Use my Hero Point
Athletics: 1d20 + 5 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 5 + 2 = 26
The dwarf tries a second attempt and finally goes up the hill.
As Dranald loosens a miniature rockslide, potentially alerting the nearby undead, Thorax tosses a pebble from a different direction to confuse them.
Setup, Deception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26
The druid tries not to be noisy.
Stealth: 1d20 + 1 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 1 + 2 = 15
Mara crouches down as low as she can. Just a little farther. She waits until the undead have turned to investigate Thorax's rock, then slips by while they're distracted.
Stealth: 1d20 + 7 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 7 + 2 = 25
Under Thorax' guidance, Mara easily makes it up the hill. Dran'Thor initially looks like he is struggling, but after drawing upon an inner reserve of strength, powers on.
Upon spotting the undead, Thorax tries the tried-and-true method of distracting them by throwing a rock in a completely different direction, and they fall for the bait.
Mara, quiet as a wraith, then slinks past, whilst Dran'Thor just barely manages to keep out of sight, thanks to the distraction that Thorax provided.
Finally, the party comes upon a large valley, filled with heavy, prickly undergrowth and tall grasses, which have grown over the road.
Setup Check: Nature or Survival to identify areas where the undergrowth isn’t as thick.
Obstacle Check: Melee attack roll with a Slashing weapon to hack your way through, or an Acrobatics check to nimbly maneuver through the narrow spaces.
Hustle: A PC who Hustles can circumvent the road to avoid the brambles and vines.
Dran'Thor, would you like to do the Setup? You're better at Survival by 1, and Thorax is better with a Slashing Weapon.
Survival, setup: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (2) + 7 = 9
If you want, but not fun for us.
As Dran'Thor leads the party through an impenetrable thicket, Thorax works hard to cut a path.
+1 Shortsword: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (20) + 10 = 30
Mara may be a city girl at heart, but she's nimble. After dodging mugs, chairs, arrows, and the occasional sword headed her way, a few brambles are nothing.
Acrobatics: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18
Dran'Thor does his best, but there is something deeply unnatural about the foliage, which stymies his efforts to find an efficient path.
Despite this, Mara manages to slide between, and Thorax makes a spirited attempt to 'defeat' the vines.
Eventually, the party makes it through to the other side, and Goldenflame comes into view as the party follows the gently descending path into
Mara: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (15) + 5 = 20.
Dranald: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17.
Dran'Thor: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21.
Thorax: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15.
Simultaneously, everyone notices two things: Firstly, a figure in the distance (too far to chase) running over the crest of a small hill; and secondly, off on the distant horizon, there is the movement of faint shapes, almost like living mountains... but then you realise that they are actually colossal amalgams of dead flesh, and they are headed towards town!
Translation: You have (approximately) 3 hours and 40 minutes, before Armageddon arrives...
The party enters Goldenflame from the northeast. Apart from the slight breeze, the town is still and quiet. The buildings here (all single-level affairs) seem mostly intact, with only a few signs of disuse: cracked gutters, dry and decaying flower beds, weeds growing against flaking walls. A crumbling fountain stands in the middle of the plaza, dry as a dusty bone.
Before you can begin the task of searching, however, you hear the sound of hooves on cobbles, and then a rotting horse trots into view. It snorts, and lets out a rasping whinny from a rotting gash in its throat.
As it does so, there are answering moans from several directions, and a trio of rotting humanoid corpses stagger into view!
Mara: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22.
Dranald: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (7) + 7 = 14.
Dran'Thor: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (1) + 7 = 8.
Thorax: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (4) + 8 = 12.
Mara notices that a Wayfinder is partially sticking out of the gash in the horse's throat, suggesting a particularly unfortunate end for at least one pathfinder...
ZRH: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11.
ZS: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (12) + 0 = 12.
Mara: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8.
Dranald: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25.
Dran'Thor: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25.
Thorax: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25.
The Welcoming Committee, Round 1:
"Don't matter, betcha this hurt just the same!"
Thorax strides forward towards the horse, quickdraws a flask of holy water, and throws it at the undead equine before retreating behind the nearest building.
Ranged, –2 penalty: 1d20 + 9 - 2 ⇒ (10) + 9 - 2 = 17
Good Damage: 1d6 ⇒ 6
The druid readies to cast Disrupt undead when the first one arrives in range.
Disrupt undead: 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5
Basic fort save DC 17. If critical fail, enfeebled 1 for 1 round.
The cleric draws his longsword and readies an attack if an enemy arrives at range.
Longsword readied: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25
Damage: 1d8 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5
Crit?: 1d8 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 9
Thorax dashes forward, and tosses a flask at the horse, which causes its flesh to sizzle and pop like acid, before ducking back behind a building.
The rotting humanoid corpses then slowly shamble forward - but only one of them actually manages to close with the party!
The 'horse' then charges forward - Dran'Thor fires a bolt...
Fort: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11.
...which rips away at its undead flesh, whilst Dranald deals a horrifying blow, which tears its gut open, causing entrails to scatter everywhere, as the beast collapses to the ground, 'dead' once more.
The Welcoming Committee, Round 2:
Party is up!
Mara gags at the rotting entrails spilling over the ground. Oh I don't like this. Unfortunately she doesn't have the time to vomit. More creatures are coming their way, and one of them is already on Thorax.
She draws her shortswords and runs forward, hoping to catch the creature off guard. It can't defend against us both!
Actions: Interact (draw weapon), Interact (draw weapon), Stride to flank Red.
Thorax quickdraws his shortsword and strikes twice!
Combined Interact/Strike, Strike.
+1 Shortsword: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (15) + 10 = 25 vs FF
Slashing, Sneak: 1d6 + 4 + 1d6 ⇒ (5) + 4 + (1) = 10
+1 Shortsword: 1d20 + 10 - 4 ⇒ (10) + 10 - 4 = 16 vs FF
Slashing, Sneak: 1d6 + 4 + 1d6 ⇒ (3) + 4 + (4) = 11
(if that drops it) Thorax then bounces back out of the alley to protect the dwarf from the next wave!
(if it's still up) Thorax plunges his shortsword in once again!
+1 Shortsword: 1d20 + 10 - 8 ⇒ (9) + 10 - 8 = 11 vs FF
Slashing, Sneak: 1d6 + 4 + 1d6 ⇒ (4) + 4 + (5) = 13
Let's get the other ones, guys!
The druid moves forward and readies a cast of Electric arc when both new undeads will come.
Electric arc, readied: 1d4 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8
Basic Reflex DC 17
Dranald moves forward as well to the red one and strikes with his longsword.
Longsword: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22
Damage: 1d8 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3
Then he casts Shield.
Mara rushes forward to assist Thorax.
Thorax takes advantage of this distraction, his blade opening up ruinous fault-lines in the over-ripe flesh of the corpse, which sags for a moment, before collapsing into an inanimate pile of corrupted offal.
Dran'Thor and Dranald then move forward, ready to act when the remaining corpses get closer...
Reflex: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (11) + 0 = 11.
Reflex: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (1) + 0 = 1.
...and both immediately sizzle in Dran'Thor's electrical discharge, although the first one takes the lions' share of the current, the top of its skull literally exploding from the pressure!
Dranald then steps in, and severs what is left of its head.
The Welcoming Committee, Round 3:
Party is up!
Dran'Thor casts a new Disrupt undead against the last one.
Disrupt undead: 1d6 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5
Basic Fort Save DC 17
Then he raises his shield.
Mara steps forward, twirling her shortswords around in her hands. With a sudden movement, she slashes at the corpse from both sides.
Shortsword Strike: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19
S. Damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6
Shortsword Strike, MAP, Agile: 1d20 + 7 - 4 ⇒ (19) + 7 - 4 = 22 vs Flatfooted AC
S. Damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2
Precision Damage: 1d6 ⇒ 1
Two actions: Twin Feint. Make two strikes against the same target and it is automatically flat-footed against the second attack.
With two deft strikes, Mara severs the spine of the remaining walking corpse, which collapses to the ground, twitching spasmodically.
Alright, so, the next section is a little... shall we say... 'abstract'.
Each building in town has a certain number of associated 'tasks' that can be attempted, and attempting a task takes 10 minutes.
Each PC can, if they wish, try a different task at the same time (and I would, in fact, encourage you to do so).
For example, in the fountain area, you can:
Medicine or Perception - inspect the bodies.
Society - Recall information.
Thievery - Extract the Wayfinder from the horse.
Well done, guys. I think we finished off the welcoming commitee. So where is the town hall? That's the main building we have to visit.
"Let me think for a moment." Mara looks around at the deserted buildings. "I'm pretty sure I remember seeing a map of Goldenflame in the Grand Lodge Archives while I was studying there...but that was a long time ago."
Society, Recall Information: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14
As she's thinking, she suddenly remembers, "Oh, and, uh, Thorax? That horse apparently...swallowed a Pathfinder. You can see the wayfinder there." She points it out. "Do you mind grabbing it? Maybe it's engraved and we can provide some closure for at least one family."
Hopefully Thorax doesn't mind, because I really don't want to reach into that nasty thing!
The druid tries to find the town hall as a building with an particular architecture.
Architecture Lore: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10
Thorax takes out his butchering knife and sets to work a little *too* enthusiastically.
Thievery: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (7) + 11 = 18
Mara discovers that one of the recently-undead corpses is clad in a type of fine clothing that is very popular among minor nobles in Taldor.
Thorax, with a little too much gusto, delicately fillets the cartilage of the horses trachea, allowing him to extract the Wayfinder.
Dran'Thor explores the settlement, and is able to give the rest of the party a run-down of the various buildings.
A2 - Shrine
A3 - Armory
A4 - Guard Post
A5 - Apothecary
A6 - Pub
A7 - General Store
At this point in time, Dran'Thor hears a cautiously whinny, and a *living* horse cautiously pokes its nose around the corner of one of the buildings; it is obviously quite skittish...
Thorax pulls out his Shortsword and snarls a warning to the group.
"Another one. I circle around behind it?"
"Well, unfortunately I can't remember anything about Goldenflame." Mara sighs, looking down at the corpse. "What I do know is that this poor fellow was a Taldan noble. Which makes it very likely he was Clement Marten. We were told to bring back the remains if we could, but I'm not sure if we can carry a body-" A whinny interrupts her sentence, and she turns to see the horse with Thorax preparing to charge at it.
"Thorax, wait! This one's alive." Eyeing the horse appreciatively, she says, "You know, I'm not actually much of one for religion, but praise be to Erastil for his timing. Dran'Thor, think you can catch him? If you can that might solve our corpse-transporting problem."
"Thorax, wait! This one's alive."
"Won't be for l-... Oh. Sorry." Thorax sheathes his weapon. "But if it kick me, it dinner!"
The druid nods as Mara asks him to catch the horse. He moves slowly to approach the animal.
Quiet, stay quiet. I don't want to hurt you. I can provide you some food and I can bring you somewhere better for you.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 2 = 12
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Dran'Thor proves once again that he really *is* a Druid, gently talking to the horse in a soothing voice.
The horse whinnies appreciatively, then moves over to the Dwarf, and nuzzles him.
Now that it is closer, it is easy to see that the horse's barding features a large engraving of the Glyph of the Open Road, and gold-and-green caparisons.
Mara: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (20) + 3 = 23.
(Mara easily recognises the colours as those of Katapesh.)
Stitched into the saddle are two names - 'Desert Wind', and 'Larraz Virtanne'.
Of more interest, however, are the two potions in his saddlebags, clearly labelled as Minor Healing Potions.
Where to next?
"Now that we have mule, we go to guard house? Mule carry back expensive armor for us to sell."
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (7) + 7 = 14
The druid tries his best to find something in the mess.
A new time, the druids searches in the room.
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (8) + 7 = 15
Dranald finds an old shield... which promptly crumbles to dust in his hands.
Dran'Thor, on the other hand, is sure that the Armoury does not contain anything of interest, but out the back of it, he finds a broken-down cart (fractured axles)... which with a bit of work, could be used to, say, cart bodies...
Repair the Cart - Crafting (10 minutes) - multiple successes will be required, but multiple PCs *can* attempt them at the same time.
"'Larraz Virtanne'...he's one of the Pathfinders we were sent to find. Or, well, to find out what happened to them." Mara gently pats the horse on the neck. "What happened to your master? Probably nothing good, given that I doubt he would have left you alone. At least we can get you out of here. I think he would be happy about that."
As the druid and cleric begin searching nearby buildings, Mara frowns and glances up at the sky. "We haven't found Goldenflame College yet, and that's what we're here for. I don't think we can afford to search every building thoroughly. At least not until after we've accomplished our main objective. We only have a couple hours before we'll have to leave, and gods only know what obstacles might be in our way."
Mara votes to continue past this area for now and come back later.
@Mara: It takes 10 minutes to reach Goldenflame College from the town, if that is where you want to go next.
That said, you know that at least some of the Relics you are after will be in the town...
EDIT: Also, there is nothing stopping the rest of the party, say, exploring another building whilst someone, for example, repairs the cart.
It would even be fine for Mara and Thorax to have explored a different building(s) whilst Dranald and Dran'Thor were doing the buildings that they have.