Thank you for the offer, Kayle! Just so that we have a consistent record. Any way you want to do it is fine. The promised map pieces will come later. Yesterday was very busy for me.
The young prospective adventurers announce themselves, their voices echoing in the hollow silence of the gathered crowd. It does look like a significant portion of Kassen's populace, including those from the farms and cabins in the surrounding woods, have gathered here. After all, it has been four years since the last such instance!
The Mayor hands the lantern to Calaithes and then waits for the final announcements.
After you have retrieved your supplies, the mayor once again speaks to the townsfolk. "I present to you the brave heroes who will follow in Kassen’s footsteps to retrieve the Everflame: Bohrs Kreegan, Calaithes Treesong, Kayle Harrel, and Nicolette Yardley!" He pauses, lowering his voice slightly, before adding. "And Owens." He clears his throat and continues. "Some of them may not return, but I say to you that their sacrifice shall not be forgotten. Go, brave heroes, and do not return until you have the eternal fire."
With that, the mayor points to the south, the direction of Kassen's tomb. The townsfolk begin waving goodbye with cold, solemn looks on most of their faces.
What do you do? If you want to speak with anyone before you leave, you're welcome to do so (and are welcome to roll a Diplomacy check to accompany it). You may also overhear conversations by rolling Stealth followed by Perception. When you're ready to leave town, I'll begin to describe your journey.
"And so we depart, good friends! The road awaits, as does our appointed task! As Mayor Uptal has said, there is a risk that some of us may not return, but such is life! The safest place for a ship is docked in a harbor, but that is not why the ship was built!" He pours a measure of ale from his skin into the silver tankard, raises it to the crowd in salute, then pours out a swallow onto the ground. "May the Drunken Hero bless our endeavor! And may you all drink with us in celebration upon our return!" He then finishes the rest of the tankard in several deep gulps.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14
Calaithes sets the lantern down and opens his pack. He adjusts things so that the lantern is padded and safe, then stands and slings the pack across his back. It isn't very comfortable, but he can carry it. Once they got back he will suggest that they supply a pack animal to the next group.
"All right, let's go!" And he strides away on the indicated trail.... "Kayle? Maybe you and Owens could start in the lead? Owens might spot something that you might miss."
Nicolette silently keeps to herself as the finality of the gathering's solemn looks bid them farewell. With Bohrs giving a speech and Caliathes volunteering Kayle to lead, she takes up a frontal position as well with her earth breaker in hand and resting on her shoulder. Silently, she leaves the gathering of townsfolk with a knowing look to her family and her mentors. Looking behind herself, she can see that nothing is amiss. It would be just like her to forget her pack. Perhaps it was a gift of the gods she obediently worshiped when she woke this morning. In any case, she is thankful she didn't forget anything in the presence of all of these people. It would have been an embarrassment that she couldn't stand.
Her eyes scan for one more person--Grimscar.
Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7
The young druid seemed rather blasé about the duty assigned to them. Simply walking about around the cart while the others tended to their business. As if this wasn't a dangerous trek. Although he perked up when Calaithes prodded him to take point.
"Ah yes fearless leader." he announced, "I will do my best to guide you to the everflame." His voice dripped sarcasm, and Owens gave him a concerned look at the unusual tone. Kayle even gave a mock salute, with the wrong hand, that brushed his braid to the side briefly. Still, he followed this with a teasing grin and joined Nicolette out in front.
Leaning sideways in her direction he turned his head in toward her body.
"Before we begin, did you forget anything?" he asked in all seriousness, "I can stall them if you need a moment." Perhaps after his sass to the half elf this wouldn't immediately be received as sincere, but Kayle continued to hold her gaze with genuine concern on his features.
Owens, to his credit, promptly sat beside his master and wagged his tail. Perfectly happy to sit there until he was clued into what they were doing.
This seemed to be his only concern, and after he got the go ahead he would begin to lead them off.
Perception (Kayle): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22
Perception (Owens): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16
Survival (Kayle): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (16) + 3 = 19
Survival (Owens): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6
Yes, his dog has a better survival skill. I imagine Owens will give him a tug if he starts straying off the path.
Bohrs grins broadly and bows to the crowd, regardless of their level of applause.
He hops down with youthful enthusiasm, grabs the backpack prepared for him, slips the straps over his shoulders, and settles the weight across his back. He finds the weight bearable, and no more cumbersome than his armored coat.
He takes his place with the group, a look of youthful exuberance on his bearded face. "Shall we be off then, friends? 'The Road goes ever on', so goes the song!"
Bohrs catches glimpse of a few people smiling at his words. Not converts necessarily, but they seem to appreciate his display. A few of the other, stauncher and more traditional members of the community do not break their solemn masks, but Bohrs notices a few with a more solemn scowl after what they may see as flippant. Just another day in Kassen.
For better or worse, Nicolette does not spy Grimscar in the crowd. Perhaps he was still asleep from yesterday's bout of drinking. Perhaps he hadn't cared enough to turn out. Or perhaps he was just too well-hidden for her to find. He wouldn't be bothering her, though.
However, one person does push through the crowd: a tall man that Nicolette recognizes well from her work with the town guard.
"Hey Nicky," Golfond drawls in a deep bass. He had come down from the town's only watchtower for the occasion, and looks out of place in his black cloak, which has multiple strange creases and pleats throughout. "Good luck today." He stands there, seeming unsure of himself and swaying a little bit. "You look nice!" he exclaims, holding out a slightly wilted yellow tulip for Nicolette. He takes a step back and disappears back into the crowd, grinning to himself as he goes.
Their quest assigned and their business in town, the four young adventurers (and one brave dog) set out from Kassen. Even though it's not necessarily his area of expertise, Kayle proves remarkably effective at map-reading. The four huddle together and put together their four pieces to form a map of the region plotting out their course.
Roll20 has been updated with an image of the map as a handout.
The map shows that crypt is located roughly 40 miles south of Kassen, and provides a reasonable enough path. It looks like their first stop will be The Broken Glade, which none of you recognize by name.
More coming shortly! Feel free to interact with the scene as you choose.
Not seeing Grimscar worries her. Perhaps he will be lying in wait? Would he be so bold? She shakes such thoughts from her mind. As she does, Nicolette leans her head to Kayle to hear what he's saying to her.
"I think I have everything. I'm too nervous to forget anything right now. I've been rechecking myself all day. Do I have my hammer? Do I have my belt? Do I have hair ties? Do I have my sling?" she jokes. Ironically, she did leave behind her hair ties. They are on the nightstand of her bedroom, but even now, she doesn't remember not seeing them in her pack and is wearing her hair down. When she goes to put it up, it will be amiss.
Her eyes traverse over to Bohrs who joins them. She stands upright away from Kayle and nods to the exuberant pal of theirs.
"Yes! Let's!" she hums the song in her head as she can't recall a single lyric.
Her attention is caught by a familiar voice calling out to her. It is Golfond. Seeing him brings a small smile to her face.
"Thank you, Golfond," she replies as he wishes her luck. At his offer of the flower, she blinks and nods to him, not quite sure what else to do but to accept it. She can hardly respond before he darts off. Not stopping long to linger in thought as everyone else leaves, she wonders if somehow in his mind, the poor horse-kicked boy has developed a crush on her, or was he just being nice. Regardless, she smells the flower and decides to place it in her hair by her ear.
When they consult their maps she volunteers her opinion:
"I say we just cut across south by southwest. We should run into the road on the far side of this glade. I might have been there before, but I don't recognize this name."
"It might serve us to follow the path. Take things a step at a time." Kayle reasons, "We don't want to come back as the heroes who got lost and ended up with a rash. Besides, my ability to blaze a trail isn't on par with my master."
Following the path, you walk along for about two hours. The narrow path winds through the raking claws of the trees, many in late autumn glow but often bereft of their leaves, which crunch loudly underfoot. Up ahead, a fallen tree trunk blocks the path. Suddenly a trio of snarling humanoids leaps up from behind the trunk, all greenish skin and fearsome tusks, bellowing vulgar challenges.
Please roll a Knowledge (local) check on your turn. You cannot take 10 on this check unless you have an ability that allows you to do so. If you are untrained in the skill, you may only read up to the DC 9, even if your roll exceeds 9.
You know that orcs can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
Calaithes: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25
Kayle: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 2 = 18
Nicolette: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7
Enemies: 1d20 ⇒ 2
Kayle and Owens
Everyone is up up before the enemies! I have placed you on the map in what seemed to be your approximate marching order from earlier discussions, but you can adjust the order if you want. The log is currently providing them cover and is considered difficult terrain for the sake of movement (costing 10 ft of movement to move onto it instead of 5 ft). The cover (+4) is factored into the enemies' AC at the moment.
"Yes, we will probably be going for a while on this journey...thinking back, I can't recall people doing it in a day." She shrugs to the topic of their desired path. "Well, see, if we keep heading south by southwest, assuming this map is correct, we won't get lost, because there is a path that we'll intersect with. You are leading the way though. Do what you feel comfortable with. I would love a walk through the forest though."
Knowledge Local: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (14) - 1 = 13
Hearing rustling, she wonders, "Is it Grimscar?" With them being green of skin, she wonders for a moment, but they seem different to her.
"Orcs!" she announces upon studying their faces upon approach. "The light will bear them out and blind them!" she tells her companions, unsure of their full capabilities.
Kayle was quick to step back, bringing one hand to the scruff of Owens neck as he did so. His other hand went to his belt pouch to retrieve his sling and a bullet. "Let's not have anyone die here if we can manage it." he suggested despite getting himself ready for combat, "If we keep at range we might be able to deter them."
In druidic he gave Owens the proper command to stay and made sure he had his shield properly raised as he took his hand from his companion.
Angling back where he is on the map and drawing his sling. Commanding Owens to stay at the moment.
Owens growled deep and low. The dog was not playing, but genuinely menacing as his hackles went full up spotting the orcs. Kayle had to drag him back, but at the command he planted his feet. He let out a snapping bite and snarled at the orcs as they screamed at his people. Snarl after angry bark ripped from the dog's tensed throat, shoulders tight as he prepared to rip into the orcs.
"They seek cover, friend. They will pick you off one by one. Not if I can help it!"
Having declared the orcs her foe, and their clear intent of hostilities toward her and her friends, she flies forward with a nimble spring. Such a pounce would be something that an orc might never think to see in a human, let alone in one of their own stronger kin with such a large hammer in tow. Nicolette thinks about her companions and keeping them safe, and in doing so feels a calming, focused rage begin to warm her muscles.
She is not hasty in approaching, but swift enough to be intimidating and surprising. She can easily see their attempt to appeal to the log for cover from her team. She seeks to disrupt that and cause them to focus on the threat at hand--her. She utilizes the Captain's lessons and Braggar Ironhame's teachings on ground combat to swing an earth crashing blow down upon the orc below her. Where one would think the hammer would crush the orc, instead, it seeks to pierce it through into the ground below.
[Rage: +4str. Two Adjacent Foes, +1 to attack and +1 dodge ac. Log Elevation: +1 to attack. -1 power attack]
Melee Attack vs flat-footed AC: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (12) + 9 = 21 Piercing damage
Damage: 2d6 + 11 ⇒ (5, 4) + 11 = 20
Kayle and Owens step back to let the barbarian move forward. Nicolette's blow is utterly devastating. With a mighty roar of pain, the man buckles under the blow, blood coursing out of an enormous wound in his shoulder. That should have brought him down, but he still stands. And he looks even more ferocious now!
Kayle and Owens (Kayle can still roll that knowledge check.)
Calaithes and Bohrs are up, followed by the enemies!
Knowledge: Local: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (8) - 1 = 7
Bohrs raises his silver tankard, and slings it from side to side, sprinkling droplets of ale around the area and on the party.
”Fortune favor the bold!”
(Casts bless on the party.)
Wow! I shouldn't have slept in!
Calaithes moves forward and to the side, wanting to take down an orc but knowing he isn't a warrior like Nicolette. He swings his hanbo trying to knock the orc's feet out from under him....
Trip attempt: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (19) + 4 = 23
Knowledge-Local: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14
"Let's work together and take them down quick!"
Calaithes, I have moved you back one square. The tree trunk would takes 10 ft of movement to move through/onto instead of 5.
Cayden's blessing (as channeled through Bohrs' mug) ripples out, emboldening Calaithes who rushes forward and swings a stuck around to deftly knock the orc off his feet.
The orcs groan as the tide turns against them, but then roar as they begin to heft their axes. The one that Calaithes just tripped begins to stand up, exposing himself to further attack.
I assume that you will take offered attacks of opportunity unless you declare otherwise, and I will resolve them in initiative order so that we can keep moving.
Calaithes Hanbo AoO, Bless, Higher Ground: 1d20 + 3 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 3 + 1 + 1 = 9 Hit vs prone AC
Bludgeoning Damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4
Nicolette Earthbreaker AoO, Rage, Crowd Control, Power Attack, Bless, Higher Ground: 1d20 + 6 + 2 + 1 - 1 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 6 + 2 + 1 - 1 + 1 + 1 = 12 Hit vs prone AC
Piercing Damage, 2H: 2d6 + 6 + 3 + 2 + 1 ⇒ (3, 6) + 6 + 3 + 2 + 1 = 21 PA damage is also 150% when two-handed.
As the orc rises, Calaithes delivers a solid blow to his head, but Nicolette more than earns her nickname with a ruinous blow. One of the standing orcs' tusks goes flying with the initial impact, but the spikes on the back of the hammer careen through the orc's skull. The force of the impact knocks him clean away, where he lies still.
1d20 + 1 ⇒ (13) + 1 = 14
1d20 ⇒ 6
Orc 2 Attack, Flanking: 1d20 + 5 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 5 + 2 = 9
Orc 2 Damage: 1d12 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8
Orc 3 Attack, Flanking: 1d20 + 5 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 5 + 2 = 14
Orc 3 Damage: 1d12 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8
The only remaining uninjured orc clambers over the tree trunk and gets on the other side of Nicolette. The two orcs swing their fearsome greataxes at Nicolette at the same time. But thanks to her training with Captain Wisslo and Braggar Ironhame, she twists completely out of the way of one and feels the other hefty blade scrape against her lamellar. Both of them bellow rudely but ineffectually.
Kayle and Owens
Bohrs (Bohrs can still roll that knowledge check)
With a deft spin, she swiftly dodges to the left, then the right as bladed weapons fly past her head and very lightly connect to her armor. It's as though she's done this before. Her hammer in tow may as well be a light rapier for how proficiently she maneuvers with it.
When the orc on the far side of the log hyperextends himself in a frustrating swing to connect with her, she finds her chance. With deadly force, she ducks and continues her graceful spin, dodging the fruitless attack, but this time, she extends her hammer out. By doing so, she uses the violent, centrifical momentum to add to her swing a deadly power.
Attacking the one to the left on the far side of the log (left/west).
Melee Attack (Same): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (9) + 10 = 19 (Swift Action: Slashing Damage this time, because why not?)
Damage: 2d6 + 12 ⇒ (3, 3) + 12 = 18
If she connects, she rapidly shifts her grip on her hammer to bring it inside the arc of her swing so that the angle affects her target in such a way that the vicious edge of the hammer acts as a crude slashing blade. With this method, she has been known to decapitate dummies. This is the first time she's ever had to defend someone using it, and out of sheer curiosity, she wonders how it will affect an orc.
As the cut completes, she finishes her acrobatic spin on the log to face her other foe. As she recovers from the swinging hammer--it having pooled blood--will then send a blood spray up into the air as she brings it up above her head for her next potential swing. This blood is purposely sent toward the face of the orc she directly faces down. Her battle mannerism: cold, little emotion.
If her target does not die, she will 5-foot step off the log to the log to set up flanking on the one on the left for Cal by being below him. This should free up the on on the right to be hit by ranged weapons and not suffer penalties for being in combat, etc. If the one on the left does die, then she will move toward the one on the right; moving below him so that Cal can flank. Also, if the one on the left does die, her AC will drop by 1 to 14, her normal AC.
Calaithes considers stepping back to watch, but figures he should help if he can. With Nicolette setting him up so perfectly he steps up directly across from her and attacks.
Flanking attack: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22
damage if that hits: 1d6 + 1 + 1d6 ⇒ (2) + 1 + (2) = 5
He calls out, "QongDaqvetlh DaSov'a'? vaj bIghombe'?"
That may be the deadest orc that ever did orc.
1d20 ⇒ 1
With her vicious combat training, Nicolette does exactly as planned, as she watches as the edge of the hammer rips through muscle and bone. The head disconnects in a spray and ooze and goes flying while its former body slumps to the ground.
Calaithes sees his chance as the second orc's viscera momentarily blind the third and final would-be bandit. He steps forward and flings his stick into the back of the orc's neck.
"Ükh, khünii khog shaar!"
You didn't see it until now, and you're still not exactly sure you're right. Maybe it was something that Olmira said to you a long time ago. But as you hit the third orc this time, it feels just a little bit off. Like there's a momentary lapse of the pressure you would expect to feel when you hit someone with your hanbo. You glance over at the other two, picking up on the slightest bits of oddness. And then it hits you: these orcs aren't real! Should you tell the others?
Kayle and Owens
Bohrs (Bohrs can still roll that knowledge check)
Two down and one to go! Kayle, Owens, and Bohrs are up.
Kayle watched with a clenched jaw as Nicolette dived into the thick of things, and as two of the orcs tried to hack her apart from either angle he made an unintelligible panicked sound. But they had both missed, and in that next moment two of the orcs were dead. The third was surrounded, but he was still a lethal threat.
He barked a quick command to his dog, a light touch to Owens shoulder that sent him off like a slingstone at the remaining orc. Even as he gave a rapid spin of his sling and fired a projectile himself. He was aiming at the orc's upper torso to limit the risk of hitting his allies.
Sling into melee: 1d20 - 2 ⇒ (11) - 2 = 91d4 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4
Reacting on instinct to the subtle touch of his shoulder meant Owens barely heard the command to attack. Somewhere in the back of his mind he recognized it, but already his entire body was in action. His primary thoughts of ripping the hostile orc to pieces. A few rapid strides was all it took to bring him to the orc, and the last was made only with his back paws as he leaped up and tried to rip out the orc's throat.
Not that Owens was picky. He'd latch his teeth onto anything he could get at and tear out a mouthful.
Bite, CHARGE!: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 221d4 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
Calaithes stares at the beast in front of him.... It wasn't.... "These orcs aren't real! We fight an illusion! Don't accept what you see...."
Bohrs moved forward, drawing his rapier to threaten the last orc. While Kayle's sling stone goes wide, Owens jumps up and grabs hold of the orc. The orc roars, looking like it is staggering from the dual blows.
But then Calaithes claims that the orcs are illusory! Was he right? Bohrs, Kayle, and Nicolette peer cautiously at the last, swaying orc...
Kayle: 1d20 + 5 + 4 ⇒ (19) + 5 + 4 = 28
Nicolette: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24
...and come to the same conclusion. The snarling green man and his dead companions all still look real, but you can see them for the trick of the light that they are, complete with translucent, faintly glowing outlines.
After a few moments, the snarls quiet and the trio of orcs fade from existence. "Combat" is over!
Calaithes: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (20) + 10 = 30
Kayle: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26
Nicolette: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19
Owens: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (15) + 5 = 20
Most of you (except Bohrs) also notice an interesting smell now that the orcs have disappeared. Is that...pipe smoke?
What do you do?
Calaithes looks around the area. The illusions wouldn't leave a trace, but the caster might. And the smell.... Where was the smoker? Is there any smoke visible?
"Whoever cast the illusion is still here? Look for smoke! He, or she, was smoking, a pipe I think. The illusionist is probably invisible but we might be able to spot where he is."
Calaithes doesn't see the smoke as he glances around the clearing. It's a good theory, at least.
Note of reminder: If Nicolette drops out of her rage, she is fatigued for four rounds, so about 24 seconds. Bless will remain active for the rest of the minute before fading.
"What? An illusion?"
At first, she thinks the idea is immensely preposterous. Then, upon studying them further she makes a studious "hmm" sound.
She instinctively goes to clean off her hammer and the blood that would be collected there, but now can see that too is an illusion.
"So someone or something cast a spell? If these are not real, then is Owen able to smell the caster out?" The bodies, gore, and blood disappear and she jumps back. "Who knows what that means?" She shudders to think that someone would try to kill them with illusions. "I don't like this one bit..."
Instead of worrying about it, she does something about it. Nicolette calms herself and can feel the boiling blood within her slow to a simmer. She hides it well, but she is tired from the hasty expenditure. A light layer of sweat lies upon her forehead; having formed there just short of a few seconds ago. As she calms herself, she looks around the glade near them for signs of this pipe smoker.
Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13 Looking for the person, smoke, or their tracks.
Untrained Knowledge Local: 1d20 ⇒ 18
"Hey, doesn't that crazy old wizard Holgast smoke a pipe?," Bohrs asks when the smell of pipe smoke is mentioned. "Could he be messing with us?"
Knowledge-Local: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17
"Holgast. Yes. Wizard? That makes sense, but why.... Maybe it was a test?" He considers looking for footprints or any sign of the wizard. "We might be able to find where he was, but it would be a waste of time. Let's just continue. We've got to get the flame."
"I think you're right. The Town Fathers are making things interesting for us. Besides, I'm sure that if he can make three phantom orcs, he can make himself invisible to us as well. We can't waste time chasing pipe smoke!"
"Do you think this is an elaborate setup?" she asks her companions in a lower voice. "I mean, they picked us for a reason, right? I'd think there are real dangers as well as perhaps some pranks along the way, if indeed that's what this all was. It may have been false, but I certainly felt threatened..."
In time, she catches her breath and nods them to head onward. Where Owen and Kayle lead them is where she will follow, and having already voiced her want to cut through the forest, she allows him to decide.
This path has seen some use, and there is evidence of many people having been through here previously. On Nicolette's initial look, she can't determine fresh from old. And the smoke is hard to get a pin on a direction--she just notices that it's there. And it seems like it might be starting to fade.
Anyone searching for the suspected illusionist should make a Survival check. Owens may have the easiest time doing this thanks to his Scent ability.
If you would rather move on, I will also need a Survival check. Are you following the map (and sticking to the path) or cutting through the forest? You can either all make individual checks or pick one person to make the primary check and other people can roll to aid.
Kayle's heart rate slows as he takes a steadying breath. So the orcs weren't real, but the pipe smoke was.
"Owens!" Kayle barked out the prepatory command. Once the dog turned it's great head around cupped his muzzle in one hand and waved some of the air in his nose with the other. "Find em boy." he encouraged, and watched as the dog picked up the smoke.
The creature can detect opponents within 30 feet by sense of smell. If the opponent is upwind, the range increases to 60 feet; if downwind, it drops to 15 feet. Strong scents, such as smoke or rotting garbage, can be detected at twice the ranges noted above. Overpowering scents, such as skunk musk or troglodyte stench, can be detected at triple normal range.
When a creature detects a scent, the exact location of the source is not revealed—only its presence somewhere within range. The creature can take a move action to note the direction of the scent. When the creature is within 5 feet of the source, it pinpoints the source’s location.
A creature with the scent ability can follow tracks by smell, making a Wisdom (or Survival) check to find or follow a track. The typical DC for a fresh trail is 10 (no matter what kind of surface holds the scent). This DC increases or decreases depending on how strong the quarry’s odor is, the number of creatures, and the age of the trail. For each hour that the trail is cold, the DC increases by 2. The ability otherwise follows the rules for the Survival skill. Creatures tracking by scent ignore the effects of surface conditions and poor visibility.
The dog first turned his head back, body turning slightly as a result, when he heard his name. As his master approached and cupped his chin he inhaled deeply through his nose. While there were always interesting scents the pipe smoke stood out among the others. When the command was given there was no doubt about what his master wanted.
Owens immediately let off a deep WOOF~! and started to pursue the scent.
Survival: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13
Owens certainly catches the direction of the pipe smoke: somewhere within the bushes surrounding the clearing. With a heading in mind, he begins to dive into said bushes.
A few seconds later, there is a rustling through the bushes and foliage of the trees above, sounding almost like a very large bird crashing upwards through the branches. Owens tracks the smell of the pipe smoke to a small depression in the grass about 50 feet off the path, from where it then spirals upwards. There is a small amount of ash scattered on the ground here.
There are no other immediate signs of footprints out here in the bushes, though, as though whom (or what) ever was perched watching had simply appeared without walking. The only evidence of deflected flora is from the party themselves, first Owens and then probably Kayle.
Your quarry appears to have fled.
What do you do?
"I'm no wizard, but it wouldn't surprise me if that bird was," Bohrs says. "Perhaps we have a quick look around the immediate area? If this was a test, maybe the Town Fathers left us a reward for succeeding."
Perception: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (10) + 3 = 13
"Not a bad idea, Bohrs," she chuckles, "But I don't think they planned on being caught."
She will help search the area for a little but then would encourage them to press onward.
Survival: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 2 = 11 Because Kayle voiced a worry not to cut through the forest, we'll just stick to the path.
Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10
Gives a hearty chuckle as Owens flushes the "bird" and walks through the brush to find the spot his dog had tracked to. "You're such a good boy." he praised as he went down to a knee and petted Owens around the back of his neck and the front of his feathered chest. "Such a good boy." he reiterated before returning to the others and the task at hand.
"I think Nicolette has the right of it." Kayle remarked with another chuckle. He briefly looked back and past the treeline, but wasn't expecting to see anything. More he was just letting himself picture a startled wizard shooting through the canopy to escape his ferocious shepherd.
"C'mon boy, let's find the trail." he called after Owens, and he took up the lead again with his dog at his side. Owens sniffed about as they moved, curious if there were other interesting scents to pursue.
Survival (Kayle): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5
Survival (Owens): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13
"Quite true. He might have dropped something in his quick retreat...."
Perception to search the area: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (13) + 10 = 23
He works with the others for a quick search. "But we don't want to camp here do we? So we should get moving soon."
Bohrs' idea that Kassen's leaders may have left them a prize for their success is sound, but one of Father Prasst's common refrains echoes in his head.
"A job well done is its own reward."
After a brief search, the group at first doesn't turn up anything other than the small pile of ash. But a moment later, Calaithes finds a tanglefoot bag! The wizard, if indeed it was one, must have dropped this in his hurried escape.
It's not much longer before the group sets out. Nicolette tries her hand at reading the map, taking her cue from the others that staying on the path might be smarter (or at least what is intended). Whenever the path gets a little harder to follow, Owens noses his way confidently forward and reasserts the proper trail. After the business with the illusionary orcs, the rest of the day proceeds in peace.
Eventually, afternoon turns to evening. The sunlight begins to fade and a cold wind begins to rattle through the leafless forest. The last evidence of civilization is now miles away.
Many of you have been out in the Fangwood before, but you were usually either with someone experienced, or not too far from home. For most of you, this may be the furthest you have been away from Kassen without your mentor. And sure, you dealt with the illusionary orcs earlier, but they were just illusions. Would you have to deal with real dangers here? And if you do, then...
No one else is here for you if you get into trouble.
If you're setting up camp for the evening, someone please roll me a Survival check. What are you all discussing as the evening gets on?
As the cold evening starts to dim the colorful sky above, Nicolette's eyes go to collecting firewood and kindling along the way. She asks each one there to do the same so they can have a nice fire this evening. She will even burden herself to her heavy load weight if needed. If they are lucky, perhaps they also can find some food to add to their rations will be as well?
Survival (Searching for Wood/food): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
Before it is completely dark, she will stop them to set up camp. Some would have to work to set up the tent. She will start the fire. No sense in doing it in the darkness, right? Being someone who has traveled the forest most of her life, she knows that there are many dangers out there and will plan accordingly. She wants to find a space just off the path, within trees so the wind won't freeze them out, and will want bushes on many sides of their encampment so that predators can only come at them from one or two angles, if at all. Once she finds a good spot, they can get going.
"We need a fire going most of the night, as I think it will be cold, and at least one person on watch at all times. I'll take the middle watch. Most trouble would likely happen around those hours, I'd think. Who wants to get dinner started?"
Once the fire is going she will check on the tent's construction and how the meal might be progressing. Her own rations are simple, but with toasting her bread a little and melting the cheese, it can taste far better. Especially if they found anything extra.
When Nicolette sets off to forage on her own Kayle waves Owens off after her. The big dog first acts as if they are going out to play, brushing against her for attention and bouncing through the brush. Then as they get outside the camp he moves quietly with his nose up scenting, or he sniffs at the ground to track a particular scent.
Survival (Owens): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (16) + 5 = 21
Kayle himself begins to set up his cooking supplies before he considers what he might make. While they all had enjoyed their lunches while traveling he wanted to make something particularly good. Considering this he got out his iron skillet and a stock pot. "I'll refill anyone's water source now, if they would like." he abruptly announced before he used an orison to conjure water. With the stock pot full he set it aside with the skillet on top.
Then, he pulled a small crystal bottle from his pack that was covered in a small velvet bag. Not that he thought Bohrs would swipe it, but he'd prefer not to have to turn the man down if he asked for a drink. If Nicolette and Owens could find some meat he could make a fine dinner.
Going to make this check in advance so I can describe the meal if those two succeed.
Profession: Cook: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26
Bohrs gets to work setting up his tent, and helps anyone else who needs assistance doing so.
Once the tents are up, he offers to help wherever he can. He is not an experienced woodsman, so he follows the lead of whoever he is working with.
Once camp is set-up, and the fire is going he pulls out his skin of ale and offers it to the group.
"Does anyone want an ale?" he asks. Whether or not anyone accepts, he pours a measure into his own tankard, and drinks deeply.
Calaithes joins in as camp is set up. He isn't the outdoors.... person that Nicolette or Kayle are, but could provide some help. He gladly gets out of the way when Kayle starts cooking. Had he tried he might be able to burn the pan!
"Thanks Kayle. I'll refill my skin. That's useful."
"No thanks Bohrs. I enjoy a bit while back tending the bar. But I think I'll stick to water out here. I'm still a bit nervous and don't want to make any mistakes. That test with the illusion orcs makes me concerned that we're being watched."
"Maybe Bohrs should take first watch and Kayle the last. Don't casters need uninterrupted sleep? Nicolette can take second and I'll take third. Pity we don't have anyone that can see in total darkness!"
He takes out the tanglefoot bag that he'd found and looks it over critically. "This thing seems strange for a weapon. Imagine if you carried it on your belt and an enemy happened to hit it with an arrow or sling stone? You'd be entangled just as if the enemy had hit you with it! Does anyone else want to take it?"