GM ShadowLord's Tyrant's Grasp - Group 1

Game Master The Rising Phoenix

Roll 20

LOOT!


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DD | ROTR1 | ROTR2 | II | TG1 | TG2 | JR1 | JR2

Many books tell the story of Tar-Baphon, the Whispering Tyrant—a lich so devoid of a soul that even his vile screams echo as little more than dusty whispers. After seventy-five years of grueling battle, the Shining Crusade finally came to an end when the forces of humanity sealed the Whispering Tyrant beneath his tower known as Gallowspire. For nearly nine centuries, the world has believed itself safely beyond the Tyrant's grasp. How wrong the world was...

26 Calistril, 4719 AR

Lastwall is a land of rolling grasslands, primeval forests, and ancient battle scars. Once a landscape of orc holds and Kellid city-states dotted with Taldan supply forts. Mass battles left landscapes impregnated with shattered bone and bent steel, with many stretches of land still fetid and unable to support crops. Terrible magic and spirits still haunt many ancient battlefields, even a millennium later.

Despite the horror it has seen, those portions of Lastwall held by mortal hands are beautiful and bountiful. Proximity to Lake Encarthan provides ample rainfall and cool summers, albeit harsh and snowy winters. Growing seasons are long enough to support a variety of crops. The Northern Fangwood Forest and foothills of the Hungry Mountains effectively divide Lastwall in half. Eastern Lastwall is far more urban and reclaimed, with vast farms and ranches supporting cattle and the nation’s famous horses, as well as the trade city of Vellumis—an ancient Ustalavic port and the largest city in the nation. Western Lastwall is less tamed and more hostile—an irony, given that the nation’s capital of Vigil lies in this untamed half—with frequent incursions from Belkzen orcs, occasional resurgences of necromantic energy, and large tracts of land and forest left largely unexplored and untouched by modern hands. Roslar’s Coffer—western Lastwall’s southernmost town—exists largely by the grace of the Tourondel River, and little in the way of modern construction exists between it and the fortresses over 100 miles north except a well-guarded stone road and a few hunting lodges. Despite this isolation, the people of Roslar’s Coffer squarely consider themselves residents of Lastwall and do what they can to contribute to the nation. Roslar’s Coffer is once again a quiet, remote village. The ancient church that stood in its square brought pride to the townsfolk. Children laughed and chased one another along the cobblestone roads while farmers took shade under the boughs of the trees.

With a strong-hearted and faithful military tradition, the people of Lastwall tend to be community focused, forthright, and hard working. Their survival depends on trusting each person in the community to do their job to the best of her ability, and every citizen knows his community could fall to the next orc raid or harsh winter if he doesn’t give every task his best effort. As a people squeezed between two hostile presences, they are deeply devout, with most residents attending temple services multiple times a week, but as with all things, practicality comes first, and worship must wait if there is work to be done. Most citizens spend the spring planting, summers drilling with weapons and armor, and the autumn harvesting before the first hard freeze. The long, cold winters are a time of respite—orcs rarely campaign in the snow, and freezing temperatures harden the ground and prevent the restless dead from wandering—allowing more attention to hobbies, family, and friends. Feasts and marriages are common in the winter months, though most are generally small, local affairs, as roads during the Lastwall winter can be punishing even for seasoned travelers.

Several abandoned buildings on the edge of the town are adorned with red ribbons, most worn and stained with time. Very little in the village appears to be recently built, and many houses appear to be in disrepair. The village is bustling, as bustling as 400 population can get, as winter is a mere couple of weeks away. A young woman, that you know around town as Arbella Tharmethion has set up shop working as a traveling trader of sorts. Most of the children of Roslar’s Coffer are all playing together in and around a massive oak tree tied with ribbons and unusually vibrant flowers as they climb and swirl all about it. Dozens of birds chirp and sing in the trees as folks look to set up for a spectacular wedding. Those of you that live in Roslar's Coffer would know that Arbella is well known and well liked in Roslar’s Coffer, and she sits on the town council as the local economic advisor.

It is said a dwarven hero, Vanderhoff Steelkeg, and a Knight, Calrianne Blix, from Castle Firrine are set to get married in the next couple of days. It is to be quite the affair as even Mayor Lady Mullana Grive is seen out and about seeing that things go off without a hiccup while setting up. The Captain of the guard barks a few orders to his men in the distance as they work on drills to keep it in their muscle memory.

Go ahead and introduce your characters. What are you doing in and around town?


Channel 2/5, Bolstering Touch 3/6, Seize the Initiative 1/6
Spells Remaining:
Bless, Weapons Against Evil
Spells/Effects Active:
AC 17 T 10 FF 17 | Current HP 24/24| F +4 R +1 W +7 (+1 vs illusion+charm)| Init +0 | Perc +3

Marya sits on a bench within sight of the oak tree tied with ribbons. She watches her "niece" Konstanze play with the other children with rapt attention, occasionally quietly smiling and laughing to herself at the young girl's antics as she drags her fellow children into an imagination game where they are fey protecting their forest from invading loggers.

Marya's eyes are usually lidded, perhaps weighed down by the bags under them. She often yawns and rubs her eyes; even when she has slept well and long, she seems perpetually tired. She stands just a few inches over 6', but she tends to slouch down closer to 6'. She wears a beaten and weathered gambeson and squire's clothes. Her hair is the color of rich spiced honey and is tied in her usual sidebraid.

Even people new to town have probably seen Marya around the Jig and Whistle, Heike Franke's bar/inn in town, or perhaps heard of her work as a midwife or veteran. She also helps with town watch when she has no other commitments.

Here is her reference picture


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M Human Paladin of Sarenrae 1/Oracle of Life 2 | HP 27/27 | AC 19/13/16 | F +4, R +3, W +5 | CMB +1, CMD 14 | Scimitar +2 (1d6) | Longbow +5 (1d8) | Init -1 | Perception -1 (Deaf)

"Hello, little one." Damian smiles as he pokes with one finger at the solitary snowdrop struggling to raise its head from under the snow cover. He often talks to things, plants, trees, animals, what have you. Not out of the desire to hear his own voice, as he is deaf as a doornail, but so that he doesn't forget how to speak. Which reminds him that it's been a while since he's spoken to anyone who spoke back. Winter does that to you - the snow drifts, the cold, the biting wind, they all conspire to keep you indoors and soon you forget there is an outside world at all. And other than splitting firewood and drawing water from the well there's not much work to do around the farmhouse, but there is plenty of time to sit and chew on the same thoughts over and over.

But no more. Today is a nice sunny day, even if it's still cold. Damian runs a hand over the flanel shirt he's wearing, noting with sadness all the spots in which it is getting rather threadbare. Dragoslav was a broad-shouldered man, and strong, so the shirt is hanging rather loosely on Damian's smaller frame. He needs new clothes, and supplies for when the forest thaws and he can go searching for tracks again. Today, Damian will be brave and go into town.

==========================

"Hello, 'bella. How are things?" he greets the young trader as he unshoulders a long bundle wrapped in hides. "I have some bows to sell, what I made this winter. I know there's not a lot of hunting in the spring, but come summer... Or perhaps you think the military might buy them? I know my workmanship is not up to their standards, but perhaps for training? What do you think?" He unwraps and displays the staves one by one, running his hands along their polished surface. "Anyway, I need some new shirts, and a new coat, and some dried provisions." His eyes wander to the children playing around the oak and he trails off, eyes misting over. The twins used to play there after school, daring each other to climb to the top. He realizes that Arbella's lips are moving and the woman had been speaking to him. "Sorry, what was that? Mind wandering." He smiles, a brittle edge hiding under the friendly expression.

Trade concluded, he stands there for a moment as he tries to decide what to do next. Perhaps he should visit Suzana, see if the old woman needs anything. He runs a hand over his beard several times, smoothing it down. He should trim it one of these days. And he could use a haircut as well. What a sight he must be, hair and beard wild, oversized clothes almost falling apart, pale and wan after the winter. Damian smiles to himself and turns his face up to the sunlight, closing his eyes. He can smell the approaching spring. Not as good a season as summer, but there is something about new life that sets the blood pumping.

Opening his eyes, he spies the woman sitting on the bench near the oak. A fey mood overtakes him and he stalks over, still smiling.

The Exchange

Human Fighter 1 / Barbarian 2 | HP 33/33 [39/39 Rage] | AC 18 [15 Rage]; Tch 12; FF 16 | F +8; R +2; W +3 | CMB+6; CMD 17 | Speed 40 ft | Init +2 | Heavy Flail: +6 (1d10+4/19-20) | Perc +7

A tall and muscular man kneels near in an isolated area of town near a shrine to Iomedae. Holding a heavy flail in front of him, he drapes a silver holy symbol of the goddess over the weapon, a particularly cruel and merciless implement. He bows his head and prays for guidance and protection from the Inhertor, while promising to follow her teachings. Having completed his daily obedience, he rises to his feet.

If any witnessed this scene, they would consider it bizarre that Vlad Bloodmoon, despite the proximity to winter, wore very little on his exposed torso. The man is large and physically imposing, but his most striking feature is the many scars and abrasions that cover his chest, back, and exposed arms.

He has unkempt auburn hair and a long, chinstrap beard. He wears portions of scale armor, including the leg armor and a shoulder guard emblazoned with the lion of Iomedae. He wears a spiked collar and and studded or spiked arm-bands that look like they could prove quite uncomfortable.

What clothing he wears is colored in the reds and whites of Iomedae. He has a cloak and hood that could protect him from the cold, if he chose to wear it. he places his silver holy symbol on his neck, and packs a dog-eared copy of Acts of Iomedae in his backpack.

Before completing his ritual, he takes a cat-o'-nine tails from his waist. He lashes himself with it at least a dozen times, drawing fresh welts and a few thin trails of blood across his back. He grunts in pain a few times, but the exultant look in his eyes shows he does not care.

"As the burden grows, so too, does my purity," he says. Then, gathering his gear, he heads into town.

Just yesterday, he had visited the grave of his father in Roslar's Tomb.

I will make you proud, Father. This much I swear. I will make the clergy to see I am a holy warrior, just like you were.

He had also visited his uncle, Arun Bloodmoon, an inquisitor of Iomedae.

That meeting--could have gone better. He misunderstands the situation--he was not there.

It had been years since Vlad had been to Roslar's Coffer. Not knowing his way around all that well, he made his way to the town square, where all kinds of business kept the townsfolk busy. He did draw some attention from others as he passed, but he did not care.

Iomedae, guide thy holy warrior to greater enlightenment. I am prepared to face the fire.

I'll suggest that I'm nearing both Marya and Damian, but not being a local neither of them stand out from the other strangers.


HP:16 | AC:16 ; T:14 ; FF:12 ; CMD:16 | Fort:+3 ; Ref:+6 ; Will:+4 | Init:+4 ; PER:+7

Bowed slightly beneath his weighty pack, a swarthy Varisian in a dark burnoose humps grudgingly toward the village. He takes a moment to stretch his back, size up the village, and regard the waving red ribbons with a discerning eye. Grunting approval, the Varisian heads to what passes for the business 'hub' of Roslar's Coffer. With a grateful sigh, he slides out of his pack and deftly pulls out a selection of leather goods - swatches of different sizes, belts, hoods, headbands, decorative bracers, even a portfolio. Some items he lays across his pack, others rest on his open arms.

The peddler's voice carries as he hawks his wares, "FINE leathers! Fine leathers HERE! Fabrics, clothes, and decorative items! Leather sold and repaired! What ya do'n see, I can make!" Rajuna spots a local and weaves him into his patter, "Sirrah! Have you got a gift for the happy couple yit? Bad luck waitin' til the blessed day! Matching keepsakes embossed with the couple's names would be something they'd treasure..." Despite his heavily scarred face, the peddler slaps on the most approachable smile he can muster.

Craft: Leather (Take 10): 10 + 5 = 15


Channel 2/5, Bolstering Touch 3/6, Seize the Initiative 1/6
Spells Remaining:
Bless, Weapons Against Evil
Spells/Effects Active:
AC 17 T 10 FF 17 | Current HP 24/24| F +4 R +1 W +7 (+1 vs illusion+charm)| Init +0 | Perc +3

Marya catches Damian approaching the bench out of the corner of her eye. She has seem him around town before and caught his name somewhere, but had never spoken with him directly. She doesn't make a habit of speaking with men unless she has a reason to. However, there was some mention of him having a husband that had stuck with her, too. There is a certain solidarity between men who love men and women who love women that she appreciates. She holds up a hand of acknowledgment to him--not really a wave--and scoots over on the bench. She slouches back, arm draped over the back of the wooden bench slats. Her superior back in Westcrown, Knight-Sergeant Lenther, had always reprimanded her for never sitting right.

"Damian, right? Name's Marya. Don't worry. That's about all I've heard of you, so we should be on the same page now. Know it can be awkward when someone has you at a loss. Nice flannel, by the way." She nods towards the children. "One of these kids yours?" She asks only partly out of interest in Damian and more out of wanting to know if he's the parent to one of Konstanze's friends. She hasn't heard anything about him having kids, but she figures it wouldn't hurt to ask.

Imagine her voice as having a moderate eastern european accent


female human sorceress 3 | HP 15/15; THP 0/0; N/L 0/10 | AC 12, TAC 12, FF 10 | F +1, R +3, W +3 | CMB +1, CMD 13 | Init +2 | Per +3 Spells: 1st 3/6

Feena had finally found something she despised about Rosler's Coffer, it was getting cold! For a former slave girl who had been born and raised in Katapesh the summer weather here was nice but now that winter was coming Oh noes! she found she didn't like it nearly as much. Still despite her dislike of the cold a part of her relished the chance to experience something new and she was about to pick up some much needed things to start keeping more records of her experiences. She wore a woolen blouse that fit a bit snugly to the curves of her chest and a long woolen skirt that reached her ankles, both a dark burgundy in color, and wore a heavy white cloak, a gift from Gregory, in an off white color that was clasped at her throat with a small broach that was a stylized symbol of Sarenrae marking her connection to Gregory and his small flock. On her hands were a pair of white wool gloves and on her feet, barely visible beneath her skirt, a pair of dark brown leather boots.

As she walked through the town Feena greeted various people and asked questions of them, inquiring about how they or their family or their business were doing. She seemed to know some little detail about everyone who resided in town and certainly knew their name and face. She was also oblivious to the looks that many of the single men and women gave her as she had no idea she was actually gorgeous to most people. She reached up one finger and pressed it to the center of her spectacles, pushing them up on her nose better, and stood watching the children play for a time.

Feena always felt a pang of jealousy when watching the children even as she enjoyed seeing them happy. It was the very fact that they were happy and having fun, so unlike her childhood as a slave in Katapesh which few people in town knew of, and always wished she could join them. Unfortunately she was a grown up now and had things she had to take care of. Maybe later she could entertain them with a story or some of her magic again.

As she walked Feena spotted someone she recognized but spoken little with. Damian was something of a legend in town, though a rather tragic one, and she'd always found him more than a little intimidating. So intimidating that she'd never actually spoken to him. She thought it might be time to change that but she saw him approach another woman to talk with and so Feena went on her way not disturbing him this time and stopped at the Rajuna's stall.

Feena smiled at the half-orc and said, "Hello," Feena wasn't looking straight at Rajuna so for the moment the hood she had pulled up blocked the view of her face from him though tendrils of red hair were easy to see hanging down around her face as she looked down at some of his wares, "your goods look to be quite nice." She considered them and realized that she should find a gift for Gregory something he would like and get some use from. Feena looked up and met Rajuna's eyes with her emerald green gaze, "I'm looking for a suitable gift for a priest of Sarenrae, do you have any suggestions?"


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HP:16 | AC:16 ; T:14 ; FF:12 ; CMD:16 | Fort:+3 ; Ref:+6 ; Will:+4 | Init:+4 ; PER:+7

FWIW, Feena, Raj is human.

Deep brown eyes meet Feena's bright emeralds. While Feena may not have realised how beautiful she was, Rajuna did. Moreover, he was painfully aware of their contrast. His face was swarthy and plain, made all the worse by a pair of ragged scars bisecting his countenance, running from his hairline across his face then down his neck until they disappeared beneath the woolen burnoose and leathers he wore. Aside from his calm eyes, his nose might have been his best feature if the scar hadn't taken a small divot of flesh from the bridge in passing.

'Peddler' Raj drops his eyes, presumably to regard his wares while weighing her question. His tone is deferential, "It's a fine day, Miss, as they say. A priest, eh? Assumin' he's a measured man, it can't be nothing too flashy. Hmm... If he's a man of learning n' letters, I have a folio here for his papers. I could stamp Sarenrae's symbol on the front, maybe with some vines along the border, or a personal message or favorite quote of his? If that's not him, what about a pouch to protect a holy symbol with the same decorations? Useful and Godly."

Bluff: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (20) + 3 = 23

Sense Motive DC:23:
Her beauty intimidates him. He looked away to 'break' her effect.

The Exchange

Human Fighter 1 / Barbarian 2 | HP 33/33 [39/39 Rage] | AC 18 [15 Rage]; Tch 12; FF 16 | F +8; R +2; W +3 | CMB+6; CMD 17 | Speed 40 ft | Init +2 | Heavy Flail: +6 (1d10+4/19-20) | Perc +7

Though Vlad had only been in town a couple of days, he did see a face he recognized from the shrine, a cleric of Iomedae, conversing with a man nearby.

Still seeking guidance, he decides to speak to the woman.

He approaches her and strikes up a conversation.

"Greetings," he says, revealing a prominent chip in one of his front teeth.

"I saw you at services yesterday," he says. "Holding up the silver holy symbol around his neck, he says [b]"You also worship the Inheritor, do you not?"


M Human Paladin of Sarenrae 1/Oracle of Life 2 | HP 27/27 | AC 19/13/16 | F +4, R +3, W +5 | CMB +1, CMD 14 | Scimitar +2 (1d6) | Longbow +5 (1d8) | Init -1 | Perception -1 (Deaf)
Marya Ilyinichna Belova wrote:
"Damian, right? Name's Marya. Don't worry. That's about all I've heard of you, so we should be on the same page now. Know it can be awkward when someone has you at a loss. Nice flannel, by the way." She nods towards the children. "One of these kids yours?"

"Hello, Marya. Yes, my name is Damian." The older man smooths his shirt with a smile. "Thank you, it used to be my husband's. It's old and worn, but I find wearing it... comforting." He turns to looks towards Marya's nod and his expression tightens for a moment.

"...no. My kids - well, they must be grown now." He opens his mouth as if to say more, but then closes it and his face brightens visibly as he turns back to Marya. "So, big wedding coming! Think they'll call for you for their firstborn? The midwife I had, heh. Dragoslav, my husband, told me later that she kept yelling at me to push! push!, but I had my eyes screwed shut from the pain." Damian smiles and points at his ears. "I'm deaf, you know." He glances back at the children for a moment, then to Marya again. "She was a good woman."

He might say more, but at that moment he notices the man who had approached them, taking in his stature and his martial attire. Hoping he hadn't missed something the man had said to him, Damian gives him an affable smile and turns so that he can see both Marya and the newcomer.


Channel 2/5, Bolstering Touch 3/6, Seize the Initiative 1/6
Spells Remaining:
Bless, Weapons Against Evil
Spells/Effects Active:
AC 17 T 10 FF 17 | Current HP 24/24| F +4 R +1 W +7 (+1 vs illusion+charm)| Init +0 | Perc +3
Damian Catus wrote:

"Hello, Marya. Yes, my name is Damian." The older man smooths his shirt with a smile. "Thank you, it used to be my husband's. It's old and worn, but I find wearing it... comforting." He turns to looks towards Marya's nod and his expression tightens for a moment.

"...no. My kids - well, they must be grown now." He opens his mouth as if to say more, but then closes it and his face brightens visibly as he turns back to Marya. "So, big wedding coming! Think they'll call for you for their firstborn? The midwife I had, heh. Dragoslav, my husband, told me later that she kept yelling at me to push! push!, but I had my eyes screwed shut from the pain." Damian smiles and points at his ears. "I'm deaf, you know." He glances back at the children for a moment, then to Marya again. "She was a good woman."

He might say more, but at that moment he notices the man who had approached them, taking in his stature and his martial attire. Hoping he hadn't missed something the man had said to him, Damian gives him an affable smile and turns so that he can see both Marya and the newcomer.

Marya nods as he mentions his husband in the past tense. "I understand. You're lucky to have something." She breathes out a long, deep breath. "I don't have anything of Hilde's, aside from a bloody tabard." Her voice shows little emotion, but out of a kind of overwhelmed numbness, not any kind of emotional distance. She watches his face closely and notes how he avoids talking about his kids. "I'm sorry. Didn't mean to hit a wound."

Marya smiles as Damian mentions the wedding and his experience of labor, not batting an eye at either. Now knowing of the common ground between them, her body immediately loosens noticeably. "If the wedding lasts and they are fine with my condition, then sure. I try not to think about the future too much, though." She massages her temple. "Glad you got help. Only man I've known--until now I suppose--who went through it tried to be all macho about it. Still ended up calling me over in the end. I tell people it never hurts to have help. Expect the worst and you'll never be disappointed."

Marya closes her eyes and leans her head back on the bench. "Can't say I'm not a little jealous. Hilde and I were talking about kids when we got back from the Glorious Reclamation. We were thinking adoption. I'd feel too much like a father if we did it the old-fashioned way." She hadn't been able to speak about it until now. Perhaps she is in a good mood from seeing Konstanze. Perhaps it has been long enough that she could begin to talk about it. Perhaps she just feels lucky to meet someone who would understand. She watches Konstanze laughing as she gets tied up in a ribbon with her friends. "We talked about doing a lot of things when we got back. Guess The Lady of Graves had different ideas." She looks back to Damian. "Sorry, I guess I should keep facing you so you can read my lips."

Vlad the Heretic wrote:

Though Vlad had only been in town a couple of days, he did see a face he recognized from the shrine, a cleric of Iomedae, conversing with a man nearby.

Still seeking guidance, he decides to speak to the woman.

He approaches her and strikes up a conversation.

"Greetings," he says, revealing a prominent chip in one of his front teeth.

"I saw you at services yesterday," he says. Holding up the silver holy symbol around his neck, he says "You also worship the Inheritor, do you not?"

Marya holds up her Iomedaean sword-cross necklace. "I sure hope I worship Her. Would be wasting my time at Her services if I didn't." She gives Vlad a once-over. "Quite the get-up you have there. You also get back from a little trip to Cheliax recently?"

The Exchange

Human Fighter 1 / Barbarian 2 | HP 33/33 [39/39 Rage] | AC 18 [15 Rage]; Tch 12; FF 16 | F +8; R +2; W +3 | CMB+6; CMD 17 | Speed 40 ft | Init +2 | Heavy Flail: +6 (1d10+4/19-20) | Perc +7

Despite their common deity, Vlad's expression turns a bit dark at Marya's flippant words. But he chooses his response carefully.

"It is only through struggle that we come to know what we can truly become. Is that not so?"

Folding his arms across his chest, he says "'I will have faith in the Inheritor. I will channel her strength through my body.' Is that not a tenet of the faith? Perhaps someday I will be worthy. In this fragile, broken flesh infinite strength is revealed! Perhaps you hold fundamentalist views, but progressive doctrines can strengthen the church over time."

He relaxes a bit. "My father and uncle are from this town. Perhaps you know the Bloodmoon name. And what of you? You are from this place?" he asks.


female human sorceress 3 | HP 15/15; THP 0/0; N/L 0/10 | AC 12, TAC 12, FF 10 | F +1, R +3, W +3 | CMB +1, CMD 13 | Init +2 | Per +3 Spells: 1st 3/6

Whoops, sorry bout that. The avatar threw me off.
If Feena noticed Rajuna's scars she paid them no attention and instead focused on his words. She considered the man's suggestion carefully, oblivious as to why he broke eye contact, as she looked at the portfolio, weighing the possibilities, and finally smiled happily as she said, "Yes, I think Gregory would like the portfolio very much."

Feena looked up at the man again, her eyes bright, and said, "I like the holy symbol on the front," she paused thoughtfully for a moment, "but rather than vines could you have some of the rays touching a pile of ashes with a bird's head rising up from them?" She smiled in amusement as she considered another thought and then asked, "On the inside cover I would like it to say 'Thank you for everything.' and sign it with 'You're Little Phoenix'?"


Channel 2/5, Bolstering Touch 3/6, Seize the Initiative 1/6
Spells Remaining:
Bless, Weapons Against Evil
Spells/Effects Active:
AC 17 T 10 FF 17 | Current HP 24/24| F +4 R +1 W +7 (+1 vs illusion+charm)| Init +0 | Perc +3
Vlad the Heretic wrote:

Despite their common deity, Vlad's expression turns a bit dark at Marya's flippant words. But he chooses his response carefully.

"It is only through struggle that we come to know what we can truly become. Is that not so?"

Folding his arms across his chest, he says "'I will have faith in the Inheritor. I will channel her strength through my body.' Is that not a tenet of the faith? Perhaps someday I will be worthy. In this fragile, broken flesh infinite strength is revealed! Perhaps you hold fundamentalist views, but progressive doctrines can strengthen the church over time."

He relaxes a bit. "My father and uncle are from this town. Perhaps you know the Bloodmoon name. And what of you? You are from this place?" he asks.

Marya laughs to herself. "It's a tenet of the paladin code, and I'm not a paladin. Paladins are not necessarily the highest expression of a faith, even for Iomedae, but rather a specific path for those of a particular bent."

Marya squints her eyes as her brain finally registers the resemblance. "Ah, you're the Bloodmoon kid, right? Met your uncle." She rememberes hearing about Vlad's "progressive" doctrine, and that ain't the word she would use. However, she knows the type and challenging him wouldn't do anything. "Name's Marya. I don't really feel 'from' anywhere, but I've got nowhere else to go. Anything I can help you with?"


HP:16 | AC:16 ; T:14 ; FF:12 ; CMD:16 | Fort:+3 ; Ref:+6 ; Will:+4 | Init:+4 ; PER:+7

@Feena - no worries!

The peddler's brow creases as he soberly considers the work involved. "The rays and scriptin' w'd be no trial, Miss." He hunkers down to dig through his pack. He quickly pulls free a satchel of leather-working tools and extracts a small set of metal stamps. He offers them to Feena, almost apologetically. "Any of these birds close to what yur imaginin'? I can free-hand a bird if none suit ya." As she looks over the stamps of a raven, bird of prey, owl, songbird, and a stylized bird, Rajuna continues, "I'll have to free-hand the ashes... do the best I can with that. Are you looking for those rays to come from the holy symbol, Miss?"


female human sorceress 3 | HP 15/15; THP 0/0; N/L 0/10 | AC 12, TAC 12, FF 10 | F +1, R +3, W +3 | CMB +1, CMD 13 | Init +2 | Per +3 Spells: 1st 3/6

Feena looked over the different stamps carefully. In the end the decision was simple as only one of them stood out to her. She pointed to the last one, a stylized bird, and said, "That one will work perfectly and yes, the rays coming from the holy symbol. As for the ashes," she said slowly, "if they would be too difficult to manage then maybe have the bird appear to be rising from the holy symbol. The symbology would be effective either way."


HP:16 | AC:16 ; T:14 ; FF:12 ; CMD:16 | Fort:+3 ; Ref:+6 ; Will:+4 | Init:+4 ; PER:+7

"I can draw you a pile, Miss." The peddler offers wryly. "Trick is making it not look like a pile of somethin' other than ash." A playful smile passes fleetingly across his marred face. "I'll need til the morrow to get this done for ya... an' it'll cost 4 silver. Is that a'right? Where should I deliver it and who to?"


M Human Paladin of Sarenrae 1/Oracle of Life 2 | HP 27/27 | AC 19/13/16 | F +4, R +3, W +5 | CMB +1, CMD 14 | Scimitar +2 (1d6) | Longbow +5 (1d8) | Init -1 | Perception -1 (Deaf)

Damian waves a hand reassuringly as Marya speaks of hitting a wound, then smiles at her with shared sorrow and understanding. "I am sorry for your loss."

He would like to continue the conversation with this woman, but the newcomer is forceful in their words and posture, and Damian feels out of his depth in the religious conversation. Not only that, but the mention of paladins triggers a twinge of guilt in him, so he slinks away with a farewell wave to Marya.

Looking around the square, he notices the newly set up peddler with their lone customer. The peddler he does not recognize, but the customer is the librarian that Father Gregory had brought with him some time ago. He ambles over to greet her.

"Good day, Feena, Dawnflower bless. How are you? How's Father Gregory?" He has to lean over a little so that he can see her face under her hood. He glances at the peddler's wares, noting their craftsmanship and simple beauty.


female human sorceress 3 | HP 15/15; THP 0/0; N/L 0/10 | AC 12, TAC 12, FF 10 | F +1, R +3, W +3 | CMB +1, CMD 13 | Init +2 | Per +3 Spells: 1st 3/6

Feena nodded at Rajuna and said, "Fair enough, I look forward to seeing the finished item." She took out two silver and said, "Her, half up front, half when I get it from you tomorrow?" The woman's espression ebcame thoughtful as she tapped her lips with one finger and then pressed her glasses up again, "Will you be out here again tomorrow? I can pick it up from you if you are. Otherwise I'll be working at the library in the keep tomorrow for most of the day so you can find me there."

With her business done with Rajuna Feena was about to move along, turned to go, and gave a startled gasp of surprise. She'd not heard Damian approach her but she quickly recovered and looked up so he could see her lips as she said, "It's good to see you Damian and may the Dawnflower bless you as well." She smiled at the man brightly as she replied to his questions, "Oh I'm doing well, just purchasing a gift for Gregory, he's done so much for me and it's coming up on his birthday," she looked around a moment and then said quietly as she leaned in, "don't tell anyone though, he doesn't like to make a big deal out of it." Feena reached out a hand and lay it on Damian's arm as she aked, "And how are you today?"


HP:16 | AC:16 ; T:14 ; FF:12 ; CMD:16 | Fort:+3 ; Ref:+6 ; Will:+4 | Init:+4 ; PER:+7

Rajuna pockets the coins with a thankful bob of the head Woo hoo! Already turning a profit! and confirms he'll deliver the completed folio to the keep. Perfect opportunity to scout it out.

He marks the approach of the disheveled man but he doesn't intrude on the conversation. He merely nods politely to the older man and then busies himself with returning the stamps to his kit, placing it back in his pack with the folio, and re-displaying his products... all the while listening in on the conversation and cataloging the information.

Feena, keep librarian, 'Little Phoenix', close to... Gregory the Priest... Damian, also a Sarenrite?

With Feena's back turned I don't think she'd have a shot at this.

Bluff: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6 Boo! Subtle as a mallet.

Damian AND SM DC:6:
Despite doing other things, the peddler is eavesdropping on your conversation.


M Human Paladin of Sarenrae 1/Oracle of Life 2 | HP 27/27 | AC 19/13/16 | F +4, R +3, W +5 | CMB +1, CMD 14 | Scimitar +2 (1d6) | Longbow +5 (1d8) | Init -1 | Perception -1 (Deaf)

Damian winks conspiratorially at Feena as the young woman bids him to keep her secret. "Don't worry, I haven't heard a thing." He smiles at his own joke, then answers her question. "Kind of you to ask. I am... as usual. Waiting for the spring so that I can go out again. I spoke to the new midwife earlier, she seems a nice person." If Feena has been in Roslar's Coffer for more than a few months, she knows that by "going out" Damian means searching for tracks of his missing children.

He turns to the peddler, eyeing the man with obvious interest. "Hello, friend, and welcome to our little town. My name is Damian." He gestures to the wares displayed. "Did you make these yourself?"

I know that I should be saving my coin, but these do look nice.


HP:16 | AC:16 ; T:14 ; FF:12 ; CMD:16 | Fort:+3 ; Ref:+6 ; Will:+4 | Init:+4 ; PER:+7

Kind of you to spare me there, Damian. I owe you. :)

Rajuna stands and offers a nod and a friendly smile, offset by the thick scars which twist half the smile into something like a grimace. "Good day, Sirrah. Glad to be here; seems a friendly village." At the question about his goods, Raj straightens up with some pride. "I did make'em. From the catchin', to the tanning, to the stitchery. I do'n sell nothin' that ain't my work... Is 'ere anything drawin' your eye? My prices are fair - coin or barter."

Without intending it, Raj was drawn into their conversation, which made not looking at the flame-kissed beauty Feena 'Phoenix'... nigh on impossible. It, no she, was throwing off his game.


Init +4 Perception +7 Male Half-Orc Ranger (Infiltrator) 1 HP 11 | AC 18 Touch 14 FF 14 | Fort +5 Ref +8 Will +4 | Orcish Hornbow +5 (2d6/x3/80 feet) | Greatsword +2 (2d6+1/19-20)

Survival (Hunting Game): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22

It has been long since Varryk Swiftshot has seen Roslar's Coffer thrive. It filled his heart with... something resembling joy to see the trade in the town.

Varryk has taken to scouring the wilds around Roslar's Coffer, finding game to provide food for the community. It gives him a sense of purpose, of belonging... and if he was being honest, on more than one occasion, he had felt restless, picturing some undead horror in his sights as his bow loosed an arrow. Staying active helped keep such thoughts at bay.

Varryk goes to find Arabella, unloading some of the game that he had been hunting. He seeks no coin for it... he wishes the food to be made available for any in town that are in need. If Arabella can make a small profit from it, so much the better, but Varryk is certain that she will be fair about it.

Varryk remains quiet and watchful, smoking a bit from a pipe. He smiles at the children playing, and keeps a watchful eye on the proceedings.

The Exchange

Human Fighter 1 / Barbarian 2 | HP 33/33 [39/39 Rage] | AC 18 [15 Rage]; Tch 12; FF 16 | F +8; R +2; W +3 | CMB+6; CMD 17 | Speed 40 ft | Init +2 | Heavy Flail: +6 (1d10+4/19-20) | Perc +7
Marya Ilyinichna Belova wrote:
Vlad the Heretic wrote:

Despite their common deity, Vlad's expression turns a bit dark at Marya's flippant words. But he chooses his response carefully.

"It is only through struggle that we come to know what we can truly become. Is that not so?"

Folding his arms across his chest, he says "'I will have faith in the Inheritor. I will channel her strength through my body.' Is that not a tenet of the faith? Perhaps someday I will be worthy. In this fragile, broken flesh infinite strength is revealed! Perhaps you hold fundamentalist views, but progressive doctrines can strengthen the church over time."

He relaxes a bit. "My father and uncle are from this town. Perhaps you know the Bloodmoon name. And what of you? You are from this place?" he asks.

Marya laughs to herself. "It's a tenet of the paladin code, and I'm not a paladin. Paladins are not necessarily the highest expression of a faith, even for Iomedae, but rather a specific path for those of a particular bent."

Marya squints her eyes as her brain finally registers the resemblance. "Ah, you're the Bloodmoon kid, right? Met your uncle." She rememberes hearing about Vlad's "progressive" doctrine, and that ain't the word she would use. However, she knows the type and challenging him wouldn't do anything. "Name's Marya. I don't really feel 'from' anywhere, but I've got nowhere else to go. Anything I can help you with?"

Vlad has heard many of his faith speak the way this woman does.

"I am sure we have more in common than we have differences," he manages in response.

Not feeling they have much more to say to each other, Vlad says "There must be some great need here--someone I could help. I am ready to prove myself, to find a task with high risk for high reward—a test of mettle for one of Iomedae’s most valiant servants!" he says.

"If you know of any great thing to be done, I would know of it!"


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Channel 2/5, Bolstering Touch 3/6, Seize the Initiative 1/6
Spells Remaining:
Bless, Weapons Against Evil
Spells/Effects Active:
AC 17 T 10 FF 17 | Current HP 24/24| F +4 R +1 W +7 (+1 vs illusion+charm)| Init +0 | Perc +3

Marya tilts her head so her cheek rests on her loose fist.

"Sorry, kid. I'm fresh out of those. All I've got in stock are regrets. Come back next week and maybe I'll have something new in."

She leans forward and her eyes grow sharp as she looks at something far off in the distance.

"There was one thing, but it's gone now. You would have loved the Reclamation. Even I still do, in my own way. Wouldn't have met her without it."

She stands up and pats him on the shoulder.

"I hope you find what you're looking for, kid. I really do. I just want you to know what you're getting yourself into. What doesn't kill us, makes us weaker. The pain doesn't ever leave. It stays in your body and festers until one day it rots your heart right out of your chest."


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Init +4 Perception +7 Male Half-Orc Ranger (Infiltrator) 1 HP 11 | AC 18 Touch 14 FF 14 | Fort +5 Ref +8 Will +4 | Orcish Hornbow +5 (2d6/x3/80 feet) | Greatsword +2 (2d6+1/19-20)

Varryk, having performed his task, made his way towards his home. It was... an interesting experience.

His mother and father had rebuilt the home to look almost exactly as it had when Varryk had been a child (though his room and bed were larger now, at least!). Varryk was both comforted and unsettled by this. The familiarity was pleasing, but this was also the last place he remembered before being taken and enslaved, so the associations were... complicated. Still, it felt good to be home.

As he came in, the pleasant smell of food wafted towards him. Poking his head in the kitchen, he saw his mother tending a stew pot, placing in several herbs and vegetables to go with the meat that Varryk could already smell in the pot. His stomach rumbled slightly... he had not realized he had been so hungry.

"Smells good," he replied.

Boddika, his mother, turned to him. She was a full orc, and rippling with muscle. She had been a shaman's apprentice in another life, and had possessed a great love for green and growing things... a love that had driven her away from her people, to seek a life more in harmony with nature and the world around her.

A love that had driven her to Erastil, to Roslar's Coffer, and to her husband Dominic.

"It is good. I'm cooking it, after all," Boddika said, flashing her son a smile.

"An excellent point. Where's Father?"

"Oh, talking with some others about setting up a school. You know how he is."

Varryk did indeed. His father, Dominic, was an intelligent, learned, kind man that believed one of the most important things you could do for a populace was to educate it. Varryk tended to agree.

"Very well. I'm going to clean off the muck of the wilds... then maybe a nap. Wake me when it's time for food?"

"Of course dear. And..." Boddika hesitated. "Maybe, tonight, you could go grab a mug of ale later? You never know. You could meet someone you want to talk to. Make a few friends. You don't have to if you don't want to, though," she added quickly.

Varryk sighed. She was right. He knew she was right, but... it was hard. Sometimes it was just so... loud outside, and it made him remember... things. Things that made him want to curl into a ball and rock back and forth, singing childhood nursery songs to himself to calm his mind.

But he'd never get better if he didn't try.

"I'll... I'll try, Mother. For a little while, at least."

No matter Varryk's trepidation about getting back out into social circles, the smile that Boddika beamed at him almost made all of that fear evaporate. It stayed with him as he cleaned himself of the grime of the road, and warmed him as he laid onto his bed for a nap.

The Exchange

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Human Fighter 1 / Barbarian 2 | HP 33/33 [39/39 Rage] | AC 18 [15 Rage]; Tch 12; FF 16 | F +8; R +2; W +3 | CMB+6; CMD 17 | Speed 40 ft | Init +2 | Heavy Flail: +6 (1d10+4/19-20) | Perc +7
Marya Ilyinichna Belova wrote:


"I hope you find what you're looking for, kid. I really do. I just want you to know what you're getting yourself into. What doesn't kill us, makes us weaker. The pain doesn't ever leave. It stays in your body and festers until one day it rots your heart right out of your chest."

"I couldn't disagree more," Vlad says, about your concept of pain. "We are purified through pain, and it leads us to enlightenment--true ascendance!" he says.

"But I will not bother you more with this today--perhaps another time. I would hear more about the Reclamation--perhaps there will prove an equal crucible. But I can see that you are weighed down with troubles, and I must excuse myself. I see my uncle Arun Bloodmoon, and I must speak with him."

Vlad rushes over to another man in the town square. He looks much like Father...

Perhaps a head shorter than Vlad, Arun Bloodmoon was dark-haired and well-built.

"Uncle, I wanted to speak with you again. Things did not go as--as I'd intended yesterday."

The man turns to him and folds his arms across his chest.

"There is not much more to say," Arun responds. "You will always be my nephew, and I will do my best to support you regardless of what you do, but I do not need to accept your heretical teachings. You must make yourself right with the church."

The corners of Vlad's mouth turn down.

"I will do great things, Uncle! I will prove it to you--and to Father."

Arun responds with annoyance. "Your father was a great man, a champion of the Knights of Ozem, and a great paladin. He fought tirelessly against the forces of the Whispering Tyrant. You will have much ground to cover to be like him," he says.

Settling down some, Arun says "I have a meeting to attend to. Perhaps we will share dinner tonight, and discuss other things instead." he says.

Vlad nods, and the two part ways, tension hanging in the air.


M Human Paladin of Sarenrae 1/Oracle of Life 2 | HP 27/27 | AC 19/13/16 | F +4, R +3, W +5 | CMB +1, CMD 14 | Scimitar +2 (1d6) | Longbow +5 (1d8) | Init -1 | Perception -1 (Deaf)
Rajuna Two-Fangs wrote:
At the question about his goods, Raj straightens up with some pride. "I did make'em. From the catchin', to the tanning, to the stitchery. I do'n sell nothin' that ain't my work... Is 'ere anything drawin' your eye? My prices are fair - coin or barter."

"Impressive. I know someone who could use a new belt. This one here looks about right." Having selected a thick, wide belt and paid the asking price, Damian takes his leave of the peddler and of Feena both.

His steps carry him on the familiar path home, but the farmhouse seems so empty and dark after the few hours spent in the sun among people. After Roslar's Coffer was reclaimed, Damian thought of selling it; it reminded him of the happier times, of when his family was still whole, and the pain of those memories was sometimes too much to bear. But he thought of the twins returning home one day and seeing strangers living in the place of their childhood, and that image he could not bear either. So he sold the farmland and kept the house, maintaining it as best as he could by himself. But now the size and emptiness of it was oppressive, and after a few moments fiddling around aimlessly, Damian puts his coat on again and heads towards the forest. To be continued...


Channel 2/5, Bolstering Touch 3/6, Seize the Initiative 1/6
Spells Remaining:
Bless, Weapons Against Evil
Spells/Effects Active:
AC 17 T 10 FF 17 | Current HP 24/24| F +4 R +1 W +7 (+1 vs illusion+charm)| Init +0 | Perc +3

Marya closes her eyes, smiles and throws up her hands. "Can't say I didn't warn him."

She sits down and when she looks up, Heike is standing there. Heike is a large, stocky woman with a deliberate gait, but she always seems to surprise Marya. Heike has a number of features more typical in dwarves than humans. Truth be told, Marya had a bit of a crush on her when they first met over three years ago, but that was before Hilde, and Marya was sure Heike wouldn't be interested anyways. Heike still wears her apron from tending bar at her inn, The Jig and Whistle.

Heike nods after Vlad. "Who was that?"

Marya shrugs. "The Bloodmoon kid. He has some odd ideas about Iomedae that'll get him in a bad way if he pursues them. I tried to warn him off, but you can guess how well that went." Marya notes Heike's apron still on. "Sneaking away to check on Konstanze?"

Heike chuckles. "Hardly sneaking away when I'm the one in charge. That boy Stefan is tending things."

They both stare out at Konstanze. She's in the middle of playing some variation on musical chairs using the ribbons on the pole instead of chairs.

Marya rests her head on her fist again. "She's been doing well. She's strong for her age."

Heike's face tightens. "But not too strong, I hope."

Marya shakes her head. "I don't think so. Nobody has said anything, anyways." She strokes her jawline with her index finger, a sign she's working through something. "People would most likely assume it's orc blood, Lastwall being the way it is." At the mention of hiding orc ancestry, Marya's mind flew to Hilde. Hilde had always hated how her parents made her hide it, even if she knew how much trouble it would have caused her.

Heike waves her hand in front of Marya's face. "Come back to the ground, Marya. You're floating off again."

Marya shook herself. "Ah, sorry. I'm fine. I'll be fine."

Heike let out a deep sigh. "No you aren't, and you won't be, not if you keep shutting people out."

Marya slumps back against the bench. "You're right."

Konstanze finally notices her mother and calls out to her to come watch her. Heike waves goodbye to Marya. "Mothers always are."

Marya waves goodbye to Heike. She tries to remember her grounding exercises. She has trouble focusing enough on them to work with Heike and Konstanze there. She can't help but look at them think of the life she had wanted with Hilde. She finally stands up and heads out into town for a walkabout, hoping she wouldn't be distracted anymore.


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M Human Paladin of Sarenrae 1/Oracle of Life 2 | HP 27/27 | AC 19/13/16 | F +4, R +3, W +5 | CMB +1, CMD 14 | Scimitar +2 (1d6) | Longbow +5 (1d8) | Init -1 | Perception -1 (Deaf)

The walk through the fields had been both calming and invigorating, so the Damian who steps through the door of the Jig and Whistle has a distinctly livelier expression on his wind-reddened face.

"...and I'm not sayeen' that it must be done now, but surely you see the need, my good people. It 'as been too long since the Dawnflower's light shone upon that place, it 'as." The earnest halfling speaking to a couple of the patrons wears the white and gold robes of a priest of Sarenrae, the lantern light in the room creating copper highlights in his red hair. He stops when he notices Damian, excusing himself and herding the human towards a table where parchments, pens and pots of paint lay scattered among the remains of a meal.

"Ah, Dams, good, I was waiting for you, I was. 'ave you thought about what we talked? 'ere, what do you think? Made some sketches for the restoration of the church, I did. Bet that tampin' reaver did a number on the interior decoration. 'ere, another version, this one with a bet more sparkle."

Damian frowns in concentration as he tries to keep up with the fast-talking halfling, and fails. Putting up his hands, he laughs. "Mercy. I do not follow. Please, Norri."

The halfling Sarenite stops and blinks. "Oh." Rubbing his forehead with one hand, he sighs and climbs up on the bench, leaning back against the wall. "Sorry, Dams. You know 'ow I get."

Damian smiles fondly and reaches for the halfling's hand. "I wish I had a fraction of your enthusiasm."

Squeezing his hand, the priest turns to Damian earnestly. "But you do, Dams, I know you 'ave it in you to... to do good and to dedicate your life to the Everlight. You did it before, why not again?"

Damian's fond smile wilts and a pained expression replaces it. "I abandoned Her, Norri. I was selfish - no, I am still selfish. I had to make a choice, between my faith and my family. The first time I chose wrong, but the second time... I cannot undo that, I cannot deny my heart, Norri, and how could I return after so long?" Tears are now running down his face, and the halfling reaches with his free hand to touch them, while bringing Damian's hand to his lips.

"Ohhh, my 'eart, you torment yourself, you do. Do you not remember who She is? She 'as forgiven much, much worse, She 'as. Trust in Her light, Dams, and trust in me that I would not lead you astray."

Defeated, Damian buries his head in the halfling's shoulder, and the two of them spend some time in silence, just holding each other.


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HP:16 | AC:16 ; T:14 ; FF:12 ; CMD:16 | Fort:+3 ; Ref:+6 ; Will:+4 | Init:+4 ; PER:+7

2 SP for the belt, if you're keeping track, Damian.

Raj plays 'peddler' for another couple of hours, drumming up business, building his cover, and gleaning more bits of local information before he packs his wares and gets a cheap room at the Lonely Griffon. (Assuming the Griffon is an Inn/Pub) He carefully pries up a floorboard beneath the - likely - flea-ridden bed and hides his real gear there. The rest he leaves out for any thieves except the small pouch of coins which he 'hides' inexpertly in the mattress.

While the light coming through the small cracked window is strong, Raj puts in several hours of diligent, stoop-shouldered effort on the folio. As evening falls, Rajuna rises from his completed task with a back-cracking stretch, passes like a shadow through the tavern, and steps into the gloom of evening. He sets a wandering course through town, learning the layout, on the way to his goal.

It was likely somewhat out of character for a peddler, but after humping across Lastwall, Rajuna needed to work the kinks from his muscles and the grime from his body. The sight of the steam emerging from the vents of the Bath House brought a genuine smile to his face. He imagined the heat soaking into his bones as he sprang up the steps.

The door opens unexpectedly, forcing Raj to stop short or collide with an emerging client. She is a petite Tian woman, clothed in the fine silk robes of her people, covered in a pattern of frogs and cranes. The warm light from the bathhouse cuts through the thin silk, silhouetting her slender, toned form. Flowing like water, the woman's thick dark hair falls nearly to her knees. Close as they are, Raj smells the jasmine of her bath oil.

Raj stands agog, blocking the woman's path. His mind spins, trying to reconcile what he is seeing. A Tian, in Lastwall? What is she doing here? Wearing silk with winter coming? Why cranes and frogs? Don't cranes eat frogs? Is that hair practical? His mind flits as he continues to stare at the woman... for far too long.

The Tian evenly regards the taller Varisian and decisively derails his train of thought. "You're staring."

Raj blinks hard and reddens with embarrassment. "Very sorry, Miss. Wasn't expecting to see a Tian here of all places."

She nods, accepting the apology. "It's fine. I'm used to stares."

Given the long looks his own face draws, he can't help but sympathize. "Yeah, me too."

Her eyebrow rises in amusement, "How odd. You don't look Tian." With the barest hint of a laugh, she adds, "I don't wish to be rude but you are blocking my way. So, unless you plan to kiss me or kill me... would you stand aside?"

The Varisian savors the first option, discards the latter, and steps quickly aside. It was the perfect moment for a debonair reply, which Raj couldn't begin to formulate. He only manages an awkward, "Sorry, again." and tacks on a deep bow, which is when he notices the unsheathed tanto knife resting comfortably in her hand at what was groin height for him. She's good or I'm slow.

She offers him a polite bow and a small smile as she passes. "Enjoy your bath."

Raj can only watch her go, tongue-tied and flummoxed. Later, neck deep in a steaming bath with his skin pruning nicely, he reflects on the mysterious Tian woman. Thankfully Bette, proprietress of the Bath House, was a gossip. It was easy to fill in a couple of the missing pieces. Her name was Moon Akechi, living in Roslar's Coffer about a year, kept mostly to herself, and worked at the Butchery. It was enough, for the moment.

Craft: Leather: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22 Feena's Folio


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female human sorceress 3 | HP 15/15; THP 0/0; N/L 0/10 | AC 12, TAC 12, FF 10 | F +1, R +3, W +3 | CMB +1, CMD 13 | Init +2 | Per +3 Spells: 1st 3/6

Feena gave Damian a nod and sad smile as she said, "I hope you can too." She recognized when he turned to Rajuna that Damian was done with their little conversation but that was fine as Feena needed to get going anyway. She turned and made her way through the streets, laughing at the children's antics when one of the girls kissed one of the boys and ran away giggling as the boy turned bright red. Isn't he cute with his face all red, she thought to herself. Sighing Feena turned away and headed back to the home she shared with Gregory.

In some places people might find a priest Gregory's age living with a young woman Feena's to be scandalous at best but fortunately the folks of Rossler's Coffer were more accepting than that. There was nothing inappropriate about it as he was more like her father than anything else. When she arrived at their small home Feena didn't bother to knock as she went inside and she found Gregory sitting in front of the fire reading his copy of The Birth of Light and Truth as he often did in the evenings. Feena was happy to see him so content here and walked up as she said, "I'm home Gregory." She leaned in and gave him a kiss on the cheek before heading to her small room to change out of her winter clothes.

"Hello my Little Phoenix," Gregory said as she went to her room with a smile. Ever since he first purchased Feena from the slave auction he'd used that nickname for her and Feena always delighted in hearing it. "How was your day today hm?" He didn't take his eyes of his book as he asked his question but continued to read.

Feena called back from her room, "It went well, Damian says hello by the way, I saw him in the square today." She continued changing clothes, her winter wear piling on the floor for the moment as she pulled on a heavy nightgown.

"Oh did he now?" Gregory said, "I hope he is doing well." He continued to read.

"Yes, he was doing as well as he ever is I think." She sighed as she bent and began to gather up her clothes to hang up neatly for later use, "I hope he will one day heal from the loss of his children."

"Me too Feena, me too," Gregory responded sadly.

Feena came back out after that and headed to the small kitchen where she began to pull out things for supper. She got out a pot that had been filled with some water earlier in the day and moved it to hang over the fire while she began to dice up some vegetables into it. "I'll be heading to the keep tomorrow morning to work in the library so you're on your own for breakfast." Gregory simply nodded but said nothing. Feena continued her work and got out a small amount of dried and salted meet which she began to cut up and throw in the pot. She then turned to the cupboard and pulled out a small shaker with some spices in it and sprinkled them into the pot as well then pushed the whole thing to sit well over the fire with the poker.

by the time the food was ready Feena had cooked supper and Gregory had done the dishes then both sat reading before the fire for sometime. When she finally had to go to bed Feena said, "Goodnight Gregory, I'll see you tomorrow afternoon."

The priest rose to embrace her and Feena gave him another quick kiss on the cheek as he said, "I love you my Little Phoenix." He let her go and Feena headed to her room, closing the door behind her, and crawled beneath her covers. It didn't take her long to drift off into dreams of contentment and the discovery of ancient knowledge long lost. It all turned quickly enough into nightmares that she could not awaken from.


DD | ROTR1 | ROTR2 | II | TG1 | TG2 | JR1 | JR2

Oh, such a lovely transition Feena. How appropriate...

TYRANT'S GRASP
Chapter 1: The Dead Roads

27 Calistril, 4719 AR

You awaken!

All is darkness and cold stone. Although you dimly recall going to sleep last night in the small community of Roslar's Coffer, you awaken in a dark, stone box only a few inches larger than you in each extremely claustrophobic direction. The cool scent of earth surrounds you.

A DC 13 Strength check is necessary to push the 200lb lid off of the box you find yourself in.

If you succeed at the strength check, but do not have darkvision or light:
You shove the lid off of the box with a feat of strength. Cool air flows over you as you climb out. It is pitch black, but sounds echo off the unseen walls and ceiling of an enclosed room. You can hear noises coming from nearby, including the muffled panicked sounds inside other areas from this room. You find that all of you gear is on you and feeling around, you get the feeling you are not alone in the dark.

If you succeed at the strength check and have darkvision or light:
You shove the lid off of the box with a feat of strength. Cool air flows over you as you climb out. You find that all of you gear is on you and you emerge into a room carved from stone. Six sarcophagi line one wall, including the one that you just clambered out of. A dusty crate draped with a drop cloth stands in the corner. Various relief carvings on the north wall display several heroic figures. The words "Red Shrikes--Noble Companions in the War Against Evil. Rest Well, My Friends" are inscribed above the carvings. A single stone door with iron bands provides an exit.

If you fail the strength check:
Push as you might, the stone above you does not give way. Struggling against the heavy stone lid, panic begins to set in as you feel trapped and unable to move in a completely unknown environment. Will you suffocate? How much longer can you stay here? Worse yet, there are muffled sounds outside of the box. Does danger lurk near? Is that screaming? are people dying?


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HP:16 | AC:16 ; T:14 ; FF:12 ; CMD:16 | Fort:+3 ; Ref:+6 ; Will:+4 | Init:+4 ; PER:+7

Rajuna wakes with a start and assesses his situation. Oh HELL no...

With cat-like grace he rolls over and curls into a ball, pressing his back against the roof of the... he goes with 'box' because 'coffin' is not a morale-builder. He pushes off with his legs and arms as hard as he can.

STR Check DC:13: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 1 = 19

The lid slides off in a rasp of stone against stone. Even with his exceptional vision, the dark is complete. Finding and feeling through his pack, Raj digs out his flint and steel along with a thin roll of felt he used to line leather goods. After a few strikes of the flint, the felt ignites providing more than enough light for him to see...

Waiting to see what happens with the others.


female human sorceress 3 | HP 15/15; THP 0/0; N/L 0/10 | AC 12, TAC 12, FF 10 | F +1, R +3, W +3 | CMB +1, CMD 13 | Init +2 | Per +3 Spells: 1st 3/6

Feena woke with a start and immediately began to panic. She felt the stone confines around her, could smell the earth, and screamed in terror at being trapped in such a small place. She pushed against what she felt was the top of the stone box as hard as she could in an effort to get free.
str: 1d20 ⇒ 8
Unfortunately the lid would not budge and she began to panic even more. Ever since she was a little girl Feena was scared of such tight places. It reminded her of punishments she received as a young slave girl before her beauty was recognized and she was taken for a different kind of training. She'd been stuck in a stone box for a few days at one point for misbehaving and she'd nearly died in there. That she came out in tact was nothing short of a miracle. To this day Feena still had night-terrors about being trapped within the box. Now those fears had come to life.

This was even worse than the last time as at least then the box she'd been stuffed in had air holes. This one did not. She beat against the lid and screamed, desperate to get out, and could only pray someone would free her quickly before her mind snapped under the strain.


HP:16 | AC:16 ; T:14 ; FF:12 ; CMD:16 | Fort:+3 ; Ref:+6 ; Will:+4 | Init:+4 ; PER:+7

Assuming Raj can hear Feena screaming...

Raj grabs his pack and makeshift torch then checks each sarcophagus until he finds the noisiest one. He yells against the cold stone, "Stay calm! I'm here!" Silently, he prays this isn't an elaborate trap and he's about to set some face-eating banshee free...

He digs into his pack and slides out an old friend - a 2' long, solid iron crowbar. With his meager little torch he inspects the seam of the lid until he finds a crease. He works the crowbar into it and throws his weight against the iron bar trying to pop the lid.

STR Check: 1d20 + 1 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 1 + 2 = 21 Crowbar bonus

I hope that is good enough!


M Human Paladin of Sarenrae 1/Oracle of Life 2 | HP 27/27 | AC 19/13/16 | F +4, R +3, W +5 | CMB +1, CMD 14 | Scimitar +2 (1d6) | Longbow +5 (1d8) | Init -1 | Perception -1 (Deaf)

"Gerroff, Norri." Damian mumbles groggily as he tries to turn in his sleep and finds his movements constricted. In the next moment he is wide awake, his heart seizing in his chest and his body rigid. He flails around with his hands, knocking and scraping them against the rough stone. Stone? What in all hells? Panic rising, he pushes.

Strength: 1d20 ⇒ 8

And pushes. And nothing. Heart beating wildly, he falls back, panting. It's just a nightmare. He'll wake up soon. Any moment now.

...

He frantically resumes pushing at the top and sides of the box, beating his fists against the unyielding surface.

"Help! HELP!"


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Channel 2/5, Bolstering Touch 3/6, Seize the Initiative 1/6
Spells Remaining:
Bless, Weapons Against Evil
Spells/Effects Active:
AC 17 T 10 FF 17 | Current HP 24/24| F +4 R +1 W +7 (+1 vs illusion+charm)| Init +0 | Perc +3

Marya is in pitch dark. She never lets herself be in pitch dark. Her heartbeats sprint. She cannot reach her iron holy symbol necklace to cast a light spell. She has had this dream before, being buried alive in darkness, but it's not a dream this time. She pushes in every direction, desperate for something to give. She shoves above her, praying to Iomedae and all Her Saints that she wasn't already under six feet of dirt.

Strength Check: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 2 = 12

She thinks she almost has it. She is sure she has it. She hears the giggling. That giggling she always hears in the dark. She thinks she has it. She trembles and buckles and she doesn't have it at all. She is sure she hears Hilde. She hears the scream. That scream she always hears in the dark. It's all happening again and she can't stop it. She hears Hilde's last words, still lingering in the air, just as they did before.

She wants to cry. She cries. She sobs all the strength out of her body, all save enough to scream. "HILDE!" She screams again and again. She pounds against the lid. Her voice is hoarse and weak.

The Exchange

Human Fighter 1 / Barbarian 2 | HP 33/33 [39/39 Rage] | AC 18 [15 Rage]; Tch 12; FF 16 | F +8; R +2; W +3 | CMB+6; CMD 17 | Speed 40 ft | Init +2 | Heavy Flail: +6 (1d10+4/19-20) | Perc +7

Vlad's eyes flutter open, and all he can see is darkness.

A strange dream--it seems so real.

He hears commotion around him, but is trapped within some kind of box.

This dream seems as real as life itself. I yearned for some great test--perhaps I have found it!

With all his might, he pushes against what feels like stone above him, and with great force ejects the lid from the box. It lands on the floor and breaks into several pieces.

"What is this?!" he exclaims as less-stagnant air fills his lungs. "Is this madness? Is this some great test before me?"

str check: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (20) + 3 = 23

I'll wait to see what I find before posting more. I'm assuming it's the rest of you, but don't want to assume too much. Also, I ran a home-brew game once that started EXACTLY like this!


DD | ROTR1 | ROTR2 | II | TG1 | TG2 | JR1 | JR2

Vlad explodes from his premature coffin on the end of a row of six sarcophagi to find the leather-worker Rajuna standing with a makeshift torch in his hand at the other end of the room. Rajuna is helping the red haired Feena escape the stone box from which she was entombed within.

The middle three sarcophogi are still closed and sounds of living creatures have can be heard within. Muffled shouts of HELP! and HILDE! can be heard coming from the two closest to Vlad while the fourth sarcophagus is strangely silent. Take a breath Varryk, your not dead yet!

Those that are still stuck inside of your box hear the slams and cracks of stone breaking outside of you along with shouting.

I've updated the Roll20 map with vision and light settings to account for Rajuna's torch.

The Exchange

Human Fighter 1 / Barbarian 2 | HP 33/33 [39/39 Rage] | AC 18 [15 Rage]; Tch 12; FF 16 | F +8; R +2; W +3 | CMB+6; CMD 17 | Speed 40 ft | Init +2 | Heavy Flail: +6 (1d10+4/19-20) | Perc +7

Vlad recognizes someone from town--yesterday?--but doesn't know him. Hearing someone in the coffin next to him, he moves to help.

"Do not panic!" he says. "Iomedae's light illuminates all--I am coming to your aid!"

He pushes on the lid of the next coffin.

str: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21


HP:16 | AC:16 ; T:14 ; FF:12 ; CMD:16 | Fort:+3 ; Ref:+6 ; Will:+4 | Init:+4 ; PER:+7

I'll wait for Feena's reaction, but then I'll start freeing all the PTSD participants. :) I take it the DC:13 holds for busting them out from the outside as well?

"NINE HELLS!" Raj jumps out of his skin as Vlad explodes from the coffin. Out of long habit, a hooked blade drops into his fist. When he realises it's a man not some sort of undead abomination, he sheathes the blade in his belt quickly.

The Exchange

Human Fighter 1 / Barbarian 2 | HP 33/33 [39/39 Rage] | AC 18 [15 Rage]; Tch 12; FF 16 | F +8; R +2; W +3 | CMB+6; CMD 17 | Speed 40 ft | Init +2 | Heavy Flail: +6 (1d10+4/19-20) | Perc +7

"Do not worry, friend," Vlad says to the man he had seen in the market.

"We share the same test, I assure you."

A take 10 Str for me gets anyone out, so I'll move along and help all until everyone is freed.


DD | ROTR1 | ROTR2 | II | TG1 | TG2 | JR1 | JR2

Yep, DC13 STR will free your remaining undead, er, not dead companions.


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Init +4 Perception +7 Male Half-Orc Ranger (Infiltrator) 1 HP 11 | AC 18 Touch 14 FF 14 | Fort +5 Ref +8 Will +4 | Orcish Hornbow +5 (2d6/x3/80 feet) | Greatsword +2 (2d6+1/19-20)

no no No No NO

As he awoke, icy fear gripped Varryk. His vision shifted, and he became immediately aware, and his terror threatened to overwhelm him as his memories surged.

When he had been taken as a child, at first, Varryk had resisted. They had beaten him, cut his rations, left him out in the cold, but still, Varryk was willful. They could only make him a slave if he let them, he told himself. In his youth and pride, Varryk had thought himself strong enough to last.

Then they started using The Box.

It had happened the first time he purposely spilled Lord Sterling Tralfer’s food. The overseer had not lost his temper. Had not struck Varryk in a rage, or ordered him whipped. No, he had fixed Varryk with a stare, turning cold blue eyes on the boy, and he had smiled, and Varryk, at that moment, knew true fear.

Half an hour later, Varryk was placed in The Box.

He was hooded as he was brought to wherever they kept the thing; an effective way to increase Varryk’s fear. The hood remained in as rough hands forced him into something hard, forcing him to lie down. Then, the smells and sounds of the outside world went away.

Varryk remembered immediately trying to remove his hood, and feeling his arms contact a surface above him. Blind, he awkwardly groped his way around, maneuvering his hands to reach to the hood blinding him and removing it.

He found himself in a box.

When he first saw what he was in, he laughed, relieved. This was how they sought to torment him? A nice lay-down somewhere cool and quiet? What fools, he thought.

And then time passed.

It grew hotter. Uncomfortably so. The air started to grow stale and stagnant, making it difficult to breathe, making him panic. He grew thirsty, then hungry. His muscles started to cramp badly, needing to move and having insufficient room to do so, He needed to relieve himself, and he held back as long as he could, bowels and bladder in agony, until finally he lost that fight. Not only was he ashamed, but the stench in that small box with stagnant air hit him like a hammer blow, making him gag and retch, making him panic.

Eventually Varryk passed out. After untold hours, the lid of The Boc was removed. Strong hands took hold of Varryk and removed him, He saw that he was in a graveyard, that he had been put in a coffin, and Lord Sterling Tralfer stood before him, looking amused, then crooked a finger to his men.

They beat Varryk, then, more savagely than ever before. They broke his nose, making it even harder to breathe. The worked his jaw over well but left it functional, albeit in immense pain. While they did so, Tralfer explained to Varryk that this was how it would be. That he loved disciplining recalcitrant slaves. That Varryk would either fall in line, or the rest of his very short life would be this.
The Box, an ever worsening pit of his own filth, without enough room to move and circulate blood to his limbs, an ever lessening supply of air to damage his brain, and the cold, silent dark. The Box, and pain.

Varryk was thirteen. He broke.

Tralfer put him back in again anyway, just to drive the message home.

In the present, Varryk’s breathing quickened as panic began to set in. He was trapped, again. He was back in The Box. He would never be free of bondage. He began to thrash about, limbs flailing as best they could in that enclosed space. He would never-

Varryk’s hand touched something. Cool, solid, familiar, comforting.

His bow.

The box had broken him, until the moment he had touched this weapon. It had reminded him that he was not helpless, that within him, there was strength, skill, and most of all, there was will.

And that will was still present. Varryk was no longer a child, he was a man. A man of prowess, and he would not be constrained again. Not ever.

Varryk gathered his will and, with an effort, got his breathing under control. He placed his hands on the lid, breathing evenly, then began to push.

Strength Check: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (14) + 1 = 15

And it became apparent that Varryk Swiftshot was a child no longer.

With a growl of effort, the Half-Orc pressed, and the lid began to shift. Varryk saw an opening, and, with desperate hands, forced his fingers through that opening and pulled. The lid continued it’s slide, and suddenly, he was free.

Varryk scrambled out of the coffin and took in the scene around him. He recognized some of the other people in the room, and took stock of their strange surroundings. As soon as he had room, his hands had unconsciously brought his bow to bear and nocked an arrow, aiming over at Raj, but as soon as his brain registered who he was looking at and what he was doing, Varryk eased his draw and lowered his bow.

”What in the hells... where are we? What is going on?”


HP:16 | AC:16 ; T:14 ; FF:12 ; CMD:16 | Fort:+3 ; Ref:+6 ; Will:+4 | Init:+4 ; PER:+7

First, it was the muscular fella blasting out like a jack-in-the-box... then it was a half-orc aiming a hornbow - a particularly nasty weapon - at his face...

Raj can only grimace and think gonna need to change my under-garments before this day is through. He slowly raises an open palm to the bowman. "I got no idea - same as you."


Init +4 Perception +7 Male Half-Orc Ranger (Infiltrator) 1 HP 11 | AC 18 Touch 14 FF 14 | Fort +5 Ref +8 Will +4 | Orcish Hornbow +5 (2d6/x3/80 feet) | Greatsword +2 (2d6+1/19-20)

Varryk breathed in, forcing himself to calm clarity, and ensured his weapon was pointed at the ground.

”I... I think I remember seeing you around Roslar’s Coffer. I have no idea where this place is. Is everyone all right?”

As he spoke, Varryk looked around, taking in the details.

”Why are we all... does anyone know who or what the Red Shrikes are?”

Varryk pointed out the carvings as he spoke, and he simultaneously noticed the crate. Curious, he makes his way over to it, seeing if it is easily openable and keeping his senses open, on the lookout for threats.

Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19

The Exchange

Human Fighter 1 / Barbarian 2 | HP 33/33 [39/39 Rage] | AC 18 [15 Rage]; Tch 12; FF 16 | F +8; R +2; W +3 | CMB+6; CMD 17 | Speed 40 ft | Init +2 | Heavy Flail: +6 (1d10+4/19-20) | Perc +7

Vlad looks at the sign while attempting to free any others that might be trapped.

"Red Shrikes--Noble Companions in the War Against Evil. Rest Well, My Friends," he reads slowly.

"I have never heard of this, though they seem like valiant allies, whoever they are," he says.

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