Hopefully the forum module is finally patched...You guys already have the edge here at this point, so feel free to just start playing it out.
Spitter creeps around the corner while Leng takes position near the small tunnel and the rest of the group spaces out along the hall.
"Kill the ghoul, steal what it guards? Maybe then we can go home."
"Both of you shut up already."
The third voice is new to Spitter. It sounds like a female kobold whereas the other two are clearly male voices.
Great, now there's three! I hope the pink-skins don't think I was lying to them!
Stopping to just outside a short throwing range for a javelin, Spitter loudly clears his throat and 'thunks' his staff in the cave floor to get the other Kobold's attention.
(Draconic)"Greetings greens. These pink-skins and I wish to speak to you about the tower. Fight or run: I cannot guarantee your lives. These pink-skins are formidable. I have seen them in action myself. Talk, and I may yet convince them to let you live and return to your home."
Diplomacy(Unskilled): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15
Spitter cannot see the third kobold, but spots the two men wielding spears flanking the entrance. They appear nervous when they hear you mention others and glance back to a column in the room. A female's head pokes out from around it.
Her voice is calm and even and she has a bow aimed straight for you. Unlike her boys, her hands are not shaking.
Thanking all the gods that Kobolds do not sweat visibly, Spitter shows his only visible weapon to be his pitiful small staff, mostly used for walking with.
"I cannot promise an egg with gold in it, but I can say with good confidence they will listen to what you have to say green-scale. However, they will NOT let you withdraw otherwise. You have no other reasonable options I dare say? Come. Speak to me. You are their leader?"
Spitter points to the two shaking greens.
"I am called Spitter Snagscale. My tribe, the Cliffangers, is defunct. I am the last. What is your name??"
Her eyes flick to the other two kobolds. In common she says in a loud voice intending everyone else to hear, "The tower was an accident," she has no trace of an accent, "We were just supposed to make it look like we were working to bring the tower down to keep Hunclay happy. That is all I know, and my fellows and I have no desire for further conflict, please allow us to withdraw in safety."
Sense Motive(unskilled): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (6) + 3 = 9
"(Draconic)Your argument is facile green-scale. The pink-skins do not share our values because they do not exist in tribes like we do. They are individuals. They live for themselves rather than a group. That makes them different, not bad. I will try and prove my point with them, but we need more: Whom were you doing this work for? WHY were you doing this to impress the pink-skin Hunclay?"
Sense Motive(unskilled): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (11) + 3 = 14
"Hunclay hired us. The chief assigned me to guard the dig. I do not know the details or purpose. I should have listened to-" she stops herself from saying more, then shrugs. "Nighttail has been trying to stop the chief. She said the humans might see it as a sign of an attack, and that we have had a 'live and let live' relationship with them. When the tower came down, we knew she was right.
"Of course, the way things have gone for us Blood Vows lately? Too many of my fellow tribe will never realize what is happening. Maybe we avoid a conflict now, but sooner or later, the chief will be...will escalate."
The druid seems to feel like the kobold is on the level and searching for a way out.
Blue eye ridges furrowing, Spitter nods.
"(Draconic)I think I understand. The Blood Vows? I will relay this to the pink-skins in authority here in town. I will try and attend to your freedom for your honesty."
Spitter turns to the other adventurers.
"(Common)I think she's being honest pink-skins. She has no real reason to lie as far as I can tell either. They have been left to die basically. Standard kobold tribal practice: Cut off the limb that offends, and deal with the loss rather than die or suffer from it. Can I let them pass with guaranteed safety? We have what we came for. Punishing these three will only cause more unnecessary bloodshed."
|Pavo "Fish" Krupt|
"It don't make me no nevermind. We pretty got a fair idea of what happened, right? I mean guilty or innocent, they ain't gonna get no fair trial or anything. They'll be strung up on the spot. Might even try to put Spitter up there with them." Pavo shrugged.
"What can I say? I got a special bond with those who took a job honest and ended up being on the wrong side of the law" he said with a slight blush.
Spitter nods at the dark-haired pink-skin.
"Thanks...I guess? You others?"
Maellyra answers Spitter's question with a shrug of her bony shoulders. Having lived on the fringes of society for so long, the witch did not particularly feel bound to the laws of men. If the others with her sought to bring the green scaled ones to justice for their part in the collapse, so be it. Maellyra, however, considered their arrangement with the Baroness as having been fulfilled now that they knew that Hunclay arranged for the tower's collapse.
"So long as they cause no trouble to the people of Belhaim, I suppose... Where will they go now?"
Spitter looks at her earnestly and shrugs.
"Does it matter? They pose no further danger to the town, and would probably be slaughtered for going anywhere near it. If they go back to their tribe, their chief MAY take them back...or feed the birds with their body parts. Either way...no scales off your nose? Correct?"
The female kobold grunts and relaxes her bow pull. She lowers the weapon and breaths an obvious sigh of relief. "There is a tribe in the Verduran, not too far from here. We will probably seek them out." The other two kobolds nod and relax.
The trio gather their gear and hastily file out past the crew. The female turns back again and looks at Spitter.
The kobold's quick departure means they left a few items behind. A leather bag of coins and a handful of semi-precious stones. A small-sized shortbow of exquisite quality is concealed beneath one leftover pile of furs.
There are 20 platinum and 6 gemstones worth 25 GP each. The bow is a masterwork composite shortbow. You're not going to have to worry about splitting that with Shayn at this point, I have a thought on a graceful departure for him. The tunnel is far too narrow and long to follow from this point, but you know the cause of the collapse now, and the whereabouts of Hunclay. If you have any last actions that you'd like to take before departing please let me know, if not we can move forward soon.
|Leng the Wanderer|
Hanging his head, Spitter mutters to himself in Draconic after the other kobolds leave.
"(Draconic)What happens to the limb that is severed but lives on Great Voice in Thunder? Am I following your direction? Or am I deluding myself with thoughts of...change. To make things better for all my kind is lofty, and possibly beyond me. Am I the one? Can I follow your path without fail? Defend it after the pink-skins slaughtered my tribe just for existing?"
Shaking his head like a dog chaking off water, Spitter then looks to the treasure again, rubbing his hands together easily.
"Sparkly and shiney: My favorite colors!"
Maellyra offers her unsolicited advice with another shrug, as if to say that Spitter is welcome to heed or disregard her words as he sees fit. With their investigation of the tower coming to a close, Maellyra moves back to where Hunclay's body lies and studies the rubble he's trapped beneath with new insight.
Knowledge (Engineering): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26 Can they recover Hunclay's body without bringing down the whole tower? Would they need tools to do so?
It looks like the body could be recovered with little risk, though it would require the proper equipment. The other bodies can be removed and returned to the town for proper burial with some effort. The iron maiden where the imp was stashed lies open, the rope frayed and cut from being rubbed against one of the interior spikes.
Outside, the sun rises over a dew-covered village. A few early workers are lighting fires and milking cows as roosters crow. One of the deputies from the night before, the woman, is napping in the grass at the bottom of the rubble.
Spitter silently nods to acknowledge the strange pink-skin woman's words and to note her ability to speak Draconic.
Once outside Spitter pokes the sleeping deputy with his small staff.
"Wake. Get your chieftain. We must speak of the fallen tower and the pink-skin named Hunclay."
"Huh? Wha? Oh!" The woman jumps up confused and startled. "Uh, yeah," she blinks and wipes sleep from her eyes. She looks up at the brightening sky. "Let's go."
She leads everyone down Green Hill Road towards the stately Devy Manor and rings the bell. A weathered old butler answers the door, escorting the party into a small, cozy parlor. The deputy stands nervously with her cap in hand.
After several minutes of waiting, the Baroness arrives. "Welcome back. I am glad to see you are all safe. That place has claimed lives in the past. Calladastina has even expressed interest in potentially recovering any lost citizens. Please, sit." She clears her throat and asks the butler to bring some tea for everyone.
"Speaking of lost citizens, did you see any sign of Hunclay?"
I set the Roll20 page to a map of Belhaim.
Spitter will stay back and let the pink-skins do most of the talking here.
Feeling quite out of place in the Baroness's Manor, Maellyra sits opposite to Lady Devy with her hands clasped neatly in her lap, unwilling to even the too fine cup of tea set before her. As the Baroness speaks, the witch directs her gaze around the parlour almost absentmindedly, mentally comparing it to the ramshackle cottage she called home. She still manages to catch the Baroness's question, but it isn't until the silence drags on that the witch brings her focus back to the conversation, realizing belatedly that the Lady is waiting on her answer.
"We believe so, Your... Ladyship," Maellyra awkwardly answers, all too aware of her inexperience in dealing with nobles. "We found the body of an older man trapped beneath the rubble at the base of the tower. The man's head and face were pulverized in the collapse, but he was dressed in fine robes and carried a spellworker's pouch of ingredients. Also, he had these in him," the witch says, producing the brass key ring from her satchel for the Baroness's inspection.
"Does that description match Hunclay?"
The Baroness nods towards Deputy Mulle, who takes the key ring and looks closely. "It is Hunclay's, my Lady. I remember him throwing a fit about the custom locks."
"I would like to hope he somehow brought this on himself, but please, tell me whatever details you can. And relax, please, dear. How did the collapse occur? Did he have any conspirators that you are aware of?" She glances at Spitter. "What role did the kobolds have in all of this?"
Fearing the wrath of the pink-skin chieftain, Spitter cautiously stepps forward from the shadows of the corner.
"Yes ma'am. We found several more dead green-scales and three living ones. I spoke to the leader of the three living ones who claimed their tribe was hired by Hunclay to raise the man-tower...although they did not intend to succeed so well from my understanding. Nor did they intend for the pink-skin who hired them to die in the process."
Spitter leaves out that they let the three living kobolds escape for now. No need to make the woman suspicious of Spitter's motives or worried the three will harm the town further since they will not be returning.
"Well, luckily no one else was hurt in their attempt to con Hunclay. It is a shame to see a piece of history gone. So the kobolds truly represent no threat then? It was just business for them? I don't know that it would be worth the risk to the citizens to initiate a reprisal," the Baroness hums thoughtfully.
Shayn informs her that the kobolds did seem to indicate the possibility that trouble could escalate. She frowns in response and calls for her son.
"Arnholde, please ready a messenger. I may have more work in the near future if any of you are interested. I hope to work out an agreement or truce with the local tribe, and as outsiders you could represent a neutral, third party."
|Leng the Wanderer|
"I would like to stay in town at least a few days longer," Maellyra says, sounding as if she is asking for the Baroness's permission. "There are a few bodies that had been lost to time in the tower, and I would like to see them laid to rest." And to make sure the imp we inadvertantly set loose causes no trouble to the townsfolk. Maellyra lets that particular thought go unsaid. "I won't speak for my companions, but if I can be of any further help to you or your town, I will."
Scratching his scaly head with one small claw, making a slight rasping noise, Spitter nods slowly.
"I...wish to be of aid chieftain? But my mere presence among your pink-skins could cause you to lose favor...or risk harm to myself from those not understanding. However, I would be willing to sleep in the forest nearby in case you need me again?"
The woman smiles warmly. "Perhaps rest, first, dear, then I will speak with Calladastina and let her know you will be helping with the recovery. I will also send word to Talia to have your rooms and meals covered by my account for the next week. Now, please excuse me." She departs with a whisper to her butler. The man withdraws five leather bags that jingle, handing one to each of you.
Trying to update while slow at work, but on the phone with a crappy touch keyboard, lol.
Before leaving she turns to address Spitter's concerns.
"Mulle, until further notice you and your partner will act as bodyguards for Mr. Snagscale. The town will become used to you, but you may sleep anywhere you feel safe."
|Pavo "Fish" Krupt|
"Where he goes, I go" Pavo stated louder than he really meant to, thumb pointing back to his own chest.
"Little guy's been a big help, and we wouldn't know what we know without him." Noticing people looking at him and finally realizing the volume to his voice, Pavo blushed a little.
So you've been paid 100gp each and do not have to worry about food and shelter for the time being. You are welcome to do whatever you like about town. Each home or business has a character on the map to represent the various locations (and also track current attitudes) around town. Buy, sell, carouse, gather information, visit holy places, just look around, whatever you like. There are a variety of rumors and side quests, and if you notice on the Roll20 site you will see quests in the journal. I'm going to reveal and update completed one's and any new ones you pick up. I will also post in the recruitment forum as soon as I can seeking a replacement for Shayn, and would like your input when those start coming in.
Spitter has some collected Centipede venom that he would like to see if it can be 'distilled and saved' so that it lasts longer than a day or so?
Standing stunned at the Pavo's and the chieftain's pronouncement, Spitter can only stand dumbfounded for a moment.
"Th-thank you friend Pavo. I did not think pink-skins would...want to tolerate my kind. This is...maybe Gozreh had the right idea here for me...?"
EDIT: Spitter will probably stay with Pavo when he's around town until he feels safe enough to move around on his own.
Maellyra thanks the Baroness for her generosity in making arrangements for their stay. "I think you should reconsider," she tells Spitter.
As much as she's grown to like the kobold, Maellyra will take the Baroness up on her offer to stay at the inn, free of charge. She isn't accustomed to having such hospitality shown to her, and the witch intends to take full advantage of it while it lasts, solidarity be damned. She takes the leather pouch offered to her with a grateful nod before standing and waiting to be shown out.
Maellyra will head back to the inn (if the Church of Abadar is on the way, could she exchange the silver and copper pieces to gold?), have breakfast and take a quick rest until about noon, then she'll go meet with Bassy to learn more about Tula and the tower. If she sees Leng, Pavo or Spitter around, she'll invite them to join her if they're not doing anything else.
Spitter will go with Maellyra to Bassy's.
|Pavo "Fish" Krupt|
The House of Abadar, Belhaim's temple to the deity of the same name, bank, and chamber of commerce is not on the way, but is just around the corner. When you arrive you see clergy running about to prepare for the day's work. One of the busy acolytes approaches upon seeing the large chests loaded with coins. He weighs the containers then binds them with a ribbon and marks it with a wand before writing you a receipt. You are told it will take time for the church to process the request and to return after lunch today.
Talia smiles warmly when you arrive at The Wise Piper. "The Baroness' messenger just came by, we have rooms ready, or breakfast, whatever you like."
Maellyra hands the scrap of paper to Spitter as they leave the House of Abadar. "You can hold onto this. You did the work of counting it back in the cave; you'll be able to tell if the Abadarians try to cheat us."
At the inn, Maellyra tries to return a bit of the proprietress's warmth but the smile feels strange on her face. "Breakfast, please," she requests, scrubbing at her eyes with dusty hands. "I hadn't realized that we had been down there for so long."
Settling down at a nearby table, Maellyra tells the group, "One of the townsfolk, a gnomish woman, asked me to meet with her today to discuss the tower. She said she knew Tula Belhaim personally, which would mean she's lived here for quite a long time. It's possible she also knows a great deal about the town in general, if any of you are interested. I plan to go once it's a little later in the day and I've had time to rest."
Face buried in pile of food, Spitter looks up and nods with a string of sausages hanging from his mouth.
"WWShuf bee GRRReeet..."
Spitting bits of food out of this mouth as he talks, you suddenly get where he got his name from. After he finishes chewing his current load he continues.
"Meeting this older pink-skin would be...interesting. She must age like a dragon!"
He then quickly dives back into his food pile making noises of contentment."
"If you mean she grows larger as she gets older, I don't think you should mention that when you meet her," Maellyra advises, brushing a chunk of chewed-up sausage off the back of her hand. "After we speak with her, I thought we could go back down to the tower to recover the bodies. Most of them should be easy; the bones won't be very heavy. Hunclay's body will be more difficult, not only carrying it out but digging him out of the rubble," the witch says, her attention on her plate and paying no nevermind to whether any of other patrons are listening to the grisly conversation.
"For your kin," she asks Spitter without looking up at him, "What sort of rites should we perform? Do you bury your dead?"
Coming up for air again, Spitter belches and picks at his sharp teeth with a fork as he talks.
"Each tribe is different...mine preferred burning and throwing the ashes to the winds on the next ocean tide. These Green-scales? Who knows really. There are some that just feed their dead to whatever pets they have around. Although I vaguely remember a story of some black-scales sinking their dead in the swamps near their lair in order to attract more crocodiles. You know, I really like the flat bread-like things stacked up with the sweet tree-sap covering the mess. What do you call them...?"
|Leng the Wanderer|
|Pavo "Fish" Krupt|
"Mmmmmhhmmm, pancakes. Breakfast sounds great right about now, and then maybe a nap. I'll have two, uh...please" Pavo said with a wink and a smile.
"I guess we need to pick up some digging tools then, huh? Think anyone would be willing to go back in with us? Me and Leng here can only carry so much."
Spitter grimaces as he tries the odd sounding words.
"Mmmmmm spank-cakes. I like spank-cakes."
|Leng the Wanderer|
"Digging tools would be helpful, yes," Maellyra answers, unfamiliar with the concept of rhetorical questions. She gives a shrug in response to Pavo's next question. "The Baroness mentioned another interested in recovering the bodies. At the least they might have a cart we could borrow."
Polishing off the last of her meal, Maellyra rises from the table and tells the others that she'll be ready to go to the gnome's when the sun is at its highest.
|Leng the Wanderer|
Everyone is able to grab a nap and wake without wasting much of the day. Shayn says he is not feeling well, and indicates he will remain behind to rest further.
Talia provides easy directions to the gnome, Bassy, though her house is actually quite obvious. It is brightly colored and proportionally smaller than the other homes. A tiny white picket fence borders the precisely trimmed grass front and a gnome-sized stone birdbath stands in the center of the yard.
The gnome woman is sitting on the porch reading a large, human-sized book, but sets it down excitedly and approaches the gate to let you in.
"Oh, sweetie, it is so good to see you," she greets Maellyra with a hug. She looks at everyone and smiles again. "Please, come around back to my garden, I have some tall-folk chairs there. I'll make some tea and be right out." She hesitates, "Uh, the big guy is alright, yes? I would not think you would have come if you were mourning your friend."
Maellyra looks almost comically at a loss for what to do when the gnome embraces her, but, thankfully, the tender moment passes before it can become truly uncomfortable for the witch. "Thank you for having us. It's Bassy, correct? We didn't have the chance to introduce ourselves yesterday. My name is Maellyra, and these are my... friends," she says, the last word feeling strange as it leaves her lips. Still, she introduces Leng, Pavo and Spitter before following around Bassy around back.
"Shayn? He is recovering. There were a number of guardians left behind by Baron Sarvo and one managed to injure him quite severely. With test, he should be better in a few days. I'll tell him you asked after him, if you like."
Maellyra settles into one of the tall-folk chairs and waits for Bassy to come back out to the garden before broaching the topic of the town's history. "You mentioned that you were friends with Lady Tula. Did you also know this Baron Sarvo?"
The garden is a riot of color and mismatched artifacts. Cheap folk art resides beside ancient statues from far away lands. Tall exotic plants form a flowered wall of privacy. A set of chairs in various sizes and of various designs sit on the stone patio.
Bassy answers from within as she prepares some afternoon refreshments. "Good! And yes, please do tell him I asked and that I hope his recovery is swift." She arrives with a platter of tea, cups, and small sandwiches, turning the impromptu gathering into a miniature garden party. Two wands sit on the platter.
"There are some in the River Kingdoms who like to add sugar and chill their tea in the Sellen. I found it to be a rather amazing drink on a warm day," she says as she taps one wand against her cup, then uses it to stir the liquid. "If you'd like, I can make yours in that fashion." She picks the other wand up and utters a command word. A narrow beam of cold strikes the surface of the liquid forming small ice crystals that melt immediately.
"Fortunately for me, I was away when Baron Sarvo reigned here. I left to investigate the Irorian monastery that used to trade with Belhaim. When the rebellion started I knew better than to come back right away. So I travelled somewhere new, then yadayadayada, knew it was time to come home for a while and rest.
"I knew what the Baron was up to. A vile man. He was not very interesting to me, though I am curious about the tower's fall. I don't need actual evidence to tell me Hunclay was involved in some way. That man hated the Witch Tower. It blocked his view of the stars. Baroness Devy is a wise and capable woman. Very patient and smart. But, she misses her husband. She could have charged Hunclay a fortune, made him use some of his magic to better the town, and got rid of the tower. She held onto it as a reminder of him."
Spitter accepts the tea and tries not to grimace at the odd taste. He quickly sets it down worrying he'll break the delicate cup.
"Odd...you pink-skins get attached to a pile of stacked rocks? I can see the tactical benefit of having any tower for defense of course. But to be sentimental about it? Very odd. Although, I have to say your specific residence is sized better than most here for my comfort. Do you like...Spank-Cakes? I have been introduced to them recently and...they are delicious! As far as I know, my kind never has considered using sweet tree-sap in that way before."