Unbind; Emancipate; Make Subtle War

Game Master GozrehTime

Marshal mind and matter. Recover stolen occult lore as you discover strange truths both personal and cosmic.

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Matthias StrorBaek wrote:

It sucks that I obliterated your excellent modifier with that s~#&ty circumstance penalty. -432 to Diplomacy when you are near hippos is harsh, but I think it's fair, since I also give you +432 to Diplomacy when hippos are near you. Sorry, bro.

Also, feel free to read the success text. You'll be jealous of alternate-universe Matthias.

Matthias attempts to persuade the noncombatants to proffer aid. However, still repenting himself for reacting in a way not consistent with his standards, the cool power with which his granite voice is wont to resound falls flat. Shamefully, but without turning, they continue their flight.

M Human Level 6 Geokineticist

It's not so bad. The penalty only applies when water is wet after all.

Bathos's jaws sever slick hide and the mounds of blubber and muscle beneath. His adversary's throat opens with a pitiable gurgling, and the mountainous beast falls prone in the shallows.

The noncombatants flee over the hill, murmuring in shame at their own cowardice.

The remaining hippopotamus continues its furious gnashing. Its nostrils flare in blind rage; it lashes out at the nearest guard.

Bite: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 182d8 + 10 ⇒ (4, 7) + 10 = 21

It is a fearsome blow, but, due to the remaining guards' defensive posture, the teeth clang awkwardly against the flat of a blade.

Matthias's turn.

M Human Level 6 Geokineticist


HP:64 (18 nonlethal) AC:22, T:16, FF;16 Saves:12,12,9 DR:6
Perception:12, SM:9 Initiative:+10

Matthias begins to gather his elemental power, but hesitates.

No need for more blood if I can scare it off...

"Withdraw! I think it's had enough"

Matthias will use shift earth to try and move to hippo back while simultaneously forming a barrier between it and the soldiers.

DC20 reflex not to be moved by the shifting earth.

Hippoflex: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11

The fury-clouded instincts of the hippopotamus give way to primal confusion as the earth responds to Matthias's will. The rich clay and loam below the shallows arise and embrace the creature, the earth attuned to Matthias's gentle intention.

Feel free to alter the positioning if I didn't place the hippo as you wanted it.

The guards downstream use their turns attempting to help their imperiled friend.

The map doesn't show it, but they ran way downstream to get ahead of him. They're planning to leapfrog past each other in two groups, helping each other alternately grab and run.

DC 10 Swim: 1d20 + 3 - 6 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 3 - 6 + 2 + 2 = 11

Almost drowning under the weight of his armor, one of the guards makes it into the current with the others stabilizing him.

DC 16 Reflex: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 1 = 9

However, he can barely stay afloat, so his attempt to grab the floundering man fails.

At this point, the man in the stream is about twenty feet below the bottom of the map.

The casualties of combat, man and beast alike, continue to bleed.

NPC Status (DM ONLY):

River Guard 1: -5 HP
North Hippo: -4 HP
South Hippo: 50 HP

Bathos's turn.

Bathos looks at his defeated foe, then to Matthias, and then finally downstream.

Matthias says, "Go!"

Bathos needs no more encouragement to sprint downstream to aid the man.

I believe one run action will put him in the vicinity of the man. Turn based wise I guess he get's ahead, but simultaneous time he's probably staying abreast.

With his speed, now that he has got ahead, Bathos is easily able to keep pace and still act each turn. Not so the guards, who can only hope to act fleetingly between bouts of running.

From now, Bathos will be able to take a standard action every turn; the guards, every third turn. Matthias's speed is intermediate between them; I believe he could act on alternating turns once he catches up, if that's his intention.

The one hippo remains still; the other, unable to struggle against the earthen rampart raised before it, returns to the water with a final snarl. The guards who had remained upstream now split up, some running to the camps for help, others heading downstream.

Now on my phone, so I won't be able to update the map for a while.

Matthias's turn!

M Human Level 6 Geokineticist

Matthias sees the group of soldiers and Bathos pursuing the man downstream. He also sees the injured solider beside him.

Most likely dead. Those jaws don't leave much life after they're through. But I've seen people come back from worse

He retrieves one of his cure light wounds potions and pours it down the man's throat.

"Return if you can. Don't be so eager to see Pharasma."

DM Only:

Cure Light Wounds: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2

The man chokes back the potion, much of it splashing back from his upturned gullet, but his wounds appear, ever so slightly, to close. He remains unconscious.

Downstream, the guards see Bathos running to aid the drowning man--a fabulous, mighty hound glistening in the river shallows. One calls out, "See the powerful wolf, companion to a hero! See, too, how this man's sorcery has stilled the stirrings of a brutal beast! He tends to our wounded; the very earth hears his command! But we, too, are men: let us prove our worth, as well! Heave! Seize the one who thrashes even now!" The guards continue running downstream, shouting, emboldened by their fellow's words and the succor Matthias and Bathos.

Bathos's turn.

Bathos sprints down the shoreline, gaze jumping between the ground in front of him and the man carried on the river. As the riverbank juts out particularly far the Elusa hound leaps from the bank into the water to intercept the man.

Athletics: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24

His jump easily carries him the distance to the waterlogged soldier. He attempts to gather the man's chest in his massive jaws, and begin swimming back to the riverbank.

Athletics: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (10) + 6 = 16

Bathos splashes down directly next to the unfortunate man.

Because he is swimming to keep pace, rather than reaching out from shore, he need not make a Reflex save. He need only roll Strength to secure the man safely in his teeth.

DC 13 Strength Check (Success):

Bathos successfully plucks the man from the water and is able to stay afloat as he turns back.

Strength Check (Failure):

Bathos positions himself well, but the rushing waters splash deep into his open maw, causing the massive canine's breast to heave as he rejects the sudden deluge. The drowning man slips by and continues downstream.

Strength check: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12

The water overcomes Bathos and he is unable to grab hold of the man who slips further downstream!

Matthias's turn.

M Human Level 6 Geokineticist

Satisfied that the soldier is just out of reach of the boneyard, he drags him from the shallows, deposits him safely on the ground, and charges off downriver.

If there are any soldiers or non-combatants left nearby he shouts over his shoulder, "Your man lives. Tend his wounds while we rescue your last comrade!"

Indeed, those that retreated over the hill have begun to return. Just cresting the evening-orange slope are men and women bearing medicines and arms. The wounded, numbering only one more than when Matthias arrived due to his swift action, will be safe if only the healers' skill is stronger than the Boneyard's call.

As Matthias turns his attentions downriver, he sees that one of the groups of guards has reached a point where they might once more attempt to retrieve the man. However, the waters are growing more rapid and erratic. Nonetheless, emboldened by their comrade's rousing words, they heave to.

DC 12 Swim: 1d20 + 3 - 6 + 2 + 2 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 3 - 6 + 2 + 2 + 4 = 18

And truly, it is only by cooperating and by steeling their hearts with the words of courage that they manage to reach the necessary spot,

DC 18 Reflex: 1d20 + 1 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 1 + 2 = 6

yet their endeavor to snatch the flailing man fails as the flood grows more turbid and torrential.

Bathos's and Matthias's turns.

Bathos once again fight the currents and attempts to gather the man gently in his jaws.

Athletics: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (14) + 6 = 20
Strength: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (10) + 6 = 16

M Human Level 6 Geokineticist

Matthias does his best to catch up. If he nears in time he shall shift earth to aid Bathos.

If Bathos is successful, he cheers and praises Bathos

Despite the increasing turbulence, Bathos plunges excellently into the current and plucks forth the gasping, grateful man. The guards cheer to see him safely ensconced in Bathos's jaws, mighty enough to crush bone, yet gently clutching the battered body.

As the excitement and anxiety of the incident wear away, the other traders arrive from over the hill bearing medical equipment. The conscious hippopotamus has withdrawn to the waters in confusion; the other is still draped on the riverbank, critically wounded. A group of traders approach with skinning and carving knives as though to slay and consume it. Due to Matthias's swift and compassionate intervention, no human lives were lost. The guards approach him respectfully, bowing and paying obeisance. They speak words of awe and gratitude. If Bathos suffers them to approach, they will attempt to pet him.

What further actions, if any, would Matthias and Bathos like to take? How will they spend the evening?

M Human Level 6 Geokineticist

Matthias approaches Bathos smiling.

"Well done, old friend!

Just as Matthias draws near Bathos decides to shake himself dry, and throws a torrent of water over Matthias and any who came near.

Matthias, with an expression resulting from the combination of a smile and grimace, says, "Of course, Bathos well done yet again."

Matthias sees if anyone can use prestidigitation on himself and the gear Bathos carries, though I imagine such equipment is fine to dry naturally.

After exchanging greetings with some of the soldiers, Matthias calls Bathos to him and they continue to seek Moltenen into the evening.

Bathos is friendly to all who approach him and let them pet him if they like. Those if anyone rubs his fur the wrong way he'll nudge them (perhaps knocking over someone who isn't sturdy) with his head or hindquarters.

He loves having his ears stroked or his chest, just below his throat, scratched. He attempts to make sure both those happen.


Among the traders are a few with knowledge of the arcane. In particular, the guard who spoke words of encouragement to his fellows commands a bit of magic; he gladly dries Matthias and Bathos.

Word of the incident spreads quickly among the camps. Encounters with hippopotamuses of such size and ferocity rarely end without fatality or serious injury. The sorcery of Matthias, able to end the attacks of beasts without bloodshed, and the strong jaws of Bathos are quickly known to the whole caravan.

Anyone of whom Matthias makes inquiry will be eager to help; if he asks about Moltenen, he will be apprised that she rides at the head of the caravan and beds each night in an opulent tent, almost a mobile pavilion in size and splendor. However, any camp Matthias approaches will threaten to swallow him, as every camp would be proud to host him, sharing their meat and wine.

Depending on how receptive Matthias is to carousing in the camps, he can come within sight of Moltenen's tent after nightfall, at perhaps the tenth or eleventh hour.

If Matthias makes relatively swift progress to the head of the caravan:

Physical descriptions of Matthias have traveled faster than the man himself. The several guards outside her tent, distinguished from their peers by the ornate gilding on their sword hilts and the fine embroidery on the hems of their robes, do not even halt him as he approaches, gesturing with extended palms that he may enter freely.

Within, Moltenen is luxuriating on a sofa. Before her is a gleaming coffee service inlaid with small, stately rubies. She clutches a long pipe in her left hand; with her right, she rubs an intricately-carved ebony figurine, which she places deliberately on a game board populated by similar figures, some cast in iron, others cut from ivory, and still others set with precious stones. A young man, nude from the waist up, reclines on a sofa set at an angle to hers so that they face adjacent edges of the game board. They both have full view of the tent's opening.

Perception DC 14 (if in Moltenen's tent (spoilers don't nest)):

Though both figures appear to be at ease and wear sumptuous apparel, inspection reveals that their clothing is cunningly shaped so as not to trammel them were it necessary to run or engage in combat. Among the jewels festooning their throats and waists, the decorated hilts of heavy, curving knives protrude from their belts, the sheaths apparently ensconced in their clothing.

M Human Level 6 Geokineticist

Matthias intends to make swift passage to the premier, however he finds it very difficult to turn down earnest offers of friendship. He is waylaid by the more persistent groups, but each time it is more difficult to stop him. He does not partake of any alcohol, but he does chew some of his more favored metals and gemstones.

He makes sure to ask what kind of people they are and how they came to speak Ignan. He remains relatively elusive about his own background.

He does continue to Moltenen's tent regardless of the hour. Although he observes proper etiquette and might not actually approach the tent depending on how late he arrives. If he sees light inside he approaches, if not he camps nearby and leaves it for the morning.

The groups are intransigent about their hospitality. Most end up respecting Matthias's apparent haste, but there are several camps that seem like a home in their intimacy and the warm, affable manner of even the armed guards. In general, the traders offer their food, their drink, their pipes, and even small gifts of clothing and jewelry without reservation. They speak with equal frequency of the importance of fair trades and the sense that the entire caravan is in Matthias's debt.

Whatever intoxicants Matthias refuses continue to be passed around, and none ask him further questions. His taste for metals and gems proves a puzzle and delight to many in the camps, who continue to be impressed by what appears to them as an utterly novel type of powerful, natural sorcery.

On queries about Ignan, the traders will note that they are "Children of the Fire." Indeed, though most are clearly humans with complexions ranging from porcelain to bronze and hair of flamboyant red or gleaming white or scorching black, not a few ifrits can be found among them. They all claim descent from creatures of elemental fire, and most excitedly enumerate the Ignan intricacies of their names.

It is somewhat past midnight that Matthias reaches Moltenen's tent, but a light remains on within. Physical descriptions of Matthias have traveled faster than the man himself. The several guards outside her tent, distinguished from their peers by the ornate gilding on their sword hilts and the fine embroidery on the hems of their robes, do not even halt him as he approaches, gesturing with extended palms that he may enter freely.

Within, Moltenen is luxuriating on a sofa. Before her is a gleaming coffee service inlaid with small, stately rubies. She clutches a long pipe in her left hand. To her right is a game board populated by carven figures, some of ebony, some cast in iron, others cut from ivory, and still others set with precious stones. She appears absorbed in a ream of thick papyrus documents. She is middle-aged, lovely in the way experience brings, and maintains a stately poise and grace even at this late hour, clad more for comfort than for the reception of visitors.

A young man, visibly nude where the blankets have shifted from his form, slumbers peacefully on a bed at one side of the well-appointed space. Aside from the guards outside, there are no other persons in sight.

Perception DC 14:

Though Moltenen appears to be at ease in clothing fit for sleep, inspection reveals that her attire is cunningly shaped so as not to trammel her were it necessary to run or engage in combat. Among the jewels festooning her throat and waist, the decorated hilt of a heavy, curving knive protrudes from her belt, the sheath apparently ensconced in her clothing.

She will look up, smiling, with an expression of amusement and interest, upon Matthias's entrance.

M Human Level 6 Geokineticist

Perception: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (15) + 14 = 29

Matthias enters, a striking contrast to Moltenen's gentle opulence. Although he cleaned off as well as he could, he traveled a hard day on foot, and sprinted no small distances. But the remnants of sweat on his brow are that of labor and he bears it with experience that shows through he demeanor and stance.

"Premier Moltenen, it is a pleasure to meet you. Your caravan, and indeed your people, seem like they are prosperous and lead with wisdom. I have lived my life in stone, and found it's strength comforting. But the warmth of your peoples hearts, born in fire, is also beautiful to behold."

"Strange sorcerer who shapes and molds stone as though it were fluid, before I can accept your praises, I must extend my own. The appearance and bearing of the man who so adroitly saved my traders: on the wings of rumor have these flown to me, faster than the man himself. I see you, that you are mighty in a strange and wondrous way, and I thank you.

"While you are among us, you will not want food or drink, and I shall make to you gifts of fine clothing and jewels, in weight--though never in worth--as great as the many men and women you have saved today. And you will see that I have among my concubines many beautiful youths of both sexes and every disposition. Being an honored guest among us, you may choose freely which will be your companion or companions while you travel with us. But beware: we love vehemently and are swift to jealousy.

"Truly do you note that we are of flame. And as I know the hearts of my traders to be as true and honest and passionate as flame, I see that you have labored in shadows, cool in the solitary patience of the loam. Yet the darkest cavern may be illumined by a small flame, and the great belly of stone gives way to flaming rivers deep within. It is no surprise to me that you can appreciate our ways.

"I hope it is no affront, then, if I do put forth a flame to light the depths. I do not know why you are among us or how you appeared at the right time. Do you know something of us? What are you seeking among my traders?"

M Human Level 6 Geokineticist

Sense Motive: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (14) + 9 = 23

Matthias listens attentively to her words, and smiles happily at her descriptions of both their peoples. His face strains at the discussion of concubines, but only for a moment.

"I gladly accept both your hospitality and your gifts. I am traveling to Silverfall, the Monastery near there to be specific. I encountered your caravan, purely through happenstance, and sought out the company and safety that numbers afford. Solefil indicated that I would be welcome as a guardian"

M Human Level 6 Geokineticist

Matthias has taken in the room and atmosphere, but he also studies Moltenen herself, physically.

Bluff: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (13) + 8 = 21

Sense Motive Result:

Moltenen appears to be speaking the truth: she is genuinely grateful for your aid. She does appear to value honesty. You detect that she is guarded, but no more guarded than her last two questions would imply. She remains at ease when you enter and speaks to you plainly, her intense gaze fixed very squarely, though not without friendliness, on your own eyes. She seems entirely ready to be grateful and generous; as you speak, she relaxes further, and you discern that she harbors no further suspicion.

Moltenen is middle-aged, fit, with bronze, unlined skin and thick, dark hair. Her eyes are a glistering orange color. She comports herself with dignity and grace--she is, in a way, the picture of command and opulence. She makes no special effort to conceal the dagger she wears: it is merely there, unobtrusive and ready. The empty wine bottle and still-glowing pipe before her belie her steady gaze and impeccable mannerisms, as though she were able to put on and doff lucidity at will, like a coat of civility.

"Peace, then, friend. You are welcome. A tent stands empty beside my own, somewhat smaller but, I hope, still comfortable. In the morning, I grant you full access to our camps. You will be in my employ as guardian.

"It is said that guests may arrive at any time, and one's cooking fire will glow the brighter the more grace and welcome they are shown. Until we reach Silverfall, you are my guest, and will bring light to my abode. Please, guest, tell me your name and your people."

If Matthias accepts the tent and retires:

Moltenen summons a serving girl, who leads Matthias to a tent, appointed with sparse, yet comfortable, furnishings. She will make light conversation if Matthias appears comfortable doing so.

Once she has straightened the room, she will bring any refreshments Matthias requests. Finally, she will smile evenly, and say, "Am I to be dismissed for the night, then, sir?"

M Human Level 6 Geokineticist

Matthias eyes the delicious looking rubies on her coffee service and licks his lips. They do look scrumptious.

As he speaks with Moltenen he absentmindedly pops a ruby into his mouth from his own supply, flawed of course, in comparison to her fine set.

Matthias' reply to her questions about his people is brief compared to his prior conversation.

"I am called Matthias. Some give me the title, StrorBaek, for my abilities with stone. I was raised by dwarves my whole life."

"I hope you don't mind me asking, but are you human? Your enchanting eyes are like none that I have ever seen.

Perhaps Matthias and Moltenen speak longer, but eventually he retires to the tent she provided.

I'm spoilering the following so that if we continue talking in Moltenen's tent the anachronism shall not be intrusive

When Matthias leaves Moltenen:
Matthias stand outside the tent and glances at Bathos expectantly. After Bathos assuages his paranoia, he enters the tent and enjoys the relative luxury compared to his travel gear. He does make light conversation with the serving girl, but ultimately dismisses her.

He reflects upon the impressive Moltenen

Quite a natural air of command. And, judging the wealth of her caravan, it is well deserved.

Another part of Matthias speaks up before his eyes find rest.

Such things can be used to get your guard down. She has done nothing to earn your trust yet...

Eventually Matthias finds sleep.

"I do not mind: in fact, it is high praise to note the subtleties of our heritage, whether they enchant you or not."

She smiles as she acknowledges your kind words.

"It is said that the great progenitor of our people was a creature of the flames: some say it was a great elemental, others an efreet or some rarer being. Whatever the truth, the evidence lies in our eyes and hair and the prevalence of fire magic among us. Each generation, a few are even born with the ability to walk through flame unharmed. For most of us, though, the marks are only visual, an insubstantial glimmer.

"The elements have touched you, too. I see that fine jewels are your sustenance. May I ask what you find most delicious? Does the value or cut of a gem improve its flavor? I had planned to afford you gifts of wealth, but perhaps a portion of it should fatten your belly, rather than your purse. Does this appeal to you?"

Moltenen rises and crosses the tent. She withdraws from a gilded box of dark wood a string of pebble-sized rubies, each exquisitely cut into the likeness of a bird. She offers it to you, saying,

"I would be interested to see what sort of morsel this makes for you."


The serving girl smiles, bows her head, and withdraws. She murmurs just outside the tent flap, and you become aware that a pair of guards have taken an impassive post outside.

Where does Bathos sleep?

M Human Level 6 Geokineticist

"My personal favorites would be metals. They have a delicious sour bite to them, especially mithral. However, I've never explored the quality of gems. I've always had a practical approach and only tried flawed gems of little value. I wouldn't want to impose..."

Matthias makes a few feeble attempts to kindly decline because of the monetary value, but is easily persuaded to try, his eagerness hardly hidden.

"Such lovely craftsmanship. And the color is so clear!"

He raises the ruby bird in a cheers to Moltenen.

"To the fire in your eyes and in your soul, my lady"

Matthias sucks on it, enjoying it's flavor, before swallowing it. As politely as one can.

I guess taste/affect is up to you!

Matthias considers the implications of the guards and serving girl, but he is not suspicious.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 9 - 5 ⇒ (17) + 9 - 5 = 21

Bathos waits a short while during Matthias' meeting with Moltenen, ears trained on his companion for signs of stress. After a few minutes of harmless conversation Bathos wanders off exploring the smells of the surrounding area. If he sees any interesting magical auras, alarms or transmutations for comfort, he'll take the time to enjoy their smells as well.

On the road Matthias and Bathos sleep piled together for comfort and warmth, and so Bathos welcomes himself (assuming there's room) into Matthias' tent. He sleeps on the floor, dreams coming quickly.

Eatin' Gems:

Indeed, the Premier insists, softly but intransigently, that her guest should enjoy this gift, a mixture of meal and trophy. Moltenen raises the glass standing by her at Matthias's toast and watches with fascination as he savors the gems.

The rubies lack the acerbity of metals or the cool, earthy bread-satisfaction of stone. Instead, they enter the palate with an awakening of spices: something like cinnamon and pepper, perhaps a little allspice. The rubies are small, sweet viands, not nourishing but eminently pleasurable, each carven bird leaving you with a desire for just one more.

Does Matthias like sweet/spicy flavors? Does he find this cloying? Decadent? Refreshing?

DM Only:

(10% chance of encounters, so <= 10 on a d100)
Day 1 Encounters: 1d100 ⇒ 7
Day 2 Encounters: 1d100 ⇒ 29
Day 3 Encounters: 1d100 ⇒ 71

How do Matthias and Bathos do their guarding? Moltenen and her higher-ranking guards will tell you that there's a hefty rear guard and a powerful van, but muscle is stretched a bit thin in the middle.

M Human Level 6 Geokineticist

Matthias has Dwarven tastes! Of course this means most of his food is relatively bland or earthy. Most spices are highly prized among Dwarves. He has rarely had anything too sweet, but finds it very appealing. The rubies are wonderful.

Matthias and Bathos would go as directed. If there were no specific orders he would spend 50% of his time near the front, possibly being distracted by Moltenen, and the other 50% in the least guarded middle section.

The next two days proceed well. Neither brigands nor beasts molest the caravan (and all have come to treat the river with a kind of reverent fear). Matthias and Bathos patrol between the front and the middle of the long caravan, seeing to the safety of all. On occasion, Bathos's magical percipience may note a strange anomaly off the road, but nothing hostile seems to approach the caravan.

For her part, Moltenen is fascinated by Matthias's ability to consume stone and manipulate it as though it were mere dreamstuff. Once or twice each day, she greets Matthias from the window of her spacious carriage. In the evenings, she makes generous offers of wine and pipe, and also admits Matthias to her own dining arrangement, where she, the man who was sleeping in her tent the first night, and a few trusted confidants enjoy somewhat finer fare than the rest of the caravan.

When these pleasant dinners disperse, Matthias is invited to partake of conversation and a game involving the tactical positioning of carved figures on a square board. When Moltenen has desserts or intoxicants, she finds interesting stones, gems, crystals, and ores from among her traders' wares to try to suit Matthias's tastes.

How does Matthias respond to all this? What does he accept and decline? What does he take to, what does he avoid? What does he do with his own initiative on these days?

Also, do Bathos and Matthias remain always near each other?

M Human Level 6 Geokineticist

Matthias greatly enjoys the caravan itself. The bustling activity and friendly people are a boon to him.

Matthias finds his time spent with Moltenen quite pleasureable, but ultimately feels a bit uncomfortable in the lavish settings in her parties.

You're a soldier.. Explorer. This finery isn't for you. Damn that tastes good though.

He attends and is friendly to all. Though part of him would rather sit around a fire with a bowl of soup and listen to someone play an instrument.

Matthias would look for an opportunity to practice his metal shaping and etching. If there are any obvious items of predominantly metal origin, he would ask permission to adorn it.

Perception: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (12) + 12 = 24

Something good to etch:

Matthias places his hands upon the item and summons his power to him. It flows over the metal exploring its curves and edges. In Matthias mind he's sees arrangements of patterns and traces that somehow.. fit the item. Eventually he chooses one to his liking and wills it into being. Over the course of a dozen or so minutes the metals warps and bends to produce intricate sketches across it's surface, of incredible detail. There are broad strokes of of lines over it's surface, yet when inspected closely each line itself has spiraling patterns emerging from it, never seeming to quite finish. He smiles proudly, knowing this is one of his better works.

Profession Sculptor: 1d20 + 9 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 9 + 5 = 34
The +5 was for a natural 20

Bathos also finds the caravan to be a wonder. Although he would never consider himself tame or domesticated, he has quite liked learning to play with humanoids and other animals that are willing. He's sensitive enough to know that his bulk can intimidate many, but he also has a talent for instigating mischief if someone is willing to chase/be chased.

As Matthias traverses the caravan Bathos keeps abreast of him. He certainly pays less attention to the surroundings than Matthias. However, he never strays too far, liking to be within earshot of Matthias.

Imagining him as a tame (gasp!) dog, I don't think he'd wander more than 1 or 2 rounds of swift running distance. Seem reasonable?

Metallic items: in fact, there are a few traders, among the richer in the caravan and traveling near the front, who work with metal. One appears to be a metallurgist and alchemist, another a smith and armorer, and a third the mercantile arm of the group. Among them, they have worked items of various metals. There's a perfectly round shield of bronze, a suit of steel lamellar, stone plate, and a couple of massive-headed axes, all of which are completely unadorned. If Matthias took interest in any of these, I think the traders would be happy offer them to Matthias for adornment.

You can decide whether you just buy the item and decorate it for yourself, do this decoration as a favor to the traders, sell it back as a luxury item, etc. I will note that, if that had been a Perform check, it would have been in the "notice [...] of extraplanar beings" range, so ... maybe hold on to that. What do you do with the item? Which item is it? DO you show it around?

About Bathos's behavior: that sounds entirely reasonable. I imagine that lots of people would throw him little viands of meat and such, as well as petting and playing with him when he seems amenable. No one would trammel him in the execution of his duties.

On the third day, Matthias and Bathos are patrolling near the middle of the caravan. There are two or three guards within earshot.


Stealth: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (12) + 10 = 22

Perception (DC 22):

There are well-concealed men in the forest to the left of the wagon train. Their faces are smeared with mud, their clothing of deep browns and greens. Bathos's powerful nose detects nothing; indeed, Matthias seems to feel the mud on their faces and clothing rather than to see them in their hiding places.

M Human Level 6 Geokineticist

Matthias would use the stone plate, something one does not see very often (I imagine), and something very dear to the Dwarves. Matthias didn't discuss a price or purchase beforehand and would not assume it belong to him when it is complete.

"By the Smith himself, I must say that is one of my best works. Tell me armorer, would you be willing to part with it? I would like to offer it to your premier as a gift."

Matthias wouldn't want to go too far above it's original price, but won't be very disappointed if he cannot purchase it.

Perception: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (10) + 12 = 22


HP:64 (18 nonlethal) AC:22, T:16, FF;16 Saves:12,12,9 DR:6
Perception:12, SM:9 Initiative:+10

Matthias only just feels the earth moving unnaturally at the edges of his senses. He does his best to asses the men's numbers and their strength. How far are they from the caravan? How long would it take them to close the distance?

He finds another guard, discretely if possible:

"Friend. There are men stealthed just within the forest, a group of some number. Let everyone know. Be quick and quiet about it."

"Bathos with me!" Matthias calls, in a tone that is not urgent, but not to be disobeyed either.

"Why, you're the one that speaks with the earth! You saved our men some days ago, and now perform yet more wonders before me. Allow me to assay its original worth; I have kept stringent record of every item that has come through my hands, and I would be ashamed to charge you any markup, particularly seeing as you have enriched this armor far more than I might have done.

Ah, here it is. An even 1200 gold that cost me, bought in dwarven lands far hence. Once the work of a neophyte laborer--you might have seen, ere you put your hands to it, how oddly its weight was to bear--I would say that this piece now outclasses all but magical armor. And these decorations, like the great gullies and crevices of the Earth herself, increase its value as art beyond even that as armor.

Yet I shall not take a copper more than that 1200 gold from you. This piece is already more yours than anyone else's."

More plainly, this non-masterwork armor is now masterwork due to the consummation of your craft.

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