To Rappan Athuk

Game Master brvheart


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Your Narrator

Several weeks behind you lies the south most city and capital of Geb, Mechitar. One of the few places that most outsiders dare to go in the undead ruled country. Merchants who were brave enough traded in the land but travelers and visitors were quite rare. For whatever reasons you came to this city your desire to stay left quickly. The numerous undead, living, living thralls and their masters that populated the city left a strange feeling inside you. Soon you found a good enough reason to escape.

Master Harren was a well to do merchant who had set out from Absolom to explore and capture the riches of southern Garund, a place where few regularly go. Certain that at least one of the stories he had accumulated were true he made his investment, buying out his partner who thought he was being a fool and sailing down along with a few souls in his employ that he trusted to Mechitar. There he organised several wagons into a caravan that he would lead to riches and fame, promising others who joined him a share in the gold that they would find and trade for. Five large wagons make up his caravan. He has hired four guards to each one, most mercenaries.

In charge of the security is the rather dull but thorough Half-orc named Gorrsh. He has been with Harren for many years and though at first glance the only thing that impressed was his muscles, once you got to know him a shrewd mind revealed itself and he was adept at leading others. Those of you who serve as caravan guards are familiar with Commander Gorrsh. Others have likely had little to do with him, regarding him simply as hired muscle.

Each of the five caravans is drawn by four horses and holds between three to six passengers currently making the total caravan population of forty four including drivers. They are all a various lot, several bards to entertain during the journey, minor merchants hoping that this trip will be the break they have been hoping for. Some are runaways or down on their luck would-be adventurers. Despite all the differences there have been few incidents inside the caravan so far these two weeks since starting. A good sign of the continued peace of the journey. Possible tracks and markings of beasts and bandits have been sighted. All guards and those trained in perception or applicable class features(track, etc...) would know of these dangers though all suspect that strange things may be encounted in these mostly unknown lands.

The days have so far been quiet along the Coast road. At times close enough to see the ocean, several nights spent near the shore. Mostly the road is ten to twenty miles from the water and there has been little to see besides empty plains once the last villages of Geb were left behind a week ago.

Freddy:

Today as you walk alongside the middle wagon your thoughts keep turning to your family and the letter that reached you just before leaving for Geb demanding that you stop this madness and return home. To your family, to your priveliged station that they have suffered so much to give to you so that the family name and it's influence would rise. Since he had left those three years ago they had not given up on him returning. Now it seemed that they were threatening to disown him for his disobedience. Now that he ahd brought them such shame he had forced their hand. Through all the demands you sense that they are desperate. You know that if you don't return their dreams will fall and their name and family will slowly decline without a new young face to carry on the work. Then another family will seize where theirs lingers and be pushed to the side.

Besides you one of the other guards, you know them all now as each shift you are paired with someone new at Gorrsh's organisation. This morning he has been less than talkative, but you do remember his name. Joh Felds, a young human varisian with dreams of becoming a paladin. A long shot you are sure. In front and behind you can be seen the other guards on this side of the caravan. A hundred feet or so off the path can be seen a campsite though without getting closer it can not be told it's age. Gorrsh himself is over there already inspecting it. He dismounts from his horse and kneels to the ground. He is one of the few here with his own horse, rumour has it that the horse has been his companion its whole life.

Gheris:

As you sit today in the middle Wagon of the caravan each bumb on the road seems exaggerated and felt to your bones. Perhaps it is the heat. Harren was glad to hire you on and whenever there are health issues you are the first one people come to. Thankfully there has been little in the way of emergencies besides one of the horses having a broken leg and instead of being put down was saved by your skillful healing. Every time you approach it at night it raises its head and softly whinnies at you. Today the view out the side is vast grasslands again. Exactly the same as it has been all week. Next to you Jonnah rambles on about various alchemical processes. He seems to think himself the expert when it comes to this topic. He would have you believe that he knew the secrets to eternal life if you could understand him. Though it is likely that he is just some young runaway apprentice. When he found out you are connected to the pathfinders he would not leave you alone and inquired how he might also join the pathfinders and become famous in their circles.

Good Thomas:

This day has been uneventful. Another boring patrol along the caravan's route. Anything that would give reason to worry about the security of the caravan seems to be hiding if it exists. Haran agreed to hire you after Gorrsh took one look at you and nodded. Knowing what it is like to be thought of by others as a monster the Half-orc took you under him as second in command, trusting in your previous experience and has put you in charge of the rear of the caravan while he sees to the scouting. When he is out you are the highest ranked among the caravan guards. Some of the guards respect you, some fear your monstrousness and others hate you but keep their distance also fearing your massive strength. The four with you, two on either side of the rear wagon you have chosen yourself among the guards for today's shift. Gorrsh has guards protecting and marching alongside different sections of the caravan each day.

Koan and Koayi:

Today you enjoy the front most wagon and are sitting with the man himself, Master Harren. He seems intrigued by the both of you, as if sensing something hidden. It seems the shrewd businessman and merchant has an eye for details and knowing when there might be information that he could benefit him or his pocket. If you have not revealed to anyone in the caravan your Kitsune forms he can definitely tell there is more to you than meets the eye and has been making casual conversation all morning asking about the land that you have come from, hinting if you are truly only brother and sister, and asking about Calistria. On the horizon you can see a slight change of colour and from the map that Master Harren has shown you, you think that those hill could lead to the Horsefly swamps.

Lars:

One night you were drinking in an inn telling many stories of the feats you have accomplished for Cayden Calean and the next morning walking alongside a wagon with your horse and several other men in armour around you. Guarding a caravan? Yes! This was definitely your next plan to bring glory to Cayden Calean. The caravan was surely to be heading into unknown lands full of dragons and demons. This far south there were more legends than real factual knowledge of the place. You can't remember how you wound up guarding this caravan but whenever you see Master Harren he gives you a smile. His face seems familiar and you think he was drinking with you but if you have questioned him he always denied it saying you showed up demanding to accompany him into the unknown. Today you are alongside the second wagon out of five, walking with or riding your horse. The heat is strong and you must frequently drink water to keep hydrated. Water is running low but should last another week when Master Harren says you will reach a river to refill.

Sorek:

You found the caravan two days ago coming up behind you as you were wandering south. Master Harren was kind enough to let you join and inquired about where you had come from and what you were doing so far south alone. Even after knowning that you were not a bandit however, most of the others in the caravan seemed to avoid you apart from a few others as if your mysterious appearance was some sort of sign of bad luck. Harren didn't believe in luck and has talked with you several times where he has inquired about your origins and that he has never seen one of your colour before. He seemed very interested in finding out. Now as the wagons roll along you are in the rear caravan with two others. A young man and his wife. It seems they have eloped and took the first way out of Geb that they could, hiding until they believed they were far enough away. They hated the undead controlled nation and every time they talked about it would get angry before the other attempted to calm them down. Which usually ended up with a awkward session of kissing.

Today the temperature is hot. This summer seems to be a little higher than average and characters must roll a DC 15 fortitude save or be fatigued for the second half of the day. The fatigue goes away after sleep that night or any apropriate spell that removes fatigue.

That evening...
As the caravan comes to a stop, tents and fires are set up, the horses tended to by the drivers and evening meals cooked and eaten. Some of the mercenary guards sit around their own fires while others intermingle with the other travelers and a few are set to the first watch. All seven of you happen to be sitting around the same fire tonight. Laughter, music and stories are in abundance around you and the darkness of the night outside of the camp is forgotten for a few hours. Harren is consulting with Gorrsh over the other side of the camp. The horses are going to sleep tied to a line of stakes in the grass, patches of uneaten hay at their feet.

Grand Lodge

Half-Elf Oracle - HP 31/31 | AC 18 | T 10 | FF 18 | CMD 15 | Fort +4 | Ref +2 | Will +7 (+2 vs. Enchantments) | Init +0 | Perc +3 | Sense Motive +5 | Channel: 8/8 @ 3d6

Gheris spends the long day listening to Jonnah ramble on with feigned interest. Honestly the man could be the smartest man in the expedition for all he knew, and alchemy was not something he could claim to be knowledgeable about. However, the topic did little to keep his attention as the wagons continued their slow trek south. Gheris' thoughts were elsewhere. As the topic shifted to the Pathfinder Society Gheris was far more interested, happily spending the time explaining the society to Jonnah and recounting tales of his own application, apprenticeship, and finally his Confirmation. "They would be lucky to have you Jonnah," Gheris stated matter-of-factly, "Perhaps if we make it out of this journey in one piece you can visit the Grand Lodge in Absolom and make your own application. It's almost an overly-simple process these days, as the need for brave souls is great."

For the sake of realism, it would be unlikely that Gheris would be armored during the journey unless danger began to regularly present itself. Not serving as a guard he would have little need to ride along the trail in full plate, it does chafe the body something fierce! If danger becomes more commonplace this might change. My statblock in my posts will reflect this reduced AC, which would of course include idle time at night spent at the fire and sleeping.

Gheris would attempt to seek some sort of shelter from the heat during the day, or at least attempt to layer his clothing or fashion a suitable piece of head protection. His survival skill is low, but he's smart enough to know what heat can do to a man.

Survival Check: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (9) + 0 = 9 Ok, so much for Survival!
Fortitude Save: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (9) + 9 = 18 At least that worked!

That evening, at the fire, Gheris regarded his companions. They seem like a very proficient bunch to be sure. I'm lucky to have found myself in such company. Arqueros protect them all. Breaking the silence the man spoke, "My name is Gheris, it's a pleasure to share your fire this evening." His words were smooth and melodic, and there was an obvious peace to his voice. "May Arqueros guide us and protect us on this journey ahead, as is his want."


HP 43/43 AC 26, T 12, FF 24, CMD 20, Fort +7, Ref +4, Will +8, Init +2, Percep +13

Lars spends much of the generating water to drink from his orizon. He's also willing to share since he hardly can drink 3 gallons at a time by himself, though his armor is damnably hot.

Why the hells didn't I prepare a spell to mitigate this heat? Nothing sucks more than being hot a sweaty with a hangover.

fortitude save: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (10) + 5 = 15

He is able to tough it out with sufficient water however.

I will adjust my spells to reflect adding in endure elements while we travel in such heat.

"Yes, certainly a pleasure. We should toast our new voyage. There's bound to be opportunities for adventure along the way. Cayden wouldn't have sent me along without a reason. " and he will take a wine skin out of his pack, gulp down a prodigious quantity of it, and pass it around. It's interesting to note that the skin was kept in a very handy location.


Retired

Fort: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5

Unused to the heat, Koayi spends much of the afternoon sweating and struggling to find a cool place in the wagon, and by the time they arrive at camp, her yellow robe has several dark spots from the sweat and she's taken her hairpieces out in favor of letting it hang loosely. To this was added the stress of keeping her secrets, and her brother's, from a very curious Master Harren. By the time the caravan stops for the night, she's quite tired, but still makes an effort to get out and converse.

She gratefully accepts the wineskin when offered, drinking just enough of it for her dehydrated body to feel its effects. "Thank you very much, Lars. Where do you suppose we are to travel tomorrow? Are there any places of interest, or will it be another day-yawn-another full day of riding in the carts?" Her voice is high-pitched and a little playful, even when talking about serious matters.


Your Narrator

He is on the other side of the camp at the moment Koayi and won't be able to hear you from your fire over everyone else making noise.


Male Kitsune Executioner Slayer 3 | HP 30/30 | AC 18, Touch 14, FF 14 | CMD 17 | Fort +3, Ref +7, Will +2| Per +8 | Sense +6 | Init +4

Not one for small talk, Koan let's Koayi do all the talking, under their agreement that they mustn't know what they are. As he's learned in the past, the less information doled out, the less he has to clean up afterward. Information is a commodity in his line of work, and sometimes one cannot afford to tell everyone everything, even your closest of kin.

She knew about the supposed riches, that this could mean an early retirement for him, he might've even dangled the hopes of returning to their family home over her head. She didn't know about the events that lead him to such desperations, nor that his life is on the line. If Rappan Athuk turns out to be a bust, Koan is a dead man walking, and he couldn't bring himself to tell Koayi that. Best not to.

Fort: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17
He takes the heat in stride. Though it may not be what Koayi is used to, Koan has spent the better part of a decade traveling through steamy jungles and scorching deserts-- this, he could tolerate.

At camp, Koan turns down Lars's offer of wine with gestures and quickly pulls out his waterskin. He looks around at his traveling companions and feels nothing but shame. If only they knew the blood I shed for coin....best not to tell. He retreats early,excusing himself with a curt bow and tends to his weapons and armor.


Retired

Hurp! Edited for making sense.


HP 38/38 | AC 21, Touch 11, FF 20 | CMD 17 | Fort +7, Ref +3, Will +3 | Per +0, Darkvision 30' | Init +5

The heat is bleak and hammers down on Good Thomas with the force of a blazing hammer. Walking at the back of the caravans means trudging through endless roiling clouds of dust, yet the ogren does little more than gradually fall back and gesture for the other guards to assume a general 'V' formation, with him at the bottom and the other men spreading out on either side of him till the foremost is about level with the last wagon.

Sweat drips constantly down his craggy brow, and runs in rivulets beneath his ebon banded armor that's chased with silver. His cloak, cobalt blue and unexpectedly fine for one such as he, is removed around midday and stowed in his pack. He pauses occasionally to throw back his head and drink entire waterskins, his throat bobbing, water cascading down the side of his maw until he reaches the bottom of the skin and pours the last inch out each time over his scalp.

Still, the sun punishes, and it is with grim determination that he plods along, occasionally adjusting the massive greatsword slung over his back.

Not once, however, does he utter a word of complaint. And seeing their grim and inhuman second-in-command look so implacable, neither do his men.

Fortitude: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10

Still, by the time Good Thomas has seen to his many duties and finally allows himself to sit by the fire, he is worn out. Not caring which fire he picks, he unslings his sword, unshoulders his pack, and sits down heavily by the others, his bulk such that he appears a small hill, head hanging low, small, beady eyes reflecting the firelight in an ominous, almost demonic fashion.

His goblinoid ears flicker like those of a horse as the conversation starts up around him, but for now he is content to simply sit and rest and take occasional sips of his almost empty waterskin.

Grand Lodge

Half-Elf Oracle - HP 31/31 | AC 18 | T 10 | FF 18 | CMD 15 | Fort +4 | Ref +2 | Will +7 (+2 vs. Enchantments) | Init +0 | Perc +3 | Sense Motive +5 | Channel: 8/8 @ 3d6

Gheris glances at the mountain of a man sitting near him at the fire. As fate would have it, his vision was far too clouded to make out fine facial details anymore, so beyond the sound of a voice or general shape and size of a person it was challenging for Gheris to accurately determine racial features. Even so, he knew the large man was obviously not human, and that his form was a regular around the perimeter of the wagons, giving orders to the other guards and working with the lead guard named Gorrsh. He could only imagine the feats the figure would be capable of.

Mark my words, this one is going to save my life one day...

Speaking to the large man, the priest says, "The day's toils weigh upon your shoulders brother. I have some blessings that will refill that skin for you, if you would accept them?" as he motions to the flattened container the larger man was sipping from.

Turning to speak to the woman, Gheris says, "I do not know our destination, but my prayers are that we see an end to this heat. It wears on the soul something fierce. I only know that supposedly there are monks along the way to our destination that might provide us respite from the road, if the tales are true." He pauses for a moment and adds, "Your accent, it is unfamiliar to me, although the tone is lovely and pure. Surely Shelyn has blessed you. From where do you hail?"


HP 43/43 AC 26, T 12, FF 24, CMD 20, Fort +7, Ref +4, Will +8, Init +2, Percep +13

"Destination? Umm. Not really sure. I don't think I was paying attention when the caravan master gave the plan. I don't know that there's too many settlements this way, but honestly this isn't my neck of the woods. I'm from Kalsgard, and quite new to Garundi. "

Grand Lodge

Half-Elf Oracle - HP 31/31 | AC 18 | T 10 | FF 18 | CMD 15 | Fort +4 | Ref +2 | Will +7 (+2 vs. Enchantments) | Init +0 | Perc +3 | Sense Motive +5 | Channel: 8/8 @ 3d6

Turning to the man who spoke, Gheris asks, "Kalsgard? You have indeed traveled far from home and hearth for this expedition. What brings you along this journey?"

Gheris continued to try and commit the names, voices, and forms to memory. He would need to be aware of these traits and features in the future, and he concentrated on the task put before him.


HP 38/38 | AC 21, Touch 11, FF 20 | CMD 17 | Fort +7, Ref +3, Will +3 | Per +0, Darkvision 30' | Init +5

Again the ogren's ears flicker, and it takes him a moment to realize that he's being addressed - and in cordial terms no less. Good Thomas turns his head to regard Gheris, and his nightvision has no difficulty in picking out the details that might otherwise have been obscured by the dancing shadows cast by the flickering fire.

"Thank you," is his simple response, but oh, what a voice. It sounds akin to great boulders shifting deep within the mantle of the earth, a grating basso profundo that could no doubt be heard easily over the sound of battle were it raised to a commanding yell.

Here, around the campfire however, it's pitched low, and Good Thomas extends the waterskin to Gheris, watching him with unblinking eyes.


HP 43/43 AC 26, T 12, FF 24, CMD 20, Fort +7, Ref +4, Will +8, Init +2, Percep +13

"I am in service to the wandering god Cayden Calean, and it behooves me to wander as well in a path of devotion. Oppression lurks all over Golarion. Can't very well find it if I just stay at home in a tavern. "

Grand Lodge

Half-Elf Oracle - HP 31/31 | AC 18 | T 10 | FF 18 | CMD 15 | Fort +4 | Ref +2 | Will +7 (+2 vs. Enchantments) | Init +0 | Perc +3 | Sense Motive +5 | Channel: 8/8 @ 3d6

Nodding in the direction of the man, Gheris adds, "Truer words were never spoken. If you want to be a part of the solution you need only set your feet to a path and look ahead."

Smiling at the form of the massive man, whose voice matched his impressive size, he said, "It is by the grace of Arqueros alone, you need not thank me. He would see you fit, as your position requires a healthy mind and body. I am only a vessel of that grace. And you are no doubt favored by him."

With that Gheris holds his fingers over the offered waterskin. After a short whispered prayer water begins to trickle forth from his outstretched hand and into the container, slowly filling it to capacity.


Retired

Koayi smiles at Gheris, suppressing another yawn as she thinks for a moment. "Thank you for your kind words, sir. My brother and I are Tien in ancestry, back to...well, as far as anyone cares to think. He...left home and Mother sent me to keep watch over him. We protect each other, and keep each other safe."

Standing, she stretches out her back, arching it until it pops, and moves closer to Gheris's spot. On the way, she looks at Lars. "Perhaps one of the others will know, or the Master will tell us again later in the evening."

She sits down near where Gheris had been before he stood. "And what of you, sir? I would very much like to hear your tale. Where did you live, before you were here?"


HP 85/85 | vs Evil +1AC(deflection) AC 24 | T 20 | FF 20 |not vs Evil= AC 23 | T 19 | FF 20 | CMD 26| F +7| R +12 Evasion| W +11 |vs Evil opponents +1 Saves(Resistance)|Init +8 | Perc +14 | | PP 15/17 Buffs=+4ac Inertial Armor 2hr,

The day was long and hot but Sorek starts every day focusing his mind negating the need for food and water (Elan Repletion). So the thirst that afflicts everyone else from the hot day has no effect on him.

spends 1 pp to use Elan Resistance, +4 bonus to saves
Fortitude: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (11) + 9 = 20

Nor has he been overly affected by the heat of the day. After a long day cooped up with a pair of newlyweds , Sorek is happy to be sharing a fire with some new company.

As is customary for him with people he is unfamiliar with he sits quietly and observes and listens for a while to grasp the dynamics of the group. Not attracting a lot of attention is usually quite easy for him as he is not physically imposing and dresses quite simply.

Grand Lodge

Half-Elf Oracle - HP 31/31 | AC 18 | T 10 | FF 18 | CMD 15 | Fort +4 | Ref +2 | Will +7 (+2 vs. Enchantments) | Init +0 | Perc +3 | Sense Motive +5 | Channel: 8/8 @ 3d6

Inclining his head towards the female voice Gheris says, "There was a time I called Magnimar my home, and it is where I spent my youth. When I came of age I sought out the Pathfinders, as it had been a dream of my childhood days to be counted among their ranks. That journey took me to Korvosa, where I spent the next several years."

He picks up a stick, poking at the fires and trying to watch as the sparks glow and shoot up into the night sky, only making out the bright blur of their passing. "The years following my admittance were...challenging, and I was tested on several occasions, both my talents as well as my faith. But against the odds, I have persevered. I endure. And so I find myself here, among you fine folk, hoping to make a few discoveries on behalf of the Society and to offer my Lord's blessing and protection to those who have need of it."

He listens quietly for a moment, soothed by the occasional crackle and pop of the flames before him, taking comfort in their presence even after the heat of the day since past.


HP 38/38 | AC 21, Touch 11, FF 20 | CMD 17 | Fort +7, Ref +3, Will +3 | Per +0, Darkvision 30' | Init +5
Gheris Summit wrote:

Smiling at the form of the massive man, whose voice matched his impressive size, he said, "It is by the grace of Arqueros alone, you need not thank me. He would see you fit, as your position requires a healthy mind and body. I am only a vessel of that grace. And you are no doubt favored by him."

With that Gheris holds his fingers over the offered waterskin. After a short whispered prayer water begins to trickle forth from his outstretched hand and into the container, slowly filling it to capacity.

Good Thomas' beady eyes go wide as the water literally pours from the man's open hand, and he glances up at Gheris' face with a brief flash of incredulity and then back down to the waterskin. When Gheris is done, the ogren takes the flask almost delicately, and brings it to his nose. He sniffs sharply, then looks at Gheris once more.

"Arqueros. Your god. You are a priest?" Again that deep thoracic rumble, but now tinged with a hint of - if not awe - than respect.

Grand Lodge

Half-Elf Oracle - HP 31/31 | AC 18 | T 10 | FF 18 | CMD 15 | Fort +4 | Ref +2 | Will +7 (+2 vs. Enchantments) | Init +0 | Perc +3 | Sense Motive +5 | Channel: 8/8 @ 3d6

Gheris gives the large man another warm smile, "Indeed, the title would seem to apply. A holy warrior of Arqueros I am, or was, before my affliction. But I still carry his word to those who would hear, and offer his blessing to those who would accept."

He pauses a moment then adds, directly to the massive warrior, "Arqueros is the lord of bodyguards, those with a watchful eye, and those who would protect the weak and innocent. He is known as The Golden Bulwark to those who revere him. I think you and he have more in common than you might think."


HP 38/38 | AC 21, Touch 11, FF 20 | CMD 17 | Fort +7, Ref +3, Will +3 | Per +0, Darkvision 30' | Init +5

"Hmm," rumbles Good Thomas, a deep and grinding sound. He purses his broad lips over his vicious fangs and stares at the waterskin in his large hands.

"Bodyguards. Those who would protect the weak." He doesn't sound slow, exactly, but rather pensive, almost cautious with his thoughts. As if he's come to mistrust his first instincts, and thus always pauses to reconsider before acting or reaching a decision.

He sniffs again at the waterskin, and then hesitates before raising it to his lips. A sideways glance at Gheris, and then he drinks, and his eyes widen with surprise at the crystal clear and pure mineral water that flows into his parched mouth. For once he takes care to not slosh any over his jaw and cheeks, and when he lowers the waterskin he caps it carefully.

Again he considers Gheris. "This Golden Bulwark. Is he a human god?"


HP 85/85 | vs Evil +1AC(deflection) AC 24 | T 20 | FF 20 |not vs Evil= AC 23 | T 19 | FF 20 | CMD 26| F +7| R +12 Evasion| W +11 |vs Evil opponents +1 Saves(Resistance)|Init +8 | Perc +14 | | PP 15/17 Buffs=+4ac Inertial Armor 2hr,

Having listened quietly for a while Sorek finally speaks up It is good to share a fire with followers of Arqueros and Cayden Calean. There is much darkness in the world may the both of you be lights helping others to find their way.


HP 43/43 AC 26, T 12, FF 24, CMD 20, Fort +7, Ref +4, Will +8, Init +2, Percep +13

"Heh, help others find their way? I don't know about that. I seem to be getting lost all the time. "

Grand Lodge

Half-Elf Oracle - HP 31/31 | AC 18 | T 10 | FF 18 | CMD 15 | Fort +4 | Ref +2 | Will +7 (+2 vs. Enchantments) | Init +0 | Perc +3 | Sense Motive +5 | Channel: 8/8 @ 3d6

Gheris shakes his head at the huge form next to the fire, "The gods care not for race, their providence is the soul within a person. There are some gods, namely those of a more evil nature, who lend themselves to be revered by fouler things, but they are few and generally undesirable to speak of in the night."

He lowers his voice, as if the thought of gaining the attention of such a being was even possible, "Be you a man, a dwarf, an elf, or any other creature, the gods of good care not. Their concern is the heart, the soul, and the deeds of a person. Not their heritage, birthright, or station in life."

Considering the flames he continues, "Even Torag, revered among the dwarves, has followers that are of other races. So no, The Bulwark is not a human god. He's a god of good, of those who would protect. His word is like the strongest steel. And once given, it is seen to completion."

Suddenly aware of the new voice coming from across the fire Gheris nods, "Indeed, there is far too much darkness these days. One can only hope we all can be that light, for it is a task for the many, not the few."


HP 38/38 | AC 21, Touch 11, FF 20 | CMD 17 | Fort +7, Ref +3, Will +3 | Per +0, Darkvision 30' | Init +5

The ogren also looks across the flames to where Soren sits, and then over to Lars as the crusader offers his wry rejoinder. The flames leap and dance between them, and Good Thomas finally looks into the fire itself, a frown creasing his brow as he studies the embers and glowing coals, pondering Gheris' words.

Finally, his frown deepens as he prepares to speak again. He opens his mouth, revealing fangs that frame a startling crimson tongue, and then closes it again as if changing his mind. Blinks several times, and then turns to Gheris with newfound resolution.

"Arqueros is a god of good who would protect the weak. Yet. This world is very dark. I have seen more evil than good. More injustice than justice." He hesitates, glancing at the follower of Caydean, then across the flames once more to Soren before looking again to Gheris. "Does this mean Arqueros is weaker than these foul gods?"

Grand Lodge

Half-Elf Oracle - HP 31/31 | AC 18 | T 10 | FF 18 | CMD 15 | Fort +4 | Ref +2 | Will +7 (+2 vs. Enchantments) | Init +0 | Perc +3 | Sense Motive +5 | Channel: 8/8 @ 3d6

Gheris gives the man a frown, and says, "No, it means that we are all weak by nature. Not a weakness of the body, but of the heart. Too many men find pleasure and gain by exploiting those weaker than them. Too many find their answers solely at the edge of a knife." He glances across the fire and those seated around the circle, "Every man has a choice. No matter what their past might hold. No matter how dark their days have been. Every man has a choice to be an instrument for good. Those who make that choice are stronger than any evil man, any evil god."

He shifts his weight slightly to one side, leaning in closer, "True strength, lasting strength, lies here," he says, tapping himself on his chest. "That is a strength that time cannot rob you of. That is the strength that, save a very few, the goodly gods value above all things. And that is the strength that will drive evil from any corner it hides in."

He stares at the large man, purposefully letting the light of the fire glint across his clouded eyes for several long moments, "It will not hide from me."


HP 43/43 AC 26, T 12, FF 24, CMD 20, Fort +7, Ref +4, Will +8, Init +2, Percep +13

"You ask a complicated question for the sages Thomas. I'm no sage, so I don't know if I can do any worthy answer. If I can manage to recall my time in the temple classroom rather than temple bar room, I think it goes something like this- while the outer realms are places of pureness, both good and evil, our realm is a proving ground. For people to be truly free, they have to have the ability to make a choice between good and evil themselves. Were that choice not present, there would be no freedom at all. It is not that the gods of good or evil are stronger, it is that our world is merely the crucible in which souls are burned pure for a later assignment. There is much good in this world. It is, however, often in the small things. Things like a good ale after hard work, or the warm embrace of a saucy wench. "


Your Narrator

Rolls:

Gheris Perception: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 2 = 11
Thomas Perception: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (8) + 0 = 8
Koan Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17
Koayi Perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 1 = 19
Lars Perception: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (12) + 11 = 23
Sorek Perception: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (20) + 10 = 30
Stealth: 1d20 ⇒ 18

As the six of you sit talking around the fire, Lars and Sorek, sitting at an advantageous angle, see two humanoid figures moving around through or behind the caravans. Everything and everyone else in the camp seem unaware and you cannot make out who or what it might be. Possible that one of the caravan population is seeing to their possessions. Glancing around you see Master Haren and Gorrsh still at the other side of the camp but counting everyone else in camp to make sure will take at least 30 seconds.


HP 85/85 | vs Evil +1AC(deflection) AC 24 | T 20 | FF 20 |not vs Evil= AC 23 | T 19 | FF 20 | CMD 26| F +7| R +12 Evasion| W +11 |vs Evil opponents +1 Saves(Resistance)|Init +8 | Perc +14 | | PP 15/17 Buffs=+4ac Inertial Armor 2hr,
DM HolyWater wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

As the six of you sit talking around the fire, Lars and Sorek, sitting at an advantageous angle, see two humanoid figures moving around through or behind the caravans. Everything and everyone else in the camp seem unaware and you cannot make out who or what it might be. Possible that one of the caravan population is seeing to their possessions. Glancing around you see Master Haren and Gorrsh still at the other side of the camp but counting everyone else in camp to make sure will take at least 30 seconds.

Concerned with what he sees but not not wanting to raise a false alarm in case it is just some of the caravan members tending to their possessions. I walk over to Good Thomas and say Good Thomas, I see 2 figures skulking, moving ? through the caravan. I'm not sure if it's anything but it doesn't seem quite right. I think someone should check into it. They're over there. as I point in the direction of the figures. . I say this loud enough for all the members at our campfire to hear but not so loud as to travel past it.

Grand Lodge

Half-Elf Oracle - HP 31/31 | AC 18 | T 10 | FF 18 | CMD 15 | Fort +4 | Ref +2 | Will +7 (+2 vs. Enchantments) | Init +0 | Perc +3 | Sense Motive +5 | Channel: 8/8 @ 3d6

I'm going to assume that Gheris cannot even see that far, unless the wagons are closer than 30 feet away.

Gheris turns in the direction of where the otherwise quiet man gestures, "Likely just someone retrieving an overlooked, and required, piece of gear. There are so many travelers in this group, anyone would be hard pressed to track them all." He pauses for a moment and then adds, "However, it would be unwise to travel in a strange land and not be cautious I suppose."


HP 43/43 AC 26, T 12, FF 24, CMD 20, Fort +7, Ref +4, Will +8, Init +2, Percep +13

"Come on Thomas, we're supposed to be guards, so best we guard. and he will pick up his shield and start walking over to investigate.


HP 38/38 | AC 21, Touch 11, FF 20 | CMD 17 | Fort +7, Ref +3, Will +3 | Per +0, Darkvision 30' | Init +5

Good Thomas restrains a sigh as he hauls himself to his feet, a process much akin to erecting large slabs of stone atop each other as his heavy muscles pull his huge frame up to his near seven feet in height. He squints in the direction indicated, scanning the campfires and shadows.

Perception: 1d20 ⇒ 5

He frowns, the firelight ruining his darkvision, and glances aside to Soren.

"Find Gorrsh. Tell him to alert the sentries and bring more guards." His rumble is pitched low, and sounds unconcerned. Mere protocol, it would seem, rather than genuine alarm.

Then, rolling his head on his powerful neck so that it produces several sharp pops, he skulks forward, tending toward the shadows, adopting a stooped and silent walk that betrays a natural predilection for stealth. His cobalt blue cloak appears black, and when he pulls it around his armor, he seems to disappear into the night.

Stealth: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (20) + 1 = 21


Retired

Koayi stands up, peering into the darkness and taking a few steps to follow Lars and Thomas. "*Yawn* Now boys, Gheris is probably right. There is no one out here except for our caravan. If there is someone new, let me know! I do enjoy new people."

After a moment of indecision, curiosity gets the better of her, and she follows of handful a yards behind the two guards. She flicks a hand and whistles a quick verse, and a trio of paper lanterns appear over her head. She cocks her head at Lars. "Would you like some light up there?"


HP 43/43 AC 26, T 12, FF 24, CMD 20, Fort +7, Ref +4, Will +8, Init +2, Percep +13

Lars will cast light on his sword so that it glows. "Don't worry, I've got it. " and then follow Thomas.


HP 85/85 | vs Evil +1AC(deflection) AC 24 | T 20 | FF 20 |not vs Evil= AC 23 | T 19 | FF 20 | CMD 26| F +7| R +12 Evasion| W +11 |vs Evil opponents +1 Saves(Resistance)|Init +8 | Perc +14 | | PP 15/17 Buffs=+4ac Inertial Armor 2hr,

Sorek heads off to find Gorrsh and relay Good Thomas'message


Male Kitsune Executioner Slayer 3 | HP 30/30 | AC 18, Touch 14, FF 14 | CMD 17 | Fort +3, Ref +7, Will +2| Per +8 | Sense +6 | Init +4

Koan sets into his nightly routine of cleaning his armor and sharpening his blades. He'd learned early on the virtues of armor maintenance during a brief visit through the Valashmai Jungles. Wouldn't want an armor break to happen at an inopportune moment again. He could almost feel the painful spider venom coursing through him again.
He mostly wanted -- needed -- an excuse to distance himself. Save for Koayi, He hadn't had quite the best track record with "normal" social interaction, and frankly, he was in no mood to play a front. Perhaps it was the heat getting to him, or the weight of his task at hand sinking in. He'd told himself so many times in the past "one last job", but this felt different. He can feel it. This is the last one.

The talks of morality at the fire tugged at his heartstrings. Had he stayed at the fire, he wouldn't have been able to hide his guilt-- not at such a close proximity at least. "Whatever,"he thinks to himself."I'll be good someda"--
"Those whistles. She can't be trying to impress with-- Is she in trouble?"

Koan quickly rises from his seated position on the edge of the caravan wagon. He hurriedly grabs for his bow and a handful of arrows and rushes out to see his sister and their traveling companions scouting around the camp.

"Koayi, what is the problem?" he asks softly in their native Tien-inflected sylvan.


Retired

Koayi looks over her shoulder at Koan. {Sylvan}"There is no problem, brother. One of our fellow travelers has seen someone moving in the shadows, and we are making certain that someone is of our party. I do not believe there is need for your bow, but thank you for coming." The Sylvan rolls off her tongue in a stream of vowels and chirping sounds, the melody seeming faintly Elvish.


Your Narrator

As Thomas round one side of the caravans and the other go the other way, some giggling is heard. Those of you there watch Thomas open one of the wagons doors. The light shines inside to reveal two shocked occupants sitting next to each other, pale at this surprise discovery, and possibly a little scared at what the ogren might do if they are in trouble.

They are the eloped couple who ran away from Geb, they don't seem to be trying to steal anything except perhaps time alone away from everyone else.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sorek finds Gorrsh and Harren and alerts them to the possible intrusion and Thomas' suggestion. Gorrsh nods, "I trust his judgement." He tells another close by guard to check on the sentries and says to Harren, "Don't alert anyone until we find out if this is a threat or not." He motions for you to come with him, "Lead the way please."


HP 85/85 | vs Evil +1AC(deflection) AC 24 | T 20 | FF 20 |not vs Evil= AC 23 | T 19 | FF 20 | CMD 26| F +7| R +12 Evasion| W +11 |vs Evil opponents +1 Saves(Resistance)|Init +8 | Perc +14 | | PP 15/17 Buffs=+4ac Inertial Armor 2hr,

Sorek leads Gorrsh on towards where he directed Good Thomas and the others.


HP 38/38 | AC 21, Touch 11, FF 20 | CMD 17 | Fort +7, Ref +3, Will +3 | Per +0, Darkvision 30' | Init +5

Good Thomas yanks open the wagon door, one hand on the pommel of his greatsword, and his growl dies in his throat as he sees the whites of the couple's eyes. Their terrified faces and spasmodic clutching at each other as Good Thomas' large head looms in the darkness above them is enough to immediately convince him there's nothing foul afoot, and his growl turns into a grimace of disgust instead.

"No creeping. Next time, I might chop of your head by accident. Back to your campfire!"

Turning away from the young couple, Good Thomas immediately feels a pang of regret for speaking in that way, but he's already stalking off, exhausted and irate. Seeing Gorrsh heading his way, Lars and Koayi round the caravan, all eyes on him awaiting an explanation, he calls out, voice a rough rumble,

"False alarm. Just some of our travelers. Creeping around like thieves."


HP 43/43 AC 26, T 12, FF 24, CMD 20, Fort +7, Ref +4, Will +8, Init +2, Percep +13

"Oh, well then might as well be back to the comfortable fire and my wineskin. Hope you didn't scare them too badly. Just enough to leave an impression. "


Your Narrator

The couple scramble out and back to the fires at Thomas' words, not wanting to bring his wrath down on them. They don't even take time to look over their shoulders to check behind them as they run. Several heads in camp turn to watch them as they rush through.

Soren and Gorrsh turn up moments later and at Thomas' explanation frowns. "Better that than bandits. Keep yourselves alert, tomorrow we are definitely in uncivilised lands." He mostly looks at Thomas and Lars as they are the caravan guards present but he also says it to everyone.

Just then the man he sent out to check on the sentries runs up, breathing heavily. "Sir, Harven is dead." He points in a direction directly away from the camp. "Didn't spot any bandits, for some reason they killed him and just left." Gorrsh frowns again this time more deeply and follows the man towards the sentry post.

Several hundred yards away is found the body of the man sprawled out on the ground. He had taken a dagger in the back. Gorrsh kneels down, looking for tracks. He seems to follow something towards camp and half way to the wagons stops. "They stopped here and turned back the way they came. Two or three of them. Likely scouts. What turned them around..." He seems to ponder for a minute. "Thomas I want you to see if you can track these down and carefully find out what kind of bandit force we are dealing with. Harren was right to commission such a big expedition. I can't imagine large bandit forces surviving for long out here. Our numbers will keep them away, though I expect more raids like this one. Find this bandit group and stop them. Perhaps that will send a message to any others that might try to take what's not theirs."

He looks around at the current company and speaks to Thomas again, "Lars will go with you, may Cayden guide you." It's no secret that he wasn't a follower and did not think much of the drunkards antics so far. You think that he is sending you with Thomas to get you out of his hair for a while. "I can't spare any more of my guards, perhaps you can find some volunteers in camp, though I don't want to cause a scare." He looks at the others of you that are also here. "Keep quiet about this please." With that he appoints the one who brought you all to the spot to deal with the body and to replace him on sentry.


HP 38/38 | AC 21, Touch 11, FF 20 | CMD 17 | Fort +7, Ref +3, Will +3 | Per +0, Darkvision 30' | Init +5

At the sight of the corpse, Good Thomas grips the scabbard of his greatsword in one hand and draws the blade free in the other. Normally such an action is awkward for a normal-sized man, but the ogren's arm span is such that he draws the blade smoothly and without effort.

His brows lower, and his broad mouth purses in displeasure. Nostrils flaring as he sniffs at the air, he stares off into the darkness as if he could pierce the gloom and espy the culprits themselves.

"Yes sir," he growls, nodding to Gorrsh without hesitation or fear. Before the other guard can remove the body, Good Thomas crouches by its side and examines the dagger, trying to determine its quality.

Then he scans the ground, trying to get a sense of how large the footprints are. Halfling or human?

Survival to examine tracks: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10

Rising smoothly to his feet, the ogren turns to Lars. "Let's get some volunteers. Come." With that, he scans the darkness one more time, and then stalks back to the campfire. Any of the travelers or other guards who glimpse his face as he makes his way back might recoil from his vicious intensity.

Stopping within the firelight, he looks around at those yet seated there, or who might gather around him. "There's been a killing. A guard is dead. Gorssh wants us to investigate. Who is willing to come?"


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Your Narrator

You can take 20 on the survival if you want. Also I assumed everyone followed Gorrsh to the murder scene.

At first glance Thomas can not tell what size person made the tracks.


HP 43/43 AC 26, T 12, FF 24, CMD 20, Fort +7, Ref +4, Will +8, Init +2, Percep +13

"Sure thing captain. " Oh well, so much for my wine skin. Suppose it'll still be here when I get back. Or maybe I can just take it with me...


Retired

Koayi struggles not to burst into laughter as she sees the couple.She quickly retreats to their fire, letting her lanterns fade to nothingness, and flops to the ground next to Gheris. A giggle escapes, then another, and suddenly she's issuing peals of high-pitched laughter. "It was...It was just a couple! A couple trying to...to...to find a quiet spot and...everyone was so serious about it!" She squeezes a few words in between her giggling fit.

When the news comes in about Harven's death, Koayi's eyes flick briefly in Koan's direction and her laughter stops suddenly. She pulls herself slowly out of the dirt and follows the guards quietly to the murder scene Could it have been him? He had not mentioned any of this work, but he always tries to keep secrets from me. I must have a talk with him, must ask him about this death. If it is not Koan, it would be safer for us both to help the hulking one.

"I would be happy to go." Koayi yawns loudly, covering her mouth. "I can offer a few spells that may help subdue this killer, or at least keep him or her occupied long enough for you boys to do what you do. Koan will come too. Right, Koan?" She moves quickly on her sandaled feet, standing near Good Thomas.

Grand Lodge

Half-Elf Oracle - HP 31/31 | AC 18 | T 10 | FF 18 | CMD 15 | Fort +4 | Ref +2 | Will +7 (+2 vs. Enchantments) | Init +0 | Perc +3 | Sense Motive +5 | Channel: 8/8 @ 3d6

Hearing the large man's words, Gheris frowns, "Foul news, foul indeed. Is the attacker suspected among our number within the camp?" He stands and brushes himself off. "I will offer my assistance if you would have it. I need a few minutes to gather my gear and strap on some armor, if they can be spared."

Barring any objections Gheris will suit up and gather his weapons, which will take 4 minutes.

Before leaving the camp, Gheris will locate the remains of the guard and offer a prayer over the body, "May your soul fly swiftly and true to the boneyard and may Pharasma look upon you with favor. Be at peace." He traces a symbol of a shield on the dead man's forehead and stands, ready to accompany the other volunteers as he moves to Thomas' side.

If possible he will quickly attempt to determine if the wound was poisoned and how surgical the attack was that caused death.

Heal Check: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9 if a roll is needed, otherwise taking 10 for 15 or 20 for 25


HP 38/38 | AC 21, Touch 11, FF 20 | CMD 17 | Fort +7, Ref +3, Will +3 | Per +0, Darkvision 30' | Init +5

Good Thomas nods to all who offer to come, and then returns to the murder scene to await them there, examining the tracks with greater attention as he does so.

Taking 20 on my Survival roll, for a total of 26.


HP 85/85 | vs Evil +1AC(deflection) AC 24 | T 20 | FF 20 |not vs Evil= AC 23 | T 19 | FF 20 | CMD 26| F +7| R +12 Evasion| W +11 |vs Evil opponents +1 Saves(Resistance)|Init +8 | Perc +14 | | PP 15/17 Buffs=+4ac Inertial Armor 2hr,

Sorek joins Good Thomas and the others. I'd like to help . All thoughts of the newlyweds banished from his mind. .


Male Kitsune Executioner Slayer 3 | HP 30/30 | AC 18, Touch 14, FF 14 | CMD 17 | Fort +3, Ref +7, Will +2| Per +8 | Sense +6 | Init +4

Aw damn, my post got lost to the aether. How frustrating. Here's a less flowery reinterpretation.

He could feel her eyes burrowing into him. She wouldn't be in the wrong to suspect him of this, given what she knows of him. After all, he'd retreated as soon as he could and returned after they'd heard some scurrying. she had all rights to suspect him.
{Sylvan} "I am no amateur," he says as he eyes the discarded dagger.
"I will accompany you," he says to Good Thomas, his voice a calm yet powerful slither, free of any discernible accents, "allow me to grab my effects."

Suiting up, grabbing weapons, a cloak, a proper quiver and his manacles

Koan returns to Good Thomas and the others, ready to help in anyway he can.


Your Narrator

As the new watchman stands by and watches you examine the tracks, the rest of the 'hunting' party starts to show up after gathering their belongings. "Find them and make them pay," he says.

Gheris you find nothing suggesting poison. Suspecting the sentry would not have just died from a dagger wound you examine him closer and find his neck broken. Likely the dagger only paralyzed him. This suggests at least some strength.

Thomas studying the tracks finds two, possibly three tracks. It is hard to tell in the grass. They were single file and true to Gorrsh's information, came from west towards the camp and turned around and went back before even making it to the wagons on the side of camp where the couple had snuck off to. Humans, or human sized humanoids were definitely the ones who made the tracks. Orcs or larger humanoids such as yourself would have left larger imprints. It is clear that no one from inside the camp could have done this.

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