GM Doug's The Fall of Plaguestone

Game Master Doug Hahn


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Horizon Hunters

Male Human Swash 3 / AC 20 / Character Page

And finally, a tale of two people close to each other...

Cai Fen listens solemnly to the stories around the table, until the attention of the group falls on him. He stands; closing his eyes to focus on the tale, and begins in a sonorous voice.

This is the tale of my ancestor, Fleet of Mind and Foot Wu Kan, of the noble house of the Soaring Eagle, though at the time it was still known as the house of the Bulwark Turtle. This is the tale of how she was named Fleet, and of how she was named Soaring Eagle, and of how she, alone and outnumbered, foiled the dastardly plot against the Dragon Empress and put her onto her rightful throne.

He stands upon his chair to give himself more height and continues.

This all happed two thousand years ago, at the tail end of the period of Wilting Roses, when the Second Empire was wracked with corruption and decadence. Dragon Emperor Zhen Ha was an irascible and dissolute ruler who funded his court’s lavish extravagances and self-aggrandizing projects through taxation and exploitation of his people. Though he insisted on the title Clear of Mind, his mind was rarely clear, and it was his courtiers and courtesans that set the empire’s policy through whispered suggestions over the cups or in the sheets.

He hops off the chair and up next to the table.

One fateful day, the general Liu Fong returned from the front in the long-running war with Nagajor to present his case to the court. The Dragon Army’s funds were misappropriated to the Emperor’s excesses, and Liu Fong’s poorly supplied and desperate forces suffered defeat after defeat.

To illustrate his point, Cai Fen lines up a stack of bread rolls and crushes them one by one.

The Emperor however blamed Liu Fong for failure. He had the general strip and tie a donkey’s tail around his waist, and ordered his courtiers to take turns and pummel him with a paddle.

Cai Fen slams the table repeatedly to illustrate his point, sending dishes bouncing up and down in rhythm with his strikes.

Bruised and humiliated, Liu Fong left the court and vowed bloody revenge. Knowledgeable and well-spoken, he recruited several of the Emperor’s trusted advisors to his side, promising them both wealth and power in exchange for their aid. And so, on a fateful night near the end of the summer festivities, assassins swam up to the Emperor’s pleasure barge where they were greeted by co-conspirators. They dressed as servants and sharpened their knives, and the river ran RED with BLOOD.

Cai Fen grabs the largest boiled turnip he can find and crushes it in his hands, unleashing a spray of turnip juice toward Bort, G’nak, Marula, Guyzer, and Kyrie.

When the deed was done and the barge had burned and sunk (a “tragic accident” to be sure), Liu Fong was ready to pronounce himself regent of the empire when he learned disturbing news. One of the Emperor’s daughters, Zhen Lin, preferred the company of a book and the outdoors to that of her father’s court, and so had survived the plot that claimed the rest of the potential heirs. I cannot say whether Liu Fong was driven by lingering anger, lust for power, or simply desperation, but he gathered his agents and proclaimed: Zhen Lin had to die.

He slams the table one more with both hands, sending his bowl of turnip stew cluttering to the floor.

Liu Fong’s assassins saddled their fastest horses and galloped for the hills outside of the capital, where Zhen Lin lay in pleasant meditation, accompanied by her childhood friend, confidant, and trusted bodyguard Wu Kan of the house of the Bulwark Turtle. Though Zhen Lin’s eyes lay on her book, Wu Kan’s were ever watchful. She spied the approaching horsemen from twenty miles away. From ten miles away, she could tell that these were not the Emperor’s guards. From five miles away, she could see the violence in their eyes. She turned to her companion and said, “Sister, I worry that a dire fate is about to befall us. Men and horse ride straight for us, and in their stead rides DOOM!

Cai Fen leaps up onto the dinner table, his eyes glazed over with a faraway look, so lost is he in the story that he is telling.

Zhen Lin replied “It is so Sister, I fear dearest Father’s folly has caught up to him at last, and now the axe swings toward us. But what are we to do?” Wu Kan considered this question and replied, “Take my garb, it is a guard’s garb and a guard on official business does not arouse suspicion. Make haste to the citadel of Cai Wulong; he is an honest man and has the support of the people. You must rally him to your cause. Meanwhile, I shall don your dress. I will lead the horse south, away from you, leaving a scrap of cloth for every mile I travel. Such irresistible bait will lure these unwary predators in my direction. I will fly, just like a soaring eagle, as fast and as far as I can, so that you may reach your destination safely.

“And so Wu Kan flew, the horses close behind, the sound of their heavy hooves reverberating throughout the valley

To punctuate this point, Cai Fen stamps his feet on the table, his boots falling on top of plates, and bowls, and pans, spraying chunks of food in every direction. STOMP STOMP STOMP.

From time to time, she spread rocks or placed branches behind her path, and one after another, horse and rider tumbled to the ground!

Kicking out his leg, Cai sends a turnip pot pie, pot and all, sailing through the air over the dining room to land on the far table and tumble across it, sending dishes flying at unsuspecting diners.

In this manner, she made her way to a narrow bridge across the Great River, where she stopped, hands planted on her hips, prepared to make her final stand! The pursuers approached - at their head was Captain Dui Zhang, whose manner was as vile as his sneer. The riders sprung off their exhausted beasts, moving forward to the bridge on foot.

With this, Cai Fen leaps off the table, straight into Phinick, who was passing by the table with a tray of turnips. The poor goblin’s tray plummets toward the ground and the turnips roll toward the dance floor, sending the unwitting dancers stumbling and crashing all over each other.

I see”, proclaimed the captain with a wicked smile once he spied that the face behind the dress was not Zhen Lin, but her loyal guardswoman, “It seems we chased the wrong quarry. No matter, we shall catch her soon enough, but not before I personally cut out your heart for the insult you have given me!” He waved his arm and two of his soldiers drew their swords, running forward onto the bridge to close distance with Wu Kan. Unafraid, the guardswoman entered the immovable turtle stance, grabbing both soldiers by the arm and spinning them around…

Trin Sathern and Kolnral Brannak, making their way with food toward another table, suddenly find themselves grabbed and spun around, just like in the story….

…before throwing them right off the bridge and into the turbulent river.

…just as suddenly Trin and Kolnral are released with predictable results.

Witnessing Wu Kan’s prowess, Captain Dui Zhang shouted in rage and hoisted his mighty hammer. He swung once…

A turnip sails straight at Finneas Flonk, hitting his lute and snapping another sting.

Twice!

Another turnip spins through the air, hitting and rolling across the table around which Ulf, Olf, and Eallom are playing dice. The turnip catches one of Olf’s trick dice and shifts the position just enough to give Eallom a winning round.

Thrice!

A final turnip narrowly misses Cooky, hits the wall, and ricochets off in a graceful arc to land straight into Tamli’s stew.

But the assassin’s strikes were to no avail. Wu Kan soared like a true eagle, deftly dodging each blow. Sensing her opponent was off balance, she unleashed a deadly palm strike!

Cai Fen unleashes a deadly palm strike, sending a tankard of turnip ale straight at the bar. Glass breaks.

Dui Zhang felt the palm reverberate inside his chest. His heart beat once, twice, and then no more. And thus, this little segment of a tale ends. Wu Kan joined the Empress in the north, to gather forces against the pretender. Their adventures gave rise to many more stories, but we will save these for another time. I hope this little tale has pleased you, my friends.

Cai Fen will take a bow with an outstretched hand, accidentally clipping the one, lone, undefiled bowl of turnip porridge and upending it straight onto Bort.


Fall of the Plaguestone & Casefiles of Smokeworker G'nak | Siege of Gallowspire | Lions of Katapesh | Flooded King's Court

Bort flinches under the assault. Friend! Have some manners, you're a guest —

Delma shouts: Off the table!

But it's too late. One of the dancers stumbles into Eallom while he's collecting his ill-gotten winnings under the brothers' protest. Things escalate quickly from there: Eallom leaps to his feet and chucks his drink into the innocent farmer's face, who returns the gesture in kind. Before you know what is happening, a mêlée erupts. Several farmers point at you.

Them Caravaners did it! Bort's crew!

Please note no one is drawing weapons or doing lethal damage.

Spoiler:

Cai, Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19
G'nak, Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (19) + 4 = 23
Guyzer, Perception: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 2 = 14
Kyrie, Perception: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (16) + 3 = 19
Marula, Perception: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3

drunk farmer 1-4: 1d20 + 4 - 2 ⇒ (11) + 4 - 2 = 13
drunk farmer 4-8: 1d20 + 4 - 2 ⇒ (10) + 4 - 2 = 12
drunk farmer 8-12: 1d20 + 4 - 2 ⇒ (4) + 4 - 2 = 6
Old & Ulf: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 9
NonCombat NPCs: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (19) + 4 = 23

NPCs win initiative.

Flonk plays on — a faster, more out-of-pace tune.
The drunk man sitting alone screams and starts to weep. He runs out the door If you did not catch it before, he is suffering from a mental illness or disorder (and let's be respectful of that issue, please).
Delma is furious to see her place thrown into such chaos: That's it! I'm gettin' the sheriff! She strides out the the front door, shoving a farmer out of her way, head held high.
Trin the waitress gets hit in the face with a stray mug, and runs out the door behind Delma, cupping her bloody nose.
Kolnral gets knocked over and crawls under a table.
Phinick ? You can use an action to try and locate him if you want
Bort leaps onto your table and tries to calm things down, shouting 'Twas all a misunderstandin' — sorry for me friend— but gets a chair thrown at him for his trouble.
damage: 1d3 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4

You knew there'd be a tavern brawl: round 1

Everything is difficult terrain due to broken furniture and other noncombatants who are not noted on the map. You can be standing but have no weapons drawn.

NonCombat NPCs Bort -4 NL
G'nak
Kyrie
Cai no panache
Guyzer

drunk farmers 1-8
Old & Ulf
drunk farmers 8-12
Marula


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F Human Champion/3

Kyrie draws her shield and raises it, entering her battle stance.

”I do not think they liked your story, Cai.”

Actions: draw shield, raise it, enter stance

Verdant Wheel

Male NG Elf Sorcerer Champion of Erastil | HP 24/24 | AC 20 | Class DC 19 | F: +5, R: +7, W: +7 | Perc: +5 | Speed 30ft | Ranged: Pebble Potshot +9 1d4+4, Melee: Longsword +7 1d8+2 Active conditions: None

Guyzer says "Best of luck to you Cai. They are all yours."

He proceeds to cast a spell and pats Cai on the shoulder.

Casts Guidance on Cai

Horizon Hunters

Male Human Swash 3 / AC 20 / Character Page

Cai Fen comes out of his storytelling trance and looks around at the chaos. As chairs and mugs fly, the realization of what he has wrought slowly dawns on him.

Cai currently has no reason to attack. He will delay until people start trying to hurt him or his comrades. He will probably come out of delay after 2-4 drunk farmers take their action.

I believe he is still Fatigued, and takes a -1 penalty to AC and saves.


NG Hobgoblin Alchemist Detective G'nak details | HP 26/26 | AC 19 | Class DC 17 | F: +7, R: +10, W: +4 | Perc: +4 | Speed 25ft | Ranged: Crossbow +4 1d8, Melee: Morningstar +4 1d6 Active conditions: None

G’nak swears in goblin and wipes the food off his face as Cai riles up the locals.

”Best of luck Cai. I’d help you out but I’m just a Yao Jing.”

G’nak looks for Phinick.

Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17


Fall of the Plaguestone & Casefiles of Smokeworker G'nak | Siege of Gallowspire | Lions of Katapesh | Flooded King's Court

G’nak:
You cannot locate the goblin. Maybe he's gone.

Attacks:

Farmer 1 (Farmer Eallom), attack 1, fist: 1d20 ⇒ 3
Farmer 1 (Farmer Eallom), attack 2, fist: 1d20 - 5 ⇒ (17) - 5 = 12
Farmer 1 (Farmer Eallom), attack 2, fist: 1d20 - 10 ⇒ (16) - 10 = 6

Farmer 2, attack 1, vs 8, fist: 1d20 ⇒ 15
Farmer 2, attack 2, vs 8, fist: 1d20 - 5 ⇒ (7) - 5 = 2
Farmer 2, attack 3, vs 8, fist: 1d20 - 10 ⇒ (11) - 10 = 1

Farmer 3 & 4 triple move

Farmer 5, Strike 1 vs Cai, mug, +1 increment, lesser cover: 1d20 - 2 ⇒ (14) - 2 = 12
Farmer 6, Strike 1 vs Cai, mug, +1 increment: 1d20 - 2 ⇒ (10) - 2 = 8
Farmer 7, Strike 1 vs Cai, mug, +1 increment: 1d20 - 2 ⇒ (6) - 2 = 4

Farmer 8, attack 1, fist: 1d20 ⇒ 6
Farmer 8, attack 2, fist: 1d20 - 5 ⇒ (2) - 5 = -3
Farmer 8, attack 3, fist: 1d20 - 10 ⇒ (7) - 10 = -3

Olf, attack 1, fist vs. Eallom: 1d20 ⇒ 19
Olf, attack 2, fist vs. Eallom: 1d20 - 5 ⇒ (9) - 5 = 4
Olf, attack 3, fist vs. Eallom: 1d20 - 10 ⇒ (9) - 10 = -1

Ulf, attack 1, fist vs. Eallom, flank: 1d20 ⇒ 2
Ulf, attack 2, fist vs. Eallom, flank: 1d20 - 5 ⇒ (19) - 5 = 14

Farmer 9, Strike 1 vs Cai, mug, +1 increment: 1d20 - 2 ⇒ (15) - 2 = 13

Farmer 10 triple move

Farmer 11, attack 1 v Ulf, fist, flank: 1d20 ⇒ 20
Farmer 11, attack 2 v Ulf, fist, flank: 1d20 - 5 ⇒ (3) - 5 = -2

Farmer 12, Strike 1, chair: 1d20 - 2 ⇒ (17) - 2 = 15

Farmer 1 (Eallom) hits Olf for damage: 1d4 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5
Farmer 2 hits Farmer 8 for Bludgeoning, NL: 1d4 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
Ulf hits Eallom for Bludgeoning, NL: 1d4 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6
Olf hits Eallom for Bludgeoning, NL: 1d4 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5
Farmer 11 crits Ulf for Bludgeoning, NL: 1d4 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6 doubled
Farmer 12 hitc Cai with the chair for Bludgeoning, NL: 1d6 + 3 ⇒ (6) + 3 = 9

Several farmers push their way towards your table. You break our bar, we break YOU! Three of them chuck their earthenware mugs in Cai's direction; turnip ale flies through the air.

Olf throws the cash into his pocket with one hand, connecting with Farmer Eallom with the other. He's laughing! The drunken farmer knocks some sense into the young man. His brother moves into a flank (it seems like they've done this before…), kicking the table over on his way and scattering dice and drinks; he clocks Eallom while he's looking the other way. Unfortunately, the brothers are having so much fun that they fail to notice another farmer creeping around their flank — he boxes Ulf in the ear, hard!

Another farmer moves in, threatening Cai with a chair. Finally, the closest one #12 grabs a barstool and smashes it across Cai's chest!

Flonk plays on, backed into a safe corner. He smiles to himself, glad no one is throwing turnip ales at him for once…

Cooky has his favorite cast "eye-ren" held at the ready like a shield (where was he hiding it!?), and Tamli, standing at his back, gives the farmers such a fierce look that they back off.

You knew there'd be a tavern brawl: round 1

Everything is difficult terrain due to broken furniture and other noncombatants who are not noted on the map. You can be standing but have no weapons drawn.

NonCombat NPCs Bort -4 NL
G'nak
Kyrie Shield raised
Guyzer
Drunk farmers 1-8 #1 (Eallom): -11 HP NL
Olf & Ulf Olf: -5 HP NL; Ulf: -12 HP NL
Drunk farmers 9-12 #8: -7 HP NL, #2: -5 HP NL
Marula

Cai -9 HP NL, No panache, Guidance, Delayed


F Human Champion/3

Kyrie grumbles under her breath at the farmer who hit Cai with the chair, even as she unleashes her retributive strike to dull the blow. Cai takes 3 less damage and I get an attack since 12 is in melee range

Retributive Strike (nonlethal): 1d20 + 7 - 2 ⇒ (6) + 7 - 2 = 11
RS Damage (everstand stance): 1d8 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5

"I would like for you to stop attacking Cai." She throws a couple of restrained attacks towards the same farmer.

Primary Shield Bash (nonlethal): 1d20 + 7 - 2 ⇒ (10) + 7 - 2 = 15
Primary Damage (everstand stance): 1d8 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7

Secondary Shield Bash (nonlethal): 1d20 + 7 - 2 - 5 ⇒ (5) + 7 - 2 - 5 = 5
Secondary Damage (everstand stance): 1d8 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5

She then resets her shield, holding it up once more to guard herself.

Reaction, attack, attack, raise shield. Reminder that her shield's hardness is 2 higher because of everstand stance if someone attacks her


Fall of the Plaguestone & Casefiles of Smokeworker G'nak | Siege of Gallowspire | Lions of Katapesh | Flooded King's Court

Kyrie misses the retributive strike but bashes the shield into the farmer's face.

You knew there'd be a tavern brawl: round 1-2

Everything is difficult terrain due to broken furniture and other noncombatants who are not noted on the map.

NonCombat NPCs Bort -4 NL
G'nak
Kyrie Shield raised, +2 hardness w/stance
Guyzer
drunk farmers 1-8 #1 (Eallom): -11 HP NL, #2: -5 HP NL, #8: -7 HP NL
Olf & Ulf Olf: -5 HP NL; Ulf: -12 HP NL
drunk farmers 9-12 #12 -7 NL
Marula Hero Point awarded for OOC discussion

Cai -6 HP NL, No panache, in delay, Hero Point awarded for OOC discussion


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Polygamodioecious | Notes | Druid 3 | Stats | HP 35/35 | AC 17 | F: +8, R: +6, W: +11| Perc: +11

Marula stands on a chair, mentally thanking the trees who lost their flesh to provide them elevation.

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (6) + 3 = 9

They stammer for a moment before a wave of scent like mint and orange blossom start wafting out into the crowd. Flowers suddenly bloom in their foliage as they speak.

Hero point reroll: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (17) + 3 = 20

”Forgive this man, Cai.
I know him but a little.
This summer windstorm.

“But he means, er, well.
He owes you an honor debt.
I swear he’ll make good.

“Now let us make peace
And preserve this fine bastion
Of neighborliness.”

Horizon Hunters

Male Human Swash 3 / AC 20 / Character Page

Reeling from a chair to the head, Cai Fen runs to the center of the room drops on his knees, entreating the farmers...

Please, good people! It is not the fault of Bushy Bearded Bargith Bort, nor Ulf, nor Olf, nor of any of the kind and good people in our company! It is I, I alone, that is to be blamed for this disaster! Have kindness, gentle people – lay down your arms and let us talk this through! I accept any punishment you might mete out. I am a wretch, a pathetic wretch….

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (11) + 0 = 11

Stride, fall prone, diplomacy


Fall of the Plaguestone & Casefiles of Smokeworker G'nak | Siege of Gallowspire | Lions of Katapesh | Flooded King's Court

The farmers pause at Marula's poetry, thinking twice about violence.

Cai's pitiful display seals the deal. Cai was also guidanced for another +1 This ain't fun no more, Calhoun. says one farmer. Her friend nods, looking down at Cai. Yeah…we done enough to the poor fellow. Let's get outta here, Shayla.

The farmers slowly back away. (They also glance at Kyrie, whose martial prowess and willingness to defend her allies is also quite persuasive, in its own way).

Bort applauds! That's how ye does it!

However, two of the farmers on the dance floor are still fighting — as are Olf and Ulf with Eallom and his pal — though Ulf is looking worse for the wear…

You knew there'd be a tavern brawl: round 1-2

Everything is difficult terrain due to broken furniture and other non-combatants who are not noted on the map.

NonCombat NPCs Bort -4 NL
G'nak
Kyrie
Guyzer
Drunk farmers 1, 2, 8 #1 (Eallom): -11 HP NL, #2: -5 HP NL, #8: -7 HP NL
Olf & Ulf Olf: -5 HP NL; Ulf: -12 HP NL
Drunk farmer 11 -0 NL
Marula
Cai -9 HP NL, No panache, Prone


NG Hobgoblin Alchemist Detective G'nak details | HP 26/26 | AC 19 | Class DC 17 | F: +7, R: +10, W: +4 | Perc: +4 | Speed 25ft | Ranged: Crossbow +4 1d8, Melee: Morningstar +4 1d6 Active conditions: None

G’nak uses his quick alchemy to whip together a thunderstone.

He strides forward, tells Olf and Ulf to calm it down and take it outside. Then he throws the stone just north of Eallom.

Thunderstone: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5 How does this work if I’m aiming at a square?
Damage: 1d4 ⇒ 4

For those in the splash area, DC 17 Fort save or be deafened until the end of their next turn.

Verdant Wheel

Male NG Elf Sorcerer Champion of Erastil | HP 24/24 | AC 20 | Class DC 19 | F: +5, R: +7, W: +7 | Perc: +5 | Speed 30ft | Ranged: Pebble Potshot +9 1d4+4, Melee: Longsword +7 1d8+2 Active conditions: None

Guyzer politely jostles his way toward the farmers fighting the brothers. He calming holds his holy symbol, knowing a heal spell will soon be in order.

action: stride, stride, and stride


Fall of the Plaguestone & Casefiles of Smokeworker G'nak | Siege of Gallowspire | Lions of Katapesh | Flooded King's Court

The rest of the farmers scatter under the crack of the thunderstone! Farmer Eallom drops his winnings on the floor in sheer panic.

fort, Olf: 1d20 ⇒ 18
fort, Ulf: 1d20 ⇒ 20

Olf gathers up the gold from the floor; Ulf slumps in one of the few remaining chairs, counting coins. What a fight, says Olf. You're tellin' me, says Ulf.

Several farmers, who didn't participate in the fight, mill around, confused. The sheriff will probably be here in a few minutes.

Let me know how you're healing, and then we'll move on.


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F Human Champion/3

Kyrie walks over to Bort and rests a hand on his shoulder, a pulse of light flowing along her arm from her heart and into his. Lay on Hands, heal 6

She then approaches Cai, her shield on her back and her arms folded. ”I think a story is a gift, Cai. I think a gift should be prepared with care and thought for the receiver. I think a gift should not involve launching turnips and turnip-based cuisine into people. I think the people in this bar agreed with me.”

She raises her chin so she’s glaring down at him. ”I do not care if you apologize. I want you to do better.” Her eyes make it clear she is not asking.

Intimidating Glare: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (10) + 6 = 16

Verdant Wheel

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Male NG Elf Sorcerer Champion of Erastil | HP 24/24 | AC 20 | Class DC 19 | F: +5, R: +7, W: +7 | Perc: +5 | Speed 30ft | Ranged: Pebble Potshot +9 1d4+4, Melee: Longsword +7 1d8+2 Active conditions: None

"No blood was spilled and I think Cai learned his lesson well enough Kyrie. People make mistakes especially with only so few years under your belt. His better nature lapsed for a moment and soon reasserted itself when he apologized."

Perspective of a Redeemer Champion, Ancient Elf being 100+ years old. Forgiving and seeing the potential goodness of everyone

And with that said Guyzer proceeds to gather those still injured to cast Heal on everyone.

3 Action Heal: 1d8 ⇒ 7

Guyzer then compliments those farmer that quickly stood up to fight but just as quickly stood down. He draws a parallel of Erastil's tenets to his champion to their actions. The deity's values include defending communities and protect the peace.


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Polygamodioecious | Notes | Druid 3 | Stats | HP 35/35 | AC 17 | F: +8, R: +6, W: +11| Perc: +11

Malura also lends support. They produce a fruit from their folklife and offer it to any injured townsfolk. They then set about picking up the mess.

"Olf and Ulf. Cai Fen.
Let’ us mend and make amends.
Get off your duffs, twins."


Fall of the Plaguestone & Casefiles of Smokeworker G'nak | Siege of Gallowspire | Lions of Katapesh | Flooded King's Court

Olf, fully healed and pockets full of coin, claps his hands and downs someone's turnip ale in one go. Ulf helps himself to a shot of Eallom's Wagon Grease. I'm still hurt… so weak… not even Guyzer's magic could help me… He holds his gut. Olf looks concerned. Hmmmm. Well, I doubt he can do any work tomorrow. Not in that condition.

Ulf looks up at his brother. It might be serious. Olf sheds a tear as he looks down at his brother. Really hate to say it because I know how much you love to work, but I think you need a full day's bed rest. Ulf sighs with sadness. …And much as I want to help you all load the wagons, I better spend tomorrow taking care of my brother here. Olf sighs despondently.

I'm sure everyone else can load up the wagons without us, says Ulf, as he holds his stomach and downs another shot of Wagon Grease to ease the pain. I feel so bad, says Olf as he palms someone else's ale and drinks it.

Cai is still at -2 HP. Ulf is at -5.


Fall of the Plaguestone & Casefiles of Smokeworker G'nak | Siege of Gallowspire | Lions of Katapesh | Flooded King's Court

Several farmers accept goodberries with sheepish gratitude.

Bort stands up, dusting off his britches. Well, that'll make quite a tale! A hero's redemption, overcomin' failure an' great odds — why, there must'a been a hunnred or more farmers in here, all rabids and foamin' at the'mouths! But you's fixed it up right quick. I always says, can't always be perfect, but yous can do th'right thing. Wow! Ya shoulda seen it!

Now's for us to fix things up, together, like a good ol' caravanin' crew!

He looks over at Olf and Ulf. E'en ol' Olf and Ulf can be helppin' — ain't that right? The brothers look at one another, and start sullenly clearing up the broken chairs. Tamli and Cooky look at each other, and head to the wagon to get some cleaning supplies.

Bort laughs, and gets down on his hands and knees with a cloth napkin, and begins scrubbing spilt turnip from the floor.

Horizon Hunters

Male Human Swash 3 / AC 20 / Character Page

Kyrie:

Although Cai Fen has been the subject of many angry glares, it never seems to get easier to face them.

Though perhaps that's for the best.

Averting his eyes, he mumbles an apology regardless.

As he begins straightening chairs and wiping mashed turnip from the counters, he reflects that this is how things always seem to end up, no matter how hard he tries. Guyzer's speech on better natures and Marula's talk of mending make him wonder whether it is something within himself that might need mending.

A tear runs down his cheek.

Cai SAD :(


Fall of the Plaguestone & Casefiles of Smokeworker G'nak | Siege of Gallowspire | Lions of Katapesh | Flooded King's Court

Bort winks at Cai and slaps him on the shoulder. Ne'er blame yerself for tryin.' 'Twas a fine story, ye jus' needs practice! An' ye did right by yer friends an' the townsfolk in th'end, hey? Most canna say so much. Most run an' flee, or blames all but themselves, or digs thems own holes deeper — all that, instead admittin' to fault. 'Tis brave to do what ye did.

An' believe it or no, old Bort has made a few errs in his day too… such as th'time I got us all thrown in a fire giant's soup… Mebbe I'll tell th'true tale o'er dessert, which has yet to be served. My triple helpin' o' turnip porrige awaits! He slaps his belly for punctuation, then continues wiping down the table.


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NG Hobgoblin Alchemist Detective G'nak details | HP 26/26 | AC 19 | Class DC 17 | F: +7, R: +10, W: +4 | Perc: +4 | Speed 25ft | Ranged: Crossbow +4 1d8, Melee: Morningstar +4 1d6 Active conditions: None

G'nak, who had never even heard of the concept of dessert until he left the hobgoblin nation of Oprak, sits back down at the table and tucks a napkin under his chin.


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F Human Champion/3

”I can heal anyone still injured with The Inheritor’s power. I need to pray or otherwise work towards Her goals for at least 10 minutes between healings.”

@Doug Any time we need to top people off like this, just assume Kyrie is doing as above. You get the final word on what it means to work towards Iomedae’s goals. I personally think actions towards a god’s edicts make the most sense, but your call


Fall of the Plaguestone & Casefiles of Smokeworker G'nak | Siege of Gallowspire | Lions of Katapesh | Flooded King's Court

Delma dashes in — she freezes, pleasantly surprised to see that not only has the brawl ended but her patrons are helping clean up.

Someone is huffing and puffing outside. Footsteps thud on the bar's front steps, and a heavyset man dawdles in. His comb-over clings with greasy desperation to his bullet-shaped head. An untucked red wool shirt offers a glimpse of stained bed linens. He's sweating profusely and leans on the door, catching his breath. Delma… what's… what's… the… trouble… All under control. No cause for… for runnin.’

Before he can turn to leave Delma points at Cai, and a group of farmers who're malingering near Flonk. Sheriff Rolth! These were the ones: fighting in my place, throwing food and ale, wrecking it!

The sheriff, Rolth Garley, sighs. He hitches up his pants and points to Cai as well as the farmers. Over here. He drops into a chair, and puts his meaty fists on the table.

He turns to Delma. Turnip porridge, Delma.

Delma turns away and silently screams with frustration. She then stamps off the to the kitchen to get the sherriff his warm porridge.

Rolth yawns and looks up at the guilty parties, who are now sheepishly gathered around his table. He clears his throat. Now. Seems there was a complaint. 'Bout your behavior. Delma is the only witness. Maybe others, too. I don’t know. He looks around at the wreckage. Hard to prove anything. Not like I can bring ya in for riot. No jail in town. That would be work anyhow. Work I don’t want to be doing. He yawns again. Not at this hour. (You note that it's only a little past dinner time.)

So. Now I'm outta my bed. On account of you and Delma. I should be asleep, but I'm here. Talkin' to you. So do me a solid. Promise me: no brawlin.’ Not ‘till next month at least. Okay? The farmers nod; Rolth picks up a slightly used napkin from the floor, inspects it, and tucks it into his shirt collar. Okay then. Leave a man to his porridge. Off you go.


Fall of the Plaguestone & Casefiles of Smokeworker G'nak | Siege of Gallowspire | Lions of Katapesh | Flooded King's Court

Spoiler:
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14
1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7

Now that the bar fight is resolved and the tavern restored to a semblance of order, you can have your dessert.

Porridge time! exclaims Bort, and he waves you over. You seat yourselves at the caravan master's table, and are soon brought desserts by Kolnral. The porridge is delicious — if a bit cold, as if it was plated before the fight began.

Bort's plate is three times the size of yours, and he digs in with gusto.

So's, I was about to tell ye's about the time I got me own crew into the stew — that bein' of a frost giant's…

In this tale, Bort was traveling through one of the high mountain roads in the Five Kings Mountains when his caravan was captured by a fire giant because he forgot to assign a proper watch. As Bort was being lowered into a huge kettle, he begged the giant to flavor the broth with a rare plant called “frostbloom,” claiming it was quite spicy. When the giant tasted the warm broth, the Frostbloom froze his mouth shut and Bort was able to escape with his entire crew during the confusion.

The caravaner's face is quite flushed. Ya ever stick yer tongue to a cold irons sword i'th' winter? Musta been like that, but worse for th' ol' giant! Bort clears his throat loudly, and begins coughing. Urf. Somethin' didn' sit rights… He rubs his stomach. Must've been all th'fighting! A hunnred farmers, mebbe more was here, right, Cai? Eh? When you tells th'story you make sures to says I was there… As he rambles on, the flush deepens to purple. He begins coughing again, but this time it's a rattling, wet hack. White foam bubbles from Bort's lips as he makes a grotesque wheeze. His spoon clatters to the floor.

Cai:
Your medical training tells you that Bort isn't choking — his windpipe has swollen shut, indicating that he has been poisoned.

Kyrie:
You try to recall your medical training, but are not sure what's going on. Maybe he's choking?

The old dwarf's green eyes roll into his head and a rumble can be heard in his guts. His left arm flails, knocking his bowl to the floor.

The rest of the inn is oblivious to Bort's distress. Tamli and Cooky sit alone on the far side of the inn, and the sheriff and Delma are having a somewhat heated conversation at another table ner the bar.

You have one round in which to try and help Bort based on what you see happening.

Horizon Hunters

Male Human Swash 3 / AC 20 / Character Page

For a second, Cai Fen stares in confusion. Then the realization dawns on him.

Poison! Bargith Bort has been poisoned!

He looks by his chair, expecting to see his medical kit and quickly realizes that he left it in his room upstairs. Cai Fen begins to break out in a cold sweat.

Olf! Ulf! For the love of your friend and mentor, run upstairs and fetch my bag. First room on the right! My medical kit is being inside! I need the charcoal. Bort needs to eat the charcoal to soak up the poison. Run!

He then opens Bort’s mouth and sticks his fingers inside, attempting to induce vomiting.

Medicine: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24


Fall of the Plaguestone & Casefiles of Smokeworker G'nak | Siege of Gallowspire | Lions of Katapesh | Flooded King's Court

Looks like you're treating poison, but your healers kit is upstairs. You can keep that roll, but someone will need to give you their kit as two interact actions. To my knowledge, Kyrie doesn't have a kit.


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NG Hobgoblin Alchemist Detective G'nak details | HP 26/26 | AC 19 | Class DC 17 | F: +7, R: +10, W: +4 | Perc: +4 | Speed 25ft | Ranged: Crossbow +4 1d8, Melee: Morningstar +4 1d6 Active conditions: None

G’nak turns over his bowl and leaps to his feet.

”Don’t eat it! I knew this dessert thing was too good to be true!”

And I used my last reagent on the thunderstone!

G’nak looks on helplessly.


Polygamodioecious | Notes | Druid 3 | Stats | HP 35/35 | AC 17 | F: +8, R: +6, W: +11| Perc: +11

Marula rushes over to the porridge and examines it, trying to see if it’s a natural poison they’re familiar with.

Nature: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20

Verdant Wheel

Male NG Elf Sorcerer Champion of Erastil | HP 24/24 | AC 20 | Class DC 19 | F: +5, R: +7, W: +7 | Perc: +5 | Speed 30ft | Ranged: Pebble Potshot +9 1d4+4, Melee: Longsword +7 1d8+2 Active conditions: None

Guyzer quickly incants a spell to try to help Bort.

Guidance!


F Human Champion/3

Kyrie immediately rushes off upstairs as fast as she can. Clear orders and a clear objective meant no need for questions.

Three moves at 25 ft per action


Fall of the Plaguestone & Casefiles of Smokeworker G'nak | Siege of Gallowspire | Lions of Katapesh | Flooded King's Court

Kyrie makes it up to the mezzanine but can still see what's happening below.

Spoiler:
1d20 + 2 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 2 + 1 + 1 = 8

The poison has done its work too well.

The old dwarf stares up at you, his eyes wide with realization of what's about to happen. In that single moment you see the truth of who Bort is — no more stories, no more grand adventures — just an old man whose afraid to die.

Then that realization is gone — it all is. His lifeless body drops to the table.

You notice the inn is gathered around, trying to see what the commotion's about. Cooky and Tamli unconsciously clutch each other for support, their expressions shattered by bewilderment and anguish. It's perfectly silent.


Fall of the Plaguestone & Casefiles of Smokeworker G'nak | Siege of Gallowspire | Lions of Katapesh | Flooded King's Court

Marula:
You didn't get a sense of any out-of-place natural substances in this porridge. Not that you know exactly what turnip porridge is made of, but you can take a good guess… this poison might be alchemical in nature instead, or magical. You can't be sure without more information.

Tamli stares at the body. What happened? she whispers.

Horizon Hunters

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Male Human Swash 3 / AC 20 / Character Page

Cai Fen weeps openly as he lays Bort’s body out on the table.

I will always remember your kindness.

Cai Fen slowly trudges up the stairs and retrieves his medical kit.

Too late. Much too late, but… The porridge was cold, out on the table for a half hour at least. When was the poison added?

Bringing the kit to the table, he checks Bort’s fingernails, then eyelids, then mouth.

Who was the porridge for? Was Bargith Bort the intended victim?

He pricks Bort’s still-warm hand and squeezes a few drops of blood into a vial.

Was the poison in just that one bowl? Were all of us meant to die tonight?

He retrieves a few powders from the kit and mixes it into different tubes, along with a drop of blood and some water.

Who touched the food? The cook? The waiters? The goblin server? What about after the fight?

He then proceeds to test the porridge in the same manner.

Medicine, to identify poison: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19


Fall of the Plaguestone & Casefiles of Smokeworker G'nak | Siege of Gallowspire | Lions of Katapesh | Flooded King's Court

You can bank that roll.

Sheriff Rolth is slow to act. He eyes his porridge. He eyes the room. The wheels slowly turn in his mind. Finally, he brushes Cai aside and drapes a tablecloth over the body.

You there. I'm the sheriff. Might seem the man choked. To the lay person. Suspect it was somethin' else. He puffs out his chest, proud that his astute detective senses are on public display. Let's go to stables. For questioning. He squints at Cai and places a hand on the vial. I'll take that. Evidence. That fight you started. Just a cover? For illicit activities. Like poisoning. We'll see. It seems like Cai is a prime suspect.

He points at G'nak, Marula, Kyrie, and Guyzer. You. You. You. You. Come too.

Ambling off, he pauses. And the crew. The twins. Tamli. Cocky. The old elf, staring sadly at his best friend's dead body, winces at the insulting nickname. But they all comply, shuffling despondently out to the barn. Rolth Garley is the law in this town, after all, and they have nothing to hide.

Delma begins shooing everyone else out. Show's over! Kitchen's closed! Off you go!

Horizon Hunters

Male Human Swash 3 / AC 20 / Character Page

Cai Fen hangs his head and follows the sheriff to the stables.


NG Hobgoblin Alchemist Detective G'nak details | HP 26/26 | AC 19 | Class DC 17 | F: +7, R: +10, W: +4 | Perc: +4 | Speed 25ft | Ranged: Crossbow +4 1d8, Melee: Morningstar +4 1d6 Active conditions: None

G’nak follows along as one does when following orders.

”You know sheriff, I was a detective in the Hunthul secret police. I’ve got some experience at solving crimes myself. I’ve got a feeling my skills could be of use right now.”

Has Phinick turned up? If not, G’nak will look for him as they head out.

Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10


F Human Champion/3

Kyrie rushes back downstairs with the medical kit. She loses all the energy in her step as she sees the quiet room and Bort’s lifeless body. She does not let herself grieve yet, even as she thinks of how welcomed she felt in the fatherly Bort’s company. No, this is the time for justice.

”I am a Paladin of Iomedae, sworn to tell the truth. I will submit to questioning under objections, which are twofold. One: I do not think Cai is capable of such a vile attack. Two: I would like us to not waste our time when the actual culprit is assuredly getting away.”

While Kyrie has not known Cai long, she is quite certain that someone so enamored with The Grand Adventures of Punch Master Shin and possessing all 80 volumes would not be going around poisoning people.


Fall of the Plaguestone & Casefiles of Smokeworker G'nak | Siege of Gallowspire | Lions of Katapesh | Flooded King's Court

G'nak:
Phinick has not turned up. You don't spot him either.

The sheriff looks at Kyrie with his beady eyes. Suredly culprit's here. One of his crew. Or one of you. Not getting away. We'll talk.


Fall of the Plaguestone & Casefiles of Smokeworker G'nak | Siege of Gallowspire | Lions of Katapesh | Flooded King's Court

Spoiler:

Cai, Perception to Sense Motive: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26
G'nak, Perception to Sense Motive: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 = 21
Guyzer, Perception to Sense Motive: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 2 = 17
Kyrie, Perception to Sense Motive: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (13) + 3 = 16
Marula, Perception to Sense Motive: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 2 = 17

You and the members of the caravan are held and questioned in the barn until near dawn. It's not that Rolth is thorough, but more that he's slow and disorganized.

You sense that Rolth, whose job likely encompasses simple sheep disputes and the occasional tavern fight, is out of his depth. He's simply hoping for a lucky confession or obvious clue. By repeating the facts many times and in many ways, you finally get through to him that you are innocent: after all, you tried to help and didn't have a motive. Cai, in particular, has a difficult time proving his case but manages to do so by force of his genuine emotion and support from Kyrie.

Pre-dawn grey seeps through the cracks in the barn walls. Well then. No suspect. None to rule out. Not of the crew. He yawns.

Nothing more to do. Guess that's it, for a while. Lord Mubbage Cranberry, Circuit judge. Visiting, next month. Or maybe month after. I forget. Smart man, the Mubbage. Will sort things for us. I'll hold you 'till then. Don't leave. Town don't have a jail. So don't don't leave 'till the judge comes and sorts things. Okay? Okay.

Yawning again, he gazes at your party. If case solved sooner, no need for Mubbage. No need for waiting. Busy travelers would be on way. But nothing I can do. Too many suspects. Too much mystery. He gives you a significant look and ambles out of the barn, slowly making his way home. It looks like Rolth is passing the buck here, and will hold you in town until the judge shows up and solves the case, or until the case is solved by some outside force… such as yourselves.

Tamli strides up to you; her fists are clenched and her knuckles are white. I don't care what that idiot sheriff says. We're not leaving leave 'till we see justice. Not if it takes a hundred years.

She steps out into the dawn light, where birds singing and dew rests on the grass — a stark contrast to the mood inside the barn. Cooky follows.

She turns. Will you help us? If so, meet me at the wagons.


Fall of the Plaguestone & Casefiles of Smokeworker G'nak | Siege of Gallowspire | Lions of Katapesh | Flooded King's Court

Rolth is particularly impressed with G'nak and hopeful the hobgoblin will do all the work.


F Human Champion/3

Kyrie glares after the sheriff, but says nothing to him, knowing that it would do their cause little good to antagonize him further. A man is dead and he's happy to just take his sweet old time. Kyrie turns to Tamli at her question and pumps her fist. "I will help you. I am certain all of us will."


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NG Hobgoblin Alchemist Detective G'nak details | HP 26/26 | AC 19 | Class DC 17 | F: +7, R: +10, W: +4 | Perc: +4 | Speed 25ft | Ranged: Crossbow +4 1d8, Melee: Morningstar +4 1d6 Active conditions: None

On the way to the wagons, G'nak paces, hands behind his back, deep in thought.

"For whatever reason, the sheriff hasn't put two and two together, but I've more experience in these things, and I've been keeping an eye out. I believe the killer has been among us, floating on the periphery, this whole time.

"There is only one among us who had a conflict with Bort before dinner, only one of us with a history of altering folks' food and drinks, and only one of us who tried to get into the kitchen and "help"."

G'nak pivots on his heels and points at Marula.

"Confess! Did you poison Bort out of some petty revenge in the name of the trees?"


Polygamodioecious | Notes | Druid 3 | Stats | HP 35/35 | AC 17 | F: +8, R: +6, W: +11| Perc: +11

Marula remains quiet throughout, unsure what to make of Bort's death, Cai's grief, or the investigation. It's not that they don't understand concepts like grief and murder, but rather that they're not familiar with how faunae express their feelings.

They quietly offer during Rolth's questioning,

"He died by magic,
Or some inorganic means.
You'll note these markings...

I tried to help cook,
But Amora refused me.
What was in that glop?"

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17

During the night, they attempt to find earth to sink their root toes into. With daybreak and G'nak's accusation, the leshy looks confused for a moment, then terribly upset.

"When an oak is killed,
Their deepest selves uprooted,
Groves weep. Some die too.

"You cannot hear this.
Your ears and nose don't sense it.
But we love old growth.

"Bort was like an oak.
Shielding smaller trees from wind.
I could not. Would not..."

Sap slowly trickles down their face, which becomes preoccupied.

"So many stories.
Some tales, some reality.
No doubt enemies..."

Horizon Hunters

Male Human Swash 3 / AC 20 / Character Page

Sense Motive on strange plant creature: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17
Do plant people cry sap? Or is that a warning sign of berserker rage?

Sense Motive on Sulfur Smelling Yao Jing: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17
An alchemist could be a useful asset to the investigation. An alchemist could also be the culprit.

Sense Motive on Metal Maiden Breakspear Kyrie: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8
She seems honorable, but could it be an act?

Sense Motive on quiet elven magic user: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14
He uses his magic to heal, but could he also use it to harm?

Cai Fen shakes his head.

We should have carefulness before leveling accusations. If the poison is alchemical in nature, a certain alchemist and former member of the secret police may find his arguments exploding in his face.

He looks around.

I am choosing to trust you all. I do not care about clearing my reputation, but I will seek justice for Bushy Bearded Bargith Bort, who did not deserve his fate, and if he was not the intended target then there is a killer in this village waiting to strike again.

Verdant Wheel

Male NG Elf Sorcerer Champion of Erastil | HP 24/24 | AC 20 | Class DC 19 | F: +5, R: +7, W: +7 | Perc: +5 | Speed 30ft | Ranged: Pebble Potshot +9 1d4+4, Melee: Longsword +7 1d8+2 Active conditions: None

Guyzer stretches with a worn out look on his face.

"You young folk are getting your second wind I see...or would that be the third or fourth by now? Even so without sleep we might miss something if we push ourselves too hard. Let's meet Tamli at the wagons to form a plan but then recharge ourselves in order for Bort's passing to be avenged."

Assuming Guyzer is still fatigued due to lack of sleep. it really has been a rough yesterday and night for him.


Fall of the Plaguestone & Casefiles of Smokeworker G'nak | Siege of Gallowspire | Lions of Katapesh | Flooded King's Court

You gather around the wagons. The whole crew is here.

Tamli looks up at the sky and sighs. She clutches the lock of hair on the leather cord around her neck. Bort was always there for me… She shares fond memories of quiet moments below the stars: meals and campfire talks with the old dwarf, who he was always there when she needed a friend.

Cooky whispers that now, none among the living know his true name — he's merely "Cooky" now. Or "Cocky." He turns away, pretending something's caught in his eye, and rummages through his wagon. You hear one of his cast irons fall to the ground..

Glunda produces a piece of driftwood that's been roughly carved into a papa bear and cub. She places it on Bort's favorite wagon seat, like the figures are driving it together. She then sprints off into the forest as fast as she can.

Olf and Ulf reminisce about the time Bort found them, badly beaten and barely alive on the shores of Lake Encarthan. They produce flasks. To those who believed in us, says Olf. When none others would, says Ulf. They drink deep, and pour the rest onto the ground.

Tamli stands on a stool.

Bort was more than just a merchant, more than just the boss. He was my friend. He was our friend. We won’t leave here until we’ve found out who did this.

Rolth’s a fool, and I’d be an even greater fool if I thought I could get to the bottom of this. That’s why I asked you to come.

Fixing wagons and moving goods, that’s my job. But you, she says, looking at each of you in turn, you came. You barely knew Bort, but you came here, to listen to our own true stories. To help us. You might be able to figure out who killed Bort and get justice for him.

She holds back tears as she says, For all of us. Help uncover who did this!

Now you can investigate. You have not been deputized, but the sheriff will not stand in the way of any freelance investigations. Please let me know how you’d like to proceed. Yes, you are still fatigued and have been up all night!

Cai:
You cannot identify the poison. You failed the medicine check.


NG Hobgoblin Alchemist Detective G'nak details | HP 26/26 | AC 19 | Class DC 17 | F: +7, R: +10, W: +4 | Perc: +4 | Speed 25ft | Ranged: Crossbow +4 1d8, Melee: Morningstar +4 1d6 Active conditions: None

With a mystery to solve, G'nak gets to work. Learning that the poison was alchemical, G'nak uses his knowledge of alchemy to try to identify the poison.

Identify Alchemy: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10

He also looks around for any sign of Phinick.

Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24

And finally, using his streetwise abilities, he asks around to see if anyone in the village had a beef with Bort.

Society: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (15) + 6 = 21

Horizon Hunters

Male Human Swash 3 / AC 20 / Character Page

Once he gets his kit back from the sheriff, Cai Fen will continue to attempt his diagnosis to no avai. He shakes his diagnostic vials angrily as the liquid inside turns black.

I am having no success here.

How tired are we? Fatigue plus a night of interrogation might mean we are at the brink of exhaustion.

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