Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thursday 12 July 1280, Afternoon (Let's Make a Deal)

When Mackey pulls the darts, Varros quietly warns the party that he suspects Mackey's darts are poisoned with the snake's venom. Gaven takes a defensive crouch with his shield, prepared to intercept the darts if necessary. Oloc involuntarily sidesteps behind his armored comrades.

"Give it up Mackey," says the spell-caster. "Alanna has sent men to back us up. We expect them any minute."

Oloc then waves a hand at the party. "Look at the numbers against you, Mackey. You have no chance other than to drop the weapons and surrender. Perhaps if you were to come clean with some of your ill-gotten goods, things would go better for you."

Then the mage thinks about Swede's comments. "Unless you have something else with which to bargain?"

Mackey ponders Oloc's words.

Duran warily eyes Mackey with his bow drawn, watching for any sign of an attack, ready to shoot him dead at the first hint of ill intent.  Beside him, Varros waits like a statue with his bow drawn taught and aimed straight at Mackey, equally unlikely to hesitate at the first indication of Mackey making good on his threat.

As Mackey continues thinking over the magic-user's words, Varros, too, speaks up carefully and slowly to the bandit: "Making your living through the suffering and misfortune of others is a horrible thing Mackey, however, some things are far more despicable – those in positions of authority who profit from such behavior, for example. You have quite a bit to think on and precious little time to do so. Today is not a good day to die, especially when there are other options open."

Varros looks to Oloc and asks him to prepare the note they discussed earlier and get "the messenger" prepared to leave – then adding in a whisper to send the message only if Alanna shows up during the talk with Mackey. Oloc prepares the note.

Mackey's eyes narrow at the mention of a messenger to be sent to Alanna. Then after reflecting a moment more he says: "Other options, eh? A bargain? You clearly aren't some local pig-sticking militia from Ham's Fork." He chuckles under his breath. "They wouldn't have the brains to suggest a deal. Considering that surrender means the hangman's noose for me, what kind of proposition do you have in mind?"


OOC: Actions?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Thursday 12 July 1280, Afternoon (The Villain at the End of the Tunnel)

"Great job all!" Gaven looks at Swede: "The hobgoblin was as good as his word, surprising for a being of Chaos. We should check his armor later, I remember it glowing strangely when Duran hit him with his axe."

Looking down the tunnel, Gaven says: "Now let us move onwards to catch the villains."

Gaven takes the lead keeping his spear out to the front. He moves quickly, but cautiously keeping his eyes towards the ground while directing Stan and Jack to scan the walls and ceiling.

Looking down at Swede's body Duran shakes his and then moves to follow Gaven down the tunnel with his bow at the ready.

Oloc breathes a huge sigh of relief when the snake is slain. He collects his daggers and follows the others down the passage after the fleeing bandits. The mage makes a mental note to remember to return to the chamber and search for any secret places where the bandits may have stashed their valuables.

Varros readies his bow again and follows Gaven and Duran.

The tunnel is about 100 feet long and is less well lit than the previous areas, though you still have enough light to see. As you make your way down the rough passage, you detect no traps, but you hear what sounds like an incantation in some magical language. A blue-tinted light seems to flicker from a cavern up ahead, but it dies out with a sputtering noise, and a curse from Mackey.

"Why won't this blasted thing work? If I get my hands on that charlatan..."

You hear a weak voice respond: "Try it one more time, boss."

As you hear this exchange, you arrive at the entrance to a cavern smaller than any you've seen so far, a mere 40 feet in diameter or so. Mackey and the wounded bodyguard are in the center of the area, huddled over some ornate metal object which Mackey holds in his hand. Mackey is once again in mid-chant, the object in his hand glows blue once more, and then, as he ends his chant, the light emanating from the object sputters, fizzles, and goes out again.

Spotting your arrival at the cavern entrance, the wounded bodyguard nudges Mackey: "Uh, boss, we got company."

Mackey, looks up and, with lightning reflexes, stands and draws two darts from a bandolier draped around his studded leather armor. The metal object he previously held in his hands lies on the floor at his feet.

"The first one of you to come any further dies." He hisses between clenched teeth. "You can go back to Ham's Fork and tell that she-dog of a lieutenant that if she wants to do me in, she can come take care of it herself."


OOC: Actions?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thursday 12 July 1280, Afternoon (The Red Serpent)

Varros tells the party to beware and maintain their distance, fearing that the snake is venomous.

Oloc rushes to retrieve his daggers. "Giant snake! Why did it have to be a giant snake?"

Gaven yells, "By the Light, what a fiend! Let loose your arrows to quickly fell the beast, so we can catch the villains."

The cleric crouches in a defensive position with spear and shield in front of him, staying out of range of the snake, but in front of the archers.

Duran, Varros and the hirelings take positions slightly behind Gaven, intending to unleash arrows at the beast while trying to maintain a distance out of its strike range. Oloc quickly shifts to get a clear line of sight, ready to toss his daggers.

Swede, having already shot his crossbow, positions himself beside Gaven, sword drawn.

The snake slithers forward swiftly, however, striking at Swede. The bounty hunter attempts to ward off the attack with the unloaded crossbow in his left hand, but the snake is quicker. Its jaws sink so deeply into the hobgoblin's throat that his head is nearly severed from his shoulders. Swede is dead before he hits the floor.

The snake's attack on Swede, however, leaves time for the rest of you to step back far enough to shoot and throw unhindered.

Several arrows and one of Oloc's daggers bite into the snakes scaly flesh, and soon the beast, too, is lying on the floor, its blood mingling with that of its hobgoblin victim.

The cavern is suddenly still and silent. No noise at all can be detected from down the dark south tunnel where Mackey and his remaining bodyguard disappeared.


OOC: Actions?

You can expect the reinforcements sent by Alanna to arrive in about 20-30 minutes (if they arrive exactly in the time frame indicated in Alanna's message).
Combat Detail

Round 1:
Initiative: Snake 4 – Party 1

Snake attacks Swede (random selection, weighted slightly toward Gaven and Swede in front)
d20 = 14 + 2 (normal to hit bonus for its HD) = 16 (hit); d6 = 6 (Swede killed – he was very low in hp following Oloc's earlier magic missile)

Shot 1: d20 = 9 + 2 (short range) = 11 (miss)
Shot 2: d20 = 13 + 2 (short range) = 15 (hit); d6 = 4

Shot 1: d20 = 18 + 2 (short range) = 20 (hit); d6 = 4
Shot 2: d20 = 8 + 2 (short range) = 10 (miss)

Shot 1: d20 = 20 + 2 (short range) = 22 (hit); d6 = 6
Shot 2: d20 = 2 + 2 (short range) = 4 (miss)

Shot 1: d20 = 20 + 2 (short range) = 22 (hit); d6 = 6
Shot 2: d20 = 13 + 2 (short range) = 15 (hit); d6 = 1

Shot 1: d20 = 1 + 2 (short range) = 3 (miss)
Shot 2: d20 = 1 + 2 (short range) = 3 (miss)

Shot 1: d20 = 16 + 1 (med. range) = 17 (hit); d6 = 3
Shot 2: d20 =  2 + 1 (med. range) = 3 (miss)

Total Damage to Snake from all Hits = 24 (killed)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Thursday 12 July 1280, Afternoon (In a Hail of Arrows)

Varros quickly addresses the party, "We can't afford to let any of these bandits live. We must kill them before the Alanna's reinforcements arrive. We must get word to Belloc of the partnership between her and Mackey, agreed?"*

Varros quitely suggests the party maintain range and utilize their missile weapons to their advantage. He gives his daggers to Oloc to throw.

Oloc takes the daggers from Varros and prepares himself to attack the bandits from a distance. He tells Swede to go after the bandits in melee as soon as the battle begins.

Swede nods at Oloc, holds up his crossbow and whispers to the mage: "One shot and then I'll jump in."

Duran makes ready to take as many shots as he can before melee is joined.

Gaven concurs with the fighters and orders the hirelings: "Ready your bows."

The cleric hangs back behind the fighters to allow them loose their arrows, ready to receive any bandit charge that may develop, and keeping an eye out for the snake.

With arrows nocked, the party steps forward from the shadows to give all the shooters a clear line of sight,** with Swede quickly kneeling to allow Oloc to throw over his head.

The two bandits momentarily freeze in place, surprised at your appearance, and the sudden unleashing of a veritable hail of missiles.

One of the bandits takes two arrows to the chest, one from Varros and one from Duran. The bodyguard falls to the ground in a twisted, awkward, lifeless pose.

The second bodyguard is quicker, making a dash for the eastern part of the cave, out of your line of sight, but not before one of Stan's arrows penetrates the bandit's leather protection.

From the initial direction of Mackey's voice you hear him bellow a curse, then: "How many are there?"

To which the bodyguard replies painfully: "Fifteen or twenty, at least!"

"Come on!" yells Mackey.

Having unleashed your volley, those intending to do so switch to melee weapons and charge in, pursuing the bandit bodyguard. Your field of view cuts round to the east, and you see an opening in the southern portion of the cavern wall in that direction.

You catch a glimpse of Mackey and the bodyguard in headlong flight down that tunnel where they disappear into the shadows.

Blocking the entrance to the tunnel, however, is a large serpent with crimson scales. The snake is coiled, so it is difficult to determine its full length, but its body is about four inches in diameter. Given its girth, you estimate it could be some twelve to sixteen feet long.

The snake's head and neck are raised aggressively, and it hisses loudly, quite obviously prepared to strike at anyone who attempts to follow its master down the south tunnel.


OOC: Actions?

*You wouldn't have time to write Belloc a note and send it before this fight begins (since the bandits have just been ordered by Mackey to move your way in search of the previous bodyguard and the errand boy). You would have time to write it and send it after the fight, but Karnak would not be able to reach Belloc before the reinforcements Alanna sent you are expected to arrive. However, Belloc would at least be informed about the situation. Since Sonofotho said he would do this if there was time, we'll have him do it at the first logical opportunity once any danger passes (unless Sonofotho tells me otherwise).

**Moving up a bit to where the space widens out was the only way to fit everyone in to take the indicated shots, as further back the tunnel was a bit under 20' wide, the minimum space needed.

Combat Details:

Surprise Round:

Duran (shoots at Bandit 1):
Shot 1: d20 = 3 + 2 (short range) = 5 (miss)
Shot 2: d20 = 18 + 2 (short range) = 20 (hit); d6 = 3 (Bandit 1 wounded)

Varros (shoots at Bandit 1):
Shot 1: d20 = 5 + 2 (short range) = 7 (miss)
Shot 2: d20 = 12 + 2 (short range) = 14 (hit); d6 = 2 (Bandit 1 killed)

Swede (shoots at Bandit 1):
Shot 1: d20 = 4 + 2 (short range) = 6 (miss)

Gweneth (shoots at Bandit 2):
Shot 1: d20 = 10 + 2 (short range) = 12 (miss)
Shot 2: d20 = 1 + 2 (short range) = 3 (miss)

Jack (shoots at Bandit 2):
Shot 1: d20 = 10 + 2 (short range) = 12 (miss)
Shot 2: d20 = 7 + 2 (short range) = 9 (miss)

Stan (shoots at Bandit 2):
Shot 1: d20 = 20 + 2 (short range) = 22 (hit); d6 = 4 (Bandit 2 Wounded)
Shot 2: d20 = 1 + 2 (short range) = 3 (miss)

Oloc (Throws at Bandit 2):
Shot 1: d20 = 8 +1 (med. range) = 9 (miss)
Shot 2: d20 = 8 +1 (med. range) = 9 (miss)

Round One

Initiative (Bandits = 4, Party = 3)

Mackey and wounded Bodyguard flee south.
Snake covers their retreat.

Charge as per plan into room; encounter snake.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Thursday 12 July 1280, Afternoon (Bound and gagged)

Duran continues to keep watch and listen for anyone or anything coming down the tunnels. His straining eyes and ears pick up nothing, which seems to be a good sign.

Tangled up in the pile, Varros mentions the snake casually fishing to find out if that is what the bandit seems to be hiding. Evidently Varros' guess is spot on, for when he mentions the snake, the bandit admits that the snake is never far from Mackey.

Sensing that the questioning is done, Gaven gives the pinned prisoner a severe blow with a heavy fist, knocking him out. The others get up from the pile, and Gaven takes out some rope, ties up  the captive and gags him with some scraps of cloth.

The cleric then addresses the hirelings: "Bill, you and Ollie stay here with him." Then to the rest of the party: "What's the plan?"

Oloc stands up and brushes off his robes. "I suggest we move quickly and try and charge the remaining three. Assuming the bandit is telling the truth."

The Mage draws his other dagger. "It won't be long before they suspect something and prepare themselves."

No one seems to object, and with Bill and Ollie staying back to be sure the prisoner doesn't escape his bonds, the party crosses the bandit barracks, and returns to the northward tunnel leading to Mackey's lodging.

Creeping up the long, dimly lit tunnel, you can hear random bits of conversation again, until you are able to just peer into cavern. The space is about as large as the last few caverns you've seen, perhaps 50-60 feet across.

The room is lit by torches jammed into crevices in the walls. There are several blankets and bedrolls on the floor, along with a few backpacks. You spy a small campfire (currently extinguished) near the north wall, with a pile of firewood and a half dozen torches beside it. Above the campfire area is a small hole in the ceiling through which you imagine the smoke escapes when the fire is lit.

In the midst of these meager trappings, you see two leather-armored bandits, armed with swords, facing east. From that direction, though you cannot see around the corner to the source, you hear Mackey's voice: "And find out what's keeping Braxton –  I want him and Sinder back here now!"

At the moment you see no sign of the snake, though it could be out of your field of vision to the eastern part of the cavern with Mackey. There's no way to spot that direction without stepping closer and revealing yourself.


OOC: Actions?

Sonofotho's proposed plan is to charge them (I didn't push this forward as I was posting prior to everyone having a chance to respond to it). So I just moved the party up far enough to get a bit more info, and to allow everyone to have a chance to respond to Sonofotho's suggestion.

As best you can tell, your prisoner's information is accurate. The only individuals in the room are the two bodyguards (whom you can see), Mackey (whom you can hear) and presumably the snake, who, you've been told, is never far from the head bandit.

Also, time is now about 5:20. Your reinforcements should arrive around 6:00 p.m.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Thursday 12 July 1280, Afternoon (Resistance is futile)

After a moment, the large bandit acknowledges the simple, brutal reality of superior force and stops struggling.

As Duran continues to keep an eye out down the tunnel, and the others hold the bandit fast, Oloc draws a dagger and tries and look as menacing as he can: "Keep quiet and we'll let you live!"

The mage asks how many bandits are left in the back cave, ready to cover the bandit's mouth if he tries to cry out. The bandit however, makes it clear that he understands his position, and quietly answers:

"Just two other bodyguards – and Mackey."

The answer seems honest, though Oloc sees something in the bandit's eyes that suggests the answer may not be complete.

Gaven, continuing to restrain the bandit, asks what is in the tunnel and in the passage to the north.

To this the bandit replies:

"Tunnel? Blocked up by the rubble, you mean?* There's a spider in there. Didn't want to share the caves with us. We figured it was easier to block him up behind a pile of rocks instead of trying to kill him and getting half ourselves killed in the process."

"I don't know what's in the passage to the north.** No spider or anything else ever came out of there, but one of our men went in and just disappeared. After that, Mackey said the passage was off limits, and no one's gone in since. No one's disappeared since either."

The bandit lets out a soft, low grunt of discomfort at the bottom of the pile. "Look," he says "are we gonna stay in this tangled heap all day?"


OOC: Actions?

*If I was incorrect in understanding the blocked up hole by this query, let me know and I'll rectify that next post.
**Here I took this to mean the passage north from the barracks room. Again, if I read that incorrectly, please let me know and I'll rectify the mistake.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Thursday 12 July 1280, Afternoon (Here, bandit, bandit, bandit...)

The mage is the first to react:  "Quick, let's get back around the corner and prepare to jump him." Oloc looks to the others with a sense of urgency. "We do not have much time!"

Taking quick stock of the situation Duran nods in agreement with Oloc and then tries to quickly and quietly make his way back around the corner, with Gaven, Varros, and Swede following suit.

The entire party, hirelings included, manage to pull back out of sight to the designated point without making a single sound.

The bandit calmly makes his way through the barracks, apparently unaware of the party's presence ahead of him, as he continues to mutter and mumble curses and insults directed at Sinder.

As he steps around the corner toward the outer guard cavern* where the party lies in wait, Gaven, Varros and Swede all jump him, with Duran on overwatch, ready to shoot should the bandit break away.

Gaven immediately gets hold of the bandit and succeeds in clamping a heavy hand over his opponent's mouth, silencing him. Varros piles on, bringing the pair down hard to the ground with a thump that half knocks the wind out of the brigand. Swede joins in, whacking the blackguard in the head with the butt of his crossbow, stunning him severely.

The fellow is rather taller and broader than any of the bandits you have seen to this point, but still no match for the cleric, fighter and bounty hunter in an ambush. He lets out only a muffled groan behind Gaven's hand from the bottom of the pile-up, and seems to be on the verge of unconsciousness.

He wears leather armor, along with a sheathed sword at his belt. You notice the glint of gold on one of his fingers.


OOC: Actions?

Time is now about 5:00 p.m.

*Outer guard cavern = the cavern with the campfire, wood, and Sinder's dead body.

Sneaking Back to the Ambush Point: 

50% chance of making a noise the bandit can hear: d100 roll = 61 (no noise).

Details from Jumping the Bandit:  I assumed by "jumping" you meant "subduing" rather than, say, peppering him with spears/arrows with the intent to kill. Consequently, for each hit, I came up with some logical consequence rather than damage in hp.

Surprise round – only the party acts.

Gaven: d20 = 20 (hit) = grabs bandit and stops him from calling for help.
Varros: d20 = 19 (hit) = piles on and brings bandit (and Gaven) to the ground, immobilizing bandit.
Swede: d20 = 18 (hit) = whacks bandit in the head with the butt of his crossbow, stunning him.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thursday 12 July 1280, Afternoon (Where Is That Darned Sinder, Anyway?)

"I suggest we rush in," whispers Oloc as quietly as he can. "We should be able to surprise them and perhaps catch them completely off guard. What say you?" The Mage tries to convince the others of the soundness of his plan.

Gaven listens to Oloc's suggestion then whispers, "The other alternative is to try and sneak a peek to see what we're up against. Whatever is decided upon, I will take rear guard so as not to alert the bandits to our sneak attack by my armor."

"If there is a way to sneak a look before rushing in I think that would be best. Perhaps if we can stay hidden I can surprise them with several arrows before the rest of you rush in," says Duran.

With a slight majority of the Free Company favoring the stealth option, Gaven takes up position in the rear, as Duran moves up front to scout.

Arriving first across the cavern and peeking out the north exit, with Swede following silently close behind him, Duran looks ahead and sees a long empty tunnel, dimly illuminated by torches at extended intervals. The tunnel itself is twenty feet wide, and extends due north to yet another cavern, about sixty feet away. It is clearly from the cavern at the end of this tunnel that the voices are coming.  

Right up at the corner, Duran can pick out the voices more clearly now. He could swear that the most talkative of the voices is the one you heard swearing and cursing Alanna earlier that day at the cave entrance.*

Duran still can't catch the conversation entirely, but he hears bits and pieces that seem directed at the Alanna: "Alanna... ...damned witch ... pay ... treats me this way ..." and then a change in subject: "Where the hell is that boy? ... done by now ... how long ... clean up ..."

Suddenly Swede jumps back away from the corner, pulling Duran back toward the party with him. Just as the hobgoblin yanks him backward, Duran catches the quickest glimpse of a silhouette, backlit by distant torchlight, in the entrance to the chamber from which the voices emanate. Swede quickly puts a finger to his lips and signals to the rest of you that someone is coming down the tunnel towards you.

No alarm is raised so it seems neither Duran nor Swede was spotted. You hear footsteps getting closer, and a voice – different from the one you've heard to this point – calls out "Sinder! Are you there you lazy scalawag?" Then lower, almost muttering, as if talking to himself: "Just lying about doing nothing I'll bet, while the boss sends me to find him. Aspasia's bum! If he's napping, I'll give him the back of my hand!" His voice, and his footsteps, are coming closer.


OOC:  Actions?

I'm assuming, unless you say otherwise, that since the area is already illuminated, you extinguished your torches as you were moving up stealthily.

*Regarding the voice, here is what you heard it say earlier at the cave entrance:

Suddenly you hear a foul oath from a gruff voice echo out from the cave, followed by the command: "Clear that wood out of there and drag those bodies back in here! Sons of a Succubus! Some cowardly peasant militia from Ham's Fork must have found their way down here and thought they could smoke me out! No doubt Alanna put them up to it, too. By all the shadows, I'll cut her throat for this!"