You take a moment to study the man in front of you. He's a plain looking man in plain looking clothes. Not what you would expect from somebody who is able to commandeer the warden's office. You're not even sure you would recognize him again if you passed him on the street.
If he notices your attention, he doesn't seem to mind. He sets the piece of paper in his hands on the desk and slides it over to you. It's a pencil sketch of a gnome in profile. You can't help but recoil when you realize where you've seen this before.
"Gentleman Jack," the man confirms, no trace of mockery in his voice at your reaction.
Gentleman Jack. The Butcher of Brastlewark. His diminutive stature belied his outsized reputation. His obsession with his ghoulish "art" of knifework had held a whole community hostage in breathless anticipation of the appearance of his next victim. He had evaded capture until the Hellknights got involved. Nobody would say just how large the task force was that had brought him in, or how many had been lost.
"He's been seen in Marmorata, a town in Cheliax near our border. He's turned over a new leaf. Given up the killing for more restrained criminal activity," the man says, grimacing. "His new boss is keeping him on a short leash."
You share the man's distaste. Anybody who can keep Gentleman Jack in line is bad news. With a sinking feeling in your stomach you start to realize where this is going...
"I don't give two s!~@s for Cheliax, but the last thing we need is a gangster state on our border," the man says. "Your mission is to eliminate Jack's gang and investigate his links to this new kingpin of crime. Kill everyone associated with that organization and you'll have earned your freedom."
The implications are just starting to settle in when the man coughs, drawing your attention once more. He holds a small ceramic disc between his fingers.
"It's amazing what happens when you get an alchemist and a wizard working together," he says. "This material is perfectly inert. It can be implanted in the human body with no side effects. It won't even show up in general magical diagnostics. But if you probe it too closely..."
He sets the disc down and waves his hand over it, muttering a magical incantation. The disc begins to glow bright white and he hastily waves his hand over it again, casting another spell. The disc explodes in a fireball that is contained in a newly revealed shell of force the size of your head. When it dies down a corner of the warden's desk is simply gone.
"It reacts badly to attempts to remove it. It also activates on command, of course. Wouldn't want you to wander off, now."
With a chuckle, the man continues the briefing. When he finishes you are taken straight to what passes for the prison's operating room where you are put under general anesthesia. You wake with a new scar on the back of your neck. You also have a choice to make.
You and your teammates will be transferred to a new government facility. While the guards are not aware of your new mission, once you decide how you want to approach things assistance will be provided to you. Do you want to:
(a) Escape in transit while the convoy is moving,
(b) Escape in transit while the convoy is bedded down for the night, or
(c) Escape after arriving at the new facility?
Every morning prisoners are given an opportunity to exercise. You are placed in groups of five and forced to walk several circuits along a line painted on the ground in the prison yard. At the far corner of the yard you will be out of earshot of the guards for about ten paces. This will be your only opportunity to discuss matters with your new teammates before the transfer.
While you guys are getting started I'll be going over the crunch of each of your builds. I will pm you if I see anything that needs clarification. If you're doing anything tricky it would probably be a good idea to pm me and give me a heads up before deploying it mid-game.
Lucifer hums an old folk song as the group sets out on the track, and when they reach the far corner, he breaks off and smiles. "I for one am quite excited about this opportunity. I say we escape on the move, it's more fun and leaves them in more confusion."
Danira staggers and plays up her weakness to the light. When the group reaches the corner, she composes herself for a moment.
"Anything is better than these wretches. I certainly could use more fun and confusion in my life. I agree. We escape on the move."
Myza's reaction to the sunlight was far more subdued than Danira's as she was forced out, though the half-drow was obviously still quite pained by the exposure.
I suppose that's workable enough, Myza signed to Danira once they reached the corner, blatantly ignoring the others inability to understand the gestures. Her lip curled up in disgust some, and she would shake her head as she continued to converse with Danira. Though I for one don't relish having to wander around in the daylight. Besides, most of the trash this place deigns to employ are rather handicapped without light, unlike you or I. That may inconvenience the others, but they don't matter to begin with.
The half-drow would pause for a moment as they rounded the yard, signing again once they reached their corner once again.
Besides, think of the fun to be had with some of the sleeping guards. I for one could use some experimental materials. It's been ages since I've been able to go through the Grand Experiment.
"Lets do it when they are sleeping. It'll be night, and I see everyone here has no issues seeing in the dark. I can conjure magical darkness to hide our escape, and I've heard drow can do it as well." Alluriel gives an evil chuckle. "But we'll need a signal. The message spell would be ideal, but a well placed darkness on any of our items will suffice."
This damned sunlight is muddling my thoughts. Danira signs to Myza.
To Alluriel, "I'm of the shadow bloodline. Of course I can create darkness."
"Myza can handle creating a message, and I can handle creating terrifying illusions to distract those drooling idiots when we make our move. Lucifer and Kyra should be able to help with any guards not incapacitated."
"This plan is s~~@, but not as s#@@ as this prison." Kyra growls and looks around at the guards in the distance
"If the guards there and in transit are a lot like the the ones here, we should make our move at night. Most or all of us can see to some distance in the dark. If we make our move when they are sleeping, tracking us will be much harder for them at night. I will simply have to guide Dyr, assuming they are transferring him with me."
Danira signs back to Myza, There isn't much choice right now. If they fail we can always kill them, so the day won't be a total loss.
"Does no one else think it is funny that the leader of a prision, is going to sacrifice his own men just so we can"Air Quotes"Break out of prison" and go murder this s$!!bag that is apparently so evil, he is worth letting us go? Seems a lot like he should have one of these things planted in his neck too.
Hmm, speaking of which anyone think they might be able to figure out a way to remove these things at some point?
I'm going to take that as a vote. You guys can make life easier on me by making it explicit.
The next morning you wake to find that a small note has been tucked into your bed while you were sleeping. Breaking the seal and unfolding it, you read:
A fine choice! Your equipment will be stored in the supply wagon, along with maps of the area. The trip will take five nights in all. I suggest waiting until at least the second night to escape.
You may do as you wish with the guards. They have all been specially chosen for this mission and will in any event be executed for their failure to deliver you in chains.
The note also contains a diagram of a padlock. A red circle has been drawn around an otherwise unremarkable section of the lock. Before you have time to do much more than memorize the location of the circle, the note catches fire and drifts away in a puff of ashes.
It's still early in the morning when a troop of guards approaches your cell. Heavily armored, they move with the practiced ease of trained fighting men. Five of them hold you at spearpoint while the fifth secures you in shackles and leg irons. They march you out of the prison and repeat the process as they remove the shackles and secure you to the cuffs hanging from the inside of a prison wagon.
The wagon is built neither for comfort nor speed. It's heavily built with thick wooden walls and no windows. Once your entire team is secured in the wagon and it jolts into motion your initial guess that it is completely unsprung is confirmed.
Even though you don't have to actively do anything, the wagon ride is tiring. Trying to find a comfortable posture with the limited play allowed by the cuffs is difficult and made more so as the wagon jolts over uneven ground. It's a relief when the wagon comes to a halt.
The guards are obviously still not interested in your comfort. They march you off one by one to be trussed up in chains and laid out on flimsy bedrolls. Mindful of the notes' instructions, you spend the first night gathering information.
There are six guards. They are all human, and seem to know their way around a fight. They maintain a small campfire that casts a low light on the sleeping group of prisoners. The guards sleep in shifts, with two of them sharing three hour shifts. One of the guards on watch patrols the perimeter of the camp while the other watches you. The guards are disciplined, but not inhumanly so.
The night ends uneventfully and you are returned to the wagon for another day of travel much like the first. You are trussed up and put in position to "sleep" much like you had been the first night. Soon enough, the guards have finished with their meal and four of them have gone to sleep.
You guys can retroactively discuss plans during the wagon ride. I won't jump in until somebody takes an action in the present.
In the courtyard, Lucifer shrugs. "Well, we might as well make things democratic in support of our captors, hm? And as far as sacrificing men, I'm guessing we're going to be deniable. The men won't know about our escaping, so the wardens can deny they know either. It'll just be a regular old breakout."
The next day, Lucifer smiles at the guards. "What, no going-away present?" When the guard, predictably, punches him in the gut, Lucifer moves with the hit, exaggerating his loss of breath. He remains fairly compliant for the rest of the journey into the wagon, where he looks around and winces as it begins to bump away. "Certainly no sense of fashion or luxury, is there?"
During the first day, Lucifer mostly whistles and hums to pass the time. That night he moves with the others and passes the night calmly, but alert. He discovers the secret catch without much trouble or surprise, having figured it might be something like that--he even chuckles at the discovery, remembering an affair where his gang used a similar ruse--but takes care not to activate it just yet.
The next day, he waits until the wagon is well on its way, then clears his throat. "Well," he starts, speaking softly enough that anyone outside the chamber won't hear, "What do we think? Who here feels comfortable taking a guard by surprise unarmed? I'd bet I could get 'em to come over, lure them in, but I'm not sure I'd be good for finishing them myself without something sharp and pointy."
Speaking of sharp and pointy things, what weapons are the guards equipped with? Hoping they have a dagger or short sword or something on their belts.
Is Dyr being transported with us, or will I need to get a new animal companion? If he is with us, is he with us, with the equipment, or in a different area?
While being shoved into the Kyra snears at the guards one last time. "better watch our boys, caravans like this where how I made most of my money, and I rarely left survivors"
perception: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (7) + 13 = 20
On the first day Kyra is mostly silent. occasionally praying to the dark god Ghulander until interrupted by the wagon hitting a large pot hole.
I swear they are doing it on purpose
Lucifer, if I can get free and cast on myself, I should be able to take a guard, even with just improvised weapons, however I may have a better chance of using stealth to at least get some weapons, or free Dyr. Then the fun can really begin. The rest of you, what are your particular skills? Do you require weapons?
do we have holy symbols now, or are we completely bare?
Technically my holy symbol is on me since its a tattoo. I don't know how they would try to remove it. I have asked in discussion asking for clarification but GM didn't answer. But my selective channel will only unselect 4 people as I don't have my charisma booster.
As Danira is being loaded into the caravan, she manages to snap at one of the guards and bite his face.
"Something to remember me by, darling!"
She then cackles on.
During the first day, she enjoys the relative darkness of the caravan in silence, and uses the time to rest and regain her full magical abilities.
On the second day, she joins in the conversation with the others.
To Kyra, "I have some weapons waiting in the supply wagon, but they are of little concern. I just want my lenses and magical bracers. I have everything I need within me to otherwise torment these insects once I get my hands free."
"My magic is concentrated in three realms, darkness, fire and illusion. That should be sufficient."
"As for my skills, I'm an exceptional liar." She laughs at the serious tone of the questions.
"I can attempt to hold the guards, but without my headband I will not be able to control those divine energies well enough that all of you remain unscathed. I recommend that no more then 4 allies stay within 30 ft of me."Alluriel replies.
"Or I could start asking for Dispater's blessing. He is always willing to help any who serve his cause. Skills - I can usually get people to see things my way." She gives a wry grin.
"Danira, is it possible you armour us till we can get our hands on our gear in the supply wagon?"She asks.
She looks at Danira calculatingly. I wonder if she will try to lie to us. Better keep a close eye on this one.
You have holy symbols only if they are integrated into your body. Trait, tattoo, or similar.
The guards seem to favor longswords or greatswords as their primary combat arms. Of course, being practical men, they all have a knife or two on their person that would be perfectly usable as a dagger.
Those of you who are interested in such things may have noticed a large rhinoceros shaped figure near the party's horses. The rhino's head is covered with a black hood and it's legs are restrained at night by a daunting array of chains.
If you look very closely the chains seem to be secured by a lock that looks much like the one attached to your own chains.
"I can provide Mage Armor for you temporarily, and perhaps a nice Fireball as a shield." Danira says to Alluriel with a wicked smile.
"I'll pass on the fireball. But mage armour would be good for the entire party, until we obtain our gear. If anyone has message spell, this would be a good time to use it so we can communicate easily for later's operations." Alluriel replies.
" I think we should stealth as far as we can, and once we are caught, Fireball would make an excellent opening salvo. From there I can use My flames of the faithful spell, and my particular skills, to be a bane to our human captors. Though I won't be as effective using manacles as an improvised weapon as I would be with a real weapon. I bet I can take 1 or 2 down that have been hit with fireball. Then with their weapons, Lucifer and I can fight our way to our gear, or free the rhino, whichever is closer.
With Dyr free, taking out the rest of the guards will be easier. "
My vote is we start with stealth, only the stealthyist of us moving, which I suspect is everyone but our esteemed cleric, and we head for our gear, or the rhino, whichever is closer. If we make it all the way to one we try and sneak to the other as well. Dyr is much more stealthy than you would imagine for a rhino. When all hell inevitably breaks loose. We hit them with fireball, and rush them. Hoping that the fireball weakens them enough that my spells help me take at least 1 out with my improvised weapon. then we take that guards weapons and press the attack.
"Well that's all well and good, my... large friend." Lucifer grins and clears his throat. "But that doesn't deal with our very first obstacle: the guard watching us. If we simply undo our manacles and rise to attack, I've a feeling he'll have time to call out, and that leads to more trouble. Personally I don't care whether we kill the guards, if they're to be put to death either way, but the more that try to stop us, the more likely we're wounded or otherwise troubled in the escape."
Lucifer leans back on the wall and muses for a moment. "If we can get the guard to come over close, someone could distract while others get free and incapacitate him one way or another. A good blow to the head, a spell of some kind, perhaps? If you grab the dagger off his belt and give it to me, I know my way around one of those." He shrugs. "I'll work the distraction, though, if you need."
I think your plan is good, Kyra, but we do need to take out the first guard who's just watching us before anything else. That said, your plan for stealthily taking people out should work for this part too.
"If I can get my hands free, the guard won't be a problem. I can cast him into a hallucinatory realm for a while if we need to leave him alive. It won't be quite as much fun, but certainly no picnic for him either. He won't be in any condition to call out to the others."
"Oh that does remind me how I love a good picnic... The breeze... the food... the blood... the maddened screams of terror... It makes me downright nostalgic."
Danira giggles and cackles.
I'm good with Kyra's plan as well.
"If he is in such a bad state we can take his weapons, this will be perfect. Good enough even you might be able to keep him for a celebratory picnic. Even if we can;t take his weapons, we can still move past him and get to our goals."
Ready when everyone else is
In the wagon, Lucifer claps his hands--as best he can--and grins. "Splendid. Very well, I'll lure him over, you'll take care of him, and we'll all be able to reclaim our dearly departed belongings."
That evening, the second of the journey, Lucifer waits until the guards have taken their meal, and four of them bed down and let the other two up. Then he waits some more, half-dozing and asking the others to nudge him if he isn't awake when the time comes. That time is the first change of the guards, and he painfully waits about twenty minutes for the last guards to fall asleep before springing his trap.
"Hello, you," he says, shaking his chain and nodding at the guard watching the group. "Listen, could you come over here and move me for a moment? Take me out of camp, watch me the whole time if you like, but..." Lucifer's face screws up in apparent discomfort and he winces, gesturing at his stomach with his chin. "Something I've eaten seems to have taken a disliking for me, and trouble's brewing. Sure I could just sit here and sh*t myself, but that wouldn't do me any favors with this lot, and then you'd have to smell it all night and all day until we get where we're going. So how about you help me for a moment? I'm sure these folks aren't going anywhere."
Bluff: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (6) + 12 = 18
The guard looks at Lucifer without saying anything. A moment passes. Finally, he nods and whistles for the other guard, who breaks off his patrol of the perimeter to join his squad mate.
"Help me drag this one off 'is bedroll before he s@*+s all over everything."
The two of them approach Lucifer cautiously, intending to drag him a bit away from the others so he can take care of business.
"My thanks, gentlemen. I'll offer no resistance, I assure you. Far too much discomfort for that." Lucifer gives a grimace and rolls his eyes toward his abdomen. Hopefully the others act quickly, or we'll see just how good my acting can be...
Danira gets to work getting her manacles unlocked while the guards fuss over Lucifer. It's just a bit trickier than she anticipated, so she hopes they're well distracted.
Stealth: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (4) + 8 = 12
Danira pretends to sniff around and makes a sour face.
"Did that oaf crap himself again? I swear he could get the runs from a fresh slice of bread!"
Bluff: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (4) + 11 = 15
Kyra stealth fully removes his own shackles, but hold onto them to use them as an improvised weapon. Waiting for Dani to cast on one of the guards.
stealth: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (10) + 12 = 22
Danira casts Charm Person at the closer guard.
She softly coos behind him, almost in baby-talk,
"Mmmm, you're so strong hauling that idiot away. That other guard wants me, but if you knock him out I'll be all yours instead."
Charisma: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16
Charisma check: Danira wins
Both of the guards are shocked to see Danira casting a spell.
"She's not supposed to..." one says, trailing off as the magic takes hold.
"WAKE UP YOU IDIOTS!"
The enchanted guard, seduced by Danira's honeyed words, draws his greatsword and tries to knock out his former friend with the flat of the blade.
Knockout: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (11) + 8 = 19
Nonlethal damage: 2d6 + 8 ⇒ (4, 2) + 8 = 14
His attack clangs off of his friend's armor, doing no damage.
Danira: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (6) + 10 = 16
Kyra: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24
Alluriel: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (5) + 5 = 10
Lucifer: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (7) + 12 = 19
Myz: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
Awake Guards: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
Waking Guards: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14
Kyra, Awake Guards, Lucifer, Danira, Waking Guards, Alluriel, Myz.
Since everybody is lying down, let's do a full round surprise round. You guys all get to act, as does the charmed guardsman. The other four are waking up during this round. Reminder: charm person is not dominate person.
The two standing guards are within thirty feet of all of you. The sleeping guards are farther than thirty but closer than sixty. The horses and other animals are farther than sixty but closer than ninety, on the other side of the sleeping guards from you guys. The sleeping guards are wearing the equivalent of quilted cloth armor while the guys that are awake are in some kind of heavy armor.
Lucifer can't help but smile as the plan falls apart behind him. It was bound to happen sooner or later. Quickly snapping his cuffs off, he dashes behind any cover he can find--or in lieu of that, simply into some shadowy spot away from the fire--and shrinks down, hoping to retain some element of surprise at least for himself.
Stealth: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24
The standard action cuff removal kind of kills any real usefulness Lucifer could have this round, so I'll do what I can next round. Ideally involving getting hold of a dagger or something.
Same as Lucifer, Kyra removes the Cuffs as His standard.
RRRAHHHAHAHA. Time to strech my legs
Kyra keeps the cuffs in hand to use them as an improvised weapon.
"Dammit man, pull yourself together!"
The non-enchanted guard takes a swing at his friend, trying to knock some sense into him.
Knockout: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (15) + 8 = 23
Nonlethal: 2d6 + 8 ⇒ (4, 6) + 8 = 18
The charmed guard staggers back under the assault, but grits his teeth and fights on.
"Stop getting between me and my girl!"
Knockout: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (2) + 8 = 10
Nonlethal: 2d6 + 8 ⇒ (4, 5) + 8 = 17
His wild swings are ineffective.
The guards that are just waking up are busy extricating themselves from their bedrolls and trying to figure out what's going on.
"Drop your weapon." Alluriel gestures at the non charmed guard and states her demand imperiously.
Drop command as per command spell. Spontaneously converted 1 murderous command into command. DC 16 will save or he drops his weapon on the ground, free for anyone to pick up.
While the sleeping guards are still getting their wits, Danira decides to make things more difficult for them, and casts a fireball at them. She positions it right in the middle of where they are located.
Fireball Damage: 6d6 ⇒ (6, 3, 5, 4, 4, 6) = 28
One of the guards manages to interpose his blankets between himself and the fireball. The blanket is turned to ash, but he seems to come through the experience with less damage than the others.
We now enter round 2. Kyra is up.
Initiative order is: Kyra, Awake Guards, Lucifer, Danira, Waking Guards, Alluriel; you can post whenever you are ready.
Lets get Moving!!
Kyra will swift action Bane his imporvised weapon, for Bane Human, and charge the nearest guard who appeared to take full damage from the fireball.
attack: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11
damage: 1d6 + 3 + 2d6 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 3 + (1, 5) + 2 = 17
I'm assuming you've already done the math with bane and the improvised weapon penalty.
Kyra's strike hits home. The unfortunate guard is knocked flat on his back and looks like he had his bell rung. A cleric might describe him as disabled.
The charmed guard is shocked by the sudden turn things have taken for the violent. He stops in his attack to turn and address Danira.
"What are you doing? I thought we had something special?"
The other guard doesn't want to get between his buddy and the drow throwing fireballs around. Fortunately for him, he has another spellcaster to pick on. He moves and attacks Alluriel.
Attack: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (10) + 12 = 22
Damage: 2d6 + 8 ⇒ (2, 5) + 8 = 15
"They'll keep us apart if I don't do something!" Danira yells to the charmed guard. "If I don't stop them they'll take me away from you and we can never be together."
Bluff: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (2) + 11 = 13
Seeing a man knocked to the ground, Lucifer quickly pounces on him, giving him a swift kick for good measure as he goes for the dagger on his belt. Obviously I can't do all of that unless he's within five feet of me, doubtful, so mechanically moving and attacking--since he's down and disabled, and I think unarmed, he hopefully won't be able to get an AoO for my being unarmed. (And going back to look at things, I think I have to charge, so factor that in if necessary.)
Attack: 1d20 + 6 + 4 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 6 + 4 + 2 = 24 +6 base, +4 for prone, +2 for charge if it applies
Damage: 1d3 ⇒ 3 But it should be enough to knock him out entirely!
Alluriel walks in between both sets of guards. "Stay." She commands as a pulse of negative energy blasts out from her.
negative energy damage: 3d6 ⇒ (2, 5, 2) = 9 x 0.5(variant channel)
Will save DC 20, or daze for 1 round for all affected.
Unselect charmed guard(if he's still under Danira's control), Danira, Lucifer and Kyra. The awake guard next to me gets an AOO as I move into position.