DM Blayde MacRonan's Of Aeons and Giants: The Continuing Adventures of Team Ruby (Private Campaign, Closed Recruitment)

Game Master Blayde MacRonan

The orcs attacking Trunau have been defeated, but the danger remains - the hill giant chieftain Grenseldek still wants the treasures of the tomb beneath Trunau. In order to protect their chosen community, the members of Team Ruby must leave it and travel to deal with this most imminent threat. Yet even putting down Grenseldek and her squabbling monstrous minions may not be enough to save Trunau. For there are stranger forces at play, and a storm is brewing on the horizon...

Initiative:

Aiko: [dice]1d20+2[/dice]
Aodhàn: [dice]1d20+3[/dice]
Kyt: [dice]1d20+2[/dice]
Liesel-Marie: [dice]1d20+2[/dice]
Nyym: [dice]1d20+6[/dice]
Rocnork: [dice]1d20+3[/dice]
Tsadok: [dice]1d20+4[/dice]
Antagonist: [dice]1d20+[/dice]

Perception:

Aiko: [dice]1d20+5[/dice]
Aodhàn: [dice]1d20+11[/dice]
Kyt: [dice]1d20+12[/dice]
Liesel-Marie: [dice]1d20+2[/dice]
Nyym: [dice]1d20+10[/dice]
Rocnork: [dice]1d20+7[/dice]
Tsadok: [dice]1d20+13[/dice]

Drow Bunker Map 2


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Dark Archive

Male kaiju dungeon master; hp 697 Healthy/522 Grazed/348 Wounded/174 Critical/-15 hp Disabled (fast healing 30); AC 48, T 8, FF 43; F +34, Ref +25, Will +23; Init +9; Perc +45

Its been just over 10 days since the Battle of the Bloodmarch Hill was fought and the town of Trunau is undergoing reconstruction. Despite the victory earned that night, the overall mood of the traditionally stoic townsfolk has been somber. Friends and family had been lost, and the town's safety threatened. Were it not for the efforts of a few, the ones known simply as Team Ruby, who had been assembled together on the night of their namesake's Hopeknife Ceremony, more surely would have been lost.

And that is why the citizens have gathered around the Flame of the Fallen this day, to mourn the lives taken as well as commemorate the actions of the heroes.

High Priestess Tyari Varvatos officiates the ceremony, beginning by consecrating the flame with sacred herbs before receiving the hopeknives of the fallen and performing a requenching before returning them to their respective family members or those designated to act in their stead. The last to be done was Rodrick Grath, a member of the militia and poet laureate of Trunau.

Mood Music: Apocalyptica - Hole In My Soul

As she heated the knife in the flames, the blade takes on a pure black hue. After it was done, Tyari hands the hopeknife to a visibly shaken and grieving Brinya, Rodrick's fiancee.

One by one, the citizens of Trunau take up the chant of the town's official anthem, The Ballad of the Bloodmarch in memory of its author.

Moonday ends when the drums of war begin.
Main Gate is trampled as orcs charge the hill.
Toilday we fight back, but to our chagrin,
Two of us drop for every one we kill.
Wealday passes as our boots pound the dirt;
With blood, sweat, and tears we refuse to fall.
Oathday our Sanctuary heals the hurt,
Orders to hold call from Ivory Hall
Fireday the Flame of the Fallen burns
For those who we cannot let die in vain.
Starday shines as our will to live returns,
Slaughtering the horde until none remain.
For the only hope we know in this life,
Is one that gleams at the end of a knife.


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Awakened Bloodrager (Fire) 5.2; AC 19/13/17; 52 hp; F9 R6 W6; Effects: ; Health: Healthy (0); Rage left: 27/28

Liesel-Marie willingly participates in the ceremony in any fashion the local officials see fit, if only because if she's busy with responsibilities, she's not looking at the grieving faces and remembering the friends she's also lost.

As a result, when she's not dutifully performing a task, she stands gazing at the flame, somber and seemingly smaller than usual.


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M Dhampir U. Monk (Temp) 6 {HP:52/52 G:39 W:26 C:13 D:-1} {AC:21 T:19 F:17} {F:+8 R:+10 W:+7} Init:+4 Per:+13

Tsadok watches the ceremony from a distance, for he knows the people of Trunau, yet, in the same token he doesn’t. From time to time his eyes wanders the city itself, It is good to see things as they once was, his thoughts returning back to within himself.

And for all the ones that are left in Twine,
Their only hope is a matter of time.


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M Half Drow init +6/ hp 35 [35]/ ac 18/ t 14/ ff 13/ fort +4/ ref +9/ wil +6/ perc +6/ stealth +11/ athletics 0/ b2h +3/ lore engineering +2/ finesse +11/ ki pool 7 kinetic shinobi (fading shadow) /4

The slender dark skinned half drow stood with the rest of Team Ruby as the ceremony takes place. Watching as each Hope Knife was consecrated and returned to the fallen family. But it was the the last that hit Nyym the hardest. While each had less sadded the Half Drow. Nyym and Rodrick now shared an unspoken bond. Together, Nyym in the flesh,Roricks spirit through is Hope Knife, had struck the vengeful blow to the one called Gorewillow and the haunting evil of the Raggedy Man. Nyym remembered clearly the blue glow that showed even then as together they struck the killing blow. Nyym had turned over the Hope Knife knowing the it's TRUE place was with Brin..

Thank you Rodrick. Though you paid with ur life, it was ur drive and courage that made our actions possible. Had you not uncovered the plot, we would have never been able to put the pieces in time. Because of you,Brin and your child will live on. I will not betray the trust your spirit placed in me and we will see this though to the end my friend..

Though Nyym had only seen the man in passing a few times. He now shared a bond that Nyym would forever hold sacred. Having cut his once long white hair in a manner that while only an inch in length now. Gave him a less wild look, yet hinted at a predatory side. His body built in such a way to move with stealth and agility at the same time. Gone was his curiosity about his past. Gone was the worry and self doubt the he had felt in the tomb. No,Nyym now stood with a new conviction and confidence and a drive to push his past behind him and right whatever wrongs his past self had wrought on the world. He was sure that the others felt the same way.

Speaking low enough to only be heard by his friends..

We must do whatever is necessary to make sure those that perished here didn't do so in vain. Make sure that no others suffer and make sure this does not happen again.

And to you Rodrick, to make sure that Brin is safe to raise your child to know of ur deads and ur greatness.

At this Nyym pulled his own Hope Knife to see the new inscription he had requested..

Only when it's darkest does one's light shine brightest.

Nyyms past was plagued in darkness. Through his actions during the battle and through his new bond with Rodrick as well as Ruby and Team Ruby. Nyym had found a new light. Now he fully intended to make it burn at its brightest.


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M Human HP:(55)46/26 (temp HP Max 45 - Burn 36/Current 30) 3pts burn (G=41 W=28 C=14)AC:21, T:14, FF:17,CMD:18 Skills Ath +5 Climb +8 perc +6 Aco +10/+16 perf +6 Spell +7Active: 3 dr/admin

Rohan stood there looking into the flames, speechless at the ones that were lost and his mind filled with sorrow for all those who could not be here tonight. The pain was stabbing him in the chest because he feels that he let so many of them down and he only wanted to help. His mind Raced with thoughts:

"And I know those who have fallen I will avenge you for you are not forgotten. I live only to be here and support my brothers and sisters and what ever may come. I will not forget this day nor will you as you live on in a much better place. You are for ever eternal to me and all the hearts you filled tonight and forever more."

Rohan held back all the pain from showing through to the best that he could as his now grey skin self stood tall, taller than most everyone here in respect to them. A single tear fell from his eyes though he released no other. He gazed further into the fire, not paying attention to anyone around him as though the only thing mattered was the words of the man speaking, no not the man but the entire crowd of Trunau chanting.


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Male Wyvaran Kineticist 5 ; AC 19, t 14, ff 16; init +3; Saves F +8, R+8, W+4: perc +7

Hovering over the city watching the festivities and all the cheering. He wonders to himself how so few people coming together at this point could have changed so much all the families and people he has lost along the way to get here. Hoping that this was not in vain that these people can make a difference. In the days to come though they know not what is coming. Laughs to himself like I do. The sullen feeling of most of his tribe gone. His anger for the fates causing him to dive and land in an empty area of the city not wanting to even see the happiness of these people.


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Female Void K Weird Musician 4 Gender:F Age:19 Str:8 Dex:14 Con:13 Int:12 Wis:14 Cha:20

Mesa had been to the memorial and the mood was particularly dour after such an event.

Still what annoyed her the most was that she had yet to put together a proper ballad of the group she had been conscripted to and their adventures. There were quite a few heroic deeds , and more insults to direct at rocky, and finding the proper theme for them had been rather difficult.

As such as she set up , she had a plan of what to play, it was an older tune from a place she had visited called Dunwall.

Honestly she didn't recall when she had been there, though she did recall they had an issue with rats.

That led to another issue.

She needed to figure out what was going on with her memory and why the Kotodama had been so odd when she felt that presence.

In any event she knew the team Ruby group was going to carry on with whatever it was they were going to do.

Mesa was going to skip that.

Perhaps some time in the future they may cross paths again, but for now, she and Boo were going to head their own way.

Well after this celebration.

" And here we go.. Mesa muttered starting the faint strains of her shamisen before switching to a drum beat as another musician played fiddle.

"Oooooh honor for all....."


Aodhàn stood beside Kytynna, his left hand in her right even as he gripped the top of a cane with the other. The Chelish bouncer still had not fully recovered from the trials and tribulations of that night in Uskroth's Tomb, but he was rapidly on the mend, thanks in large part to the efforts of High Priestess Varvatos and the priests of Sanctuary. His motivation to recover had also been strengthened by the visitations of the other members of Team Ruby, but in particular by a certain elven monk. His cheeks turning a bright red, Aodhàn's mind began to wander while watching the events of the memorial ceremony, taking him back to the night of the tug-o-war. He remembered something that Liesel-Marie said to young Ruby afterward...

I'm honored to have been selected to be one of your champions today, but I hope you noticed that you had, and will always have, far more people watching your back when you need them. Team Ruby is far larger than those of us that started on the rope today.

Those words had proven to be more true than the Varki warrior could have possibly realized at the time she had spoke them. The bouncer looked to Mesa as she and another musician were setting up to perform a song. Her joining them for the fighting had been most unexpected, given how the Minkai minstrel generally kept to herself when not on stage at the Killin' Ground. And there was also the Mwangi champion of Sarenrae, Nogusta. From what Kyt had told him, he literally appeared on the field of battle in a shaft of light to aid them against the horde of Twisted Heart orcs. Had he not been there... His thought was interrupted by the start of the song.

Bardic Performance Insert Song: Jon Licht and Daniel Licht - Honor For All (Bass Boosted)

Oh well, honor for all
Of the big and the small
Well, the taller they stand
Well, the harder they fall

We live for today
But we die for the next
With blood in our veins
And the air in our chests
So we step into war
With our hearts on the line
The dirt on our boots
It shakes free over time

As Aodhàn listened to the words of Mesa's song*, he couldn't help but feel his spirit surge. In comparison to the others, his contribution that night had been small, but like them, he had given his all. He looked to Kyt and as he did so, the following lyrics seemed to call out at him.

Love is a distant aroma at best
A withering smile that's
Stuck deep in your vest
The night air it wraps
Its fingers around
Your body it shakes from
A now distant sound
Oh, the sound of her voice
A sweet symphony
Played over and over
Until you are free

A tear slipped down the bouncer's cheek as he recalled in vivid detail what happened to him that night.

Aodhán looked on in horror, not sure what he could do to assist his companion. Then something seemed to occur to him. With a backward glance at Kytynna, the bouncer charged forth and grasped the haft of the greataxe. Almost immediately, the fleshly tendrils grabbed onto him, clinging to the Chelaxian with inhuman strength.

You can’t have him!

Kyt shouted as she ran over to him, hoping that there was time to save him. She took his face into her hands and looked at him in his struggle.

I have faith in you... like you have faith in us. All I can do is hope you come back to me.

Kyt leaned in and kissed the bouncer.

Aodhàn looked from the elf to Mesa and for a brief moment, thought he saw the musician wink at him. His cheeks burning even more, the bouncer focused on the rest of the song, trying to discern what else was hidden within it.

Well, we shall not stumble
No, we shall not fall
We shall not crumble
No, we shall stand tall
Well, death it will come
As sure as the night
But we will not run
No, we live but to fight
Oh, with blood on our hands
And dirt on our knees
We tear at the ones
Who brought the disease.

The music it fades
The violin slows
The darkness it rises
As the sun goes

And then it hit him. Aodhàn wasn't entirely sure, but to him, it was as though he got the sense that Mesa was saying goodbye, at least for now. The bouncer hoped it wasn't the case, but if it was, then he hoped that whatever it was that was pulling her away from Team Ruby wouldn't keep her from them forever.

Can you feel the
New day rising
Climbing up the
East horizon
They can't hold us
Down we'll fight through
Each and every
One will start new

* Artist: Jon Licht and Daniel Licht
Song: Honor For All
Game soundtrack: Dishonored


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F Elf Str 15 Dex 14 Con 10 Int 13 Wis 16 Cha 14 Unchained Monk (Surge Fist) Lvl 4

Kytynna stood there trying not to cry. Though she was able to sing along with everybody, strength in her voice, the tears still flowed down her cheeks. Tears of sadness for those who have fallen. Tears of anger for the ones that had caused it all. Tears of peace now that it was over. And tears of joy for the future that has only started. She squeezed Aodhán’s hand as she looked deep into the flame. This was only the beginning for Team Ruby.

Everything that had transpired felt as though it had lasted forever. Everything playing in her mind in slow motion. Still even though time has passed, it was still hard for her to believe that the events had happened in less than a couple days. Too much. Far too much happened far too quickly.

She afforded a glance to each and every one of its members. Those who will continue on and those who will not.

No matter where you are, I vow to you all, to keep you safe with everything that I have within me. May no tragedy like this come to pass again. Though even if it does, not just I... but we will be there again in time of need.

Looking up at Aodhán last, she noticed that he too had tears streaked down his face. With her free hand she wiped them away with no care as to her own. She was very thankful that he had come out of the ordeal alive. And though they had been able to spend quality time together, he had still been healing through it all. She patiently awaited for him to be back to health before she told him every feeling and hope she had for their future. He needed to focus on himself right now. That’s what mattered most at the moment.

As the song ended she looked up at Aodhán again, her cheeks turning a deep shade of pink despite all that was going on at the moment.

How are you feeling?

No matter his answer she would be there for him for as long as he needed her. Soon she would be able to tell him. She had all the time in the world.


The Chelish bouncer looked at Kytynna, appreciating her gesture.

I won't lie. This was a lot harder than I thought it would be. As he spoke, Aodhàn unwrapped his left hand from hers and placed it on top of the cane, over his right. With a sigh, he continued. So much loss, on both sides. And for what? Land? Treasure? I don't want to think about how much worse it could've been had we - had you and the others not been here.

He turned his gaze back to the Flame of the Fallen, where High Priestess Varvatos was stepping aside to allow High Defender Halgra the opportunity to speak. Knowing what was about to transpire next, Aodhàn spoke once again, Under different circumstances, this would be totally awesome.


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Awakened Bloodrager (Fire) 5.2; AC 19/13/17; 52 hp; F9 R6 W6; Effects: ; Health: Healthy (0); Rage left: 27/28

Liesel-Marie seems lost in the flame, almost hypnotized. Her body moves slightly with the beat of Mesa's song, but she doesn't otherwise attend to it as she stares, unblinking, into the fire.

Does it call to her? Or does she call to it?


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M Half Drow init +6/ hp 35 [35]/ ac 18/ t 14/ ff 13/ fort +4/ ref +9/ wil +6/ perc +6/ stealth +11/ athletics 0/ b2h +3/ lore engineering +2/ finesse +11/ ki pool 7 kinetic shinobi (fading shadow) /4

Nyym too stared at the flame. But for a different reason. He had witnessed Aohden and Kyts arrival together. Him still on the mend and her his ever present companion since the ordeal down in the tomb. He had fostered an interest himself in Kyt. But time had now robbed him of any opportunity. He felt a bit of jealousy, but couldn't figure out why. He should be happy for them. But something deep in the back of his mind was trying to rear its ugly head. Was it something from his past? Had they once been a couple as well. He just did not know and could not figure it out. So he stared into the flame. Watching as each name was called. The flicker of flame with each. Then Mesa's song came and the flames seem to dance as if embracing the music. As if the spirits of the fallen had been joined with those of days gone by in a dance of both welcome and farewell. As he watched the dancing flames, another saying came to mind...

For every Loss there is a Gain.

Trunau had lost many in the night of battle. But gained another level of strength in solidarity. Team Ruby had lost a dark past. But had gained an unknown future. If he had been Kyts lover. That was a lost memory and seeing her happy with Aohden. A part of Nyym hoped that memory never came to light.

She has chosen and seems happy with that choice. As long as she is happy. I will still protect her and any others that may need it. Of this I swear.

Nyym may have lost his past. But he was determined to make his gain count for something good. A life worth remembering. Now the flame within him danced with those of the flames before him. Nyym had found a new level of peace, and with it a new resolve to not let his past destroy his future. With that new resolve firmly in mind, Mesa's song came to a close.

Dark Archive

Male kaiju dungeon master; hp 697 Healthy/522 Grazed/348 Wounded/174 Critical/-15 hp Disabled (fast healing 30); AC 48, T 8, FF 43; F +34, Ref +25, Will +23; Init +9; Perc +45

Moments before Mesa's performance, near the Longhouse...
Tsadok turned from the ceremony to watch as the sullen Rocnork landed not more than 80 feet from him. He didn't have to be near wyvern-like being to know what he was feeling. A part of him felt the same way.

The grey-skinned half-orc had no words that could offer comfort. The wyvaran knew, just as he did, that the only thing that mattered now was their mission.

Perception check: Rocnork - 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (16) + 7 = 23
Perception check: Tsadok - 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (17) + 12 = 29
Stealth check: Antagonist - 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (8) + 17 = 25
Perception check: Antagonist - 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (20) + 12 = 32

A sudden chill in the night air set Tsadok on edge, taking him out of his musings so that he could survey his surroundings. And with his keen eyesight, it didn't take him long to feel out the source of his ill-ease: a dark-haired human woman moving toward the area of the Flame of the Fallen, but doing so in a surreptitious manner. But there was more to it than just her covert movement. Now that the grey-skinned half-orc had laid eyes on her, Tsadok noted that everything about her seemed... lessened to his senses. Her coloration (both of skin and clothing), any sound she could have made, anything involving perception in one form or another, was somehow eerily muted. Even the slightly curved sword, the naked blade of which measuring just over 3 feet in length, that she clutched in her hand.

That blade.

It, along with the exotic fur-trimmed cloak she was wearing, marked the woman as an Aldori swordlord. A wielder of that type of sword relied more on speed than strength to injure their opponents, using a style of swordplay perfect for duels or flashy combat, but which could also be used for practical fighting as well.

Circumstances have arisen to allow me to attempt something that I've always wanted to try: a combat challenge. Depending on how well this one goes, others may be sprinkled in throughout the campaign for added flavor.

The challenge: defeat the woman (Melira) before the end of Mesa's song without alerting those at the ceremony. If Rocnork and Tsadok are successful, then there will be a bonus amount of XP added to the final reward for this encounter.

Initiative: Tsadok - 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13
Initiative: Melira - 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11
Initiative: Rocnork - 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
Battle Music: Ambience | Honor For All

Melira and Tsadok are aware of one another, but because Rocnork did not perceive the woman, he is unaware of her. As a result, there will be a surprise round before the regular rounds begin. In initiative order, Melira and Tsadok (who start the battle aware of one another) can each take a standard or move action during the surprise round. They can also take free actions during the surprise round. Because Rocnork is unaware at the start of battle, he doesn’t get to act in the surprise round and is considered flat-footed (loses any Dexterity bonus to AC).

The battle will take place on what will essentially be an open field under a moonlit sky (providing dim lighting conditions). In an area of dim light, characters can see somewhat. Creatures within this area have concealment (20% miss chance in combat) from those without darkvision or the ability to see in darkness. A creature within an area of dim light can make a Stealth check to conceal itself. Now that the stage has been set, we'll come back to this later (to give me time to set up an appropriate map to use for this). In the meantime, let us flash forward to the present....

At the Flame of the Fallen

Liesel-Marie Frostvale wrote:

Liesel-Marie seems lost in the flame, almost hypnotized. Her body moves slightly with the beat of Mesa's song, but she doesn't otherwise attend to it as she stares, unblinking, into the fire.

Does it call to her? Or does she call to it?

The image of a desiccated husk of bone and flesh, specifically a towering female frost giant clad in links of chain and wearing a helmet adorned with a pair of enormous wings, stared back at the Erutaki from the depths of the flame, its eyes burning with a cold yellow flame. Its mouth opened, as if to unleash a monstrous roar, but it faded from Liesel-Marie's sight before doing so. Shaken from her trance, the Erutaki could hear the Chief Defender begin to speak.

As a child, I believed in happy endings. Who didn't? Even as adults, we all want that happy ending, right? But it doesn’t always roll that way. Eleven days ago, Trunau wasn't supposed to have a happy ending. With the forces arrayed against us, the orc hordes should have washed over this town and slaughtered us all.

Halgra paused, grim-faced, allowing her last words to sink in for all in attendance, before continuing with a smile. But that didn't happen. And it was due in part to these few that stand before you now. Aodhàn Charthagnion. Kytynna Hanakotaba. Liesel-Marie Frostvale. Mesa Silvertail. Anchorite Nogusta. Rohan Scythe. And the one known only as Nyym. As she called out the names of Team Ruby's members, a smiling dusky-skinned, dark-haired little girl (who had, until this moment, been standing by the Chief Defender's side) stepped forward and handed each of them a brand new ornate dagger. On one side, the blades were etched with their names. On the other, the hopeknives all bore the following inscription:

You fought to give us a happy ending.

Once each member of Team Ruby and Nogusta had received their new blades, Halgra continued speaking. The hopeknife is more than a weapon—it’s a symbol. To Trunauans, earning your hopeknife is a mark of your place in the community. When you earn your hopeknife, it means you are wise enough to make adult decisions, old enough to know what it means to fear, and strong enough to protect your neighbors, even if it costs you your own life. You all have embodied the Standing Vow: to hold this land against all comers, paying tribute neither to raiding orcs nor to the armies of neighboring nations. To stand your ground and live free, no matter the cost. And for your efforts, we, the citizens of Trunau, salute you. Trunau forever!

As one, the gathered townsfolk took up the cry. Trunau forever!

The members of Team Ruby can RP what has transpired at the ceremony, but are unaware (for the moment, at least) of the fight that has/is/will be taken/taking place.


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Awakened Bloodrager (Fire) 5.2; AC 19/13/17; 52 hp; F9 R6 W6; Effects: ; Health: Healthy (0); Rage left: 27/28

Liesel-Marie goes down on one knee and bows as the girl approaches. She accepts the blade solemnly with her head bowed and both hands before her, then stands, resisting the urge to study the craftsmanship until the ceremony was complete.

At the salute, she looks around, clearly uncomfortable and wondering if she should raise her new dagger and join in or if she was supposed to accept it stoically.

As the crowd took up the cry, she chose to raise the dagger, held horizontally and letting the firelight play on the blade.


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M Half Drow init +6/ hp 35 [35]/ ac 18/ t 14/ ff 13/ fort +4/ ref +9/ wil +6/ perc +6/ stealth +11/ athletics 0/ b2h +3/ lore engineering +2/ finesse +11/ ki pool 7 kinetic shinobi (fading shadow) /4

Nyym mimicked Liesel-Maries move in how she excepted her new Hope Knife. While yes they were being honored as heroes, Nyym did not feel as if he were a hero. He felt as if he were a citizen of Trunau defending his home against the Orc Oppressers. The REAL heroes were the ones who had not survived the attack. Those that paid the ultimate price to protect their loved ones. But he would not dishonor their sacrifice. He excepted his Hope Knife without a word. But seeing Ruby again alive after their mad dash to stop Bax, it filled his heart with joy and Pride. He had almost let her down. But seeing her reassured him that he had not and that she was once again safe. Thrusting his new Hope Knife in the air with LM, Nyym also took up the chant. Regardless of his origins. Nyym finally felt that he was home. He would defend it and Trunaus citizens to the death if need be.


Aodhàn accepted the hopeknife from Ruby, his expression solemn. He stood there, staring down at the weapon but not fully seeing it. Instead, he was reliving a particular moment from over ten days ago....

Aodhàn breathed a sigh of relief, inwardly cheering at the sight of the Raggedy Man falling before the teamwork displayed by both Liesel-Marie and Nyym. He smiled with satisfaction at the sound made when the body hit the floor.

At long last, it was over. The nightmare, it seemed, had come to an end.

He made his way over to the still unmoving form of Kytynna, her face locked in that look of fierce determination that he had come to admire so much in the short time they had known one another.

The Chelish man was about to turn toward the champion of Sarenrae when he heard Rohan speak, his voice touched by more than just a little fear.

Acid, we need a vial of acid, or fire, to burn him to bits and insure that he doesn't come back ever again.

The words snapped Aodhàn back to full awareness of his surroundings, just in time to witness Liesel-Marie hacking at... something, with her blade of flame. He stepped away from the elf, hoping to catch sight of whatever it was being attacked.

And immediately regretted doing so as he saw the amorphous mass of flesh moving to land its tendrils on the Erutaki warrior.

Here comes the raggedy man! Raggedy man! Raggedy man! Hey, raggedy man! Raggedy! Raggedy! Raggedy Man!

Rohan, after frantically searching his gear, looked up and said I don't have one, does anyone else?

This caused the bald Mwangi to rifle through his own things, hoping also to find something, anything, that could be of use.

Aodhàn looked on in horror, not sure what he could do to assist his companion. Then something seemed to occur to him. With a backward glance at Kytynna, the bouncer charged forth and grasped the haft of the greataxe. Almost immediately, the fleshly tendrils grabbed onto him, clinging to the Chelish bouncer with inhuman strength.

Upon doing so, a cascade of images flashed through his Aodhàn's mind...

The Chelish bouncer tightly gripped the handle of the hopeknife as he fought to suppress a shudder. He had been enduring this since the ordeal with the Raggedy Man, memories, both his and not, running rampant in his mind as he struggled to process it all. He knew what was coming next and the knowledge did him no favors.

Aodhàn found himself wandering in an endless cloud of yellow vapor. Other shapes formed and vanished in the mist, fleeting, unsettling things that refused to be focused upon. After what seems like a lifetime, an exhausted-looking man with a ponytail of straight, white hair stumbled through the fog. Insane with desperation, he tried to pass the Chelish bouncer, who reached out in an attempt to stop the man. The ponytail man gaped in alarm and shouted, We’re all lost here! We’ll never escape! before he rushed away. His ranting, What have I done? What have I done? followed him as the memory flowed into the next.

Now he was in a grimy cell in a dungeon that, even after his many nightly visitations, Aodhàn still did not recognize.

Bars separated both himself and the other members of Team Ruby from a tall, thin figure in the garb of a doctor. This doppelganger in human form dragged and pulled one of the survivors onto a nearby splintery worktable and strapped him down. Trapped as they were, the members of Team Ruby were helpless to intervene as this occurred, but he could overhear the doppelganger speak. The Raggedy Man says you all must die. No survivors. All must die! The witch, she commands it! The victim woke up and screamed as the horrific creature begins its ghastly vivisection. The doppelganger muttered softly to its victim, They didn’t tell me which ones were the important ones, though. So we start with you.

The victim, a struggling human now with split lips and skin covered in a mapwork of fresh red lines, turned in the direction of Aodhàn. Wake up, damn it! the man on the table screamed, his panic cutting through the claustrophobic near dark.

The bouncer's mind snapped back into focus as the crowd took up the cry of Trunau forever!, the chant causing the white-haired man to cringe. He looked again at Kytynna, glad that he had not told her any details of what he had gone through and, more importantly, was still experiencing. This was his burden. His to bear, and his alone.

Dark Archive

Male kaiju dungeon master; hp 697 Healthy/522 Grazed/348 Wounded/174 Critical/-15 hp Disabled (fast healing 30); AC 48, T 8, FF 43; F +34, Ref +25, Will +23; Init +9; Perc +45

In the original post above that I did as Aodhàn, I forgot to italicize the following:

Aodhàn Charthagnion wrote:

The words snapped Aodhàn back to full awareness of his surroundings, just in time to witness Liesel-Marie hacking at... something, with her blade of flame. He stepped away from the elf, hoping to catch sight of whatever it was being attacked.

And immediately regretted doing so as he saw the amorphous mass of flesh moving to land its tendrils on the Erutaki warrior.

I figured I'd point this out because, it could be perceived that Aodhàn came out of his memory to see Liesel-Marie being attacked by the Raggedy Man, only to retreat back into the memory. That is not the case. The above is part of the memory being revisited, not a call to action.


M Dhampir U. Monk (Temp) 6 {HP:52/52 G:39 W:26 C:13 D:-1} {AC:21 T:19 F:17} {F:+8 R:+10 W:+7} Init:+4 Per:+13

Tsadok nodded to his companion as he landed across the way. Slowly turning his gaze back upon the ceremony, a chill struck him through the night air. Chills such as that are never a good omen. He lets his gaze travel through the crowd until it is focused on the source chilling effect.

Her! What is she doing here? Is this how it starts? Not this time, Melira! All these thoughts and emotions flooded his mind. He glanced to his companion but he has not spotted her yet. As he starts to stride forth solely focused on her, his hand moves up to grasp the hilt of Sable Moon. His hand grasps the hilt just as he hits his stride fully and with a wink the blade is freed from its sheath as the sound of its rings striking the blade. And he’s gone….

To reappear with a slashing strike from Sable Moon to the unwanted guest,

Sable Moon ATT: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (13) + 12 = 25
Sable Moon DMG: 1d8 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
Skirmisher DMG: 2d6 ⇒ (4, 4) = 8

He remains with eyes locked onto her, Why are you here? He asks.

Dark Archive

Male kaiju dungeon master; hp 697 Healthy/522 Grazed/348 Wounded/174 Critical/-15 hp Disabled (fast healing 30); AC 48, T 8, FF 43; F +34, Ref +25, Will +23; Init +9; Perc +45

Moments before Mesa's performance, near the Longhouse...

Initiative: Tsadok - 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13
Initiative: Melira - 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11
Initiative: Rocnork - 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
Battle Music: Ambience | Honor For All

Tsadok
Tsadok nodded to his companion as he landed across the way. Slowly turning his gaze back upon the ceremony, a chill struck him through the night air. Chills such as that were never a good omen. He let his gaze travel over, through, and finally the crowd until it was focused on the source chilling effect.

Her! What is she doing here? Is this how it starts? Not this time, Melira! All these thoughts and emotions flooded his mind. He glanced to his companion but he had not spotted her yet. As he started to stride forth solely focused on her, his hand moved up to grasp the hilt of Sable Moon. His hand on the hilt just as he hit his stride fully and, with a wink, the ox-tail saber was freed from its sheath, accompanied by the sound of its nine rings striking the blade. And he was gone….

....to reappear with a slashing strike from Sable Moon at the unwanted guest. The ebon blade of his ringed ox-tail saber was met with Melira's own dueling sword.

Tsadok's Will save: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8

He remained with eyes locked onto her, Why are you here? he asked.

Melira
Melira glared back at her foe. You ask "why", but not who. She backed up a step to disengage herself from the bind while simultaneously reversing her grip on the hilt of the dueling sword, only to come back at the grey-skinned swordsman.

Melira dueling sword attack: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (9) + 12 = 21; +2 to attack roll due to flanking
dueling sword damage: 1d8 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10
sneak attack damage: 4d6 ⇒ (3, 3, 1, 2) = 9
Melira dueling sword attack: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10; +2 to attack roll due to flanking
dueling sword damage: 1d6 ⇒ 6

The human kept her blade in motion, testing Tsadok's defensive skill as he used Sable Moon to parry all of her incoming attacks.

So then, why was she smiling?

That question was immediately answered as "Melira" dissolved, revealing in her stead a shadowy figure that swayed and moved with an erratic grace, the "dueling sword" it "wielded" nothing more than its own long dark fingers. Tsadok's crimson eyes narrowed as he immediately brought Sable Moon to bear behind him, seeking to guard his now exposed rear flank. The act came just in time as the grey-skinned half-orc caught the brunt of the real Melira's sword with the flat of his own.

So caught up on dealing with me, the dark-haired duelist hissed with a sneer, that you failed to see what was truly going on.

Tsadok has sustained 19 points of damage and is Grazed at 23 hp. He takes a –1 penalty on all attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks, as well as to AC and caster level.

It came to him immediately: ...but there was more to it than just her covert movement. Now that the grey-skinned half-orc had laid eyes on her, Tsadok noted that everything about her seemed... lessened to his senses. Her coloration (both of skin and clothing), any sound she could have made, anything involving perception in one form or another, was somehow eerily muted. Even the slightly curved sword, the naked blade of which measuring just over 3 feet in length, that she clutched in her hand.

She had used shadow magic to create a visual illusion of herself and cloaked her undead shade companion with it, allowing Melira to be able to strike at Tsadok nearly unseen.

Now the half-orc understood. Melira was more than just trained in the Aldori tradition of the sword. She was also one that existed in the boundary between light and darkness, capable of weaving together the shadows to become a half-seen artist of deception.

Melira was a shadowdancer.

And that brings Melira's turn and the surprise round to a close. The battle map has been updated to take the actions taken into account. Round 1 one will start with Tsadok's next post.

Due to the shadow's incorporeal special ability, Sable Moon only did 4 points of damage to the creature (it takes only half damage from a corporeal source, even when using a magical weapon). In addition, due to its incorporeal subtype, it took none of the precision-based skirmisher damage (An incorporeal creature is immune to critical hits and precision-based damage [such as sneak attack damage] unless the attacks are made using a weapon with the ghost touch special weapon quality). Thankfully, the shadow was not able to land its attack on Tsadok, as its attacks pass through (ignore) natural armor, armor, and shields, although deflection bonuses and force effects (such as mage armor) work normally against it. Despite the benefits provided by his race, Tsadok would still suffer from the Strength damage caused by the shadow's incorporeal touch.


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M Dhampir U. Monk (Temp) 6 {HP:52/52 G:39 W:26 C:13 D:-1} {AC:21 T:19 F:17} {F:+8 R:+10 W:+7} Init:+4 Per:+13

Tsadok raised a eyebrow at her reply. But was quickly back on task with the flurry of blades hitting each other. But why is she smiling? Then it became clear to him as her form dissolved away. And with that he knew where she really was as he brought his blade to guard his flank.

Well played, he replied, that was your only advantage.

And with that he shifts his feet 5’ step to change where the two are no longer front to rear but side to side. But that was just the start, as he seems to be in several places at once around Melira.

Fast-moving Flanker 1 pt Ki. Which leads into a full out attack.

Then from one of the many form of Tsadok comes forth a strike from Sable Moon to the dark-haired duelist. And at almost the same time another strike comes from another form of him to a different part of her body.

Tsadok’s Stunning Fist(DC 16): 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (10) + 14 = 24 -1 grazed, +2 flanking
Tsadok’s SF Dmg: 1d8 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
Skirmisher Dmg: 2d6 ⇒ (3, 6) = 9
Reposition Combat Maneuver attempt: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (11) + 14 = 25 1 pt Ki, Repositioning her to the left of her shadow, to break up their flanking

If stunning fist att fails then will attempt again.

Tsadok’s Att/Stunning Fist: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (20) + 8 = 28 -1 grazed, +2 flanking
Crit confirm: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (20) + 14 = 34
Tsadok’s SF Dmg: 1d8 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
Skirmisher Dmg: 2d6 ⇒ (6, 6) = 12

And with the final blow from Sable Moon, Tsadok comes to rest diagonally to her left. Bring the nine-ringed blade to low ready position.

Dark Archive

Male kaiju dungeon master; hp 697 Healthy/522 Grazed/348 Wounded/174 Critical/-15 hp Disabled (fast healing 30); AC 48, T 8, FF 43; F +34, Ref +25, Will +23; Init +9; Perc +45

Moments before Mesa's performance, near the Longhouse...

Initiative: Tsadok - 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13
Initiative: Melira - 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11
Initiative: Rocnork - 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
Battle Music: Ambience | Honor For All

Tsadok
Tsadok raised a eyebrow at her reply, but was quickly back on task with the flurry of blades hitting each other. But why is she smiling? Then it became clear to him as her form dissolved away. And with that he knew where she really was as he brought his blade to guard his flank.

Well played, he replied. But that was your only advantage.

And so speaking, he shifted his position so that the duo were no longer front to rear of him, but rather side to side. Yet that was just the start, as with that one move, that one step, Tsadok seemed to be in several places at once around Melira.

Both the Aldori-trained shadowdancer and her shadow companion's eyes grew wide at the sight of the grey-skinned half-orc's movement speed.

Then from one of the many blurred forms of Tsadok came a strike with Sable Moon to the dark-haired duelist. And at almost the same time another strike came from a different form to another part of her body.

Melira's Fort check: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6; -1 due to Grazed condition

Tsadok's first attack was done with the flat of the ox-tail saber to her right temple, the impact causing the nine rings threaded in its obsidian-like blade to jangle loudly. It was a light strike, but it immediately resulted in a concussion, resulting in dizziness and causing Melira's eyes to blur as she was spun out of position. The second hit was much heavier by comparison, striking the human on the left shoulder just above her armpit. This strike did more substantial damage as Melira felt her collarbone break, leading to immediate paralysis of that hand, shock, and nausea.

And with the final blow from Sable Moon, Tsadok came to a stop, the nine-ringed blade held in a low ready position.

Melira has sustained 46 points of damage and is Wounded. She takes a –2 penalty on all attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks, as well as to AC and caster level. In addition, she is also stunned for 1 round. She drops everything held, can’t take actions, takes a –2 penalty to AC, and loses her Dexterity bonus to AC (if any).

Melira
The human left reeling from Tsadok's assault, her shadow companion moved to render its assistance, passing through her body to exit beside the grey-skinned half orc. The undead shade's long, dark fingers reached toward its foe.

Due to its movement within Tsadok's threat range, the shadow provokes an attack of opportunity.

Tsadok’s Attack of Opportunity: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (4) + 13 = 17; -1 Grazed
Tsadok’s Attack of Opportunity Damage: 1d8 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8

The shadow has sustained 4 points of damage and is Healthy. It takes no penalty on all attack rolls, saving throws, skill checks, and ability checks, as well as to AC and caster level.

The grey-skinned half-orc, his senses fully active, performed a backhanded slash at the shadowy being. A cold chill passed up Sable Moon and through his arm as the obsidian blade sliced through it.

Undaunted, the undead shade's long, dark fingers reached toward its foe.

Shadow's incorporeal touch: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19
Strength damage: 1d6 ⇒ 1

Not wishing to experience the creature's touch, Tsadok leaned back as he began to bob and weave in order to avoid the shadow.

And that brings Melira's turn to a close. The battle map has been updated to take the actions taken into account. Next up is Rocnork.


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Male Wyvaran Kineticist 5 ; AC 19, t 14, ff 16; init +3; Saves F +8, R+8, W+4: perc +7

Looking up from his inner thoughts the familiar sounds of the acursed jangling sword catches his attention looking through the shadows at the to figures fighting knowing I have to help the half orc. Cursing in his native tongue he launches into the air flying as fast as he can leaving a dust cloud behind him racing higher then tucking his wings to add to his speed.

Taking a point of burn Rocnork’s empowered sand blast: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18
Sandblast damage: 4d6 + 9 ⇒ (5, 6, 3, 6) + 9 = 29

Pulling from his life energy feeling the slight pain as he calls forth his sand and launches it towards the female that seems to be in the center of the four images of the half orc. A trickle of white-blue blood from his nostril.

Dark Archive

Male kaiju dungeon master; hp 697 Healthy/522 Grazed/348 Wounded/174 Critical/-15 hp Disabled (fast healing 30); AC 48, T 8, FF 43; F +34, Ref +25, Will +23; Init +9; Perc +45

Moments before Mesa's performance, near the Longhouse...

Initiative: Tsadok - 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13
Initiative: Melira - 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11
Initiative: Rocnork - 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
Battle Music: Ambience | Honor For All

Rocnork
Looking up from his inner thoughts, the familiar sound of the accursed jangling sword caught Rocnork's attention. Looking through the night gloom at the two -, no three figures fighting, the wyvaran knew that he'd have to help the half orc. Cursing in his native tongue, he shot up into the air, flying as fast as he could and leaving a dust cloud in his wake. Rocnork raced higher before tucking his wings to add to speed.

Pulling from his life energy and feeling the slight pain as he powered dive toward the dark-haired female, called forth his sand and launched it toward the human that seemed to be in the center of the four images of the half orc, his effort marked by the trickle of white-blue blood from his nostril.

All around Melira the ground seemed to shake as sand surfaced and slammed into her from below. It struck with unbelievable force, battering the woman before settling back once again. Where she now lay, the area seemed like a tiny barren desert.

Melira has sustained 29 points of damage and is unconscious.

And that brings Rocnork's turn as well as the round to a close. The battle map has been updated to take the actions taken into account. Round 2 begins now. Next up is Tsadok.


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M Dhampir U. Monk (Temp) 6 {HP:52/52 G:39 W:26 C:13 D:-1} {AC:21 T:19 F:17} {F:+8 R:+10 W:+7} Init:+4 Per:+13

Tsadok watched as Melira’s shadow companion just moved right through her, to take revenge on him for the harm he caused. As it came forth he brought Sable Moon to bear with a backhanded slash. But as the black obsidian-like blade passes through the shadow a chill races from the blade to his arm. But nothing that he was not used too. He watched as the long claw from the shadow came forth to pierce his left shoulder. Where he felt the strength leave his body, he moved back a step to avoid any further discomfort.

Just then he heard the familiar whoosh of air, which meant his companion took flight. Tsadok could detect the slight tremor in the ground seconds before a column of sand erupted from beneath the shadowdancer’s feet. As the column fell back to whence it came, to show the motionless body of Melira.

Looking to the shadow, Your Mistress has fallen. Do you wish to join her? Tsadok posed the question to the shadow unknowing if it understood him.

Ready an action: Fighting defensively; the trigger for my action is if the shadow move forth to attack.

Sable Moon 1st Att: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (11) + 8 = 19 -1 Grazed; -4 Fighting Defensively
Sable Moon Dmg: 1d8 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6
Sable Moon 2nd Att: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 3 = 10 -1 Grazed; -4 Fighting Defensively
Sable Moon Dmg: 1d8 + 5 ⇒ (5) + 5 = 10

If the shadow does withdraw, Tsadok moves to gather up Melira's sword. As he motion Rocnork's over to her body where Tsadok returns to. As they shield her body from the crowds view.

Dark Archive

Male kaiju dungeon master; hp 697 Healthy/522 Grazed/348 Wounded/174 Critical/-15 hp Disabled (fast healing 30); AC 48, T 8, FF 43; F +34, Ref +25, Will +23; Init +9; Perc +45

During the opening of Mesa's performance, near the Longhouse...

Initiative: Tsadok - 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13
Initiative: Melira - 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11
Initiative: Rocnork - 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
Battle Music: Ambience | Honor For All

Tsadok
Tsadok watched as Melira’s shadow companion just moved right through her, to take revenge on him for the harm he caused. As it came forth he brought Sable Moon to bear with a backhanded slash. But as the black obsidian-like blade passes through the shadow a chill races from the blade to his arm. But nothing that he was not used too. He watched as the long claw from the shadow came forth to pierce his left shoulder. Where he felt the strength leave his body, he moved back a step to avoid any further discomfort.

Just then he heard the familiar whoosh of air, which meant his companion had taken flight. Tsadok could feel the slight tremor in the ground seconds before a column of sand erupted from beneath the shadowdancer’s feet. The sand plume fell back to whence it came, revealing the motionless body of Melira.

Looking to the shadow, Your Mistress has fallen. Do you wish to join her? Tsadok posed the question to the shadow unknowing if it understood him.

Melira
The undead shade weighed its options. The strikes from the grey-skin had proven to be merely annoying. It knew that should the fight between the two continue, it would eventually win out.

However, the winged one's arrival now threw that outcome into doubt. Perhaps the shadow could win against both, but it wasn't willing to take the chance to find out.

The undead shade dove into the ground, disappearing from the view of both Rocnork and Tsadok.

With Melira unconscious and the shadow's withdrawal, this combat (and time dilation) has ended. Everyone gains 800 XP, plus an additional 400 XP for the successful completion of the challenge. This brings your current totals to 19,650 (LM, Mesa, Nyym, Kyt, Rocnork, Rohan, and Tsadok) and 26,785 (Nogusta). The cleric has achieved tier 1 and is 2,215 XP from tier 2 of 6th level while the rest of Team Ruby has achieved tier 2 and is 1,350 XP away from tier 3 of 5th level. Break out the fanfare, because its time for the first Final Fantasy victory dance of the new chapter! Get your characters properly updated and we'll take care of the remaining business of finishing out this scene.

I'm going to err on the side of caution and provide a brief "tutorial" for both the newcomers and returning players on the staggered advancement system.

Staggered Advancement
Staggered advancement allows you to gain some of your bonuses, such as skill ranks, hit points, and saving throws, at even breaks between levels.

When increasing in level, characters often gain new abilities and powers seemingly overnight. The following advancement variant allows you to add some verisimilitude to the way in which your characters grow in power.

Instead of gaining all your new abilities when you advance to the next level, you divide them among four XP tiers: 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%. Each XP tier represents a specific percentage of the XP required to advance to the next level.

Whenever you reach a new XP tier, gain the appropriate universal abilities and skill ranks for that class as detailed below. Your feat, ability score, and spell progressions remain unchanged.

Universal Abilities: Universal abilities include your selected class’s base attack bonus, hit points (hp), and saving throw bonuses. At the 25%, 50%, and 75% XP tiers, you can select one of the following options.

Base Attack Bonus: Increase your selected class’s base attack bonus (if it would improve next level).

Hit Points: Determine the number of hit points you would gain for advancing to the next level in your class and add 50% of those hit points (rounding down) to your hit point maximum. When you advance fully to the next level of your selected class, add the remaining hit points.

Saving Throw Bonuses: Increase your class’s saving throw bonuses (if it would improve next level).

Each of the above options can only be selected once per level. Additionally, the base attack bonuses and saving throw bonuses of some classes don’t increase each time they advance in level. If only one universal ability is applicable, incorporate it at the 75% tier. If two are applicable, incorporate one at the 50% tier and the other at the 75% tier (your choice).

Class Features: Characters gain all class features upon reaching the next level (tier 4).

Skill Ranks: Determine the total number of skill ranks you would gain for advancing to the next level in your selected class, and allocate 50% of the skill ranks (rounding down) when you reach the 50% XP tier. When you advance fully to the next level, you can spend the remaining skill ranks.


Awakened Bloodrager (Fire) 5.2; AC 19/13/17; 52 hp; F9 R6 W6; Effects: ; Health: Healthy (0); Rage left: 27/28

Liesel-Marie improves her saves. This is a reminder for myself to check to see if she gains any skill ranks at this level.

Kudos and well done to our new allies!


M Dhampir U. Monk (Temp) 6 {HP:52/52 G:39 W:26 C:13 D:-1} {AC:21 T:19 F:17} {F:+8 R:+10 W:+7} Init:+4 Per:+13

Tsadok improves his saves; perception and stealth by 1.

Tsadok watches as the shadow sinks into the ground. He lets out a breath of relief, for he did not wish to continue the fight with it. He looks to Rocnork and motion him to come over.

Stand in front of her and use your wings to block her from the view of the crowd. They do not need any unrest to befall their ceremony.

He moves quickly to retrieve her sword from where she dropped it and returns to Rocnok. Where he place himself behind and to the side of Melira's falling body till they can move her or speak with Kurst.


Male Wyvaran Kineticist 5 ; AC 19, t 14, ff 16; init +3; Saves F +8, R+8, W+4: perc +7

Quickly unfurls his wings letting the air catch and and lands with a thump kicking up the newly transformed sand as he looks at Tsadok. Looking at the woman then him.

“Just like you too find a fight after we just get here.”

Moves to hide the body from any on lookers knowing our fight would have gotten attention with his dang noisy sword of his and my lack of stealth.

“Check if she is still alive and bind her up either way I don’t need her becoming another problem. Who is she anyway?”

Said in his deep guttural accent. Almost sounding angry but isn’t he is just annoyed.
Reaches in to his clothes pulls up a rag covered in white-ish blue And dabs his snout clean.

Rocnork improves his hit points. And improves his Acrobatic skills

Dark Archive

Male kaiju dungeon master; hp 697 Healthy/522 Grazed/348 Wounded/174 Critical/-15 hp Disabled (fast healing 30); AC 48, T 8, FF 43; F +34, Ref +25, Will +23; Init +9; Perc +45

During the second verse of Mesa's song...

After retrieving the fallen duelist's weapon and moving to position himself, along with the wyvaran, to keep Melira's body hidden from the view of any attendees of the ceremony at the Flame of the Fallen, it wasn't long before a patrol of militia-guards came upon them. After tending to the woman's wounds and a discussion about what had transpired, both Rocnork and Tsadok were allowed to go while a still unconscious Melira was taken to the nearby Trunau Countinghouse, a large stately building that was home to priests of Abadar the Gold-Fisted, god of cities, law, merchants, and wealth.

After Mesa's performance...

As a child, I believed in happy endings. Who didn't? Even as adults, we all want that happy ending, right? But it doesn’t always roll that way. Eleven days ago, Trunau wasn't supposed to have a happy ending. With the forces arrayed against us, the orc hordes should have washed over this town and slaughtered us all.

Halgra paused, grim-faced, allowing her last words to sink in for all in attendance, before continuing with a smile. But that didn't happen. And it was due in part to these few that stand before you now. Aodhàn Charthagnion. Kytynna Hanakotaba. Liesel-Marie Frostvale. Mesa Silvertail. Anchorite Nogusta. Rohan Scythe. And the one known only as Nyym. As she called out the names of Team Ruby's members, a smiling dusky-skinned, dark-haired little girl (who had, until this moment, been standing by the Chief Defender's side) stepped forward and handed each of them a brand new ornate dagger. On one side, the blades were etched with their names. On the other, the hopeknives all bore the following inscription:

You fought to give us a happy ending.

Once each member of Team Ruby and Nogusta had received their new blades, Halgra continued speaking. The hopeknife is more than a weapon—it’s a symbol. To Trunauans, earning your hopeknife is a mark of your place in the community. When you earn your hopeknife, it means you are wise enough to make adult decisions, old enough to know what it means to fear, and strong enough to protect your neighbors, even if it costs you your own life. You all have embodied the Standing Vow: to hold this land against all comers, paying tribute neither to raiding orcs nor to the armies of neighboring nations. To stand your ground and live free, no matter the cost. And for your efforts, we, the citizens of Trunau, salute you. Trunau forever!

As one, the gathered townsfolk took up the cry. Trunau forever!

While the chant was being taken up, Patrol Sergeant Omast Frum approached both Kurst Grath and his father, Patrol Leader Jagrin and whispered something to them. When he was done, Jagrin Grath moved up to Chief Defender Halgra, where in turn, he spoke to her in hushed tones. When he was done, the haggard woman nodded grimly before turning her attention back to the crowd.

This marks the end of the ceremony. The night is still young yet. Enjoy yourselves, but do no forget that we've still got work to do in rebuilding Trunau. Because the enemy is out there, waiting before us. Believe me when I say we will have a difficult time ahead of us. But if we are to be prepared for it, we must first shed our fear of it. I stand here before you now truthfully unafraid. Why? Because I am Halgra of the Blackened Blades? Nonsense!

No, I stand here without fear because I remember. I remember that I am here not because of what lies before me but because of what lies behind me. I remember that for 200 years we have fought these orcs. I remember that for 200 years they have sent their armies to destroy us. And after over two centuries of conflict and battle, I remember the thing that matters most: We are still here! Tonight, we will send a message to that army. Tonight, let us shake the roots of this hill. Tonight, let us tremble these halls of earth, wood, and stone. Let us be heard so that even the Empty Hand in Urgir will know the truth. Tonight, let us make them remember: This is Trunau and we are not afraid!

This drew a rousing cheer and fist-pumping from all of the gathered townsfolk, along with more shouts of "Trunau forever". Halgra smiled at the sight of it, then turned her gaze to each of the members of Team Ruby. And though they couldn't hear her over the tumult of the frenzied Trunauans, her look left no doubt that as to what she wanted:

To speak with them as soon as possible.


Awakened Bloodrager (Fire) 5.2; AC 19/13/17; 52 hp; F9 R6 W6; Effects: ; Health: Healthy (0); Rage left: 27/28
Liesel-Marie Frostvale wrote:

Liesel-Marie improves her saves. This is a reminder for myself to check to see if she gains any skill ranks at this level.

Kudos and well done to our new allies!

Per this post, I am not due to gain skills at this level.


Aodhàn smiled as he watched Chief Defender Halgra work the citizens of Trunau, only to have it fade as she turned to look at the members of Team Ruby. That, along with the actions of Patrol Sergeant Frum and Patrol Leader Jagrin Grath, told him what he needed to know: something had happened.

She's got a mission for us.

The bouncer sighed. More likely for the others. He still was in no condition to handle anything that Halgra might have Team Ruby do. Which meant he'd have to stay behind while Kyt and the others take on the job.

But just because Aodhàn couldn't help them directly didn't mean he couldn't help at all. And with that thought in mind, the Chelish bouncer turned his attention to Mesa.

It was time for the two to have a talk.


M Half Drow init +6/ hp 35 [35]/ ac 18/ t 14/ ff 13/ fort +4/ ref +9/ wil +6/ perc +6/ stealth +11/ athletics 0/ b2h +3/ lore engineering +2/ finesse +11/ ki pool 7 kinetic shinobi (fading shadow) /4

Nyyms curiosity was getting the better of him. Having taken up the chant of the people. The arrival of the elder Grath and the following hushed conversation. Nyym continued pumping his fist to the chant, trying not to draw attention as he tried listen in...

Nyym will take 10 to listen in on the conversation between Jagrin and Halgra giving him a 20 for perception.


Awakened Bloodrager (Fire) 5.2; AC 19/13/17; 52 hp; F9 R6 W6; Effects: ; Health: Healthy (0); Rage left: 27/28

Liesel-Marie took up the chant with gusto, shouting with here neighbors and friends. She’s oblivious to Halgra’s unspoken summons until one of the other members of Team Ruby gets her attention.

Dark Archive

Male kaiju dungeon master; hp 697 Healthy/522 Grazed/348 Wounded/174 Critical/-15 hp Disabled (fast healing 30); AC 48, T 8, FF 43; F +34, Ref +25, Will +23; Init +9; Perc +45
Nyym wrote:

Nyyms curiosity was getting the better of him. Having taken up the chant of the people. The arrival of the elder Grath and the following hushed conversation. Nyym continued pumping his fist to the chant, trying not to draw attention as he tried listen in...

Nyym will take 10 to listen in on the conversation between Jagrin and Halgra giving him a 20 for perception.

The DC to hear the whispered conversation is 18, so Nyym passes the check. He can make out Jagrin Grath informing Halgra that a woman, armed with a dueling sword and intent on disrupting the ceremony, had been intercepted and subsequently captured by the pale half-orc and wyvaran, and that she was currently being detained at the Trunau Countinghouse while her injuries were being treated. The Patrol Leader believes that the members of Team Ruby were her targets, though as she had yet to undergo interrogation, it was only speculation on his part.


M Human HP:(55)46/26 (temp HP Max 45 - Burn 36/Current 30) 3pts burn (G=41 W=28 C=14)AC:21, T:14, FF:17,CMD:18 Skills Ath +5 Climb +8 perc +6 Aco +10/+16 perf +6 Spell +7Active: 3 dr/admin

"I am So Sorry but I have to be stepping away. I apologize for any problem I may have caused. I am giving the hammer to Liesel as per DM request. Thank you all for the invite and again I am sorry I am leaving."

Dark Archive

Male kaiju dungeon master; hp 697 Healthy/522 Grazed/348 Wounded/174 Critical/-15 hp Disabled (fast healing 30); AC 48, T 8, FF 43; F +34, Ref +25, Will +23; Init +9; Perc +45
DM Blayde MacRonan wrote:
The DC to hear the whispered conversation is 18, so Nyym passes the check. He can make out Jagrin Grath informing Halgra that a woman, armed with a dueling sword and intent on disrupting the ceremony, had been intercepted and subsequently captured by the pale half-orc and wyvaran, and that she was currently being detained at the Trunau Countinghouse while her injuries were being treated. The Patrol Leader believes that the members of Team Ruby were her targets, though as she had yet to undergo interrogation, it was only speculation on his part.

Just an addendum to my previous post... If anyone else wants to attempt a Perception check to overhear the whispered conversation between Halgra and Jagrin, they can attempt to do so. The DC is 18, as stated in my response to Nyym's post, with the same results upon success.


Awakened Bloodrager (Fire) 5.2; AC 19/13/17; 52 hp; F9 R6 W6; Effects: ; Health: Healthy (0); Rage left: 27/28

Not interested in attempting the check. That's not where Liesel-Marie's head is at.

Rohan, I don't think there are any apologies necessary. I'm sorry to see you go and hope the road you're on leads to happy destinations. Peace.


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M Half Drow init +6/ hp 35 [35]/ ac 18/ t 14/ ff 13/ fort +4/ ref +9/ wil +6/ perc +6/ stealth +11/ athletics 0/ b2h +3/ lore engineering +2/ finesse +11/ ki pool 7 kinetic shinobi (fading shadow) /4

Nyym cast a glance to either side or see if any of the others had noticed or picked up on the change in Halgras demeanor. Aohden seemed to notice. But the others had apparently not. Even the usual boisterous Rohan was unusually quiet for someone who was being honored..

I guess he is still wrestling with weather to stay with Team Ruby or stike out on his own quest for answers.

Nyym had heard the he was considering going off in search of his giant kin in a bid to discover his true heritage. But now was not the time for Nyym to approach him on the subject. The look on Halgras and the elder Graths face told him something had happened. Leaning in close to LM and kyt, the 2 closest members on stage. He gave each a gentle elbow to draw their attention..

Somethings up. Halgra wishes to speak with us about an attack during the ceremony. Seams we were the intended targets.

Nyym kept his enthusiasm up with the crowds to conceal that anything had happened. Now was not a time for the people of Trunau to have to worry of more attacks so soon.

Dark Archive

Male kaiju dungeon master; hp 697 Healthy/522 Grazed/348 Wounded/174 Critical/-15 hp Disabled (fast healing 30); AC 48, T 8, FF 43; F +34, Ref +25, Will +23; Init +9; Perc +45

As the cheering of the crowd began to wind down and were dispersing to begin their individual celebrations, Chief Defender Halgra and her youngest daughter approached the gathered members of Team Ruby.

We need to talk. Walk with me. And so saying, she informed them of the incident that had happened earlier, making sure not to do so within earshot of any townsfolk that the group passed or drew near to.

Halgra continued speaking even as she lead them down the street away from the Flame of the Fallen. Although we don't know the identity of the attacker currently, we believe that she was in fact coming for you all. But this is indicative of the greater problem at hand.

We haven't exactly been idle during the rebuilding. Jagrin has gleaned information from captured orc prisoners and the half-orc saboteur Urnsul that leads myself and the rest of the Council of Defenders to believe that our orc troubles are far from over. Thanks to you, the orcs’ hill giant chieftain, Grenseldek, was unable to recover the items she sought from Uskroth’s tomb, and the council fears another attack on Trunau in the near future.

As she finished speaking, the group found themselves standing before their destination: Ivory Hall, the seat of power in Trunau.

At one point earlier in the town's history, the Ivory Hall had been originally festooned with the skulls of the most ferocious orc champions and chieftains that had been felled in Trunau's first siege, their hollow eye sockets mute testimony to both the constant threat under which Trunau exists, and to the residents' unwavering commitment to surviving it. Later generations of councilors found the display too grisly and similar to the orcs' own trophy-keeping traditions, however, and discarded the bones. Now, the hall gets its name from the brilliant white of its walls, and serves as the home of whoever is Chief Defender. Halgra has since put the manor to good use, allowing several of her grown children to house their own families in its many rooms.

Waiting outside was Silvermane and his eerie raven companion. Halgra nodded in deference to the venerable elf, who in turn acknowledged her with a nod of his own before motioning with his hands using the sign language that only he and the Chief Defender seemed to understand.

He thanks you for saving his life during the battle.

Halgra then looked to Kytynna and the others. You have given and done more on behalf of Truanu than could ever have expected of you. For that we are truly grateful. And while we have no right to ask more of you, I fear we must. To that end, I would ask you to go to Grenseldek’s lair—an abandoned outpost near the River Esk called Redlake Fort—and deal with the giant chieftain and her orc tribe before they can attack Trunau again. Your recent heroism during the orc raid and in Uskroth’s tomb makes you all best suited to this task, as Trunau’s militia and citizenry are needed to rebuild the town’s defenses after the orc attack.

The mute elf tapped Halgra on the shoulder before resuming his intricate gestures once more. When he was finished, the Chief Defender gave him a surprised look. Are you certain? When Silvermane nodded in the affirmative, the woman turned back to Team Ruby. If you are willing to give him the time, there may be a way that he can lend you something in the way of assistance, if you're planning to give further aid to this town. She then added, The decision is yours.


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Awakened Bloodrager (Fire) 5.2; AC 19/13/17; 52 hp; F9 R6 W6; Effects: ; Health: Healthy (0); Rage left: 27/28

Liesel-Marie scooped up young Ruby most unceremoniously as they walked and carried her over one shoulder, but relents and lets the girl change positions so she sits on the Erutaki‘s shoulders instead.

At the translation of gratitude, she places a fist over her heart and makes a minimal bow to avoid throwing her rider. ”We could do no less, Grandfather. You are the heart of this tribe called Trunau.”

Reaching up, she lifts Ruby up and over her head to sit her gently on the ground, only to find the youngster feigning anger. ”I’m no little girl anymore - I have my hopeknife now!” In response, Liesel-Marie falls to one knee, drawing the heavy greataxe as she does, and holds it before her horizontally. ”Forgive me, little defender. I only meant to have fun. I pledge my strength and my life to you and this city,” she looks up at Ruby’s mother as she finishes the statement, ”wherever that may take me.”

Looking back at Ruby, ”Am I forgiven?”

Dark Archive

Male kaiju dungeon master; hp 697 Healthy/522 Grazed/348 Wounded/174 Critical/-15 hp Disabled (fast healing 30); AC 48, T 8, FF 43; F +34, Ref +25, Will +23; Init +9; Perc +45

Though her arms were crossed and expression angry, Ruby's facade crumbled before Liesel-Marie's declaration as she wrapped her arms around the Erutaki's neck and hugged her tightly. You're forgiven. Just make sure you come back.

She released Liesel-Marie and looked up at the rest of Team Ruby. That goes for the rest of you, she finished, quickly using a hand to wipe a tear that was making its way down her cheek.

A caw from the druid's raven interrupted the moment, causing Halgra to glare at the large bird. It in turn seemed uncomfortable beneath the Chief Defender's gaze as it sought to reposition itself on the old elf's shoulder.

Shaking his head, the venerable elf began gesturing once more. With the help of Halgra, Silvermane told the group about a place called the Vault of Thorns, a demiplane created by the druidic Council of Thorns, of which he was once a member. The entrance to the Vault was located within Ghostlight Marsh, a swamp to the northeast surrounding the confluence of the Kestrel and Esk rivers. Silvermane informed them that the Vault contained a cache of items that could help in their fight against the Twisted Heart menace, though he gave no specific details about them. To find the Vault of Thorns, they were to look for a marker in the form of a circle of thorns carved into a stone near the banks of the River Esk. This marker would put them on the right path through the swamp to find the Vault, but he warned that the entrance to the demiplane was hidden.

At this point, the elf produced an ancient, leaf embossed brass lantern that he called a ghostlight lantern. According to Silvermane, if the husk of a dead will-o’-wisp were to be placed inside the lantern, the lamp would produce a beacon to point out the circle of standing stones that marked the Vault’s entrance. Once Team Ruby reached the druidic circle, they needed only wash the supernaturally fueled lantern’s light over the central standing stone to open the portal into the Vault of Thorns.

When Silvermane was done, Halgra continued speaking. In the hope that you would indeed give your assistance, I have already secured passage for you aboard a keelboat that regularly plies the rivers near here. The riverboat’s captain, a half-orc named Raag Bloodtusk, has agreed to transport you all to Ghostlight Marsh and then up the River Esk to a location near Redlake Fort in exchange for your efforts in helping sail the boat and defending it from any dangerous river denizens.

I know what you're thinking, that an overland journey would be simpler. And were you in another land, I would agree with that. However, overland travel to Redlake Fort would be foolhardy at best and dangerous at worst, as it would take you right through the orc-infested Hold of Belkzen, orcs that would love nothing more than to claim as spoils the heads Trunau's newest defenders. Bloodtusk’s riverboat, on the other hand, is well known among the orc tribes along the river, and, as a former gladiator like Vegazi, the captain enjoys rights of safe passage from these tribes’ chieftains, which makes a river journey far safer than traveling overland.

Halgra then looked to Kytynna. Before you all head out in the morning, come see me. I will give you a letter of introduction to pass on to Bloodtusk, who should be waiting for your team on the southern bank of the Kestrel River.

If there are those that wish to, you can make either a Nature or Society check (DC 10) to gain further information regarding Ghostlight Marsh. Halgra or Silvermane can potentially fill in any necessary details, but the initial effort must come from the group.

Though it has been a while, the lantern that Silvermane hands you is one you've had in your possession before, after your successful run through the Plague House. However, this time the druid will take time to give you more insight on what its abilities are:

Ghostlight Lantern:

This brass bullseye lantern is embossed with dancing orbs flitting amid a leaf-and-holly motif. A ghostlight lantern functions as a normal bullseye lantern, but if the remains of a dead will-o’-wisp are placed inside it, the lantern gains additional abilities. The dead will-o’-wisp powers the lantern for a period of 1 week, during which time the lantern sheds a bluish-white light without the need for oil as fuel. Creatures within the 60-foot cone of the lantern’s normal light are outlined with a pale, bluish glow, as faerie fire (CL 5th). Orcs within the cone are dazzled, as if in bright sunlight, for as long as they remain within the light. Additionally, three times per day as a standard action, the wielder of a ghostlight lantern can draw upon the power of the deceased will-o’-wisp fueling it to cast shocking grasp (CL 5th). Lastly, while within the bounds of Ghostlight Marsh in the Hold of Belkzen, a ghostlight lantern unerringly emits a beacon that illuminates a direct path to the circle of standing stones that form the entrance to the Vault of Thorns. After 1 week, the power of the deceased aberration is exhausted, and the ghostlight lantern loses its additional abilities, once again functioning only as a normal bullseye lantern until another dead will-o’-wisp is placed inside.


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Awakened Bloodrager (Fire) 5.2; AC 19/13/17; 52 hp; F9 R6 W6; Effects: ; Health: Healthy (0); Rage left: 27/28

Liesel-Marie stands and tousles the youngling's hair. "I have every intention of returning, little one. I intend to bounce your firstborn on my knee, but that won't be for a while, so I have time. You must stay to protect Trunau."

"How many strong is our force going to this Redlake Fort? Is it Team Ruby or are there others that might know the lay of the land better?"

No knowledge checks to see here.


Aodhàn let out a resigned sigh. I'd love to accompany you and see this through, but I'm still not fully recovered enough for that kind of outing. That said, there are some things we learned concerning ourselves that need looking into. And since fact-finding has its own risks, I'm thinking myself, Mesa, Nogusta, and Vegazi should go about doing that while the rest of you handle this business at Redlake Fort with the orcs.

The Chelish bouncer paused, his expression thoughtful. The two what stopped the attacker..., this is the second time they've helped us. Maybe they can be recruited for the fort mission. Might take some convincing, yeah?

There is another I know that can go with you. Used to spar with me. Comes from Tian Xia, a place called Jinin, I think. Name's Aiko. Elf-trained, lives by a strict code of honor, and a damned good fighter. Might be just what you need, given where you're going.


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M Half Drow init +6/ hp 35 [35]/ ac 18/ t 14/ ff 13/ fort +4/ ref +9/ wil +6/ perc +6/ stealth +11/ athletics 0/ b2h +3/ lore engineering +2/ finesse +11/ ki pool 7 kinetic shinobi (fading shadow) /4

Nyym smiled at the sight of LM and Ruby's playful banter.it had been awhile since they could carry on as such. It was nice, even in the face of a serious mission to be light hearted and relaxed for a change. So much had changed since the night of Ruby's coming of age and recieving her Hope Knife. It was in fact Ruby who had brought them all together. As soon as he caught a break in her banter..

Her 1st born won't happen till she's 40 and her Suiter has been approved by Team Ruby. Can't have her marry just anybody now can we .( wink). And you are correct. Since you have gotten ur Hope Knife, you have graduated from little one to small one. Thanx to you we have each other to watch each others back. We will return once this is over. Protect Brinia and keep Cham in line while we are away..

Nyym gave a wink at the last remark as he knew it would be the other way around. He knew she would turn on him at the comment as she disliked being referred to in such a way. But she also knew it was just in fun and playfulness. Nyym had always teased with her in such a way. Even when he was unknown to the others. But he was one of few that could get away with it. Turning back to matter at hand..

This is the 1st true home that I have ever know. If you had not asked, I would have volunteered. This is my vow, to protect my home and those who live within its borders.

Looking to Aohden and extending his hand..

You will be with us in spirit. Get well my friend and we will meet up with you all after this is done.


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M Dhampir U. Monk (Temp) 6 {HP:52/52 G:39 W:26 C:13 D:-1} {AC:21 T:19 F:17} {F:+8 R:+10 W:+7} Init:+4 Per:+13

It was only moments after the battle was over the city guard rounded a corner of the building. Almost as if they were waiting for it to end. And the questioning ensued. Tsadak understood why, after everything this town has been through but it still tested his nerves. As they realized that we were not the threat and that the falling woman was, they carted her off.

Turning to Rocnork, I’m heading to the inn. Before anyone else shows up. And with that said he turns and heads off for the Rambling House. Taking a path away for the crowds.

Reaching the inn, he goes to get a drink and double portion of food. And settles in to a corner table to eat.


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Male Wyvaran Kineticist 5 ; AC 19, t 14, ff 16; init +3; Saves F +8, R+8, W+4: perc +7

Stands there a moment after Tsadok leaves looking at the scene then turns and follows the orc cause I know where he goes most likely trouble will follow especially after an attack by an orc tribe besides we need to find Team Ruby and get started on our own mission. Why did they send an orc for this? he mutters to himself knowing his skills are worth it even if he causes a distraction where ever he goes. Besides it to crowded here.


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M Dhampir U. Monk (Temp) 6 {HP:52/52 G:39 W:26 C:13 D:-1} {AC:21 T:19 F:17} {F:+8 R:+10 W:+7} Init:+4 Per:+13

I heard that you baby dragon. Try to keep up. Says Tsadok moving though the city.

Dark Archive

Male kaiju dungeon master; hp 697 Healthy/522 Grazed/348 Wounded/174 Critical/-15 hp Disabled (fast healing 30); AC 48, T 8, FF 43; F +34, Ref +25, Will +23; Init +9; Perc +45

When the bickering duo of Tsadok and Rocnork returned to the Ramblehouse, they found it bustling with activity.

The town's sole inn, Ramblehouse was also a boardinghouse. In addition to those of other races, Ramblehouse was home to a sizable chunk of the town's halfling population. Rumor had it that Cham Larringfass, the head innkeeper, along with several other halflings, who, like herself, were escaped slaves, had traveled all the way north to Trunau from imperial Molthune to find new lives for themselves. At the time of their arrival, the town had had little need for an inn.

However, Cham decided to not just build a place for herself and her friends, but an entire inn and boardinghouse. After convincing the rest of her crew to aid her, it wasn't long before the enterprising halfling had constructed a sprawling, eccentric manor packed with rooms of all shapes and sizes. Nearly 30 years later, the Ramblehouse had truly become a vital part of the town's economy.

Welcome back, Cham said, a warm smile forming on her plump face. I've got your room keys here. Sign or make your mark on the ledger. I'll have Aiko bring in your meals. AIKO!

From the back emerged a woman of Minkai heritage wearing blue and white robes consisting of several layers of cloth and an outer layer of silk intricately woven with gold brocade designs that was covered with metal studs. She bowed, first to the half-orc and wyvaran, then to Cham. Yes, Lady Larringfass?

See to it that these gentlemen receive their meals. Tsadok gets the Rohan Special, though for the life of me I can't see where he puts it.

Aiko nodded, then bowed once more to the three before returning through the door leading into the kitchen.

Both Tsadok and Rocnork, as well as Kyt and Nyym, have seen the human woman, usually wearing little more than deep-pleated dark blue trousers and a white cotton cloth wrapped around her chest, silently and reverently practicing sword forms in the light of the morning sun, which she ended by taking a swig from from a nearby earthen jug and spraying water on the edge of the blade along its temper line.

She runs that kitchen more efficiently than I do, than even Bosco did. Ah, Bosco. I really miss that big lug. As Cham spoke, there was shouting in a foreign language coming from the kitchen area. Moments later, Tibeth, the halfling cook, could be heard yelling. That giant and half-orc are going to eat us out of our stock at this rate.

After drinking a glass of stone giant wine (which had a dry and bitter taste) and a simple spinach salad, the first of six courses was brought out to his table, all overseen by Aiko. The Rohan Special consisted of loach from the Kestrel River (flavored with sage and spices), a roast warthog (requiring at least 6 halfling servers just to bring it to the table), minted lamb with fresh vegetables, smoked fillet of giant gar (set in aspic), a thick broth with salty strips of worg flank, and an enormous Ustalav pirog (the filling consisting of quark, apples, honey, and nuts), ending with a rich Rahadoumi coffee and a dark Molthuni brandy.

A loach is a type of freshwater fish; aspic is a savory jelly made with meat stock, set in a mold and used to contain pieces of meat; pirog is a baked case of dough with a sweet or savory filling while quark is a mild creamy cheese without the sour taste of yogurt.

Eating the Rohan Special is the equivalent of having a banquet meal, which costs 10 gold sails (due to the amount of food courses, good drinks, and servants needed to bring the food and take away empty plates).

Outside Ivory Hall...

Aodhàn looked at Nyym's outstretched hand. He thought back to the night where they had first met. Circumstances had caused the bouncer to be suspicious of the half-drow, but that was no longer the case. Nyym had proven through word and deed to be a most loyal and worthy companion. Aodhàn couldn't imagine him not being associated with Team Ruby in any way.

He reached out, clasped Nyym by the forearm and pulled him in close for a brotherly embrace. Before releasing him, the Chelish man whispered in the half-drow's ear, Make sure you look after Kyt for me.

Kytynna looked over at Aodhàn, cheeks turning a deep shade of pink despite all that was going on at the moment, her eyes filled with worry. I don't like that we're splitting up. But if we can get more accomplished this way, then so be it. Her brow creased for a moment, giving the elf a thoughtful look, as though she were considering something that had been previously said.

Kytynna's Society check: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 2 = 15

I've been trying to learn more about where we live. Both Ghostlight Marsh and the Council of Thorns were mentioned in some books I read. Ghostlight Marsh is a vast tract of swampland along the shores of the River Esk. The current border between the Hold of Belkzen and Lastwall runs through the swamp. Both orcs and humans avoid the marsh due to countless tales of strange, floating lights.

Halgra nodded at that, somewhat pleased Kytynna's knowledge. Yes, you are correct. Lastwall’s northern border with Belkzen has been pushed back multiple times over the centuries. When the second of these borders, Harchist’s Blockade, was overrun by the orcs, some stood resolute, seeing themselves as protectors of the land.

Kyt quickly chimed in. The Council of Thorns, a militant druid circle who despised the orcs’ defilement of the land the creatures conquered, attempted to stand their ground. While the druids’ fight was valiant, the Council of Thorns was eventually driven back to the swamp and defeated by the orcs.

The words brought a look of sadness to the face of Silvermane. He began motioning with his hands, the movements quick and emphatic. The Chief Defender translated:

Faced with sure defeat at the hands of the conquering orcs, the druids of the Council of Thorns made a final stand in the swamp, sacrificing themselves in a bloody ritual. As the druids’ dying bodies slumped into the muck, vengeful will-o’-wisps rose from the marsh and drove the orc army out of the swamp. These cruel and capricious aberrations have guarded Ghostlight Marsh from intrusion ever since.

So you see, the will-o’-wisps of Ghostlight Marsh are actually the reincarnated druids of the Council of Thorns, my brethren, who still remember their former lives.

Slivermane went on speaking through Halgra, There are things you should know about the Vault of Thorns. I stated before that it is a demiplane. The Vault is lodged between this plane of existence and The First World. We used the Vault as a meeting place and extraplanar greenhouse, where we conducted experiments on the strange plant life there. Due to its proximity to the First World, several fey creatures also came to inhabit the Vault of Thorns, mingling peacefully, for the most part, with us. They, however, may not be so friendly towards you. Finally, the Vault is both a place of life and a living place. You will comprehend the meaning of my words once you are inside.

The First World is so called because it is believed to be the gods' first draft of a subsequent plane that would later split into the Material Plane and the Shadow Plane. It is coterminous with the Material Plane and the Shadow Plane, but exists outside the standard cosmology, being somehow "behind" the other two planes.


M Half Drow init +6/ hp 35 [35]/ ac 18/ t 14/ ff 13/ fort +4/ ref +9/ wil +6/ perc +6/ stealth +11/ athletics 0/ b2h +3/ lore engineering +2/ finesse +11/ ki pool 7 kinetic shinobi (fading shadow) /4

Nyym taken by surprise for the breifest of moments, excepted Aohdens brotherly embrace and returned with one of his own.

You know how head strong and stubborn she can be, but I will do my best. (said with a sly grin and glance toward Kyt.) You focus on getting back to full health and try and keep the others out of trouble while we are away.

Aohden had not been to trusting of Nyym at first. But like everyone else with Team Ruby, the events of the Orc raid and the rebuilding efforts had brought them all closer together. While Nyym was not to sure about his friends and family from before. He definitely knew he had all that and more now in Trunau and he and the others that had been named as Team Ruby would do everything in their power to protect it.

I would suggest us all finish up with this evening's events and reat up tonight. We can supply up in the morning and head out once we are ready. Besides, it may raise to many suspicious and questions if we were to head out immediately after being honored.

He looked around at the others to gauge their agreement or disagreement. His eyes finally coming to rest on the unusually quiet Rohan. The big man was listening. But at the same time he wasn't. Rohans mind was somewhere else far away. That in itself told Nyym all he needed to know. Rohan would not be accompanying Team Ruby on this next mission. While this saddened Nyym, he also knew Rohan would have to find his own way if he was to ever get past his fears and self doubt. Nyym simply nodded in Rohans direction, a nod that said that he understood and wished him the best of luck.


Awakened Bloodrager (Fire) 5.2; AC 19/13/17; 52 hp; F9 R6 W6; Effects: ; Health: Healthy (0); Rage left: 27/28

Liesel-Marie listens to Kyt and Halgra as they describe this place they must go, brow furrowed as she concentrates.

Then, she holds up a hand, "Halgra? Did he say 'my brethren'? These druids died centuries ago?" She looks at Silvermane, "These were friends you fought alongside? You have seen many winters, my friend. Many more than I ever imagined."

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Community / Forums / Online Campaigns / Play-by-Post / DM Blayde MacRonan's Of Aeons and Giants: The Continuing Adventures of Team Ruby (Private Campaign, Closed Recruitment) All Messageboards

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