Nodding as Lenna stores the weird hand-in-a-box, Varook moves towards the doorway to the north. He listens before he attempts to open the door.
Not sure if you roll or if I do...here is my roll just in case
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16
Nah it's a shrunken elven hand. It's tiny.
Going ahead I'm going to assume Varook is seeking as his exploration activity and Lenna is stealthed.
You hear nothing at the north door and open it, revealing a long hallway that ends at the back end of a secret door. This leads you into a series of old, disused rooms with little of value in them, but gives you a better idea of the interior layout of the place.
You find two circular rooms that lead to different sections of the citadel, and seem to encircle the large central courtyard. You start to hear noise and moving a little closer you come into an auditorium.
To the north of many rows of stadium-style benches stands a wide dais. Garbage clutters what was once undoubtedly a pristine floor. A small corridor near the dais leads to the west, while to the north, an iron gate provides a view into a central courtyard.
This room is littered with a lot of garbage. As you walk into the auditorium, you hear the first real signs of life within the Citadel. A series of barking growls, the sound of claws scraping stone, and what sounds like goblins and a halfling arguing all come from the courtyard to your north.
When they hear the sound Omari rushes to the door, but doesn't open it. "I hear something! It sounds like goblins, and maybe a child? Halfling? Should we go in?" He puts his hand on the door ready to push it open if given the go ahead.
Aramil says, ”I don’t see why not. We were sent to make contact with the Bumblebrashers. If they are in there, we can speak to them and find out what’s going on.”
"Perhaps caution might be in order. I can sneak forward and see what is happening and if it is all up and up, well then I will call you in. If not...we can decide on a course of action then. What do you think?"
The little warrior sets his and Leena's packs on the floor and prepares to carefully move towards the sounds of conversation.
Lenna whispers, "If the goblins are in distress, why aren't they hiding? Maybe the issue is between different groups within the tribe?"
Yes, stealth would likely be Lenna's default exploration activity, even - maybe especially - when she's walking among a group of long-legs.
She moves up to Varook as he prepares to sneak in, obviously planning to accompany him.
Omari nods to the two halflings. "Ok, give it a look and let us know what you see. We'll be waiting here if things go... poorly."
A short flight of stairs leads down to an open-air courtyard surrounded by imposing octagonal walls, while a heavy iron gate separates it from the halls to the south. A few errant milkweeds and tufts of crabgrass protrude from the cracked cobblestone flooring. The ground to the west is sunken in, creating a natural pool of rainwater. To the north, the battlements above have partially collapsed into a huge
mound of stone and wooden rubble, under which some sort of reptilian creature seems to have been crushed. The top half of a flight of wooden stairs rises up to the battlements above the collapsed section of the walls; broken plants from the bottom half lie amid the rubble below. A thick rope has been affixed via a grappling hook to the lower portion of the stairs, dangling down to within a few feet of the top of the rubble pile.
The desperate shouts and barking growls continue here, but now their sources are obvious. The shouts come from the battlements above, where a few goblins and a halfling man holding another goblin at knifepoint can be seen. The man seems to be threatening the goblins, while the goblins
look like they’re pleading for mercy. The source of the growling is of greater concern, though—for it comes from a large, draconic beast not far away at ground level, roaring at the delicious but inaccessible prey above!
As you step in through the south gate, the goblins start shouting at you in accented common.
"HELP! HE HAS HELBA!"
The halfling groans as you arrive below. "Oh damnation." He starts pulling his hostage into the northeast tower.
However, on the ground, a very nasty crocodile-looking-lizard-thing is looking right at you, and it lets out a terrifying hiss before attacking!
Amaril: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
Varook: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20
Raff: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10
Omari: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11
Lenna (stealth): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10
Lizard thing: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (7) + 7 = 14
Varook is up! Map is updated! Also that pool to the west is pretty deep.
Varook moves off to one side of the courtyard, making noise to attract the lizard-thing as he goes. Once in position he readies his shortswords for the inevitable attack he hopes the creature makes against him. This should give the others a chance to attack the creature from the rear!
Will STRIDE 25' then READY an attack
Feel free to roll your attack in advance so I don't have to look it up :D
Stride > Noxious Breath > Bite
AoO: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (1) + 9 = 10 Damage: 1d6 ⇒ 6
Save: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (20) + 7 = 27
Jaws: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (18) + 10 = 28 Damage: 1d12 + 4 ⇒ (11) + 4 = 15
The big lizard-thing stalks forward as Varook makes himself the most tantalizing target. Varook swings out, but misses badly, and the lizard then exhales the most foul breathe he's ever smelled in his life! The doughty halfling shrugs off the bad smell, but he is then bitten horribly as the huge thing chomps him around his torso, shaking him around for a moment.
Varook takes 15 damage and everyone is up! Lenna as far as you can tell you are successfully hidden.
Aramil begins playing an inspiring melody, filling the room with It and bolstering his allies. The melody then becomes more discordant, visibly striking at the lizard thing.
Using inspire courage to give everyone a +1 to attacks, damage, and saves vs fear, then casting Daze on the lizard, DC 17 basic Will saving throw. It takes 4 mental damage and gives stunned 1 on a crit fail.
Omari mutters a few words causing a plane of protective force to appear in front of him before rushing in and hitting the creature with a two handed smack of his staff and offering a short prayer.
"Nethys Preserve me and forgive me this mundane tool I use in your name."
1. Cast Shield
2. Move 15 feet up (potentially provoking)
If it attacks me I'll use my reaction to shield, if it attacks anyone else (in 15 feet) I'll Glimpse of redemption (Deal no damage, or Grand Resistance 3 and take enfeebled 1)
Attack, Flank, Song: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25
I'm assuming you will factor the flank into its AC?
Damage, song: 1d10 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14
Second Damage if Crit: 1d10 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
Lenna's widen at the attack hitting Varook. She tries to focus on the task at hand, letting fly with several arrows.
1. Hunt prey against the lizard thing
2. Hunted Shot against the creature
3. Standard shot against the creature
Is the shooting into melee penalty still a thing?
First: 1d20 + 7 - 2 ⇒ (13) + 7 - 2 = 18 Penalty from volley 30'
Damage: 1d8 ⇒ 6
Second: 1d20 + 4 - 2 ⇒ (15) + 4 - 2 = 17
Damage: 1d8 ⇒ 5
First: 1d20 + 1 - 2 ⇒ (12) + 1 - 2 = 11
Damage: 1d8 ⇒ 1
Flat-footed condition means AC penalty, so yep!
@Lenna - no. Fire at will!
The group swarm the huge lizard in response, it looks up as Aramil dazes it before it is riddled with arrows by Lenna. Finally, Omari distracts the creature. It opens its noxious, foul-smelling mouth and he jams his staff right in with incredible force. It roars, flipping onto its back and with an incredible effort, Omari pushes down and hears a 'crack' as he staff punches through into the creature's brain killing it instantly.
End of Combat
A huge cheer sounds up from the battlements as the goblins see you kill the lizard- thing. The fight is over as quickly as it started, although Varook has been badly hurt. However, right above you, the standoff continues.
"And who are you? Oh... wait! The do-gooders from town! You were supposed to burn in the fire! What are you doing here... No closer! I’ll cut this goblin’s ears off if you don’t leave at once!" shouts the halfling who is almost certainly Calmont. He is hidden within a tower but shows his hostage on the outside, a knife to her neck.
The goblins point at halfling helplessly and alternate between pleading for help or shouting what are probably ill-advised insults at the halfling.
The stairs up to the battlements are collapsed, however there is a rope ladder from the top of the stairs to the battlements. Just the matter of a hostage situation to resolve.
Battlements are shown on the map now in the northeast with the position of Calmont (who is near the top of the ladder) and the goblins opposite him. Green border means friendly for our purposes.
Omari looks up at the halfling and the hostage before speaking softly to their companions. "This is a predicament. How do we get up there without losing the hostage?"
Lenna does not use a lower voice, though she scowls at the halfling Calmont. ”We collect our wounded and we fall back, as he says.”
She stows her bow and makes a show of going to Varook, getting under a shoulder, and helping him exit the chamber.
Varook, still in some shock at the vicious bite the giant lizard gave him, simply allows Lenna to lead him out of the courtyard. He grimaces as he moves, the bite having left the ribs on his right-side tender and, perhaps, broken.
"No. We don't leave. We keep the pressure on him. He won't just kill the goblin. If he does either the other goblins get him or we do. He's backed into a corner and he knows it. If we let him out who knows what he'll do."
Raff calls up to the Calmont "You hear that halfling? You're trapped. You kill the goblin and your life is forfeit. Come with us and we'll take you back to town to be tried. You'll be imprisoned but you'll be alive."
Intimidate: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21
Where's the rope ladder? Raff wants to move toward it.
”As my compatriot says, killing the hostage puts you in a rather untenable situation. However, we are quite reasonable. Perhaps we could negotiate? I find negotiation to be preferable to threats. Why don’t you allow us to approach the center of the courtyard, and we’ll talk.”
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18
Once they are out of sight, Lenna asks Omari, "Varook needs some healing, but I have no intention of letting that coward in the tower off easy. I hoped that if he thought he had removed us as a concern, he would relax while we tried another way to get to him - now that we know he's our target. I'm kind of glad Raff and Aramil are trying other tactics. I'm going to try to get up to where he is without him knowing." There is concern in her eyes as she looks at Varook, "How bad is it, truly? It looked very frightening from where I stood."
GM: Are we able to enter the towers at our current level and determine if there is a means of climbing to the next level? I'm wondering if I can circle the courtyard through other chambers and climb up inside the tower that Calmont is hiding within.
Omari looks at Varook with concern. "I can heal some of his wounds, and given time, all of them. However I am no cleric." Omari lays one hand on Varooks, closing the worst of the wounds. "That is the best I can do without further devotions. What now?"
Varook Heal 6 HP
Current HP 9/18
Finally able to draw a full breath without the stabbing pain from his ribs, the halfling warrior seems slightly better. The bite marks can still be seen as deep punctures that seem red and angry, and most of his torso is a shocking mixture of black, purple and green bruises.
"Thank you Omari. I be feeling better now Lenna. Don't you be worrying on my account. Now what is this about one of our kind threatening a goblin? Have you tried the old tongue (Halfling) to see if he might speak with us?"
@Lenna - the only way into those towers you have seen thus far is from the courtyard.
While Omari heals some of Varook's wounds, Raff starts advancing on Calmont and threatening him while Lenna pleads with the group to withdraw and heal. Raff seems to scare Calmont enough that his grip loosens on Helba. The goblin suddenly bites down - hard - and Calmont lets out a shriek. "NO! These little pests need to tell me how to find Alseta's Ring!"
However, seeing the group completely massacred the giant lizard-thing, he's lost his hostage, and that he has nowhere left to run, the fight seems to go out of him. He sinks to the ground miserably. The goblins jeer and continue to throw insults at him in goblin, which earn a "SHUT UP!" in response. However, you seem to have avoided a fight. Calmont throws his dagger into the courtyard and awaits his fate.
Lenna has barely started searching for a hidden route up in earnest when Calmont shrieks in pain. Rushing into the courtyard, she witnesses his surrender. She moves over to his fallen dagger, looks it over, and puts it in her belt for now.
To Raff and Aramaic, she says, quietly for only their ears, ”Some of Varook’s wounds are healed, but he’s in rough shape. My intent was only to get out of his sight and find a way to sneak up on him. I’m glad you chose to confront him, as it would have distracted him from me, if it had come to that. I can swear to you, I would never leave a hostage or a slave behind. Not any longer than I had to.”
She shrugs, ”I don’t want you thinking I was really running away.”
Louder, she asks the goblins, ”Friends, how can we get up to your level? Just the rope? Or are there stairs?”
”Good choice, Calmont. Now, why don’t you come down here and we’ll talk about why you set the fire and what you’re looking for?”
Aramil motions to Omari and says, ”Could you make sure those are the Bumblebrashers and let them know why we’re here?”
Omari mutters softly to themselves, a hint of confusion in their voice "Who is Alseta?" before realizing that Amaril was addressing them. "Of course. I'm sure we can get this all straitened out amicably."
Omari walks over to the wall beneath the goblins and leans against it casually, speaking up to them. "You wouldn't happen to be the Bumblebrasher tribe would you? Miss Warbal sent us here to check in on you. She's been unable to contact you for over a month. Is everything ok?"
Helba calls out a little shakily. "J-just the rope ladder but I don't think he's fighting much any more!"
Calmont just sits there sullenly. Raff heads over, easily clambering up the rope ladder before seizing Calmont. The halfling sneers at the goblins.
The goblins send jeers back in their own language but otherwise are huddled at one side of the battlements, making sure their leader is alright. Raff hauls Calmont over his shoulder and easily heads back down to the courtyard.
You opined some questions so am going to assume you ask them of him directly.
Why did you capture the goblins?
"Why do you think I was here?! These freaks know how to get to the basement. They used to live down there! Everyone know that! Those blocked stairs on the first floor - they can't be the only way down. There's an elf gate down there. Do you have any idea what someone would pay for information about the lost elf gates? A lot! Only these worms won't tell me how to get downstairs!"
What's Alseta's Ring?
Calmont snorts. "Alseta's Ring? It's only a ring of elf gates. Connected to places all over the world. Elf. Gates." Calmont emphasizes those last two words slowly. "You know those? You're not stupid are you? Don't you know how valuable that information is to richies who want to travel fast? Selling that information would get me out from under Voz's thumb!"
Why did you set fire at the Call to Heroes?
"Stupid question!” Calmont chides. "It was fun setting that little spark. Woosh! Aha! You should’ve seen everyone’s faces. How else was I supposed to stop that stupid council from sending heroes"—Calmont sneers at the word—"to Hellknight Hill? That would have interrupted my plan to find the elf gates! But now you’re here anyway. Bah!" Calmont slaps his own forehead in frustration. "Should have set an even bigger fire!"
Omari's eyes go wide (well one of them does, the one on the side with the scars is a bit unresponsive) at the mention of the Elf gates, the goblins completely forgotten.
"I'm sorry. Did you say, Elf gates? Are you saying this castle has a portal to a distant land in it? Nethys preserve! This is wonderful! I need to sit down." Despite this pronouncement Omari begins to pace around the courtyard clearly overcome with excitement. "We have to find them! I'm certain that is why I am here. This is amazing!"
Seeing the others have things well in hand, Lenna tells Varook, "I can field-dress your wounds, our tiller showed me how, but I don't have any supplies. I need to see if anyone has something I can use."
Seeing that the others are interrogating the miscreant and something has Omari very excited, Lenna decides not to interrupt and turns to the resident tribe.
"Excuse me, but is one of you by chance a healer? Or do you have the supplies necessary to treat one's wounds?"
Seems only fair since by way of exchange, right? And given the chance to speak to one of them, she will ask:
"Are you all OK? We came at behest of your friend Warbal. She saw a signal and felt you were in trouble. What should we tell her when we return to town? Is there anything we can do to help you before we leave?"
Aramil looks at the halfling, blinks twice, and then says, "Really? That's why you set the fire? And were threatening the goblins? Because you wanted to find the Elf Gate so you could sell information about it?"
Rubbing his eyes, he said, "Did it not occur to you to hire us to find the Elf Gate for you?"
Aramil couldn't believe how impulsive and shorsighted the halfling had been. Convinced of a terrible conspiracy, that the fire had been caused by simple greed was...almost disappointing.
Omari stops pacing and looks to Amaril. "To be fair, this is literally the find of the century. Perhaps the millennium. A lost elf gate here in Breechill! I don't recall ever hearing about any missing gates growing up." Omari heads over to the halfling and is almost shouting in excitement. How did it get here? Who build it? When? Where does it go?"
"Let's get this one back to town. The goblins might become braver during the night and come seeking vengeance against him while we rest."
He'll also whisper to the group. "We might also want to keep the elf gate thing a bit of a secret."
Calmont starts whining. "C'monnnn let me go guys. All I did was light a little fire. Nobody got hurt. I don't want to have to go back to Voz. You ever met her? She thinks she's my god! Always bossin' me around. 'Calmont do this, Calmont Read that, Calmont that's not how you pronounce Norgorber!' she's a jerk! I hate her! I've been digging around her stuff for weeks, trying to find something I could sell to buy my way out of this stupid job. Didn't find any goodies... just the notes on Alseta's Ring. I just know it's a bunch of elf gates and that means money. Who knows what she's planning to do with that information? Don't care! I just wanna get paid! LEMME GOOOOOO!"
Lenna heads over to the Bumblebrashers who are looking over their leader. As she approaches the short, slight woman who had been Calmont's captor walks up to meet her. "Excuse me," she says in a voice like a hoarse bird. "You are friends? Thank you friends! YOu must be friends because you just saved the Bumblebrashers from that nasty man! So much flailing! And shrieking! Ack!"
"We have been in a very bad situation, and we need your help more I am afraid to say, but for now we tend to your wounded. That was very brave! Yes very brave!"
One of the goblins rushes over to help out with Varook's wounds.
Medicine - Treat Wounds: 2d8 ⇒ (8, 5) = 13
Omari seems slightly crestfallen when Raff mentions keeping the gate a secret. "I understand why you might want to keep it a secret, but think of the good we can do for the community. Like Calmot here said, it could be an immeasurably boon to the local economy. Also, Nethys demands that we use magic. To let is sit idle and unused is sacrilege. But yes, perhaps we should confirm its existence before we speak of it too much in town."
As Calmont continues to speak Omari rolls their eyes and turns back to the halfling. "While I am sure you have very good points, I must admit that I didn't hear many of them. Once you started whining, I just tuned you out. Perhaps you should try again, but next time sound less like a petulant five year old?"
"Why is working for Voz such a burden on you? Are there no other businesses where you could have taken your skills, if working for Voz is so bad?"
As the goblin shaman casts his spell, the pain suddenly disappears. Drawing a deep, and painless breath, Varook lets out a contented sigh.
"Ahhh, my thanks! You have done me a great service, and if I can repay it, just let me know. Now, who is this squawking up there?"
Wandering out into the courtyard, Varook looks up at the halfling yelling down at the group. In their native tongue, he calls up to the fellow.
"Hey...what's wrong with you? Get down here now and let's talk this out like civilized people without all this carrying-on. Come on...come on, hurry up. We don't have all day!"
Society check?: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 22
What she said. Also you were healed with the Medicine skill. No magic, just good old goblin-style doctoring. Medicine can now heal you for 2d8 after every fight.
Calmont grumbles. "We all need money, Voz pays me so I work for Voz. And I told you what I know, dummy! Voz had notes about the elf gate, and I wanted to find them for myself and finally get out of this dump."
Helba looks panicked as she starts speaking quickly. "Cultists—at least I think they’re cultists. They called themselves the Cinderclaws, and they said our home was their home now. They threatened to roast us! To peel us and eat us! Ack! And they had dragon monsters with them! So of course we ran from the vaults. Then so many monsters on the ground ﬂoor, so we ran up here, to the battlements. That dragon thing down in the courtyard kept us from getting away! It wanted to eat us! Thank you so much for killing it! I don't want to be eaten."
She points over at Calmont. "Then that awful man grabbed me and started shouting at us! I would have even told him how to get down - why do I care if he wants to get slashed by those cultists in the vaults? Don't know about any ring though. Rings are shiny, and no shiny rings in our vaults. But there's deeper rooms and we've never gone there. Maybe the shiny ring is there?"
Nodding in agreement with Raff, Lenna reaches out to Helba to give her a hug. "The folks at Breachill asked us to come help you, and help you we shall. Fortunately, this selfish little man chose to come when we were on our way or he might have done something very regretful. Are you sure you are all right?" She makes a point of holding the goblin at arms' length and looks her over for injuries.
Of course, if Helba shies back from physical contact, Lenna won't force the hug on her, but she will still stand back and look her over for wounds.
"Little lesson for you, Calmont. When a job is terrible, look for a new one - don't light a fire to steal some notes and come find Elf Gates."
Aramil is ready to bring Calmont back to Breachill.
To the goblins, he says, "We noticed some goblin dogs at the front gate. We didn't come in that way, because if they were yours we didn't want to hurt them, but it might be more convenient if we could use the front gate instead of the hidden door on the side we found."
Helba is a little timid but then embraces Lenna almost uncomfortably tightly. She whispers a few thank yous again and again as her kinfolk cheer. Helba is terrified and doesn't seem to have been eating well but she is otherwise unharmed.
Once she (finally) releases Lenna she talks al ittle more. "The dogs are okay if you don't spook them. Just walk slow and they leave you alone. Give 'em a treat and they like you! Or you can use the secret door. We're going to set up in the courtyard but if you can help us that'd be really great. There's still monsters and we don't know what else on the top floor and in the vaults it's worse!"
Calmont just remains sullen and whiny, not deigning to respond to Aramil's admonishment.
Heading back to town with your prisoner?