Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thursday 12 July 1280, Evening (Fury and Fear)

"Kill them all!" shouts the leader of the grey men, motioning with his blade for them to attack.

The grey archers loose their arrows, with one finding its target and striking Varros (OOC: 5 hp damage; Varros is now at 1 hp), while all the others miss, clattering against the cave walls.

Seeing his bluff has failed, Oloc sighs and the hurls one of his daggers at the leader, and the wounded Varros, gritting his teeth with a toughness that would impress even the most veteran campaigner, shoots at the enemy leader with his bow. Unfortunately both of them miss their targets. Oloc pulls back with his remaining dagger, observing how the melee forms before deciding who and how to help.

As the others attack the leader, Duran and Gaven target the second swordsman with arrows and spear. Duran's first arrow strikes the swordsman in the throat, and both Gaven's spear and Duran's follow-up arrow skewer him a second and third time, before the body even has a chance to hit the ground.

Meanwhile the hirelings unleash their own volley, following your example, and before the grey men know what hit them, their leader is wounded, and two out of the three archers are killed.

His jaw dropping in dismay, the Grey leader turns and flees with a scream of fear down the west tunnel. The remaining archer, now leaderless, throws down his bow and takes to his heels as well in the same direction.

Varros slumps to the ground, pale from loss of blood, but still conscious.


OOC: Actions?

Sorry Dienekes – I've been rolling randomly to determine whom the enemy targets, and the dice sure seem to love Varros! Entirely unintentional – the DM is not out to get you!

Recent events have kept you running from cave to cave (partly my fault), with little to no chance to catch a breath and loot bodies (gosh that looks horrible when you see it in print), so let me know if you want to go back and loot anything/anyone that you haven't had a chance to yet. All the loot that you have acquired up to this point is on the list on the "Monsters and Treasure" page.

Also, Karnak has been fluttering just behind you since alerting you to the grey men; I assume the plan is for him to resume his mission and report to Belloc; if no one tells me otherwise, I'll start the next post with him taking off to do so.

Finally, Dienekes previously suggested the possibility of hiding Mackey's corpse; please let me know where you stand on that as well.


Combat Details:

Initiative: Grey Men: 2; Party: 1, Grey Men have the initiative. Since there is no ambush, and a fair space to cover before melee can be engaged, I ran all missile attacks on both sides, before proceeding to melee (which in the event, never occurred).

Archer 1 (targeting Varros):
d20 = 17 + 2 (short range) = 19 (hit); d6 = 5 (Varros down to 1 HP remaining)
d20 = 11+ 2 (short range) = 13 (miss)

Archer 2 (targeting Stan): 
d20 = 4 + 2 (short range) = 6 (miss)
d20 = 3 + 2 (short range) = 5 (miss)

Archer 3 (targeting Gaven): 
d20 = 7 + 2 (short range) = 9 (miss)
d20 = 8 + 2 (short range) = 10 (miss)

Oloc (throws dagger at Leader/Swordsman 1):
d20 = 4 +1 (medium range) = 5 (miss)

Varros (shoots at Leader/Swordsman 1):
d20 = 6 + 2 (short range) = 8 (miss)
d20 = 8 + 2 (short range) = 10 (miss)

Duran (shoots at Swordsman 2):
d20 = 20 + 2 (short range) = 22 (hit); d6 = 5 (Swordsman 2 killed!)
d20 = 18 + 2 (short range) = 20 (hit); d6 = 4 (Overkilled)

Gaven (throws spear at Swordsman 2):
d20 = 17 + 2 (short range) = 19 (hit); d6 = 3 (One seriously unlucky corpse!)

Stan (shoots at Archer 2):
d20 = 20 + 2 (short range) = 22 (hit); d6 = 2 (Killed)
d20 = 6 + 2 (short range) = 8 (miss)

Gweneth (shoots at Leader):
d20 = 10 + 2 (short range) = 12 (hit); d6 = 2 (Wounded)
d20 = 8 + 2 (short range) = 10 (miss)

Jack (shoots at Archer 3):
d20 = 19 + 2 (short range) = 21 (hit); d6 = 4 (Dead)
d20 = 12 + 2 (short range) = 14 (hit); d6 = 6 (As a door-nail)

Leader/Swordsman 1 (morale check: fail)
Archer 1 (morale check: fail)
Swordsman 2 (killed, no action)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Thursday 12 July 1280, Evening (Just Doing My Job)

Quickly assessing the situation, Oloc decides the best chance for survival is to bluff. "Hold," the young Mage shouts, in his most commanding voice, still with his daggers in hand. "We are here at the orders of Lieutenant Alanna and Captain Belloc, himself! Who are you and what is your business here?" Before giving the men a chance to respond, Oloc continues. "You just killed our only captive –the rest are dead, including Mackey! We were going to take this one back to Alanna for questioning. Now we'll never know who was working with Mackey!"

Duran warily eyes the men, his bow still at the ready, as he waits for them to respond to Oloc's questions.

Gaven bristles at Oloc's bluff because Oloc didn't use his idea. But he immediately readies his shield to receive any arrow fire.

The leader of the grey men makes no sign of recognizing you, but looks you up and down. "Hmph!" He mutters. "Maybe, as you say, you will never know. Or maybe you're full of stuffing and you already know who was working with Mackey. Doesn't matter much to me. We got sent here to do a job."

With that the leader signals with his blade for his men to attack...


OOC:  For transparency, the leader threw snake-eyes on his reaction roll indicating "Immediate attack."

Before initiative, I'll need to know what everyone plans to do in the first combat round (there is no surprise round, obviously).

Currently what I have is:

Duran: shooting with his bow as declared. Any preferred target? There are three bowmen, two swordsmen (one of the two being the leader).

Varros: no current action declared

Gaven: was bracing with shield during parley (I imagine this could change with the break down of the parley).

Oloc: was holding daggers ready during parley (again, I imagine this might change with the break down of the parley).

Also, one last item, Karnak is still fluttering just behind you. You could attempt to give him an order as well (i.e., do you want him to carry on with his original mission to inform Belloc, or do you want him involved in the fight?).

Friday, February 22, 2013

Thursday 12 July 1280, Evening (A Familiar Face)

You are surprised to see Karnak flying at top speed back in your direction. The raven hovers and flaps frantically in front of you. He clearly wants to let you know that something seems obviously wrong further up ahead.

Gaven suggests the party rush to Ollie and Bill.

With daggers in hand, Oloc also urges the others to rush to the aid of Ollie and Bill. "This doesn't bode well," he adds, stating the obvious.

Duran readies his bow as he moves forward with the others trying to listen to what is up ahead.

Varros accompanies the others.

The Free Company runs back toward Ollie, Bill and the captive covering the already explored ground quite rapidly. As you enter the barracks room from the east, Bill and Ollie dash into the room from the west, running for their lives.

"Grey men!" they shout. "They killed the prisoner and tried to kill..."

Before the porters can finish, you see five men in grey, wearing long, dark cloaks. Three are carrying longbows, and two have drawn swords. They all wear leather armor, and you could swear that one of them you've seen before at the Northstar Inn. He looks like the man who declined your offer of company.*

Upon seeing you, the grey men stop in their tracks. Unconcerned, the one you seem to recognize steps forward from the pack, sword drawn. Another grey swordsman stands to his right and slightly behind, while the other three bow-armed men spread out just behind them and to the sides, in a sort of wedge formation.

OOC: Actions?

*Just for reference, here are the posts from the Northstar. It's only been about 6 in-game days since your PCs saw the guy and spoke to him, so I assumed they'd recognize him fairly readily.

Also, I will work in Varros' comment about whether the party thinks they should try to hide/dispose of Mackey's corpse as soon as this encounter ends.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Thursday 12 July 1280, Evening (Clink and Jingle)

Duran calls to the hirelings to search Mackey and his henchman for a key or a possible way to open the chest. Searching Mackey's body reveals a large iron key on a lanyard around the bandit's neck. It also produces a gold armband, whose worth you estimate at about 200 g.p. The dead bandit bodyguard also wears a gold ring, that you'd place at a value of about 100 g.p.

Oloc helps in searching the room for anything which may have been overlooked, but there appears to be nothing in the small cave but the chest. The mage moves over to the chest as Duran attempts to open it.

With the iron key in hand, Duran checks the chest over again for traps. Finding none, he carefully opens it. With a slight grating sound, the lid rises to reveal the bandit chief's small trove. Inside is an engraved silver goblet with a matching silver plate, a set of silver eating utensils, a pair of fine leather gloves with tiny ruby studs set in the cuffs, and a small sack of 200 gold coins. You estimate the total value of the chest contents at about 700 g.p.

Furthermore, you find two additional items in the trunk. One is a vial of pale green liquid, the other is a packet of letters. Upon opening a few of the letters, you see handwritten details of merchant caravan dates, times, and destinations, along with what appear to be meeting dates and locations, and even one or two love letters. None of the documents is signed, but the handwriting on all of them matches the handwriting on the note you received from Alanna promising reinforcements.

Meanwhile, Varros feels the poison slowly wear off,* and takes up a position to keep watch over the party's rear. He feeds Karnak and with Oloc's help adds the recent events to the note. Oloc and Varros manage to find one brief (but damning) missive in the batch which is small enough that Karnak could carry it. At the very least, whatever else may befall the party and the remainder of the evidence, the short note would be enough to spark enough suspicion for Belloc to start keeping an eye on Alanna.

Varros then asks the bird to scout for Alanna, explaining as best he can to the bird that she is an enemy of the party and that Karnak must return to Belloc undetected should anything befall them. Karnak takes off back through the caves as instructed.

With the message completed, and Karnak on his way, Oloc says: "Let's hurry. I don't want to be cornered here, should Alanna's men arrive with ill intent."

In agreement with the wizard, Gaven suggests they make haste back to Belloc and avoid Alanna and Ham's Fork. He also suggests taking just Mackey's head for lighter travel. Duran helps the hirelings prepare Mackey's head to transport in order to collect the bounty.

Seeing the area secure and fully looted, Gaven urges the party to start moving back to where Ollie and Bill are. He also suggests that if Alanna's hirelings arrive they tell them that Mackey escaped to the 'forbidden' tunnel and that the party did not follow due to injuries in killing the snake, pointing out Varros's wound.

You form up into a marching order and begin to head north.**  As you arrive in Mackey's and the bodyguards' living quarters, you see the bodyguard you previously killed, the dead snake, and the scattered backpacks and bedrolls.

However, you are surprised to see Karnak flying at top speed back in your direction. The raven hovers and flaps frantically in front of you. He clearly wants to let you know that something seems obviously wrong further up ahead.


OOC:  Actions?

The time is now 6:30 in the evening.

* Poison effect duration: 1d6 turns after combat turn ends; d6 = 1; Varros no longer suffers poison effects.

** Your characters had searched the area fully, so I moved forward with Gaven's proposal to head back to the hirelings.


Mackey's gold armband (200 g.p.)
Bodyguard's gold ring (100 g.p.)
Silver goblet (150 g.p)
Silver plate (150 g.p.)
Silver eating utensiles (100 g.p.)
Leather gloves with tiny ruby studs (100 g.p.)
Small sack containing 200 g.p.
Vial of pale green liquid
Documents in Alanna's handwriting

(Monster and Treasure page updated)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Thursday 12 July 1280, Evening (Red Runes, Red Serpent)

Varros staggers from his wound and the effects of the poison. With a feeble gasp he urges the others to finish with Mackey as quickly as possible and secure the evidence against Alanna. If she arrives and sees Mackey's insurance policy it will mean the death of them all.

Mackey himself is badly wounded and losing a great deal of blood, but his adrenaline seems to keep him moving quickly as he draws another two darts from his bandolier.

Gaven yells to the others, "Take him down! Oloc, help me with Varros." Gaven uses the remainder of his cloak to tie above the wound to slow blood flow throughout the fighter's body. Oloc scrambles over to Varros and help Gaven with the wound as best he can.

In a frail voice, Varros tells Gaven that while he appreciates the cleric's dedication to the light, sometimes those the Lord of Light values most are those who have walked in the shadows and find a way to return from the darkness.

As the cleric removes the dart from Varros' wound he replies: "Heh, hindsight is 20/20 in this case. My attack had nothing to do with my devotion to the Light. Remember both Duran and I warned Mackey that he would be struck down if he did not comply. Now rest a moment."

With Oloc keeping a tight grip on the makeshift tourniquet, Gaven sucks the venom from the wound. Under Gaven and Oloc's ministrations, the burning sensation Varros experiences from the venom seems to ease and cool somewhat. Though Varros still feels weakened by the poison, the effect appears to have leveled out.

Meanwhile, Duran leads the hirelings in continuing the combat. The stout archer and the hired help fire again at Mackey. Though he is quick enough to dodge most of the arrows, a single shaft pierces the bandit leader's chest, ensuring his death. Mackey falls to the floor, and then there is silence.

Seeing the others tending to Varros and knowing he cannot help his brother in arms any more than the others, Duran moves to the chest. The chest itself is a large, heavy, iron box with an integral lock. On the plate of the lock are engraved a set of "R.S." runes, and the image of a serpent. The engraving lines are filled with a red coloring.

Duran checks the box for traps or triggers and finds no suspicious devices of any sort. Even the red coloring in the engraving marks appears just to be red paint, nothing more. The lock itself is closed, and the box does not open when Duran attempts to lift the lid.

Meanwhile, Gaven and Oloc finish properly bandaging Varros' leg.* The bleeding has stopped, and the fighter feels much better, except for the lingering effects of the venom, which, you suspect, will simply pass with time.

Now that things have finally quieted, Oloc finishes penning the note for Belloc, as Varros had suggested and makes ready to send Karnak off with it.**


OOC: Actions?

*I took this liberty, assuming you would intend to do it. Varros regains 4 lost hp from the bandaging, so he's back up to 6 hp (out of his original 7). He still has the (-1 to initiative, -1 to hit, -1 to AC, -25% to move) until it wears off. You don't know how long that will take.

**This was the original plan, but I've held off on the actual sending in case you thought of anything to add to the note. It's been several posts since the idea of sending the note came up – originally back on January 21 real time – so I didn't know if you wanted to say anything other than simply telling Belloc your suspicions about Alanna. If there's nothing more, and you don't change your minds about sending, the next post will open with Karnak flying off to Belloc with the note.

Current time is 6:00 p.m. This was the expected approximate arrival time of the reinforcements.

Just as a reminder, the specifics of the "Wanted" poster can be found here:


Combat (and Bandaging) Details

Initiative: Party = 4, Varros = 3, Mackey = 1; Party acts first

Varros' save against poison: d20 = 15 + 4 (Gaven's aid) +2 (Fighter Bonus vs. Poison) = 21 (pass; poison effects cease to increaseduration as yet unknown to the PCs).

Duran shoots at Mackey
Shot 1: d20 = 2 + 2 (short range) = 4 (miss)
Shot 2: d20 = 10 + 2 (short range) = 12 (miss)
Gweneth shoots at Mackey
Shot 1: d20 = 4 + 2 (short range) = 6 (miss)
Shot 2: d20 = 10 + 2 (short range) = 12 (miss)

Stan shoots at Mackey
Shot 1: d20 = 10 +2 (short range) = 12 (miss)
Shot 2: d20 = 3 + 2 (short range) = 5 (miss)

Jack shoots at Mackey
Shot 1: d20 = 2 + 2 (short range) = 4 (miss)
Shot 2: d20 = 15 + 2 (short range) = 17 (hit); d6 = 2 (Mackey killed)

Bandaging Varros' wounds: 1d4 = 4; Varros' hit points back up to 6 (out of original 7).

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Thursday 12 July 1280, Afternoon (How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to feel a bandit's blade)

As the bandit finishes his monologue, Gaven immediately throws his spear at Mackey, but the bandit leader is quicker, and throws two darts, one of which strikes Varros solidly in the thigh (OOC: damage = 5), and one of which flies just over Stan's shoulder. Gaven's spear veers wide of its intended target.

Varros swoons slightly and he immediately feels a burning sensation in and around the blade embedded in his leg. He maintains consciousness however, and despite the pain and his weakened state, is able to shoot (OOC: see combat details below for current poison effect) with Duran and the hirelings.

One arrow each from Duran, Varros and Gweneth strikes Mackey. The bandit leader is severely bloodied, but does not go down. However, he staggers backward, nearly falling, with arrows protruding from arm, leg and abdomen. You don't imagine he can take much more.

Oloc ducks for cover as the arrows begin to fly.

The wounded bandit bodyguard gathers what strength he has remaining to rush to his leader's defense. Though Stan's arrows clatter harmlessly against the far wall of the cavern, one of Jack's shots pierces the bandit through the throat, dropping him before he advances five yards.


OOC: Actions?

Normally I would simply run the next round of combat, but Varros is down to 2 hp (now squarely in the "one hit, one kill" zone), and suffering from the weakening effects of snake venom (see combat details below for effect), so I thought you should have a chance to react before moving on.

I will hold Varros' comment: "After the action phase Varros will tell Gaven that while he appreciates the Cleric's dedication to the light, sometimes those the lord of light values most are those who have walked in the shadows and find a way to return from the darkness" until after the action here ends, as  Dienekes stipulated.I'll work it in as soon as the fight ends.

Combat Details:

Initiative: Mackey = 3; Party = 1; Injured Bodyguard = 1; (Tie break between Party and Injured Bodyguard: Party = 6, Injured Bodyguard = 4); Order of actions: Mackey, Party, Injured Bodyguard.

Dart 1 Thrown at Varros; d20 = 20 +1 (medium range) = 21 (hit); d6 = 5; save (poison) = 5+2 (fighter bonus vs. poison) = 7 (fail, 14 needed; weakened: -1 to initiative, -1 to hit, -1 to AC, -25% to movement)
Dart 2 Thrown at Jack; d20 = 3 + 1 (medium range) = 4 (miss).

Spear thrown at Mackey: d20 = 9 + 1 (medium range) = 10 (miss)

Shot 1 at Mackey: d20 = 8 + 2 (short range) = 10 (miss)
Shot 2 at Mackey: d20 = 12 + 2 (short range) = 14 (hit), d6 = 5 (wounded)

Shot 1 at Mackey: d20 = 16 + 2 (short range) - 1 (poison) = 17 (hit); d6 = 5 (wounded)
Shot 2 at Mackey: d20 = 10 + 2 (short range) - 1 (poison) = 11 (miss)

Shot 1 at Bodyguard: d20 = 3 + 2 (short range) = 5 (miss)
Shot 2 at Bodyguard: d20 = 8 + 2 (short range) = 10 (miss)

Shot 1 at Bodyguard: d20 =  12 + 2 (short range) = 14 (hit); d6 = 4 (killed)
Shot 2 at Bodyguard: d20 = 1 + 2 (short range) = 3 (miss)

Shot 1 at Mackey: d20 = 7 + 2 (short range) = 9 (miss)
Shot 2 at Mackey: d20 = 18 + 2 (short range) = 20 (hit); d6 = 3 (wounded)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Thursday 12 July 1280, Afternoon (Honey and Vinegar)

"What the Hells," Oloc thinks to himself.

"Perhaps you can still save yourself," he says to the bandit. "If you were indeed in cahoots with Alanna, then you are likely to be killed on sight when her men arrive."

"Your only chance is to come with us now and we head straight to Belloc. Do you have any proof of your dealings with her? Your word alone might not be enough."

Oloc shakes his head wondering what he has just done. "And where do you keep the loot, Mackey? Time is almost up!"

Varros keeps his weapon leveled at Mackey, at the ready, awaiting his response.

Duran, not thrilled at the prospect of giving the bandit a deal, listens as the others talk as he keeps is weapon trained on Mackey. Finally impatiently he says, "Mackey I would like nothing more than to put this arrow in your chest, now give us an answer or die."

Gaven adds: "If you do not agree to leave with us now to submit to Captain Belloc, you will be struck down."

The bandit thinks for a moment, as if calculating his odds, then says with a forced smile: "Where do my better chances lie? Fighting my way out of here? Or hoping Belloc has mercy on me? Frankly I don't like either, but I like the latter even less."

Before you can react to his words, he continues: "I have a counter-proposal. I've seen the wanted signs. They're offering a bounty for the bandit chief." His grin broadens. "Well, that's not me. Alanna has been the chief all along – I only broke away because she hung me out to dry when things got too hot for her."

The bandit nods at a large wooden chest behind him. "All the proof you need? In there. Messages, orders, caravan details. She never signed anything of course, but her handwriting is distinctive enough, if you've ever seen it."

He focuses on Oloc: "All my loot's in there as well, wizard."

Mackey resumes speaking to the entire group: "Here's my counter-offer. I let you have the loot and the proof you need to hang the real bandit chief – Alanna. In return, you let me walk out of here. I know, I know, letting me go might rankle a bit, but you won't be disappointed with the contents of the chest."

"Of course, we could fight it out, and I'm sure you would kill me. However, I am quite good with these," he glances at the darts he holds in his hands. "And quick, if I do say so myself. As I'm sure you can imagine, they've been dipped in snake venom. So while I certainly will die, I will, just as certainly, not be the only one."

"The question is, then, just how much are you ready to sacrifice to slay a mere second-in-command? Have we a deal?"


OOC: Actions?