Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thursday 12 July 1280, Afternoon (The Mouth of the Serpent)

Oloc scratches his head as he ponders the new complications to the situation.

"As for Swede's news, I say we keep an eye out for the 'reinforcements'. He may be telling the truth, but to be honest, I am more concerned with saving my skin than being a judge of Alanna's previous love interests."

"First priority has got to be getting Ollie back. He must have been jumped by a bandit patrol." Oloc looks at the torn piece of cloth again. "I'm no hero but we can't leave the boy - that wouldn't be right."

He looks at the others. "So, our hand seems to be forced. I say we go in after Ollie."

"It does indeed look like Ollie has been taken," says Duran.  "If our ... friend ... here is willing to join us I think we stand an even better chance to getting Ollie back," Duran continues gesturing to the hobgoblin. "Either way we need to get Ollie back."

Varros agrees that the group's top priority should be finding Ollie, as does Gaven: "Yes, we must rescue Ollie."

Oloc then looks at the hobgoblin. "Can we count on you to fight?"

Swede nods and says: "You bested me, and I've got nowhere else to go. You can count on me."

"Swede, we will see if you are a hobgoblin of your word," Gaven says patting his club head in his hand. "However, if you move to betray us, I will smite you."

The bounty hunter grunts.

Gaven adds: "We will have to be on guard. The villains have had time to re-fortify."


The party cautiously advances toward the mouth of the cave that serves the Red Serpent as a hideout. As you approach the opening, you see that the bandit who was previously ordered to clean up the area did his job relatively well. A path has been cleared through the rubble, and the dead bandits have been laid off to the side, all in a row, cloaks draped over their faces.

As you move past them, Swede lets out an almost inaudible whistle. "You boys don't fool around do you? I imagine there can't be too many left inside."

Entering the cave mouth, it takes a moment for your eyes to adjust to the dim light inside. Bill quickly lights a torch, enabling you to see a bit better.

The cave you've entered is quite large, about 50-60' wide across its narrowest dimensions, and curving around to the north.

About 40-50' in, you spot Ollie lying immobile on the cave floor. Much to your relief, you discover that he is merely unconscious, albeit with a rather nasty bruise on his forehead. 

You note a rather large puddle of blood on the floor next to him. Beside the puddle is a long, thin, extremely sharp shard of stone – similar in texture and color to that of the stone which you made fall in the entrance. The dagger-like fragment of stone also glistens with blood on its sharp end, from the pointed tip and continuing several inches up its length. The puddle of blood on the floor smears off into a streaked blood trail around the corner leading to the northern area of the cavern.

Quietly following the blood trail, you notice an extinguished campfire in the middle of the cavern, a stack of firewood along the west wall, and about a half dozen unused torches leaning against the wall nearby.

The blood trail itself leads to the curled up figure of a bandit on the floor next to the pile of firewood. Your first reaction is that he might be dead.

Getting a better look at the rest of the cavern, you note that there are tunnels leading out of the area to the east and to the north. The air to the east seems particularly damp and cool.

Suddenly from the position of the bandit you initially assumed was dead, you hear a sob and a weak voice that wimpers: "I don't want to die."

Approaching the fetal form of the bleeding bandit, you notice that he has an extremely deep gash on the inside of his thigh. It seems fairly clear to you that a major artery has been severed and that the bandit doesn't have much time. Looking at his face you see that he is very young – perhaps no more than fifteen or sixteen years old – and his skin is pale as death itself. He appears to be the one Mackey was ordering around earlier to get the mess in front of the cave cleaned up.

The dying bandit suddenly notices your presence. "Mackey?" he addresses you. "I got one of 'em. One of them as killed our men." His breath gets shorter. "I did good, right?" he asks. "I tried to do good." A sob catches in the young bandit's throat once more. "I wanna go home," he says. "I want my mum." He grits his teeth and tears stream down his cheeks.


OOC: Actions?

Sorry I didn't post a bit sooner, guys. Work has been especially unkind this week.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thursday 12 July 1280, Afternoon (Good Cop? Bad Cop?)

As the others question the hobgoblin Duran, bow at the ready, steps into the woods and slowly circles the group keeping an eye out for anything and hoping to find a sign of Ollie.

Gaven addresses Swede's accusation of Alanna: "I have little reason to trust you hobgoblin. Explain your sullying of Alanna's name. What is her and Mackey's relationship? Why are the freelancers untrustworthy? And why would she deal with the likes of you?"

The hobgoblin replies: "Alanna? Share secrets with me? Hmph! Not in a thousand years, she wouldn't. But I know certain people of low repute, who occasionally have information."

"It cost me a couple of ales, and I don't know how my source learned this, but from what I hear, Alanna and Mackey were an item. More than just business partners, though they were in business, too. He kept his bandit activity limited enough that she could turn a blind eye, while simultaneously taking a percentage of what he and his men stole."

"But Mackey's rivalry with Messer, up north, got the better of him. Messer started expanding, making a name for himself and his Grey Fox band. I've heard that Messer's even taken up headquarters in Blackwell – and that takes some sizeable stones."

"So Mackey wants his name on the fear-trembling lips of every traveller as well, and starts robbing folks left and right. As an officer of the guard, corrupt though she may be, Alanna can't let him do that – not uncontrolled. That level of activity just can't be kept quiet. So she breaks off the deal and the relationship. Mackey changes hideouts, and the lieutenant starts trying to hunt him down."

"My guess is those reinforcements she's sending you are ruffians who plan to simply kill Mackey on sight so he can't talk. They may even be under orders to kill anyone who already has him prisoner. And Alanna will imagine her little secret to be safe forever."

"I can tell you this, too. Knowing what I do, I had no intention of bringing Mackey back to her alive, myself. If I did that, there's no way she'd believe that he didn't tell me about their deal, and I'd spend the rest of my life looking over my shoulder."

"If you want my advice, don't turn your back on those freelancers for a second, and don't take Mackey prisoner. Just kill him – it may save all our lives."

"Alright Swede, says Varros. "It appears that we need to work together for now." Varros makes introductions and then assists Duran. He asks Gaven to watch the cave mouth.

"I am concerned about Ollie's absence." Oloc rubs his chin. "He wasn't wounded was he? Did anyone see what direction he went in?"

No one knows for sure, though Jack says he thinks Ollie headed north. With no better info, Oloc helps look for the missing lad, but not stray too far afield himself. Stan offers to help as well.

So Gaven, Gweneth and Jack, keeping a close eye on Swede, move up the trail toward the cave mouth to take up a surveillance position, while the searchers begin to beat the brush for signs of Ollie, linking up with Duran on the way.

Karnak is the first to spot something, some yards north of the path to the bandit cave. Alighting on a branch, the raven gives out a quiet squawk. The rest of the search group soon comes upon him, and see that caught on that branch is a torn piece of shirt sleeve – the same shade of blue Ollie was wearing. A thorough search of the vicinity reveals broken twigs, smashed brush and trampled undergrowth all around, as if a brief struggle took place. You see no blood at all, but it appears that something heavy was dragged east, gradually angling in toward the trail in the direction of the bandits' cave.

The search party follows the path of the dragging, and the path finally converges with the bandit trail itself, almost on top of the overwatch position now occupied by Gaven and the group with him.


OOC: Actions?  Time is now about 3:00 p.m.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thursday 12 July 1280, Afternoon (What Swede Has to Say for Himself)

Gaven takes a long drink of water after binding his wounds. Before standing up to survey the situation, Gaven says a prayer of thanks to the Light for allowing his survival of what he thought were grievious wounds. Standing, Gaven stretches a bit to test his work. Once he satisfactorily fixes them he retrieves his spear and moves behind Swede with his club in his hand.

Oloc walks over to Swede and shakes his head."This was all unnecessary. Your men now lie dead because you wouldn't listen to me."

Swede looks at his dead companions and grunts.

The big hobgoblin sets the butt of his crossbow on the ground, so that it points up in the air, targeting no one. "So," he says, "What now?"

The Mage calls out (not TOO loudly) to the hirelings, hoping they'll hear him. Stan, who had already made contact with Duran, arrives just as Oloc calls out. The mage directs Stan to retrieve his weapons and Oloc does the same.

Turning to the others, Oloc adds. "We still have some time before the reinforcements arrive. I suggest we bind Swede and form up into a tighter defensive position. Perhaps Karnak can stay aloft as an eye in the sky for us, should any more unwanted visitors approach."

Putting his axe away and drawing his bow, Duran nods in agreement with Oloc's plan as he keeps a watchful eye on the Swede.

"Perhaps the noise we have made will draw a few fellows out of the cave that we can waylay," he adds hoping to put a positive spin on what has just happened.

Varros nods in agreement with Duran at Oloc's plan. He then calls to Karnak and praises him while rewarding him with a bit of meat. "Karnak, if you continue to prove your mettle so often you may find yourself too fat to fly!"

The raven affectionately nips Varros' finger, then takes off, evidently understanding his own role in Oloc's proposed plan.

Varros then offers to take a look at Swede's wounds and bind them, but the hobgoblin raises a hand to indicate his ministrations are not needed.

Varros continues: "Swede, you now find yourself in quite the predicament, what do you propose we do with you? I for one know that our companion Gaven would just as soon smash your skull to bits with his club."

Gaven looks at the hobgoblin menacingly as Varros mentions his name.  

Varros adds: "Do you have a better suggestion?"

The bounty hunter looks around the group, especially at Oloc. "You'll have no need to bind me," he says rubbing his chest where Oloc's magic missile struck him. "I'll be no trouble." He stands and removes the quarrel from his crossbow. He holds it out for all to see, pinched between his index and thumb, and gently places it into his quiver. Swede looks as sincere and earnest as you imagine a hobgoblin bounty hunter could.

"Besides," he says, "you may actually need me before this is all over. I wouldn't put too much trust in those reinforcements you say Alanna sent you."

Anticipating your question he quickly says: "Oh, they'll come here alright, just as you expect. But you should know that she and Mackey have a history, though she's managed to keep that quiet. And I hear that story hasn't been a pretty one of late. Those reinforcements? I'll wager she's sending you some kind of freelancers, rather than king's men, or I'm a kobold. You can mark my words that no good will come of that."

As Swede utters these last few words, Gweneth, Jack, and Bill wander up to you, and pick up their weapons from the dead hobgoblins at Oloc's instruction. Ollie, however, still has not returned.

You also neither see nor hear any sign of bandit activity.


OOC: Actions?

Swede is still unbound, for the moment, as I figured he would give his "you-don't-need-to-bind-me" statement before you would actually do it. You can, of course, still attempt to bind him anyway. I just didn't know if you'd still want to or not after his statement.

If you have any questions for Swede, just go ahead and send me a list, as usual.

Also, thanks for the feedback guys, I appreciate it! I'll keep those explantions/clarifications coming then.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thursday 12 July 1280, Afternoon (Pale death, with impartial tread)

Breathing heavily, Gaven says to Karnak, "Thank you Karnak, You are a worthy companion..."

Hearing the commotion and seeing Oloc running towards him, Gaven hides himself with his back against a tree. Now comparatively safe, he rips his cloak and begins to bind his wounds.

Varros continues to attack Anders with his sword, calling out to Karnak to attack as he does so. Karnak immediately dives to Varros' aid. Anders presses forward, but the combination of Varros' flashing steel and Karnak's slashing talons is too much for him, and the hobgoblin is soon lying lifeless on the ground before them.

Oloc runs past his comrades in the hope that they can draw off the chasing hobgoblin, causing him to stop short and deal with them, giving him the time to prepare his spell.

Meanwhile, guessing where Swede is headed, Duran slings his bow over his shoulder and draws his axe rushing towards Oloc and Gaven in order to meet the hobgoblin with his axe when he appears.

Oloc dashes past Gaven and Varros and takes up a position in cover beyond them, just as Anders breathes his last.  The mage turns to face the oncoming hobgoblin; Gaven and Varros follow his gaze.

From the west, they see Swede rush out toward them, and then from the south Duran appears unexpectedly, axe raised to intercept. Swede is quick to react, but with Duran coming to his right, there is no way he can turn and shoot his crossbow in time. Instead he thrusts the butt of the weapon at Duran's head, but to little effect. Duran makes a clean cut with his axe, catches only Swede's leather vambrace, which glows slightly and sparks as the axe hits it. Swede, however, seems unharmed by the blow.

As Duran engages the head bounty hunter, Oloc draws the scroll tucked into his belt. He focuses his mind and reads the writing upon the parchment. As he does so, the parchment begins to burn with a red flame that consumes each word as the mage gives voice to them.

As Oloc speaks the final syllable, the flame expands into three swirling crimson spirals that wind and writhe around his entire body. With a violent gesture Oloc points his hand directly at Swede, and the summoned energy gathers itself into a single searing beam of light that strikes the hobgoblin full in the chest.

The hobgoblin is kicked backward a good five feet by the blast, and lands hard on the ground. Winded and barely able to speak, the bounty hunter raises a hand and gasps: "No more, I yield."

Three bounty hunters lie dead, Gaven is wounded but has stopped the flow of blood, and Swede is lying on the ground, slightly dazed, but still with a loaded crossbow.

Thin rays of sunlight filter through the trees, catching the last of the dust in glittering sparkles as it settles around the dead.


OOC:  Actions?

Note: due to binding (which restores 1d4 hp), Gaven is now back up to 6 hp.

Time now is 2:30 p.m.

Reminder: your reinforcements are expected around 6 p.m. As I mentioned in the post before this encounter began (, if your plan is to wait for the reinforcements, we'll go to one WM check per hour; if no WMs appear, we'll just jump ahead to when the reinforcements arrive (once any interactions with Swede are done, of course – though your interactions with Swede will just be counted as part of the first hour, in terms of WM checks).

Reminder: your hirelings are scattered and have no weapons; Oloc has no weapon either (the weapons are held by the dead hobs).


Combat Details:

A. Varros/Karnak vs. Anders

Initiative: Varros/Karnak – 1; Anders – 5

Attacks Varros: d20 = 10 + 1 (normal to hit bonus for his HD) = 12 (miss)

Attacks Anders: d20 =14 (hit); d6 = 5 (Anders killed)

Attacks Anders: d20 = 18 + 1 (normal to hit bonus for his HD) = 19 (hit); d6 = 5 (Anders very definitely dead).

B. Duran vs. Swede

Initiative: Duran – 1; Swede – 2

Attacks Duran (butt of crossbow): 2 + 2 (normal to hit bonus for his HD) = 4 (miss)

Attacks Swede: d20 = 13 (miss)

C. Oloc:

Casts Magic Missile at Swede: auto-hit, d6+1 = 6 (Swede wounded)

D. Gaven:

Binds wounds: d4 = 4 hp regained.


Note on initiative (just for transparency): normally I've been doing group initiative; in this case (the last few posts), since the party was so dispersed, I broke things down into what seemed like logical groupings. As a rule I'll use group initiative unless it seems to really make more sense to split it up for some reason (as here). In some extreme cases I'll just assign positions in the sequence. For example, here it just made sense to me that Gaven's unopposed action of getting to cover and binding would really be immediate, and therefore first, no initiative rolled. Similarly Oloc taking a move action and then casting a spell seemed to be a "lengthy" full-round kind of thing that would logically just come at the end, again no roll.

One question: I tend to put these explanations in the end of posts where I make judgment calls that depart from or bend the rules as written. I'm not sure whether you guys are really interested in the explanations or not. If you find them distracting, I'll stop including them. If you're interested in seeing my rationales, I'll be happy to keep putting them in. I'm okay going either way. Let me know your thoughts please?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thursday 12 July 1280, Afternoon (An Increasingly Bloody Affair)

Hearing that the fight has already started behind, Oloc realizes now is the time for action.

"Run," he shouts to the hirelings as he darts back towards the path in the direction of the cave.

As Oloc runs east, the hirelings scatter, sprinting away from Swede in different directions. Gweneth and Jack disappear into the trees north and northeast respectively, while Stan moves southeast, roughly toward Duran's position.

The hobgoblin bounty hunter swears in his native language, but doesn't take a shot, as the four party members dash too quickly into the cover of the woods. With a snarl, he takes off running up the path in the direction of the fighting.

As Swede makes chase, Duran turns to cover Oloc's flight. He draws back on his bow and lets fly with two arrows, but between the cover and the moving target, neither missile finds its mark. Then Stan practically stumbles into Duran, panting heavily, as Swede, Oloc, and the other two hirelings move out of Duran's line of sight.


Up the trail, Varros drops his bow and draws his sword, attempting to kill Anders, whom he had sidestepped. Unfortunately his blow swings high as his adversary ducks. The hobgoblin ripostes with a vicious hack, but Varros successfully deflects it with his blade. 

At the same time, Gaven throws aside his spear, grabs his club and attacks Lars, "For the Light!" The cleric swings the club in a mighty arc – in the shadows beneath the dark canopy of trees, the trailing curve behind it seems to glow faintly with a silvery light. The hobgoblin nearly dodges Gaven's swing, but the club catches Lars' shoulder.

Unfazed by the sudden appearance of the magical weapon in Gaven's hand, Lars strikes back, once more slicing Gaven with his axe, this time across the cleric's left thigh (OOC: Gaven takes another 1 hp of damage). Gaven is now bleeding profusely from his two wounds, and he staggers.

Suddenly, from above, Karnak streaks down into the fight, raking Lars' neck, face and throat with his talons. The cuts go deep, and Lars falls, blood spurting from the gashes.


Oloc, rapidly outdistancing Swede, soon comes up the trail and enters upon the scene of the mêlée just in time to see Gaven take his second wound and to see Karnak's swift attack. The mage can see that Varros is holding his own, but Gaven looks to be in bad shape, though out of immediate danger since Lars is down. As he takes in the situation before him, Oloc can hear Swede pounding up the trail behind, perhaps some 20 to 30 feet distant by the sound.


OOC: Actions?

  • No one can see the hirelings or Swede, Gweneth or Jack.
  • Oloc can hear Swede pounding up the trail behind him, and can see Varros, Gaven, Karnak,  Anders, Duran and Stan.
  • Varros, is preoccupied with his own situation – he is now directly aware only of Anders. He still has a vague sense of Oloc's direction, but he doesn't know exactly where he is (i.e., he doesn't know Oloc has run back, or that Swede is right behind Oloc), and he of course is aware of Duran's position (but doesn't know Stan is there too).
  • Gaven, upon looking around, can see Duran, Stan, Varros, Karnak, Oloc and Anders.
  • Duran can see Varros, Gaven, Karnak, Lars and Anders, and, at the end of the round, can now make out Oloc, who has just entered into view at the edge of the combat scene. While he cannot see Swede, he knows that Swede was following after Oloc, and he has a rough sense of where Swede must be.

Note: Gaven is now down to 2 h.p. (one more hit is all but guaranteed to finish him off).


Combat Detail:

Initiative: Varros and Gaven – 2, Hobgoblins – 1

A. Swede's reaction roll (no initiative roll) indicated no shot + running to help in the fight (which dictated the sequence: Oloc runs, Swede follows, Duran shoots)

Shoots at Swede: d20 = 6 + 2 (close range) -1 (cover) = 7 (miss)
Shoots at Swede: d20 = 5 + 2 (close range) -1 (cover) = 6 (miss)

B. Varros and Gaven fight Lars and Anders

Attacks Anders: d20 =12 (miss)

Attacks Lars: d20 = 16 + 1 (Maggie's Ribbon) = 17 (hit); d6 = 1 + 1 (Maggie's Ribbon) = 2 (Lars wounded)

Attacks Varros: d20 = 13 +1 (normal to hit bonus for his HD) = 14 (miss)

Attacks Gaven: d20 = 16 + 1 (normal to hit bonus for his HD) = 17 (hit); d6 = 1 (Gaven wounded)

C. Karnak (passes "arrives-on-scene" roll and gets one attack at end of round)

Attacks Lars: d20 = 17 + 1 (normal to hit bonus for his HD) +2 (from above, unseen) = 20 (hit); d6 = 1 (Lars killed)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thursday 12 July 1280, Afternoon (Who Brought the Handbasket?)

Oloc looks at Swede. "Tell your men to be cautious. My companions are up there, staking out the cave. If they are surprised by your men, things may get ugly unnecessarily."

Swede simply glares at Oloc and raises a hand for silence.


Duran remains hidden, bow at the ready, waiting to react depending on what happens to his comrades.


Varros stands his ground and lowers his bow slightly to appear less threatening and says steadily to all in earshot, "Everyone hold, we have a misunderstanding."

Gaven sneers at Varros's words, muttering almost inaudibly, "Filthy hobgoblins." Gaven grounds the butt of his spear into the ground, but does not loosen his grip on either spear or shield.

The advancing hobgoblins visibly perk up at Varros' words. They zero in on the group and dash forward, charging in from three sides.

Seeing the charge, Duran unleashes on the hobgoblin nearest him, Anders, but both his arrows fly wide of the mark.

Varros raises his bow to shoot at Axel, coming straight toward him up the middle. His first arrow is deflected by a tree branch, but a second rapid shot pierces the hobgoblin through the chest. The force of his adversary's charge carries him forward where he drops dead on the ground at Varros' feet.

Meanwhile to the right, Lars plows through the undergrowth. With the butt of his spear already pressed into the ground, Gaven is in a position to simply brace behind his shield and receive the charge.

Lars is quick and cagey, however, and at the last second he sidesteps the spear, then takes a spinning swing at Gaven with his axe, slicing the cleric across the arm (OOC: damage 3 hp).

At almost the same time, Anders rushes in from the left and tries to bowl Varros over. But Varros is swift to react and he easily moves out of the way as his new enemy hurtles past him.


Swede listens intently to the combat which he cannot see. Oloc can sense that the big bounty hunter is not happy with what he hears. Silently, but in deadly earnest, Swede motions for Oloc and the hirelings to keep quiet and start moving back down the trail westward, away from the bandit cave.


OOC: Actions?

Given that I rolled a charge for the three hobgoblins' reaction, I made what seemed the most logical responses for your PCs based on comments regarding intentions, equipment in hand, or stance (e.g., that Duran would shoot once violence appeared inevitable, that Varros could get his bow up quickly enough from its slightly lowered position to shoot before the charge came home, and that Gaven, grinding the butt of his spear into the ground would simply set it and receive the charge).

Visibility/Targeting Notes: Essentially the same as before. Duran can see everybody, and at a glance he can see that Swede is trying to move the hostages (and he realizes he may not be able to see them much longer). Gaven is engaged in melee, but sees Duran, Varros, Lars and Anders. Varros is not technically engaged in melee, as Lars' momentum from the charge carried him past. Varros sees Duran, Varros, Lars and Anders as well. There is no indication that any of the hobgoblins have actually spotted Duran.


Combat Details

Initiative:  Duran, Varros and Gaven 5 – Hobgoblins 1

Shoots at Anders: d20 = 8 + 2 (close range) -1 (cover) = 9
Shoots at Anders: d20 = 7 + 2 (close range) -1 (cover) = 8

Shoots at Axel: d20 = 12 + 2 (close range) -1 (cover) = 13 (miss)
Shoots at Axel: d20 = 15 + 2 (close range) -1 (cover) = 16 (hit); d6 = 5 (Axel killed)

Receives Lars' charge: d20 = 3 (miss)

Lars: d20 = 19 + 1 (normal to hit bonus for his HD) = 20; d6 = 3.

Anders: d20 = 10 +1 (normal to hit bonus for his HD) = 11 (miss).

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thursday 12 July 1280, Afternoon (Creepers)

Swede keeps a close eye on Oloc and the hirelings, with a firm grip on his crossbow. Oloc continues to play it cool and manages to keep the hirelings calm. The mercenaries, while far from comfortable, look like they're handling the situation alright, but Ollie and Bill exchange worried glances, and Oloc can practically see the lumps they have in their throats.

Off to the flank, deep in the brush, Duran continues to hide, watching and observing, waiting for the right time to reveal himself or take action. For the moment, none of the party seems to be in deadly danger – apart from simply being held prisoner by Swede, which mostly looks unpleasant, but not yet life-threatening.

Varros and Gaven follow Duran's lead as Duran has a better view of things than they.

Meanwhile, the remaining three hobgoblin bounty hunters – Axel, Lars and Anders – begin to creep forward up the trail to the east, with Axel gesturing to the other two to indicate from which direction the noise came. After a moment, Varros and Gaven realize that Axel is leading his two companions directly toward their position.

As the hobgoblins come to within about twenty feet or so of Varros' and Gaven's position, Axel gives a sign to Lars and Anders to quietly creep around the flanks. It's all too evident that the noise Axel picked up must have come from the fighter's and cleric's position, and that the two party members will be surrounded in a matter of seconds.

OOC: Actions

Visibility is same as before.

Sorry this post took me a little longer than normal to get out -- I'm buried under a stack of papers to grade since Wednesday. I'll be under that pile of paper most of the weekend as well, but I'll be handing them back on Monday, so my pace should return to normal.