|The GM in Yellow|
Aoife's thornbalde catches the doppleganger in the side of its chest, striking a significant blow to it while also evoking a piercing wail of pain that echoes throughout the small ruined chamber.
Start of round!
The beast reaches out with its claws again, attempting to strike at the closest people to it.
Attack: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 = 21 Damage: 1d8 ⇒ 7
Attack: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24 Damage: 1d8 ⇒ 7
Forgot the Fatigue, added in now. Also, that’s 7 damage to Aoife and 7 to Pras.
The doppleganger proves all the more dangerous as it’s hemmed in, its wild thrashing catching Prasitis a ferocious blow to the side of her head that almost knocks her out and is sure to leave a nasty mark for a bit.
Shaking her head to clear her vision, Prasitis decides to risk staying close and try landing another strike rather than just scurrying back. She doesn’t mean to stay too close, though: flashing her arms back, she takes her sword in both hands before sending a vicious blow at the monster’s abdomen before cautiously taking a step back and trying to recover a more defensible position. Longsword attack, two-handed: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15 (+2 if she's flanking with anyone as we cluster around the critter.) Damage if hits: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 8
Standard action to attack, then 5’-step to try to get out of immediate reach.
Aoife takes the hit hard, gritting her teeth and swinging back at the doppleganger, stepping back to avoid immediate retaliation.
+1 Thornblade: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 91d8 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5
Attack, 5-foot step back.
|The GM in Yellow|
With the flanking and the final two strikes, as well as damage sustained in the collapse, the party manages to put down the doppleganger for good this time.
Checking the surroundings of the room, there are quite a few bodies laying around. Some are humans and the like, while three are obviously doppelgangers, including the one you just killed.
Making a quick perception check.
Perception, Aoife: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (1) + 0 = 1
Perception, Pras: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
Perception, Veda: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
|The GM in Yellow|
Oh, okay then. That’s some bad luck rolls.
Despite not seeing anything too out of the ordinary in the room, as you take a closer glance at the bodies (assuming you do), it appears as if most of them are dressed in white hospital gowns, while a few are in the remnants of armor.
On every body, however, weird patches of flesh have been carved from the corpse, intentionally. Small rectangles of skin have seemingly been extracted by precise tools, not the work of a scavenger. Instead, the edges of the cuts are semi straight-edged, leading you to believe they were removed for a specific purpose besides eating, as there are no claw or teeth marks anywhere on the bodies themselves.
Prasitis hurries to strap on her shield again as soon as it’s safe to do so. Too close, she thinks, as another scrap of memory flashes across her mind, someone calling out an order to fall back, that the castle was at risk of falling…
She gives her head a tentative shake in an attempt to clear it as she turns to the other bodies, and a drop or two of blood flies off. She winces, her hand flickering briefly over old scars as she gingerly probes the new massive bruise forming, feels blood matting her hair. Even the backhand of these things’ claws cuts.
Kn. (freaky stuff, aka arcana): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (10) + 6 = 16 It seems like the most applicable skill she’s got. She peers hopelessly at the bizarre markings of the corpses, trying to imagine the cuts’ aims, through the mist of amnesia and the mental fog of her own head wound.
“I think there’s one charge left in that wand,” she says, glancing at Aoife. “I can prepare some healing if we can find someplace safe-ish to barricade ourselves behind, but I’m not likely to perform any miracles.” I think that’s what Veda said (charge-wise), last, and there’s also that healer’s kit, but Prasitis is untrained and unwise, so leaving mundane efforts in her hands would be a bad idea.
"Ah am very much in favor o' takin a breather, mahself. Ah'm not used ta getting so up close an' personal with things that want ta kill me." Aoife admits, leaning against the wall to recuperate.
|The GM in Yellow|
Unfortunately, Pras is unable to determine any actual reason for the rectangles of flesh being stripped off of the bodies, as it doesn’t look like any ritual she has ever seen. What she does know, however, is that there’s no way this was done for eating purposes, as the slices of flesh aren't clawed or scratched out at all.
With that doppleganger being taken care of, that leaves the remainder of the room empty, with the door across the hallway being the most obvious route forward. There is, however, the hallway to the right, but it is covered in a slight layer of rubble, and would take a few minutes to clear out. And would most likely be loud, anyway.
“Sounds like a plan,” Prasitis nods. Giving the room a last quick look, she decides it’s worth risking at least a listen at the door across the hallway to try to gauge if it might be safe to catch one’s breath there, especially if that will spare the unpleasantness of dead bodies scattered all over the place. If not - well, beggars can’t be choosers.
“I’m not sure whether to be relieved or not that no one’s being eaten, here. Let’s just check if next door might be freer of unwanted guests, whether living or dead, before settling in with corpses for company.”
Rummaging, she finds that wand, just in case there is an unpleasant surprise across the hall: Aoife looks like she can handle herself better in a fight than an elf conscript, so even if she herself is destined to drop, said conscript muses, hopefully she can snatch a few moments to give the human woman a fighting chance. I’m happy to use that last charge now, though it occurs to me we could hold onto it if we can find someplace safe to rest and try Prasitis’ luck with CLW vs. something that might just run over our current max hp. Let me know. :)
Despite her vicious bruising, Prasitis leans to the door across the way as calmly as she can, listening first before checking for a keyhole to stoop to for any chance of a glimpse inside. Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (10) + 5 = 15
Aoife scouts around, trying to see if there's anyone, or anything, around for good or ill.
Perception: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (17) + 0 = 17
|The GM in Yellow|
Both Pras and Aoife quite easily can make out a rather strange sound from behind the second door.
A horrid...chewing sound? As of bones and gristle. A disturbing sound, accompanied by yet another pair of unsettling noises: a monstrous wail and a more human-like breathing. The human breathing is alongside sounds of a struggle. Perhaps attempting to break a rope or chain?
Prasitis looks back down the hall towards the barricade. They probably won’t let us past, but surely if we’re being chased they might help bring down what’s after us, she muses. Even as the thought occurs to her, a fleeting memory follows: standing shoulder-to-shoulder with her sisters in a shield-wall, and a single command hurled over their heads to someone beyond. Disperse.
It means nothing to her right now, and she turns to Aoife with a veteran’s rueful bravado, quickly whispering, “This might be a really stupid idea, but I’m going to try to sneak this door open a bit to actually get a peek. Sounds like whatever’s in there isn’t going anywhere soon, but if it’s scarier than it sounds, run for those guards and hope they’re better shots than they look?”
|The GM in Yellow|
The door opens easily, swinging open a tad bit louder than Pras intended. It opening reveals what appears to be an abandoned laundry room, with much of the space being taken up by toppled tables and clothes racks.
Inside of the alcove to the west, however, there’s a larger metal rack embedded in the wall. Horrifyingly, there appear to be three bodies chained to this heavier rack, the farthest left being a fierce looking red haired woman clothed in the remnants of a hospital gown. The middle one is actually a half-eaten corpse, it’s legs missing from the waist down and one of its arms being ripped out of the socket, the remaining bones left on the ground. The last one to the right is a desiccated corpse, except it’s currently the one eating the middle corpse.
The monster pulls a large chunk out of the face of the middle corpse and takes a bite out of it before turning to the group in the doorway.
And here’s Bloody Laura! In quite the tricky situation. Feel free to introduce yourself!
Laura shakes her head slowly from side to side, almost as if she is drugged or in denial. Her eyes creep from the floor and the animate corpse beside her to the door when Prasitis opens it, and she stares at the elven woman warily. She makes no sudden movements, but perhaps unconsciously she shifts slightly to show her distended belly and looks down at it in apparent confusion. She looks back at Prasitis with a vaguely challenging expression, maybe as if she were asking what kind of person she is, friend or foe. She tugs again on the chains softly, testing their strength and mobility on the rack.
Her peek through the door provokes a brief cascade of mental images in parallel with the horrors of the room within, and Prasitis mentally scrambles to prioritize correctly. Threat assessment, tactical, other?
Kn. (religion), untrained: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8 Kn. (arcana): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 6 = 13 First, she tries to identify the type of undead in front of her, even as she estimates ranges, how securely the thing is bound to the rack, and how much reach it might have within those chains.
Cover? Keys for those shackles? she thinks, looking around the room’s debris. Guiding Hand, is that woman with child?
I guess what happens next depends on what Prasitis sees. If the undead critter isn’t 1) likely to reach Laura in the next couple of seconds, 2) about to break free, 3) more than about 25’ away, 4) something she knows is resistant to cold… she’ll get just close enough to try to hit it with a ray of frost. Otherwise, she’ll burn the last charge on that wand to heal Aoife.
|The GM in Yellow|
The undead monster appears to be a common ghoul, Pras seems to remember with her limited religious expertise. Lowly undead, eats corpses, the usual.
As the group enters the room, the ghoul actually moves its face to look at Pras as she starts investigating. And, to the surprise of all but Laura, it speaks.
”Why do you interrupt dinner time? Who are you, and what do you want?” the voice is raspy, and dead sounding, but quite clear in its meaning.
Well, that’s a mercy, thank heavens.
Prasitis steps into the room, hand raised and more than half-ready to start shaping a spell, when the undead thing’s speaking brings her up short. Ghoul, then, not zombie, her racing mind supplies. Charming, in any case.
First things first, cutting the ghoul as wickedly as if she were ignoring a rival at a ball – something presses on her brain at the thought – she addresses the living woman, “Are you … alright?”
It’s a lunatic question, but then Prasitis is an inmate of an asylum, though beyond obviously one where something – everything – has gone horribly, horribly wrong. And while, as an herbalist, she might be able to prescribe a useful tincture, if her surmise is correct and she could remember one, she’s not a midwife. Not that one needs to be to know that no one's meant to be chained up like that at the best of times.
“We’ll get you out of there as soon as we can,” she soothes, “We’re just rather battered ourselves, and there’s…” The slight spatter of drying blood as she jerks her head towards the ghoul underlines her condition.
Assuming Aoife hasn’t taken off already at the evidence of Prasitis’ madness: Buying time, she draws her wand and touches it to the swordswoman beside her (Cure Mod. Wounds: 2d8 + 3 ⇒ (5, 7) + 3 = 15), before turning to the ghoul at last as the wand knits Aoife’s wounds together.
“Prasitis Ysgolan, Knight of the Scarlet Rose,” she says defiantly, trying not to sway too obviously despite her desperate wounds. That definitely sounds right. “We are going to help that poor woman, ghoul, and you are going to tell us why we shouldn’t just end your blasphemous existence. I’m sure you can imagine what a wand like this would do to your unlife.” Bluff: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (8) + 7 = 15
It doesn’t need to know that she’s just used the last charge. Um, also, Prasitis isn’t actually trained in intimidation, so if one of you ladies is, you’ll probably have to do the heavy lifting, and Siti will aid if she can. Intimidate, untrained, to aid another: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7 Yikes, too shaky and too prissy to be convincing, I guess.
Laura looks up at being addressed, and with a slight flicker of her eyes at the ghoul and its dinner to her left, she shrugs.
Was she all right? She wondered. She felt weak, but that was probably just lingering fatigue from whatever they gave her. They... who was they? Images flashed in her mind, but nothing she could grasp. Where was her equipment? Armor, weapon...
She gives the room a more careful look, as if searching for something, and looks back to Prasitis when the woman continues speaking. She nods, understanding, and almost smiles at the elf woman's understated description of the circumstances.
After a labored moment clearing her throat, Laura interrupts the staredown between the ghoul and Prasitis to respond: "Laura."
Was that right? "Bloody" Laura, she thought. She had a flash of an elven girl addressing her, but it disappeared in the mists like everything else. She felt as if she should introduce the other part of her, the creature growing inside of her, but she knew nothing about it. She didn't think it was dangerous; she could feel its presence and its contentment. Still, might be best to wait on that.
She coils herself inward, tensing her muscles and growling slightly, attempting to look menacing in response to Prastitis's play.
Intimidate: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18
Aoife sighs, rubbing her side where her last injury still sits, and silently hopes this doesn't come to blows as well.
|The GM in Yellow|
The ghoul is quite clearly afraid of the wand and the party, as it seems to recoil a little bit when presented with the actually empty cure wand.
”N-no....no, don’t kill me, please!” it cries out, seemingly attempting to cry. But then something snaps inside of it, and it lunges out at Pras, the manacles keeping it held against the wall quite effectively. After several seconds of struggling against its bindings, it relaxes back against the wall and leans over to tear a fresh bite of flesh out of the corpse hanging between it and Laura.
”Tasty flesh, so warm and delicious....” the creature mutters to itself, suddenly lost in its meal.
@Aoife: Just to make sure everyone’s on the same page, that last charge should have healed you back up for now.
The elf witch winces at the ghoul’s whine, and the rapidity of the creature’s reabsorption in its meal doesn’t make the situation feel any safer. It’s not any saner than the rest of us, she thinks grimly.
She approaches the bound woman from the opposite side of the ghoul, just in case its distraction doesn’t last, checking to see what’s holding the fetters in place, asking as she goes, “Right. Laura, more stupid questions: please tell me you saw where they put the keys to these things.”
Looking for the keys! Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (15) + 5 = 20 While she looks around herself, she switches to Elven to address Aoife. Her tone is cold, and even as she speaks part of her is horrified by what comes out. “These things paralyze, don’t they? Well, not elves, so ordinarily I’d try to deal with it, but as it stands, even chained, one lucky bit of flailing about…”
“Freeze it? Or I have arrows, oil, and alchemist’s fire. Once we get Laura here safe out of reach.”
It may be a monster, but however much may be lost to her mental fog and the gaps in her memory, Prasitis realizes that some part of her - that she can only hope is not really a current, dominant part of her - is suggesting using a sapient being for target practice, or setting it on fire while it’s still, well, unliving.
Laura shakes her head in response to Prasitis, still looking about herself. Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18 She stares in disbelief as the ghoul reverts to eating the dead body, and frowns as Prasitis begins speaking in another language. All she catches is “...Laura...”
She could try to break the manacles with brute strength, but a large weapon would probably work better, though it would be awkward positioning herself. She decides to try to work with what she’s got. She concentrates and, speaking a few strange words of her own, draws on her reserves of strength and tries her best to free herself.
I’m guessing this is a sunder check? She’ll give herself the Improved Sunder feat for 1m to prevent attacks of opportunity and then cast true strike on herself before making her attempt. (No somatic components) CMB Sunder: 1d20 + 27 ⇒ (6) + 27 = 33
"I can give it a go- ah do have some minor spells tha' I can still cast, an' given enough time, it'll freeze it back ta death. I don' envy i', though. It'd be a slow death." she shrugs.
I can just spam Ray of Frost until it dies.
Oh, I'll join you, spell failure permitting. In character, though, Prasitis is a bit too goody-goody to like the idea, even if it's a ghoul, etc. And it's only with Laura's immediate efforts that Prasitis might clue in to the idea that seeing a firing squad might not be adding as much to her already unpleasant client experience as one might expect.
And now I'm imagining the Briarstone Asylum outtake survey. "7(a-f). On a scale of 1 - 10, how would you rate a) the cannibal monsters, b) treacherous shapeshifters, c) ..." :)
|The GM in Yellow|
A Sunder attempt would work, yeah. Perhaps the arrival of other humans woke ya up to the fact that you could actually escape the whole time.
The ghoul doesn't appear to react to any more call outs, instead just continuing to eat the corpse. It also doesn't say any more words, looking like hunger has overcome it once more.
Laura, meanwhile, smashes her bindings open, and steps away from the wall, finally seeming to realize that she can simply do it.
Laura quickly recovers her feet after breaking the restraints and moves away from the ghoul. She sniffs, panting through her nose from the effort, and nods to Prasitis and Aoife. She looks around the room, as if trying to get her bearings. "How long...?" she starts to ask, but then shakes her head like it's a pointless question. She waits, watching them.
For my own amusement: Spellcraft: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14 Oh, come off it!
Prasitis feels the surge of power behind the chained woman's word just before she strains against her bonds, but Siti's magical path diverged from that of wizardry long ago, and even that flash of memory vanishes in the shock of seeing Laura manage to simply burst free.
Calistria's kiss! Goddesses forgive me, but I wouldn't want to be the one holding her hand when her time comes! The witch is glad she's not a midwife, but she's not heartless. She's ready to reach out with a steadying hand, if necessary, while Laura regains her balance from hanging in her manacles, and she can at least offer what little she knows of the situation. "It's strange, but neither of us seems to remember how we came to be here, exactly, or when. I think I remember thinking it was for my own good, once, but..."
She hardly needs to finish the thought. She might not be able to, as the surface level of her mind continues in the track of comfortable denial of all the horror of her situation, as she asks, "Do you remember where your usual room was? I'm afraid we haven't seen anything that looks like it might belong to you."
She can't bring herself to say "cell," even, but fortunately for Prasitis, she's not quite herself at the moment. She unstraps her shield and readies her bow, and since Laura is obviously nowhere near as helpless as she might first have seemed, whatever deep-rooted instinct? training? something is driving the elf, she's able to explain, "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have assumed you spoke Elven. I think we just want to make absolutely sure that thing can't track us down if it gets loose somehow. There are enough monsters around as it is."
She glances at Aoife, and all she says is, "Together, then?"
And then she steps back and does her best to fill the ghoul with arrows until it stops moving. Attack: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (20) + 3 = 23 Damage if hits: 1d6 ⇒ 6 To confirm crit?: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6 Crit damage if confirms: 2d6 ⇒ (6, 1) = 7
OK, the dice gods are being particularly catty tonight. Let's try another couple of arrows:
Attack: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 22 Damage if hits: 1d6 ⇒ 3 Attack: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (16) + 3 = 19 Damage if hits: 1d6 ⇒ 1
That's it. Definitely cosmic shenanigans going on, with that spread of high and low rolls. What's the elder god of messing with gamers? ;)
Aoife joins Prastis in taking care of the ghoul, sending a steady ray of frost at the undead until it dies again.
Laura watches the creature die with curious detachment.
GM, does Laura have her equipment? Is there anything else of note in the room?
|The GM in Yellow|
Oh the site ate my entire post. I’ve been sitting here waiting for so long for something to pop up. Sorry guys!
Unfortunately, it does not appear as if Laura has any of her equipment on her. Fortunately, a table against the wall opposite to her laundry rack prison seems to have all of said equipment present on it. How polite of them!
The ghoul on the rack doesn’t respond to any of the rest of the conversation, lost in its meal as the group discusses murdering it, and eventually does begin to kill it. As the first arrow strikes it, the monster lets out a loud haunting scream of pain, contorting extremely as if in surprise.
No more words escape the ghoul’s lips as you continue to work it down towards destruction, just the sounds of a dying monster. It’s body eventually slumps down, the clothing of the orderly becoming more apparent as it stops moving. Pockets and torn fabric sleeves mark the only recognizable part of the formerly alive caretaker of the asylum’s patients.
The only other exit out of this room except the door you entered through is another identical door to the left of the group, looking at the laundry racks.
Prasitis watches grimly until the greedy undead thing stops thrashing. She slings her shield over her shoulder, snaps the spent wand so no other inmates that might be wandering dazed and confused get their hopes up if they find it, and takes up her bow again, her tight grip betraying her underlying unease.
“We’ll have to warn the guards once we get back to them that there’s a growing nest of ghouls here, on top of everything else. I know I’m rather disoriented right now, but I think I would have noticed if the staff were ghouls when I arrived.”
The quibble falls a bit flat among the eerie quiet of the overturned madhouse, odd, distant sounds providing a counterpoint to the bloody horrors that punctuate the asylum’s wreckage.
“We can press on for a bit if I can stay back with my bow, but I really am on my last legs. I’ll need to stop soon to commune with my familiar, rest, and shake off some of the shocks of the day,” she adds, gently warning of the limits of her powers.
Laura wordlessly crosses to the table with her equipment on it, and spends the time dressing and arming herself while watching the ghoul die and listening to Prasitis talk. She isn't sure if anything is missing, but everything seems familiar. Hefting her large axe, she grunts her assent and nods in understanding. Her voice is still scratchy from long disuse, but she murmurs, "I could take the lead for a bit, I think I'm okay for now."
Aoife slumps against the wall, exhausted, "Aye. I cannae remember the last time I was this exhausted." she yawns, "If we could find a place we cen defend and rest fer the night, that would be fan-*censored*-tastic."
Prasitis shakes her head. “The odd thing is, it gets worse the closer it gets to today. I can remember a bit more about my girlhood… My parents were diplomats, I know that much, and I remember my sisters.”
She smiles a little, fondly and sadly. “My two blood sisters especially, but also just of the heart. Or sword.”
Her expression is definitely troubled when she continues, “I was on my way to court, to Iadara, when … something happened. Or so I assume: something definitely did, but that came after. I was brought up outside of elven lands, and there were troubles there, and then, too.”
|The GM in Yellow|
I know I'm the newcomer, but I'd advocate we should press on a little further before we head back, if only to give our fulvic GM a chance to introduce the fourth member of our team.
"Ah can remember most o' my childhood. But anything past a certain point when I was sixteen I got nothin' on. Hells, I don't even know how old I am."
She straightens herself up, "Well. Nothin' to it, I suppose. Onward."
|The GM in Yellow|
The small door inside the storage room is unlocked, and opens easily into yet another unfamiliar room, this one filled quite strangely. Two large washing tubs fill the entire western wall, with a curtain hanging from the ceiling obscuring the rest of the room to the south.
Through the curtain, you can see the outline of a humanoid figure, tossing something towards the western wall, where a low groan can be heard in reply.
Veda who stood back to rest a bit, catching her breath and trying to get a grasp on her sanity, catches up again.
Readily she stands right behind Aoife to face whatever new horror comes along.
I see you have met someone new while i was in the bathroom. Did you make sure she is no doppelganger?
Veda eyes the newcomer up and down.
Prasitis nods, hand ready to dip either for an arrow or a cantrip as best suits whatever's behind the curtain. "Another patient. It's just too convoluted otherwise, unless second-guessing absolutely everything is the sort of madness we want to spiral into."
Laura looks over at the newcomer through her typically narrowed eyes, and then shrugs almost imperceptibly as if she's got other things on her mind. Sure enough, as Aoife surges forward, Laura also races up to the curtain and peers beyond it.
|The GM in Yellow|
And we’re back! Sorry guys, had a bit of an absence but I’m back now, and ready to continue.
On the other side of the curtain stands a clearly not disguised doppleganger, holding a bloody dagger that appears to be just a bit too long for most purposes. On a gurney beside her lay several strips of fresh-ish bloody meat, along with a tray of other surgical tools.
In the far corner of the room, in line with the other two washing tubs, sits another ghoul, trapped in the washing tub. The doppleganger just finishes tossing a strip of flesh into the tub before you push past the curtain, and it turns towards you with an unsettling smile.
”Was wondering how much time you’d waste in that room with my other ghoul, glad to see you’ve finally arrived to the party!” the doppleganger says, her voice eerily disturbing, before she vanishes before your very eyes!
Initiative, Doppleganger: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (17) + 3 = 20
Initiative, Aoife: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22
Initiative, Pras: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
Initiative, Laura: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (16) + 3 = 19
Initiative, Veda: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
|The GM in Yellow|
Aoife mostly just sighs as she moves to interpose herself between the Doppel and her team, drawing her sword as she finally starts to use her wizardly experience, trying to catch the doppelganger before it can attack with a spell.
Casting Grease (DC 15) in the area around where the ghoul was last seen and drawing my sword.
|The GM in Yellow|