Tidus bows before Laurel, giving her a sincere smile.
"My lady, pardon the intrusion. It seems you have your hands full this morning. This is Shalyna, Firebeard, and Hassan, travelers and adventurers who happened to wander in to Falcon's Hollow at the most unfortunate of times. But we are all here to help with whatever we can.
The sheriff filled us in on what's happening, and we know the disease has been identified as Blackscour Taint. Is there anything you know about this plague? Where it originated from? And is there anything we can do to help?"
Laurel answers, "Blackscour is just a fungus that’s not good for anything. Hard, bitter, and sharp, it likes the water and gets you sick if you drink it down. Never heard of it growing around these parts, though, until now. Blackscour Taint is a sickness, almost like any other, but you get the mold growing in you. It starts eating away in your chest and belly and is damned determined to stay. Your body near turns itself inside out trying to hack the stuff up, but all that does is cuts your guts up… bad. That's about all I know about the disease - haven't had much time to do much research, as I've been trying to take care of all those lined up out my door. You want to help? Any of you got any magical healing abilities? Maybe we can try that."
Firebeard listens with interest as the woman explains what the disease is, and how it is contracted. Bu, he shakes his head when the woman asks about divine healing. "Not I, ma'am. I be one fer more...physical pursuits. Though Shalyna here, she be the more magical type."
Hassan glances at Shalyna, wondering just what form her magic takes... but he is certain of his own.
"I have some small skill as a healer, by the grace of the Dawnflower, including some access to her divine power. I would be pleased to aid in any way I can."
Will burn Bless as a Cure Light Wounds, on whichever patient Laurel chooses.
Laurel looks almost surprised that someone offered help. "No, I don't think that would be necessary..." She shakes her head solemnly. "Not even my grandmother could have...wait...huh..." She trails off, clearly deep in thought. She turns her back to you, ignoring you completely. She rummages through a dusty bookshelf that looks as if the tomes haven't been touched in ages. "Yes...here...hmm..."
Turning back to you, she holds open a book - looking closely, you see what looks like scribbles and strange notes - you can't make anything of it.
"Well, I don't know that it will help, but my grandmother’s book has a brew in it that says its good for this kind of thing. A weird concoction that sounds more like hoojoo than real medicine."
She peers at the book, talking to herself as much as you. “Let's see...it needs some rare roots and concentrations, most of which I have here...but...damn...there’s three I don’t. Elderwood moss, which I’ve never even heard of. Oh...wait...Granny says here that the stuff only grows on the oldest tree in a forest. Next, a specially pickled root called rat’s tail. Again, sounds like more of her hoojoo to me. And seven ironbloom mushrooms, stunty little things that only grow in dark places thick with metal, a favorite among dwarves. Or so I hear."
Looking up she pinches the bridge of her nose and says, "If you're serious about helping, maybe you can collect these missing ingredients." There's a furious fit of coughing behind you and Laurel returns to her matter-of-fact tone. "We had our first death last night, and more are sure to follow. I don't have time to waste on this nonsense. If you want to try to find these 'mystery' ingredients, be my guest. But I'm going to stay here and keep these poor sods from coughing up a lung."
"Ironroot mushrooms, ye say? Me mum used to make a soup with those. 'Course, only a dwarf'd like it. Bit o' tang t' it tha' makes it sing t' a dwarf's stomach...and would prolly curdle your'n. Still I imagine there be some hereabouts. Dunno about th' rest o' them things though. Where would we find an' Elder Tree? Or rat tail root? I be happy to go an' look fer 'em - with them as wants t' go - but I be a stranger t' these parts."
Tidus nods his head at Laurel.
"It's a start, thank you Laurel. Even if it's 'hoojoo' as you say, at least there's a chance of discovering the source of this disease and a way to cure it. I will set out immediately and return as soon as I can."
Tidus turns to the rest of the group.
"I don't expect you all to get involved with this affair. There's likely no reward in it, and the longer you remain in Falcon's Hollow, the greater the likelihood of contracting this wretched disease yourself. The forest can be a dangerous place, one that you might not return from. Please consider this before making up your mind."
Are there any skills I can roll to see if I'm familiar with any of these items or locations? Knowledge Nature, Knowledge Geography, Survival...?
Kn(nature) would be my guess, speaking of which.
Kn(nature): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (2) + 7 = 9 Elderwood moss
Kn(nature): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (1) + 7 = 8 Rat Tail root
Kn(nature): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26 Ironbloom Mushrooms ... figures
She's specifically trying to remember if they can be found nearby, what to look for, and if there's anything that looks similar and how to tell the difference.
"I'm honestly shocked that you would suggest that we're only helping for a reward! There are people in need and I will not abandon them!"
Shalyna's outburst sends the small owl on her shoulder into flight as the elf rounds on Tidus. She leaves out the door giving the people in line a polite "Pardon me," as she squeezes past. As her anger ebbs, she turns to the problem at hand, specifically, where to find these ingredients.
Hearing the exclamation from Tidus, Zane knew it was not addressed to him specifically, but still he found himself confused at the elven lass reaction. He raised his hand after her, as if to say - "No, he did not mean it that way", but after seeing similar confusion in his friends eyes, he says nothing. Casting a quick glance towards dwarf and Hassan, Zane quickly follows suite as he walks outside going after Shalyna, still at a loss of words.
You can roll Geo, Nature or Local.
You don't remember ever hearing anything about Elderwood Moss or Rat Tail Root. However, the Mushrooms do ring a bell. They are small fungi that only grow in dark places with lots of metal. These mushrooms are a favorite meal for dwarves. Unfortunately, you have no idea where to find any near here.
Reaching Shalyina, Zane was still not sure as to what he would say, and suddenly he felt very awkward in this situation.
"You know, he did not...I mean..." - scratching behind the right ear, he changes topic flat-out - "Look, regarding those roots Laurel mentioned, I might know a bit maybe..."
Knowledge Nature: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25
Tidus follows after Shalyna and when he reaches her, he looks the elf in the eye and solemnly tells her,
"I apologize for the misunderstanding. I have only known you for maybe an hour or so, and thus I am uncertain of many things. The same goes for the Qadiran and the Dwarf. I mean, does volunteering to help a community you have no ties with by embarking on a potentially dangerous mission make a lot of sense? So you must be able to see where I am coming from.
But I am now beginning to see within you and the others the same type of spirit that resides within Zane and I. A desire to simply help whenever you can. Maybe tragic circumstances instilled this motivation in you, or maybe you were born with it. But Zane and I would be honored to have you, Hassan and Firebeard join us and aid our village."
As Tidus finishes his speech, he begins to think back to Laurel's words and attempts to recall if he's ever laid eyes on any of the descriptions she gave.
Knowledge (Nature)... 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
Knowledge (Geography)... 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (10) + 3 = 13
The dice hate me thus far!
Holy crap, nice roll, Zane!
You remember from one of your forays into the forest, that there is a tree called "The Forest Elder," which some say is the oldest tree in the forest, by far. You remember vaguely how to get there, by following the road to the northern-most Lumber camp and cutting through the woods. You have no idea where to find the root or the mushrooms, unfortunately.
"...as I was saying, I know for sure where we could find some of that Elderwood Moss. If Tidus was not such a fraidy cat, and if he had spent as much time in the woods crafting his skills, like I did, instead of praying like some friar, he might have known too."
Winking mischievously and grinning all the while, he continues: "There's a tree called "The Forest Elder", of which some say is the oldest tree in the forest by far. We can find that Moss over there for sure, and I know how to get us there."
"I be all fer goin' now, but be there someone on th' way per'aps tha' might know o' these other items? Mebbe we could get 'em all and get back 'ere afore any more kids die o' this malady."
Barring a significant delay there or back, Shalyna is good to go.
Shalyna's expression is rather downcast at the mention of children dying.
This isn't right. this is supposed be a time of rebirth and renewal, not of fearing death.
"All I need is my backpack back at the Inn and I'll be ready to go. I just pray that Shelyn looks over these people until we can get back."
Since I don't want to act on OOC GM knowledge...
But in fact Hassan has been at the inn most of the time he's been in town, and has neither food nor water for extended trips. Water will only be a problem today, tomorrow at dawn he can switch out an orison for Create Water.
"How long will the journey to the tree take, Zane? I fear I am not outfitted for such a journey - is there somewhere in town I can buy trail rations?" Hassan asks.
Firebeard has trail rations, and I suppose we can rely on the rangers' survival skills to forage and hunt.
"Aye lass, let's go pick up our packs and then we'll be ready to be off!" Firebeard's words had a bit of excitement to them. The dwarf felt strongly that this is what Kols had called him to do here.
Once he had recovered his pack, Firebeard distributed several sharply pointed bits of metal into various pockets, pouches, and clothing folds about his person. The rest resided in a leather pouch tied at his left hip.
Shalyna grabs her pack from her room and rushes down the stairs. she finds Jak and tells him what they're doing and that they might not be back for supper.
When she finds the rest of the group with Firebeard, she is a bit happier, the excitement of finding something new is just too powerful to let the elf be too sad.
"Well then, shall we go?"
"How long will the journey to the tree take, Zane? I fear I am not outfitted for such a journey - is there somewhere in town I can buy trail rations?" Hassan asks.
Zane scratches his chin, feeling rather important. An "approval" from Tidus meant a lot to him, although he would never have admitted it out loud. Hiding his confusion for a second, he pretends to recount and calculate the time needed for the trip to the "Forest Elder"
"Well, master Ahmadi, I would say that it will take us at least one full day until there. We need to follow the road to the northern-most Lumber camp and then cut through the woods. But as I said, we can only find Elderwood Moss there, I really do not know anything about those two other things..."
Letting his sentence trail in the air for a bit, he casts an inquisitive look towards Tidus, before continuing: "Now, I do have some trail-food prepared and it should be enough to feed a couple of u for a day. Plus, Tidus and me should be more than able to keep our stomachs full, for such a short time. Let me just get back to my home, pick up trail-food and other stuff, and I'll be ready to go. Meet you back here shortly, eh?"
With that, he disappears around the nearest corner. Barely 20 minutes later, Zane returns carrying an old but obviously very sturdy brown backpack over his left shoulder. however, much more visible than the backpack is huge flail, strapped onto his back. In his hands, he brandishes a shortbow made of yew wood.
"Ready to go when you are" - he pronounces with a smirk.
As Hassan, Shalyna and Firebeard leave, Jak hands you a small map and a bundle of food (you have added three days worth of trail rations for the three of you). He warmly tells you that your rooms will still be available when you return and how grateful he is for your assistance.
It is still morning when you finally leave Falcon's Hollow. Zane tells you that it will be about 12 miles to the first lumber camp, plus another 6 before you will enter the woods called Darkmoon Vale. As you have already missed the coaches and the ferry that carry some of the lumber workers to the camps from the village, you will have to walk.
1d10 ⇒ 3
"So, how long ye been in this area? I get th' feelin' tha' Zane's been here a bit, while the other two o' ye been here a might bit less than tha'. Me'n th' elf only been here th' night, as ye probably know."
Firebeard was happy to chat as they walked to their first destination, though he kept his senses peeled for any signs of ambush, animal or otherwise. His time on the road had made him cautious about such things.
"Yep, master dwarf, as you noticed, I was born 'ere, so I know quite a lot of the area. My friend Tidus here, well, I guess he heard that he could become a proper ranger here, so he came quite a few years ago to learn. Since he is here for so long, one could say that something will become of him...for now he's a real good beginner, and it only took him a bit more than 5 years to become one"
Grinning like crazy, Zane keep on babbling: "So comrades, what do we do after we find moss? How do we come by other ingredients? Anyone have any ideas?"
"If there's a dark damp place with lots of metal around, we may be able to find the ironbloom mushrooms there."
Tidus turns to Zane as they begin traveling.
"Zane, maybe we should speak with Milon Rhoddam. If anyone know these woods, it's him. Though I'd prefer not to get involved in any Lumber Consortium affairs, he might be our best bet to track down the remaining components. We should head there."
I'm advancing ahead to the lumber camp - let me know if you'd like to go back and roleplay any more of the journey.
After roughly 6 hours of uneventful walking (darn dwarves and their short legs), you finally arrive at the outskirts of the Consortium Labor Camp.
The Camp cuts an ugly scar of stumps into a dense stand of proud darkwood trees. Five sturdy-looking log buildings - seemingly a bunkhouse, meal hall, office, barn, and smithy - stand with numerous wide carts and sleds amid the sawdust-covered clearing.
Along the road into the Camp, you encounter two loggers - the rest of the crew must be deeper in the forest.
It is approximately 2:00 p.m.
Is there any chance that Tidus or Zane maybe know any of the loggers on site?
Entering the camp, Zane notices two loggers and heads straight towards them. On approach: "Greetings man, may all your axes strike true, and your ale be strong!"
He waits for a second or two, before continuing: "I hope the day has not been too hard on you. We need to see Milon Rhoddam, might you know as to where is he now?"
You don't recognize either of them, but they recognize Zane. "Ho, ho! The little Cartprett has left the city to wander the woods. Watch your pockets, mate," one of the woodsmen, a large, balding, dirty man says.
"You come to bring your brothers some food, eh? You running errands for them now?" The other asks, a sarcastic grin spread across his face. "What business you 'ave with Rhoddam - and what business would 'e 'ave with you?"
Blushing completely from head to toe, Zane goes into defensive mode automatically: "My business is me own, and I'm gonna have it with Rhoddam, not the two of ya!"
Motioning towards his fellow travelers, he continues in a more level tone - "Me companions and I have some business with'im, and this affects the whole village. Maybe you heard of the Blackscour Taint?! Well, we're tryin' to help cure it, and Rhoddam might know a thing or two which might help us..."
Scratching behind his ear, Zane realizes that in his brashness, what he had done. Bravo Zane, you dolt! Seconds ago you tell'em it's your business, and then you rush and tell them all...what a blockhead!
So he just stands there, blinking in the afternoon sun, expecting reaction from the two lumberjacks.
The balding man stops smiling - his face goes serious. "You really helping cure that? My grandma has come down with the Taint. Head to the foreman's office - it's the green building there in the middle. Jarlben Trookshavits will be able to find Rhoddam for ya." With a slight nod, the two men turn and walk to the woods.
Firebeard watched as Zane talked with the loggers, nodding his head when the man asked about curing the Blackscour. "Aye, we be after th' cure. It be good o' ye t' be pointin' us t' th' man who can help us find wha' we seek."
You make your way to the green office. You knock twice and hear a gruff voice say, "Come in."
The office is filthy and thickly decorated with taxidermies of fierce forest animals. Jarlben Trookshavits, the camp foreman sits behind his desk. He looks up as you enter, a confused look on his face. "Who the hell are you lot?" he asks. "What do you want?"
"Greetings sir, my name is Tidus Ovelia. My friends and I are searching for Milon Rhoddam, we were informed by the gentlemen outside that you'd be able to help us. Laurel from town has a lead on this sickness plaguing Falcon's Hollow, and we believe talking to Rhoddam can aid us in curing this disease. Would you help us?"
Fluff scurries around to hide under Shalyna's hair at seeing some of the stuffed beasts. The owl peeks at the rather rude man from behind Shalyna's ear, tickling it a little with her beak.
"Well, aren't you the scared one."
She turns her attention to the foreman and adds, "We could return a favor if you wish as payment. I'm skilled in several different schools of magic, perhaps there is something that needs mending?"
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4
Jarlben looks almost surprised when the money is thrown his way - he didn't think you'd pay up. "Uh...yes...this should do nicely...just a moment." He moves from behind his desk, opens a window and makes a loud whistling noise. He sits back behind his desk and awkwardly shuffles papers for a couple of minutes before returning to his surly, impatient attitude.
After what seems like an eternity - but was really only 10 minutes - Rhoddam enters the cabin. "You need something, boss?" he says, before noticing the group gathered. Rhoddam is an older man with sun-dried, tan skin. He is incredible physical condition, and it's clear he's been at his trade for a number of years. "What's this about?" he asks, his voice slightly on edge.
"This lot would like a word with you about the Blackscour Taint - think you can help somehow." Jarlben responds.
"The Taint? Have you found a cure?" Rhoddam asks, his quiet voice picking up volume. "My nephew came down with that just two nights ago. What do you need from me?"
Firebeard started to speak up, but then sense got hold of him. He was a stranger, and the loggers here were probably like dredge workers everywhere - insular and suspicious. He'd let the locals do the talking for now.
Everyone in Falcon's Hollow knew that Zane was not among the most patient people in there. Actually, he was mostly opposite to whatever the word "patient" stood for. So, he was tapping his feet, walking nervously first inside the office, then in front of it, then he went back inside again, and just when he was about to "burst" Rhoddam entered.
From the corner of his eye, Zane notices that his dwarven companion has abstained from speaking, so he turns to the older man and answers: "We spoke with Laurel, and we believe that she might have a cure, but she would need certain components for it."
Zane briefly pauses for a second or two, glancing to his companions to see if someone else is willing to continue further explanations.
"So as I was saying, we'd need to find and collect some Elderwood Moss, which I believe we can find in the middle of the forest, at the "Forest Elder". I know a way there, so it should be easy"
"But in addition to that we need something called Ironbloom Mushrooms and the only thing which occurs to me is that somewhere within The Crags we might find them. Also, we need Rat Tail root, and we have no idea where to start looking for it...You are more than aware how serious the situation with The Taint is. People started dying, can you please help us in any way to find those ingredients, and bring them to Lauren quickly?!"
Hassan had been quiet up until this point, and he was not about to start talking now... and he isn't about to start now, when he's irritated. It was probably for the best - he wanted to give the foreman a tongue lashing. How dare he charge five gold for information needed to save his village from a sickness? At least this Rhoddam person seemed to be better.