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

Walter is dead last in initiative, so I think I'll see what everyone else gets up to before acting. Oh, and Knowledge (Planes) 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (8) + 19 = 27

"Ah, a barbazu. Very common in Cheliax, they're practically the national mascot. 'They do not fight out of loyalty or comraderie, but rather out of their violent need.'" Walter sounds suddenly sane and almost happy. "Mind the blade... oh, dear. Well, the wounds are magical, you see. The blade carries an infectious agent," he adds helpfully, "or possibly is an infectious agent itself, there's some debate on that point."

Interpreting Walter's low Initiative roll as him getting a little distracted. Ooh, look, I know that one, let me tell you about it!


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

Yelena's spell takes hold, even as she's dealt two grievous wounds, and the barbazu writhes back in revulsion, its demonic features twisting into a semblance of hatred and disgust. One moment it's there, and then - nothing.

It's gone.

South of the pillar, the shadowed individual takes aim at Maritine once more, only to see the devil disappear. For a moment he appears stunned, and then he dashes into the tunnel at a full sprint.

A moment later you hear a terrible, ululating shriek emerge from the same tunnel, a hair raising cry of horror and despair.

Knowledge Nature DC13:
Tis the cry of a Shrieker fungus.

Full move away. We're still in rounds, so please declare what you do (move, action, etc) and move yourself on the map. Everyone is up.


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Female Human Psychic (Esoteric Starseeker) 5 | HP 25/27 | 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) 8/8, (2nd) 6/6, (Bonus) 1/1 | Phrenic Pool 4/4 | Active Conditions: None

"The shriekers," Yelena mutters. She's still a bit distracted by the task of trying to keep her blood inside her body where it belongs, but the cry is unmistakable. "He must be trying to take the back exit."

She breathes in. Starsong, please, I need your help.

Out. We can't let him escape.

In. But I can't follow him like this.

Out. Please...

She feels it. The slight shift in her magic that indicates her goddess has heard her prayers. A genuine smile crosses her face. "Thank you."

A soft glow emanates from her hands and spreads over her injuries. As it passes over her, the wounds begin to close. Not entirely, the gash in her side still aches and she's going to be sore tomorrow.

But it's enough.

"The devil won't be coming back. Let's go."

Rolls/OOC:
K. Nature: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (8) + 11 = 19
Caster Level Check: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23
Healing: 2d8 + 5 ⇒ (1, 8) + 5 = 14

Standard action: Cast Cure Moderate Wounds
Move action: Move 30 feet towards the tunnel.

The Faith Psychic Discipline allows me to convert up to one spell from each spell level I can cast into a Cure or Inflict spell. In this case I converted a second level spell into Cure Moderate Wounds.


Female Half-elf {conditions: none} Inquisitor 5 | HP 28/28 | AC 24 (Tch 18 FF 18) | F +5 R +8 W +9 (+2 vs. ench.) | Init +10 | Perc +12, low-light vision, scent (vs. aberr.)

Everything happens fast. Too fast.

And it's over before she can even react.

"Yelena..." she whispers — but it looks lik the young Varisian has little need for help. The hellish monstrosity is sent fleeing in pain just as the petite woman's wounds close.

"Good job" she simply says, nodding in approval and admiration. We're back being the hunters now.

OOC:
Casting Divine Favor, +2 to atk. and dmg.


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

The shrieker: coming from the direction of the well / back exit, or from somewhere else?


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

The sound of the shrieker is coming from the tunnel the shadowed man escaped down, which you'd posit is the direction of the well.


Female Human Lepidstadt Inspector 5 | Initiative +4 | Perception +10 | Fort +3 Ref +9 Will +7 | HP 45 AC 19

Maritine groans and attempts to replay what the nine hells just happened back in her mind. There was their break in, something strange may have followed them, they found the trapdoor and made their way down, the alchemy lab that had distracted her enough to not quite catch the distinctive familiar metal clink of -

Of-

Oh.

She'd be angry if it didn't hurt to scowl. Or breath. Or wriggle to her knees as something between a deep pained groan and an angry growl is pushed out of her lungs, flicking her left hand and wrist and only kind of fumbling with her wand and unintentionally jabbing it right where that miserable bastard had shot her, the soothing magic taking the edge off the pain but not her anger. She was now determined to return the favor.

Actions/OOC:

Wand of CLW: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 1 = 8
Depending on the result I might do it again, GM willing.
Did I learn anything about the alchemy table before I got sniped?


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

DM Rolls:

Kolthis: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (8) + 10 = 18
Walter: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (20) + 1 = 21
Mihaela: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (8) + 12 = 20
Maritine: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (15) + 10 = 25
Lys: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (9) + 13 = 22
Yelena: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (12) + 10 = 22
DM Roll: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (14) + 16 = 30

Summoning: 1d100 ⇒ 33

The terrible shrieking ends shortly after it begins, its horrific ululations echoing off the walls and finally fading away.

Your target, it's clear, has moved beyond the shrieker's range.

Kolthis leads the way, Lucy in hand, and together you enter what once must have been a sluice for alchemical failures. The slope is steep, the way is slick, and the rocks are burned into iridescent hues and reeks still of chemical burns.

With the steeply sloping tunnel floor being so slick underfoot, it's a treacherous way down.

Climb Checks

Kolthis: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (10) + 5 = 15
Mihaela: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (1) - 1 = 0
Maritine: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (11) - 1 = 10
Walter: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (11) + 0 = 11
Yelena: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (20) - 1 = 19
Lys: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3

Kolthis descends steadily, using Lucy to good effect, but shortly after stepping into the sluice Mihaela's feet go out from under her and she slides right into the back of Kolthis' legs.

Kolthis Reflex: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7

Both worshippers of Desna go down in a tangle, and slide ever faster down the sluice until they fly out over the ledge to crash down into the cavern of fungus beyond, setting of the shrieker once more, who's screams near deafen them from such proximity.

Falling Damage Kolthis/Mihaela: 2d6 ⇒ (4, 1) = 5

Lys, entering the tunnel last, keeps twisting around to check the room behind them, and in so doing slips as well. Down she goes, slamming into the back of Yelena's legs.

Yelena Reflex: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8

I'm dying here, folks.

Both of them roll right into Walter, an avalanche of flailing limbs and sludge.

Walter Reflex: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (16) + 3 = 19

Fortunately, Walter is able to brace himself by stiff arming the walls and bracing his legs, and prevents the accident from snowballing further.

This triggers readied actions since we were still in rounds.I'm ruling it's been three or four rounds since your foe fled combat.

Down in the cavern, Kolthis and Mihaela are untangling themselves when the same shadowy figure arises from the shadows of a ledge against the southern wall Breaks hiding, and squeezes off a bolt at Mihaela.

Surprise Attack: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (4) + 14 = 18
Damage: 1d8 + 1 + 3d6 ⇒ (8) + 1 + (1, 5, 1) = 16

The quarrel bounces but inches above Mihaela's head, spinning off into the cavern, but in its place appears a new devil, this similar in all ways to the first but covered in black fur. It spins its glaive overhead so that it makes a wicked moaning sound, and leers down at the fallen Desna worshipper.

Those in the sluice can attempt a DC 15 Climb check to get down, though they'll have to move around the combatants below them. Jumping down requires clearing the combatants as well. Kolthis, Yelena, Lys, and Mihaela are supine.


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

Niiiiice.

Whoops almost forgot: the presence of an outsider triggers Walter's Spooked drawback. Will save 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21 Okay he's fine. Just another devil, whatever. Walter is Chelaxian. "Look, there's a devil." "This tea is cold." "It's Tuesday."


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

Ignoring the two women who are tangled around his legs, Walter reaches into his complex vest and pulls out a scroll. He flicks it open with an authoritative crack, speaks three words in tone of firm authority, points at the shadowy figure, and snaps his finger.

Scroll of Magic Missile (5th level): 3d4 + 3 ⇒ (4, 3, 4) + 3 = 14

Not sure where I stand in initiative order, but that's 14 points of damage, no save.


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


In its place appears a new devil, this similar in all ways to the first but covered in black fur.

What is that even.

Knowledge [planes?] 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (13) + 19 = 32


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

It's the same kind of devil as the previous one, a barbazu, but a different member of the species.


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

"Oh, by Desna's t-", Lys shouts out as she and Yelena get a faceful of Walter. Not now, you oaf!, she scolds herself as she rushes to stand up. Pushing past the group, she glances over at the new foe, just as the shrieker's shrieking starts ringing in her head. While her mouth seems to be moving, the cacophonous noise in the cavern is fortunately blocking the tirade of Dwarven words.

Move to stand up, Standard to move to where I am.


M CG Dwarf Fighter 2/Cleric of Desna 3 | HP: 45/50 | 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 4/4 2nd 3/3 | Active conditions: None

Before the Fall:

Kolthis growled angrily at the spot where the devil had been standing only a second ago. Damn cowards. At least he knew where they were going, thanks to the incessant screaming. Good thing they had taken some precaution with the exit there. Even if that couldn't stop the teleporting devils, it would still be a problem for Hyve.

"Glad to see you can take care of yourself. Desna smiles on you." he says to Yelena on the way forward.

Stopping at Maritine, he gives her a look over to assess the nature of her bolt wound. Thankfully, she had been quick in tending to it herself. "Keep those eyes open - who knows what else is waiting for us." He places a hand on her shoulder in solidarity. "Fortuna domine, dona nobis gratiam tui." He felt Desna's touch of magic flow through him, all encompassing and comforting that it was. Kolthis concentrated the flow through him, and into Maritine, finally coalescing into a thin veil of energy around her body. "Come. Let's end this."

Leading point again, Kolthis moved forward, continuing to pray as they tracked their prey.

"Starsong da ponere istum omne malum benedicere ut ostenderet fortitudinem meam, et itinere hostis falleret ad ultima hostibus in atrio."

Getting closer to the end of the cavernous hallway, Kolthis kept an eye out for any suddenly appearing devils or bolts. So much attention, in fact, that he didn't react at all to Mihaela crashing into him, sending them both to the ground.

"Oh, for stars sake, what the f-" He cut off as the black devil appeared in front of them. "Screw you. Screw this, and Hyve, and everything about this accursed cavern." Fueled by rage, he stood up from his back, stepped back to give himself some room, and struck out at the glaive wielding bastard in front of him.

Rolls/OoC:

Round 1: Cast Shield of Faith on Maritine, giving her +2 to AC.

Round 2: Cast Bull's Strength on myself for +2 to attack and damage.

Round 3: Cast Divine Favor on myself, for +2 to attack and damage. Total +4 to attack and damage.

Round 4: Move action: Stand up from supine.
Free action: 5-ft step 1 square S
Standard: Attack with Lucy

Attack: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (13) + 14 = 27
Damage: 1d12 + 15 ⇒ (2) + 15 = 17

Going to also roll my two Attacks of Opportunity here.

Attack 1: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (2) + 14 = 16
Damage 1: 1d12 + 15 ⇒ (9) + 15 = 24

Attack 2: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (4) + 14 = 18
Damage 2: 1d12 + 15 ⇒ (11) + 15 = 26

4/6 rolls below 10...this entire place is cursed.


Female Human Psychic (Esoteric Starseeker) 5 | HP 25/27 | 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) 8/8, (2nd) 6/6, (Bonus) 1/1 | Phrenic Pool 4/4 | Active Conditions: None

Yelena is focusing entirely on trying to keep her feet while they climb down, which means she's caught completely off guard when Lys slams into her from behind. "What the-" The last word is cut off when she in turn slams into Walter and has the breath knocked out of her.

Staggering to her feet, she keeps moving forward down the tunnel. She needs to be closer if she's going to be able to do anything of use.

Rolls/OOC:
Move action to stand up, Standard action to move closer. If a climb check is required:

Climb: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (17) - 1 = 16


Female Half-elf {conditions: none} Inquisitor 5 | HP 28/28 | AC 24 (Tch 18 FF 18) | F +5 R +8 W +9 (+2 vs. ench.) | Init +10 | Perc +12, low-light vision, scent (vs. aberr.)

Before the Fall:

The hunt was on once more. Some words, a gesture: Mihaela's prayers suddenly seem to harmonize with Kolthis's, a high-pitched counterpoint to the dwarf's powerful basso as they move into the sluice.

Casting Weapon of Awe (+2 dmg.), Bless (+1 atk., +1 vs. fear to everyone), and Returning Weapon.

Disentangling herself from the knot of sleek elven limbs wrapped around a stocky dwarven figure, Mihaela struggles to her feet, desperate to make up for her embarrassing debacle and the perilous situation it has gotten her and Kolthis into. Trying to ignore the arrow flying over her head, or the infernal minion poised to strike at her, she presses her offense against their true target — Hyve.

Actions:

Move Action: stand up from prone (provokes AoO) — assuming she's still alive...

Swift Action: activate bane

No Action: take 5-foot step behind Kolthis

Standard Action: throw Starknife at Hyve
   Starknife (thrown, 1 range increment): 1d20 + 18 - 2 ⇒ (7) + 18 - 2 = 23
   Damage (weapon of awe, studied target, bane): 1d4 + 2d6 + 15 ⇒ (2) + (4, 2) + 15 = 23


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

...do we even know that Crossbow guy is Hyve?

That said, nice damage. 14 + 23 = 37. Unless he's got a weirdly high Con or fighter levels, that should drop him.


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

The black furred barbazu swings his glaive at Mihaela as she goes to stand.

Attack: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (4) + 11 = 15
Damage: 1d10 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12

Sparks fly as his hellish weapon strike the floor at her feet, and the devil snarls in frustration.

Walter's flying beams of iridescent magic slam into the shadowy figure's chest, eliciting a high pitched cry of pain and surprise. A moment later Mihaela's starknife flies right after, sinking deep into the man's thigh and nearly severing his leg.

With a curse, the man unstoppers a vial, drinks the contents, and then seeks to fade back into the shadows beyond the ledge.

DM Rolls:

Cure Moderate: 3d8 + 3 ⇒ (5, 4, 4) + 3 = 16
Kolthis: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (10) + 10 = 20
Walter: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7
Mihaela: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (5) + 12 = 17
Maritine: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (15) + 10 = 25
Lys: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (13) + 13 = 26
Yelena: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (2) + 10 = 12
Hide: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (8) + 14 = 22

The figure disappears to everyone but Lys and Maritine, whose vantage high up on their own ledge allow them to see the man sneak away in the darkest depths of the ledge.

The barbazu then moves obliquely up to Kolthis, swinging past the dwarf to hammer at Mihaela twice more.

Attack: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (10) + 11 = 21
Damage: 1d10 + 6 ⇒ (10) + 6 = 16
Attack: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24
Damage: 1d10 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8

The second swing connects solidly with her side, cracking ribs and puncturing her flesh!

Mihaela now has an infernal wound as before, and 2 bleed/round.

Everyone is up!


Female Human Lepidstadt Inspector 5 | Initiative +4 | Perception +10 | Fort +3 Ref +9 Will +7 | HP 45 AC 19

Maritine nods more in embarrassment than anything else from Kolthis's words, but she pats his arm in appreciation as she feels the strange tingling from the dwarf's spiritual magic surrounds her and lifts her spirit past her blunder earlier. With a nod and a huff to steel herself she's only vaguely aware of the devil attack but knows enough that she needs to be armed.

Dropping her torch and unsheathing her rapier she follows the rest into the sluice, wobbly but managing to keep her footing but unable to do anything except awkwardly shuffle-slide as nearly everyone else slips and tumbles down into the dark. She grits her teeth and follows as quick as she can.

Her boots squelchily crunch to a stop on the ledge above the fungus pit and she recoils a little from the sound of the shriekers and at the corner of her eye she catches shadowy movement and the embers of her anger earlier flare up. Hyve. That miserable bastard. She's a little surprised that between Walter and Mihaela he's still standing, but as she shuffles around on the ledge to get a better view she's startled by the sudden appearance of a devil, and she curses in a mild panic as Mihaela is harmed and suddenly cursing the fact there's little she can do.

Caught in the briefest second of indecision she reaches into her coat and pulls out a small tar-stained sack and hurls it in the direction of Hyve.

Throwing Tanglefoot Bag at Hyve: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18


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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

"Eyes up here, you hellspawned prick!", shouts Lys. Seeing Mihaela attacked by the devil, she bites her teeth, aiming straight into the devil's head. Two squeezes of the trigger, and two bolts stick out of the devil's eye sockets, as it takes a feeble step back into the murky waters. That was a devil... Right? Pure luck..., a thought crosses her mind as she glances towards the hidden crossbowman. "Mine's bigger, Hyve!", she roars defiantly.

Rolls/OoC:

Attack, Rapid Fire, Point Blank Shot, Deadly Aim, Sharp Shoot: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (19) + 9 = 28
Attack, Rapid Fire, Point Blank Shot, Deadly Aim, Confirm: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (10) + 9 = 19
Damage: 3d10 + 36 ⇒ (4, 7, 8) + 36 = 55
Attack, Rapid Fire, Point Blank Shot, Deadly Aim, Sharp Shoot: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (20) + 9 = 29
Confirm: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (13) + 9 = 22
Damage: 3d10 + 36 ⇒ (3, 6, 7) + 36 = 52
[ooc]Assuming it's dead by now, because otherwise GMLC is out to get us!


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[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

The first is a stupendous shot, aimed straight down, the quarrel drawn to the devil's burning left orb like a filament of iron to the world's most powerful magnet. It sinks deep, the sound fleshy and topped off by the crack that only Kolthis and Mihaela are close enough to hear as the bolt's tip meets the inner curve of the devil's skull.

The second is the shot of a lifetime. Even as the devil's head jerks back, its mouth opening to reveal fangs, its beard beginning to fan out in the air, the bolt lands a precise three inches north of where the first had gone, to take the devil in its right eye.

Crack crack.

The devil's dead before it hits the ground, its summoned form already devolving into swirls of crimson mist, so that a second later only two quarrels lie on the rough rock ground, oscillating from side to side, and then going still.


Male Human Wizard | HP 22/22 |AC 17 (Tch 13, FF 14) | Fort 0, Ref +3, Will +7|Init +1 Perception +1
DM Lament Configuration wrote:
With a curse, the man unstoppers a vial, drinks the contents, and then seeks to fade back into the shadows beyond the ledge.

Retrieve a stored item -- move action

Drink a potion -- standard action
Stealth / Hide in shadows -- standard action

For the record, I have no problem with bending the rules sometimes -- action economy is one of the abiding issues with PF1, and lair / legendary actions are one of the things I like about 5e. Just wondering if that's what's happening here.

Also, I think he had to drop the crossbow? It did d8, so it's obviously a heavy crossbow, meaning two handed. So if he went to retrieve a potion, wouldn't the crossbow have to go? Retrieving it would be another move action.


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

(Thinking about it, too late to edit previous post) I guess he doesn't have to drop the crossbow -- he could hold on to it with one hand and retrieve the potion with the other.

Don't want to quibble, slow down the fun train, or be that guy.


Female Human Psychic (Esoteric Starseeker) 5 | HP 25/27 | 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) 8/8, (2nd) 6/6, (Bonus) 1/1 | Phrenic Pool 4/4 | Active Conditions: None

Yelena can't see Hyve from where she's standing, but she doesn't need to. She knows approximately where he was, and that's enough.

"Amazing shot Lys," she comments idly while she weaves the spell. "He has to be running out of tricks soon."

Especially since she intends to take one away from him. A golden cloud of particles begins spreading around where she'd seen Hyve last, outlining everything in the area in clouds of sparkling light.

She doesn't particularly want to move from her vantage point, but depending on how much longer the fight lasts she might need to. Even if the others kill Hyve immediately, they'll need a way up afterward. So she digs out a rope from her pack and prepares to secure it to allow them easier access.

Rolls/OOC:
Casting Glitterdust within the yellow circle on the map. Will DC18 to negate being blinded, but even if he passes he'll still take a -40 to Stealth for five rounds. Move action to retrieve the silk rope from my pack.


M CG Dwarf Fighter 2/Cleric of Desna 3 | HP: 45/50 | 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 4/4 2nd 3/3 | Active conditions: None

Kolthis blinked, half in surprise, half in irritation, and half in respect, as the devil turned into a pincushion on the floor. "Well, taking the term deadeye literally, eh? You're lucky I warmed him up for you!" He calls up to Lys.

Turning then to Mihaela, he grimaced at the bleeding wound. Trying to stop it hadn't worked too well before. Perhaps it was best to make sure she didn't fall before it did. Bringing his wand to his hand with a snap of his wrist, Kolthis waved it over her, hoping to bring some relief.

Free action: release hand from Lucy
Swift: Use wrist sheath to get my wand of CLW
Standard: Wave the wand at Mihaela

CLW: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 1 = 8


Female Human Lepidstadt Inspector 5 | Initiative +4 | Perception +10 | Fort +3 Ref +9 Will +7 | HP 45 AC 19

Maritine almost slips off the ledge as she stops and does a double take from just how efficiently Lys dispatches the devil, and were time not pressing she'd shout congratulations. But Lys has bought them valuable time and Yelena's glittery cloud drifts to Hyve's hiding-hole. She's seen the spell used before and knows she has a small window to act.

Leaning towards the wall to help balance she moves as quick as she dares she switches her crossbow for her rapier and points it in a duelists challenge. "It ends here Hyve!"


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

Okay, what the hell.

What Nanny said:
Nanny is big and dark and little Walter loves her. Sometimes she is stern, but only when he's been bad, and that's fair. Mostly she is very kind.

One night there is a fire in the forest near the family plantation. Walter sees it out of his bedroom window, orange light glimmering through the trees. The servants are very upset and they run back and forth. Walter isn't frightened. (Even if he was, he wouldn't show it. Don't ever show fear in front of the servants! Walter is very small, but already he knows that. Keep everything inside, and controlled. That is why Chelaxians are superior.)

Later Nanny takes him to the edge of the burned area. Everything is all burned up! Even the trees have fallen down and are just charred trunks. It's still warm and it smells like smoke and ashes. Walter is very impressed.

"Some bad men came to raid the plantation," Nanny says. "Bandu. Very wicked." Walter nods solemnly. The Bandu are very wicked indeed, everyone knows this. "Your father and the Pirru knew they were coming, and set an ambush. It's the end of the dry season, so there was a fire." Walter nods again. The Pirru are fire-makers; every hundredth child among the Kalabuta is a Pirru, they say. And some can learn to throw fire as well. The Kalabuta are friends of the Chelaxian colonists... allies, Daddy says, meaning they are friends and they work together.

"What happened to the Bandu, Nanny? Did they all burn up?"

"Walter-bah, let's hope so. Wicked people deserve no better." Walter nods solemnly again, and carefully files away this piece of information. Wicked people deserve to burn, check.

"So will the trees grow back, Nanny?"

"Oh yes, little bah. After a long time, of course. But see." She reaches down, scrapes aside some ash. Walter goes down on hands and knees, peers nearsightedly. Under the ash, a tiny green shoot is already thrusting upwards.

"Fire destroys, Walter. But fire also... cleanses. Fire purifies."

Right, then!


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

Walter reaches into his vest, then gestures extravagantly. He shouts a single complex word of eleven syllables, quickly. A tiny bead of orange light, almost too bright to see, flashes outward from his outstretched hand.

FFFWOOOMPH

5d6 for levels + 1 ECL for Varisian Tattoo + 1 ECL for Gifted Adept (Fireball)

Alchemical component: Alchemist's fire

7d6 ⇒ (4, 3, 3, 5, 2, 1, 5) = 23 points of fire damage

DC 20 Reflex save for half damage -- if save is failed, catch fire for an additional 1d6 fire damage/round until the fire is put out.


Female Half-elf {conditions: none} Inquisitor 5 | HP 28/28 | AC 24 (Tch 18 FF 18) | F +5 R +8 W +9 (+2 vs. ench.) | Init +10 | Perc +12, low-light vision, scent (vs. aberr.)

An unfamiliar feeling takes hold of the Inquisitor as she struggles to evade her hellish foes deadly attack.

Fear.

And then, hot, blistering pain as a second, less powerful yet still dangerously vicious slash finds its mark — not a deep cut, perhaps, yet deep enough to elicit a soft cry of anguish from the frail half-elf.

She had always liked her battles won before they begun. Yet subconsciously, she has always known all it takes is a single slip to undo years of careful training and preparation. Only, she didn't think it would be a literal slip to cause her luck to finally run out.

She looks at her foe in dismay as she realizes she's cornered against a foe more powerful and deadly than her.

And then, an instant later, she finds herself looking at that same figure in surprise as it gurgles in its death throes, two arrows sticking out of its head. She turns to Lys and nods in awe and amazement at the deadly sharpshooter even as Kholtis's magic soothes the pain in her ribs.

"Thanks..." she mutters, barely audibly yet sincerely. Now, with the devil gone, it was time to finish this fight.

Actions/OOC:

Move Action: move 4 sqrs. SW

Standard Action: throw Starknife at Crossbow Guy
   Starknife: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (18) + 18 = 36
   Damage (weapon of awe, studied target, bane): 1d4 + 2d6 + 15 ⇒ (4) + (1, 1) + 15 = 21


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

I think that probably does it for crossbow guy...


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

The fireball detonates in the shadowed rear of the ledge, illuminating everything in fiery hues and casting stark shadows across the rough cavern's walls and ceiling for the briefest of moments.

As the cloud of smoke billows forth to spread across the ceiling, a figure emerges from the depths, his clothing burned away, his flesh charred and cracked, his eyes blank as he coughs, retches up blood and smoke - only to mistep and fall over the edge of the ledge.

Mihaela takes no chances. Even as the man plummets she unleashes her starblade, which slices out through the air to sink into the man's stomach midair.

Blood sprays.

He hits the cavern floor with the sound of wet meat and breaking bone, and lies there, on his back, hands feebly plucking at the weapon in his gut.

He's dying, on death's door itself, but still manages a ghastly sound - laughter.

"Fools... you think... this will stop... what's coming? I find release... you must live on with the... terror. It's coming. It will scent me on you. It will hunt you... next... and tear your souls... to shreds...."

He leans his head back, blood gouting out over his charred cheeks. "I'd have summoned... a pit fiend... if I'd thought... it would do... any..."

His eyes close, and he goes still.

Equipment:
Rapier, mwk light crossbow, 18 bolts, violet venom, +1 studded leather armor (charred), ring of protection +2, belt of incredible dexterity +2, key.


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

Firing two bolts into the screaming mushroom, Lys slides down the shaft gracefully, the dark waters splashing around her boots as she lands into the smoke and steam-filled room. Damn. So that's what Walter's been keeping in his sleeve. Glancing down at the two quarrels onto the ground, the only sign left of her prey, she pauses for a moment, blood draining from her face as Hyve's last words take grasp in her mind. Devils, demons, infernal summoners. And something else, more horrid, if not worse. Whatever gods were at my side just now, thanks. If you want to give me a sign of who you were, I'll... donate to a church. Or something. The woman pauses, before adjusting her hat and picking up the bolts between her fingers. "I mean, they really oughta teach those Hellspawn the first rule of facing upground archers. Don't.", she laughs forcefully, before loading them back in her crossbow.

Feeling the rush of adrenaline subside, she puts the crossbow on her back, crouching in the water. "You think the... thing knows about Hyve being dead? I don't think it'd be willing to come down here right now, is it?", she asks in a worried tone. "I'm all ready to go, but...", turning to Yelena and Mihaela, "I wasn't just stabbed, mauled and shot at. That's what you get, being tall like that, right Kolthis?", she chuckles with a devilish grin.

Rolls/OoC:

Acrobatics to avoid fall damage: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (16) + 13 = 29
About the loot - I've already have a belt of +2 Dexterity, and a +1 Studded armour is worse than mine (1 AC vs. lower ACP and DR vs ranged attacks). And the AC items should definitely go to the frontliners first, probably Mihaela as she's rather glass-y!


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

The first demon, the fiery furred entity that Yelena had cast her spell on, watches from the far ledge where only half an hour ago the group had first entered the cavern.

At the fireball and death of its summoner, it laughs, stamps one cloven hoof, and then disappears in a cloud of smoky sulfur.

What's the plan, folks?


Female Human Psychic (Esoteric Starseeker) 5 | HP 25/27 | 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) 8/8, (2nd) 6/6, (Bonus) 1/1 | Phrenic Pool 4/4 | Active Conditions: None

Seeing Hyve fall, Yelena relaxes. At least until she hears his final words, which send shivers down her spine.

We’re only doing what we must. Desna protect us.

Not trusting herself to speak, she busies herself using pitons to secure a rope for the others to use. After a few minutes of such routine work, she’s finally able to answer Lys. ”It’s late. I’m mostly healed, but I am starting to run low on spells. If Crove was their leader, which it seemed like he was...I don’t think we can afford to fight him at half strength. Particularly not if he has guards or other innocents defending him.”


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

"I also need some time to recover my spells. And to rest. And to... contemplate. This... this situation. Is interesting." Walter's right hand lifts and twitches for a moment in that odd, clawing gesture. He shakes his head. "Rest. Yes. We should rest."


Female Human Lepidstadt Inspector 5 | Initiative +4 | Perception +10 | Fort +3 Ref +9 Will +7 | HP 45 AC 19

Distracting Hyve became unnecessary as Walter obliterates the cowardly churchman's hiding hole and Hyve along with it, recoiling back and almost falling into the pit for the roar and heat.

Crawling back a little until she can get back to her feet she looks down into the pit at Hyve's well cooked body as she unthinkingly digs into her gear and produces some rope and a complicated tool that she twists into an anchor and throws down to the other in the pit, climbing down after a moment of second thought and producing her wand as she makes her way to Mihaela and offers healing, catching the tail-end of the conversation.

"We've been lucky so far, but it can't last. It's late, we've done well, we should rest and regroup."

CLW for Mihaela: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

Stepping in to move things along - the consensus seems to be to return to the inn, regroup, and plan for more activity the next morning. Anybody wishing to do any extra activities at Hyde can spoiler post me, and Lys can decide if she wants to scout tonight as well via spoiler post.

Maritine:
Careful examination of the alchemy tables doesn't turn up anything of particular note; there are half cooked reagents, filthy beakers crusted with the remains of violet venom, and a plethora of other basic equipment. Still, for all the filth, these two tables function as a fully equipped alchemist's lab, and should facilitate the creation of whatever alchemical items one could desire.

After carefully dispatching the violet fungi from range, the group searches the cavern and discovers various decomposing corpses that Hyve had no doubt dumped down the sluice over the past year or two. One in particular catches your eye: a moldering body in a Crow uniform, with a beautifully fashioned lucern hammer lying beside it.

Careful examination reveals this weapon to be a +1 aberration-bane mithril lucerne hammer, and its head is etched with the holy symbol of Desna. The corpse has a silver medallion of Desna worn around his neck, though little else can be made out from his decomposed remains.

After gathering yourselves and searching the church perhaps one last time, you quit the premises and find Jarvis hunched in a doorway across the street, hat pulled low against the pouring rain. He comes forth with raised eyebrows, eager to hear what you have to report.

Tag?

At last, at what must feel halfway through the night, though it surely can't be past 11, you all return to the Stone Circle. The grand old inn looms in the dark, few windows lit and those shuttered
Still, the sight of the timber framed two-story building is a welcome one, and Yelena's caravan yet rests in the contained inn yard.

Old Bosworth answers the pounding on the door, and you see that he's been up waiting for you all - or perhaps, more accurately, kept up waiting by old Tereza, who has claimed a round table in the common room's center, and there challenged him to a game of cards, illuminated by a dozen candles and with a good bottle of dwarven whisky opened to one side.

Tereza rises and embraces Yelena with a wordless cry of affection and relief, and Old Bosworth ushers everybody inside, peering out into the darkness behind you with concern. The one-eyed dwarf bolts and bars the door, then turns to you all with gruff pleasure.

"You are returned, praise Cayden! Let's mark your adventures with a round on the house, plus some good fare to give you strength. You're hungry, are you not? Come, come, join us, save me from losing any more coin to your canny grandmother. She's the sweetest talking conwoman I've ever met, no offense meant!"

Tereza brushes aside this characterization with a wave of her hand, an arm lopped through Yelena's own. "Is it my fault you play with the acumen of a child? No. For a dwarf of your years, I would think you had learned when to fold and when to bet."

Old Bosworth chuckles, clearly amused, and it's clear the pair have already begun a friendship.

"Now tell me," says Tereza, pulling Yelena down into a seat. "Tell me what you can." She searches Yelena's face, peers deep into her eyes, as if seeking to divine the truth from her face alone. "It's worse than we thought, isn't it? Oh, by the stars. Should we flee while there is still time?"


Female Human Psychic (Esoteric Starseeker) 5 | HP 25/27 | 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) 8/8, (2nd) 6/6, (Bonus) 1/1 | Phrenic Pool 4/4 | Active Conditions: None

Yelena waits at the top of the sluice while the others explore, not trusting her climbing skills even with a rope. Once they've finished gathering everything of use, she slowly makes her way back outside, to where Jarvis is still waiting.

"Hyve is dead," she reports wearily. "Better prepared than Myre was, with summoned devils to assist him. But we still succeeded in the end." Her face falls as she remembers what the others had found. "There were several bodies down in an underground cavern, including at least one Crow with a symbol of Desna around his neck. If people can stomach searching the area, it may solve the mystery of several missing persons and provide closure for their families."

She sighs, passing her hand over her face. "We can't face Crove tonight, not depleted as we are. We plan to sleep at the Stone Circle, then find Crove in the morning. Would it be possible for us to get some official paperwork, or have some Crows join us to testify to the legitmacy of our mission? The last thing we need is to end up fighting innocents who don't understand why we're going after a 'pillar of the community.'"

Yelena is quiet as they continue making their way to the Stone Circle, though she forces a smile onto her face as they enter. "A meal would be most appreciated, Sir Bosworth." When was the last time she had eaten? Food had been sent to the library, but the nausea that resulted from forcing herself to read such dangerous texts in a foul language had kept her from all but small nibbles of the lightest fare.

Her smile turns more genuine as she embraces her grandmother. "My apologies, I should have warned you. She may seem sweet, but she's unbeatable at the card table. Hopefully she didn't talk you into betting your entire establishment!" Not that Tereza would have actually accepted such a rash bet. Her card tricks were used for pocket money and to boost an old woman's ego, not to bankrupt a hard-working business owner.

Once in the corner, Yelena slumps slightly over the table."No Bună, there's no need to flee." They couldn't even if they wanted to, not without abandoning the entirity of Carrion Hill to its fate. "We're...we have some idea of what we're dealing with, and how to stop it. It's just..." She shakes her head, unwilling to continue.

"Later. I'll tell you more later. For now...let's just enjoy some good food and drink."


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

rolling some dice for downtime...1d100 ⇒ 32 hm, okay.

A Brief Cut-Scene: Walter and Yelena

Walter wakes up with the familiar post-spell hangover. The Visualization of the Mind has departed. His thoughts plod on leaden feet. Everything is so much... murkier.

Spell Sage wizards are rare, and Spell Sage wizards who keep their sanity over the long term are even rarer. There are several reasons for that. This is one: a Spell Sage has access to mind-enhancing powers that are normally reserved to the beloved of the gods themselves. For a cleric, these abilities are mildly interesting, occasionally useful. For a wizard, they can become profoundly addictive. Walter won't use the Visualization of the Mind again any time soon. It's useful, so useful, but... no.

Still, he remembers everything. Walters sits for a time, remembering. He frowns. This is... awkward.

* * *

"Yelena!" There's nothing for it but to be clear and direct. "I realize now that I behaved... inappropriately... yesterday. I was not quite myself. Nevertheless. I should," Walter squints like a man trying to remember a complex phrase in a foreign language, "apologize. I am... sorry."

There is a pause.

"You see. My second master. The terrible old man. He had man apprentices, over the years. But... none of them survived. They all ended up in... in little bottles." Walter raises his right hand. Close up, you can see that it has a number of small white scars. They look like bites. "He was able to entrap so many clever young wizards because he made them commit to an... agreement. To become his apprentice. You had to invite a, a spirit. To reside in your body. An unclean spirit." Walter flexes his hand slowly, clench, relax. You remember that odd clawlike gesture he kept making yesterday, the strange griping strength. "If you thwarted the will of the Master... or pried into things that were none of your business... the spirit would possess a part of your body. And punish you."

There is a pause again.

"I should add that he was a very remarkable wizard with access to the most amazing library. So it seemed like a reasonable agreement to enter into. At the time." This last is delivered with just a hint of defensiveness.


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

"Eventually, I discovered what my Master was doing with his apprentices. I was able to... distract the spirit.

"My Master was engaged in... trade. And he traded for a summoning ritual. A very interesting summoning ritual. One not too different, actually, from what we are dealing with here. Much better containment procedures, of course. Orthogonal along all the vertices, just for starters... yes, well. He detailed me to the extremely tedious work of inscribing the summoning circle.

"Knowing what I knew, I made some changes. When he began the ritual, I slipped outside and locked the chamber door behind me. Later I heard him, pounding on the other side, his fists like little withered apples..." Walter trails off for a moment, his eyes unfocused. "...out of the corners of the room, was the last thing he said. Almost the last. 'Like smoke'. 'Their tongues'."

There's a pause, and then the wizard seems to collect himself. "You understand," he says, a little severely, "he was a very wicked man, and certainly deserved to die."


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Female Human Psychic (Esoteric Starseeker) 5 | HP 25/27 | 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) 8/8, (2nd) 6/6, (Bonus) 1/1 | Phrenic Pool 4/4 | Active Conditions: None

Previous Night:
Yelena excuses herself almost immediately after she eats. "It will be another long day tomorrow, and I need all the rest I can get." Tereza's eyes, worried, follow her as she leaves. Fortunately her grandmother knows her well enough to know that she needs the time alone. Yelena will talk to her about everything, but only after it's over. For now...everything is still too fresh.

However, instead of going to bed, Yelena sits at the small nightside table in her room. Her eyes are unfocused as she instinctually shuffles her Harrow deck over and over again. There's only one question she wants to ask tonight, but it's one she normally tries to avoid. Too vague. Too simple. Too easy to delude oneself with the result.

But she's tired, and Aklo still licks at the corners of her mind, and she's helped kill two people. Murdered. No matter how evil they were, she'd broken into their homes for the express purpose of killing them. She doesn't want to deceive herself on that point. It may have been necessary to prevent a greater evil, but it was still murder.

Are we doing the right thing?

Wisdom for the choosing. She shuffles the cards together one last time and draws. Owl. The most neutral card in the deck, representing the harshness inherent in the natural order. A needle that can sew life together or pick it apart with equal ease.

Past.

Brass Dwarf. Another neutral card, representing a creature invulnerable to any threat. Yelena takes some comfort in this. Had the same card appeared in the future or even the present, it could be a sign that they were failing in their quest. But no, the creature, (and there's only one creature she can imagine the card representing), is only invulnerable in the past. Maybe, just maybe, that's a sign that it will be vulnerable in the future.

Present.

Yelena's lips quirk sadly as the Owl once again shows its face. As the chosen card, it is the only one in the spread that must be interpreted. In the context of her question...nature does not hesitate to cull sick members of a herd. It may be tragic for those culled, but if they are not then they lower the chance of survival for everyone else. And the 'Keepers of the Order' were most definitely sick.

Her eyes flick over the rest of the row, and she sees Beating, misaligned. A person coming under attack from all sides until they dissolve under the relentless blows. A dissolution not just of the body, but of the mind. She thinks of Walter, of the way his hands sometimes seemed to move on their own, of the tears that flowed down his cheeks when he spoke of killing his former 'master.' She hopes the card does refer to him, for, misaligned as it is, it suggests that he will find the strength to overcome.

Future.

Lost appears once again, in the same place. But this time it is not the only card to be interpreted. Above it rests Big Sky. A symbol of freedom, of change, of shackles being cast aside.

A symbol of hope.

Yelena blinks away a few tears as she shuffles the cards together once more. Perhaps she is deluding herself with this reading. But if not...perhaps they are doing the right thing after all.

She sleeps, and dreams of a purple butterfly that covers her with wings made of the twilight sky.

The next morning Yelena is startled when Walter pulls her aside. Her face grows grave as she listens, but she doesn't interupt. When he seems to be finished, she spends a long moment collecting her thoughts.

"I...I accept your apology, Walter. And I appreciate it. But at the same time...I'm not going to say I understand, I can't understand, but...I never blamed you. For anything you did or said yesterday." (Best to be specific, when dealing with Walter.)

"Your 'master.'" She takes a deep breath. "He did deserve to die. You did the right thing, by preventing him from taking advantage of anyone else that way. And, and I hope it's not presumptuous of me to say this, but...I'm proud of you. For how much you've changed."


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 did deserve to die. You did the right thing, by preventing him from taking advantage of anyone else that way. And, and I hope it's not presumptuous of me to say this, but...I'm proud of you. For how much you've changed."

Walter's face goes blank, confused, as if he literally does not know how to respond. For a moment, there's a glimpse perhaps of the small colonial boy, proud and lonely, watching the other children play along the river.

Then he shakes his head. "Yes... no... no. There's nothing to be, to be proud of. Because there was more. That wasn't the worst. The worst came later. You see, I didn't... learn from that experience. I was pleased with my clever escape. I still thought that... that knowledge was the most important thing. So later that would lead me to... to be a, be a party to..." Walter grimaces, turns away, then turns back.

"The housekeeper. She found him. I had... gone away. I admit it. I just wanted to be gone. She wasn't supposed to enter that room. But, you see, the smell. So she did. And, well. There was his head. And a quantity of blue, gelatinous substance of unknown provenance. She... it was a shock, I suppose.

"I didn't care, then. Now I do. Later, I came into a little money. Later, I... made arrangements. She's taken care of, now." The wizard puts his hands in front of him, palms up, then moves them up and down. "Balance. You see? Recompense. Restitution. Penance. If you want to be good you have to un-do the bad and," are those tears suddenly standing in his eyes? "some things, oh, some things cannot be undone. You can't wash away that, that stain. That taste." Walter has an odd gesture that he makes sometimes: the heel of his left hand drawn slowly across his mouth. He does that now. "So, there's nothing to be proud of. All you can do is try to... to do good things, elsewhere... or at least, try to stop bad things from happening... and hope that... hope that..."

There's a pause. It stretches for a long, awkward moment... and then Walter simply turns to leave.


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

At the door Walter pauses, and seems to brighten for a moment. "Oh, and with the terrible old man gone, I was able to cast out the spirit! Er, well, it entered into a nearby dog and then stalked me for, ah, quite some time actually, seeking to avenge its master... but! It's no longer an issue! Just a, a," he flexes his right hand, "a reflex, let's say. In times of stress. A bit awkward. But not dangerous. I'm sure of that. Mostly quite sure."

He turns again to go, then pauses one more time. "And..." he adds under his breath, almost too softly to hear, "I did smash the bottles..."


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 Previous Night:

As the quiet rumblings and muffled conversation sets in the cavern, Lys' jubilant expressiveness seems to quiet down. "I'll search over here!", she helpfully chirps, before setting on to prodding the murky waters with a crossbow bolt. We've got him. And the other one, too. Battled devils, dealed with creatures, and despite whatever this place makes me feel... We've survived. Drawing out her boot with a murky gloop, she turns around to throw another peek at the scene of the devil and Hyve's demise. I'd say it was luck, but... was it? We've messed with ancient gods since we stepped foot here, and we, well. I'm not worse for wear. It can't be since I started to help others, someone's smiling on me, right? I've seen priests and clerics, and it didn't protect them.

"Found something!", she shouts a moment later, before adding, "Nope! It's a smooth rock!" Kicking the smooth rock into the swampy waters, she slowly makes her way back towards the others. It's got to be one of you, gods, messing with me, right? Are you intending to lure me in your service, or just sacrifice me for something at the end of all this? Trundling through the fetid waters, she meets with the others. I need some time to think. I don't know if there are or aren't gods pushing me along my way. And I don't know which would be scarier.

The smile returns to service on Lys' face as she meets back with the others. "Right! Lys Devilsbane here's no worse for wear - I'm thinking I'd go and see what exactly we're looking at at Crove's. My money's on a giant blob of patchwork lunatics.", she chuckles grimly, before her eyes turn to Maritine, Mihaela and Yelena. "You've got wounds to lick, magic to do and Walter to listen to.", she jests. "And I'm betting Tereza's not going to sleep before you get back", she adds. You win, thoughts. You have me until we reach the asylum, because if we die, all the thinking I've done's been for nothing. "Kolthis, I'd invite you to join me, but you, my friend, as quiet as a parade."

As the rest return towards the tavern, and the call for warm food and drink, Lys glances at the dark road, sighing deeply. Well. Eastbound., she thinks, her rapid footsteps taking her through Carrion Hill quickly, as she ducks through side alleys and less main roads, until Crove's Asylum is visible under the moonlight, the tall spires and debilitated battlements seeming as rotten teeth in the night. Okay, now, Lys. Focus. You managed not to figure out anything with all that philosophising. Now do something you're actually not horrid at. Unclasping her crossbow, she crosses the streets, starting to circle the asylum's walls.

Stealth: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (14) + 15 = 29


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Female Human Lepidstadt Inspector 5 | Initiative +4 | Perception +10 | Fort +3 Ref +9 Will +7 | HP 45 AC 19

Maritine assists the others in the slow and methodical removal of the shriekers and purple fungii, swallowing her fear of the abhorrent plant creatures and making sure that she's the last one to climb out of the sluice, recovering her rope and anytool in the process and keeping an eye on the wounded, a twinge of guilt and self-loathing pulling at her as she does her best to ignore the fact that she escaped serious injury in the fight - something she willfully admits was luck and nothing else.

Satisfied that her companions' wounds were sufficiently healed for the time being and needing something to help quell her self-loathing she takes one last moment to herself to see what useful items she can abscond with from Hyve's alchemical workstation - poisons, regents, potions, anything securely sealed is pilfered into her numerous pockets before he finally pulls herself away, having to hurry to keep up with the rest and being the last one out of the church and back into the perpetual rain, exhaling heavily as the rain metaphorically washes away the lingering foulness of Hyve's desecration.

Only once Jarvis has been informed of everything and they are all inside the relative safety of the Stone Circle does Maritine seem to come apart for the briefest of moments, excusing herself and claiming a seat closest to the fire while shedding her coat and hat; away goes the harsh and unyielding Lepidstadt inspector, replaced by a sullen soggy scraggly shivering woman haunted by too many of the things she's seen. The warmth of the fire doesn't quite reach her bones and she distractedly wonders if she should add something to make it burn brighter, push back the night a little.

She wonders idly if she should pray. Could pray. To who? Would she be heard?

It's only once she's about halfway through her glass of wine (Where had that come from?) is she brought back to her senses, slightly numbed as they are, and she makes the effort to leave the warmth of the fire to join the others, shuffling up closest to Miheala and quietly asks "Do you need more salve for your wounds? I-I still have...have salve if you need it."


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

The Previous Night:

Lys ghosts through Carrion Hill, and even as she goes she notes the terror that has the town gripped by the throat. People are fleeing their homes, packing their belongings on carts or hitching large packs on their shoulders, streaming down the alleys and streets toward the river or road, moving with quiet urgency and ushering their weeping children along.

The Crows are out in force, but seem helpless to do much - their reassurances that all is under control, that people should stay locked up in their homes falls flat. One man, a massive individual whose wealth allows him to hire four men to help lever his bulk atop a satin-lined cart, bellows at the Crow who is haranguing him.

"What use hiding like rats in the walls, when this monster can flatten entire homes? Can you stop it from devouring us from beneath? From plucking our souls from our bodies as we would morsels of hummingbird flesh from between our teeth?"

The Crow has no answer.

On Lys goes, until she reaches the cliffs of the town's east side, and descends by a torturous path to where the asylum rises on the last bluff, overlooking the foggy plain that sweeps out, seemingly, into eternity.

The lights are on in Crove's asylum, and as Lys draws closer, she hears the harrowing, spiraling laugh of an insane man rising like a howl to the moon.

The building is two stories tall, the windows barred, and the doors - of which there are four besides the main double doored entry, are made of iron. The building has a terrible aura to it, seeming to loom over Lys as she skulks around it in the darkness, watching her with its many windows, bearing down on her, and for all the world the only word that seems to fit is hungry. As if the building itself desires Lys to enter, to descend into its madness-infused bowels and there be devoured forevermore.


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 Previous Night:

Yeah. Can we?, Lys' thoughts add to the concerns of the denizens as the Crows attempt to calm them down. Choosing to say nothing, she tucks her arms in her coat to keep warm as she continues through the night.

The howling of the lunatic in the asylum sends shivers down her spine. With a flash, a silver bolt appears in her hand as she swings it around in a frenzy, fearing what's behind the corner. A second and a dozen heartbeats later, she stops, to realise the sounds are those of a moon-crazed human, and not a creature of the night. "You f@@+ing crazy a$!!#*# son of a b*@&%, I'll f*~*ing kill you!", she furiously hisses out in a panicked whisper, wiping a trail of icy sweat from her brow.

It's not too late to run, I suppose. Eastern end of town is that way. Nobody in a carriage would refuse a well armed guard, especially now., a treasonous thought sneaks into the markswoman's mind, as her eyes jump between the doors, lockpicks drawn from her jacket. Perhaps if I leave, the others will think I'm dead, and they'll give up on attacking the asylum. Who's crazy enough to live in Carrion Hill anyway?

"Oh, come on. I'm not that naive. Give me a better argument.", a retort from Lys' actual voice echoes out as she sets onto unlocking the closest door, the hunger from the building making the hairs on her neck stand on edge. "Clearly, I'm a deranged lunatic who's breaking into an asylum. I need a little more convincing than that. What about my conscience?", she adds, as she begins fiddling with the door's locks.

Disable Device: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (16) + 16 = 32
By the way, feel free to roll Stealth or Perception for me, GM!


[Loot] | [Maps] Toilsday the 13th of Pharast, around 11:30 p.m.

The Previous Night:

Stealth: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (1) + 15 = 16
Perception: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (7) + 13 = 20

To keep things moving, I'll roll a random die to see which of the smaller doors you open. 1 - 4, starting at the top and going clockwise.

Random door: 1d4 ⇒ 2

The lock is challenging, but opens to Lys' ministrations after a few intense moments of concentration. The lock snicks back quite loudly, but after a moment of no reaction, Lys is able to crack open the door and peer inside.

It's a hallway with four doors in it, along with a branching hallway north and to the left.

And by Pharasma, it's a dreary place. The walls are painted a pale green, the floor covered in thick gray paint, and everything feels almost greasy with cold, the sole source of illumination coming from a guttering candle in a single wall sconce by the utmost southern door.

The doors are all made of iron, but appear to be unlocked. Listening at the southernmost two doors reveals nothing, but Lys thinks... just maybe... she can hear whispering, or muttering, through the thick third door.

The fourth would require her passing the open hallway to the north.

Screams echo from deeper in within the asylum, and then hoarse shouts of rage. The screams peter off, replaced by the dull, thudding sound of sticks on flesh, and then echoing silence.

Check the map for updates!


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 Previous Night:

As the door creaks open, Lys' fear quiets both her voice and the ruminating doubt in her mind. Glancing at the symbol of Pharasma at her crossbow and clutching the dagger in her boot tightly for a moment, she steps inside. We're in now. Nobody else will. We're out when we're out., she resultely states, as two vials leave her abundant pockets. Edelweiss and crow feathers, to mask the life and hide from the death., she notes as she drinks the first one, a pleasant chill washing across her body. And holy water and pebble from a temple's hedge., she notes on the second one, keeping it in her hand.

Gently closing the front door behind her, she moves quietly to glance into the contents of the first two doors, before laying her ear onto the whispering denizen. The most despicable of foes strike at the mind first, and the body second. So must a hunter be ready to fight at two battlegrounds at the same time. As soon as the sound is deciphered further, she glances at the open corridor. And here I am, hoping for undead for the first time in my life. Dashing through the corridor with haste, she peeks the corner, before lending an ear to the fourth door.

Moving in to open the first two doors and peek inside.

If the door's quiet, Lys will open it, then proceed down the hallway and glance over the corner. The potion is Hide from Undead.. The one in her Hand is Protection from Evil. Should last 10 and 1 minute respectively, the second one is ready to be drunk at a moment's notice.

I'm assuming that the noises are coming from further inside, the 'centre' as it were.

Perception eavesdropping on the third door: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (6) + 13 = 19
Stealth to make it across to the the fourth door: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (12) + 15 = 27
Perception to eavesdrop on the last door: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (6) + 13 = 19
Stealth/Disable Device to open the fourth door quietly: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (10) + 15 = 25 +1 for DD


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Female Half-elf {conditions: none} Inquisitor 5 | HP 28/28 | AC 24 (Tch 18 FF 18) | F +5 R +8 W +9 (+2 vs. ench.) | Init +10 | Perc +12, low-light vision, scent (vs. aberr.)

Mihaela helps dispatching the remaining fungi, coldly and efficiently. A loud rumble in her stomach finally reminds her she hasn't eaten anything since she broke fast seemingly an eternity ago; eventually, the day's fatigue has caught up to her, rain and weariness washing over her shoulders in equal measure.

She speaks no words as the party makes its way back to the inn, only hugging Lys as the woman splits from the main group to go on her solo reconnaissance mission. "You saved my life down there" she warmly whispers in her ear. "Take care — and may Lady Luck smile on you." Every fiber of her being is screaming for her to accompany the crossbowwoman on her sortie, but eventually she forces herself to listen to the voice of reason: after today's close call, facing tomorrow's ordeals without a proper rest would make her nothing short of a hindrance, and besides, Lys's skills have been proven to be no second to hers.

After refreshment is offered and greetings exchanged, she quietly excuses herself and slips away, taking a seat by the fireplace where she discards her now soaking wet trench-coat and allows the comforting warmth to push away the cold from her bones. The memories of the day start to dance and rearrange in her mind, the unholy texts still lingering on the edge of her conscious self, the creature at the market, the fights...

The fights.

Though Kolthis and Maritine's magic have undone all the physical damage, she could still feel a dull pain in her ribs, one which resonated in her very soul. It was not just a matter of wounded pride — even though it was her clumsiness which put both her and Kolthis in mortal danger. It was the feeling of fear suffocating her. Her luck finally running out. A foe she couldn't outsmart or outfight. She tries to reach for her Goddess. Silence is the answer.

As she muses and broods, a familiar voice shakes her out of her melancholy. "Thank you, Maritine. My wounds are now fine" she answers gently, placing a hand on her skin-tight suit where the creature had hit her. "Though the lingering pain stands as a reminder I should be more cautious in avoiding getting cornered. We both know I don't fare very well in prolonged close quarter combat." She tries to feign a smile, which rapidly dies on her lips. "It's... I'm not fine, really. If it weren't for Lys, I'd be dead now. And the thing at the market... you heard Hyve. We've never been the hunters. Always the hunted. Even now, it's stalking us. I wanted to protect you, but I can't even protect myself." Again, that chill in her bones. It's as if it never left. Will it ever leave? she thinks, shivers shaking her frail figure.

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