Gwendalyn doesn't bother to renew her Fleeting Fury as it expires again, since the final gnoll of the strange duel is unlikely to last long anyway.
A poet could describe how under her horned helm, the braids flew behind her as she glided over the field of battle, surprisingly agile and quick for someone so heavy and large; how the chain flew in a graceful arc, the sun glinting off the polished spikes as crimson droplets of her last foe's lifeblood were flung off to land in the lush, green grass; how the chain hissed through the resentful air, followed by a sort of thud/splurt as it slammed into the sturdy hyena-like humanoid and pierced his thick, furry hide with its cruel points.
But Gwen is a shaman of the Tribunal, not a poet. As far as she's concerned, she just ran up to the gnoll and hit it with her chain; and if anyone described it to her otherwise, she would suspect them of trying to hit on her or something.
Spiked chain (charging): 1d20 + 9 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 9 + 2 = 20
Damage: 2d4 + 4 ⇒ (3, 1) + 4 = 8
A shaman, the most elderly of those present, is permitted to pass and moves to each cooling gnoll body in tern, ripping out one of the canine teeth and handing it to the four that stood strong against their hunters.
(+1 faction with The Loping Plain Gnolls)
You are permitted to pass and the Shenba'Dal relay that the group will be able to pass through their gnoll territory without being troubled, so long as they drop to a knee and present each bloody tooth in their cupped palms to any gnoll that stops them.
The gnolls part and leave the group to pass by unmolested.
(DING - Level 9!)
Several miles pass in silence before the Shenba'Dal shake off their reverie and return to their previous state of lighthearted banter. They work hard to ensure that all present are forbidden from falling too deeply into thought. All were still breathing, and that was a good day in any land on Norrath.
Days pass as the caravan travels through gnoll territory, staying far from orc territory and learn that while the Wandering Elves have a truce with the gnolls they are fair game to all of creatures of the plains.
A day at the Jando Waterhole (#11 Loping Plains Map) gives everyone the chance to rest. This vast, rocky lowland is fed by a number small streams during the rainy season, when it fills to overflowing with water, drawing animals from miles around. In the dry season, the depression shows its true value, retaining water for months and keeping many animals of the plains alive.
The water here harbors a wide range of creatures, both benign and dangerous. Hippos and alligators dwell here in the rainy season, and sometimes wallow in the mud at the water’s edge in the dry season. Needless to say, the waterhole is also of tremendous appeal to various predators, who stalk the great herd animals that come here to drink. Jando Waterhole is an especially popular spot for the Seeking Clan hunters, who characteristically stalk prey here year-round. Outsiders approaching the depression may be surprised when camouflaged gnolls emerge from hiding, javelins at the ready.
The group gets an opportunity to present their bloody teeth, which results in a much friendlier meeting with gnoll hunters than the previous time.
Traveling further south you come across a number of strange stones (#19 on Loping Plains Map) and a flat plain with the grass stained by dried blood (#23 on Loping Plains Map), but there is no explanation for what you have uncovered.
You find the shores of The Timorous Deep in the late evening and goodbyes are exchanged both with the Shenba'Dal and Jinx, who has agreed to ride with them, now that he has fulfilled his duty to lead you to your destination.
In the far distance, continuing east, you are told that within the unnatural mountain south of Wayunder Lake is your destination.
Unknown to Sajeek, Bast, Gwendalyn, Revery and Bast, there is a duo approaching from the east that would be of great interest to them.
It is the little hours, just past the mid-part of the night's darkest times.
Most of Nogglegrop's hair was gone, except for thick white clumps above his ears, but he took care to normally keep those neatly trimmed, like his pointy beard and thin moustache, and to keep the rest of his large noggin cleanly shaved. Well, except for his eyebrows, those were welcome to run wild. Plumes of steam work their way free of the lowered visor of the battered full plate armour that lovingly enwraps Nogglegrop Fendlebar the IV. A patina reveals the ages that have drifted past since the armour was birthed from the blacksmith’s hammer. As the armour is an heirloom, so is the tiny mace slung at his waist and the steel shield strapped to his back ‘neath his backpack. Raising his visor releases a torrent of grey-white beard dancing about an infectious smile that drift up to his grey eyes. He cuts an impressive figure, all 3’4” of him.
Grief weighed his little steps, but it is mostly for a relationship that he hoped would come to pass, though there was nothing to support that possibility. It was nothing more than yet another connection between the young cleric and his people being severed.
He stops in mid-step, for he had been following the undead for days, when he realizes that they are approaching a distant campfire. Pumping his legs he yells out for the occupant of the campsite to hide.
(tag Ilina alone at her campsite)
(please describe your character in your post)
Standing watch alone at her campsite, Clad in a heavy suit of well made yet somewhat worn spiked plates from shoulder to toe, with a well made yet equally worn curved blade of great size and an equally well made and worn shadewood composite longbow across her back; was a tall and powerful yet lean and perfectly toned woman in her twenties of 6'2" with pale skin, shoulder length silver hair that wasn't very well kept, and deep silver eyes, a few visible battle scars could be seen, and it was obvious she had fought a few battles.
She wished to guarantee she wouldn't be harmed before she rested, and she appeared to desire to fight off the horde that would approach her campsite.
Ilina was always ready to fight, a trait she learned living on her own. and she felt the need to defend herself yet again.
The gnome's voice had yelled out from afar, sounding tiny and tinny.
A hillock had provided the vantage point to see the campfire, but Nogglegrop was nearly a mile away by the time the battle would be met if the occupant of the camp did not run.
It is the malevolently glowing jaundiced eyes that betray the location of the duo of jack-o-lanterns to Ilina. Moments later she hears a cackle, which steals a portion of her resolve, for it is the macabre laughter of the grave: an invitation to walk forever among those that never sleep.
The warrior can fire her bow three times (50% concealment) before the duo will be on her all at ranges less than 100'.
(please include your 3 ranged attacks in your next post before you take your first melee attack)
Jack-o-lanterns are human-sized figures made of twigs, straw, old clothes, and a pumpkin head that have been animated by an undead spirit. Some are actual scarecrows that have been possessed; others form out of pumpkin patches on moonless nights. All jack-o-lanterns can be distinguished from normal scarecrows by the bright yellow light that shoots forth from their carved faces, shining far more brightly than would a candle.
They drip with sea water, suggestive that they recently were in the Timorous Deep.
The duo of undead move to surround Ilina, affording her the opportunity to unleash all matter of hell onto them (full attack after a 5' capable with first attack).
- (2) jack-o-lanterns
Sajeek waves once more at the shrinking sight of the Shenba'Dal's brightly colored wagons. He watches until they disappear from sight. The vah shir finds that he would miss the odd elves and their way of life. They survived well in the plains, making allies of perhaps the most furious of the Loping Plains predators. That alone gave them a bit of an edge. Of course, one of their biggest advantages was just as much as a disadvantage from what Sajeek had noticed. The Wandering Elves didn't seem to have solid place to gather if they needed more durable shelter then a wagon. They had been cut off from their homeland and where pretty much swinging in the breeze.
Turning to gaze out at the Timorous Deep, the beastlord's emerald eyes stare out at the ocean without seeing it. Sajeek mulls over how the distances he has traveled in his time on Norrath, and the messes he had stepped into along the way. The ocean breeze tugs at his tannish Dervish robe. The straps of linen wrapped his form loosely, always seeming to be barely holding onto the vah shir's frame. The robes did a good job of covering up his tiger striped, soft, dark grey fur.
Sajeek had always been proud of the reddish tiger strips that had cut his fur, his slain clan all bore the same mark supposedly. His pride had been turned. It was more of a fear tinged reminder of his near eternal stay in the Plane of Fear. The reddish tiger strips were now blood red, and always appeared to be wet with blood, even though his fur was bone dry. One of the few "Gifts" that Cazic-Thule had etched upon his physical being upon raising the vah shir from the dead. The others were much more insidious, living deep within the dark corners of the hunter's mind. Whether they had always been there or not, just to have been unlocked by his death and return to the mortal coil was a question for the philosophers.
Looking at the unseen land of the Iskar, Sajeek absently rubs the white clawprint wrapping around his right bicep. The Ghost's mark always seemed to gleam in the light. Much akin to the muted, glowing light of a perfectly cut gemstone. The beastlord's gaze is far away, much akin to his thoughts. Sajeek turns away from the Deep, and the memories that it carries and rejoins his friends.
Bast cuts him off after a few steps. The big tiger sits on his haunches, looking at the vah shir. The reddish-orange hunting cat cocks his head to the right and "murrs" at Sajeek. The Beastlord almost feels dizzy as he looks into the tiger mismatched eyes. The forest green eye, and golden orb bored into the vah shir, as if looking for any signs of weakness. Sajeek responds by tackling his warder. The two roll around in on the plains as the mock fight. Bast appears to win the fight, for he ends up sitting on the vah shir's chest. Reaching up with his arm that isn't pinned to the ground, he scratches Bast's ears and neck. The tiger is kind enough to get off Sajeek before he passes out from lack of air.
Chuckling and trying to catch his breath at the same time, the beastlord calls Bast a "cheater," and accepts a nuzzle from the warder. Anyone who didn't know the two would think the vah shir absolutely barking mad to put his face that close to the massive hunting cat's deadly mouth full of razor sharp teeth. Of course, he could still be nutters, but he certainly wasn't worried about the tiger chewing his face off.
Bast follows Sajeek like a more graceful shadow, back to the others. He looks around the campsite that they had set up almost without really even talking about it. They certainly had been traveling together long enough for them to each be comfortable with a certain routine of making and breaking camp. He sits down near the fire, leaning against Bast when the tiger lays down. The young Beastlord looks over at the worn pack, a princely(!) gift in it's own. His somewhat battered spear lay carelessly dropped on the pack. Pulling the gnoll canine out of a pouch, he looks at it the flickering light.
"Okay, who else is glad we got a tooth, and not the dog's bol-locks?" Sajeek asks with an impish grin. Laughing quietly at his own joke, he puts the reminder of the trial they had faced back in it's pouch. "Actually, I didn't think to say anything at the time, but earlier today we passed those stones. I don't think that they were druidic, but they looking kinda.., odd, maybe important." Sajeek shrugs his shoulders, looking over at Rev. "I don't suppose you have read anything about shaped stones in the southern part of the Loping Plains? Or are your brains still wiggling about?" Sajeek grins at the enchanter.
"We did find that flattened patch of bloodstained grass a ways south of the stones. Maybe some kinda battle? Or place of sacrifice?" Sajeek muses out loud. While he is a feeling a little tired, (which he completely blames an a particular elf), his mind is still quite awake.
Revery smiles, and says to Sajeek, "My brains are wiggling about a lot lately. I think they've stopped, but I can't be sure. I think I've heard of these stones.... In fact, last night's dream had them as a feature."
Revery has been talking a lot about his dreams lately, and seems to be taking them very seriously. There is truth in them and he has started listening to them, trying to figure out that truth. Judging by the dark rings under his eyes, perhaps some of the dreams had been while he was awake, trying to sleep.
Traveling over the Loping Plains, the group had found him speaking a little Elvish to their hosts, and he picked up more of the language very quickly. He mentioned learning the tongue of the gnolls too, but that might have to wait a bit.
For the stones and the grass:
Knowledge/mysticism: 1d20 + 20 ⇒ (3) + 20 = 23
Knowledge/nature: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (19) + 11 = 30
Knowledge/geography: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (5) + 11 = 16
Knowledge/folklore: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (16) + 10 = 26
Knowledge/Monster lore (all but Aberration, Ooze, Plant, Vermin), Constructs +3 more: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (6) + 10 = 16
Ilina moved back a bit and fired 3 arrows, over the course of 3 approaching rounds. She seemed a bit pushed back by the approaching foes. She desperately required reinforcements if she were to survive.
1d20 + 11 ⇒ (20) + 11 = 31 attack roll 1
1d20 + 11 ⇒ (18) + 11 = 29 attack roll 2
1d20 + 11 ⇒ (19) + 11 = 30 attack roll 3
1d20 + 11 ⇒ (2) + 11 = 13 confirmation roll 1
1d8 + 5 ⇒ (5) + 5 = 10 damage roll 1
1d8 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9 damage roll 2
1d8 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6 damage roll 3
2d8 + 10 ⇒ (2, 3) + 10 = 15 crit bonus 1 (if applicable)
1d100 ⇒ 26
1d100 ⇒ 17
1d100 ⇒ 49
Ilina's first melee round.
Ilina attacked the first jackolantern with her falchion, moving 5 feet into combat range swinging her Falchion thrice and slamming her elbow once with powerful force and speed.
AC 19 Touch 11 FF 18
1d20 + 17 - 2 ⇒ (1) + 17 - 2 = 16 1st Falchion swing
2d4 + 11 ⇒ (1, 4) + 11 = 16 1st Falchion Damage Roll
1d20 + 13 - 2 ⇒ (4) + 13 - 2 = 15 2nd falchion swing
2d4 + 11 ⇒ (4, 2) + 11 = 17 2nd falchion damage roll
1d20 + 9 - 2 ⇒ (8) + 9 - 2 = 15 3rd fachion swing
2d4 + 11 ⇒ (2, 2) + 11 = 15 3rd falchion damage roll
1d20 + 15 - 2 ⇒ (4) + 15 - 2 = 17 slam
1d6 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8 slam damage roll
if the slam hits, DC 16 Fort save or daze for 1 round
The call had been for Ilina to run, but she had chosen to stand her ground. Hopefully she knew something that the wise cleric did not.
All three arrows leave with unerring precision, aimed at coring the onrush of the undead monsters, but the night plays tricks on the barbarian's aim and none find the mark. Even if the arrows would have hit the mark they would not have done as much damage as one would expect against a foe that breathes (immune to critical hits).
Falchion sweeps reflect the firelight into an explosion of reds, oranges and yellow, but none of the attacks find the mark against the erratic movements of the jack-o-lanterns (AC 19). As with the arrows the innate barbarian slam attack will not slow an undead creature like it would against a living one (immune to stun attacks).
Jack-O-Lantern 1 (58/58 hit points, flanking)
Claw 1: 1d20 + 7 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 7 + 2 = 13
Damage: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11
Claw 2: 1d20 + 7 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 7 + 2 = 11
Damage: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11
Jack-O-Lantern 1 (58/58 hit points, flanking)
Claw 1: 1d20 + 7 + 2 ⇒ (11) + 7 + 2 = 20
Damage: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
Claw 2: 1d20 + 7 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 7 + 2 = 25
Damage: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
Proc (vs. DC 18): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13
Though there are two attacking the warrior, only a single blow gets through her thick armour, and they are but scratches.
(end of round)
(start of new round)
Ilina swings her Falchion thrice more at the jackolantern in front of her and thrusts another Slam against it in rapid succession. connecting once with her slam and twice with her falchion
1d20 + 17 ⇒ (11) + 17 = 28 falchion attack roll 1
1d20 + 13 ⇒ (13) + 13 = 26 falchion attack roll 2
1d20 + 9 ⇒ (8) + 9 = 17 falchion attack roll 3
1d20 + 15 ⇒ (13) + 15 = 28 slam attack
2d4 + 11 ⇒ (1, 1) + 11 = 13 falchion damage roll 1
2d4 + 11 ⇒ (4, 2) + 11 = 17 falchion damage roll 2
2d4 + 11 ⇒ (1, 2) + 11 = 14 falchion damage roll 3
1d6 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7 slam damage no save VS daze this round
Kwen hand managed to sheath both of his weapons, and collected the Kurki that he had thrown, taking the bloody prize the rogue is just glad that the combat is over and done with. The rest of the day passes as Kwen is stoned out of his gourd from the poison; the next day the rogue feeling bleary eyed and slightly hung over manages to get along with the rest of the trip in a slight jovail mood.
Kwen knew that he would have to seek out the Shenba'Dal after there trip to clear out the ruins was over and done with. The ability to fight without armor was a great risk but the rewards were well worth it for the rogue.
" If we had gotten the dog's b~#$&~$s, then you would be batting them all over the place. " Kwen jokes at Sajeek, glad that things felt more or less normal for a change.
Ilina swings with all of her might (-2 to all strikes applied due to a full attack including slam), hoping to down at least one of these undead monstrosities. She connects with most of her strikes.
As soon as the first strike lands the keen of death (Cackle of Fear) tears across Ilina's spine.
Will Save (Ilina vs. DC 19): 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (16) + 1 = 17 (fail)
Ilina feels an overwhelming urge to flee from the undead creature's location.
Cackle of Fear Duration: 1d4 ⇒ 2
Jack-O-Lantern 1 (21/58 hit points, flanking)
Claw 1: 1d20 + 7 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 7 + 2 = 18
Damage: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
Claw 2: 1d20 + 7 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 7 + 2 = 29 (critical threat)
Confirmation: 1d20 + 7 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 7 + 2 = 10 (not confirmed)
Damage: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 3 = 10
Life-Sapping Proc (vs. DC 18): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
WIS Damage: 1d4 ⇒ 3
Jack-O-Lantern 2 (58/58 hit points, flanking)
Claw 1: 1d20 + 7 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 7 + 2 = 24
Damage: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 8
Claw 2: 1d20 + 7 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 7 + 2 = 29
Damage: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
Life-Sapping Proc (vs. DC 18): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (11) + 4 = 15
Ilina opens herself to multiple attacks (2 round) of the chasing undead, having her move blindly through the night. With glee the undead chase her, chipping at her.
Jack-O-Lantern 1 (21/58 hit points, flanking)
Claw 1: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (8) + 7 = 15
Damage: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (6) + 3 = 9
Life-Sapping Proc (vs. DC 18): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19
WIS Damage: 1d4 ⇒ 4
Jack-O-Lantern 2 (58/58 hit points, flanking)
Claw 1: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19
Damage: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
Life-Sapping Proc (vs. DC 18): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24
WIS Damage: 1d4 ⇒ 1
Jack-O-Lantern 1 (21/58 hit points, flanking)
Claw 1: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17
Damage: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (6) + 3 = 9
Jack-O-Lantern 2 (58/58 hit points, flanking)
Claw 1: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12
Damage: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
As she falls there is a moment where she can ponder heeding the advice to run at times when she might want to stand. When one is born with limited common sense it is best to surround oneself with wiser individuals.
The barbarian falls (7 temporary wisdom damage) and is torn asunder, with the jack-o-lanterns feeding on her flesh, her death was horrifying as she was aware when she was being eaten.
(end of combat)
As luck has it the gnome was high enough to be able to observe the approximate location of the warrior's fall.
Pravus Mortis travels for days east along the shore of the Timorous Deep. Around the third day they watch the grass slowly wither and die until no plant life can live and no animals are seen. A day later they finally reach a point where they see an oppressively large black stone mountain before them.
Moving closer they note that the mountain stands at the southern edge of an expansive lake. Looking at the map you trace your route and are confident that it is the Wayunder Lake. Strangely the mountain is not on the map.
It is dark before you can get any closer, but in the middle of the night you swear you hear a horrifying cackle and some screams. What drags you from your rolls is Nogglegrop's voice yelling out before either of the other noises. He is far far away, but you have a heading.
An exhausted night later you have found him, but the reunion is short for he is searching for someone. He carries supplies from a much much larger person.
Using the mornings like the trackers easily find the trail, and discover Ilina's ravaged body. Its entrails gleaming in the morning's muted light. Plumes of steam still rising up from the bit of warmth hidden in the thicker pieces.
The oppressive mountain is too close. It makes you want to flee far from this place, and it is hard to imagine it as your future home.
Sajeek had been at first completely stunned at the sight of Noggy. He was beginning to think his mind had been playing tricks on him. But they keep searching until they came across their missing friend. The beastlord's surprise quickly turned elation. Barely avoiding picking the gnome up (his armor looked really heavy), Sajeek waits till the gnome plucks off his helmet. And then licks the gnomes cheeks with his rough tongue.
"Noggy! I am happy to see you again, especially so soon! You missed the good stuff, again, I might add," The vah shir pauses to take a breath as he stands back up. He finally notices the gear the gnome was gearing that didn't look like his own. "Uhhh, what's with the stuff?" he asks. He gets an answer he was not expecting.
In the early hours of the morning, night of poor sleep wearing him down, they had found the body of a warrior woman. Emerald gaze moving over the wounds, inside chweed upon and strewn about, it didn't take him long to figure out that she had been eaten. And from the expression locked upon the woman's face, Sajeek would bet that she had been alive when whatever ate her started.
"Eaten alive." Sajeek shudders noticeably as he stands up from the fresh corpse. His eyes fall to the ground, looking for the tracks of whatever felled the warrior in this dead land. Sajeek looks up at the oppressive black mountain, frowning slightly. Between the dead landscape, and that thing, he was beginning to doubt whatever structure they might find would be a place to start up their town.
"Okay, so, Noggy, did you know this woman?" Sajeek asks his friend. "And secondly, does anyone else hope that whatever has killed the land is tied to the undead 'n stuff? Cause, I really hope that is the cause." He shudder slightly, ears laying half way down.
"Umm, so do we bury her? Do we chop off her head to make sure she doesn't come back as a zombie?" the vah shir looks around at his friends.
It is as if the mountain is sucking all life out of the area surrounding it.
You catch up as you search for the body and he apologizes for his deception, hoping that he would keep you from worrying about him unnecessarily, and explains that his father had died.
Nogglegrop tosses a very familiar dusty ransacker's pack onto the bloody ground next to the ravaged body. Seeing the pack allows each of you to deduce that word of your movements had reached Ak'Anon and his ears.
Two sets of erratically-moving footfalls had run her down, and then continued on towards the dark mountain at a languid pace.
Removing his helmet the gnome accepts the lick with a smile and shakes his head to all of Sajeek's questions. "She was a traveler I tried to warn, but I was not quick enough. She tried to fight, but..." He throws a thumb back at the pile of the gear he had been carting around.
The spell had never been cast, but he could not imagine a better time to cast it. Moving to her head, ignoring that it had been cruelly ripped free from her torso, he kneels down and starts whispering prayers to Fizzlethorp. The process is surprisingly rapid, leaving the cleric clearly exhausted.
Divine energies knit wounds closed in a process that it gruesome to watch (reanimation, 83/105 mana). What once was a macabre pile of mismatched organs, sinew, and flesh reforms into a large barbarian woman. There is a long pause, demonstrating Nogglegrop's god's penchant for the dramatic, and then the strong starts beating, and is breathing.
Ilina feels as bad as she ever has in her life due to the resurrection sickness (20% maximum hit points, nauseated, exhausted).
Nogglegrop sits in the sticky grass with a little smile on his face. His spells had done nothing for his father, but here he could make a difference.
"Wow!" was the first thing to come to mind as the divine magics began to reconstruct the fallen warrior. What Noggy had just accomplished, through channeling Fizzlethrop's power was amazing. Not that it was surprising that the gods could bring people back to life. Pravus Mortis was walking proof of that.
"That. Was. Awesome," the vah shir says. "Okay, new plan, we make sure to keep Noggy in one piece," Sajeek says with a laugh. His eyes turn back to the warrior as she is put back together. "Hey, she's cute, now that she is back in one piece and alive." The vah shir grins at his friends.
"Oh, yeah, the things that killed her waddled off in that direction," Sajeek points at the Black Mountain. If one could really call it a mountain. It was too smoothly shaped to be something natural. He scratches Bast's ears with his other hand.
The big tiger had sat near the vah shir and watched what happened to the dead two-legger. Bast jumps a bit as the woman startling cough as she begins to breathe once more.
"Hello," Sajeek says rather cheerful, his emerald eyes twinkling. "Welcome back to not being dead. It's generally more fun the being dead." The early morning light baths the dervish robed vah shir in it's light. The tannish strips of linen that made up the robe expose dark grey fur looked rich and soft, begging to be pet. The glistening, blood red tiger like strips of that cut through the grey would cause that same hand to snatch away.
The vah shir turns to Noggy and digs out the flask Khae had given him. He hand it to the gnome so he can take a swig.
"Oh, and I've got some gems for you and Rev that I need to give you guys. Completely slipped my mind," he says with a grin.
Gwendalyn has mixed feelings, watching the hot-headed halfling ride off with the Shenba'Dal. He was trouble, but he was also good in a fight, and she was pretty sure that wouldn't be the last one before they were done. All thoughts of him are driven from her mind when they find Nogglegrop again, and she doesn't hesitate to pick up the gnome armor and all. "We missed you!"
Her elation is short-lived, and the see-saw of emotions continues as they find a woman's corpse. Gwen is sad to see one of her one people all chewed up like that; it reminds her of the Plan of Fear... But then Nogglegrop works a miracle, and raises the dead. Her jaw drops in surprise and awe. "Incredible!" She looks at the little cleric appraisingly. "I see you've learned some new tricks."
Revery is confident that the stone formations (#19 on Loping Plains Map) are sacred in nature. The group mostly saw females, and he imagines they are on a pilgrimage, perhaps even something connected with birthing.
The other area (#23 on Loping Plains Map) is something that it takes more than one member of the group to determine, but after taking heed of all voices you are positive that it is a Battle Plain, likely fallen into disuse in recent years.
Vah shir tastes in cuteness come to question as you all look at Ilina (charisma 6).
Nogglegrop eagerly takes a swig and a bit more and nearly gets his ribs broken by Gwendalyn. With a smile he says, "We are all growing in our respective vocations, and are becoming forces to reckon with."
Nodding towards the ex-fallen warrior he whispers, "Too bullheaded to back down from a fight. She would fit in perfectly."
Revery attempts to finger the gnoll tooth on a string around his neck, and finds it missing. He's sure he... But of course he wouldn't have defeated a gnoll in combat, would he? That must have been in that dream...
He tells the others what he knows about the stone formations - not a lot, he concedes, but he hopes to find out more.
He greets Noggy with a smile and a hug, and is fairly helpless at searching at night until he lights his bullseye lantern. Then he is fairly good at it (+14 in Search) but instead of finding what Noggy is looking for, he finds a few nice colored rocks which might be useful in his carving.
Eventually the Barbarian woman is found, and Vicar Nogglegrop performs his amazing spell upon her. "She was pretty badly off, Noggy. Glad you were able to help her. What got to her, do you know?" He looks at her, noting she is short for her race, much shorter than Gwen. And upon hearing Sajeeks comment, he idly thinks he has know cats who prefer people who don't like them, and wonders if Sajeek is subject to the same predisposition.
Finally he takes a good look at the "mountain" and wonders how it came into being...
Knowledge/nature: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (4) + 11 = 15
Knowledge/geography: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (4) + 11 = 15
Kwen is elated to see the gnome, while on one hand the rogue was going to miss the halfling, as it was always nice to have someone to work together with an fighting foes, Jinx was welcome to travel where ever he wanted to.
Nodding at Noggy's words; the rogue could almost understand why he took off; the misleading didn't even bother the rogue. That was something that the rogue had no problem with; for it was something that only the gnome wanted to experience.
Before the warrior was brought back to the realm of the living the rogue let out a small whistle at, no one should be eaten alive; that was a cruel fate for anyone. Assisting in the search for her body had taken some time and Kwen had to wonder if there were more of the undead creatures out in the wild.
search check for the body 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (5) + 12 = 17
Once the woman was brought back to the mortal coil, Kwen says " Aye, glad to see that you made it back to the realm of the living. Rest and get some of your strength back, when you are ready to divulge any part of your tale we shall listen."
Diplomacy check 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (12) + 12 = 24
Kwen smacks the gnome on the shoulder once Gwen is done with breaking the gnomes ribs, a hug from here always left marks on anyone. " Glad to see that you managed to find a few words that the deity listened to." Kwen says with a smile.
" Is the mountain in the same direction that we need to travel in? Perhaps we can find out what did this and get a little revenge, I still have a very potent poison grenade; but I'd rather save that for a large group of the undead, like getting them clustered together for example."
If there is one good thing about this dead area, the curse appears to have killed everything, which means that no one has laid a claim to it.
Revery finds no gnoll tooth in his possession. He, Bast, and Ilina will be able to travel in relative safety as long as they remain among the others. It will be best for them to keep quiet, small and try not to get noticed by any gnolls.
Nogglegrop returns the greetings and says, "I know not what attacked her, other than they looked like animated scarecrows with pumpkin heads. They were undead, of that I know, because I have seen several and they are all being drawn to that dark mountain." He turns to Ilina, offering her an opportunity to fill in more.
The mountain is made of black stone, and is not on any map. Considering how accurate the maps have been, for major features, you discern that this is a relatively new construction, which screams that it is unnatural.
You are a solid day's journey from the base of the mountain, and no one wants to get there in the dark.
It is time to take Ilina's measure and come up with plans for the immediate future.
the barbarian warrior of 6'2" awakens and weakly stands herself up. "the creatures, they have a touch that targets your sanity and your willpower. i was struck by it. truly not a pleasant feeling."
"you may Call me Ilina, an Outcast from the lands of the distant north and a champion of the frozen wastes my people called home."
"that fight, i had no choice but to defend myself. it was either run and die, or die and injure at least one of them for another to finish off."
"my people back home referred to me by such titles as Flesh-Raker, Quick-Sword, Swiftblade, Champion, and Bear-Spirit. at least before they exiled me because a new Chieftan didn't approve such a powerful woman warrior."
"some mending and a night of rest should be sufficient for me to press on. i feel kind of weak from the leeching effect. i could not defeat them on my own. but there were only two i noticed that attacked me. one of which, i bloodied about halfway to death."
"be wary of those scarecrows. the stronger your willpower and the greater your sanity, the more appetizing a target you are for their near vampiric quality."
i figured it would be common knowledge that vampires drink blood in a fantasy setting, especially with the spreading of stories, and a reasonable comparison. the targeting sanity and will power was an IC of way of firsthand saying they deal Wisdom damage. one whom experienced such damage should be familiar with the sensation.
" Hmm good to know, if we get a chance I'll poison those of you who have the very nice hammers with something called tooth rot, it works very well against the undead. In fact it is one of two poisons that are designed to work against the undead. However it will take at least 6 heartbeats for me to poison your weapons. I only have 4 vials of it left, so we should only use it if we must. Gwen do you have any new spells that you could ask the bear totem and the tribunal to bless us with? I only ask because the gnoll shamans negated the spell you had cast on us." Kwen says, his thoughts on dealing with the scarecrows and the risk of poisoning weapons.
"That's very interesting, Kwen. I would have thought poisons were useless against undead. It is truly wonderful how the world surprises us now and then..." Revery sits on the ground and looks at the mountain.
"All we know is that there is supposed to be a keep of some kind here, right? That's what Khae - I mean Prince Khae told you?"
He turns, sitting, and his green eyes take a sip of the Barbarian woman. "Flesh-Raker, I am Revery. I am, in some respects, your opposite. And I am married, so don't get any ideas, you know, about opposites. Now, what were you doing out on this lifeless meadow all alone?" He smiles, belatedly.
Sajeek nods his head in response to Rev's question about a keep, and chuckles a bit when the enchanter mentions he is married.
"Yup. Khae said that their was a keep that was filled with undead and been defiled, that kinda stuff. Keep filled with bad stuff that wants us dead, no wonder he wanted to come so badly," Sajeek laughs quietly. "But, apparently, it is still sound enough to be starting point for the city." He looks over at the mountain and frowns.
Taking a few moments, Sajeek digs out the spyglass that Noggy had engineered for him out of his back pack. Looking over at the gnome, the vah shir closes one eye and says "Ar Har!" in a fairly bad pirate imitation. Turning back to the towering, unnatural Black Mountain, he looks it over with the spyglass. Sajeek then moves on to looking at the base of the mountain. Not that it would give him any real details, given how far away it was. But it was more or less keeping him occupied. The dead landscape unsettles the vah shir more then he cared to admit.
The Beastlord's ears flicker as he listens to his friends and the former dead person. Ilina seemed to be taking her death and stepping back onto the mortal coil with stoic nature of the Barbarian folk. Coming back to life for them had been a bit different. Then again, she had only been killed, not shipped to the Plane of Fear to be torture buddies with the minions of the Faceless. That tends to leave a bit of a mark on a person.
"I will admit, I'm curious to know what brought you out to such a place as well," Sajeek says from where he stands a bit away. The vah shir has been looking at the mountain for a few minutes, peering at it through his rather piraty appearing spyglass. "Afterwards, your welcome to choose to travel with us, or go your own way. If you decide to go your own way, I'm sure Noggy wouldn't say anything about bringing you back to life, or ask for payment or anything. I, on the other paw, might," Sajeek says with a laugh. The vah shir looks over and grins good naturedly. "But, I'm kinda an ass like that."
Those that met with Khae can remember his exact words, "There is already a building there. It is a cursed place, desecrated by necromancy and heinous crimes. Undead rule its halls and must be expunged, for it is an ideal location for your purposes and exactly the defensible structure you will need to have a chance of surviving in such a dangerous region."
Glancing at the distant mountain you can't help but wonder if he is in error. Perhaps there is something to his words, since any locale that would be ideal for inhabitation would likely already be inhabited, as this place was. Luckily undead rarely complained when evicted from their homes.
Nogglegrop hooks his guantleted hand, in a poor facsimile of a hook, and starts to limp around, in a worse impression of a peg leg, while looking for booty.
Sajeek observes no life at all, not a single plant, not even a single bird in the air. It is unnatural stillness that even the winds seem tentative to blow the dust of the open plain about. What he does see is the occasional undead creature moving towards the mountain. They are all circling around to the side facing the lake.
As the sun lazily clambers higher into the grey sky you notice that there is a reflective nature sto enough patches that one would imagine it is inherent to the entire mountain. Revery identifies it as the glassy volcanic stone obsidian. Though worthless to sell it is mind-boggling to imagine an entire mountain fashioned from obsidian. Polished in places and the place would be blinding at the highest point of the sun.
Ilina had been on Faydwer searching for work, and been part of a caravan crew until her brash nature had lead to her early dismissal. Since then she has been foolishly wandering about (WIS 6) searching for what to do next.
Gwendalyn tries to imagine a chieftain who wouldn't approve of a strong female warrior, and guesses that he'd probably have a different explanation for Ilina's exile. No need to question her account, though, since the details aren't important. Probably.
Noting that the shorter woman is still looking rather the worse for wear, Gwen casts her best healing spell several times. Noggy already did the hard part, after all. "Undead scarecrows with pumpkin heads, that drain your willpower? Sound nasty."
Light Healing (Ilina): 4d6 ⇒ (4, 1, 1, 2) = 8
Light Healing (Ilina): 4d6 ⇒ (2, 2, 6, 5) = 15
Light Healing (Ilina): 4d6 ⇒ (3, 5, 3, 1) = 12
Light Healing (Ilina): 4d6 ⇒ (6, 6, 6, 3) = 21
"i was in search of work, a caravan required a bodyguard. i was released, and am now in search of work again."
"and if you wish to slaughter hordes of those scarecrows, i will happily join you."
"all i request is an equal share of any spoils gained and the spreading of my Reputation, so that my people may possibly accept me once more."
" Well there can't be more then a few hundred undead creatures in the keep; no problem for us to clear them out. Regretfully I have nothing that will assist us against something that weakens the will. Perhaps Noggy might have a few ideas on how to combat the undead to odds more in our favor. " The rogue says with a smile; then looking at the gnome Kwen says " You sir; are no salty dog."
Kwen shakes his head at Revery's words, than again he was also trying to defend his honor; as the rogue didn't feel like getting into a 'friendly' sparing match with Ilina; Kwen keeps his mouth shut on the subject; trying to work odds out on how many of the scarecrow types there could be out there.
"Perhaps we should scout out the mountain before doing anything else," suggests Revery. "Unless anyone has a better idea?"
He stands up, ready to go, even though he looks very tired. They had been up all night, after all.
Atop the mountain, as if stuck only to this one place on Faydwer, are thick black clouds that never leave its very peak.
Moving around the west side of the mountain, traveling north, as all the undead have before you, teaches you little. The mountain looks impossible to climb, for it is unmanageably steep and almost featureless. Its obsidian base juts out a bit into the Wayunder Lake.
You had heard about "abundant fishing that is found off Wayunder Lake's pristine shores", but you see nothing of that in this fetid cesspool of overgrown algae and weeds.
A single fog-strewn path can be seen into the mountain proper, and you watch a zombie clamber up it without too much trouble.
The sight lines are long and you see no other undead once the zombie disappears, swallowed up into the unnatural mountain.
"Well, that's the way in then, I guess," Sajeek says quietly from behind his spyglass. The vah shir watches the zombie shamble up the foggy path, until the creepy looking fog swallows the zombie up.
"No, that didn't creep me out at all," Sajeek mutters to himself. "Okay, since Quick-Blade the scarecrow treat needs to recover, and I think we could all benefit from some rest, let's do this." Sajeek pauses, scratching his chin and glances back at the Obsidian Mountain. "Let go back a few miles and rest. Then the following morning, we should be on our way by the time the sun is rising." He grins at the others. "To maximize our time in the daylight." the young Beastlord pauses. Sajeek grins suddenly. "Not that I'm really sure if the daylight will matter. But I can see better during the day, so that's good enough for me."
"Unless anyone has any better ideas?" Sajeek looks over at his friends and the recently dead, but got better addition, in the form of a barbarian. "Okay, let's go make camp for the rest of the day, so we can get the early start in the morning."
"Rest sounds great," says Revery.
"Theories about about how the building we're to invade got replaced or swallowed up by the Obsidian Mount. None of them are realistic, though. My best one is that some evil god has raised the earth volcanically, pulling out the obsidian to build the mountain, and has attracted already-existing undead to it in order to thwart our plans. I realize this theory is somewhat megalomaniacal, but we do have a destiny to fulfill. In any case, I'm really glad we have Noggy the Undead Slayer amongst our ranks again."
Once they make a camp, Revery will prepare and cast Bind Affinity (1 round, 20 Mana) on a spot 40 feet from the camp, telling the others, "If I cast my Gate spell, that is where I'll appear. Just so you know." He points at the spot. Then he prepares and casts Pendril's Animation (2 mana), and finally, prepares Weaken again.
Revery had offered a possible explanation for the appearance of the mountain, and would be surprised how close he had gotten to the truth, with one major change needed: it was raised by a goodly god.
The day, and night, pass without incident, though your sleeps are a tormented affair, as if just being close to this mountain unsettles even your unconscious mind (full health, full mana, no negatives).
It appears as if the mountain itself is drawing undead to this place from far and wide. They shuffle to its base, as if on a pilgrimage, and are swallowed up into it.
As the sun peeks over the horizon it finds Pravus Mortis trekking towards the slash in the side of the unnatural thing.
(please set marching order)
Revery's dreams were more turbulent than normal last night. Rather than a bubbling stream with numerous tributaries falling down rapids, it was as if a flash flood had come, and now those same rapids host torrents of the same dreams, only louder, plus some new tributary dreams on the side, involving the walking dead, also spewing gallons and gallons every heartbeat. He had been holding his ears most of the night, with no respite. So his ears and eyes are a little red, and his eyes have dark bags under them.
As they walk, Revery is in the middle of the group, after Noggy. "I admit I am afraid," says Revery to buoy the spirits of the others.
"Kwen, knives made of this stone are very, very sharp, if brittle." he says, out of the blue.
As they make camp the night before, Gwendalyn considers her preparations. "I need to re-cast Talisman of the Beast, since those gnoll shamans dispelled it from half of us. But now we have Ilina with us, and I can only strengthen six. Who doesn't need it?"
She continues, "Also, I think I should memorize Lifeforce because of what she said about how the scarecrows drain willpower. It's hard to decide what not to memorize instead; we should probably coordinate, Noggy, to make sure that we have overlap where we need it and not where we don't."
"However, before we go inside a mountain full of undead, I want to cast Spirit Sight on at least the spellcasters. I think it's worth the investment to not be ambushed by ghosts. I would cast it on everyone, but it only lasts an hour and a half, and I don't know how long this will take."
240 gp split from belt and gloves
1 gp backpack
50 gp chain shirt
0.5 gp flint & steel
0.5 gp hemp rope (50')
10 gp berth on ship from Halas to Faydwer
25 gp given to Sajeek to help pay for maps
0.05 gp gate tax at Kaladim
Remaining gold: 490.01 gp
Nogglegrop nods towards the enchanter in answer to the question of who should be left out of the shaman's buffing spell, "Revery is strong enough already." In regards to coordination the cleric plans to focus on healing, lifeforce and curing both blindness and disease.
The gnome follows Revery's lead and binds himself away from the mountain, though far from the enchanter. The last thing they wanted was to gate and both find themselves in the lap of an undead monster.
A perfect opportunity has presented itself to pay the gnome his cut of whatever the group decided in his absence, since he might be dead in a few hours, which will permit you to loot it from his cold hands.
As you close in to the mountain you realize that you have passed through a light fog, which combined with the distance has stolen some of the clarity of vision one will have up close. You can touch the dull black rock of the mountain and find it cold, but after brushing away the top layer of filth you are greeted by shiny black rock. Within is something that no one has ever encountered, or even heard of, for it looks as if tendrils of white flame dance within the very rock.
Revery had mentioned that the rocks were fragile, but the rocks that have tumbled from on high have broken much like stone, and a closer examination finds them to be just like mirrored black stone. Of interest is the stone that has fallen from the mountain does not contain flame.
In the far distance are two undead approaching from different directions: one walking, one flying. They are far behind you, but speed is your ally if you wish to avoid them.
" Hmm, well since I deal with mostly piercing damage, and undead seem to be immune to the type of damage that I can deal, except with poisons, at the moment perhaps the only two people who might not be able to utilize your spell would be myself or perhaps even Revery. Pretty much, I've got one really potent weapon for a large group in a 11 ft area, then nothing else except for 5 vials of Tooth Rot. After that my bag of tricks are traps, a silver tongue, locks, looks, and the ability to assist someone fighting against one opponent." Kwen says thinking out loud, than starts to look around at the rocks taking Revery's words about the stone and the ability to make daggers from them.
" Alas Revery is afraid, we shall have to take a tea time, while he spends a few minutes collecting himself." The rogue jokes, although the words sound a bit forced; but he tries to relieve some of the tension.
" Revery; after all we have been through; fear is something that we have looked at, died, than got better, a clear head is what is called for at the moment. I'm sure if I spent more time worrying about what will come after us, I'd be shaking too. I'm sure that Noggy's trousers are stained yellow as well; if we need to run, we will stay together and try to get the undead in a choke point for us to slow them down. " The rogue says with a wink. Hoping to help raise everyone's spirits, after all the half-elf was nervous. Since dying; Kwen had dealt with a much more pronounced flavor of his paranoia, seeing trouble where none was at; had put the rogue on slightly frayed nerves.
Still he had been managing it better at it seemed that it would come and go, still it seemed to be keeping Kwen on edge... more than usual.
" When would you like me to poison some weapons? I would prefer to do that before combat." Kwen says.
Towards the back until the party gets inside the ruins, than he will lead the group.
"I recall those eons. After that, I don't know if I could be afraid again. Maybe if I can forget.... I had a dream that I had forgotten. How does that work? How did I know, in my dream, what I had forgotten? I suppose because that thing, that... memory, like the heavy armor on my shoulders... was not there. It had been, and then it was not."
Revery looks toward the top of the black mountain, to see if he can see it.
The Night Before
Gwendalyn nods at Nogglegrop's assessment, and closes her eyes to prepare herself. She opens them again mere seconds later and they are dark as night, no white showing except for flecks that could be stars or blowing snow. "Hear me oh great bear spirit of my people, take this magic and make it thine!" She invokes the mystical words and gestures of a spell that causes white light to lance out from her uplifted fist, bathing herself, Kwen (over his protests), Noggy, Ilina, Sajeek, and his overgrown kitty-cat in an eerie glow. The ghostly image of a polar bear appears standing behind her and takes the nexus of the light from her hand, then fades away, along with the light and the strangeness of her eyes. She sighs in relief. "I'd gotten used to that. It's nice to have it back!"
Continuing her coordination with with the cleric, "Now, I can cure disease, but not poison; is that something we ought to be concerned about? I would think so, but I don't really know much of anything about undead." She adds, "Oh, and Sajeek mentioned gems; we haven't really discussed it much, but I suggested that it would be fair to give 780 each to you two" -- she gestures at Noggy and Revery -- "with just 240 left for me and none for Kwen or Sajeek, since I'm keeping my ring and those dirks are even more valuable."
The Moving Now
Gwendalyn feels the group's tension rise as they reach the black mountain. "Now would be a good time, Kwen, since I'll be doing some spellcasting anyway; I really don't like surprises." It takes less than twenty seconds for her to cast a spell three times, causing a large, translucent, stylized eye to appear in front of her own face before quickly fading away, followed by the same effect on Noggy and Revery.
Talisman of the Beast (Bast, Gwendalyn, Ilina, Kwen, Nogglegrop, Sajeek), cast using the spirit mastery Totem Spirit: +3 Str for up to six creatures, lasting indefinitely.
The Moving Now
Spirit Sight (Gwendalyn, Nogglegrop, Revery): as see invisible, except also including the presence of spirits and ghosts (even if insubstantial or hiding in solid objects), for 90 minutes.
Revery looks down at the solid rock under the scree. He sees something in it. A slinky wraith of milky nightmare. A tango of miasma and phlogiston. Arwen appears and looks at him, but turns away. Revery closes his eyes. What is this?
Looking back at the two undead that were making there way towards them. Or the mountain, either way, they might be able to see them and Sajeek would rather avoid starting a fight. Mostly because it might draw everything hidden in the fog out to play.
"Alright, we're gonna have some company, so let's go," Sajeek says quietly. There was just a hint of urgency in the vah shir's voice. "Getting caught out in the open doesn't sound like a good idea. There are an awful lot of those things out and about." Before they move out, Sajeek hands Rev and Noggy 360 gold pieces worth of gems.
Sajeek glances at Bast as they start forward. The vah shir wished that they had a little more time. The young Beastlord was certain he had figured out the parts of the scroll he had messed up on. He prayed to spirits that his stupidity with magic wouldn't cost Bast his life.
Applying poisons to blades or piercing weaponry (cannot be applied to blunt weapons) can be done in advance of a combat, but they only remain effective for about an hour (10 minutes per rank of trade skill: make poison) and then they will be made inert and lost. It is unknown when the next combat will be met, which makes it difficult to know when to coat weapons.
Speaking of poisons, neither of the healers can deal with them, though diseases will have a short shelf life. Whether they should worry about them, likely when Kwen infects himself again, or not is sort of moot since there is nothing they can do.
Kwen had never stabbed an undead creature with a magical weapon before. Despite feeling that he will be useless in the upcoming battles, he will be surprised what a difference that magical item will result in for both himself and his vah shir companion.
Nogglegrop looks strangely calm despite the dire nature of what is to come, but he has always stood calm when threats were met (WIS 23), as you all know considering how the evils treated him on the rowboat. The gnome dons his helm and throws the rogue a winking flash of his closest pale grey eye.
The very top of the obsidian mountain is obscured by clouds, but there is enough movement to show that it is likely hollow inside, like a (hopefully) dormant volcano.
Gwendalyn provides the casters with the ability to see the invisible and spirits, which will come in very handy later.
Your single file winding climb up into the tight mountain pass is steep, but easy enough (no climb checks needed). It is a narrow corridor, too tight and twisted for more than a handful to pass at one times. This passage feels claustrophobic due to the upthrust slabs of slick obsidian rock, which rise up more than 100' in most places, and is a collection of jagged spires, rather than flat, smooth planes, few could enter over the top of the rocks, at least not without magical aid, or a pair of wings.
Things finally open up a bit as the pass becomes roughly level about 100' above the ground. Despite the slight illumination from the stone your vision becomes worse and worse. Everything is shrouded in an unsettling fog, which is uncomfortably chill and there is a rank, sickly sweet stench of rotting flesh. Even those with infravision find it difficult to see, since the fog oft plays tricks with the eyes (highly variable sight range and clarity for all party members). The humidity has increased, making clothing always damp, skin always clammy, and metal always on the verge of rusting. No wind touches this place, though there is a moaning from the wind playing across the open top of the mountain, making it within as still as a tomb, with the air being heavy and stale. Within this cursed place sound travels well, often amplified or echoed by the fog. Ahead of you is never silent, for somewhere beyond one or more of the tormented dead are always howling their anguish.
The closer you come you discern a palpable miasma of evil about this place. The land here, and everything on it, feels dark, heavy, cold, and simply wrong. Each of you find the area uncomfortable, and get frequent chills down your spines. Each of you are seasoned adventurers, and can tough it out, but most other travellers are almost sure to retreat. You start to understand why no other creatures have taken this seemingly prime location between fresh-water lake and sea.
(Please include a DC 19 Will save in your next post, or be Shaken for your entire duration here. The Shaken condition conveys a -2 morale penalty on attack rolls, checks and saving throws. May make another Will save every 24 hours to shake off this effect, but there is a new Will save every day with a +1 per consecutive day spent here)
Many of the trees have died from the lack of sun, but vines and weeds have flourished, as have all manner of mushrooms and fungi. A few hardy trees have survived, but have grown wan and sickly, especially a familiar looking one behind you will eventually discover in the rear of the building, while those that fell simply provided more nutrients for the twisted and ungainly plants that took their place. Much of the area is a tangle now, and roots and vines always catch at clothes, feet, elbows, and weapons alike, The unwary often find themselves sprawling, and even careful travellers might trip every few minutes, unable to see the plants and roots blocking their way in the foggy gloom.
How plants grow in obsidian is so far beyond you that its not even worth considering.
After the last turn, the corridor widens and opens up. You notices the Gazing Pools (#1). These long, shallow pools run along either side of the estate's northern outer yard. The pools are only 4' deep, but nearly 150' long. Because the grounds widen as they approach the manour, the pools are tapered, ranging from 20' across at the far end to 40' wide at the end of nearest the manour.
Two-thirds of the way along the length of the gazing pools stands a wide, shallow, water-filled basin set into the ground. The solid obsidian of the ground has been chiseled away, creating a lip roughly a foot deep. Into this depression has been set an extraordinary decorative urn, apparently of bronze, that rises 4' above the ground, it's surface meticulously carved with images of vines and trees as well as a beach with waves and all manner of animals and people, all living in harmony. Water flows into the basin by dribbling from various holes in the urn, or seeps out from its base. This Front Fountain (#2) is especially jarring, considering how dark the surrounding are.
Beside you are Terraced Gardens (#3) where the ground rises up in great flat steps. Each level is 2' above the last, and in total there are three raised levels on either side. Most of the plants have long since died and weeds have replaced them. The terraces are now thick with weeds, vines and lichens, and in places it is difficult to make out the exact position of the levels beneath. Most of the trees have toppled, their rotting trunks lay at odd angles, as if a giant hand had struck them down. Along the sloped corner walls, above the top level of the terraces, a single massive stone brace juts out from the wall, as if it were meant to support some enormous weight.
You catch glimpses of a large building ahead of you via the random patches of sunlight that pierce the cloud and fog. Far from illuminating the grounds, these patches of light merely create shifting shadows that seem to move on their own with no fixed relationship to the position of the light, making it even harder to gauge distance, direction and size. These beams of sunlight add an unsettling luminescence to the fog, and its almost animate tendrils seem to glow as they drift across the grounds.
The Manour (#4) stands at the centre of the open area and is the largest and most notable structure. It is a dark and twisted building, emanating evil like tears.
From behind you the echoing moan of the undead can be heard as they clamber up the pass you just ascended. It feels like every undead creature in the place is holding their breath and waiting to attack.
Revery's Will Save (vs. DC 19): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (12) + 9 = 21
Memories of a very long dream of pain and suffering are served to Revery, urged on by the dead spirits in this place. They try to scare him, but he manages to shake them off.
Revery is surprised at the gardens, pools, fountain, and manor. It is much more sophisticated, civilized, than the raw primordial evil he expected. He wonders again who built this, why, and when. He looks around at the others to make sure they're okay. Hmm, if they were not, what would he do? Offer soothing lies, saying it is all okay, not to worry?
"Is this the structure the Prince mentioned?" he asks nobody in particular.
He fingers for his gnoll tooth, which of course is not there.
Revery's soft voice feels like it echoes forever in the wet stillness of the entryway. He had only meant to speak to those around him, but it feels like a scream. Whispers would be best from here on out, and keeping spellcasting, with its requirement to speak in a clear voice, to a minimum.
Khae had spoken of a cursed building in this very location, and what was in front of the group certainly fit the bill. There did not appear to be any other exits, and you only saw one way into the mountain, so this looks to be the place.
Nogglegrop is faced backwards, listening to the spooky onrush of howling voices coming from behind the party. They were still a distance away, but gaining ground every minute.
Movement from ahead of you suggests there is undead closer than you would be comfortable with.
Gwendalyn casts a critical eye on what might be their future home if they survive, and their tomb if they don't. She whispers, "I think it has potential. Get rid of the creepiness and evil, and it could be really nice!" She has to wonder about Ilina's sanity in following a bunch of strangers into a place like this, but then that makes her question her own sanity in coming here on purpose, and she sets aside that line of thought before it can affect her courage.
Spirit Sight (see invisible plus spirits, even if insubstantial or in solid objects): Gwendalyn, Nogglegrop & Revery for 90 minutes from the base of the mountain.
" Yeah a couple of throw pillows and a few rugs, this place would be very nice. " Kwen whispers to himself. Then grabs a vial of poison and starts to coat one of his daggers, a thought had springs into his mind about his wrist sheaths, to have a way to load the poison vials into the sheaths and coat them with just a simple press or a flick of his wrist. If the rogue survives than he would have to talk to Noggy about building something.
"Tis only damage." Kwen whispers, not debilitating like the other one he had used not too long ago the rogue thinks to himself.
Surrreee have the rogue make a will save, great......
will save 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11 failed....
poison use 1d100 ⇒ 34 Success!