GM Omelas' Hangman's Noose

Game Master panegyric

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Round #1
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Even though Skurly is shaking and frightened, he manages to steel himself for enough time to make his shot fly true: before the undead dog has gone far in its charge, the bolt hits it on its flank.

Mylok, already prepared for the creature's reaction, opens a hole on its chest, which then turns bright orange like a fist-sized chunk of ember as Sinésiel ray sets it aflame.

The loyal beast ignores the fact the dark energies that animated it are struggling to keep its body from falling apart and jumps on the gunslinger with a dry broken gnarl. Its fangs dig into Mylok's arm, but not deep enough to actually damage him; he shakes it off and slams the dog against the wall.

Talib is up. Talienda, I understood you would not take any action this round, but if I'm wrong feel free to do so now.

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Summary
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Skurly, Sinésiel and Mylok all hit the dog.
Dog missed Mylok, but is now adjacent to him. Any ranged attacks without precise shot have a -4 penalty.
Dog damage: 18
Map updated

rolls:

Bite: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15
Trip: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5
P dmg: 1d6 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5


Male Human (Keleshite) Inquisitor of Abadar 1| AC 16, T 12, FF 14 | HP 12/12 | Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +5 | CMB +3, CMD 15 | Init +2 | Perception +7, Sense Motive +8

Talib does not hesitate. He moves up and whirls his long-hafted mace, bringing the weapon down in a two-handed sweep. The inquisitor's technique is minimalist and straightforward, with little to no flourish beyond what is needed to build and maintain proper momentum.

Planson Attack: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (11) + 3 = 14
Planson Damage: 1d10 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 12


F NG Human (Taldan) Sorcerer 1 | HP: 7/7 NL: 3 | AC: 12, T: 12, FF: 10) | CMB: +1, CMD: 13 | F: +1, R: +2, W: +2 | Init: +2 | Perc: 0, SM: 0 | Speed 30ft | Elemental Ray: 5/6 | Spells: 1st 3/4 | Active conditions: None
Perception DC 24 (Physical Examination):
Under the dress is a dagger strapped to Talienda's right thigh.

Talienda backs into the corner of the room and drops into a fetal crouch with a scream as the dog lunges at Mylock. She covers her head and neck with her arms in a feeble attempt to protect herself from any attacks.

Pretty much. I figure seeing this in real life wound be extremely upsetting.


Slightly dazed, the undead dog tries to get its bearings by shaking its body and is caught unawares as Talib’s blow breaks it in half. A frail wave of grief and despair rushes through all in the room when the light in the dog’s eyes vanishes. After the dust settles, the party has a chance to investigate the room properly.

Combat is over, you may all act out of initiative.

On the table there are three dusty flasks: a red one labeled "hangover medicine", a green one labeled "for long sessions" and a golden and unlabeled vial. Next to them, there is one sheet of blood-stained paper and a partially unsheathed dagger.

Blood-stained letter:

Most Honorable High Magistrate Archamais Mazer,
It is with great remorse that I script this. The chaos of our time has eaten many innocent souls, but this one was lost not to catastrophe, but to an evil deed of injustice. Lies have killed a man this morning and I for my part did nothing to stop it. My esteemed colleague Silman Trabe knowingly sent an innocent man to the gallows, as I stood by silently. I only hope that Jarbin Mord’s soul may find some rest if the truth comes out

The letter ends abruptly.

Sinésiel:

Now the negative energy that animated the dog dissipated, Sinésiel feels her eyes and hands drawn towards a specific spot on the door threshold. There is fear, terror and violence in it and though she can try to reach and investigate that spot, she knows there might a price to pay.

Perception DC 10:

As Mylok noted before the fight, the chain around the man's neck, despite years of rust and decay, is indeed remarkably similar to the one once held by Malgrim.

ID Potions (perception DC 17):

The yellow potion is a potion of CLW, the red potion is a potion of lesser restoration and the green potion is a potion of bear's endurance

dagger (appraise DC 20):

The dagger is a masterwork item.

Its sheath is an ornamental item made of silver and encrusted with small emeralds that could easily sell for 100GP


F NG Ratfolk Bard | HP: 9/9 | AC: 14, T: 14, FF: 11) | CMB: +0, CMD: 13 | F: +3, R: +5, W: +2 | Init: +5 | Darkvision 60ft, Perc: +9, SM: +2 | Speed 20ft | Bardic Performance: 7/9 | Spells: 1st 1/2 | Active conditions: None

With the battle over Rissi joins in searching the room for anything of interest. She casts her detect magic cantrip and scans for any magical residue, surprised to see magic from the flasks on the table. "The vials contain magic. Just take a moment...." She focuses tightly on them and studies their auras.

Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (14) + 6 = 20

One roll for all three? If yes she tells the group what she thinks they are.


NG Female Half-elf Occultist 1 | HP: 4/13 | AC: 18, t: 12, ff:16 | F: +3, R: +2, W: +1 | Init: +2, Perc: +5 | Speed 20ft | Conj. 2/2, Evo 1/3 | Spells: 1st 0/2| Active conditions: None.

Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9

Distracted from her companions and surroundings by her compulsive nature and the draw of the unknown, Sinésiel walks over to the door on the other side of the room. On her way there, she sheathes her scimitar and trades her broken wand for her holy symbol. It is the one relic of her mother's that gives her no true strength, but in a moment of fear it gives her a strength truer than the rest.

I should tell the others before I do this, but then I would have to give myself away. They can't know that I can't do the things they need from me.

With these thoughts in mind, Sinésiel begins investigating the spot.

Knowledge:

Knowledge (arcana): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (19) + 8 = 27
Knowledge (religion): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11
Knowledge (planes): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (6) + 8 = 14


Male Human (Keleshite) Inquisitor of Abadar 1| AC 16, T 12, FF 14 | HP 12/12 | Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +5 | CMB +3, CMD 15 | Init +2 | Perception +7, Sense Motive +8

Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13

Talib dusts off his mace and stows it away, stepping over the hound's carcass to inspect the crime scene. He was not unfamiliar with the undead, which seemed to nest in the darkned nooks of Absalom as readily as living vermin—more ideally a job for Pharasma's faithful, but sometimes circumstances dictated otherwise. The inquisitor takes pains not to disturb anything, craning his neck over the skeleton's shoulder to read the letter.

"This explains late Mister Malgrim's involvement in the jury," he says, motioning to the rusted chain. "Someone must have sent him to eliminate loose ends. Perhaps he was used to apply pressure elsewhere, as well..."

He looks over the letter one more time, frowning. "This might be enough to prove Trabe's culpability, though it does not establish a clear motive. Furthermore, there is no evidence here linking him to anyone besides Malgrim..."

Is the letter intact enough to take with us, or would it crumble if transported? Assuming he can, Talib will store it in between his journal.


@Rissi: yes, one roll to ID all potions, for the sake of simplicity.

@Talib: the letter is frail, due to years of humidity, dust and etc, but it won't crumble in your hands if you pick it up.

Sinésiel:

When Sinésiel touches the threshold, a burst of impressions, emotions and sensations invade her mind with terrifying ruthlessness, but she manages to resist the shock and emerge unscathed. After that, the first thing that hits her is the smell: a mix of her mother's favourite flower with the incense she would light up during rituals and celebrations. And then her vision is clouded.

She is in a much more resplendent and clean version of this room, leaning with someone else's hands on the threshold. Though the door is partially closed, this person peeks inside and sees a younger Malgrim choking the man sitting on the chair. Two persons, their backs turned to the hidden observer, watch the hobglobin finish his task; it seems they are talking to one another, but the whole scene is engulfed in a deathly silence. Just as he finishes killing the man, Malgrim raises his head and looks in the direction of the observer and yells. The interloper starts running away and the vision ends, though her mother's smell lingers for a few minutes.

rolls:

Sinésiel will save DC 12: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (12) + 1 = 13


F NG Human (Taldan) Sorcerer 1 | HP: 7/7 NL: 3 | AC: 12, T: 12, FF: 10) | CMB: +1, CMD: 13 | F: +1, R: +2, W: +2 | Init: +2 | Perc: 0, SM: 0 | Speed 30ft | Elemental Ray: 5/6 | Spells: 1st 3/4 | Active conditions: None
Perception DC 24 (Physical Examination):
Under the dress is a dagger strapped to Talienda's right thigh.

After a few minutes Talienda recovers enough to recompose herself and joins Talib as she nervously looks at the skeletal hound and gives it as wide a berth as she can.

"Is every room in this awful place going to hold some horror like that," she asks in a shaky voice.

Sorry Talib, I forgot to respond in my last post

Talib:

Talienda nods when asked if she was the beneficiary of her father's estate.

"Other than some donations to a few temples and art galleries, I inherited all of his wealth and assets," she confirms. The mask crumbles away and before Talib is a confused, terrified young woman on the verge of tears.

"I *hic* I didn't know anything about what he did. All I know is how to paint, to dance, to sing, and to play a fiddle. I was only six when all of this happened. How?! How am I supposed to handle this? I feel like I'm slowly losing my mind and I have no control or say in what happens to me. I'm scared, Talib. I've never hurt anyone and people want me dead!"

She sobs for a few moments, weeping into her hands. She takes a deep breath and clearly forces herself back together. Tears still stream down her face, but she has a little more control of herself now.

"I am sorry you had to see that," she apologizes in a husky tone, "I know the last thing we need is for one of us to lose all composure at a time like this."

She closes her eyes and wipes away the tears.

"I think I've kept you long enough, Master Talib. The others are probably wondering where we are."


Male Human (Keleshite) Inquisitor of Abadar 1| AC 16, T 12, FF 14 | HP 12/12 | Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +5 | CMB +3, CMD 15 | Init +2 | Perception +7, Sense Motive +8

@Talienda:
Talienda Blackhorn wrote:

"I *hic* I didn't know anything about what he did. All I know is how to paint, to dance, to sing, and to play a fiddle. I was only six when all of this happened. How?! How am I supposed to handle this? I feel like I'm slowly losing my mind and I have no control or say in what happens to me. I'm scared, Talib. I've never hurt anyone and people want me dead!"

"I am sorry you had to see that," she apologizes in a husky tone, "I know the last thing we need is for one of us to lose all composure at a time like this."

She closes her eyes and wipes away the tears.

Talib listens to Talienda's breakdown intently, but remains aloof and impassive in his bearing—unlike Mylok, Sinésiel and others, he does not reach out physically to comfort her, or offer consolidation in the form of encouraging words or placating gestures. Perhaps his lack of outward judgment is telling enough.

"You expect the world to treat you fairly," he states flatly, before they depart the deliberating room. "This is entirely natural: every mortal has within them the inclination towards fairness. Unfortunately, we are imperfect, and often unwilling to pursue our betterment. You cannot affect change in those who have wronged you—they have made their own decisions—but you can improve yourself. We all have a role to play, if only we choose to perform it."

The inquisitor talks with stoic fervour, imbuing his elocution with the telltale signs of lived experience combined with deep religious conviction. He is not one to waste time on platitudes, or speak in vain about things outside his purview: but now, even as his lips form the syllables, he feels a divine inspiration guiding his tongue. He sees something of himself in Talienda's anxiety, on some level, and is pointing out a well-trod path towards ataraxia. However, she would have to walk it herself.

All of Talib's social skills are based on Wisdom, in case you haven't noticed. :P

~

Talienda Blackhorn wrote:

After a few minutes Talienda recovers enough to recompose herself and joins Talib as she nervously looks at the skeletal hound and gives it as wide a berth as she can.

"Is every room in this awful place going to hold some horror like that," she asks in a shaky voice.

Talib carefully peels the bloodied note off the desktop, storing it safely in between his journal.

"Hauntings and the living dead are often symptoms of a greater wrong," he says in the way of an explanation. "They are festering wounds, malignant errors ingrained in the fabric of reality. This one runs deep: I suspect things will get worse before they get better."


F NG Human (Taldan) Sorcerer 1 | HP: 7/7 NL: 3 | AC: 12, T: 12, FF: 10) | CMB: +1, CMD: 13 | F: +1, R: +2, W: +2 | Init: +2 | Perc: 0, SM: 0 | Speed 30ft | Elemental Ray: 5/6 | Spells: 1st 3/4 | Active conditions: None
Perception DC 24 (Physical Examination):
Under the dress is a dagger strapped to Talienda's right thigh.

"Worse?!" Talienda squeaks incredulously as her mask of composure slips showing the terror roiling away just behind it. "How can this get worse?!"

@Talib:

"I... I appreciate what you are telling me," Talienda says with a sad smile, "but I do not know how I am supposed to fit into this. I'm just an artist, dancer, and musician. I don't have any skills to help in this find of situation. I'm not sure I've ever heard of a situation like this outside of some sordid tale in a penny dreadful, however."

She gives a laugh that sounds more nervous than she would have liked, but it was a spark of levity in an otherwise bleak situation.

"I think we've kept the others waiting long enough, Master Talib. Shall we join them?"


F NG Ratfolk Bard | HP: 9/9 | AC: 14, T: 14, FF: 11) | CMB: +0, CMD: 13 | F: +3, R: +5, W: +2 | Init: +5 | Darkvision 60ft, Perc: +9, SM: +2 | Speed 20ft | Bardic Performance: 7/9 | Spells: 1st 1/2 | Active conditions: None

Rissi glances up at the scared young girl and answers her question almost as it is asked. "Remember the scary stories that kids tell to scare their friends? Sometimes they'd be so scary that they didn't scare you 'cause they were unbelievable? Stuff like this is where some of those stories come from. But we need to find the truth behind this story and possibly end the scare. Just remember that we're all together in this. You aren't alone facing any of this. That should blunt the scare."

Unless someone else speaks up for it, Rissi will carry the potions. ?? Spreadsheet updated.


NG Female Half-elf Occultist 1 | HP: 4/13 | AC: 18, t: 12, ff:16 | F: +3, R: +2, W: +1 | Init: +2, Perc: +5 | Speed 20ft | Conj. 2/2, Evo 1/3 | Spells: 1st 0/2| Active conditions: None.

After her visions, Sinésiel turns back to the party. After hearing Rissi comfort Talienda, she does her best to keep her emotions in check and speak.

"I had another vision," she starts, crossing the room to join the others. If she strained her voice to tell them now there's no way she could keep herself together. "This one was rather vivid. I was peeking through the doorway, and the room looked like it was in much better shape. I saw Malgrim and two others—their backs, at least. Malgrim was using his chain to choke someone to death, and based on the scene in front of us it was that fellow there."

She takes a moment to calm her breathing before she continues. I have to trust them, for all of our sakes. I have to do this.

"Truth is, this isn't the first time in my life I've had visions like this in a place where something bad has happened, or even when touching an object with some history attached. I'm no priestess of Sarenrae, though I love the Dawnflower as much as any would," she says, her voice starting to crack. "I smelled my mother's perfume in that vision. I could smell the incense we used to burn while praying. One of those three bastards saw her, and the vision ended when they turned around to go after her. One of them killed her, and if I had to guess that person is here today."


F NG Ratfolk Bard | HP: 9/9 | AC: 14, T: 14, FF: 11) | CMB: +0, CMD: 13 | F: +3, R: +5, W: +2 | Init: +5 | Darkvision 60ft, Perc: +9, SM: +2 | Speed 20ft | Bardic Performance: 7/9 | Spells: 1st 1/2 | Active conditions: None

Rissi moves up to Sinésiel. She had heard of people, sensitive to such things but had never met one. "Can you describe the three, uh 'bastards' in your vision? Men? Women? Human? If you saw a ratfolk, slightly bigger than me and older it could be my Gran. I'd prefer finding out that he was an innocent and murdered. But I didn't actually know him, and do want the truth."


NG Female Half-elf Occultist 1 | HP: 4/13 | AC: 18, t: 12, ff:16 | F: +3, R: +2, W: +1 | Init: +2, Perc: +5 | Speed 20ft | Conj. 2/2, Evo 1/3 | Spells: 1st 0/2| Active conditions: None.

Sinésiel shakes her head at Rissi's question, "I'm sorry, Rissi, no such luck. Things are rather hazy when I have visions like these. I think the only reason that Malgrim was as clear to me as he was is because I've met him and because of the severity of the act he committed here."


M NG Human (Alkenstari) Gunslinger (Black Powder Vaulter/Mysterious Stranger) 1 | HP: 9/12 | AC: 16, T: 14, FF: 12) | CMB: +1, CMD: 15 | F: +3, R: +6, W: +0 | Init: +4 | Darkvision 60ft, Perc: +4 SM: +0[ut] | Speed 30ft | Grit 2/Day | Active conditions: None

Shorter post from me. Someone in my office downloaded a virus and shut us down yesterday. I've been made part of the team to help wipe computers and I'm now posting from my phone, on my break, from the office, where I can't actually work. Yay.

Mylok loads the flint into the cock. With it half-cocked, upends the powder horn down into muzzle and tamps it down with the ramrod.

"Well," he wraps a metal ball in a patch and drops it into the muzzle, "I believe that gift of yours is going to prove more and more useful."

Mylok slips the pistol into its holster and kneels down by the pile of now-still bones. Good dog, he says to himself.


Male Human (Keleshite) Inquisitor of Abadar 1| AC 16, T 12, FF 14 | HP 12/12 | Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +5 | CMB +3, CMD 15 | Init +2 | Perception +7, Sense Motive +8
Sinésiel Arvine wrote:
"I had another vision," she starts, crossing the room to join the others. If she strained her voice to tell them now there's no way she could keep herself together. "This one was rather vivid. I was peeking through the doorway, and the room looked like it was in much better shape. I saw Malgrim and two others—their backs, at least. Malgrim was using his chain to choke someone to death, and based on the scene in front of us it was that fellow there."

Talib nods, though grudgingly so.

"A vision does not make for an admissible testimony in a court of law," he says, "but what you describe is corroborated by the physical evidence."

Sinésiel Arvine wrote:
"Truth is, this isn't the first time in my life I've had visions like this in a place where something bad has happened, or even when touching an object with some history attached. I'm no priestess of Sarenrae, though I love the Dawnflower as much as any would," she says, her voice starting to crack.

The inquisitor narrows his eyes. "Impersonating a priestess of the goddess of honesty is a peculiar way of showing deference."


M LG Halfling Investigator (Sleuth) 1 | HP: 7/7 | AC: 17, T: 14, FF: 14) | CMB: -2, CMD: 11 | F: -1, R: +5, W: +4, +2 vs. fear | Init: +4, +6 if Luck > 0 | Perc: +8, SM: +6 | Speed 20ft | Inspiration: 1/3 | Luck: 2/2 | Active conditions: None

While his colleagues have been conferring and sharing counsel, Skurly has been feverishly occupied with the simple task of reloading his crossbow. Each time he tries to complete the straightforward steps of drawing a bolt from his quiver, slotting it into the groove, and cranking back the winch to ready it, something goes wrong. His sweat-soaked palms slip, his fingers fumble, once he even tries to load the bolt backwards. It takes the shaken halfling a full two minutes to get the damn thing ready to fire again, a fact which he prays has gone unnoticed by his betters.

Once again properly armed, he catches Talib's thinly-veiled accusation of Sinesiel's basic fraudulence. Something about it catches hold of the tiny shred of pride and defiance in his soul, and with as much certainty as he can muster, he faces the inquisitor and makes his case.

"B-but, Sir Talib!" he splutters. "I know you're cross with Ms. Sinesiel, and yes, perhaps she's putting on airs. But 'Malfi, she would always tell me something when I was scared. She'd say, 'Skurly'-" Judging by the way he mimicked her voice, Amalfia was about ten leagues tall and wiser than Nethys himself. "- 'sometimes, you have to pretend to be better than you are. It takes time, but you grow into the lie, and it becomes the truth.' Ms. Sinesiel's done nothing but help! She's always made sure anyone who was hurt was ok, and she's never held us back or played us false. If she wears the Dawnflower's garb, well, so what? Isn't she doing the work Sarenrae would ask of her? We can't turn on each other now, there's too many others who want to see us dead!"

He gives a stamp with his little foot- it's little more than a tap of the toe to all the tallfolk in the room, but to Skurly, it might as well be the tolling of a churchbell.


Male Human (Keleshite) Inquisitor of Abadar 1| AC 16, T 12, FF 14 | HP 12/12 | Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +5 | CMB +3, CMD 15 | Init +2 | Perception +7, Sense Motive +8

"You misunderstand me," says Talib, raising his hands in a placating gesture. "I am not 'cross' with Miss Sinésiel. My intention is not to incite an argument, nor is it my place to judge one of Sarenrae's flock—that is up to her and Pharasma. I am simply making an educated observation..."

The inquisitor looks at Skurly, steely eyes glinting with disapproval. "As for your sister's advice... well, I find dishonesty and self-deception to be poor substitutes for building character. Ask yourself this: would you raise a temple on a rotten foundation? Do you think the decay would fix itself, if you ignored it diligently enough?"


F NG Human (Taldan) Sorcerer 1 | HP: 7/7 NL: 3 | AC: 12, T: 12, FF: 10) | CMB: +1, CMD: 13 | F: +1, R: +2, W: +2 | Init: +2 | Perc: 0, SM: 0 | Speed 30ft | Elemental Ray: 5/6 | Spells: 1st 3/4 | Active conditions: None
Perception DC 24 (Physical Examination):
Under the dress is a dagger strapped to Talienda's right thigh.

Rissi's words help calm Talienda, but hearing Sinesiel telling the others about her visions and how her mother was murdered for what she saw does a lot to help the young woman put things into perspective. She looks at her holy symbol for a moment, remembering the tenets she'd been taught. She was not the only suffering. Others were hurting, and she could help them, even just a little.

Wordless, she walks over to the taller woman and wraps her in a fierce, protective hug. At a loss of what to say, Talienda just lets her actions speak for her.


After Talienda hugs Sinésiel, Talib's words hang on the air nad there is a minute or two of silence during which each member of the group seems to loose themselves in their own thoughts. This short moment of introspection is broken by a single thud of something soft hitting the ground coming from the other side of the unopened door to the south.


F NG Ratfolk Bard | HP: 9/9 | AC: 14, T: 14, FF: 11) | CMB: +0, CMD: 13 | F: +3, R: +5, W: +2 | Init: +5 | Darkvision 60ft, Perc: +9, SM: +2 | Speed 20ft | Bardic Performance: 7/9 | Spells: 1st 1/2 | Active conditions: None

Rissi nods at Sinesial, "I understand. Like a dream, you never get everything and you can't focus on details. You get what is important though. We'll just have to continue and if there are any details on what my Gran did, I'll just have to try and be ready for them."

Hearing the sound of.... something from behind the unopened door Rissi stares in the direction. "And it seems our guild isn't happy with our delay."


NG Female Half-elf Occultist 1 | HP: 4/13 | AC: 18, t: 12, ff:16 | F: +3, R: +2, W: +1 | Init: +2, Perc: +5 | Speed 20ft | Conj. 2/2, Evo 1/3 | Spells: 1st 0/2| Active conditions: None.

Talib's words sting, but it is an irony has plagued Sinésiel for years now so she does her best to accept the inquisitor's scrutiny. As Talienda hugs her, she gives a small smile and strokes the younger woman's hair. "Thank you," she whispers.

After hearing the thud from the other room, she gently pushes Talienda away so that she can draw her scimitar and wand. "Agreed. I can take point," she says, going and standing by the door.


M NG Human (Alkenstari) Gunslinger (Black Powder Vaulter/Mysterious Stranger) 1 | HP: 9/12 | AC: 16, T: 14, FF: 12) | CMB: +1, CMD: 15 | F: +3, R: +6, W: +0 | Init: +4 | Darkvision 60ft, Perc: +4 SM: +0[ut] | Speed 30ft | Grit 2/Day | Active conditions: None

Mylok nods along as Skurly gives his impromptu speech. Damn straight, he thinks. That sister of his put into words what took me half my life to figure out.

The man raises a finger, ”Point of order, Constable, Dawnflower is also the goddess of redemption.” Mylok opens his mouth then closes it - a fine impression of a fish - then adds, ”Just pointing it out. But you're right, this isn't really the time for religious debates.”

As for you,” Misfire turns his attention to Siné, ”I should’ve known you weren’t a traditional priestess. You’ve yet to give a sermon on the ‘importance of reformation and turning one’s back on one’s evil ways’,” he adopts a nasally tone as impersonates a stereotype. ”Quite frankly, I find it refresh-” Mylok is finally silenced when something hits the other side of the door. He nods to Siné and steps over the old bones, his firearm at the ready.


----------------------------------
3. Courtroom B
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Much of the furniture in this old courtroom has been splintered into kindling. It looks like someone has smashed almost everything in the room on purpose: the bench has been overturned, the jurors’ box is in shambles and even bits and pieces of the walls have been ripped off. The windows here are crisscrossed with heavy boards and, where the nails breach the plaster around the windows, rust stains seep like bloody wounds in the courthouse walls.

After a quick inspection, Sinésiel sees what she believes was the source of the noise: a small dark mass, roughly the size of a boot, lies on the ground, right in front of the judge's seat. marked as a yellow dot on the map.


NG Female Half-elf Occultist 1 | HP: 4/13 | AC: 18, t: 12, ff:16 | F: +3, R: +2, W: +1 | Init: +2, Perc: +5 | Speed 20ft | Conj. 2/2, Evo 1/3 | Spells: 1st 0/2| Active conditions: None.

"I think that over there," Sinésiel says, pointing her sword at the small dark mass. "Would be the source of our interruption. Rissi, could you check and see if you detect any magic about? I'll see if anything mundane catches my eye. I don't want to get caught in another one of this place's strange traps."

Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25 I'd like to scan the room before making any sort of approach


At first, Sinésiel sees nothing out of the ordinary: the dilapidated courtroom looks simply like an even more decayed version of the room where the group had woken up. It is only when she glances upwards, expecting to see that same marble depiction of Iomedae and Asmodeus, that the wrongness of this room becomes palpable.

The whole ceiling is completely carpeted in countless shapes much like the one that she sees on the ground. They move and squirm, in a perfect and menacing silence. It is hard to say what these things might be from such a distance, but they either have not seen Sinésiel and her companions enter the room or do not care about them.


F NG Human (Taldan) Sorcerer 1 | HP: 7/7 NL: 3 | AC: 12, T: 12, FF: 10) | CMB: +1, CMD: 13 | F: +1, R: +2, W: +2 | Init: +2 | Perc: 0, SM: 0 | Speed 30ft | Elemental Ray: 5/6 | Spells: 1st 3/4 | Active conditions: None
Perception DC 24 (Physical Examination):
Under the dress is a dagger strapped to Talienda's right thigh.

Talienda lets out a yelp when the thump happens, not expecting the noise. She follows Sine into the demolished courtroom, unsure of how she could help but not willing to let the other woman go in alone.

Perception: 1d20 ⇒ 6 Nope.

"Sine, you said your mother was a priestess, right? It looks like she put up a fight when they came for her," she says as she scans the wreckage. Not hearing a response, she looks to Sine and asks, "What's wrong?"


F NG Ratfolk Bard | HP: 9/9 | AC: 14, T: 14, FF: 11) | CMB: +0, CMD: 13 | F: +3, R: +5, W: +2 | Init: +5 | Darkvision 60ft, Perc: +9, SM: +2 | Speed 20ft | Bardic Performance: 7/9 | Spells: 1st 1/2 | Active conditions: None

Hearing the request Rissi quickly mutters the words to her detection cantrip and focuses her attention on the area around the dark mass.

Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25
Spellcraft: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17

She moves in to the room behind the others.


NG Female Half-elf Occultist 1 | HP: 4/13 | AC: 18, t: 12, ff:16 | F: +3, R: +2, W: +1 | Init: +2, Perc: +5 | Speed 20ft | Conj. 2/2, Evo 1/3 | Spells: 1st 0/2| Active conditions: None.

Dawnflower's mercy, what the hell is that?

"Stay back everyone," Sinésiel starts, her voice shaking from the wrongness of the room. "Mylok, Rissi, Talib... do any of you know what that is?" Pointing up to the ceiling with her wand, she wracks her brain to think of something that these forms could be.

What is THAT:

Knowledge (arcana): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (10) + 8 = 18
Knowledge (planes): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 13
Knowledge (religion): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16


M NG Human (Alkenstari) Gunslinger (Black Powder Vaulter/Mysterious Stranger) 1 | HP: 9/12 | AC: 16, T: 14, FF: 12) | CMB: +1, CMD: 15 | F: +3, R: +6, W: +0 | Init: +4 | Darkvision 60ft, Perc: +4 SM: +0[ut] | Speed 30ft | Grit 2/Day | Active conditions: None

Mylok takes a step into the room and follows Siné's finger to the mass on the ceiling.

"Well, I can tell you what it isn't," the gunslinger says. "It's definitely not part of this building."

"You wanna step out, Duchess?" Misfire addresses Talienda though his gaze never leaves the squirming mass.


Try as she might, Sinésiel cannot recall any information about the nightmare that populates the tall ceiling of this room. It is clear this is a group of many tiny things, but without getting closer to it (or it getting closer to the group) it is hard to say anything conclusive. The mass stirs, restless.

Rissi, her hands stretched outwards, detects no magic coming from either the room or the ceiling.

Remember you are free to move your pawns around on the map. @Rissi, I moved you across the door and on the first free square inside courtroom B.


Male Human (Keleshite) Inquisitor of Abadar 1| AC 16, T 12, FF 14 | HP 12/12 | Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +5 | CMB +3, CMD 15 | Init +2 | Perception +7, Sense Motive +8

"I do not see anything worth risking our lives over," says Talib, his voice lowered to a husky whisper. "Retreat."

The inquisitor takes a step back, ready to close the door once everyone is safely outside.


F NG Human (Taldan) Sorcerer 1 | HP: 7/7 NL: 3 | AC: 12, T: 12, FF: 10) | CMB: +1, CMD: 13 | F: +1, R: +2, W: +2 | Init: +2 | Perc: 0, SM: 0 | Speed 30ft | Elemental Ray: 5/6 | Spells: 1st 3/4 | Active conditions: None
Perception DC 24 (Physical Examination):
Under the dress is a dagger strapped to Talienda's right thigh.

No one has to tell Talienda twice to get out. She grabs Sine and tries to pull her back when she notices the... whatever it is, but only manages to look a little silly as she nearly falls and it's only thanks to both Sine and Mylock that she doesn't.

"Shelyn, please, let me wake from this nightmare," she prayers as she enters the office of the murdered judge.


F NG Ratfolk Bard | HP: 9/9 | AC: 14, T: 14, FF: 11) | CMB: +0, CMD: 13 | F: +3, R: +5, W: +2 | Init: +5 | Darkvision 60ft, Perc: +9, SM: +2 | Speed 20ft | Bardic Performance: 7/9 | Spells: 1st 1/2 | Active conditions: None

When her spell gives no information on the dark mass Rissi relays that. "Not magic. The movement indicates life, or something like it." Nodding agreement with Talib she tries to back out of the room. "I agree. Not worth the risk here. Back out and close the door. Let the thing sleep...."


M LG Halfling Investigator (Sleuth) 1 | HP: 7/7 | AC: 17, T: 14, FF: 14) | CMB: -2, CMD: 11 | F: -1, R: +5, W: +4, +2 vs. fear | Init: +4, +6 if Luck > 0 | Perc: +8, SM: +6 | Speed 20ft | Inspiration: 1/3 | Luck: 2/2 | Active conditions: None

Skurly hovered at the threshold of the courtroom, peeking out from behind the protective mass of his larger comrades. If Mylok would have had apron strings, Skurly'd be hanging on them.

If there was any one among them who would be eager to withdraw from something as uncanny and grotesque as these... pustules, for lack of a better word, it would have been him. But something kept him staring in horrified fascination at their undulations and pulsations.

"B-but.." he stammers weakly. "What if, what if something important is in here? Something happened here, someone did something here. We have to know for sure."

Visibly shaking, he takes a step forward into the courtroom. His jitters draw a little jingle from the metal studs of his armor, and he freezes- takes a deep breath to steel himself- and begins to advance into the courtroom, without looking back.

With agonizing caution, his plumps cheeks taut with tension, he picks his way forward, edging past debris and clutter with the finely honed precision of a tightrope artist. His crossbow is now slung over his shoulder, and his rapier in hand, he probes tentatively at the dark crevices between overturned benches searching for any trace of the person or people who last drew breath here.

Carefully, now:
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (10) + 8 = 18
Stealth: 1d20 + 7 + 4 - 1 ⇒ (7) + 7 + 4 - 1 = 17


M NG Human (Alkenstari) Gunslinger (Black Powder Vaulter/Mysterious Stranger) 1 | HP: 9/12 | AC: 16, T: 14, FF: 12) | CMB: +1, CMD: 15 | F: +3, R: +6, W: +0 | Init: +4 | Darkvision 60ft, Perc: +4 SM: +0[ut] | Speed 30ft | Grit 2/Day | Active conditions: None

Standing by the open door, opposite of Talib, the gunslinger was ready to be the last one out. Or, at least, the second to last. The Constable looks like he'd sooner die than let someone else be the last one out, Mylok thinks.

Too focused on the..whatever it is, Mylok does not notice Skurly moving into the room until he was already out of reach.

"Hey. HEY!" Mylok whispers after the halfing, his voice toeing the line between a whisper and a shout. "Whatever it is professor, it's not worth messing with that."

When it becomes apparent that Skurly is set on exploring, Mylok grits his teeth and readies for something to happen. It always happens.

Dice Rolls and Actions:

Standard Action to ready an attack if anything attacks Skurly


Skurly begins his search and reaches the black lump in the centre of the room. He kneels, darting looks around himself and to the ceiling -- hardly able to suppress his mind from imagining countless abominations manifesting in the room -- and from this close he can finally see that this is a half-decomposed body of a raven. Just as he considers whether or not to prod the dead creature, it shakes, turns and looks right inside Skurly's eyes.

It opens its beak but before it can make any noise a sound between a thousand caws and a thousand pained cries rains comes from above. The mass that covered the ceiling pours down from like a fetid wave of rotten flesh and feather which seems to move and think as one. At first dispersing throughout the room, they quickly coalesce into two main clouds of hungry and furious fowl.

Sinésiel, you can use your previous religion roll for this

Kn (religion) DC 11:

These are carrionstorms, swarms of birds who have feasted on undead flesh. They are vulnerable to positive energy and do not attack other undead nor creatures holding a holy symbol of an evil deity.

----------------------------------
Round #1
----------------------------------

1. Skurly
2. Rissi
3. Mylok
4. Talienda
5. Sinésiel
6. Talib
7. Birds

Everyone's up. Mylok, you get one free attack from your readied action on top of your regular turn.

rolls:

Mylok: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13
Talib: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 2 = 11
Talienda: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 2 = 12
Sinésiel: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11
Skurly (-2 luck == 0): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (15) + 6 = 21
Rissi: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (16) + 5 = 21


NG Female Half-elf Occultist 1 | HP: 4/13 | AC: 18, t: 12, ff:16 | F: +3, R: +2, W: +1 | Init: +2, Perc: +5 | Speed 20ft | Conj. 2/2, Evo 1/3 | Spells: 1st 0/2| Active conditions: None.

Cursing her failings on learning to channel positive energy, Sinésiel will do her next best option. Thrusting forth her mother's broken wand she casts burning hands (DC 15) at both of the carrionstorms in front of her, excluding Skurly from the area with her mental focus.

Damage: 1d4 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2 oof

"Are you alright, Skurly?" she yells over the deafening caws of the undead birds.


M NG Human (Alkenstari) Gunslinger (Black Powder Vaulter/Mysterious Stranger) 1 | HP: 9/12 | AC: 16, T: 14, FF: 12) | CMB: +1, CMD: 15 | F: +3, R: +6, W: +0 | Init: +4 | Darkvision 60ft, Perc: +4 SM: +0[ut] | Speed 30ft | Grit 2/Day | Active conditions: None

"Set's disciples! Mylok curses as the feathered nightmare attacks. He fires off a round at the mass but the shock of what is before him causes Misfire to squeeze the trigger before properly aimed.

Resolved to save the halfling, Mylok darts to the side of the room. His hands act on their own, dropping the powder and bullet, packing the barrel, and re-aiming the worn pistol. By the time Mylok reaches the opposite corner he has found his mark and fires into the second mass.

Dice Rolls and Actions:

Pistol at Red Swarm: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9 I'm certain that readied missed. Noice.
Damage B & P: 1d8 ⇒ 7

Move Action: Move to new location using Mobile Reload.
Standard action to attack again.

Pistol at Green Swarm: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (16) + 5 = 21
Damage B & P: 1d8 ⇒ 3 And the damage is lower. Of course.


F NG Human (Taldan) Sorcerer 1 | HP: 7/7 NL: 3 | AC: 12, T: 12, FF: 10) | CMB: +1, CMD: 13 | F: +1, R: +2, W: +2 | Init: +2 | Perc: 0, SM: 0 | Speed 30ft | Elemental Ray: 5/6 | Spells: 1st 3/4 | Active conditions: None
Perception DC 24 (Physical Examination):
Under the dress is a dagger strapped to Talienda's right thigh.

Welp, Talienda has nothing that can affect a swarm, so...

Talienda shrieks as courtroom fills with hundreds of skeletal birds and runs out of the office.


F NG Ratfolk Bard | HP: 9/9 | AC: 14, T: 14, FF: 11) | CMB: +0, CMD: 13 | F: +3, R: +5, W: +2 | Init: +5 | Darkvision 60ft, Perc: +9, SM: +2 | Speed 20ft | Bardic Performance: 7/9 | Spells: 1st 1/2 | Active conditions: None

Rissi sees the swarm of dead-but-still flying/attacking birds and shudders, glad that she had backed out since she had nothing that could likely harm them, but upset because several of the team was still inside. The door could not be closed.... On the off chance that any of her team can do something against the birds Rissi starts a war chant to bolster their courage and strengthen their arms.

Standard Action: Bardic Performance - Inspire Courage: +1 Morale bonus to all attacks, weapon damage, and saves against Charm or Fear. With Lingering Performance it lasts three rounds.


After Mylok's shocked fumble, Rissi steels herself and beings her war chant, first with a weakened voice that soon grows into an inspiring rallying call filled with echoes of history's great battles.

With renewed morale, Mylok fires another round, this time managing to hit one of the birds inside the swarm. The sharp crack of his shot drowns out Talienda's scream and is followed by the blazing flames bursting out of Sinésiel's broken wand. With a terrible grace, the fire whirls in a quick flash that seems to almost dance around Skurly whilst carbonising a few birds in both swarms.

Skurly and Talib are up. Deadline: 2019-09-20 10:00 CEST (will take them out of harm's way but otherwise skip actions and move forward after deadline).

----------------------------------
Summary
----------------------------------
Mylok hits green swarm for 2 point of P damage.
Sinésiel hits both swarms for 3 points of fire damage each.
Red swarm current damage: 3
Green swarm current damage: 5

rolls:

Red Swarm Ref Save DC 15: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (14) + 0 = 14
Green Swarm Ref Save DC 15: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (1) + 0 = 1


M LG Halfling Investigator (Sleuth) 1 | HP: 7/7 | AC: 17, T: 14, FF: 14) | CMB: -2, CMD: 11 | F: -1, R: +5, W: +4, +2 vs. fear | Init: +4, +6 if Luck > 0 | Perc: +8, SM: +6 | Speed 20ft | Inspiration: 1/3 | Luck: 2/2 | Active conditions: None

This is how it happens, then. Skurly's little sausage legs were launching him forward, quite outside the notice of his consciousness, not toward the safety of the doorway, but deeper into the courtroom. This is how they all die, this time. And I'm going to be left all alone again, and it's all my fault. He bounded and blundered among the wreckage, and sighting a sizable pile of splintered wood that might have once been the witness stand, he flung himself into it. Wriggling and burrowing into it like a piglet after a truffle, he worked his doughy frame into its midst as well as he could in search of safe haven from the malevolent flocks.

Don't judge me, I had poor role models.:

Skurly is attempting to wedge himself into a "fortified position", and cover up after himself under the belief that the ravens won't be able to move the wood. Based on the description of the scene it seemed like there would be one- if that's not so, I'll revise.
I have no idea what the best roll would be for that, so I'm using Escape Artist. Here goes nothing!

Escape Artist: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (10) + 6 = 16


Skurly, panicking, runs deeper into the courtroom and find a safe spot close to the judge's stand, wriggling his way inside a crevice as a cawing hell breaks loose all around him.

Talib, having missed the Skurly's dash, retreats, yelling "regroup and close the door!"

One of the undead swarms red is attracted by the plump scared halfling and begins to peck furiously at the rotten and splintered wood. It is clear that it will not resist the onslaught for long as broken beaks already begin to reach him and damage his clothes. No damage this round, but it's possible the wood will break soon.

The other swarm surrounds Mylok with a wave of decomposition and droppings, pecking at every uncovered spot of his body. Though the noise and smell are overwhelming, he manages to keep his bearings amidst the chaos. Mylok suffers 3 damage.

----------------------------------
Summary
----------------------------------
Mylok is hit by green swarm for 3 points of damage.
Red swarm current damage: 3
Green swarm current damage: 7

----------------------------------
Round #2
----------------------------------

Everybody's up.

rolls:

Red Swarm damage: 1d6 ⇒ 3
Mylok fort DC 10: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (15) + 3 = 18
Green Swarm damage: 1d6 ⇒ 5


Male Human (Keleshite) Inquisitor of Abadar 1| AC 16, T 12, FF 14 | HP 12/12 | Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +5 | CMB +3, CMD 15 | Init +2 | Perception +7, Sense Motive +8

Knowledge (religion): 1d20 + 5 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 5 + 3 = 16

Talib sighs deeply, having done a quick head-count. He throws his falchion on the dead judge's desk, once again relying on his spike-tipped mace as he strides back into the courtroom. The inquisitor begins waving the weapon in a wide arc, trying to draw the crows' attention to himself.

"Geddinloe," he half-growls, half-shouts over the din of the undead menace, "retreat now—I will hold them off! Everyone, through the office!"

Talib will drop his falchion, draw his planson (for the bludgeoning damage), and move into the room. I can't do anything else this turn, since I don't have enough BAB to draw a weapon as a part of a move action—unless you'll allow me to retcon my last round's action to draw the planson. Here's an attack roll, just in case you do...

Planson Attack (+ Inspire Courage - Risky Attack): 1d20 + 3 + 1 - 1 ⇒ (16) + 3 + 1 - 1 = 19
Planson Damage (+ Inspire Courage + Risky Attack): 1d10 + 3 + 1 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 + 1 + 3 = 9


NG Female Half-elf Occultist 1 | HP: 4/13 | AC: 18, t: 12, ff:16 | F: +3, R: +2, W: +1 | Init: +2, Perc: +5 | Speed 20ft | Conj. 2/2, Evo 1/3 | Spells: 1st 0/2| Active conditions: None.

Sinésiel will move up to the swarm that is going for Skurly and take a swing at it with her scimitar.

Scimitar Attack: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (14) + 2 = 16
Scimitar Damage: 1d6 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7 slashing

"I'll help, Talib! I've got more fire if we need it, but I'm saving my energy to heal up Mylok and Skurly if they get hurt!"

If I need to be in a different square to accommodate Talib being able to attack I still had 15ft of movement unused, so just move me if needed.


F NG Ratfolk Bard | HP: 9/9 | AC: 14, T: 14, FF: 11) | CMB: +0, CMD: 13 | F: +3, R: +5, W: +2 | Init: +5 | Darkvision 60ft, Perc: +9, SM: +2 | Speed 20ft | Bardic Performance: 7/9 | Spells: 1st 1/2 | Active conditions: None

Rissi gazes in horror at the team fighting the swarm. She pulls a flask of alchemist's fire from a pouch, but then sighs and just holds it. There are people in the cloud of flying, dead birds and they'd be burned too.

Knowing that the power of her war chant will continue for a short time more she just waits....


M LG Halfling Investigator (Sleuth) 1 | HP: 7/7 | AC: 17, T: 14, FF: 14) | CMB: -2, CMD: 11 | F: -1, R: +5, W: +4, +2 vs. fear | Init: +4, +6 if Luck > 0 | Perc: +8, SM: +6 | Speed 20ft | Inspiration: 1/3 | Luck: 2/2 | Active conditions: None

From within the confines of his hidey-hole, Skurly couldn't see his companions, or anything at all apart from snapping beaks and mouldering feathers, steadily widening the narrow gaps in his makeshift fortification. But he could hear the report of Mylok's alchemical weapon, the crackle of flames, and above all, the dull and thunderous beat of his own blood pumping through his temples.

Not like this. Not like this! He might have whimpered, although if he did, it was drowned out by a chorus of cawing and noisome wingbeats.

And then, another sound- the high-toned, alien sound of the ratwoman's voice, singing in a meter that was as unfamiliar as anything that Skurly had ever heard, but spoke to his soul just as clearly as a favorite childhood lullaby. Though he couldn't make out the words, the message was clear: Take heart. Stand up. Your strength is needed. For a few moments, the fog of blind terror lifted, and he knew what to do.

Bursting from his shell of rotten wood, Skurly did retreat- but not, as Talib commanded, back to the office of the ex-judge, but through the adjoining door, back into the great hall. He shrieked as he ran, but not in the blubbering whinge his friends had come to know- more like a shout. "Look at me! Look at the tastiest halfling you've ever seen!"

Flinging open the door, he burst into the main hall, waving his arms over his head, and made for a point just below the remaining chandelier which still hung from the ceiling high above.

: Double move action, map updated

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