"... Likewise. He, and you, owe an explanation later. But we don't have the time for this conversation now." Soren looks to the wagons, ushering the others towards them as well. "I agree, take the wagons. We'll have to ditch them eventually, but they can get us close to where we need to go."
Wisdom Check: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21
What are all the wisdom checks for? Did I miss something? Also, are the wagons still hitched to horses or will we be riding on dragon-drawn wagons?
"I'm all for relaxing on the back of a wagon as we set sail for freedom," Vaundour said, jumping back into the wagon with his things and donning his armor. Coming back out, dressed in his comfortable studded leather, he continued. "My only question is: Do we have a destination in mind? I'd invite you all over to my place for a celebratory drink, but I doubt it is still mind at this point."
|the Shining Host|
Wisdom checks were essentially idea checks for the fact that the wagons were an option but only the DMPC's passed them which is why they suggested the idea. Horses need to be hitched but that is a few rounds at most as the stables are about 20' away. The Dragon would burn it before he pulled it would be my take on that.
Shalewigg looks out past the gate and searches out with her feelings. She senses her familiar, but he is quite a distance and moving quickly.
She untangles her braid from the guard's neck and pulls her hair behind her, where it wriggles on its own and slaps against her thighs with an audible thump.
The witch moves toward the wagons, closing the distance with Soren.
"We can use the wagons to clear the area, but we should abandon them early and force the wagon to ride on. They'll track it and we can move the opposite direction."
"Nothin' but swamp land out there. Only one road. No where else to go for a long time. Better to make it really hard for them to follow." The ogre said staring out the gate.
"We got a dragon. I say we take the horses with us. Or kill 'em. Then we drag the wagon an' anything else we can carry out onto the bridge. We tip it over behind us to block the way, an' light it on fire. Light everything on fire. Make 'em have to clear out a bonfire just so they can follow on foot."
The dragon lowers his head and growls, prompting a reaction from Nate. "Uhh...we should have the horses draw the wagons. Would probably be better that way..."
The ogre stopped to pick up a sword off the body of a fallen guard and held it loosely in his grip when the dragon decided to threaten him.
"Lizard, I didn't say nothin' when you decided to call me ugly. You want to get uppity now because need a wagon dragged to the bridge, alright. We can tear each other up instead of getting the hell out of here. Or you can grab that g%&&*+n wagon. What's it going to be?"
Nate closed his eyes and shakes his head for a moment as if fightin off a headache. "Please, we have enough problems without fighting each other. Let's just strap the horses to the wagons and have done with it. If anything that will free up Aurex so he can fight if needed."
"We're unhitching the wagons anyway, leaving them to burn. Might as well just have the horses haul them for now, we'll cut them loose to make our escape." Although unpracticed, Soren swings up upon the horses back with an unnatural grace, and motions for the others to do the same. "We have come too far to lose ourselves in bickering. The guard, although foolish, was likely right; we have only so long until reinforcements arrive and put us all to the sword." She kicks her heels into the horse's side, drawing it up next to the wagon.
"Come, follow me. My visitor, she... she told me the path we must take. The Lord of Hell has broken our chains, so that we may forge our own. I will not wait around to be shackled again by these... heathens."
Vaundour followed the example of the unnaturally beautiful tiefling and mounted a horse, slightly less gracefully than she did. Turning to the two that came in with him, he said, "Right, you two, if you had any items on you when you were snatched up, they'll be in that wagon over there." Pointing to the wagon in which he found his own gear, he turned to Soren and said, "So, my lovely, where to now?"
Soren head spins around to face Vandour with an almost audible crack, her golden eyes fixed into a glare. "Call me that again, and I will make your own 'lovely' an offering to the God-Fiend, along with the rest of you." Finally having a moment of free time, Soren rips off a scrap of her prisoner's shift, tying her long black hair back away from her face. "My name is Soren Marsailles, Hand of the Lord of Hell, and you will refer to me as such if you wish to remain in my company unscathed. Do we understand each other, little man?" Not waiting for a response, she pulls again the veil from inside of her shift, looking at the remaining items. 'How am I supposed to find this... woman, if I do not have a map? Perhaps the lantern, or the clothes? Once we are safely away from this place, I will need to look these over more.'
"Let's get these horses hitched then, drag the wagons out onto the bridge. Once we set them ablaze, we should have plenty of time to put some distance between ourselves and the guards. From there, we need to figure out how to contact our... benefactor."
'Right, note to self: find the creature she's attracted to and get her laid,' he thought to himself. 'And see if I can find a way to watch it when it happens.' With that, Vaundour snapped his reigns and led the horse to the nearest wagon to hitch it up.
Grumblejack laughed an evil chuckle at the exchange between the elfy one and the angry one. He decided he liked her. He gave the dragon one last half-expectant look before going back to hauling his wagon toward the gates. He ignored the discussion. If they wanted to spend the time to hitch up the horses just to unhitch them again after a hundred feet, that was fine with him. If the guards organized while they wasted time, he'd get a chance to kill more guards. There was no down side, really.
|the Shining Host|
Prison Break of Branderscar
Our villains let loose the horses, those they choose not to ride are sent wild across the bridge to slow any possible pursuit by the Guards who have yet to work up the courage to face a large group of prisoners alongside an Ogre and a Dragon!
The villains literally burn their last bridges of decent society, assuming there was anything of their old lives left to salvage. Peering backwards you believe you can make out the figures of the guards trying to put the fires out but it is of no consequence as you race away from the Prison under the noon day sun. Nathaniel and Aurex, though flying, glide close to the ground alongside the rest of the group.
Though the Ogre slows you down he moves fast enough to not be a liability. Many miles later the sun begins to set and the land shifts from rocky barren fields to brackish salt moors.
Pyotr calls the group to a halt. "We must decide what to do next. Now that we have gotten away shall we stick together? I do not know this area well but no doubt by the morrow more than just the prison guards will be seeking us out. I say we try to book passage or steal a ship and be away from thus island kingdom once and for all!"
Damien holds up his hands to speak but Xoruk cuts him off, "Where the rest of you go matters little. We need to find the Old Moor Road. That is where the man who aided us in our escape is awaiting us. That you are a beneficiary of that aid is a lucky break for you. That is what you were told right Soren?"
"That is correct. Our prison break was not incidental, but purposeful. There are those who wished to see us freed, and provided us the tools to do it. There is a greater hand at play here, I'm sure of it." Soren again pulls out the veil, this time eyeing the sack she was told housed garments within it. "I believe we've been provided new clothing, if not arms and armor as well. It would suit us well to shed our prison shifts as soon as possible." With that, Soren grabs the small stitched patterns of the veil and snatches it off with a quick motion.
"Making our escape still dressed in our rags is not only unbecoming, but utterly foolish. Before we go any further, I at least will be acquiring something more nondescript, whether I find it in this bag or not."
Aurex comes down from the air, landing with a resounding thud. He roars and gives a breath of fire, rejoicing in his freedom. "I say we talk to this two-leg who freed us. If he is so interested in us, I would know why."
|the Shining Host|
As Soren removes the garments she finds there are outfits for two women and four men, none large enough for Grumblejack.
Pyotr shakes his head, "I will make my way off of this island. I am done with all of its inhabitants. I'll take the road north overnight and sneak my onto a ship. A dwarf on a ship! That shows my commitment to getting out of here".
Damien shrugs, "Go then stranger. Do not get yourself caught again and if you do best to leave our names from your lips".
Xoruk speaks to Nathaniel and Vaundor, "If you were not branded you could escape with him. Those of us who were will need to see this benefactor. Nowhere on the mainland is safe for a man, or woman, with a brand".
Vaundour gave a bow on the back of his horse towards Xoruk. "My thanks for your well wishes, but there is business I still have in the city with the ruling family, and I do not leave my business unfinished," he explained before waving away the clothes. "I'm glad to see that there is a plan beyond just escaping. I am much interested in meeting this mysterious benefactor of yours."
Knowledge (Local) on the Old Moor Road: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11
Grumblejack didn't much care about the human clothes. He didn't know the area, and he didn't know these people. He considered just slogging out into the moor, but he stayed. There was something about the female... Soren. She was easy to look at. She didn't put up with nonsense. Something else, too. A... kinship. She was devil blooded, like him. There was more though. She spoke of the Dark Prince. Perhaps she served the same master as the ogre.
He would follow for now. His faith would be rewarded.
Taking a male outfit from Soren, Lothyrin quickly changes out of his prison rags. I for one would love to meet this mysterious benefactor, as long as it allows me my chance of redemption and vengeance I will follow Out of the options presented I think it is wisest that I remain with my fellow prisoners until they stop being useful.
Soren pulls out one of the two sets of female garments, dropping her prisoner's shift to the ground. A moment later she slides a tunic over her head, then pulls up her breeches and re-collects the veil and thieves' tools lying inside of her old shift. She quickly takes the old rags and stuffs them into the bag. "No use leaving them a trail to follow. We'll dispose of them later. At this point, discarding them just gives them another chance to find and capture us."
"And yes, the Old Moor Road. I don't know what we're looking for once we arrive, but... that is where we will find them."
Knowledge (Local): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24
|the Shining Host|
The catch, to get to the Old Moor Road you must pass through the moors themselves. With the sun setting, the prospect is quite dangerous.
As the group gathers its wits a scarlet spider the size of a gold coin leaps from the ground onto Shalewigg's leg ascending purposefully up to her shoulder where it comes to rest.
Pyotr, still mounted, states, "We have a few options. Head south to Matharyn or north to Daveryn. Those are the only two cities large enough for a group such as ourselves to blend in with the crowds discounting bringing the ogre or the dragon along of course. We could also stop at a small village and commandeer boats to get off o the island. I will take my chances with a small village and a boat".
Xoruk shakes his head in disagreement, "We could also cross these marshes. Of course with the horses it would be difficult indeed. Sticking to a road will lead to inevitable capture".
A Survival or Knowledge Geography roll will be necessary to cross the moors. Note that if you are a character unable to see in the dark that DC increases to 20. Only one of you need make the roll so long as the others follow that characters lead.
Survival: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 2 = 18
Decided to use it on a whim, I think I rolled it pretty well. And since I have darkvision, no increased DC for me! Assuming, of course, that we go through the moors.
Giving a side look at the suddenly appearing spider, twitching his nose, he decided to ignore the crawler and joined the discussion. "I say we cross the moors to reach the road," he offered. "I happen to be able to see in the dark, so I can keep us on the trail we take. Anything to keep me from being brought back to that dreadful place."
"We cross the swamps going East," Shalewigg announces. The spider on her shoulder rears up and gestures in the air with long pedipalps.
"That is how we reach our destination. Trelmarixian guides us to serve Soren's god as payment for our freedom."
The woman takes a sack and the remaining female clothes, filling the sack and refusing to change.
"There are miles to go, and marsh to cross before we need fresh clothes." She begins to walk, barefoot, to the east, the spider perfectly balanced on her shoulder.
|the Shining Host|
As the group begins to cross the marsh dis-mounted from their horses, Pyotr shakes his head. "I'll take my chances on the road, goo luck to you all". He turns his mount back to the road away from the prison and the rest of you.
Stalker 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
The marsh is as black as night but the Half-Drow proves to be an exceptional guide bringing you half-way across the marsh in no time. Nathaniel's feet never touch the ground at Aurex flies in low near the group struggling to stay aloft in such low altitudes.
Xoruk looks around as if suddenly remembering something, "A beast is known to stalk these marshes..."
Before he can finish his sentence Shalewigg points at a large spot of darkness as you all turn your heads, it seems the rumors of a beast in the marsh is not unfounded!
Aurex 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 = 19
Nathaniel 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
Grumblejack 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7
Vaundor 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 8
Shalewigg 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (14) + 1 = 15
Soren 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
Lashtongue 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (16) + 1 = 17
Marsh Combat - I Toad You So - Round 1 - Initiatives
Group 1 - Soren, Aurex, Nathaniel
Group 2 - The Beast of the Marsh
Group 3 - Lothhryin, Grumblejack, Vaundor, Shalewigg
Nathanial clutches his head and sinks to a knee as Aurex lands on the wet ground. "Show yourself cowardly beast!" He roars and breathes a stream of fire at the creature!
Fire Damage: 1d8 ⇒ 7
DC 13 reflex for half damage.
"What I wouldn't give for a rifle," Soren mutters as she pulls an arrow from the quiver, taking aim at splotch of darkness still nestled within the marsh.
Attack Roll: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15
Damage Roll: 1d8 ⇒ 6
|the Shining Host|
Leaping Attack vs. Damien 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11
The Giant creature leaps over the fires of Aurex at one of the members of your group on the periphery, Damien.
Despite the pitch black, with Shalewigg's warning and Aurex's breath, Damien manages to side step the creature. The flash of light gives you a glimpse of the beast, a Giant Toad.
Damien's swing forces a squeal of pain out of the creature.
Xoruk holds position and calls out a warning, "Ware your flesh, these beasts are highly toxic!"
Lothhryin, Grumblejack, Vaundor, Shalewigg go!
Grumblejack huffed and swung his stolen longsword with both hands. "Figgurs. First thing we run into an' it's no good t' eat."
Power Attack: 1d20 + 9 - 1 ⇒ (18) + 9 - 1 = 26
Damage: 1d8 + 13 ⇒ (3) + 13 = 16
Her dirty feet sinking into the wet ground, Shalewigg crosses a wide arc around the giant frog as she draws her dagger. She stretches out her hand and motions, as if lowering the beast's eyes.
"Sleep now, and remain behind to hinder those who follow." she looks to the others in understanding.
Slumber hex. DC 15 Will save.
|the Shining Host|
Grumblejack's strike is so solid that blood splatters across the rest of the group mixing with the mud and dried grime from the prison escape.
Miraculously, the beast does not fall.
As Shalewigg's smooth voice breaks over the beast, the melody in her voice did what the power of her comrades could not. The creature falls fast asleep!
Damien smiles at Shalewigg, "An interesting course of action and one I agree with, shall we continue though the muck?"
|the Shining Host|
Aurex voices his disagreement with Shalewigg's plan by finishing off the beast of the moors.
The group pushes hard through the swamp until they come upon the Old Moor Road.
The street is deserted as it is the dead of night. As you begin to get solid ground underneath your feet you pass dirt roads that lead to a few manor houses set off of the road.
After another fifteen minute walk you notice that one manor house in particular has a lantern burning in its second story window. Instead of an orange flame, the flame in the lantern glows a bright red.
Soren points, "There, that is our destination!"
There waiting for you as you take to the steps is a hauntingly beautiful woman in a diaphanous white gown that makes her look almost angelic. Her hair is so platinum as to almost be white and her eyes are a vibrant almost unearthly green. Soren, this is the woman that gave you the veil though she is dressed differently now.
“Dearest, you took long enough,” she says pitilessly.
“We were beginning to wonder if you’d ever make it. Oh, and you brought friends. The master commands all of you to appear before him but before that, you must be made presentable. Slaves!”
She claps her hands. A dozen young attractive men and women all wearing very traditional servant’s livery appear quickly, their heads bowed.
“These people are our guests,” she commands imperiously.
“See them to their rooms. I want them cleaned, dressed and refreshed.
There is something in that last word that sounds like a threat. Certainly the slaves take it that way, hustling to perform their duties. Sense Motive check.
She points to one last slave who does not have quite the same obedient look in his eyes, "And you, out those horse out of sight and spend the rest of the night covering their tracks. If anyone comes here looking for our new guests, well, you will not want to know what I shall do..."
The woman turns to Aurex, "Can you change your form little Wyrmling? I'd hate to have to put you out in the barn with the horse meat..."
Soren and Shalewigg are led up the stairs to the third floor while the rest of the men are led to rooms on the second floor.
I'll give a few days of RP free form. Then will move to the next scene.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 6 = 15
Nathanial starts to realize how deep he is getting into the situation. "Umm...of course. I wouldn't want to be rude to somebody who has gone such great lengths for us..." He says, not at all seeming like the hardened criminal the rest of the group is comprised of.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
Aurex bristles only a little at being called a "little Wrymling", but in truth it was more a statement of fact than an insult. He has seen the great dragons and knows he is nothing compared to them...yet. Plus, the way she ordered the slaves around amused him, as well as the term "horse meat".
A series of dull exhales escapes Aurex's nose, and after a moment the party realizes he is chuckling. "No, two-leg. I have not the age of my kin to alter reality with magic. But no matter, if the meeting must be inside it will not be an issue. Anything you tell Nathanial can be considered being told to me. He and I are one. I think I will take the time to stretch my wings, it has been too long since I have felt the freedom of the sky."
|the Shining Host|
"Very well Dragon. Be back before the sun begins to rise, should you be spotted in returning here, my Master will be most displeased. Should you wish to join the two-legs in their meeting, I can arrange for transmogrification. If not, do try not to eat all of the horses."
Aurex snaps his jaws. "If we are close enough to civilization to be spotted, I shall only fly when the moon dominates the sky." He turns his head in a curious manner as he considers the offer. "That would be...a most interesting scenario. Besides, I would like to meet your master in person. When Nathanial describes people to me he does not say how they sound or smell. Yes, let us try this." There is a hint of wariness in the back of his mind, but the devious two-leg seemed so at ease that she and her "master" either clearly intended them no harm or were so powerful that he would not stand a chance, transformed or not.
|the Shining Host|
The woman nods and removes a scroll from the folds of her dress. She unfurls it and begins to read words of arcane power. You feel the power of the magic ash over you and your body is transformed into that of a halpless two-legged human. The first few seconds of the transformation are our agony both physically and psychologically. You are able to hold yourself together and come to the realization that this woman is very powerful indeed even if she was reading the spell from a scroll her inflection was flawless.
Aurex stumbles and takes a step, nearly falling over at his own lack of coordination. He attempts a growl but his much higher vocal chords have a disappointing reaction. He shakes his head and starts getting used to the feeling of only two legs. He clears his throat a few times to get used to the throat, then speaks. "Let's get this over with. I feel pathetic."
Grumblejack snorted. He was beginning to like the dragon. He followed the slave girl assigned to him and followed her to his room.
He was still dressed in the ragged prison shorts from Branderscar, now dipped in swamp muck and frog blood. He was filthy. It was going to take some real effort to get the ogre clean.
The slight woman seems comfortable on the journey through the marsh, occasionally humming quietly to herself in low, haunting tones. The mire doesn't seem to faze her, but neither does she waste time when offered a bath or a change of clothes. She returns downstairs after a time, her long hair thick, full, and loose. The red-and-black striped spider still clings to her, resting on her shoulder or hanging from her new tunic.
Nate has an amused smile on, moving over to let Aurex rest an arm over his shoulder for support. "Come, you have helped me so much over the years, this one time let me help you. Shall we meet our...benefactor now?"
Vaundour gleefully followed the slaves to the room he was to be cleaned in, his eyes roving over their flesh. They were beautiful specimens, obviously chosen at least partially for their looks. "So, little boys and girls, what shall I call you all?"