DM Lament Configuration's Carrion Hill

Game Master electricjokecascade

“The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of the infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.”
― H. P. Lovercraft, The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories

[Loot] | [Maps]


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M CG Dwarf Fighter 2/Cleric of Desna 3 | HP: 50/50 | AC: 21, T: 12, FF: 17) | CMB: +9, CMD: 21 | F: +10, R: +5, W: +7 (+1 against Fear Effects) | Init: +7 | Darkvision 60ft, Perc: +10, SM: +6 | Speed 30ft | Spells: 1st 3/4 2nd 3/3 | Active conditions: None

The previous night:

Kolthis lay wide awake in the stiff bed, looking up at the ceiling through dim moonlight. After Yelena had come by and told him of what she heard in the minds of the owners, he had been unable to relax at all. The latent thoughts of the Overton’s matched up in an odd way with his dreams, all pushing him towards Carrion Hill. There was something strange going on, and it was clear that Lady Luck wanted him to be a part of it. He would just have to keep going where his feet took him to find out why. Clutching to the holy symbol strung around his neck, he offered a night prayer to the goddess and eventually fell into a fitful state of sleep, but one blessedly devoid of any more bloody visions in his head.

Making the way through the abandoned streets of the hill city, Kolthis was disturbed the state of everything. It wasn’t so much the animals - he had seen plenty of insects and rats in his time and they bothered him not at all - but rather the sheer emptiness of it all. Shops, alleyways, windows, all completely empty. Even the air was empty of sound. ”What the bloody hell kind of city is this?” he remarks aloud as the caravan group traveled through the fog. It felt almost like that inn did, but a larger scale. He walked near the front of the caravan, hand tightly gripping the handle of his lucerne hammer, wary of anything moving in the area.

When the group emerged at the crest of the hill into fancier abandoned streets, Kolthis let out an exasperated sigh. Where the hell was everyone? Anyone? Then, he heard the cry of the town crier calling out. It was a familiar cry, though it seemed to Kolthis to be wildly out of place in this place. All the same, the contact brought some level of comfort back to his mind, and he slightly loosened the grip on his weapon. Only to tighten it again as more people showed up around them, seemingly also drawn by the loud voice calling for heroes.

Kolthis moved his eyes quickly across the newcomers, looking for more to start coming out. Where the hell had they come from? Were they following him? No...no, they had come out of streets ahead of where he was. Not to mention it would have been amazing to follow anyone in that thick fog. These looked to be other travelers, or citizens that lived here. He took a deep breath and thought back on his readings. Be Ready for Challenges and Unexpected Friends. It was a common aphorism of the church. He was always ready for challenges, that wasn’t the problem. But the friends part had been harder, especially as of late. It would do no good to be closed off to anything that Desna sent his way.

Slowly, laboringly, he withdrew his hand from his hammer and turned his attention instead to Yelena. He replayed the words she had said towards him and Maritine, taking a second to actually process them, rather than just hearing them.

He shook his head at her, and walked closer to where she stood. ”Your concern is appreciated, if unnecessary. No, we traveled here together, and I’ll not leave my companions alone, not in such a place as this.” He gestured broadly at the dark city surrounding them. ”It doesn’t quite strike me as a place to enjoy solitary sightseeing, if you catch me meaning.” he added with a small smile.

It was then, as he was about to ask the crier and his fellows some questions that he heard a strangely familiar voice call his name. Turning quickly, he was able to locate the source of the voice being a wiry, auburn-haired woman with a humongous crossbow. A crossbow as wide as the smile that Kolthis gave off as he recognized her. ”Lys! Lys Brokenshield, by the stars, what fate to see you once more, and here, of all places!” Unmindful of the forced nature behind her smile, Kolthis ran right up to her outstretched arms and gave her a solid embrace, though he let go quickly so as not to hurt her too much under the weight of the armor. ”The last I saw you, you were keeling under the table from two too much drink! Tell me, what brings you to this dream of a city? ” Seeing Lys, a faded memory of his old days before the nightmares, immediately brought back some semblance of joy to Kolthis, overshadowing the grim features of his face, if at least for a moment.


Male Human Wizard | HP 22/22 |AC 17 (Tch 13, FF 14) | Fort 0, Ref +3, Will +7|Init +1 Perception +1

Walter rides behind Lys until they reach town. But then, as they enter the outskirts, he slides off and walks alongside. Neither of them comment on it... but if there's trouble, now he's free to cast spells.

And now there are familiar faces up ahead...


Female Human Psychic (Esoteric Starseeker) 5 | HP 27/27 | AC: 18 (T: 11, FF: 17) | Saves: F:+7, R:+5, W:+9 (+2 vs fear effects) | Init: +6 | Perc. +10
More Info:
BAB: +2, CMB: 1, CMD: +12 | Spells: (1st) 5/8, (2nd) 5/6, (Bonus) 2/2 | Active Conditions: None

Yelena smiles a little in relief at the information she's given. "Oh good, I was starting to think there wasn't going to be anywhere for Bună to stay-" She's interrupted by a cry of recognition behind her, and she turns just in time to see Kolthis, stern, grim-faced Kolthis, smiling widely and running up to embrace a strange woman. It's good to see Kolthis smile like that, although she doubts Lys' appearance is a coincidence. The Great Dreamer is drawing so many people here. What could she have planned?

Then she sees the person next to Lys, and her back stiffens. Walter. Of course it would have to be Walter. I should have expected it.

Not that she was displeased, exactly. Walter knew magic like no one else she'd ever met. If the North Star had guided him here, Yelena couldn't argue with the choice. He was very, very good at what he did. Unfortunately he also happened to be an arrogant, condescending jerk who'd sniffed dismissively about how Harrow readings were nothing more than a parlor trick for superstitious peasants.

Tereza had once threatened to upend the teapot over his head for it. Probably would have, if Walter's tutelage hadn't been producing such clear results.

He was your teacher. You owe him for that. Be polite.

Yelena forces back a grimace. "Greetings, Walter. It's been a long time."

(The Cricket chirps in her mind. Faster, faster, things are happening fast here and you have to keep up or you'll all be swept away...)

"I should get Bună settled at the Stone Circle before heading to Crown Manor. Perhaps those of us who don't know each other can introduce ourselves while we walk?"


Female Human Lepidstadt Inspector 5 | Initiative +3 | Perception +10 | Fort +3 Ref +8 Will +7 | HP 45 AC 18

The Previous Night:
Leaving her unfinished glass of wine - partially as defiance to the Overtons and their crazed beliefs - and trusting Yelena in her insistence that the innkeepers simply wanted them to leave and die but would have no active hand in their deaths.

Retiring to her room, Maritine spends a few moments just sitting and preparing a concoction to render her unconscious; she feels it foolish to do so in such a terrible place, but also wishes to not awaken her travelling companions should her nightmares return.

If there was anything worse than the fetid stink that hung onto the cloying fog as they traveled past the obvious squalor, Maritine would have to say it would be familiarity - having walked such a similar path before, she half expected to find herself back in a different gods-cursed town; what was it called again? Quiet Ridge? Dual Spires?

She shook her head. It didn't matter, and only distracted from their current situation, not that it mattered much with the aggressive fog cover. She wasn't entirely unsure it wasn't alive, even when the street ascended and the group found themselves arriving at Carrion Hill proper. Her face impassive as always as she takes in what is clearly a flimsy covering of wealth to cover the neglect evident on every structure, and not a soul in sight.

Maritine furrowed her brow in confusion at the complete lack of the living - were they too late? Unlikely, and yet...

Voices ringing out make her inwardly sigh with relief as they are approached by guardsmen, and only when the call for heroes goes out does her natural suspicion kick in again. The call is almost a summoning effect as others seem to appear from nowhere to join her and her companions, distrust briefly kicking in before Kolthis is recognized by the woman - a professional mercenary at a glance - and it's enough to have Kolthis reminiscing of better times. Trusting Kolthis' judgement she turns to Yelena "I can wait, if you would like. The manor will not be difficult to find." She also gives careful scrutinizing looks to the others that have arrived. "And it might not be wise to be alone here."


Male Human Wizard | HP 22/22 |AC 17 (Tch 13, FF 14) | Fort 0, Ref +3, Will +7|Init +1 Perception +1
Yelena Stanescu wrote:


He was your teacher. You owe him for that. Be polite.

Yelena forces back a grimace. "Greetings, Walter. It's been a long time."

Walter blinks in surprise, then smiles. "Ah, yes! Helena, wasn't it?" His gaze travels over her outfit, lingers on her headband. "Wait, are you still... have you kept up your studies? Huh! Who would have thought it. Well done you!"

Alignment change has made Walter a better person, but... let's say it's a work in progress.


Male Human Wizard | HP 22/22 |AC 17 (Tch 13, FF 14) | Fort 0, Ref +3, Will +7|Init +1 Perception +1
Quote:
Kolthis ran right up to her outstretched arms and gave her a solid embrace, though he let go quickly so as not to hurt her too much under the weight of the armor. ”The last I saw you, you were keeling under the table from two too much drink! Tell me, what brings you to this dream of a city? ” Seeing Lys, a faded memory of his old days before the nightmares, immediately brought back some semblance of joy to Kolthis, overshadowing the grim features of his face, if at least for a moment.

Walter is still chewing over the events of the previous evening. His greeting to Jelena is offhand, distracted. But he brightens a bit when he sees Kolthis.

"They say in Sargava that the buffalo does not wander far from the swamp where it was born. And yet, here we both are! Well met, Master Kolthis.

"I see you have not lost your habit of rushing ahead while ignoring the wizard. I believe that was how you got your beard burned off? Well! I am pleased to see that it has grown back."


Female Human Psychic (Esoteric Starseeker) 5 | HP 27/27 | AC: 18 (T: 11, FF: 17) | Saves: F:+7, R:+5, W:+9 (+2 vs fear effects) | Init: +6 | Perc. +10
More Info:
BAB: +2, CMB: 1, CMD: +12 | Spells: (1st) 5/8, (2nd) 5/6, (Bonus) 2/2 | Active Conditions: None

"Yelena," Yelena manages through increasingly-gritted teeth. "It's Yelena. And yes. I have." I could always glue him to the floor and leave him out as bait...no. Bad Yelena. He's here to help. Probably.

She starts walking briskly back the way they came, trusting that anyone who wants to follow will do so. And anyone who doesn't...presumably she'll see them at Crown Manor. "This should only take a few minutes." For the sake of the newcomers, she clarifies, "I have a wagon, but the streets we were on were exceptionally narrow and full of mud so I was worried that it might get stuck."

I'm not sure what Mihaela's background will be, but maybe we could run into her at the Stone Circle? Depends on how long she's been in town. Or we could just handwave the whole 'get the wagon settled' mini-sidequest so it doesn't slow us down.


Female Human Gunslinger (Bolt Ace) 5 | HP:43/43 | Grit 4/4 |
Stats:
|AC 21, Touch 17, FlatFoot 14, CMD 21 | Fort +7, Ref +12, Will +5| Init +8 | Perception +13

The grin on Lys' face turns practically radiant as she sees the mirth in Kolthis' eyes. So, there's still a Kolthis in there., she thinks, as she gives the dwarf a strong embrace, stopping for a moment to appreciate the large Desnan medallion on his neck. That's new. "That's slander. Pure slander! I was well within control, it's just the floor in that place was very interesting.", her reply darts instantly. The question about Carrion Hill, though, catches her off-guard. "I... uh.", a shadow runs across her face. "I was in the area, and I thought of resupplying here. Then I found Walter walking on the shoreline, he saved my life, and he didn't rub it in my face. After those three highly improbable things, well." She shrugs. "I feel like I'm supposed to stay here a little longer." She gives the dwarf another friendly punch in the shoulder. "And good to see you again, by the way. But I drink after work now." And it's starting to help less and less...

Turning just in time to hear Yelena's freezingly polite response to Walter, Lys' eyebrows dart up as she returns the woman a barely held grin. "Pleased to meet you, Yelena! Lys Brokenshield. My horse's been needing a break for a whole day, too, and I'm sure he can use the company and a good brush. I'll give you a hand." She gives the brown horse a pat on the neck, rubbing the sweat-caked mane. "Isn't that right, Bum."

I'm fine handwaving the inn, too, by the way. We could just pretend we gave some silver coins to an unnaturally pale and gaunt teenage stablekeep and went back to the main square and encounter Mihaela?


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[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 10:00 p.m.

Mihaela:

The sound is primeval. A long, brazen horn blows a plangent note that echoes below the very heavens. It defies the stars. It summons forth energies and magics that are beyond the human ken.

Against the night sky, a circle of standing stones crown a hilltop. They reek of fell power. They draw your eye, your heart, your soul. Make you desire to dance, to gibber, to endlessly cavort about them, tearing and clawing your humanity from your frame till nothing is left but yearning, a greedy hunger for that which you know is forbidden.

And still the horn blows, subsumed now in the cry of voices - are they screams? No, they pitch and rise together. A coordinated wail, crying out something, some awful name, something so familiar you can taste it, something you know, that is inscribed in your soul with the point of a serpentine knife -

The horn blows. It doesn't defy - it summons.

You are being summoned.

Strange shapes flit about the standing stones. Winged shapes, but whose wings should not bear them aloft.

The air is burned with the tang of ozone.

The screams grew more fevered.

Your pulse races. How many times have you had this dream? Again and again, you are summoned to the standing stones.

But no. There is something superimposed over them. A vision of a city, a rotting monument to mankind's hubris. A great, seething morass of poverty and decay. Something built and rebuilt and rebuilt again over those ancient stones, burying them, but not erasing their power.

Carrion Hill.

You see a black butterfly flit before you. It's buffeted by cruel winds. The winged monsters swoop down to snatch at it with their jaws. Yet still it persists. Flits on, striving against all odds to reach that carrion mound.

Leading you.

Even as something darker, more primal, more ancient and you summons you forth. Summons you with that horn. Calls you.

Calls you home.

The nightmare ends. As always, you awaken bathed in sweat, heart racing, seized by terror, a name on your lips, a name you forget even as you begin to whisper it: Shub... Shub something...

But one thing is certain. For better or worse, you have to go to Carrion Hill.

Only there will you find closure. Only there will you find peace.

Only there will an end be made, of one kind or another.


M CG Dwarf Fighter 2/Cleric of Desna 3 | HP: 50/50 | AC: 21, T: 12, FF: 17) | CMB: +9, CMD: 21 | F: +10, R: +5, W: +7 (+1 against Fear Effects) | Init: +7 | Darkvision 60ft, Perc: +10, SM: +6 | Speed 30ft | Spells: 1st 3/4 2nd 3/3 | Active conditions: None

Lys' words and grin brought out something that Kolthis realized he hadn't experienced in quite a while - a genuine laugh. "Ah, of course, the floor. The way you were glued to it, it must have been a hidden gold mine!"

Hearing her response about Carrion Hill, however, brought him back down. Stars, she looks worn out. It seems the years have been hard for us all. "It seems this place and it's surroundings thrive on the improbable. Remind me to tell you about this inn last night - perhaps over some drink, after our work is done." he winks at Lys, trying weakly to get a smile back on her face. After all, there should be some happiness, and there wasn't much better than a good story.

With that, and as Lys turned to Yelena, he faced Walter, listening to the man's own introductions. He grimaced internally at the wizards quips - they were terrible, yet he thought still he was as good as Kolthis. Which was, of course, absolute rubbish. "And they say that a smart man knows when to put his tools away for his own good - yet here you are, hammering away. And the way I remember it, my beard got burnt because you couldn't aim worth your life, missing that entire group of undead. If it wasn't for my rushing in, you'd be rushing down to Pharasma's court." He stuck out a hand to the man. "Well met Walter." Seeing Yelena walk away, he added "I see you haven't lost your touch with the women folk." with a wry grin.

Stepping back, he spread his arms wide, gesturing at the entire group. "Now, I don't know why we're all here, but clearly The North Star wanted us, who knew each other, together for a reason. Tis far too unlikely an event to be mere coincidence. With that, I invite you to join us, making our way to the Manor. Perhaps we can help each other on the way." with another smile towards Lys and Walter he added "And perhaps we can finally settle our old bet, and you lot will see my hammer will always be better."


Female Human Lepidstadt Inspector 5 | Initiative +3 | Perception +10 | Fort +3 Ref +8 Will +7 | HP 45 AC 18

Maritine, naturally, eyes the approaching strangers with suspicion - it was practically her way of greeting people - and only relents slightly when it seems both Kolthis and Yelena know the strangers. She waits and watches her travelling companions reactions carefully as she gauges the strangers - Walter seems to get under Yelena's skin rather easily; the young woman slighted by his words if not his presence.

She would watch him.

The woman she almost mistook for one of her own; the coat was similar to those used by the University and had certainly seen it's share of adventure. She didn't quite recognize the specifics and truthfully didn't need to; she was sure at some point Yelena or Kolthis would explain how they had crossed paths, and that would suite her just fine. Anything to delay having to explain why She was there for a little longer, assuming she couldn't just handwaive her reasons with 'University Business'.

Doing her best to not look like she's going to drag the two strangers off and interrogate them Maritine waits for the reminiscing to be over and introduces herself proper. "Well met, both of you. It is...oddly comforting to hear that you are familiar faces." She offers a hand to Lys. "Inspector LeGrasse, Lepidstadt University."


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Female Human Psychic (Esoteric Starseeker) 5 | HP 27/27 | AC: 18 (T: 11, FF: 17) | Saves: F:+7, R:+5, W:+9 (+2 vs fear effects) | Init: +6 | Perc. +10
More Info:
BAB: +2, CMB: 1, CMD: +12 | Spells: (1st) 5/8, (2nd) 5/6, (Bonus) 2/2 | Active Conditions: None

Yelena's smile turns genuine as she regards Lys. "Pleased to meet you as well. I admit I'm curious about this interesting floor you ran into..." She gives the other woman a wink. "Remind me to have my grandmother make you one of her, um, special teas if we have the chance. I think you'd enjoy it."

As they begin descending once more into the fog, the claustrophobic atmosphere dampens Yelena's mood. It reminds her too much of the swirling mist visible in Lost, and the grim possibilities that await them if they can't prevent that future from happening. She shakes her head slightly to clear it. "As Kolthis mentioned, I don't think it's a coincidence that we've met here. Hopefully we can fulfill whatever task the Starsong has in store for us." She glances at Walter. "Lys mentioned she planned to resupply here, but what brings you to Carrion Hill?"


Male Human Wizard | HP 22/22 |AC 17 (Tch 13, FF 14) | Fort 0, Ref +3, Will +7|Init +1 Perception +1
Yelena Stanescu wrote:
"Yelena," Yelena manages through increasingly-gritted teeth. "It's Yelena. And yes. I have."

Walter has one (1) rank in Sense Motive. My headcanon is, he just added this recently, because he's only just become dimly aware -- in a vague, half-grasped sort of way -- that other people have feelings and motivations that he should maybe sometimes pay attention to. So let's give him a DC 15 Sense Motive check to see if he notices that he's given offense: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8

Serenely oblivious, Walter will introduce himself to the two unknowns -- Martine and Mihaela. "Walter, madame. A student of the arcane arts. Formerly of Sargava and the Academae, currently of no fixed abode."


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 10:00 p.m.

The unexpected company of old friends and the consequent cheer help hold the unnerving strangeness of the near abandoned Carrion Hill at bay; voices muffled by the curdling fog, your party makes its way back down the hill once more, to the outskirts where a gaily painted caravan is parked to the side of the road, a horse placidly cropping at the verge.

Teresa unlocks the door and emerges, eyes glittering as she examines the company. White hair done up in a tight bun, a beautiful black shawl fringed in cobalt blue wrapped around her bony shoulders, she welcomes Yelena back with obvious relief, and greets you all with warmth.

Sense Motive DC 14:
Even this brief interaction affords you insight into Tereza's mindset: her manner is confident and calm, but beneath that lies a strong sense of uncertainty and concern that you'd imagine is not normal to her outlook on life.

The horse is cajoled back onto the road, and in short order your party once more ascends the streets of Carrion Hill; by now, however, the fog is starting to thin, so that houses become distinct at greater and greater distances, the sky visible overhead as the sun burns away the mist.

The Stone Circle is a grand old inn, a timber framed two-story building that's accessed by a huge stone archway that leads to a contained inn yard. The stables stand at the back of this yard, its sides connected to the rest of the inn, though the sounds of the horses' hooves and the grinding whir of the iron-bound wheels of the wagon fail to draw anybody out.

Hammering at the main door off the inn-yard and eventually shouting promises of gold do eventually summon Old Bosworth, who proves to be an ancient dwarf of great girth and one eye, the other covered in a patch emblazoned with flagon of Cayden Cailean. Countless good luck charms, most of dubious origin, adorn his clothing and hang about his thick neck, and he pats them continuously as if to assure himself they're still there.

After paying his fees upfront - which aren't exorbitant - he rouses his stablehands, a pair of identical red-headed twins, and has your mounts seen to. For a nominal fee, he allows the caravan to be parked to one side of the inn-yard, taking up nearly a quarter of the space.

Turning down his offers for hot cider or mulled wine, your group turns their faces toward the peak of Carrion Hill and make your way back outside to climb to Crown Manor.

A fine rain begins to mist down as you climb to the peak, growing steadily stronger as your ascend.

Two black-clad guards in leather armor and and chains stand guard outside the rotting mansion that is more fortress than home. The building rears above them like some raging, enfeebled monster, all garrets and recesses, narrow windows and brutal walls.

Knowledge Engineering DC 12:
This building has grown over the decades, with wings, towers, and other follies added to what was once a brutally simple fort; beneath the additions, you can still make out the grim stone outlines of the original edifice.

The guards are hard faced men, seeming indifferent to the rain that runs down their faces as they watch you approach, hands on the pommels of their longswords.

Sense Motive DC 12:
Despite their somber expressions, you detect a flicker of hope in their eyes as they watch you - could that even be relief?


Female Half-elf {conditions: none} Inquisitor 5 | HP 28/28 | AC 22 (Tch 16 FF 16) | F +5 R +8 W +9 (+2 vs. ench.) | Init +10 | Perc +12, low-light vision, scent (vs. aberr.)

A month ago, in a monastery perched high atop the Wyvern Mountains in Varisia

She has never been a sound sleeper - the dreams had always been there, lurking and feeding off of the fringe of her subconscious, and it was rare for her to spend more than four hours asleep every night; training and meditation were her favorite way to occupy the hours just before dawn, giving her that focus and clarity of mind she could not find in her troubled, nightmare-filled unconsciousness.

But these – these are another matter entirely she has to concede as she lies curled up under sweat-drenched sheets, trembling and sobbing. Instinctively, she performs a simple incantation, finding a modicum of relief as she feels her Goddess’s power flowing through her. You’re still here, my monarch she whispers, thankful. In her dream, she felt the cruel blows the butterfly endured as if they were dealt to her instead; what’s worse, they had come with the unnerving sensation that even Gods were but prey to the eldritch horrors that hold court where sanity ends.

She stands up from her humble pallet, quickly banishing those blasphemous thoughts. Grabbing a sponge from a water-filled basin, she washes away the night sweats, and walks barefoot to the corner where her gear has been diligently folded and polished the day before. Donning her suit, her eyes linger upon the complex pattern of ink and scars twisting and coiling all over her skin, many of them a somber reminder of one too many missions when she stood as the lone survivor of her team — and even then, barely. That the only weapon she hasn’t been taking zealous care of was herself, is an irony not completely lost on her.

It’s still a couple of hours before the sun rises she muses as she concludes her morning meditations, having finally managed to slow down her racing heart to a rhythmic, calm beat, savoring the silence between each pulse. Adjusting her starknife and shield, her trench-coat wrapped tightly around her, she sets foot eastwards, toward the country of Ustalav and a place called Carrion Hill, fully knowing — or rather, anticipating — she’s marching to a confrontation where both her sanity and her life could finally be snuffed out of her, and calmly praying to the stars above — in the irrational eventuality any choice was given in the matter — for it to be the latter.

If everyone's ok with that, we can have the rendez-vous take place in Crown Manor?


Male Human Wizard | HP 22/22 |AC 17 (Tch 13, FF 14) | Fort 0, Ref +3, Will +7|Init +1 Perception +1

Rolls:

First Sense Motive! 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 9

Knowledge (Engineering)!1d20 + 11 ⇒ (7) + 11 = 18

Second Sense Motive!1d20 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 2 = 12

Someone mentioned making tea? Walter is always interested in tea. He'll attempt to engage Teresa in a conversation about tea.

Profession (Herbalist)1d20 + 11 ⇒ (15) + 11 = 26
Untrained Diplomacy check 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (13) + 1 = 14

I would interpret this as Walter going on at great length about herbs and whatnot -- probably more than he really should -- but not being actually offensive. But Tereza is Yelena's character, so it's up to her how she responds.

But however that plays out, let's move along to our very interesting job interview!


Female Human Psychic (Esoteric Starseeker) 5 | HP 27/27 | AC: 18 (T: 11, FF: 17) | Saves: F:+7, R:+5, W:+9 (+2 vs fear effects) | Init: +6 | Perc. +10
More Info:
BAB: +2, CMB: 1, CMD: +12 | Spells: (1st) 5/8, (2nd) 5/6, (Bonus) 2/2 | Active Conditions: None

Getting Settled:
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (18) + 10 = 28

Yelena knows her grandmother extremely well, and catches onto the sense of uncertainty. Kissing her lightly on the cheek and smiling reassuringly, she introduces her to the other two members of the group. "Look who I ran into! You'll remember Walter of course," she gives a very slight shrug of her shoulders as Tereza looks at her with eyebrows raised, "And this is Lys Brokenshield, an old friend of Kolthis'. Lys, this is my grandmother Tereza." She pulls herself up into the driver's seat, explaining, "I finally managed to run into someone from this town who would actually talk to us, and apparently the Stone Circle should still be open. We're going to get settled there then head to the Manor to talk about a job."

Tereza is well aware that this 'job' is likely to be dangerous, but she also knows she can't talk Yelena out of it. Nor would she; she's long since accepted that this is the price for Yelena's unique gifts. So she simply nods. "It'll be good to get my old bones out of this damp." The conversation is somewhat stilted, (Tereza has most definitely not forgotten about Walter's opinions on the Harrow), but she does still converse with him about various teas as they travel.

At the Stone Circle, Yelena helps lug the chest containing most of their valuables into the room Tereza will be staying in while the others remain outside. Admittedly the truly valuable equipment is on her person, but there's still a fair amount of general stuff they wouldn't want stolen. "Audible or mental," she murmurs.

"Hmmm. Audible." Tereza gives her granddaughter a wan smile. "I think you'll be busy enough without worrying about me, or trying to make sure you stay close enough to hear. These seem like decent enough people; if an alarm goes off and I start screaming for help they'll respond."

Yelena nods, trusting her grandmother's assessment of the people at the Stone Circle. Besides, Tereza is right, there's no guarantee she'll be able to stay close enough for the spell to work mentally. She quickly sets up the Alarm and keys it to chime if anyone enters the room without the password. While not a spell Desna had blessed her with, she'd bargained for the knowledge of it from a passing trader. It was too useful to not have available.

"Good luck, Bună." Yelena once again kisses her grandmother on the cheek. "I'll be back when I can."

"Be safe, Nepoată."

With Tereza (and Dancer) as safely settled as they can be, Yelena rejoins the group and heads with them to Crown Manor.

Sense Motive: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (13) + 10 = 23

She smiles at the guards, noticing their expressions. Something's worrying them. They're unusually relieved to see us. What's happened?

Well, it seems they're about to find out.

"Hello there," she calls out as they approach. "We heard there was a Call for Heroes? What assistance do you need?"


Female Human Gunslinger (Bolt Ace) 5 | HP:43/43 | Grit 4/4 |
Stats:
|AC 21, Touch 17, FlatFoot 14, CMD 21 | Fort +7, Ref +12, Will +5| Init +8 | Perception +13

Settling:

Trotting rather cheerfully down the mist-filled Carrion Hill alleyways, Lys' eyes dart up as Maritine introduces herself. "Ooh! Inspector!", she chirps, eyeing the woman, eyes stopping at her head. "Love the hat. Yup, we met a year or so ago in Caliphas. A big group of dwarves and...", she adds, before pausing, as if she had a revelation. "we dipped our toes in this old adventuring business." Under the coating of a jovial tone, her sorrow shows. Is this why he's so sullen?

As if forcing herself to change the topic, Lys focuses her attention to Yelena's wagon. "Ooh!", she exclaims, eyes darting over the paintings, phrases and motifs around the wagon. "Looks a little like a candy-house. Always wandered what's inside those, truth be told."

Sense Motive: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (15) + 11 = 26
Nice and polite, now.Giving the older woman a cheery smile, Lys takes off her hat as she sits inside, her eyes darting left and right, as if studying everything incomprehensible to the slightest detail, with a few 'hum's and 'ooh's along the way, smiling at Walter's inexplicably vast knowledge about tea.

The inn, however is a different matter. Upon seeing the dwarf's cheerful grin and offers, she gives the twin boys a coin for her service and leaps onto the first available bar chair, chattering in Dwarven with nary a breath to spare as the others settle down. Perks of travelling light. Less to pack. As the rest walk down from their room, she's seemingly in the middle of a heated tale. Glancing up, she raises a hand to old Bosworth, standing up from her chair with a wide grin. "Bet you're glad to see them!", she laughs. A second later, her crossbow's on her shoulder as she glances up, eager to go.

The sight of the castle seems to pick at something in Lys' mind. "Now, they've added nobility bits and pieces to that. But that's some fine masonry.", she comments as the group approaches the guards. Staring the armed men in the eye, she spots something. Looks like there's still hope for better days. A true smile crawls upon her face as she winks at the guard. "And if you don't find any, we'll help you until they show up."

Rolls/OoC:

Knowledge(Engineering): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (1) + 11 = 12


Female Human Lepidstadt Inspector 5 | Initiative +3 | Perception +10 | Fort +3 Ref +8 Will +7 | HP 45 AC 18

Dice Rolls!:

Sense Motive 1: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (3) + 11 = 14
Engineering: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (11) + 9 = 20
Sense Motive 2: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (1) + 11 = 12

Maritine eyes off the mansion-turned-fortress and is only a little surprised that it isn't more fortified. Certainly she expected more guards if not an outright garrison. Perhaps the lack of one explained the guards and their general demeanor.

She nods once in agreement with the others that have explained their being there. "The message was vague, but as stated, we are here to offer assistance. Who has summoned us?"


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 10:00 p.m.

The guards exchange a wary glance, and then one, a stern looking human woman who might have been pretty in a softer life but whose features speak of nothing but hardship in this one, coughs into her fist and nods.

"Aye, Mayor Heggry's lookin' for your sort. We're right glad to see you. Go on through. Mayor's holdin' court in the grand hall."

The other guard, an older man who must be nearing retirement, walks stiffly to the main doors and pushes one open, nodding for you all to go right ahead.

The best thing that can be said for Crown Manor's that it's not raining inside. Instead, you find a cathedral-like space that is all stark architecture, deep shadows, and bone-penetrating cold. The few torches in their rusted iron sconces do little more than accentuate the darkness, and the arrow-slit windows are made opaque by the heavy rain that now spatters against them.

You enter a large hall, but clearly not the grand hall. A faded and threadbare rug lies askew across the huge flagstones, and doors lead off to the right and left. A staircase leads up to one side, but your attention is drawn to the large double doors that stand open at the back.

Through this you see the grand hall itself. Faded banners hang along the walls, interspersed with badly woven tapestries so that it looks like man-lions hunt screaming dryads... or perhaps children? through eerie, watery forests. A massive fire burns within a hearth large enough to roast a bull, and above the mantle twin twisted blades are crossed.

Despite the fire, it feels even colder in here than in the entrance hall.

A massive chair sits alone upon a dais at the end of the hall. It looks distinctly uncomfortable to sit upon. Two crow guards stand just within the double doors, staring carefully out at nothing, while a stranger (tag Mihaela) sits to one side on a bench along the wall.

Mihaela:
You've been waiting in the hall for half an hour now, watching as the mayor paces back and forth, whispering, arguing with himself, occasionally stopping to stare out at nothing for minutes on end before coming to himself and resuming his pacing. He's asked that you wait for more help to arrive before briefing you, but as the time passes and nobody comes, Hegry seems to fall ever deeper into his dark fugue. This lightens only at the sound of footsteps as five strangers appear in the doorway.

The mayor is a stout, older man, his hands linked behind his back, his robes of office subdued if of good cut. His black hair has gone to gray, his brow is furrowed with concern, a thick iron gray beard nearly obscures his badge of office clasped high on his chest. He leans forward as if into stiff headwinds as he paces, stopping only as you all enter, eyebrows lifting in surprise and then satisfaction.

"At least we've got a few backbones still upright in this place."

He gestures peremptorily for you all to be seated on the bench - either side of the wall, and coughs into his fist before moving to sit in his high backed chair from where he addresses you all.

“I thank you for attending in our hour of need — Carrion Hill has a long history of battle, yet always before its enemies have
attacked from outside our walls. We are fortified to defend against such attacks, but now we face an entirely different threat. Our enemy is already here, dwelling in the tunnels and catacombs below and surfacing to strike without warning.

"As you may have heard, the first of these attacks occurred early this very morning, when something huge came up from below in a part of the Tangles called Slipper Market. It partially destroyed a building and killed a half dozen locals before retreating into the ruined structure. The Crows were swift to reply, led by our own brave Commander Garus, but when they arrived, they facea a terrible battle, with most being slaughtered on the very street. Commander Garus and his few remaining men chased the beast - or whatever it is - into the ruin, but has not emerged. I fear to send more Crows in after him.

“Since then, the thing has moved on, surfacing no less than three times in different parts of the city, crushing buildings from below and slaying anyone it finds inside. I’ve got the entire force of the city watch in reserve, and with each new event they respond quickly, but the damage is always done by the time they arrive. Already there is talk of war and invasion, but I still believe that what we face is a single horror. If we can only figure out what it is, we might be able to defeat it. And this is where your group comes in — the horror has moved on from its initial point of entrance, but if you can explore the ruins in Slipper Market, perhaps you can find some sort of clue to tell us what it is we face. I cannot spare any of my Crows to aid you, for they are needed in keeping order in the streets, but if indeed you can find something… anything… about this monster from below, I will pay you handsomely: 1,500 gold for solid information, and twice again that amount for aiding in defeating the horror.”

Sense Motive 16:
Despite his grim countenance and commanding tone, its clear that Hegry is on his last legs - there's a wildness to his eyes, a way he has of clenching his jaw compulsively, that speaks to his frayed nerves and rapidly diminishing self control.

Sense Motive 20:
When he mentions Commander Garus' name, his voice roughens ever so subtly, and he clenches his fists, as if the loss of his commander is a more grievous blow than he wants to let on.


Male Human Wizard | HP 22/22 |AC 17 (Tch 13, FF 14) | Fort 0, Ref +3, Will +7|Init +1 Perception +1

Sense Motive 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 = 19

The Mayor has Walter's full and undivided attention!

"'Great holes secretly are digged where earth's pores ought to suffice," the wizard murmurs softly to himself, "and things have learnt to walk that ought to crawl.'"


Female Half-elf {conditions: none} Inquisitor 5 | HP 28/28 | AC 22 (Tch 16 FF 16) | F +5 R +8 W +9 (+2 vs. ench.) | Init +10 | Perc +12, low-light vision, scent (vs. aberr.)

Earlier, as she climbed the Hill...

The dim, whitish fog is permeating her lungs, carrying the stench of garbage and Desna know whatever else and spores from the rotting wood of the surrounding buildings, clouding her vision, slowly penetrating under her coat, into her bones, into her soul... Worst of all, it deprived her of the sight of the sky as she climbs up the empty street. It is like a dream. Perhaps I never woke up.

Eventually, her efforts are rewarded as the fog suddenly breaks. Milky-white nothingness beneath, but above her, light. And sounds. People, finally. And a crier. A call for heroes. They'll have to make do with me.

Sense Motive: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (1) + 12 = 13

In the Grand Hall...

Though she hasn't yet been briefed about the threat, the simple flicker of hope she detected in the guard's eyes — triggered by the mere sight of a complete stranger willing to answer a call — has told her volumes about how desperate the situation was. Though if there were any lingering doubts, the Mayor's increasingly erratic behavior would have long dissipated them by now. It is obvious he has been expecting something more than a frail-looking half-elf to answer his call — not that Mihaela blames him.

She has spent the better part of the last half-hour sitting silently and motionlessly on a bench by the wall. Hands gently folded in her lap, she looks like a mother patiently waiting for her child to come home, or perhaps a convict resignedly accepting her fate. She's almost ready to calmly tell the Mayor that alone or not, she'll be accepting his task no question asked, so please elaborate on the menace, when the sound of footsteps causes her to turn towards the door.

During the briefing

Of the five people who enter the Hall, one in particular draws her attention. As the Mayor speaks, she stares at Maritine and, once she sees her staring back, she silently spells RA-VE-NI-GRO.

Sense Motive (studied target): 1d20 + 12 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 12 + 2 = 31


Female Human Lepidstadt Inspector 5 | Initiative +3 | Perception +10 | Fort +3 Ref +8 Will +7 | HP 45 AC 18

Sense Motive: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (12) + 11 = 23

Maritine found it almost impressive that the hall could be just as depressing and empty as the village that surrounded it, bleak even by Ustalav's usual standards. It was a wonder it hadn't collapsed under the weight of its own despair.

The mayor seemed to be holding it together rather well, but she knew what to look and listen for, and it took little scrutiny to pick up on things she wished to ask to glean more information on their task and their target, and-

And finally unable to ignore it any longer, she turns just enough to catch the eyes boring into her, intending to meet their gaze with equal intensity - Ah.

Familiarity, then the spelling of...ah. Yes. Ravenigro. Now she recognized that piercing gaze - Mihaela. Whatever cosmic coincidence drew everyone here, there was at least the comfort of familiarity.


Female Human Psychic (Esoteric Starseeker) 5 | HP 27/27 | AC: 18 (T: 11, FF: 17) | Saves: F:+7, R:+5, W:+9 (+2 vs fear effects) | Init: +6 | Perc. +10
More Info:
BAB: +2, CMB: 1, CMD: +12 | Spells: (1st) 5/8, (2nd) 5/6, (Bonus) 2/2 | Active Conditions: None

Sense Motive: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (12) + 10 = 22

This Commander Garus...it seems they were closer than he wishes to admit.

Yelena has no intention of prying into an open wound. Whatever relationship the mayor had with Commander Garus, it's no business of theirs. Her fingers itch to pull out her Harrow deck now that she has a slightly clearer picture of what's going on, but she resists the urge. They don't have time for a reading right now.

"You say this creature is attacking from tunnels beneath the city. Do you perhaps have a map of those tunnels available? It would undoubtedly help us. Also, if you have a map of the city proper and can point out the places this creature has surfaced, perhaps we will be able to discern a pattern."


Female Human Gunslinger (Bolt Ace) 5 | HP:43/43 | Grit 4/4 |
Stats:
|AC 21, Touch 17, FlatFoot 14, CMD 21 | Fort +7, Ref +12, Will +5| Init +8 | Perception +13

Elize shudders as she walks into the main hall. I almost regret not staying in the tavern. But... he looks like someone who doesn't like to rely on folks like us. Biting her lips, she holds her tongue as the Mayor explains the town's worries, only sparing a glance at the young half-elf awaiting at the Mayor's side, starknife at her belt and a fine cloak. Damn, Desna. Say what you will, but your followers do good, looking good.

Huddling deeper into her coat, Lys listens to the tale of the monster's destruction intently. Only as Mayor Hegry broaches the topic of payment, she shakes her hand dismissively. Yeah, we know you're good on that. Can't afford not to. At Yelena's question, she nods approvingly. "To add to my colleague's questions, your-, ahem, Mayor Hegry, were there any witnesses? Any descriptions?", she asks quizzically, pulling out a thick, leatherbound book with the Pharasmin sign on the cover. "It would help if we knew what we're hunting. It's not always obvious what to look for, even if we're going to the ruins to, well, find what we're hunting."
Large, subterranean... That just about narrows it down to... several dozen. Guess we'll wait and see.

Rolls/OoC:

Sense Motive: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (8) + 11 = 19


Female Half-elf {conditions: none} Inquisitor 5 | HP 28/28 | AC 22 (Tch 16 FF 16) | F +5 R +8 W +9 (+2 vs. ench.) | Init +10 | Perc +12, low-light vision, scent (vs. aberr.)

A staring contest between an inquisitor and an investigator... now that would be something - luckily we defused it before it ended up destroying what was left of the decrepit Manor.

As she sees the spark of recognition ignite into Maritine's eye, Mihaela nods, the shadow of a smile escaping her lips. The paths of fate twist and turn in ways unexpected by the mortal mind... and never more so than right before portentous events.

Perception (studied target): 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (15) + 14 = 29

Her eyes darts around the Hall, analyzing the faces and mannerism of the newcomers. A Varisian, like her. Hers might be the caravan I passed on the way up. A... Chelaxian? Still, he doesn't share their usually pale complexion. Perhaps a sailor? Doesn't look the physical type. Another woman, dressed in a hodgepodge of different clothes and styles, yet probably the one closer to her in build and constitution, up to the large hat shadowing her face. Except for the ballista strapped to her shoulder, that is. Finally, a dwarf. If Kolthis wears his holy symbol so that it can be seen The iron butterfly is all she needs to see. Now she's sure it is no mere caprice of fate that led them all here to face the unfolding horror.

As she lets her gaze wander around the room, her ears take keen note of every word which is uttered, and an even keener one of those that are not. Garus was something more to him than a simple underling. Whether his importance stemmed from plots yet undiscovered, or was of a more... private nature, remains to seen. Other than that, she stays silent, letting the others do the questioning.


M CG Dwarf Fighter 2/Cleric of Desna 3 | HP: 50/50 | AC: 21, T: 12, FF: 17) | CMB: +9, CMD: 21 | F: +10, R: +5, W: +7 (+1 against Fear Effects) | Init: +7 | Darkvision 60ft, Perc: +10, SM: +6 | Speed 30ft | Spells: 1st 3/4 2nd 3/3 | Active conditions: None

Getting Settled:

Teresa Sense Motive: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 6 = 15

The company, now unexpectedly larger, made their way back to where the caravan was parked, with Kolthis taking the front. He tried not to make a big deal of Lys’ comment about his old crew. Of course, she had no way of knowing what happened, and he wasn’t going to make this group in the already dreary Carrion Hill any worse. He was happy not mentioning the notable absence of either of their past, considering he noticed she was traveling alone now. If it came up naturally, so be it, but that’s not what he was here for at the moment.

Kolthis stood a little bit off to the side, keeping a wary eye out as the newcomers met Tereza and they got the caravan in order. He noticed she was acting a mite nervously - a clench of the fist here, a slight scratching there. He didn’t let it worry him; staying in this street was enough to get on anyone’s nerves. Besides, he was sure Walter’s droning on about tea didn’t help. From what he could make out, Tereza and Yelena had once before dealt with him and his antics. That had the makings of a good story, it did, but best to save that for later.

Arriving at the inn, Kolthis once again stayed aside as the rest got their things settled. He could fit everything in his magical pack he carried, and be none the worse for it. And since then the only real use of storage was for his armor, there was no point in going up at the moment. Instead, he sat at the bar with Lys, grinning happily to see another dwarf in this cheerful area, and even happier to hear her launch into stories in Dwarven. That’s the Lys I remember. The story was one he had heard before - told to him in a situation much like this one - yet that did nothing to take away from the entertainment.

Sense Motive Guards: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19

Approaching finally to the front of the Manor, Kolthis was unbothered at the rain that came down. He’d spent plenty of time outdoors, just as it seems these guards at the front gate have. Seeing the group approaching, Kolthis noticed that they seemed...hopeful, of all things. They seemed to perk up as Yelena, Maritine, and Lys asked them about the message. He listened to their answer, silently studying the pair. As the group made their way in, Kolthis stopped in front of the guards, and put a hand on each of their shoulders. ”Worry not, friends. Things will be alright.” He still wasn’t the best at the whole comforting priest business, but it didn’t hurt to try.

Perception (Grand Hall): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (2) + 10 = 12
Sense Motive Mayor: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 23

As the group made their way down the hall, Kolthis was once again struck by just how eerie the surroundings were, now both in the quiet and cold atmosphere, as well as the only slightly terrifying decorations. I understand this city is old, but come now, there’s a limit. Perhaps Desna can help guide the people here down the path to better taste, if nothing else. Getting closer to the pacing man - the mayor, Kolthis assumed - he looked over the hall, looking for anything else strange. He could see now the one other person waiting for a briefing. At least some elven blood, from the look of her, and...Kolthis blinked. A starknife. She carried a starknife. It seems Lady Luck has sent another of her stars to guide our way. he thought to himself. But why there were so many congregated here, was still to be seen. Hopefully, with the Mayor’s explanation they would find some clarity.

Yet, listening to the tale that sparked the call for heroes, Kolthis grew only more concerned. A strange, unchecked horror running loose in the city? What madness was this. Suddenly, Kolthis was reminded of the images in his dreams. Could this be the shadowy terror? Stars, he hoped not. But, why else was he here if not to confront them? This news was troubling, and he could see clearly that the Mayor was even more affected. Kolthis empathized with the man, seeing him react to the loss of his Commander. It wasn’t easy to deal with the loss of close friends, particularly in such a case. Kolthis knew all too well those feelings - he had dealt with them for a long time himself. Perhaps it was a blessing that Mayor Heggry couldn’t see the body of his Commander. The remains of Olsgord he had seen that day still haunted Kolthis. Coin or no, this was a dire situation that Kolthis would see to.

With as much sympathy as he can muster, he adds somberly to the voices of the group. ”I am deeply sorry for your losses. I pray that Desna guides the survivors to safety, and the lost to a peaceful path beyond the court of Death.” He pauses for a moment, saying a quick prayer, as appropriate one as he could remember. ”My friends ask some good questions. If you don’t mind, I’d like to add to them. Is there anything particularly noteworthy of the places this...this thing has attacked? Any commonalities, or previous reportings of strange activity? As Yelena says, a pattern can be most helpful.”

Kolthis does in fact wear his holy symbol in the form of a medallion around his neck. You can also see it carved into the face of his lucerne hammer! Someone's got to bring down the hammer of holy righteousness, and Kolthis is as good a choice as he's ever found. He does also have a starknife strapped to his belt.


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 10:00 p.m.

"You say this creature is attacking from tunnels beneath the city. Do you perhaps have a map of those tunnels available? It would undoubtedly help us. Also, if you have a map of the city proper and can point out the places this creature has surfaced, perhaps we will be able to discern a pattern."

The Mayor nods his head several times and looks to the guards, his expression suddenly crumpling into rage. "By the moon and f+#$ing stars, Jarvis! Where's the map of the damn city? Do I need to tell you to do everything? Go! Go!"

Jarvis, one of the two crow guards, bows stiffly and steps out of the room.

Heggry tugs at his robes fitfully and then turns back to Yelena. "There is no map of the tunnels, my dear. The first attack happened this morning, and though there have been subsequent attacks, nobody has ventured below ground since... since Commander Garus and his men disappeared. It's hard to imagine there's a pattern as there have been only two additional incidents, both on the western slope and involving houses crumbling down into sinkholes."

Heggry smooths his beard several times, dry swallows, and continues. "In both cases, the resulting pit had no apparent entrance to chambers below, but the ruins were slathered and drenched in a foul-smelling slime the likes of which no one has ever seen before. The public isn’t aware of the exact nature of these attacks yet, and that’s by design, I can assure you. At present, the citizens seem to think that hiding in their homes offers protection — if word were to get out that homes seem to offer no safety, Carrion Hill would be seized in a panic that would be very difficult to control. But for all that, we can still examine the sites on a map."

"Mayor Heggry, were there any witnesses? Any descriptions?"

Heggry scowls, shifts in his seat, and then coughs into his fist, the sound unhealthy and phlegmatic. "Whatever emerged to destroy the buildings was certainly the size of a giant, judging by the extent of the damage it inflicted, but those who saw these events have difficulty describing it — it was as if the buildings were pulled apart from within. Some few who saw more say that the creature itself was strangely hard to see, as if it kept to the shadows or were invisible." He grimaces. "I wish I had more to share. The very mystery of this... this demon, is worse than knowing whatever horror it might be."

At this point the guard Jarvis returns with a rolled up map. At a nod from the mayor he unfurls it on a side table. The guard stabs his finger at three different locations. "Here, here, and here. The first attack at Slipper Market, the other two on the west slope."

To your eye, the best you can make out from only three points of data is that it forms an irregular triangle.

"I am deeply sorry for your losses. I pray that Desna guides the survivors to safety, and the lost to a peaceful path beyond the court of Death.”

The Mayor bows his head stiffly, his shoulders tense, and then glances a look at Kolthis. "My thanks for your blessing. It is much appreciated."

Sense Motive DC 16:
It's clear that on some level the mayor resents the blessing - perhaps because he's not yet willing to write off the missing as dead?

"Is there anything particularly noteworthy of the places this...this thing has attacked? Any commonalities, or previous reportings of strange activity?”

Heggry can no longer sit still; he rises and begins to pace, hands linked behind his back.

"Carrion Hill is old, Master Dwarf. Old even as your kind reckons years. It is built on the ruins of cities that were built on the bones of towns that were built on the dust of settlements of which we know nothing about. Enter any home, go into its basement, and dig: you'll unearth sub-basements, you'll dig up skeletons, you'll crack open shafts that lead down into the gods know where. We stand atop a tottering pile of bones cemented together by blood and sin, Master Dwarf. Carrion Hill is aptly named, for by the gods, it is one great mass of death and perdition that in any other world or time would have been struck from the face of the earth by more merciful gods..."

His rant, which had turned into a torrent of passionate words, suddenly ends, and he passes a trembling hand over his face.

"Forgive me, my friends. I... I am grown old, and tired, and this business... it has unnerved me. I feel... I feel like I am reaching out in the dark, attempting to grasp at straws that elude me... which is why I am so glad you have come." He straightens up, assuming some of his poise and dignity from before. "Please. Make all haste to the Slipper Market where the first attack took place, and were Garus went down with his men. Please."


Male Human Wizard | HP 22/22 |AC 17 (Tch 13, FF 14) | Fort 0, Ref +3, Will +7|Init +1 Perception +1

At first Walter is... well, certainly interested, and a bit concerned. But not alarmed. Not at first. But the Mayor's description...

Giant.

Subterranean.

Invisible or shadowy.

Leaves some sort of foul-smelling slime behind.

Knowledge (could be dungeoneering, arcana, or planes) 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (19) + 15 = 34 Woo! Walter may not know exactly what this thing is, but he probably knows enough to be seriously worried and disturbed.


Female Half-elf {conditions: none} Inquisitor 5 | HP 28/28 | AC 22 (Tch 16 FF 16) | F +5 R +8 W +9 (+2 vs. ench.) | Init +10 | Perc +12, low-light vision, scent (vs. aberr.)

As questions pile up, Mihaela listens intently to the Mayor's answer, mentally perusing through her accumulated wisdom in such matters to try and piece together the meager tidbits of information he is able — or willing — to divulge.

Does any of those clues (the slime, the apparent invisibility despite its size, it emerging from underground, etc.) ring a bell about the kind of threat we're facing?

Knowledge (dungeoneering): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (15) + 9 = 24 21 if arcana, 20 if planes, religion or local; +2 if Monster Lore applies

Sense Motive: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (4) + 12 = 16

The two of them were close, of that there is no doubt. In a painful flash, the nightmarish visions of her dream make their way back to the surface of her conscious mind. The horror... He might still be alive, yes. We shouldn't count it as a blessing yet she bitterly muses. She refrains from saying anything out loud, though. Everyone need a glimmer of hope, however dim, to cling to.

EDIT: well, nevermind the rolls. It looks like the true experts are about take things in their own hands :)


Male Human Wizard | HP 22/22 |AC 17 (Tch 13, FF 14) | Fort 0, Ref +3, Will +7|Init +1 Perception +1

I'm going to give Walter a Will save just as a measure of how unnerved he is by this. 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (8) + 7 = 15 Well, he's not freaking out -- yet -- but he's definitely rattled.

Walter turns to the rest of the group. "Ah... colleagues. I believe we should move quickly. This... entity... could strike again at any moment. Innocent lives are in danger." He turns back to the Mayor. "Honorable sir. I will speak frankly. There are horrors beyond life's edge that we do not suspect, and once in a while man's evil prying calls them just within our range. I fear this may be such a case.

"We will go. We will report back. And what we can do, we will."

It doesn't require a very high Sense Motive check to see that Walter's whole demeanor has changed. Normally he toggles between "head in the clouds distraction" and "oblivious pomposity". But now he's engaged and intense. His knuckles are white where he grips his staff, and there's a faint beading of sweat on his forehead.


Female Human Psychic (Esoteric Starseeker) 5 | HP 27/27 | AC: 18 (T: 11, FF: 17) | Saves: F:+7, R:+5, W:+9 (+2 vs fear effects) | Init: +6 | Perc. +10
More Info:
BAB: +2, CMB: 1, CMD: +12 | Spells: (1st) 5/8, (2nd) 5/6, (Bonus) 2/2 | Active Conditions: None

Yelena looks at Walter quizzically. He's changed. The Walter she knew would have been pompously confident that no mere creature could pose a threat to him. He wouldn't have thought anything of innocent lives being lost, being too engrossed in the mystery to care. It's...surprising.

The mayor's minor breakdown is less so. An invisible creature murdering his people, with seemingly nothing he could do to stop it? That he hadn't completely panicked spoke well of his character.

"We'll do what we can, Mayor Heggry. To find this creature, and stop it. If we're fortunate, perhaps we'll be able to find Commander Garus and his men." She very much doubts they'll find them alive, but stranger things had happened. And if a little hope helped the man get through a terrible day...what was the harm?

If nothing else, perhaps they could retrieve the body for a proper burial.

She nods at Walter. "You're right. The faster we move the better. Let's go to the Slipper Market to see what we can find."

Faster, faster, before it's too late...


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Female Human Lepidstadt Inspector 5 | Initiative +3 | Perception +10 | Fort +3 Ref +8 Will +7 | HP 45 AC 18

Knowledge - Dungeoneering: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (5) + 9 = 14
Knowledge - The Planes: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (3) + 9 = 12
Knowledge - Sense Motive: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (17) + 11 = 28

Maritine listens carefully at the description of whats happening and what may be attacking the town - there was both lots and little to go on - as well as what the bigger picture could be. All of the assembled had been drawn here in some way, in some great cosmic coincidence.

Nothing truly came to mind immediately, which bothered her almost as much as the mayor resented the blessings of Pharasma - whatever Garus was to the mayor, it was clear Heggry wouldn't accept the man's death without proof - and until the matter of a giant invisible beast was settled.

Old strange Gods were worshiped here. Some still are. There has to be a connection. Else Thrushmoor...

No. Not now.

Standing up and listening to Walter not exactly assuage the mayor's fears, she nods once in agreement and says "My associates are right - we will do all we can to stop this, but we must act now. We will start in the slipper market should you need us." Moving not to the door but to Mihaela and hands her a silver piece. "Seems you were right; we did meet again under strange circumstance." A very brief smile crosses her face from the sort of in-joke.

Rolls could have been better. Ah well.


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 10:00 p.m.

Walter, Mihaela:
The three clues are insufficient to nail down a suspect: gigantic in size, hard to see, and leaving a slimy residue could apply to scores of different beasts, demons, or even magically enhanced monsters.

A gelatinous cube of gargantuan size could fit; there are any number of slimes and oozes from the depths of the world that could have attained huge size and burrowed upwards; perhaps some kind of demodand, omox, or geruzou variation, or an ooze golem, perhaps; maybe a gravesludge of vast proportions...?

Not to mention any number of monsters who've been subjected to an Enlarge Person and Invisibility spell. A crazed bulette, perhaps, that escaped a wizard's lab? It's simply too hard to nail down a category, much less even a single candidate.


Male Human Wizard | HP 22/22 |AC 17 (Tch 13, FF 14) | Fort 0, Ref +3, Will +7|Init +1 Perception +1

DMLC:
Sure, totally reasonable. I see that 34 as more of a "my Spidey-Sense is tingling!" kind of thing. Because one hates to waste a natural 19... I was thinking that Walter would be thinking more in terms of general Underdark awfulness. But that overlaps with Mythos (Neh-Thalgu) and about six other things), so it alone would be enough to make him twitchy.

Anyway, I guess we'll just roll again when we have more to work with.


Female Half-elf {conditions: none} Inquisitor 5 | HP 28/28 | AC 22 (Tch 16 FF 16) | F +5 R +8 W +9 (+2 vs. ench.) | Init +10 | Perc +12, low-light vision, scent (vs. aberr.)

The young half-elf lowers her gaze and smiles softly as and old bet is paid — a bet whose wage was far greater than its monetary value.

Her words come slowly, as if speaking was an old habit she only recently took up again. "It's good to see you again, Miss LeGrasse. I was beginning to think I had to tackle this thing all on my own."

Sleight of Hand: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (7) + 14 = 21

As she speaks she plays with the coin, letting it bounce and roll from knuckle to knuckle, only to finally find its way back to one of the Investigator's coat's many pockets. "But I, too, owe you. In the end, the halfling did turn out to be one of the Anaphexia, as you correctly surmised."

But as quickly as it appeared, her smile suddenly vanishes, replaced by her usual grimness. "And you're also right about us needing to move fast. This... threat... can be a veritable multitude of things, but I have my... reasons..." her speech stops briefly yet abruptly, as once again her mind conjures the images of the winged creatures flying atop the circle of stone, whispering, calling, summoning her to face her doom. "my reasons to believe it to be far from mundane. Perhaps the splintered wood and upturned stones of the Slipper Market shall tell us what the Mayor cannot" she says as she stands up from the bench and starts moving toward the door.

"I'm afraid introductions will have to wait. Or better yet — you can introduce me to your friends as we walk" she states pragmatically.

@DMLC: do we know the the Market is located?


Female Half-elf {conditions: none} Inquisitor 5 | HP 28/28 | AC 22 (Tch 16 FF 16) | F +5 R +8 W +9 (+2 vs. ench.) | Init +10 | Perc +12, low-light vision, scent (vs. aberr.)

Nevermind, please disregard the last question, I forgot the Mayor showed the Market's location on the map.


Female Human Lepidstadt Inspector 5 | Initiative +3 | Perception +10 | Fort +3 Ref +8 Will +7 | HP 45 AC 18

"Don't we all." Maritine agrees as Mihaela trails off about reasons - they all had been drawn to Carrion Hill in some capacity, all seemed to know each-other in some capacity. She had long simply ignored the coincidence around it all, greater powers were obviously at work.

She simply hoped they were in favor with whatever that greater power was.

As they all made their way back up the cold corridor of the manor Maritine adjusts her coat and nods her head towards Yelena and Kolthis. "I had left Lepidstadt in far too much of a hurry - I forgot to get a horse - and wandering the roads I crossed paths with these two; Yelena and Kolthis. Yelena had a wagon and was travelling in this direction, it made sense to travel with them. They have had visions of the Hill and the strange shadow that lingers here. I do not know the others, but it seems they all know eachother - I would comment on coincidence were we anywhere else. Here it almost makes sense,"


Female Half-elf {conditions: none} Inquisitor 5 | HP 28/28 | AC 22 (Tch 16 FF 16) | F +5 R +8 W +9 (+2 vs. ench.) | Init +10 | Perc +12, low-light vision, scent (vs. aberr.)

"Perhaps too much sense. It is said there's a method in madness, but there can also be a madness in stumbling upon method where there should be none" Mihaela whispers, almost as if to herself, in response to Maritine's observation.

Without even a hint of slowing down her stride, her stare fixes upon Yelena and Kolthis as their names are mentioned. "Mihaela Stellamaris, servant and agent of the Black Butterfly, whom some of you may know as Lady Desna's Shadow. Please, consider my services yours" she states matter-of-factly.


M CG Dwarf Fighter 2/Cleric of Desna 3 | HP: 50/50 | AC: 21, T: 12, FF: 17) | CMB: +9, CMD: 21 | F: +10, R: +5, W: +7 (+1 against Fear Effects) | Init: +7 | Darkvision 60ft, Perc: +10, SM: +6 | Speed 30ft | Spells: 1st 3/4 2nd 3/3 | Active conditions: None

Sense Motive: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (17) + 6 = 23

Kolthis noticed the Mayor's stiffness to his blessing. He understood, of course. Anyone would want to go into a situation like this without losing hope. He simply figured sometimes it was worth going in without expectations - better for the feelings. This wasn't his case to dictate though, so he left well enough alone. "We will, of course, make haste and do what we are able. I pray that we are not too late." he says with bow of the head.

Hearing Walter talk about the things that existed beyond life sent shivers down Kolthis' spine. So much so that he failed to immediately notice the change in Walter. But his talks reminded Kolthis expressly of his dreams. Dark, alien, dangerous. Desna had known. And she had sent him, sent all of them, to stop it. He would not let his goddess down.

On the way to the Slipper Market, Kolthis took the lead point once again. Not that he didn't trust the others to take care of themselves. It was just that he trusted himself more. He wouldn't lose another group of friends, not if he could do anything about it, no matter how new they were.

Speaking of new was the addition they had gained to the party as they left the hall. A half-elf by the looks of her, who seemed to know Maritine. Kolthis initially eyed her warily, suspicious of anything new, but her connection, and more importantly the starknife at her side, tempered his worries. Still, he was taken slightly surprised by her faith. "Black Butterfly, eh? Haven't met too many of yours, though I know my fair share, considering. Consider your services welcome, then." he gives her an approving nod of the head.

"To finish up introductions, that lass there with the big hunk of wood is Lys, and the old one's Walter. Careful around him, unless you like being cooked to a nice crisp." he says playfully, winking at Mihaela.

"But no, there is no really such thing as coincidence. It's all part of our Lady Luck's way, for some reason or another, I'm sure of it. Only time will tell why. And for that, I for one am glad I am not alone."


Female Human Gunslinger (Bolt Ace) 5 | HP:43/43 | Grit 4/4 |
Stats:
|AC 21, Touch 17, FlatFoot 14, CMD 21 | Fort +7, Ref +12, Will +5| Init +8 | Perception +13

The words of Carrion Hill's ancient history send shivers down Lys' spine worse than any cold wind. Oh, Hells. What if..., she feels her mind starting to race down a path of ancient wraiths, ghosts and armies best left forgotten. "Dig not too deep.", she mutters to herself in Dwarven, hushed between breaths.

"Wow. I'm more than just my big hunk of wood, Kolthis.", Lys snickers at Kolthis, before turning to wave cheerfully back at Mihaela. "Inspectors, divine agents, diviners and general walking libraries. I agree with my bearded friend, count me happy I don't have to figure it all out on my own. Shooting and one-liners, that's more my forte.", she comments as the party descends once again into the city, relief in her voice. Thank, well, Desna, I guess. They seem to know their s$&$. I've barely read half the book. Her hand squeezing the dagger in her pocket, she continues down the road.


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 10:00 p.m.

"My thanks once more. Please. Be careful. These are perilous, dark times. I... I look forward to hearing your report shortly. And Desna and every other benevolent god see to it that you bring good news." The mayor nods his head, as if in approval of his own words. "Jarvis here shall escort you to the Slipper Market. Good luck."

The rain is coming down hard when you step aside, flooding gutters and coursing between the cobblestones. Jarvis pulls his dark hood over his head, hunches his shoulders, and leads your group down the side of Carrion Hill without another word.

The market, it turns out, is little more than a broad intersection, a morass of abandoned stalls and goods spilled onto the street in what clearly had been a panicked flight of vendors and customers. Two dozen Crows are present, however, milling about uncertainly with their hands on the hilts of their weapons, glowering at a side street, where a soaking, dripping rope cordons off the crime scene.

"There," says Jarvis, pointing at a partially ruined building down the alley. "Hard to miss, really."

While hard to miss, from where you stand it's also hard to make out details. The driving rain doesn't help. But it's clear that a single-story wooden house has collapsed outward into this ten-foot-wide alley, adding to the clutter and refuse.

Perception DC 16:
Even from where you stand on this side of the rope, you can make out swaths of blood and gore across the alley walls, which have been protected from the rain by the broad eaves of the roofs.

Perception DC 18:
There's a huge spiral-shaped smear of blood on the wall opposite the ruin, which rises high on the side of the building, as if something enormous had used a broken and bleeding body as a brush to paint its mark. You'll have to get closer to make it out in detail, however.

Wide eyed faces watch your every move from upper floor windows, but nobody speaks. The only sound is the constant onrush of the driving rain.

The guards have set up benches under a barely serviceable open tent just outside the roped off area. Jarvis leads you here, where you see the remains of three bodies.

The first two have the appearance of a pair of homeless thugs. One has been flattened by a single crushing attack to the chest, while the second has had his back broken. The third body is one of the Crows, a man whose body has been twisted twice around at the waist like a knotted rag and whose arms are broken in so many places that they flop like tentacles. His chain shirt and sword are twisted like the rest of his body.

All three stare up at the underside of the tent, eyes bulging, expressions of terror and absolute horror contorting their features and frozen in death.

Jarvis gazes at them impassively for a moment, then scowls and nods to the sergeant who steps up. "These here are the heroes the Mayor's sent to help. Sergeant Matthis will assist you from hereon out."

And so saying, Jarvis leaves.

"Heroes, hey?" Matthis is a brute of a man, a towering wall of granite, and he stares down at your group with barely concealed disdain. "Well. Far be it from me to judge. We've sent our very best into the house and you can see the result. If a bunch of academics and... never mind." He spits to one side. "We've got a witness to the attack and precious else, though I'll answer your questions as best I can."


Male Human Wizard | HP 22/22 |AC 17 (Tch 13, FF 14) | Fort 0, Ref +3, Will +7|Init +1 Perception +1

Perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (19) + 1 = 20 Whoa! Walter is really paying attention today!

But first --

As they walk briskly through the streets, Walter reaches under his cloak into his extremely complicated leather vest, removes a small metal wand with a leather handle, and taps himself on knee, head and shoulder. Expending one charge of Mage Armor.

He then removes a different want, made of ivory with a small band of gold around the handle, but does not use it yet. Protection from Evil, but the duration is only one minute, so standing by before using.

Then he suddenly pauses, hit by a new and unfamiliar idea.


Male Human Wizard | HP 22/22 |AC 17 (Tch 13, FF 14) | Fort 0, Ref +3, Will +7|Init +1 Perception +1

Walter surveys his companions for a moment, then turns to the one who isn't wearing any armor.

"Miss... ah... Elena. I have here a wand, which casts the spell commonly known as 'Mage Armor'. It generates a protective field around you, rather like real armor -- but invisible and weightless! It will not impede your motion, or affect casting, but it will protect you against many sorts of physical harm for a single hour. True wizards use it regularly.

"Would you like me to cast it on you?"


Male Human Wizard | HP 22/22 |AC 17 (Tch 13, FF 14) | Fort 0, Ref +3, Will +7|Init +1 Perception +1

However that plays out --

Walter points out swaths of blood and gore across the alley walls, which have been protected from the rain by the broad eaves of the roofs. Then he gestures to a huge spiral-shaped smear of blood on the wall opposite the ruin, which rises high on the side of the building, as if something enormous had used a broken and bleeding body as a brush to paint its mark.

"Someone will have to get closer to make it out in detail. I admit that climbing is not my forte, nor the investigation of... ah... clues. I could cast a spell of levitation, or even flight, but I can only use that power once per day, and I would rather preserve it against need."


Female Human Lepidstadt Inspector 5 | Initiative +3 | Perception +10 | Fort +3 Ref +8 Will +7 | HP 45 AC 18

Perception: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (3) + 10 = 13

Oof, that actually hurts a little. I don't suppose we can take 10?

Wishing she had remembered to borrow a parasol but thankful her hat was both sturdier and more waterproof than it looked, Maritine looks Matthis up and down and returns an equally unimpressed look. She's seen his type before; more of a wall than a guardsman.

Still, they had a job to do, and while she trusted the others to scry over the scene, she wanted to talk to the witness while their memory was fresh.

"I will speak to your witness." Maritine tells the towering man with all the authority she carries. "And of course, anything you can tell will be of great use."


Male Human Wizard | HP 22/22 |AC 17 (Tch 13, FF 14) | Fort 0, Ref +3, Will +7|Init +1 Perception +1

Walter's not much good at this stage of things. He has low Perception -- I think he may literally be nearsighted -- and his face skills consist of a single rank in Sense Motive. (To be fair, it's only recently, at the age of 34, that he realized face skills were actually something a person might want to have, and not just a stupid distraction from important stuff.) So, he's going to hover in the background with a prepared action: cast Protection from Evil from the wand if any sort of threat appears.

Meanwhile, might I suggest: Face characters with Diplomacy / Sense Motive to talk to the witness, Perception monkeys sniff around the ruins, and if anyone has Climb (did anyone put a rank in Climb?), maybe scramble up and check out that one third-story bloodstain.


Female Human Psychic (Esoteric Starseeker) 5 | HP 27/27 | AC: 18 (T: 11, FF: 17) | Saves: F:+7, R:+5, W:+9 (+2 vs fear effects) | Init: +6 | Perc. +10
More Info:
BAB: +2, CMB: 1, CMD: +12 | Spells: (1st) 5/8, (2nd) 5/6, (Bonus) 2/2 | Active Conditions: None

Yelena isn’t particularly bothered by the rain. One can’t be, when you spend most of your time on the open road. She pulls her cloak a little tighter around her shoulders, but otherwise continues without complaint.

She is bothered by the state of the crime scene. She’d been expecting carnage of course, but seeing it is something else. She briefly pauses by the bodies. ”Starsong, please guide them in this final journey...”

While she can talk to people if necessary, no doubt Maritine will be better at it. Crowding the witness seems both counterproductive and unnecessary. ”I’ll leave the witness to you while I check out the house.”

Yelena carefully picks her way through the rubble-filled alley. She noted the symbol but climbing to reach it would likely not go well. (She isn’t a good climber at the best of times, and the driving rain ensues that this is not the best of times.) Instead she heads through the alley and into the ruins of the house, seeing what clues she can find. ”What secrets are you hiding?”

Perception to look for clues: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (14) + 10 = 24


Female Half-elf {conditions: none} Inquisitor 5 | HP 28/28 | AC 22 (Tch 16 FF 16) | F +5 R +8 W +9 (+2 vs. ench.) | Init +10 | Perc +12, low-light vision, scent (vs. aberr.)

Earlier, as they were descending the hill

"Our numbers are few" she says in response to Kolthis's remark. And getting fewer by the day. "It doesn't help we're usually a quite discreet bunch."

Stepping outside, she lowers her hood against the pouring rain. "I'm sure you are" she softly tells Lys, a slight hesitation in her voice as if the notion of being something more than a weapon wasn't as obvious to her as it would be to anybody's else.

At the Market

As the winding street widens somewhat, leaving enough space for a bunch of stalls to act as Carrion Hill's impromptu market, Mihaela mutters a few words in Celestial, asking for her patron's blessing as she scans the area.

Casting guidance upon arriving at the scene — and liberally henceforth, it being an at will ability and all

Perception (guidance): 1d20 + 12 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 12 + 1 = 18

Mihaela notices the trail of blood and gore in the alley, but before her eyes could follow it her attention is captivated by the mangled corpses laid supine under the tent. She stands motionless, wondering at the prodigious strength possessed by whoever — or whatever — was responsible of such carnage; her reverie-like trance is brusquely interrupted by the coarse voice of a mountain of a man wearing a Crows' officer uniform.

Academics and...? she looks quizzically, almost sardonically, at the brute towering more than a full head over her, an arched eyebrow as if daring him to finish the sentence.

As Yelena makes her way to the alley, she instead opts to stay close to Maritine, deciding her talents would be better suited to assisting the Investigator in her questioning. "Shall we do it like in Ravengro? I'll let you be the bad guard this time."

Which languages does Maritine speak?

Also, if we plan on splitting the party from time to time (like we're doing now, with Yelena entering the house), does anyone has message prepared? It's but a humble cantrip, but it works wonders as far as avoiding getting ambushed is concerned. In another PbP I was in, we cleared the first book of Reign of Winter virtually scot-free by having a stealthy PC scout ahead and relay her findings to the rest of the party via the spell (as a side note, Mihaela's Clandestine Inquisition and high Dex would make her a natural scout).


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Male Human Wizard | HP 22/22 |AC 17 (Tch 13, FF 14) | Fort 0, Ref +3, Will +7|Init +1 Perception +1

Since he doesn't have much else going on, Walter is happy to be the team switchboard.

--> Walter casts Message. Everyone, please feel free to speak through me.

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