Still holding on to Calmont, Raff adds, "Warble will be pleased to hear that you are still here and fighting. Look for us in the morning." Now let's take this little rat to town for a fair trial and hanging.
While still maintaining their cheerful demeanor, Omari does question Raff's statement. "Oh, come now. Surely a hanging is too severe. It was only arson, no one was seriously injured. I imagine sending Calmont off to the Hellknights for imprisonment would be sufficient."
Lenna adds, sure the halfling can hear, "Oh, that's nice! Calmont gets out of Breachill, which he wants, and Breachill gets rid of Calmont, which they no doubt want if he's going to be trying to kill roomfuls of people just to line his purse. Everybody wins!"
With your whining halfling prisoner tied up and at swordpoint, you start on the (thankfully short) march back to Breachill. As you march, Omari plays with the weird mummified elf hand. As he does, he begins to see a strange blue outline around it which only increases his interest.
After a good ten minutes of walking and Omari avoiding falling on his face while focusing on the item, he manages to figure out what this is.
The hand is common as far as magic items go, and is called a Hand of the Mage. It works simply, wear it around your neck, and you gain limited telekinesis.
Crit success on your ID check. The hand of the mage requires investment and grants the wearer the mage hand cantrip which can be used as much as you please. Requires two actions to cast mage hand, just like the spell.
Back in Breachill
The peaceful little town and its creek greet you as you arrive at the eastern gate. As you do, you see the guards call out from the wal land two of them rush out. Calmont's name is already all over town, and the successful and peaceful apprehension of the halfling is obviously a cause for joy. They take him from your hands and he lets out a long wail before he's hauled off to the jail.
It's easy enough to find Greta and the other town councilors, who are all at work cleaning up the fire damage from Calmont's ill-fated attempt to ruin the Call to Heroes.
Greta is overjoyed as you arrive. "Successful! And so quickly, my word that is a delight. You've more than earned your reward. Tell me what you found! What has happened to the Bumblebrashers?"
Aramil says, "The Bumblebrashers are alright, but apparently some sort of cultists calling themselves the Cinderclaws have taken possession of the underground rooms where they lived. The Bumblebrashers fled to the ground floor, but apparently there are a lot of monster there, so they went to the walls. We told the Bumblebrashers we would go back and help them, but we wanted to return Calmont first."
On the way back, shortly after discerning the hands functionality, Omari lets the rest of the group know. "Interesting. When worn around the neck this hand allows you to lift things with the power of your mind."
"REALLY? How does it work? Can you show me how to use it? What sort of things can you lift?"
Read that as near-childish fascination with magic on the part of the character, not a desperate need to claim the item.
Omari's eyes light up as they explain the process to Lenna. "Well first you must place it around your neck. Omari hands it to her and waits for her to do so. "Like all magic it simply a matter of envisioning the effect you wish to manifest, and channeling the appropriate energy. Depending on the nature of the magic that channeling would have different requirements. For example, when I create a shield to protect myself, I feel the power flowing through my blood and draw it forth with a verbal incantation, envisioning the shield. My will, combined with the power in my blood and the appropriate vocalizations draws the magic forth.
With the item it is a bit easier. The arcane matrix stored in its construction by its creator has already done the bulk of the work. You simply need to envision the desired effect and state the command word. In this case; "Erevel." It is a traditional elven name, I can only assume its the name of the creator, or the one to whom the hand originally belonged. Maybe both." Omari says with a smile. "Give it a try."
Lenna hesitantly takes the withered old hand. Now that she knew what it was, it actually means something, it wasn't some random curio that she'd picked up on her 'big adventure' and she's worried she will damage it.
She looks at Omari again, for assurance, and seeing them smile, she slips it on and whispers, "Erevel," but nothing happens.
She giggles, "I forgot to tell it... to think it what to do!" She takes a coin from her belt pouch and holds it in her open palm. "I want to pick up the coin. Erevel." As a ghostly elven hand rises from her chest, Lenna's eyes go as round as saucers, but the hand gently picks up the coin between thumb and forefinger. She whispers, "Turn it over," and the hand nimbly rolls the coin over like a street magician entrancing his audience. "Higher. Lower. To Varook. To Raff. Back to me, in my hand." And the ghostly hand follows her directions before returning the coin whence it started and it hovers before her while she concentrates on it. She reaches out with her other hand and tries to touch the apparition, but her reaching fingers pass through it. "Goodbye."
She 'thinks' the hand back into the amulet and visibly relaxes for a moment, then squeals and jumps up and down, clapping her hands and dropping the coin. "It worked! I mean, I did it! Or it did it! What fun!" She picks up the withered hand and looks at it. "How does such an ugly old thing hold such magic? Something even I can use, I mean, with some practice, I think I could be pretty good with it!"
"Oh, well, if it was mine, that is. But it's not. It's ours, or it's the Bumblebrashers, I guess - do you think they will want it back?" Especially considering her height, she's looking very much like a child that really doesn't want to give up a pretty rock she just found, but she thinks she's going to have to.
Varook smiles as he watches Lenna and Omari test the functions of the weird hand talisman.
"Haha...that could come in handy trying to reach things off a tall shelf, or for playing pranks!", he laughs as the coin goes zipping past him.
She nods eagerly, ”I know! I could test a trap without getting close, or if I was really practiced, I could unlock something we thought was trapped, there’s a lot of things a person could use it for!”
Disclaimer: I, the player, does not believe she could pick a lock remotely using mage hand.
Sorry guys crazy few days. Thanks for keeping it lively! Also @Lenna I am happy to reward clever thinking if it's contextual to the problem at hand. RP solutions are more fun than flat skill checks.
Now amassed at the town hall with Greta, she passes out gold coins to all of you.
"I promised you ten for contacting the Bumblebrashers, and an additional ten for bringing Calmont back alive. You've done both, and frankly since it's only been a matter of hours I'll add an additional five. Twenty five gold for the lot of you or five gold each. Thank you sincerely."
She looks grimly over to the fortress. "The news of .. cultists in the vaults is concerning. I'd be shocked if they didn't come through Breachill to get there. I will have to speak with the council about authorizing further reward, but I will request that you continue your investigation. Particularly in the name of good relations with the Bumblebrashers. A homeless goblin tribe near the town is a... complication and the arrangement we had worked for all parties."
Lenna's eyes grow wide as the reward is distributed. "Thank you, Greta. I think we all agreed we wanted to aid the goblins further, but we needed to take care of Calmont first. They are expecting us to return."
Aramil says, "Thank you. As Lenna said, we had already intended to assist the goblins in reclaiming their home, so the fact that our decision to do so will also benefit the town is good news."
Aramil considered, then looked to Lenna and said, "What sort of treats do you think we should buy to bribe those goblin dogs at the front gate to let us pass?"
Omari thanks Gretta for the gold and then looks to their new companions. "What now? I suppose we find a place to rest for the night, and set out again in the morning? I wouldn't mind doing a bit of sight seeing while we are in town for the night."
Aramil considered, then looked to Lenna and said, "What sort of treats do you think we should buy to bribe those goblin dogs at the front gate to let us pass?"
"Great idea! I doubt we need to be fancy - some scrap from the butcher will probably be enough. I don't even think goblin dogs care if it's fresh."
You were able to peacefully pass by the goblin dogs so long as you didn't alarm them. That said, they like meat. No nature check needed for that - these are fairly common critters. Butcher shop is easy enough to find.
With your newfound gold jingling in your pocket you have the run of Breachill to yourselves. There's not too much time left in the day, but the town isn't that big either. It's a pleasant enough walled community with a large creek running through the centre. The locals here are a hardy, self-sufficient lot but pleasant enough to outsiders. Considering the state of Isger as a nation this is a perfectly lovely little town.
As you leave Greta mentions a few places in town worth visiting to newcomers:
- Wizard's Grace is a tavern right across the street and is a favored establishment for the adventurers that answer the monthly call from the town, as well as the public servants that work at the town
- The Reliant Book Company is a notable niche retailer that buys and sells rare tomes, although its selection is noted for being rather stuffy and academic.
- Shelyn's Smile is the headquarters to the town artisan guild and doubles as a temple to Shelyn. They offer sculpture and painting classes as well as matching potential customers to tradespeople and artisans.
- Cayden's Keg is the most popular tavern in Breachill and one Greta heartily recommends. She says you should keep away from the Pickled Ear.
- Quarters and Bits is a solid general store and weaponsmith noted for its unusual selection.
Let me know next moves. If the party is unsure of how to proceed I can also just fast-forward you to the next morning.
oh great Ranger.
She blushes. "Oh, you! Flatterer!"
Lenna is interested in the unusual selection at Quarters and Bits but I'm perfectly find with fast forwarding to the next morning.
Omari is interested in the Reliant Book Company, and will spend at least an hour that evening perusing the books. Other than that I'm good to fast forward as well.
Varook looks at the coins he has been handed, and walks over to Lenna and gives them to her.
"Here you go. I should have enough to pay for a few things, I think?"
Having been a slave, the need to purchase things has always seemed strange to Varook, and he is not very good with his money...but Lenna has always been able to help him whenever it came to anything monetary.
Note that due to your service, you receive a flat 5% discount on all purchases within Breachill.
You take a moment to see some of the stops in the city:
- Shelyn's Smile is a segmented building with a variety of different services offered. In one wing, the faithful worship the Eternal Rose - as you look in you see a handful of people engaged in a sculpture class. A sign also offers healing to those in need. Another wing has representatives from Breachill's artisans and tradespeople with a smiling women willing to match your needs to whomever you need in town. It all has a friendly, small town community feel to it.
- The bookstore is hard to spot, it is not well-signed and seems almost intentionally out of the way. Upon entry it becomes apparent that this place does not get a lot of customers as the proprietor is a cold, even rude elven woman who keeps her distance. However, the selection is interesting with decent tomes on the arcane world, Nethys, and even necromancy. This is apparently the place where Calmont worked, although she makes sure to crisply tell you he's been fired for his behaviour.
- Quarters and Bits is a dual storefront with a weaponsmith (Quarters) and a general store (Bits). The halfling proprietor wears a smart suit and a jaunty hat, he has a certain cheesy charisma to him. Beyond the usual fare there are a number of curios from distant lands or just the past. However nothing particularly noteworthy seems to be there, despite his best attempts to sell you something.
You take your room at the Wizard's Grace where you first met each other, just across the street from the town hall. The fact Calmont was brought back so quickly makes you partial local celebrities, and you are toasted into the night.
The Next Day
The following morning you awaken, gather, and strike out to figure out what these cultists are doing in the Altaerin vaults. The remainder of the top floor remains yours to explore. However, the way down into the vaults has been pointed out by Helba to be a secret door in the western hillside and not in the main fortress itself. She does ask you to please investigate the strange monsters that have been unleashed on the main floor of the Citadel, though.
You have a few options here. You can approach through the front or back door. The front door still has the goblin dogs, which are peaceful provided you don't excite them. Or you can entirely bypass this area and go straight for the vaults.
”Helba, what sort of creatures are you seeing in the citadel? Do you have any idea how they are getting them into the building?”
I’m asking because with goblin dogs at the front door and the back door we know seemingly unused before we arrived, is there another entrance or are we looking at something arriving via magical means?
With the way into the catacombs being a hidden door in the hillside as opposed to being connected directly to the citadel, Aramil was in favor of clearing out the main floor before they headed down. After all, these monsters could decide to attack Breachill, and that would put the town at risk.
He waited patiently while Helba asked about the creatures on the main floor.
You head through the front door to talk with the goblins who are all camped out in the courtyard beneath some crude tents. Helba speaks up.
"The big dragon-lizard was the worst! I think there's a bugbear creeping in the hallways to the south and Grunit here said he saw a dancing body in the northern part. Also we just heard fighting from the south, too! I think someone else got in!"
What is Varook’s health after a night’s rest?
Lenna nods her agreement and readies her bow. As soon as they are out of the open courtyard, she starts using shadows wherever possible, but she lets the others take the lead as they had done before.
You took the word right out of my mouth, Leena..lol!!
Wandering over to the corpse of the great lizard, Varook takes his sword and removes a few scales from the creature and stores them in his pack. He then wanders over to Leena and the others.
Following the sound of the combat, you start pushing through doors, west from the drill hall. The first room is a mess hall, which then leads to a training hall filled with half-rotted dummies and broken weapons. Beyond the training hall is the sound of the fighting.
You gather at a door and swing it open to reveal and arena of sorts.
Its flagstones painted entirely black, this sprawling and irregularly shaped room contains a circular, sunken arena in its middle. The arena’s edges are painted deep crimson, and an ominous crimson pentagram fills the center.
This is a test arena where the infamous Hellknight Test takes place. This involves the leader or lictor of the order conducting a ceremonial introduction before the armiger to be tested steps into the testing arena, and a devil is summoned for a fight to the death. If successful, the Armiger then becomes a full Hellknight.
Within the room you see a handsome, dark=haired man in matte black armour wielding an heirloom greatsword. He moves with a confident and assured technique while engaged in combat against a snickering imp. As you swing open the door, he strikes the imp dead with his greatsword, piercing its heart.
"Bloody hell monkeys," he mutters before turning to face you with a cool gaze.
Omari rushes into the room, weapon drawn, ready to help whoever appears to be friendly, only to stop short as they see the man fighting an imp.
Omari mutters quietly, "Well. That was not what I expected." speaking louder so the man in the pit can hear, "Yes, are you also here to aid the benighted goblins? You did quite well dispatching that devilish creature."
Diplomacy, Make an Impression: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 6 = 13
Society: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 12
Aramil looks about the arena, then turns his attention to the man in armor with a sword, curious about who he might be and his business here.
Varook stays by Lenna's side and peeks around the big folk to see the armoured figure.
He turns and whispers to Leena.
"He's a big 'un, he is! All cased in metal too...a tough nut to crack."
The man seems completely unimpressed by Raff's attempt to assert some dominance in the conversation and just ignores him as he looks to the rest of you and Omari's equally awkward attempt to make friends.
"Goblins? No. I---"
He suddenly turns as chittering laughter sounds out from the rafters. Sighing, he brings his glaive to bear as three imps drop into sight! "More, there's always more."
Amaril: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23
Varook: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10
Raff: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13
Omari: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (13) + 3 = 16
Lenna: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11
Hellknight: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12
Imps: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10
Everyone is up!
Raff takes up a position and stabs at red imp twice
2. Longspear: reach
To Hit: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20 Piercing: 1d8 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10
3. Longspear: reach, map
To Hit: 1d20 + 7 - 5 ⇒ (6) + 7 - 5 = 8 Piercing: 1d8 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11