Did you leave Gwen outside?
Gwen observes a spirited ranged battle between the Black Arrows, Shalelu and various ogres. They seem to be holding their own very easily.
North tunnel? Great.
A deep ravine stretches across this cavern, splitting
The bridge is visibly in terrible condition, likely to collapse.
If someone crosses it:
DC 20 Reflex to halve 5d6 ⇒ (5, 3, 1, 6, 5) = 20 damage
If someone scrutinizes the bottom:
The skeleton of an unlucky halfling thief
lies at the bottom of the ravine. His pack contains a
broken flask, some prospecting tools, and a pouch with
two large garnets, each worth 100 gp. His trusty +1
mithral short sword is still sheathed at his side.
Moving further on, you spy the entrance to a small antechamber, and a secret passageway to the west.
1d20 + 5 ⇒ (12) + 5 = 17
Working together, in short order the lizards are cut down.
A quick peek amid the crates provides some treasure.
You spy a tunnel leading north, and a passageway leading down and west. From Jakardros' description, it leads to the fort's underground warrens, and cells.
After a brief huddle, Jakardros, Vale and Shalelu step forward. The chief ranger speaks.
"Lads... a moment."
"Look, we've been thinking- all of us are handy with bows, we know how to ferry those ogres around where we want 'em, and if any dare step outside the walls, we'll mess them up good."
"So... Howsabout a two-pronged attack. We'll take positions and set up covering fire, take down as many as we can... meanwhile, you sneak in through the waterfall passage, and take out their leaders."
Jakardros hesitates, then looks down. "I... don't ask you to do this lightly, but- I reckon this is our best chance for success, with the fine recon you've done, miss Raven."
Shalelu hesitates, but nods. "...he's right. The way you fellows are now, I'd just be a liability if I got tangled up in those corridors. This is your fight. And we know you can do it. Right?" Vale nods firmly. "Right!"
Once the agreement is made and plans drawn up- they take their positions, sight their targets and let loose a volley, eliciting roars of fury and pain from the ogre lines.
You bolt for the waterfall.
The floor of this cave is dotted with puddles. Patches of pale moss and fungus grow in sheets on the wall, while to the north, a five-foot-wide passageway angles up into darkness. A walkway of soggy planks leads from this opening southeast to a second opening curtained by cascades of falling water.
The floor is wet, and slippery DC 12 Acrobatics to cross.
Make any buffing or other preparations you want. When ready, deeper into the cave-
The floor, walls, and ceiling of this cool, damp cave are coated from floor to ceiling in soft, dark gray fungus. Several crates are stacked in a nook to the northwest.
You spy two creatures. These dog-sized lizard has two horns, one on either side of its head, and green scales that crackle with sparks of lightning. They start with surprise at you.
Remember you're currently positioned back in the first cave, move yourself up to the next cave before taking your actions.
Long week, sorry.
Senna nods. "...aye. I'll hold down the fort in case they come back, or if they send further agents." She pauses, and surveys you all. "...good luck. Kalsgard is counting on you."
Moving along through the streets, they show the signs of Hela's host's passing; doors ripped open, produce pulled out onto the street. A few shopkeepers try to return their goods to their stores, others just watch nervously from the windows. Still more wrong hands and ask you and any other passers-by about whether they should go to the palace to ask about missing sons, daughters and other family members.
Soon enough you arrive at the hall set aside for White Estrid's retinue; an ancient meeting-hall for the then-small town of Kalsgard, made of ancient, strong wood. Warm light streams from the windows, the doors are thrown open, and you hear the loud susurration of many people conversing. A few guards stand out the front; they come to attention as you approach. "Hail! Are you here for King Estrid's party?"
Map updated, though you're not necessarily in yet.
Let's see. Looks like there might still be some battle damage.
So, go for the East gate, and you should be alright.
Actually... would you mind taking some OOC factors into account in deciding your battle plan? I'd be really grateful if I didn't have to manage 3-4 more NPCs (Jakardros, Vale, Shalelu, fireplet companion) in every single battle until the fort is cleared out.
Perhaps have them handle the enemies in the courtyard while you sneak around via the waterfall?
Are you sure you want to proceed with this plan? They may not react the same way since a significant fraction of their force has teared off to fight 'you'. In fact, that you are here peppering them with arrows may indicate that something has gone wrong, and they'd better shutter the gates and hide before something goes wrong.
Though you'd still be able to pick off a few stragglers.
With a series of quick blows, the landscape of the fight is dramatically changed- the wizard and the cleric both drop to the ground, the latter speared through bodily by Haldern's sphere. Twitching, their mouths jut open and a vile creature that looks like a four-legged brain emerges from both- bloodied and fallen.
Eyes wide and tongues rolling in an inhuman expression of shock, the remaining two regardless move up, and assault Daniel.
1d20 + 24 ⇒ (13) + 24 = 37 2d6 + 29 ⇒ (4, 4) + 29 = 37
1d20 + 15 ⇒ (15) + 15 = 30 1d4 + 13 + 7d6 ⇒ (4) + 13 + (5, 4, 6, 5, 2, 4, 3) = 46
Senna summons another serpent of flame.
14d6 ⇒ (2, 5, 2, 4, 3, 3, 4, 1, 1, 6, 3, 2, 3, 1) = 40
The rogue dodges, the fighter is scorched horribly.
The other archers ready arrows.
Go everyone, then Kenja
Kenja, with respect to your stealth check and the like, I don't believe you've taken steps to prevent others hearing the sound of your spellcasting? Something to keep in mind.
The four intellect begin their assault with ghastly precision.
Taking cover behind the fence, holding forth her unholy symbol, the woman calls down divine fire upon Haldern.
Roll me reflex against DC 24, rolling twice and taking the worst, to halve 14d6 ⇒ (1, 3, 2, 1, 4, 5, 4, 4, 2, 6, 2, 6, 3, 1) = 44 fire damage.
Moving behind his comrades, the elderly man raises a hand and waves, casting a spell that cause the three of them to vanish, and reappear behind Daniel.
The dagger-wielder unleashes and flurry of blows.
Daniel, for any of those that hit, take 2 points of strength damage, and -4 to AC against attacks from this character.
Holding a large greatsword, the dwarf clobbers Daniel.
Senna and her allies get into action. "TARGET THE CLERIC! Alric, Rudo- ready shots for when she casts!"
1d20 + 10 ⇒ (4) + 10 = 14 1d8 + 14 + 1d8 + 14 ⇒ (8) + 14 + (1) + 14 = 37
1d20 + 10 ⇒ (11) + 10 = 21 1d8 + 14 + 1d8 + 14 ⇒ (6) + 14 + (2) + 14 = 36
1d20 + 10 ⇒ (1) + 10 = 11 1d8 + 14 + 1d8 + 14 ⇒ (8) + 14 + (8) + 14 = 44
Confirm 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (8) + 10 = 18 1d8 + 14 ⇒ (3) + 14 = 17
The flurry smashes through the cleric's body, sending her staggering from the impact- though at the pain her face contorts in a terrible ecstasy.
Looking very injured.
All- AW Com
Senna summons a writhing fiery chain to coruscate around Daniel, incinerating his attackers.
The dagger-wielder skips easily over it, the rest are harshly scorched.
Go Daniel, Haldern, Ganorok, then Kenja
I added a line to represent Ganorok's labyrinth. By my calculations that's the 4x 10ft squares it can occupy at CL 1. Upon touching it you get a DC 11 Will save to disbelieve, and anyone who knows it's an illusion gets +4 on the save.
Let's get this going, then.
A few spells seem to be shining on your foes.
With malicious intent, the four begin to climb onto your property.
All- AW Com
Mmm, sorry. As you can imagine, the map isn't much designed for an outside fight.
I'm interpreting the front door as being the middle-north door on the first floor, with that leading onto the street.
I had pictured you lot flinging spells out of the window and using the house as fortification. If you'd like to instead make this an outside fight and leave it to the NPCs to defend, you're welcome to. Either way I'll expand the map to work outside now.
The trick to understand Fort Rannick is in the name; it's a fort. Not some wizardly sealed necropolis, not a tomb-pyramid of some long-dead king. It's a simple collection of stone walls and iron bars in a strategically promising section of the country, manned by men who'd lay down their lives rather than let invaders move past and harm their families.
In essence- it proves as hard to get into as a grandmother's old lockbox for the quick-eyed intelligent raven.
Since PBP and to prevent matters slowing down, going to skip over things in a way that may contravene player agency. If you've got objections at any point, I can retcon.
Isme has +15 disable device, +17 stealth and +16 perception. And, assuming you're willing to spend... call it two uses of Vanish...
With Reynard watching for moving ogres, Isme speeds around the complex on ebony wings. Most of the buildings haven't fared well during and after the attack- cracks are everywhere, windows still open, chimneys abandoned in favor of outdoor cooking fires. The raven is almost never spotted, and when she is, a few seconds of pecking at the dirt is enough to distract any attention other than an annoyed wave for her to 'git.' She's unable to examine the waterfall cave- the rushing water proves too strong for her small frame.
Eventually, she spies her entrance- beyond the courtyard wall, an inner door left open by the brutish ogres. A few others doors block her way but, listening for patrols, she easily makes her way past them.
Peering into rooms through keyholes where she can and avoiding trouble, she eventually makes her escape, returning to the party.
Map updated with enemies where you could see them. If you'd like to do another run being a bit braver about peering into places of opening doors, welcome to.
Map very much updated.
Mmm, quite. Isme is a literal raven, and this is an absolutely fine time to put that to use.
It's also worth noting that a reason the ambush plan is effective is that, as far as the fellows at the fort know, nothing's gone wrong. As far as they're concerned their comrades will return to the fort in an hour or two, successful or otherwise.
Mmm; it's a very practicable idea. Should seal them in nicely.
I'm afraid to tell you though that it's likely a bit unnecessary.
If you guys just run right into the fort, chances are every troll in the place is going to come straight for you. I'm sure there might be one or two who'll turn and run, but that's not an enormous problem- there's no one elsewhere as far as is known to warn.
Welcome to continue with it if you want; perhaps you might want to take down all of them.
Returning home, the mood is grim- bars have been readied for the windows, potions and bandages laid out on the table.
Speaking with her guards for a moment, Senna turns to the rest of you; for once, she looks uncertain.
"Friends... we are at your order."
Six guards (level 7 archers) and Senna (Monk 1 Sorcerer 10). Arrange them on the map as you wish, and make what preparations you wish.
Senna offers to cast Mage Armor on anyone who needs it.
To save some time, I'm going to jump us ahead- after an hour- to the arrival of your foes. Feel free to detail what preparations you make in addition to your responses.
They arrive as a crowd; silent in voice, loud in movements. A few warriors but mostly servants- maids, butlers, pageboys. Hela and Bartholm. Passers-by and well-wishes are shushed and shoved away; an aura of menace fills the air as the stand in a semi-circle, staring at the house. Peering closer, you pick out a few oddities. Some of them carry large chunks of food- hams and whole chickens, and are tearing off pieces like animals. Others are sexually entwined like teens, groping, kissing, scratching.
Hela takes a step forward, and turns to her group. "And so, we come to our last impediment. Who will end them for me?" Their faces are expressionless, you can still almost see the flurry of telepathic arguing- before four step forward drawing weapons, unholy symbols, spellbooks.
A dwarven woman clutching a greatsword most of the size of her lifts it easily over one shoulder. A young teen lad of maybe seventeen winters hefts two daggers with disturbing experience. An elderly man with an eyepatch and a butcher's tunic stained red flicks through a vellum spellbook with easty twitches. A stout human woman hefts a shiled and an unholy symbol of Lamashtu.
Hela turns to the rest of you, and smiles, strangely; lips stretched by brute motion and tension, and not by an comprehensible human emotion. "I can't say if you leave you live, intruders- when we claim Senna and the rest, our secrecy will serve us well."
She and the rest of her group stroll off towards their next party, as the four approach.
No initiative yet.
He gulps, his eyes widen... and a circle of harsh faces wear him down.
If I wanted to run this 'straight' it would take quite a few posts to worm the information out of him- so I'l just assume you continue asking him questions.
He spills his guts.
Once a well-serving member of the Arrows, he started attending the gambling hall since about a year ago... and he and its mistress, Lucrecia, fell in love.
...and then he started stealing from the Black Arrows to fund his gambling binges.
...and then Lucrecia started showing an inordinate interest in the operations of the Black Arrows.
...and he supplied her with patrol and route information that were likely crucial to the fort's takeover by the ogres.
He just didn't expect to get caught by the Graug family.
Jakardros and Vale need to be physically restrained from gutting the traitor.
Jakardros blinks in surprise. "That star?"
Kaven goes to speak then pauses, looking away. "I-i-it's nothing important. Just a tattoo."
Vale nods in agreement with Wyam. "Desertion, and further you broke our ambush, Kaven... this is the stuff that loses men their heads."
Would speed up getting stuff out of him if someone rolled something; intimidate, diplomacy, bluff, etc.
Can I suggest you cast it on him while he's unconscious so he automatically fails his saving throw, counting as willing?
Before Wyam wakes him up, Vale and Jakardros secure him in a practiced fashion- stripping him carefully of weapons, searching his clothing and binding his hands and feet.
Amid the search, you spy a sihedron rune tattoo on his left wrist beneath his clothes, similar to that of the passer-by back at the town. The pair of Black Arrows seem to pay it no mind.
The man staggers himself back to unconscious. "W-wha..." he looks around and gulps, quickly white-faced. "I... I'm sorry. The fight, the capture- I've lost my nerve." He looks shame-facedly to the ground. "I'm no good to any of you I guess..."
The woman nods slowly, eyeing you, before finally speaking. "King Senna, in our lands- King regardless of man or woman. There's a long series of legends and tales reponsible for that, but, it's impolite to utter it in completion to foreigners." She studies you a little longer, then makes to move off. "Fair fortune to you all."
So, skip ahead and jump to prepping for assault at Senna's home, unless there's anything you'd like to do here?
A whirlwind of pebbles and gravel whirls around the battlefield.
Followed by a blaze of fire.
Ogre Reflexes 1d20 ⇒ 8 1d20 ⇒ 8 1d20 ⇒ 4
Three ogres are consumed by the blaze and the battering rocks.
Working together with his trusty steed, Wyam downs another.
The remaining ogre, dazed and grinning like a loon, stands there heedless of the carnage surrounding him.
Kaven gasps as Array's blow lands.
He drops to the ground mid-stride, struck low, snoring.
Call it combat over for now.
After the final ogre is dealt with, Jakardros and Vale rise from their ambush-spots. The one-eyed captain nods grimly. "Just like the old campaigns... lure 'em out from their slaughtering-caves, then rain hell down on them... though a few more pyrotechnics this time."