"A reasonable explanation for us being here for so long, if it gets to that, is that you - or we - are waiting for contacts to arrive. Merchants, fellow whatevers, it is the perfect excuse to act 'bored' and go about town doing whatever you can to keep yourself occupied. "
I'm afraid Asturu has 8 CHA and no social skills worth mentioning. Unless we got more to discuss, I'm fine with heading 'into the day' and moving into town to further our mission.
Sensing their meeting is drawing to a close, Daidalos stands up, "So? No objections? If anyone needs help, remember that's what the rest of us are here for. We still are a team, after all. So, meeting dismissed? Good work all."
Asturu: Well, you might get lucky. The more people we have rolling, the more success we'll have. It's just simple math ;)
With that, Daidalos leaves whichever room they're meeting in and rejoins the crowd in the dining hall, hoping to catch the people in for a late lunch and in for an early dinner, but staying well into the night, easily until midnight, hoping that as the more people drank, the looser their tongues would get.
First, he asks about secret passageways into/out of the castle- if there were any (or substantial rumors about them) and where they might be. However, he stops the questioning before it gets suspicious.
Next, he asks about the servants that work in the castles- where they live, what sort of jobs they do, and similar.
Once that line of questioning dries up, he instead focuses more on the soldiers- if there are any that live in the town, what kind of patrols are sent out, where they might frequent in town, etc.
Gather Information: 1d4 ⇒ 41d20 + 4 ⇒ (19) + 4 = 23
Gather Information: 1d4 ⇒ 21d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24
Gather Information: 1d4 ⇒ 11d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 22
Sorry Timo.... I think I just ate up our collective luck for the next month.
Gather Information: 1d4 ⇒ 11d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
Yep. I guess so.
Gather Information: 1d4 ⇒ 21d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16
Timo leaves their meeting and surveys the crowd, looking for anyone who looks to be a soldier or work as guards for the keep. He then buys them a round and looks to strike up a conversation, trying to find camaraderie in complaining about previous COs and leaders.
Gather information (Diplomacy?): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24
Gather information (Diplomacy?): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17
Gather information (Diplomacy?): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
Gather information (Diplomacy?): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11
Gather information (Diplomacy?): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
Back. Sorry all. Friday was supposed to be quiet then turned into a shi*tshow when a client wanted "all the things now". That meant all weekend went into studying for a certification exam I had this morning. Anyway... let's see here...
Your group spends the next day gathering information without being too direct on any particular point. You manage to learn the following:
* There is plenty of ability to buy supplies in this town. There is an alchemist who sells potions, a scribe with scrolls, blacksmiths and tanners with mundane gear, and here and there you are even able to find a few magic items for sale.
* The Lord's Dalliance Inn is run by a man named Bellam Barhold, a rotund but jovial fellow who is happy to supply you with comfortable and private rooms on the second floor. There are dancing girls and comely barmaids, and the food is adequate while the drink is strong. You find a dozen or so guards come down to the inn each evening to enjoy themselves and spend their gold.
* The next morning, you observe a line of people heading up to the watch tower where they work as servants. None of them appear to be stopped by the guards at the servants' gate.
* Though you haven't seen one, you do learn that Lord Havelyn orders regular patrols to scout the coast of Lake Tarik. A patrol usually consists of a captain and six soldiers on horseback.
* Finally, you find posters scattered throughout the town of a coming troupe of actors and acrobats who will be putting on a play called "The Fall of Amberlyn." The lead is the beloved Bard of Barrington, William Marcus Marlowe.
Affyria sends Kiffex to scout about the Watch Tower. He reports back the following:
* He refused to enter the chapel off the main courtyard (area 26). He detected an aura of good but saw nothing when he looked through the windows.
More to come... Posting this now but got interrupted as work is exploding.
<...>Affyria sends Kiffex to scout about the Watch Tower. He reports back the following:
* He refused to enter the chapel off the main courtyard (area 26). He detected an aura of good but saw nothing when he looked through the windows.
* He explained there are actually two bridges across the river. 18 is the primary bridge that would be used by an army traveling north or, conversely, would need to be used by Sakkarot's army to travel south. Above it and sligthly offset is 24, also known as the Murder Bridge, which provides a clean arc of fire down to 18 and also provides passage between the main watch tower and the gatehouse on the other side.* Most of the soldiers and clergy sleep on the lowest level.
* Only the commander and magister sleep in the keep.
* There is a rookery on the four level of the tower.
* He estimates there are at least 100 guardsmen, plus the captains, clerics and commander
Kind of forgot about the rookery.
"That rookery and the magister should probably be our priority targets, since they are their most likely means of communication with the other garrisons. I propose on our first excursion, we try and take out those two at the same time, before we do any obvious sabotage. The chapel in the main courtyard, we'll have to move with caution there, who knows what those Mitra lovers are worshipping in there."
"Other than that, if the captains stay in town, perhaps we can take out those here, make it look like an accident of some sort so as not to alarm the rest of the keep? Any removal of their leadership structure can only instill chaos in their ranks, furthering our cause."
Asturu, just a thought, you could spend this time making alchemical items that might be useful in our attack. For a covert attack, silence dust would be pretty useful, and alchemical glue has a ton of possible uses for dividing up forces and general sabotage.
Their meeting concluded, (At least for Gameplay) Daidalos returns to his room and creates three slips of paper trapped with his incendiary runes, and casts a small incantation for luck.
Lucky Number, giving me a free +2 or a reroll if I roll a 1d20 ⇒ 10 the next day.
The following morning, Daidalos gets an early of a start as possible. Today,his focus is on the leaders of the fortress. He did his best to learn everything there was to know about the commander, the three captains, the magister and head priest, along with any other major figures in the chain of command.
Gather Information: 1d4 ⇒ 21d20 + 4 ⇒ (19) + 4 = 23
Gather Information: 1d4 ⇒ 31d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
Gather Information: 1d4 ⇒ 11d20 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10
Gather Information: 1d4 ⇒ 41d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24
Gather Information: 1d4 ⇒ 31d20 + 4 ⇒ (19) + 4 = 23
I'll handle those checks in the order info appears in the book.
Daidalos finds a particularly loquacious serving wench when it comes to the topic of Captain Barhold, he is a craggy-faced veteran watchman who first joined the guard when he lied about his age and became a soldier at age 14. That was twenty years ago. Today, he stands on the cusp of middle age certain that he will spend the rest of his life guarding this wall. Captain Barhold is no crusader; rather, he is a soldier dedicated to his homeland and seeing her safe. Respected by the entire garrison, he has earned the nickname “Iron Sam”.
As for Varning, who knows. He's the most junior captain and nobody Daidalos meets seem to know much of him.
Much the same with Captain Mott. Maybe it's the way Daidalos asked the questions, but nobody seemed inclined to spill any interesting dirt or insight on the man.
Then there is Captain Zach Eddarly. He's the resident gallant -- or rake, depending on who you ask. Rumor has it he's having an affair with someone's wife, but...
Then, of course, there is the much beloved Father Donnagin, the most
popular man in the entire garrison. The guards respect Lord Havelyn and Captain Barhold, but they like the gregarious priest. A member of the Order of St. Macarius, Father Donnagin never hesitates to aid the injured or the sick. Nonjudgmental and accessible, this priest has used
remove disease to discretely remove the pox from more than one soldier (though always with an exhortation to sin no more). Father Donnagin’s schedule is difficult to predict. He moves freely about the watchtower and can be found anywhere at any hour as the mood takes him. Father Donnagin is a wise and perspicacious man.
And, more rumor than anything else, he also hears:
Balentyne’s magister, that creepy Tacitus, has been spending a lot of time working on something in his tower! I don’t know what it is, but it’s said that something unnatural was recovered from the north.
Lord Thomas Havelyn is the most honorable and capable commander that Balentyne has ever had. If he can’t keep the Watch Wall working, then no one can!
And, finally, overheard on the street from a pair of farmers walking the other way, "I hear Captain Varning is leading another patrol out tomorrow. I wonder how long they’ll be gone this time? The last time they were gone for five days! If you ask me, these patrols are a waste of time. They’re just an excuse for Varning to get out of the tower and gallivant around the country side instead of doing his fair share of guard duty."
I suppose I'll just keep rolling then. I suppose I could always try to just take 10, but I may as well roll while I'm having good luck.
Daidalos keeps combing for every scrap of information he can find- what sort of defenders are at the castle? How many clerics, how many arcanists, siege engineers (That is a catapult on the top of the tower, right? There's got to be a few specialists for firing it.), and how many guards are above the run-of-the-mill guardsman?
Gather Information: 1d4 ⇒ 31d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14
Gather Information: 1d4 ⇒ 31d20 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 12
Gather Information: 1d4 ⇒ 41d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 22
Gather Information: 1d4 ⇒ 11d20 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10
Gather Information: 1d4 ⇒ 21d20 + 4 ⇒ (11) + 4 = 15
Gather Information: 1d4 ⇒ 31d20 + 4 ⇒ (19) + 4 = 23
While Daidalos looks and searches for every bit of information he can, Timo starts to look for some first hand information. One night at the tavern he makes his way to table of castle guardsmen and ingratiates himself to them with a round of drinks and made up stories of the time he supposedly was a bodyguard. When/if they take a liking to him, he begs the question, "Say, I'm running a bit low on coin right now. Who could I talk to about some mercenary guard duty at the castle?"
Provided he gets an answer, Timo finds his way to this person and inquires about work within the castle.
I'm not sure what kinda checks I need for this so here is a Diplomacy and Bluff check
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6
Bluff: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (19) + 10 = 29
Timo, I think those rolls combined make for an interesting story, so we'll go with that... ;-)
The guardsmen at the table look at Timo and whether its his words or the tone in which he says them -- or something else entirely -- he clearly rubs the Talerians the wrong way.
"Sellsword..." says one, in a tone dripped with contempt.
Another offers Timo little more than a scowling glance before returning to his ale.
The third and last at the table spits on the floor at Timo's feet before he says, "Serving on the Wall is a post of honor, not done for money. Lord Havelyn has no use for your kind here... and neither do we."
They believe Timo is a sellsword... just don't like the cut of his jib.
Through their combined efforts, Daidalos and Affyria have compiled a solid amount of intelligence on the Watchtower and its defenses and its weaknesses. Aside from areas that are well-secured and rarely visited (or which the Imp simply refuses to enter), you have a good sketch of the fortification's layout. There are approximately 100 run of the mill guardsmen -- easily dispatched on their own but overwhelming en masse. (Sergeants and lesser officers will basically have the same stats unless provided otherwise.)
Any one of the captains is likely to put up a strong fight against the lot of you. Two or more of them combined could likely kill one or two of you unless you've arranged an ambush.
Father Donnagin is an accomplished leader in the Mitran faith, and he has about a half-dozen acolytes assisting him in his ministry.
The magister is a mystery, though you hear rumors he has a fondness for fire-based spells. The Imp refuses to enter the mage's quarters and the mage rarely leaves.
The rookery is well-secured behind a heavy iron door and a good lock. However, the Imp reports the guardroom outside is empty, though you realize that could likely change in the event of trouble.
Lord Havelyn himself is reputed to be a paladin, one of Mitra's most faithful warriors.
The key personnel are: Lord Havelyn, the four captains, Father Donnagin, the magister, a dwarven engineer, and Mad Martin (the master of the rookery).
Having stayed at the Lord's Dalliance Inn for a couple of nights, you also discover there is another set of guests staying here: dwarven engineers. Lead by a particularly burly dwarf named Barnabus Eisenbauch, the eleven dwarves have been hired to inspect the watchtower and upgrade the aging gatehouse. You sense this is not short-term work; indeed, you overheard one of the dwarves comment they expected to be working on this project for years.
K (nobility) DC 20: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (9) + 9 = 18
Grrr... So close. Hey Asturu, any way I might be able to snag an Aid Another from you?
Daidalos knows he's forgetting something, and it's just on the tip of his tongue, but for the life of him he can't figure out what it might be.
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In the process of moving this along a bit:
Affyria uses her charms and wiles to try and find out from the farmers where Captain Varning and his men usually camp. She'll then look for some stables where they can procure some horses and some camping supplies.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (18) + 10 = 28
Affyria and Daidalos are able to put together a rough idea of what happens with Captain Varning's rangings. He rides out once a week and is gone for four or five days during which he and a team of six mounted guards patrol the surrounding hills, shores, roads and byways.
You learn there used to be more of these patrols but about six months ago, Varning personally skewered the last of the bandit chieftains and the situation has been sufficiently quiet that one patrol was deemed adequate while the Aldencross constabulary deals with more routine, petty crimes.
Generally, the patrol route varies and is hard to predict, thus he and his men will need to be tracked. But... Affyria's feminine wiles (and some free drinks) loosens up the tongue of one of the guards who reveals Varning has a fondness for a campsite known as Freeman's Rock. He usually arrives there on the third day of the patrol, and it's only about one day's travel direct from Aldencross.
Horses and saddles can be procured for the usual cost, or they can be rented per day at 10% of the purchase price.
Sharing all the information they've acquired makes Asturu chew on every detail and facet as he meticulously writes down every tidbit of information into his personal journal. Being no fool, he uses a simple code to encipher the text. The Havelyn name makes him think long and hard of what he knows about the family, but nothing of note comes to mind. There's a reason they're stuck here in this backwater, after all.
Knowledge Nobility vs DC20: 1d20 + 1d6 + 6 ⇒ (5) + (6) + 6 = 17
Nope, Asturu doesn't know anything about the Lord nor his son! When the d20 rolls lower than the d6..
Whereas the others are busy picking up the threads of the town's societal fabric, Asturu spends his time offering his alchemical services to whoever is in need of it: from housewives needing herbal concoctions for whatever seasonal illness needed a remedy to well, whatever was in need. Whatever.
Asturu will try and offer his services, but if no one is needing anything, he'll focus on making items the group need / might need. Is coding a text a simple 'linguistics' check? If so, here's a roll for this particular journal/collection of informative texts:
Linguistics: 1d20 + 1d6 + 6 ⇒ (11) + (6) + 6 = 23
Asturu, I think that's fine for using a cipher. We can say anyone who wants to try to break it would themselves need to make a DC 23 linguistics check.
In the interest of moving this along the most apparent path...
You managed to procure some horses from a local stable and ride out towards Freeman's Rock. Just to keep the numbers round... Deduct 20 gold each; renting a horse for two days @ 10gp/day, unless you have another mode of travel or want to do a forced march? -- Map is updated with the campsite.
After a day's ride, you arrive at the site the guardsman described to Affyria. It's easy to see why Varning favors this place. A rocky ledge to the south plays host to a babbling waterfall that feeds a small creek flowing north towards Lake Tarik. The location's name likely stems from a large granite deposit to the east of creek, though whatever history attaches to the rock is minitua best left to local historians.
A search of the area finds the remains of old campfires in a small clearing, though it looks like the site hasn't been used in at least a week. Dusk is rapidly approaching.
Would you be willing to have let Asturu's K (nobility) function as Aid Another? With the +2 from that, Daidalos would barely hit the 20 needed.
GM- is the grid on a 5' standard or 10'? Also, will it be more than 6 hours of riding? If not, Daidalos would just cast Mount for himself (or for all four of us if we'd have a day of downtime after getting there)
Daidalos looks around the campsite, "Well, this must be the place. I say we hide the horses further along and wait here until they settle in for the night. Let them get a couple of watches in, then surprise and kill the guard quietly, and slit the throats of the rest while they sleep. Unless someone else has a better idea?"
On the Aid Another, sure! I think that's fine. At the table, I like to have Aid Another checks rolled before the actual check, but that's not as easy with PbP, so I'm fine with it. (Besides, the party having knowledge of things is part of what helps the plot advance in interesting ways, so it's a win-win.
On casting Mount... I think 6 hours is reasonable, but you can't be sure if you'd have a day of rest once you arrive.
So, my suggestion is that we hide our horses and gear a ways away, then take turns hiding and waiting for the patrol to arrive, hiding some distance away. Once everyone is asleep (or, if they set a watch, once everyone but the watch is asleep. And only if the watch isn't the captain), we kill the watch first (likely with ranged weapons), then coup de grace the rest of the patrol, one after another. That way, even if some of them wake up, they'll be out of their armor and without weapons at hand, and we can make quick work out of them.
That sounds reasonable. We got some (cough Timo) who aren't blessed at being stealthy so unless we use some magic to aid him, we'll have to assume there will be a fight after we open the ambush. On the flipside, Asturu can go in fully buffed so that might turn the tide.
Ideally, there would never even be a fight. Just a few quick coup-de-grace and everyone shooting the same target all at once (I figure if we all use ranged attacks in the same round against the flat-footed guard, odds are good we take him down). Of course, I also have an invisibility that I can use. I'll hold my other second level slot open in case a fight does break out, but if everything goes to plan, it won't be an issue. Timo could always take his armor off for stealth, and I could simply give him mage armor to help offset that, or he could be the target of my invisibility, because everyone knows that being invisible will help you sneak up on sleeping people while wearing heavy armor. Somehow.
Also, I feel I should mention that we really ought to take at least one of the men prisoner- we can interrogate him and learn more about the inside.
If you're waiting in ambush, I'll get you a Take 20 on a stealth check, assuming you've got plenty of time to find a good spot, build yourself some natural cover, etc... I've tentatively setup the map but just plopped y'all down in the center. Adjust your positions as you would based on the plan above. If we don't hear from Timo and Affyria by tomorrow morning, I'll place them and bot them. We'll assume Luke is hanging out at the Inn.
After a night's rest and quietly rotating a watch of the campsite, the next morning comes. A light mist over the ground is eventually burned off by the sun, your watch rotates again, and the tedium of waiting for your prey begins to eat away. Are they going to show? Are they skipping it this time? Was the intel wrong? Did they change patrol? Are they aware of us?
Then, a few hours before dusk, Timo hears the sound of hoofbeats on soil. Then conversation. Laughter. Blue and gold tabards. The patrol.
As they settle in, one of them observes that it looks as if others have been through the area recently, but otherwise they seem to take no notice of Timo some distance away, concealed behind layers of foliage.
A campfire is made and they settle in. Talking, joking, playing card games and exchanging riddles... such happiness and camaraderie.
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 20
Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16
Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22
Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11
Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14
Daidalos, as they waited, casually scribed a scroll for their assault.
Scroll of Enlarge Person, funds taken from the whole-party loot, costing 12.5 gp
Once they arrived, Daidalos, as quietly as aasimarly possible, puts away the book on infernal law he had been studying, double-checked to make sure the safety on his crossbow was on, and gave extra emphasis to staying extra still. There were still hours to go, and it wouldn't do to give away their position early.
Waiting until they all have gone to bed, except for one sentry (if they set one) that isn't the captain before making any move.
|Timo Zoci|As Asturu pointed out, I as quiet as a bull in a China shop we could try a non stealth approach. Play at being travellers just looking to relax in the outdoors. Make camp with the guards and have some drinks and merriment. Then when they are too drunk to notice, kill them all... Or we go with the stealth approach. Either works.
Somehow I feel like I'm hiding like one of those cartoons where I'm just holding a leafy twig in front of me yet no one sees me
Seeing that the guard appears to pay him no mind, Timo glances at Daidalos with bow in hand awaiting the signal.
Personally, I think it's more likely that we smeared all of your lovely clean and shiny armor with mud, and then stuck a bunch of twigs on it for camouflage. ;)
Affyria waits patiently for the patrol to arrive, quietly communing with her infernal familiar. "I can make sure none of them hears us when we make our move," she announces.
When we move, Affyria will target a possible sentry with hold person, then cast silence when they sneak out.
Are we waiting on something in particular before jumping to later tonight? I get the feeling patience is something all of the 9th knot will learn one way or another.
Hmm. Okay, let's see here. Plan is to observe the patrol until after they've gone to bed, and all appear to be asleep except for the sentry, as long as the sentry isn't the captain. At the time of the patrol's arrival, Timo is the closest. I've adjusted your locations on the map to be what makes the most sense to me in terms of being able to observe the campsite from a position of stealth with minimal exposure. You may have some issues firing ranged weapons based on partial cover from the trees, but some nice bonuses to stealth checks.
Sounds like, once the ambush is in motion, (1) Affyria is going to start with Hold Person on the sentry, (2) then silence on yourselves so you can close without creating any noise and, if all goes as planned, (3) you will all proceed coup de grace the heck out of them.
Is that right? If so, I can start rolling saving throws and proceed narratively.
Sounds about right. If the guard makes his save, we all unleash our readied-action ranged weapons before he can raise the alarm. We'd also aim to take one of them alive, and Daidalos would try to trap the captain's soul (using an arcane point to swap Flurry of Snowballs for Summon Cacodaemon) because why not.
Asturu will use a Shield extract, Enlarge person extract and his STR mutagen before barging in. I feel gross for saying it, but he will be a 24 STR monster with a +12 on grapple CMB :\ still, things can go wrong for us villains. I'm fine with playing it or *or* bypassing the encounter.
In case it happens, Kiffex the imp will also standby to use suggestion on anyone spotting us, the suggestion simply being "go to sleep".
and uh ... Timo will hit anyone really hard should the arrows and all of the above not work :P
Affyria: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
Asturu: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 = 19
Timo: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 1 = 19
Daidalos: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
Enemy: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11
After the sun sets, Timo continues to observe the campsite and wait for Varning and his rangers to fall asleep. His muscles begin to cramp from the effort to keep his armor from giving off a sound that would cause alarm. Though he can't help a couple of sounds, the sentry doesn't hear them over the sound of the waterfall and wind through the trees.
Eventually it seems as if all are asleep but the sentry and Affria comes forward, followed a short distance behind by Daidalos and Asturu. Clasping her unholy symbol, as quietly as she can while still making her voice heard, she calls upon the power of Asmodeus to bind your foe in place. The sentry is starting to look up in your general direction when he freezes, paralyzed.
You descend from Freeman's rock as quickly as the terrain and your equipment allow. As you descend, Affyria follows up with another prayer, this one to wrap you in the protective embrace of utter silence. The sentry remains unmoving as Timo closes the gap and drops the ranger to the ground, the anti-paladin's blade diving deep into the man's chest. With a twist and a pull, the man's life spills out in a matter of seconds while Timo is already on to the next ranger.
Together, you make quick work of the rest of the group as they never hear your approach nor the sound of their friends being slaughtered by your hand. Last comes Captain Varning. Young. Handsome. In sleep, he looks peaceful and friendly. Timo raises his nodachi and brings it down in a powerful arc. Varning's head isn't quite severed by the blow, but it's as clean a blow as most headmen could ask. His eyes pop open briefly, looking up at you with surprised blue orbs. His mouth falls agape but no air passes, his neck is so destroyed. And then... gone.
Daidalos, will you be able to capture Varning's soul with the silence spell in effect?
Timo's Stealth Check: 1d20 - 5 ⇒ (17) - 5 = 12
Perception Check: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
Affyria's Stealth: 1d20 ⇒ 16
Will save vs Hold Person: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4 - A good start... and likely the end.
Rd 1 - Will save vs Hold Person: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4 - So dead
PA CdG Nodachi attack on Varning: 2d10 + 18 ⇒ (10, 6) + 18 = 34
Save if not already dead: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26 he's dead
With the small radius of the Silence, I could easily dip outside of the area to cast the summon (I have a full minute to spend a round swapping spells, casting, and letting the cacodaemon devour his soul before the time is up, meaning I have more than a spare round to either let the silence expire or to run outside, cast, and run back in). Also, I think we were going to try and keep one alive for interrogation.
As the silence falls away and Daidalos admires his new soul gem, he looks up at his fellow Asmodeans, "A job well done, if I do say so myself. Now, to consider how we might hide the captain's disappearance...."
"Job, eh? It almost felt like surgery, where we cut away a wicked infestation with ruthless precision. Funny how some would call it sickening, but there's always that other side in a philosophical debate, no? Alright, I'll shut up," grunts the feral looking aristocrat. Whatever mutagen he had consumed before the fight wasn't doing any wonders for his brain.
He then shuffles about the place whilst pondering the many options and possibilities. "With their current physical status we can't frame the situation so that they might have passed away due to poisoning from say bad mushrooms or whatever you have, or an animal attack, what with the young captain's head dangling after Timo's clean cut. No natural explanations that we could use to frame the situation with come to mind, so perhaps it is best if we simply make them truly disappear. Altogether. Let them search for answers they won't find, and send out more patrols to this forsaken place."
"Job well done? That was a bit too simple. Hopefully there will be more of a challenge in the actual keep."
As he cleans the blood off of his blade, Timo thinks. "We could blame it on bandits. Leave the camp like it was ransacked. Leave the bodies as they are so the "bandits" appear to be cowards and weaklings who killed them all in their sleep. When word gets out, the Keep may send a large expeditionary force to hunt out the bandits leaving the keep easier prey." Timo thinks to himself a moment "Of course this may backfire by having them increase their defenses out of fear of a bandit attack..."
"Why even let them know that they are dead? We have our circlets. All we need to do is impersonate one of the patrol members and come with a message from 'Captain Varning' that they will be out on patrol longer than normal- perhaps there was a group of naatanuk that strayed close to the border, and they went in pursuit. If we're lucky, we might even be able to lead a second patrol of 'reinforcements' to their doom as well." Daidalos points out.
Shall we say we took a prisoner or not?
"Impersonating someone specific might be a little bit tricky, tho. We don't want to risk anyone seeing through the disguise, or noticing that their voice is completely different. The keep isn't that huge, and chances are people might know each other," Affyria says after a moment's thought.
She then regards the bodies thoughtfully, and takes out her mace. Stepping over to one of the nearby bodies, she uses her boot to turn the man's head, and with a vicious swipe, brings the mace down on his jawbone, which nearly explodes in a shower of gristle, blood, and bits of bone. "This might seem gruesome, but we don't want their priest to find out anything, there is magic that allows communication with the deceased. Better safe than sorry," Affyria says coldly as she walks towards the next body.
Asturu groans in an overly dramatic manner when Affyria adds her personal touch to the massacre. "Oofph. Brutality aside, I agree with Affyria. Let's stick to what we know: these are professional soldiers who have known each other for years. If we want to assume one of their personalities to get in, we'll need to know more about the person we are impersonating and his relationships with those around him, and we need to have a clear reason and goal for doing so. It's definitely something we can toss into the option bag."
He then scrapes his throat and, like someone being entranced by an accident in motion, watches Affyria do what she must.
Eventually, or perhaps while discussing next steps, a search of the campsite and the bodies turns up the following:
On Captain Varning, a masterwork lance, masterwork composite shortbow (+3 Str), longsword, dagger, masterwork full plate, a +1 heavy steel shield with personal heraldry, 20 arrows, and a key.
Each of the rangers (x6) carries: lance, longsword, dagger, composite shortbow (+2 Str), 20 arrows, chain shirt, rations and a rain cloak.
You also find seven horses tied up a short distance away, Varning's seems a particularly fine specimen though she eyes you warily, shifting and stamping her hooves.
Daidalos wrinkles his eyebrows, "So be it. I think we might be able to pull it off if we pretend to be exhausted and we only stay around for an hour or less. Regardless, we need to do something to not let them realize the patrol died, let along be attacked. We still have some preparations to make, after all, and the patrol is due back in just a day or two. We can't have them getting suspicious while we work to expose Captain Eddarly. Stealth is still paramount at this point, after all."
I think, in order to get some RP going beyond just that within the party, capturing a prisoner for interrogation is going to make sense here. I was inclined to say "didn't happen" since it wasn't discussed prior to the ambush, but I think some outward directed RP will be helpful here. That said... 't'ain't the captain. ;-)
After the slaughter, the capturing of Varning's soul, and a collection of the better equipment, you find one of the guards is still alive. (0 hp, staggered) He comes to as you begin searching his would-be corpse.
"Who? What? I... ungh..." He clasps at the wound at his side. Slowly he comes to realize what is happening. <CRUNCH> Affyria's mace pulps the face of one of his friends and colleagues. "OH!!! Mitra! Oh no! I... what do you want!?" Unarmed, unarmored, and badly wounded, he puts up no resistance.
Daidalos, searching a nearby corpse, notices the guard come to, "Oh thank Mitra! You're still alive!" he flinches as Affyria continues her dirty work, "What's your name, friend? I'm David. I apologize for my colleagues. They can be a bit... overenthusiastic. But, one must do what one must do. You see, we're working with the king- well, I am, at least. I hired a couple of... less than savory mercenaries, which might not have been the best choice in hindsight, but no matter. I'm sure you must have a million questions. I'll do my best to answer them."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (16) + 7 = 23
Bluff: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (13) + 13 = 26
I'm going to try something slightly different. Instead of monologing, I'll put the answers to any questions the guard might ask, to keep back-and-forth posting to a minimum.
What are you doing?
"Nothing I find pleasant, I assure you. It's come to our attention that the Watch Wall has been compromised. We're not sure by whom, but we found messages being passed between the bugbears up north- surely you've heard they're massing? and several individuals in the watch wall itself. Captain Varning was one that we knew for sure, and we were fairly certain that most of his patrol was as well. As a result, we ambushed you, unfortunately. However, you survived. I hope you aren't part of the conspiracy, right? That would be unfortunate."
Why is she disfiguring the corpses?
"An... unfortunate precaution. We can't afford letting any more information being passed to the bugbears. This keeps their shamans from communing from their corpses."
What do you want with me?
"Information. Your name, the name of your patrol members, and who would be called if you needed reinforcements. Also, if you could draw a map of the interior of the watchtower, that would be greatly appreciated."
Affyria saunters over to the prisoner, her mace still dripping with blood. She fixes him with a cold stare, her whispy hair blowing in the wind. "You want me to interrogate him, Dave? I'll have him spilling his guts about his bugbear allies quicker than you can blink, and I like it when they can still scream," she purrs between her needle-like teeth, trying her best to impress the gravity of the situation on the guardsman.
Intimidate: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (16) + 9 = 25
For the record, Affyria will forgo the disguise from the circlet as oft as she can, and only adopting it when it's necessary. She much prefers her natural appearance when they are amongst themselves. She would have dropped it the moment they left Aldencross.
"Less than savory mercenary, eh? I can work with that."
As Daidalos works on questioning the prisoner, Timo sits near the corpse of the beheaded captain making sure he is in full view of the prisoner. He then slowly and methodically begins to clean and sharpen his blade. Every once in awhile glancing up and casting the prisoner a feral grin before returning to his work.
Intimidate: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (11) + 10 = 21
"Hopefully that won't be needed, Ria. We need him talking, not screaming. Personally, I hope he isn't in league with the bugbears, but I suppose either way we can get some information from him." Daidalos turns back to the man, "I really do hope that you can help me- part of the contract that she made me sign was that she got to 'interrogate' those that are in league with the bugbears, or if she felt reasonably certain that they are. A horrible idea in hindsight, yes, but I was on a bit of a time crunch and had to bring in outside contractors."
Diplomacy?: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18
"I..." The poor man, who can't be much past 20, is on the verge of tears. "No! No no no! I swear it, Captain Varning was loyal. You must be mistaken, none of us would work with the bugbears, we hadn't even heard they were..." He starts coughing, some blood coming up in his spittle. "No, I don't know what you're talking about, I swear. We're innocent. Loyal to the King!"
"My name's Loethyn, sir. And, and... if we don't report in, Lord Havelyn will likely dispatch another of the captain's with a full platoon."
What more detail on the interior of the watchtower do you need? Got a pretty detailed map from Affyria's imp going invisible all over.