-animate them to some extent. You are horrified to consider what might have happened had it managed to absorb and re-animate any of the townsfolk. They may have been capable of speaking or realising their appalling fate...

Turning from that vile thought, you can say the Ghul Goat was definitely a living creature, not undead. The radical changes the foetus underwent in the womb appeared to have both a chemical component from the Mist as well as some sort of magical effect which might leave a detectable residue.

It also appears this was not a unique effect that can only affect goats. In essence, you could encounter many sorts of 'Ghul' creatures... Ghul Mules, Ghul Bears, Ghul Wolves, even possibly Ghul Humans.

It seems that they can assimilate creatures without end which spurs their physical growth. Although it appears that the larger the creature is, the more flesh must be absorbed to increase its size. Thus the Ghul Goat you encountered required three Small goats to become Large. To go beyond Large, it would probably need to assimilate 2 Medium creatures (such as townsfolk) or 4 Small creatures, etc.

ALL

An hour later sees you all back at the Assembly Hall and ready for sleep, your tasks for this long, horrible night finally over.


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

I prepared new spells assuming we are resting. Do we recover a hp for sleeping? I can never remember if it is +1 for 8 hrs or +1 for an entire day of rest.


Rat Bastard

I never remember that either... found it:
Eight hours of normal rest allows a character to recover 1 hp per character level... Twenty-four (24) hours of complete rest allows a character to recover 2 hp per character level.

I'll give folks a little longer to respond and then I'll move on.


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

I never remember that either... found it:

Eight hours of normal rest allows a character to recover 1 hp per character level... Twenty-four (24) hours of complete rest allows a character to recover 2 hp per character level.

I'll give folks a little longer to respond and then I'll move on.

Thank you sir. I was tempted to prepare produce flame incase I run into that pesky Black Root again, but I figured we will probably end up going as a group, and Zeke can just fire bomb it. Better for me to Have a CLW ready. :)


I'm assuming we're taking the 8 hour option to regain 1 hp and our spells/resources? If not, then that's what I'd suggest. We might be a little low on HP, but there is a lot to do, and time may be against us in some way we don't even know yet. I'd prefer to be a bit paranoid and overly proactive than play it slow and miss something crucial.

stormraven wrote:

Aerik, Jak, Lyrica, & Marcus

The sweep of the village is done expertly. No other undead are found - at least not alive. Just behind the Guthwite house, between it and the river, our heroes stumble upon the remains of two zombies. They are dressed in the tattered remains of their finest church clothes and both have been hacked to chunks by a sizable blade, something broader than a woodsman's axe.

Jak kneels over the bodies, inspecting their bodies, clothes, and gashes to glean information that may help get a broader picture of the night's events.

This is the second reference to one of the undead/monstrosities being finely dressed (the first being around Sara's house). Are they people Jak recognizes from the town? Or people he'd recognize from the town's past? If no to either of those, does Jak recognize anything about them, their clothes, or anything they carry?
Knowledge: Local: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14

And secondarily, the bodies' placement and wound-marks. Does Merl use a blade that would match those hack-marks? Or does anyone in town have a blade like that? It seems kind of distinctive in its size. I'm not really sure that this is a revelation of importance, but I'd prefer to realize it now if someone other than one of our villagers hacked down these two undead. And if that's the case, where is the hacker now? And is he a threat or an ally? Could be nothing, but I'd prefer to have it in mind now as we move forward with our investigations.


Rat Bastard

My assumption was you guys would take 8 hours of sleep and get back another point as well as 'spell up'. In fact, I've already added those points, I just didn't get around to posting them. :)


Rat Bastard

Inspector Jakwin - Scotland Yard

Jak looks over the corpses and the scene in the torchlight. His boots crunch on the remnants of a leaded glass window. The jagged remains, like jack-o-lantern teeth, hang from a Guthwite window. Beneath the house, the earth is turned up. The corpses are old, and rotted - beyond recognition. But their clothes are a bit out of date... even by the rustic standards of the Drear.

The young Scoundrel doesn't know every inhabitant that built Dies Drear... but he does know the town's history. Back in the early days, some folks were buried not burned. Since crops weren't grown beneath the houses, those were the most logical burial spots. After an outbreak of Bloatflies about forty years back, the elders banned the tradition... and all of the town's families unearthed their dead and consigned them to the flames instead. In this case, it looks like a few people were missed.

You've never seen Merl wielding anything but a woodsman's axe or a willow switch. And he is fair hand with both. Jak is able to painfully remember how precise the old man is with a switch. But at 78, Merl's warring days happened before any of the heroes were born. He's also not much for talking; He's more of a do-er. Having said that, you could well imagine the old man might have a war axe stashed away from his 'glory days'... and the evidence at the house suggests someone came out of that window.


Jak looks up at Marcus, "I don't suppose you can suss out any tracks or anything that could help us determine who hacked these two up? I mean, I guess it's not impossible for an old coot like Merl to jump through a window and single-handedly hack two opponents down without picking up some wounds… but the guy's 78. Be nice to know fi someone else had done this work. We should ask Master Guthwite if he even owns an axe that could make those marks."

Jak will interview Merl about the scene when they're done moving the bodies. Does Merl have any living sons (well, living as of the beginning of the horrible night) who could have jumped through the window? I seem to remember him having girls.


Rat Bastard

The Campaign Tab, my man...

Post-Mist Populace spoiler:
Guthwite, Merl (Grandfather) - 78
See Rallo, Elsbeth - 42
Guthwite, Stix (Son) - 17
Guthwite, Uller (Son) - 15
Guthwite, Martin (Son) - 10


Merl Guthwite wrote:

Merl nods, agreeing with everything the Trader said, "As you young folks have rightly mentioned, we gotta keep everyone safe and feelin' secure - even if they really ain't. Since we got'em all here in the Hall, and it's the strongest building we got, an' a church no less... this should be our bolt hole. We fogeys can handle that."

"Sweeping the town clean... also a good idea. I seen you been doin' it already so don't let me stand in your way. After that, an' I hate to mention it, we got a grim task. Can't leave the bodies out - neither man nor beast. And we ain't got the hands or wood to do a proper pyre for each one with all the rites."

The words strike hard for Marcus as he knows the value of good lumber, but the importance of burning the deceased lest the evil mist return. He approaches Guthwite and leans in close, whispering.

The Finiose house was...a nightmare. I can't see how anyone could live there now, not after what happened. They're welcome to stay with me and mine until we get more lumber and rebuild. We could use the house to build a pyre for all the poor souls lost, use the animals we have left to haul some rocks to surround the house, have some folk smarter'n me to say some kind words, and make sure our friends don't come back to see us some night. Just a thought.

Then

Lyrica Strom wrote:


Lyrica blushes slightly as the ranger apologizes to her, but she smiles kindly in return. [b]"How far away are they, Marcus? Have you ever been up them?"

Nope, was just passing by, but as I recall it was 'bout 3 days journey from here. With the way things are now, though, might take longer if we don't want to walk around at night.

Jak Howell wrote:

Jak looks up at Marcus, "I don't suppose you can suss out any tracks or anything that could help us determine who hacked these two up? I mean, I guess it's not impossible for an old coot like Merl to jump through a window and single-handedly hack two opponents down without picking up some wounds… but the guy's 78. Be nice to know fi someone else had done this work. We should ask Master Guthwite if he even owns an axe that could make those marks."

Marcus nods, then crouches down on his haunches, holding up his lantern to inspect the tracks on the ground and seeing what he can about the scene.

Survival 1d20 + 7 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 7 + 1 = 13

Later, after the clearing is done, Marcus speaks to Guthwite again.

Not sure how much it'd help, but I can setup a bear trap, maybe a few snares, slow down anything the mist might send or at least give us some warning before any beasts are upon us at the assembly hall. Just make sure everyone knows where they are. Should I? He looks expectantly at the de facto leader of the town.


(hp 38/38, AC 17, T 11, FF 11, Initiative +1, Perception +5, Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +10)
Ritti "Red" Rallo wrote:
She rolls off the beam and lands lightly on the table, like a cat. Listening tensely for a moment to make sure she wasn't heard, she scoots off the table and towards the back door. Ritti knows what she's gotta do and it ain't child's play anymore. This is a 'really real' adventure. She has to save her home. How exactly she'll accomplish that is filed away under 'to be determined' but she's fairly sure it will involve helping out Jak, the Strom girl, and those old guys.

Perception: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (17) + 3 = 20

If Lyrica spots Red:

Lyrica will approach the young girl and speak to her as a kind, wise older sister. "Red, I saw you hanging out listening to the others. How are you doing? I'm so sorry to hear about your father! Where are your siblings? Do they know that you are safe? They must be worried sick about you? Do you want me to take you home?"

Stormraven wrote:
The sweep of the village is done expertly. No other undead are found - at least not alive. Just behind the Guthwite house, between it and the river, our heroes stumble upon the remains of two zombies. They are dressed in the tattered remains of their finest church clothes and both have been hacked to chunks by a sizable blade, something broader than a woodsman's axe.

Although Lyrica is tired, she cannot leave the others to continue on their own. She helps out wherever possible tending to the wounded and with the gathering of the deceased. With compassion and sympathy, she offers comfort to those in sorrow and grief as well as any helpful words to those in mourning.

Marcus wrote:
"Nope, was just passing by, but as I recall it was 'bout 3 days journey from here. With the way things are now, though, might take longer if we don't want to walk around at night."

"Well, Marcus, if you are making the journey out to the peaks, I would be willing to accompany you and offer you what assistance I can. I certainly do not have the tracking skills that you do, but I have a scimitar and my father's armor as well as a fiery heart that has been blessed by the Dawnflower. I would be willing to go and prove myself!"


The ranger bristles, and replies mechanically:

Your help is welcome, he says, bowing stiffly.

Bluff 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (6) - 1 = 5

Sense Motive DC: 5:
Marcus is angered by the casual mention of Sarenrae, but for civility's sake tries (probably in vain) to hide his feelings on the subject. I just feel that Marcus' faith would be tried originally when his wife died, and now in a seemingly impossible situation with the dead rising and half the village getting slaughtered, any little faith he had in the gods would be eradicated.


Disregard Marcus' question about the traps--somehow I missed the post saying I set the snares

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