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File 149743758095.png - (38.12KB , 800x600 , Eckton after the Green Tide by strngy.png )
807859 No. 807859 ID: d36af7

Our story so far:

Exactly halfway through the first leg of their first paying job as The New Fire Hawks, our heroes have been caught in a barely-natural disaster. With daring, cleverness, Viste's ability to casually tear a new axe-hole in space itself, Decaro Vos's "coral snake style" amphibious sumo wrestling, and Maria Agate's ability to tie knots which bind the very soul, they've managed to capture an alarmingly competent bandit lord, and thereby thwart his seige of the small seaside town of Eckton.

Before they could celebrate this unlikely victory, blood spilled during the battle triggered a cataclysmic upwelling of plant growth, releasing latent energies from the prior civil war and perhaps beyond. For the Old God in question, it might be the equivalent of popping a zit. For mortals on the ground, it's a brand new forest, twenty-five miles wide and five or ten miles tall. All the retreating bandits, pursuing guardsmen, inhabitants of outlying villages within half a day's travel of Eckton, and most of the New Fire Hawks (including Maru Red who was leading the charge out the front gate, Hore Wutashi who was dueling the bandits' mage, and Yisheng Ji who'd been hanging back as a reserve force but entered the fray to rescue their leader, Davina) are lost inside a vegetal labyrinth, leaving only Daniel and Maria Agate and Eckton's few remaining able-bodied men-at-arms to guard the town walls... and the tungsten shipment bound for the great metropolis of Overmire, some fifteen hundred miles further up the coast, safe delivery of which is their actual contracted objective.

Hore, Viste, Maru, Yisheng Ji, and a squad of ten halberd-weilding Eckton guards have met up in a large hexagonal... room? Forest clearing? The nature of this place is not yet completely clear. There's a rope bridge, woven from living vines, with gourds growing from it, which was on fire when they arrived, possibly as a result of Hore's previous passage through the room and indiscriminate use of a plasma cannon. The gourds have runes carved into them in High Draconic, but Viste is the only one present who can read that language at all. Taken together, as well as Viste can understand them, the gourd inscriptions on one side read "If you leave here through {two words illegible} and then {four words illegible} to avoid the traps" and on the side without fire damage, "you will be within one {fold?} of Eckton's front gate."

Meanwhile, Decaro Vos and the bandit sorceress Esmeraude Netseth (who narrowly escaped pursuit by Hore Wutashi thanks to a fluke of the forest-maze's rapid development) have met up without either one immediately recognizing the other as an enemy. She opens her mind to him by way of a magical makeout session involving biting her tongue hard enough to draw blood with his pharangeal jaws, so now they have a subjective hour in which to exchange exposition.
The bandits used to be a legitimate army during the civil war. Their old boss, her uncle, turned out to be a demonologist, so rather than defend him from inquisitors and an overwhelming alliance of marginally-less-corrupt neighbors, they ran off and turned to raiding. Conquering Eckton, if they'd pulled it off, would have meant establishing a defensible base, having some real supply lines and rear-area services again, instead of living in tents and eating what they could catch or steal. Eckton lost of a lot of people in the war, but they were holding together thanks to a mutual-defense arrangement with the nearby eelmen tribes. Nobody else could easily get in touch with them because of the rocky coastal cliffs and coral reefs. That's where Esmeraude's magic came in: she's got a few tricks for communicating with people she doesn't even know, fish-folk and nightgaunts in particular, from very far away. After setting up a parley, it turned out that the local eelmen were having problems related to inbreeding - albinism, deformities, hemophilia - because of that same isolation, and a population bottleneck long before the war. So, she offered her eugenic expertise (a common field of study among ambitious dynastic sorcerers) to make optimal use of the opportunity to intermarry with soon-to-be-subjugated townsfolk, in exchange for them switching sides. So far, Decaro Vos was the only eelman to participate in the fighting on either side, which would suggest that the local tribe was either a pack of lazy cowards, or waiting for the right moment to reveal their treachery for greatest tactical effect. All this is established very quickly, there's plenty of time for further follow-up questions.

Vos and Esmeraude are at a Y-shaped intersection of packed earth tunnels, each circular in cross-section and about 3 yards in diameter. Well, strictly speaking it's shaped more like a chicken's foot, but the 'middle toe' passage is narrower, and blocked after less than ten yards by a great mass of fungal material, which is warm to the touch and crackles audibly, like the exterior wall of a wooden fort whose interior is being consumed by fire. There's no ambient light, but Esmeraude's magic can easily produce the heatless, hands-free equivalent of a torch.
733 posts omitted. Last 100 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 883160 ID: 094652

Hore made a science gift; Benjamin Franklin's lightning generator. Since it can't hold a charge, it's nothing more than a children's toy. Just crank the handle to generate electricity with basic magnets.

Also, it has a second crank on the bottom that spring-thumps the drum bottom so the little tin soldiers inside bounce around and get hit by lightning.
>>
No. 883180 ID: 2007b6

>>883135
>Seems like we outta get some sorta orcusite expert in her though, don't we have a prisoner or sage or something we can talk into helping us through here?
Not yet, no.
>>883006
>your main goal today is
>to find some Orcusite priests
>and capture them intact for interrogation.

>>883160
Aaphia could easily make her own tin soldiers, and a tiny lightning storm with which to torment them as well, if she were of a mind to. The undead sorceress wants items that will engage her withered sense of academic curiosity a bit more deeply than that, something with a mystery to it. Hore could offer her own nanotech-laced body, under a pledge that all analysis would be nondestructive... but wouldn't be allowed to leave until the study was complete. Accordingly, it would be wise to arrange an adequate supply of food, water, and other necessities in advance, if she plans to survive such an ordeal.
>>
No. 883291 ID: 094652

rolled 5, 5, 4 = 14

>>883180
Well, Hore also wrote a few applied physics tests with some "impossible" scenarios that would require actual magic to solve. The goal is to use the minimal level of magic possible to solve the situation. Hopefully Aaphia will like them...
>>
No. 883385 ID: 2007b6

>>883179
A bronze hatch pops open from the ground under Azarthraine's feet just as he was about to start the excavation, scaring the bejezus out of him. Helen Nabot climbs out, gasping for fresh air, dazzled almost to the point of nausea by bright light, though the sun's behind a cloud at the moment. Judging by hair and fingernail growth (readily corroborated by any Fire Hawk who cares to share the date) she's been gone more than a month, and smells like she hasn't had a decent bath in at least that long.

There's a coin-sized open sore on the back of her neck/base of her skull, weeping blood, and a small but very colorful tattoo on the inside of her left upper arm, right along the brachial artery, which she doesn't remember getting. In fact, she can't clearly recall anything between deciding to take the subterrene out for a spin, and frantically pulling up to the surface while the cabin tasted like breathing seltzer water. Disjointed geometric figures are rattling around in her mind. Definitely feels like she learned something useful, though.
>>
No. 883387 ID: 094652

rolled 5, 3, 4 = 12

>>883385
"...What's a Subterrene?"

Hore grills Helen about her newfound knowledge and is positively thrilled at the strange workings of this underground drilling wagon-thing. Less thrilled at all the alien writing scrawled across every inch of the inside. Regardless, she knows a merchant family who would pay her five times the market price for first dibs on this thing.

Hore will attempt to learn what she can from what Helen can faintly remember. If she can get this Subterrene to simply crawl and brake, that should be enough to drill their way into a treasure chamber or an unaware enemy outpost or something.
>>
No. 883400 ID: 3abd97

>your main goal today is
>to find some Orcusite priests
>and capture them intact for interrogation.
Oh, yes, if we can find any of them above Aaphia, or the riddles, that would be useful.

Well, if we assume Deggin Tar was an Orcusite (possible, but not certain? Aaphia could have been down there since before Orcus' followers moved in) capturing and interrogating one of their priests would break her first stipulation. Sorta stuck there though- we do need intel, either way.

Sorry, I'll try and make a post suggesting or rolling for an actual action later.
>>
No. 883427 ID: d22dc0

rolled 4, 3, 4 = 11

Yeah, I knew we were looking for an Orcusite priest, I just figured we might not have exhausted potential sources in town; it's a good idea not to leave stones unturned, even if it seems unlikely. Maru starts to ask why they can't just get "Queen Musty", since it'll either get them information, disarm a threat, or both. She's cut off in the middle by the apperance of Helen.

"Shite mate you look pure shit, try not to move quick-like, alright? Wes worked togeder before didn't we? Helen was is? 'Ore, back off, giver some space. Ji, you fink you can get de run down on what's wrong? I'll grab the first aid kit."

Maru tries to administer some basic shock protocols and get Ji the space needed to work. Rolling a check to aid I guess.
>>
No. 883580 ID: 20ea96

rolled 4, 6, 4 = 14

>>883006
>your main goal today is gathering intel on the Church of Orcus's presence in the Bloodmist Labyrinth
>>883427
>get Ji the space needed to work
Unless you give me an immediate flashback to the official agreement on the expected tangible profit of this venture and where his pay cut comes in (and it's a hefty sum!), Yisheng Ji adamantly refuses to be a part of this suicide mission at all. He recalls being almost incinerated to death the first time around, and surviving mainly by pure luck, rather than any actual, real support from his teammates.

>Ji's follow-up on the dreamscape expedition
Now this, he can get behind. Especially since it's a flashback, so it's already confirmed he survives no matter what. Once the escort mission business and post-business is completed, Yisheng Ji will be delighted to make full, necessary preparations to engage the dream realm and plunder its secrets and treasures. (You'll have to remind me / elaborate as to what those are.)

>Shopping
Yisheng Ji will also, with paycheck fresh in hand, revitalize his depleted medical supplies, and purchase vital components for the dreamscape expedition. It was never explained whether or not his enchanted spidersilk armor had full-body coverage or not, but if it doesn't have it, he'll spend a few bucks to ensure it does, because I'd hate to think I had it, only to find out I didn't when I take an unexpected critical instant-kill later due to lacking it. He'll also go visit a curse-specialist, if one exists in the city, and have his hair-bracelet looked at. The rest of his liquid wealth will be safely banked in a private account accessible only to himself, so it won't be randomly lost or stolen later.
>>
No. 883632 ID: 2007b6

>>883400
>Well, if we assume Deggin Tar was an Orcusite (possible, but not certain? Aaphia could have been down there since before Orcus' followers moved in) capturing and interrogating one of their priests would break her first stipulation.
>>770843
>First of all, give me your word that you and those who serve you will never strike the person of, nor speak harshly of, nor hold imprisoned, any faithful priest of the church Deggin Tar gave his life to protect, nor despoil and plunder any shrine or temple attended by such a priest.
There are a few ways to work around that, some of which are even consistent with the spirit of the agreement. You could try simply approaching the priests under flag of truce, or in disguise, and extracting the information diplomatically without violence. Could trick or seduce one of them into violating Orcus's code of conduct, so they're no longer technically a faithful priest (that would probably require theological research, to figure out what even counts as a transgression). Could hit one with Azarthraine's Deep Slumber spell (which technically neither strikes the body, nor holds imprisoned, and the lizard wizard is definitely not working for Lord Grimwald in any case), then see if Esmeraude can suck relevant info out of their dreaming mind with a kiss. Simplest option is probably to target the church's non-priestly goblin allies, and get around the 'plunder a shrine' clause either by paying some sort of ransom (whether in cash or favors) for what you want to retrieve, rather than seizing it by force. If you really want to go deep into monkey's-paw sophistry and elaborate heist movie shenanigans, the most interesting option might be somehow tricking them into stepping outside, and then conducting a lightning-fast portal raid while the shrine in question is unattended, or staffed entirely by the technically-unfaithful.

Or, you could dig into the history of who Deggin Tar was and exactly who he worked for, possibly identifying a more narrow group as the relevant "church," or a discontinuity in legitimacy of succession such that the group in question could be argued to no longer exist. Bit of a long shot, though, and just locating, much less gaining access to, the appropriate archives or sages or divination magic to figure out something so highly specific from so long ago would probably be an adventure unto itself.
>>
No. 883634 ID: 2007b6

>>883580
>it's already confirmed he survives
Yep, because the dream-journey expedition already happened, during your trip to Overmire.

"A hundred and forty-five people went out. Three of them made it back, of whom one was..." The dwarf closes his eyes, pinches the bridge of his nose, and takes a deep breath, choosing his words carefully before continuing. "...seriously injured, while the other two were visibly pregnant. A routine medical exam less than a week earlier had indicated that pregnancy should have been physiologically impossible for either of them. What they gave birth to... eventually grew into a pair of trees, which, tended by a 'native guide' the survivors brought with them, can produce the material in question as fruit."

He hands over a small basket containing a dozen brassy pears. The map Ji's automatic writing originally produced is tucked in between them. "Here is your share of the first harvest. We'll keep giving you ten percent as long as they keep producing. More warning about the destination region's hazards would have been appreciated, but we do understand that such information was not available to you. There are no plans for a second expedition at this time. If you'd like to charter a trip out there for your own reasons, please do so through one of our competitors."
>>
No. 883635 ID: 2007b6

>>883580
>He'll also go visit a curse-specialist, if one exists in the city, and have his hair-bracelet looked at.
Easy enough. Just take a few minutes to formally renounce all ties to Lord Grimwald or Queen Aaphia (the curse-breaker doesn't know who those people actually are, but can deduce names by examining the bracelet itself), then it'll come off with one snip from any ordinary pair of scissors. Only clear downsides are loss of the osteokinesis spell and some potential for other necromantic tricks later on, and the fact that they'll know you don't work for them anymore.
>>
No. 883691 ID: add037

rolled 4, 5, 6 = 15

Helen's quite euphoric about her fascinating expedition, but she'll try to keep as much information to herself as she can. Doesn't need the demon coming after her for stealing the subterrene and then losing it to a bunch of mercenaries. She'll definitely do what she can to keep anybody from opening that hatch.

Knowledge check on the tattoo? Has Helen read anything about it? Helen will also ask if the Fire Hawks know anything about what's been happening in Zelkor's Ferry and the surrounding area, and she'll try to negotiate her payment for returning Azarthraine's remains.
>>
No. 883854 ID: add037

>He recalls being almost incinerated to death the first time around, and surviving mainly by pure luck, rather than any actual, real support from his teammates.
I think this warrants discussion, because Vos is pretty wounded by Ji's attitude. "Fighting off monsters for several hours while you rested? Was this not support enough, Ji?"
>>
No. 883869 ID: d22dc0

Yeah, I'm also a bit confused where that idea comes from

>>/questarch/765788
Ji enters and accidentally sets off a row of traps; Maru suggests we turn around, administer care, and then prioritize projecting Ji, even other other injured like Vos.

>>/questarch/765834
Maru once again urges the party members to drop what they're doing and, among other things, go get Ji

>>/questarch/765986
Vos trying to think of a way to help Ji

>>/questarch/766235
Davina and Vos team up and rescue Ji

>>/questarch/766424
Maru proposes we place Ji in center formation.

>>/questarch/766496
Maru proposes we place Ji in center formation.

>>/questarch/766512
Maru backs the doctor up, decides to support whatever he's doing

>>/questarch/766796
Here's Maru's misguided attempt to help, after she thought the doctor had been influenced by the death trap and was going to his death. Don't remember where, but she tries to make amends later on the surface. Maru, assuming the imminent approach of the empty sweeper will cut them off, essentially leaves Ji for dead. This is pretty textbook unsupportive, and other people have pointed that out. She hopes you guys find your way to safety.

>>/questarch/766796
Vos is there, which I guess I can't objectively state as supportive, but it seems good spirited to me. Ji however says that so far we've not prioritized his health and safety. Up to this point I've only really used a search of "Ji" in the dungeon thread to find examples, I'm at like 70 something of 270+ but yeah, that's a little hurtful, it doesn't seem to me like we've been overly dismissive or anything. What am I missing here? Why is Ji under the impression we weren't looking out for him or considering his best interests?
>>
No. 883991 ID: 3abd97

rolled 5, 5, 5 = 15

>>883385
>A bronze hatch pops open from the ground under Azarthraine's feet just as he was about to start the excavation
Assuming we aren't willing to disintegrate the subterrene, is it in our way, or can we go around it?

Introductions all around, and let's see if we can get Ji or Vos to check her over. After she's sufficiently recovered we can ask her where she's been, and I imagine she and Azarthraine will find points of common interest to discus.

>>883691
>losing it to a bunch of mercenaries. She'll definitely do what she can to keep anybody from opening that hatch.
"Oh leave that open, the air down there smells foul, let it clear."

>>883580
I'd certainly prefer to have the good doctor along, but we can't force him to participate, either.

>the expected tangible profit of this venture
-Preliminary steps towards recovering the bodies of falling allies. More DM-PCs allies means more operational safety, and it seems to me someone seeking immortality would endorse a company policy of reviving fallen allies in case he himself should ever need such services.
-We're trying to retrieve Azarthraine's spellbook, which in addition to making him vastly more capable and useful ally, opens up a high paying low risk job where he builds an exodimensional sanctum for a customer.
-loot division and wages from the company as usual, we were still working out the details of that in the dis thread.

>surviving mainly by pure luck, rather than any actual, real support from his teammates
I seem to recall the whole team doubling back to help when Ji ran into difficulty on the chess board, and a collaborative effort using a variety of personal powers to actually reach the exit, which not one of us would have been able to do alone.

>>883632
Well this is shaping up to be quite complicated.

>>883634
>Survival rate of 2% or worse depending on how you count the condition of the survivors
Yikes.

>>883635
>confirmation the hair bracelet is connected to Lord Grimwald and Queen Aaphia
In that case, I suppose it would be a good idea to check if any of the rest of us who met with Aaphia are similarly marked. Roll for search.
>>
No. 884011 ID: 3f5235

>>883854
>>883869
Unfortunately, that's not quite how he remembers it.

>>/questarch/765692
>Yisheng Ji discovers his party had somehow already crossed the chessboard and were swiftly departing without him
>>/questarch/765812
>Crossing alone, Yisheng Ji bursts into flame, is struck with 1-2 days of mental fatigue, infected with a parasite spirit, cursed with ill fortune, stricken blind, and inflicted with drunken clumsiness
>He is forced to throw away his pride and cry loudly for help to get his allies to return

>>/questarch/766067
>>/questarch/766099
>Yisheng Ji heals himself from the brink of death, using up his daily pool of healing powers
>He is infected with another parasite spirit

>>/questarch/766235
>Davina and Vos rescue Yisheng Ji from the chessboard
>Davina almost decapitates him by accident while rescuing him

>>/questarch/766792
>Yisheng Ji wants to find a safe place to rest and recover
>>/questarch/766796
>Maru attempts to knock him unconscious with blunt force to the head if he tries to do so
>>/questarch/766800
>Vos attempts to grab/grapple Yisheng Ji, rather than stop Maru

>>/questarch/766885
>Yisheng Ji relates his concern that his safety is being assigned a low priority
>Tries to rest
>>/questarch/766994
>>/questarch/767006
>>/questarch/767079
>>/questarch/767127
>Vos shouts as loud as he can to attract Hore's attention to the safe spot, ignoring potential danger
>Rather than resting, Vos and Hore have noisy sex all night, actively ignoring his protests
>>/questarch/767104
>He has to drink himself to sleep

>>/questarch/767692
>Hore wants to wake up Yisheng Ji to help Vos instead of letting him rest (apparently forgetting Yisheng Ji was also seriously injured recently)
>>/questarch/767751
>Only changes her mind at the last minute
>>/questarch/767920
Almost changes her mind again
>>/questarch/768002
>Yisheng Ji wakes up to find half his wine and brass balm has been consumed
>Despite that, Hore still requires him to immediately expend the healing power that he's just recovered on her
>>/questarch/768005
>Vos admits to taking his supplies, and that they almost prematurely woke him up twice out of panic at not being able to deal with the situation

>>/questarch/768021
>>/questarch/768022
>>/questarch/768034
>Yisheng Ji saves Hore's life

>>/questarch/768143
>>/questarch/768167
>>/questarch/768170
>Yisheng Ji saves Maria's life
>>/questarch/768182
>Despite Daniel's foolish and cowardly actions
>Yisheng Ji is exhausted by the effort

>>/questarch/770042
>>/questarch/770054
>Maru tries to hustle him around against his will (again), which would have accidentally endangered him, had she had succeeded

>>/questarch/770321
>>/questarch/770330
>>/questarch/770349
>Yisheng Ji is called upon to heal Davina, which he does

>>/questarch/770487
>>/questarch/770645
>Yisheng Ji saves Davina's life by rescuing her from mortal danger

>>/questarch/775574
>Vos helps Yisheng Ji out of the pit

Final tally (by Yisheng Ji's count):
- Times he saved someone's life: 4 (himself, Hore, Maria, Davina)
- Times he was helped out of danger by an ally: 2 (Davina/Vos at the chessboard, Vos at the pit)
- Times his welfare was threatened by an ally: 5 (Davina at the chessboard accidentally, Maru at the crossroads intentionally, Vos at the saferoom carelessly, Daniel at the chessboard fearfully, Maru at the shaft carelessly)

So you'll have to forgive him if he's reluctant to go back without a very good (and preferably monetarily valuable) reason.
>>
No. 884020 ID: 3f5235

rolled 4, 1, 5 = 10

>>883634
>>883991
>the dream-journey expedition already happened, during your trip to Overmire
Unfortunate.
>Survival rate of 2% or worse depending on how you count the condition of the survivors
Or perhaps fortunate then, in hindsight.

>ten percent of the dreamfruit as long as they keep producing
Good deal. Yisheng Ji would be thrilled to study these in greater detail, particularly keen on examining their inherent spiritual power or significance. Has anyone tried consuming one yet? He's also interested in meeting with that 'native guide' who is currently tending them. It would be extremely beneficial if he too could learn the technique for tending them. Even if it is not a personally feasible process for him, he's still interested on a scholarly level.

>someone seeking immortality would endorse a company policy of reviving fallen allies in case he himself should ever need such services
Indeed. However, one hopes one might have better than the vaguest fever-dream of an idea of whether or not one's fallen allies' bodies even still exist, before engaging on a suicide mission into certain extreme danger to locate them.

>We're trying to retrieve Azarthraine's spellbook, which in addition to making him vastly more capable and useful ally, opens up a high paying low risk job where he builds an exodimensional sanctum for a customer
While that would be exceptional news for the company if we could pull it off, Yisheng Ji is more than a little concerned about the actual physical state of a small paper tome sitting in a nightmare dungeon for six months. If it actually is still in legible condition, that would most likely mean it was acquired and kept by an intelligent being who now has full access to all of Azarthraine's spells. And it tends to be a little difficult to be revived when one has been supremely disintegrated.

>loot division and wages from the company as usual
There are countless, less-dangerous ways to make money. For example, (he adds with a certain dry sarcasm) one could wrestle gugs to death. That would certainly qualify as being less dangerous than re-entering the Bloodmist Labyrinth. Keep in mind, this is the place in which every member of the original company perished, including Azarthraine. Azarthraine, who can vaporize people with his mind, and who has admitted to the presence of creatures residing down there who he himself is helpless against. (See >>848621 )

At the very least, Yisheng Ji argues, if we must return, we should first have some idea of which way we're going, some preparations against the dangers we already know to be down there, and a concrete plan for escape afterward. Is the school of divination magic truly without value here? Oh, and perhaps a scroll capable of repairing Azarthraine's spellbook, should we find it in disrepair. These are Yisheng Ji's minimum conditions for re-entry into that accursed place.
>>
No. 884022 ID: 3abd97

>the actual physical state of a small paper tome sitting in a nightmare dungeon for six months
I'm reasonably certain an archmage's spellbook would qualify as some kind of artifact, and be enchanted to be resistant to basic environmental wear and tear at the very least.

>Is the school of divination magic truly without value here?
Which I think is part of the problem here- if you ward a spellbook against divination to protect against theft or tracking, that makes it harder to recover when lost. But it's not a bad point, depending on availability and cost, divinations are one thing the company could spend some of our cash on in preparation.

>that would most likely mean it was acquired and kept by an intelligent being who now has full access to all of Azarthraine's spells
It's probably in someone's hands by now, agreed. I believe they won't have his full capabilities yet though- they'd have to figure out whatever ciphers or magical information security techniques Azarthraine employed, and then learning or mastering the spells themselves would take time and a significant xp investment.

>some preparations against the dangers we already know to be down there
We're planning on tunneling past some of them right now. And in doing so, securing a path of retreat so we can rest and regain spells in safety. That's what killed Azarthraine and co last time- fatigue and running out of spells.

That's also why we're trying to grab someone to question for intelligence instead of just charging in.

Any suggestions you might have on specific preparations to counter known dangers are certainly welcome.
>>
No. 884028 ID: add037

>>884011
That's an incredibly twisted way to look at things, but I guess Vos has learned a valuable lesson about 'halping'. Next time he won't stick around if Ji wants to take a nap alone in a dungeon full of monsters.
>>
No. 884046 ID: d22dc0

>>884011
Links
1-4) It's a bit mean spirited to count the time at which your character was created against party members. Obviously you get executive say in the matter, but it's not an IC choice that was made by anyone, even Ji- it's jut a facet of the universe. Literally nothing we could have done.

5-6) Also not relating to any other PCs; we had no way to stop or influence this.

7) Counting that as endangering Ji is like saying a doctor cutting open a patient to surgically remove someone is assault. He wasn't at risk from Davina, and was actively removed from risk by the dynamic duo.

8-10) Understandable, but if he's still holding this against Maru, he could at least tell her. She did explain that she was trying to save him, and she was pretty spot on in saying the room would have landed him dead.

11) Upon deciding to split up with the party, no one had yet done anything hostile, and in fact had inured great danger to rescue Ji. So, why did he feel unsupported by the party? He literally trusted information from the Orcus death trap, which he knew included a koan that gave you information you thought was safe to endanger you, over his party members. What had we done to alienate him so much?

12-16) An action which again inadvertently saved his life. The sex was also only an hour long, not all night.

17-19) Ji suffered no ill effects for it. Normally when camp is invaded by monsters, you thank your friends for waking you so that you can prepare and not die in your sleep.

20-21) Supplies that were used at your behest, since Ji was more interested in recovering than helping allies who nearly died defending his sleeping form. If Ji is affronted that his allies needed healing after fighting off monsters he slept, then I'm well and truly out of my depth trying to understand his thought process.

22-24) That he did! Tangentially, I can't keep track well enough to remember but is Ji still enacting the no-healing-Maru rule?

26-28) Also expertly done, although I think it was extortionate and decidedly un-supportive to take payment directly afterwards, taking the healing item that would have directly improved the patients recovery, in the middle of the deadly labyrinth.

29) Bad roll, hands once again tied.

30-31) Absolutely true, that was not a plus.

32-36) That however, is true and also a plus.

37) And we've been better off for it

My point here is not a who's objectively right or wrong, but that our characters have been acting in good faith to work with and protect everyone, including Ji. It's up to you to decided how he's perceiving all this, but obviously if he spurs his friends they're going to feel unappreciated and hurt. You also don't have to justify not wanting to go into the horrible death cave by saying your party members suck- there's perfectly legitimate danger in terms of the entire dungeon. Honestly this whole situation reminds me of Riv's desperation to attack the Neogi, except that in this scenario Riv is in control of the company. Had we not time skipped to directly outside the labyrinth, Maru would have been dead set against going, and might have gone to do other work since she could live off her current pay; being that we're already here, I'm going to assume Maru was already persuaded to come with, and act accordingly.
>>
No. 884053 ID: d22dc0

>>884022
Not sure how strong the queen is, but Maru still thinks she's a good easy target that lets them dip in and out.

Heh, Dip and Dodge. Poor suckers never had a chance. Maybe she and Eric got them back somehow.
>>
No. 884141 ID: 20ea96

>>884028
This sort of knee-jerk petulant attitude, in which a wayward comment is enough to provoke a complete denial of any sort of cooperation, is exactly the sort of reason why Yisheng Ji is reluctant to entrust his life to you in the first place. Better to air it out in the open now that we're still in a safe place than to be lying on death's door and watching you slither away because you didn't like the way he spoke to you. It is not that he doubts your competence, but that he doubts his life holds much value in the face of the team's apparently-uncontrollable base feelings and desires. And Yisheng Ji would, strictly, rather live.

>>884046
>not a choice that was made by anyone
>Bad roll, hands tied
Regardless of OOC decisions and circumstances, that's how it was justified and presented IC. Treating IC actions as if they didn't happen purely for OOC reasons is metagaming. If I rolled poorly and Yisheng Ji injured someone because of it, that character would have every right to be upset at him, even if I had no control over it whatsoever. Why should Yisheng Ji respond in any way other than would be rational considering the IC events that occurred? Being his opinions, he's obviously not going to be strictly impartial, especially where his major and minor ambitions are concerned. (His life and his money)

>is Ji still enacting the no-healing-Maru rule
Although he said that in the heat of the moment, literally the first time she came to him while injured after that, he seriously considered healing her anyway. Not to Maru's credit, this turned out to be a prank on her part at the time.

>>/questdis/122962
>if you can't think of a reason for Ji to be there or work with the others
It's not that he can't think of a reason to go. It's that he wants solid confirmation the team has put any sort of thought at all into the expedition before throwing themselves into certain mortal danger, rather than simply winging it. Particularly because he hasn't been impressed with the haphazard way the party seems to have enjoyed doing things up to this point. And in any case, I certainly haven't seen this level of protest when Maru decided to run off and become a bartender. A bit of a double standard, no?
>>
No. 884153 ID: add037

rolled 5, 3, 1 = 9

Well while Ji's figuring out what he's going to do (and assuming the Fire Hawks let Helen get a look at their map), does Helen know anything about those riddles? What religion they refer to and how to possibly gather the correct answers?

Helen says she can penetrate the dungeon more efficiently with the subterrene, but she'll require compensation. Might want to get into negotiations with the demon who actually owns it too, as he's the vindictive type.
>>
No. 884171 ID: d22dc0

>>884141
>knee-jerk petulant attitude

Glass houses and all. I'm going to drop it, but I don't think Ji is being very fair here.

>he doubts his life holds much value
The goal of my post was to provide evidence to the contrary. Take it as you will, but I thought the points I made were solid.

>Why wouldn't Ji act on IC knowledge?
Obviously this isn't the way everyone thinks about it, but really just because it's easier and more fun? It kinda sucks to have the foundation we start on be adversarial. I know not everyone does handwaving to smooth things over, but OOC we get to dictate our actions regardless of what makes sense in universe, and it's just more fun to work together and not have to fight all the time. It's a personal decision, but, for example, Hore early on was a serial rapist, and everyone was not having fun OOC, so we did away with that. We retconned IC information and motives to make it more fun for the players regardless of the characters. Ji's case is far less serious, but it's the same principle. If acting on IC ideas makes the game less fun, maybe take that into consideration. I don't think there's a right or wrong decision, it's your character, and how you play is up to you. It just feels bad to me because it feels like I'm being punished for something I couldn't control.

>Ji might have healed Maru
That comment wasn't meant to be vindictive- like I said, I legitimately didn't remember if that had come up again since. Thank you for clarifying.

>he wants solid confirmation
Since we get to flash back, I would suggest just assuming the things that would have needed to happen happened, and inform us accordingly; rather than "Ji won't go unless you do x" say "Okay, well I know we did X to prepare since Ji was adamant that get done before leaving." That's assuming you as a player want to play through this dungeon with Ji, which I think we as players have said we welcome. Don't want to force the issue though- if YOU don't want to play, make that final call. If you do, then set the world up so it makes sense.

>I certainly haven't seen this level of protest when Maru decided to run off and become a bartender.
She didn't; she approached the team IC, just as I approached people OOC, and discussed thoughts and feelings, how my experience was being impacted, what I wanted out of the game and what made sense as a character. I've made several IC actions and discussed a couple of times Maru being at the Dungeon mouth with everyone else. Besides, 50g is roughly an order of magnitude too small for her to go off and get it sorted herself.

>A bit of a double standard, no?
I would hope everyone fighting for your continued involvement and our attempt to say "hey, we do care, see look?" would inspire you rather than make you feel as though people are treating you unfairly, but I understand if all this seemed adversarial. Not my intent, but obviously tone is hard to convey here.

I've now posted IC actions and suggestions a couple times, so I'm going to try to cool my jets until the in game situation changes more.
>>
No. 884176 ID: 094652

rolled 3, 1, 1 = 5

Hore wonders if the party will stop arguing over semantics and just drill their way to victory already.

Rolling to discuss various tech topics with Helen. Specifically, about anything in the subterrene that might explode RIGHT NOW due to lack of maintenance.
>>
No. 884234 ID: 2007b6

>>883991
>Assuming we aren't willing to disintegrate the subterrene, is it in our way, or can we go around it?
With the combined efforts of a team of surveyors and a 15th level wizard who hasn't completely neglected studying applied geometry, it's almost trivial to do the basic trigonometry necessary to calculate an appropriate entry point for boring in at an angle, assuming Helen can give accurate information (or at least an upper bound) on the subterrene's exterior size.

Alternatively, you could start the excavation from the subterrene's ventral hatch, thereby leaving topsoil and an initial layer of rock intact. Reduces the risk of discovery, falling debris, escaping wraiths, etc.

Or, if you could figure out how to safely and reliably operate the subterrene, that would open up completely new options for approaching this whole problem.

>Roll for search.
>rolled 5, 5, 5 = 15
No other bracelets, anklets, collars, etc. of braided Aaphia-hair are found.

>>884020
>study these in greater detail, particularly keen on examining their inherent spiritual power or significance.
The fruit itself, interestingly enough, actually has less spiritual 'force' or 'definition' to it than any ordinary pear from orchards outside the city. Alchemy exploits the ambiguity of that liminal state between metal and plant in order to simultaneously rigidize and nourish damaged flesh. Having the whole fruit to work with, stem and skin and seeds instead of just pre-treated crescent slices of the juicy part, might be useful for research and inventing other possible applications.
>Has anyone tried consuming one yet?
https://xkcd.com/18/ It's easier to scratch than solid brass, but actually has higher compressive strength, including resistance to deeper penetration comparable to that of mild steel. Even cut into appropriately small pieces, without alchemical preparation it'd most likely cause internal injuries similar to eating scrap metal or ground glass. Some nutritive value, but there are far more cost-effective ways to trick someone into torturing themselves by limiting their food to a short list of bad options.

>He's also interested in meeting with that 'native guide' who is currently tending them.
The guide is described as most nearly resembling an array of weapons and chitinous gardening tools protruding from a remarkably cohesive and persistent coffin-sized pillar of smoke. Setting up a meeting would be possible, but is too complex, potentially dangerous, and off-topic to be handled as a flashback.

>If it actually is still in legible condition, that would most likely mean it was acquired and kept by an intelligent being who now has full access to all of Azarthraine's spells.
First, many intelligent creatures could recognize the book as potentially valuable, but only an arcane caster from an appropriately literate tradition would be able to actually use it, and even then only up to the circles they were already capable of. Second, it was written as much as possible in obscure slang, dead languages, and/or actual mathematical ciphers. Third, even once literal meanings of individual words and diagrams were clear, Zelkor of the Green Tassels is probably the only other person who'd be casually familiar with the underlying 'function library,' so learning each individual spell would involve going through line-by-line and recompiling it. Easier and safer than inventing from scratch, but, unlike the code-breaking, it'd be impossible to delegate or otherwise divide the most tedious work among several people, since any alteration must take the full contest of the spell into account.
>And it tends to be a little difficult to be revived when one has been supremely disintegrated.
Fourth, Supreme Disintegration isn't in the lost spellbook, not as anything more than a washed-out palimpsest, for the same reason it's still available: after Azarthraine permanently grafted it into his own mind, he scrubbed out the redundant hard copy to make room for other stuff. Fifth, the wisp of dust left over when a body is disintegrated is just as adequate a link for targeting artificial reincarnation as, say, a fist-sized hunk of charcoal plus a badge, or an entire skeleton minus the head.
> the presence of creatures residing down there who he himself is helpless against
"Helpless against" is a bit of an overstatement. Azarthraine is confident he could've found some way to permanently dispatch the abomination, given a full loadout and a bit more time to think. As it was, they still managed an orderly retreat. The thing's attempt to pursue was thwarted by simply closing an unlocked door. What wiped out the original Fire Hawks was disorientation and attrition, not overwhelmingly superior individual opponents.
>Is the school of divination magic truly without value here?
Bloodmist Labyrinth is warded, but more like a thorny hedge than an impenetrable wall. Main issue is the Fire Hawks don't have in-house assets for long-range scrying or fortune-telling, so you'd need to hire somebody, and anyone who can do the job would also, at minimum, be able to make valuable contributions to mineral prospecting and/or someone else's military, so they probably won't work cheap.

What do you want to know, and how much are you willing to pay?

>>884046
>Had we not time skipped to directly outside the labyrinth, Maru would have been dead set against going, and might have gone to do other work since she could live off her current pay; being that we're already here, I'm going to assume Maru was already persuaded to come with, and act accordingly.
Again, my intention with the careful phrasing of the timeskip was to preserve "nope, bad plan, I quit" as an option for PCs. IC, Azarthraine and Oldaric both know that anybody who doesn't really want to be here in the first place might be looking for opportunities to desert, or even defect, which is a dangerous liability for the whole team. This company is supposed to be the Fire Hawks, not the Blue Falcons.

>>884153
>does Helen know anything about those riddles? What religion they refer to and how to possibly gather the correct answers?
Well, given that it's in a religious context at all, the first one probably refers to whichever god they're worshipping. The traps seem to have been designed by total assholes, with deep symbolism and no completely safe bypass, so answer number three might be "nobody." Second one is the only really tricky part. Might be a clue or reminder in the carvings on that slab at the entrance >>/questarch/776147 for anyone who knows the relevant language.
>>884176
Only part of the subterrene which holds any possibility of exploding is the power core, a tormented earth elemental. Bindings seem to be stable for the time being. From Hore's "outsider nanobot shaman" perspective, the entire vehicle seems to be a schizophrenic caricature of real advanced technology, but one which is nonetheless functional. Sorta like if a bunch of primitive islanders built an airplane-shaped effigy from mud and leaves, filled the fuel tank with pig's blood, then danced and chanted and turned the ignition key and it actually took off. Operation and maintenance procedures seem to be adequately documented, in a language Helen can now read and write with almost perfect fluency (the 'accented' level). Individual steps and specific components mostly make sense, but wrapping your head around uncanny and deeply perverse or alien aspects of the overall design will probably take at least a month or two, and until you've done so, any attempt to use the thing will risk ridiculous and/or deadly catastrophe.
>>
No. 884268 ID: 5f3f48

>if you could figure out how to safely and reliably operate the subterrene, that would open up completely new options for approaching this whole problem
Considering the whole premise here is to try and secure a reliable path of retreat from the dungeon, Davina is reluctant to rely on a device whose use is regularly described in terms of ridiculous and/or deadly catastrophe, and apparently has a demon and race of mole men vying to retrieve it.

>No other bracelets, anklets, collars, etc. of braided Aaphia-hair are found.
Interesting. Why single out Ji for scrutiny and/or assistance? Suggests he made an impression, or some unique quality of his stood out.
>>
No. 884279 ID: add037

rolled 6, 3, 6 = 15

>ridiculous and/or deadly catastrophe
>"Nonsense! The subterrene is perfectly safe when driven by a competent pilot." (rolling for deception)

>race of mole men vying to retrieve it.
"Pardon?"

>assuming Helen can give accurate information (or at least an upper bound) on the subterrene's exterior size
Well...can she?

I'm guessing Helen's book of curses doesn't offer any clues to answering those riddles?
>>/questarch/776147
Have I ever read about Orcus being referred to as The Horned One? Might be better just to carve to that room with the 400' drop. If it is indeed the Church of Orcus that designed those traps, they seem to have a knack for creating puzzles that weren't actually meant to be solved. At least a giant vertical shaft is an obstacle we know about and can plan for.
>>
No. 884311 ID: 3abd97

>"Nonsense! The subterrene is perfectly safe when driven by a competent pilot." (rolling for deception)
>rolled 6, 3, 6 = 15
Maria's defense of the vehicle is met with a skeptical eyebrow, and a sinuous head motion that appears to pass for an eyeroll among millipedes.
>>
No. 884332 ID: d22dc0

>>884268
>Why single out Ji
Might be dat we all ‘ave ‘em, but dey’re some’ow magically concealed so we can’t find ‘em out. Somefin like dat could put a damper on us if we wants to get de Queen.
>>
No. 884410 ID: 2007b6

>>884279
>Have I ever read about Orcus being referred to as The Horned One?
>I'm guessing Helen's book of curses doesn't offer any clues to answering those riddles?
No broad survey of historical curses and atrocities would be complete without at least some passing mention of the Church of Orcus. The book doesn't really cover comparative theology in useful detail, but their patron does have certain goat-like characteristics attributed to him, so "Horned One" is a plausible epithet.

>>884268
>Why single out Ji for scrutiny and/or assistance? Suggests he made an impression, or some unique quality of his stood out.
If this is brought up during the meeting with the professional curse-breaker, it's mentioned that such marks may linger, latent and much more difficult to detect (the explanation involves a lot of dense technical jargon, something about eclipses?) until they're made fully manifest by having some meaningful effect on the world, whether the first twinge of geas compulsion or or power being drawn from a 'mixed blessing' sort of curse to pursue some immediate goal.
>>
No. 884506 ID: d22dc0

rolled 2, 6, 6 = 14

>>884410
>osteokinesis spell

Huh, can Maru seemingly manipulate bones at all? She'll give it a try on her own arm. The right one.
>>
No. 884795 ID: 20ea96

rolled 3, 3, 1 = 7

>>/questdis/122998
>retroactive preparation
That's honestly all I needed to hear to take the huge weight off my mind.

>>884234
>>/questdis/123028
>>/questdis/123033
>A specialist to identify and disable magic traps
Splitting the profits of the venture another way seems like it'd cost more than it'd be worth.

>if they die we might get our investment back, so double bonus
Actually, it's lose-lose, because we either have to pay them (losing money), or they die (reducing our reputation if the rest of us come back alive). People normally aren't expendable, and hirelings doubly so, even if they agree to as much in their contract.

>a call and response would be useful
100% agreed. We should have a sign-password-countersign authentication. (So that two reuniting parties will both be challenged by each other.) In fact, I think we should have multiple sets of responses. The sign should always be the same, but the password and countersign should each have two variants, with one extra countersign for confirmation. We'll obviously have a normal, accepted response, and any wrong answer will obviously betray an imposter. However, we should also have a second, special response which means "It's really me, but I've been compromised. Pretend my answer was correct, but don't trust me and subdue me nonlethally later if possible."

Example keywords could be something like the following: (Seeded into inconspicuous sentences, of course.)
Sign: "Luck"
Password: "Wind" or "Sand" (if compromised)
Countersign: "Wild" or "Sore" (if compromised)
Confirmation: "Herb"

Let's say Person A and person B rendezvous serendipitously after being split up earlier.

Scenario 1
A: "Wow, it's lucky we happened to meet up again!" (Sign)
B: "Yes, your familiar scent must have found me on the wind." (Password)
A: "I'm just glad it was you and not a wild animal." (Countersign)

Scenario 2
A: "You made it! What luck!" (Sign)
B: "Yeah, but I think I got some sand in my boot." (Password)
A: "We have some herbs for chafing if you need them." (Confirmation) - Normal countersign is not leaked to the enemy.
(A later ambushes and captures B for interrogation/investigation)

Scenario 3
A: "Thank my lucky stars I found you. I'm injured and need aid." (Sign)
B: "How bad is it? You look winded." (Password)
A: "I took a beating. I'm sore all over." (Countersign)
B: "Stay there. I'll fetch some herbs for you." (Confirmation)
(B returns with sleeping drugs to safely knock A out.)

Scenario 4
A: "You've returned. You're lucky to be alive after that stunt you pulled!" (Sign)
B: "Yeah, sorry about that. I'll be more careful next time." (Bad Response)
(Everyone attacks and murders B on the spot.)

>magical communication
In a place like Bloodmist, I don't think there's any way I could trust a disembodied voice coming out of the mist is actually my colleague and not another one of those brain-ghost-parasite things. Let's avoid using that sort of thing, if we can.

>Esmeraude and Prisoner would make good assets, provided we do the treatment to bond them in hopes of making her more stable
Yisheng Ji doesn't know about Prisoner, and thus has no opinion to offer there.

Esmeraude is an interesting suggestion. As she was before the timeskip, I would have to say Hard No, but Yisheng Ji has been actively attempting to stabilize her this entire time. Can we get a progress report on that before we decide on her?

>pears scratch easier, but have higher compressive strength than brass
Could they be used to craft underarmor, or be alloyed? They sound like they'd be excellent protection against blunt weapons if shaped properly. I'm not sure how far you've gotten in ISSTH, but maybe Yisheng Ji could even... refine them with his divine power, imbuing their natural, organic strength into himself, ala Eyeless Larva, something not possible with unnatural, manufactured substances and items. The pear came from a living thing, and so surely it is not impossible to consider returning that power to another living thing. Dreams of flesh like brass, like a Buddha statue come to life, powerful, durable, and yet still flexible. None of the stiffness of simply smearing yourself with brass balm.

>the bracelet is a sign of eventual geas compulsion
Ah, yes, the classic "a little taste of power now for eventual horrible transformation and mental slavery later" cursed item. You wouldn't believe how many times I've seen this before in a campaign. I know it'll bite me in the ass later, but since we're going down into Bloodmist, I'd rather get bitten later than have nightmare goons sent after us immediately after they sense I've broken their curse. For now, knowing how to remove it is good enough.

>>883385
>Helen Nabot
Well, since he's there, Yisheng Ji will treat Helen's weeping sore, as well as any less-obvious major injuries he diagnoses. The minor injuries he'll let her recover on her own, since there's no rush. Then he'll suggest that it would be greatly to the benefit of her health if she went somewhere to wash and groom herself. Sooner would be better.
>>
No. 884822 ID: 3abd97

>Yisheng Ji doesn't know about Prisoner, and thus has no opinion to offer there.
You can assume Davina informed Ji about Prisoner after you parted with Tchalcedo (we discovered we were being spied upon, captured the spy, it agreed to flip and give information if we got it out). The only reason Ji was being kept out of the loop is so Tchalcedo wouldn't discover she had been made.

Prisoner's potentially a useful asset, and one we might not want to publicly advertise, but keeping it secret from the rest of the party unnecessarily would make it much more complicated than necessary.

If nothing else, having a turncoat tsochar to consult with might be useful if and when Ji attempts trading information over that communicator Tchalcedo left him. (Although I can't suggest that idea in-character unless Ji reveals he has that).
>>
No. 884857 ID: 2007b6

>>884506
Only the regular way, with muscles.

>>884795
>Esmeraude is an interesting suggestion. As she was before the timeskip, I would have to say Hard No, but Yisheng Ji has been actively attempting to stabilize her this entire time. Can we get a progress report on that before we decide on her?
Mood swings are mostly stabilized; a tiny quantity of laserwort adequately substitutes for half a dozen other ingredients and two-thirds of the work for compounding a relevant potion. She's not completely done grieving for her disintegrated retainer, but seems to be functional enough for field work.

Just before you made it back to Passholdt, her blood pH was normalized enough that Prisoner could safely move in. The tsochar claims he could, with certain hormonal secretions and physical manipulations, effectively eliminate her nymphomania as long as he stayed in there.

Both have questionable loyalty, but their conflicting agendas wouldn't be easy to align, so if either of them betrayed the group unilaterally, the other would more likely attempt to subdue the traitor (hoping to win Davina's favor) rather than play along. Prior discussion might change that, but any attempt at such a conspiracy could be further hampered by simply ordering them both to give regular telepathic reports on each others' behavior.

>Could they be used to craft underarmor, or be alloyed? They sound like they'd be excellent protection against blunt weapons if shaped properly.
Could be cut up into scales for lamellar, sure... but the strength to weight ratio there is only about as good as mild steel, not anything with armor-grade heat treatments, and far more expensive. Cooking it anywhere near enough to reshape or join into larger plates destroys the relevant properties, leaving more or less ordinary brass.
>refine them with his divine power, imbuing their natural, organic strength into himself
The fruit's "seeds" have a complex internal structure, but won't ever actually germinate. To understand the fruit well enough to safely make it's useful aspects part of himself, Yisheng Ji would need to either spend several months in meticulous analysis and calculation (similar to deducing the shape of a horse's nose based on a few strands from it's tail), or personally observe different stages of the tree's life cycle, or consult with the otherworldly arborist. Preferably two or more of those, for confirmation.

>Ah, yes, the classic "a little taste of power now for eventual horrible transformation and mental slavery later" cursed item.
They're familiar with that sort of thing, but no. After tangible manifestation, whole scheme is blown wide-open, at least to someone who knows what to look for. The worst this one could do is, if you blatantly break the terms without formally renouncing the deal first, you lose the powers it was enabling and it constricts hard enough to eventually amputate your hand. Whoever did this wasn't as powerful as Azarthraine, and even then clearly wasn't putting their best effort into covering all the contingencies.
>>
No. 885488 ID: 094652

rolled 1, 6, 5 = 12

Well, Hore would like to press the issue. This subterrene is a technological wonder that shouldn't work but magic. Regardless of contractual obligations and ideological arguments, the subterrene is a very precious asset, one that could even be sold on the open market with the right legal approvals, though Hore figures the current wealth of the rightful owner to hold such an asset would be a favorable return option. Priority one, as we discovered it early on in the expedition, is to get this thing to safety and perform maintenance on the power supply so it doesn't blow up on us. Then it's a simple matter of deciding whether to resell it back to its original owner (finder's fee and all that) or use it in the expedition to breeze through the dungeon and ambush enemies with lethal drill weaponry, and return it later.

Hore might not be the best conversationalist, but surely the party can see the benefit of caring for this obviously expensive and misplaced wonder of metascience, as opposed to slowly carving their way to a mission objective that they don't have pinpointed in a dungeon full of merciless multidimensional deathtraps that they're not prepared for... can't they?
>>
No. 885523 ID: add037

rolled 5, 1, 1 = 7

>sold on the open market
>get this thing to safety
>resell it back to its original owner

"I've changed my mind. This vessel is not going anywhere with any of you. Now get out. Quickly, before I activate the self-destruct!"
>>
No. 885636 ID: 20ea96

rolled 1, 4, 5 = 10

>>885523
>before I activate the self-destruct
As someone directly behind Helen (given that he's actively addressing the injury on the back of her head), Yisheng Ji considers this an excellent cue to render her unconscious/helpless with a series of swift, yet careful pressure point strikes, before she blows us all to hell.
>>
No. 885642 ID: 2007b6

>>885636
Want her all the way unconscious, with some risk of brain damage? Or a flurry of pressure point strikes to leave both of her arms paralyzed, and tongue/vocal cords disrupted enough to prevent precise enunciation of a password, plus optional blindness? Paralysis lasts for 5d6 seconds (separately for each arm and throat), blindness for 2d6, but that's usually enough to finish a fight or arrange more lasting restraints.
>>
No. 885758 ID: e9490d

>>885636
Maru calls out a casual warning, something in the realm of watch of “watch out for de left side, he’s got a bloody ‘ard jab”.

In the mean time, she remarks that it’s probably a good time to double check we’re actually talking to Helen. Something tunnels up right outside the labyrinth, sayin it’s a friend, covered in strange markings and conviently forgetful of the proceedings prior, could be a good idea to at least double check we’re all who we say we are before proceeding. We’re not really gonna gonna beat and rob her though right? Seems like a poor thanks for helping us out before.
>>
No. 885767 ID: 20ea96

rolled 2, 6, 5, 5, 6 = 24

>>885642
>Paralysis lasts for 5d6 seconds
Not very long to bind someone up, but he'll give it a shot. Paralysis, knock prone, mouth gag (in case it's a command word), hands behind back, wrists tied together, feet bound, in that order of priorities. He will attempt to do as many of the items as possible, and if the paralysis wears off too early, he'll expend a spell slot to hold her skeleton in place while he finishes.

>>885758
>Maru actively sabotaging the operation and aiding the enemy for no reason other than a long-standing grudge
Yisheng Ji will have a serious discussion with Davina about that later, advocating she be removed from the expedition team immediately.
>>
No. 885858 ID: 2007b6

>>885767
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvUARhM7jrg
Success. By the time the temporary paralysis wears off, Helen has been restrained. Unless the self-destruct has a purely mental remote trigger, or she's got a remote hidden in her shoe or something, she'll need to do a fair amount of obvious squirming before she'd be able to reach it.
>>
No. 885995 ID: add037

rolled 1, 3, 3 = 7

Helen won't wear herself out with pointless struggling. They called her bluff (or might as well have), and she has no chance against a whole company of experienced brigands.

I don't actually know a way to blow this thing up, do I? Also covering more bases, any spells/curses that might be relevant for fighting or causing distractions? (still not sure how magic works) Can I go zorth again?
>>
No. 886165 ID: 2007b6

>>885995
>I don't actually know a way to blow this thing up, do I?
Could probably cause irreparable damage from the inside with, say, carpenter's tools, but causing an actual core breach that way might require several hours of grinding and hammering.
>Also covering more bases, any spells/curses that might be relevant for fighting or causing distractions?
With both hands tied behind your back, in broad daylight, out on the surface, with at least half a dozen hardened mercenaries watching? Only plausible option that springs to mind is feeding the rope around your wrists to the Maw. Lot of potential problems with that plan, but the two most immediate obstacles are 1) clothes in the way and 2) bitey-est part is on Helen's upper back, wrists are closer to the waist, shoulders and elbows don't want to bend in any of the ways that would be convenient for bringing them together.
>>
No. 886205 ID: add037

>With both hands tied behind your back, in broad daylight, out on the surface, with at least half a dozen hardened mercenaries watching?
Really just wanted to take stock of the tools available to me for later when I get a better opportunity to escape. I guess I still have no idea how to perform any sort of magic?
>>
No. 886260 ID: 3abd97

Enough. We are mercenaries, not pirates (unlike certain other adventuring parties). We are not in the business of capturing vessels and ransoming them back to their owners, especially not vessels in the care of allies.

If Helen is willing to affirm she's not going to do anything needlessly dangerous to the rest of the company, like attempting to blow up the subterrene, she can be released.

If Helen is willing to stick around and participate or offer insight, she's welcome to.


Trying to get things back on track, we have a few decisions to make as a group:

>retroactive
Do we want to have recruited Esmeraude and Prisoner with the plan outlined here? >>/questdis/122894 Additional information >>884857

From disthread discussion, Dav and Maru would be okay with this plan, but I think we're waiting on other people on weigh in before we make an investment with company money.

>where do we tunnel in?
See map >>883006 I don't think we've decided anything yet, but it seems like the biggest choice is if we drill down before Aaphia and fight and/or talk past her, versus trying to bypass her and potentially breaking a seal and releasing a bunch of ghosts.

There's also the option of tunneling down from the parked subterrene, so the top of the shaft is blocked.

Personally, I feel we already know how to get past Aaphia peacefully, getting hostile or risking releasing a bunch of ghosts is borrowing trouble.

>subterrene
Any effort to deliver or escort the thing back where it belongs (assuming we're paid or allowed to do so) should probably wait till we're done with the immediate dungeon scouting we came prepared to do.

There's the option of trying to use the subterrene to get into the dungeon, too, if anyone want to advocate for that. Personally, I feel like that's a crapshoot liable to leave us stranded in an unknown location underground, much less safe than what we're already planning, and exactly where we don't want to be.

OOC, there's also the problem that learning how to use this thing safely is a long and involved side quest, and this party doesn't have an angel offering lessons.
>>
No. 886300 ID: add037

>Do we want to have recruited Esmeraude and Prisoner with the plan outlined here?
Vos is in total support with this plan.

>Personally, I feel we already know how to get past Aaphia peacefully, getting hostile or risking releasing a bunch of ghosts is borrowing trouble.
Agreed, seems like risk of releasing ghosts is too dangerous. Aaphia seemed nice for a skeleton besides.

Subterrene is not ours to use, and tunneling down is probably safer anyway.
>>
No. 886372 ID: 094652

Hore is less than thrilled that the party refuses to utilize a drilling vehicle in favor of walking straight into the dungeon filled with traps and kamikaze enemies, but agrees that the subterrene is too complex / dangerous to utilize at the moment. Maybe they can rent it (and the freaking instruction manual) from the owner later.

Drilling a shortcut to Aaphia and talking to her for safe passage seems like a safe bet. Hore also wants to consider the prospects of making a small 'dungeon town' for the company in this area, both to defend it after creating a permanent bypass for the defenses, and for easier access to supplies. Maybe not now, but in a year they might have access to the subterrene and enough understanding of the environment to build a stable bunker.

>Esmeraude and Prisoner
Hore would like Esmeraude to come along, her spells will assist. Prisoner? Not so much. It's less of a prejudice against augmentation symbiotes and more of a risk of losing a 3000 gold ring; it's easily stolen, it could fall off the finger, the finger could be chopped off by a stray shot, etc. If they found a spell to instantly teleport missing tiny objects back from anywhere in the world and linked it to such an investment, then Hore would be okay with the plan.
>>
No. 886384 ID: 3abd97

>it's easily stolen, it could fall off the finger, the finger could be chopped off by a stray shot
Prisoner doesn't have fingers. It's a tsochar. A tentacle-monster "rat's nest of iron-hard cables". Those aren't exactly easy to chop though, and the ring could be slid way up a tentacle into the middle of that mess. (And Prisoner would be usually hidden inside someone else who doesn't want to get chopped up either).

And I think part of the point of enchanting it with Dungeon Ring properties is it's not trivially removed.
>>
No. 886386 ID: 094652

>>886384
Oh I thought the HOST had to wear it and then the Tsochar gained naturally regulated nutrients from the host so they both benefit

Okay sounds good then
>>
No. 886772 ID: 2007b6

>>886260
>There's also the option of tunneling down from the parked subterrene, so the top of the shaft is blocked.
And the option of opening a portal downward while Viste is 'out of phase,' leaving the rock at the lower end intact. That would require a section of at least sixty feet of open air (or otherwise transparent material) in the right direction, and some creative use of the surveying equipment to help her aim at the correct depth, but doesn't necessarily require digging a hole sixty feet deep provided you start somewhere above the surface, such as the temple's roof, or a platform up in a tree.

Once you've decided where on the map you're aiming for, somebody give me a roll for the surveying/navigation/targeting.

Also, somebody on the NPC surveyor team is asking about contingency plans. If you don't come back out of that hole on schedule, for whatever reason, how long are they supposed to wait? Once that time's up, is the nearby spirit court safe to beg hospitality from? What about that monastery in the swamp? How far away is the nearest outpost of civilization, basically, and do they have any options better than hiking there with all this gear carried on their backs.
>>
No. 886784 ID: add037

rolled 5, 1, 4 = 10

>What about that monastery in the swamp?
Being an eel of faith, can I roll a knowledge check on those monks? Do I know who/what they worship and whether they might be friendly or not?
>>
No. 886941 ID: 2007b6

>>886784
>knowledge check on those monks
>rolled 5, 1, 4 = 10
>who/what they worship
Never having seen the place up close, you're limited to rumors and circumstantial evidence, but probably Tsathoggua. Assuming that's accurate...
>whether they might be friendly or not
To the faithful of Tittivila? Absolutely not. Ancient, bitter enemies.
Tsathoggua and Orcus have more of a mixed history. Both of them make use of undead, but in different ways. The two churches have been hostile, neutral, or tenuously allied at various points in their history.
More generally, Tsathogguan monks tend to be quiet, reclusive, self-defense-only pacifists. They hoard material wealth to some extent, but also frequently offer food (mostly soup) to the hungry and non-mutagenic healing to the sick on a charitable basis. And there's something about astrology, maybe?
>>
No. 887037 ID: 5f3f48

rolled 3, 4, 3 = 10

Do we have plans to make use of the surveyors after we make it in? Ie, are they waiting a day to do more work, or just for a ride / escort?

One option might be making a detour to escort them somewhere safe once they've done their job. Possibly back to the cargo ship, if that's still in portal range, and headed back to civilization. Unless they're waiting for us too?

Another option might be scouting out the monastery or spirit court in advance, if we don't mind the delay. Gather some intelligence on the local factions before we head down.

>force Viste out of phase on purpose
I'm morbidly curious what emotional state would be best suited to that (needs to be strong enough to get her fully intangible, but doesn't signifcantly interfere with or impare participation).

>>886941
So... the monatery seems like it might be safe so long as they don't bring up Vos. Or maybe share the 'good news' that he's lost in a dungeon.

I'm struggling to think who here might have the best IC insight into spirit courts. Maybe Hore or Helen or Ji? Well, I'll roll a lore check myself anyways, just in case.
>>
No. 887252 ID: 2007b6

>>887037
>emotional state
One of the mapped rooms has... stuff... growing in it, which was effective last time. There's also the option of Maru's rage-inspiring music.
>Lore check on the spirit court
>rolled 3, 4, 3 = 10
Davina hasn't heard much about them, and on that basis assumes they're neither unusually powerful nor actively hostile. Maybe take an hour to go over there and ask politely? It's about a dozen miles away, and forest limits line-of-sight, but portals still allow pretty quick travel.
>>
No. 887281 ID: 3abd97

rolled 5, 6, 1 = 12

>One of the mapped rooms has... stuff... growing in it, which was effective last time. There's also the option of Maru's rage-inspiring music.
Well the former won't be available until after we've gotten in.

>Maybe take an hour to go over there and ask politely? It's about a dozen miles away, and forest limits line-of-sight, but portals still allow pretty quick travel.
Well I'm down. Who wants to tag along on a scouting mission while the surveyors work?

Rolling for navigation I suppose.
>>
No. 887292 ID: 3abd97

Okay, while we wait to play through whatever checking up on the spirit court entails, let's get our plans nailed down. Assume Davina's using maps and her orgami cantrip to make miniatures as necessary.

>getting into the Dungeon

Where target?

I'm going to say the third room out the spiral, the one with the stone door and counterweights. Avoids most of the traps, leaving us only Aaphia to get past, and doesn't risk breaching the ghost-proof black marble.

Does anyone want to argue for a different entry point?

How get in?

1: Use the subterrene

2. Dig a tunnel down with supreme disintegration

2a. Just dig a hole

2b. Dig a hole almost all the way down, leaving a cap of stone at the bottom. Force Viste intangible to portal past the plug.

2c. Dig a hole down from the subterrene, so there's a hatch at the top of the shaft, or a stone / dirt plug once it moves.

I think option 1 has been ruled out- Helen is currently unwilling it let us use it, and we lack the skills and knowledge to pilot the subterrene safely.

If we go with 2a or 2b we probably want to put some kind of lid or well cover on top, so we don't risk the shaft or room flooding, or something (or someone) falling down.

I'm open to being persuaded on a/b/c. I'm leaning 2b right now. If Viste is incapacitated, the others can still break the ceiling on the room to get into the shaft. With 2c, if something goes wrong, we're either left breaking into the suberrene, or trying to get past an earthen cap after climbing up, which seems harder to deal with.

>local contingencies
Currently checking out the spirit court now since they're not far.

Do we want to investigate the monastery too? Might be a longer diversion, but making sure we have places to retreat to and that we've secured and know the local area before heading down isn't the worst idea. I know strgy has expressed an interest OOC in following this plot hook.

>party members
Davina, Maru, Vos and Hore all seem to support plan "stick Prisoner in Esmeraude and have them tattle on each other" so that motion passes. We're probably best off to treat Prisoner as sorta secret- we all know it's there, and it can communicate through Esmeraude or via telepathy, but we shouldn't tell everyone we meet about the hidden npc.

Does Helen want to go delving with us?

>>/questdis/122894
>>That said, I would certainly still be interested in bringing Ravenous Llyr back into the fray. I put a lot of thought into that shark man and was very sorry to see him go. It was very liberating to step into his head and enjoy being intentionally careless and airheaded for a change.
>Maybe he shows up as a laborer on the cargo ship, helping haul stuff through Viste's portals, then sticks around after overhearing the prospect of violence?
Tunic, I don't think you ever responded to this idea. Do you want Llyr with the Fire Hawks for this mission?

If you don't, you could probably have him show up with Team Magic Sword instead.
>>
No. 887296 ID: d22dc0

>>887292
Target seems good- any word from anyone on whether or not we want to go hostile with Aaphia, and further more, if we want to target her for information gathering purposes?

2 seems like the safest bet for me- having to either tunnel through stone, even a little bit, will probably take time and resources that are scarce if we need a quick get away; we don't want to simply count on having supreme disintegration, as we've seen how easy it is to mismanage spell slots. I don't know, get instinct just tells me it'd be easier to run through/cut through monsters in front of us as opposed to rock in front of us

As for places the surveyors can go, seems like anyone smart enough to be worth paying would have set something up before hand- if we can't flash back to address the monks and such though, seems like we should stick to spirit court first and check out other areas if that doesn't seem viable.

And yeah, Maru's down to go scouting. Doesn't want to step on anyone's toes though, seems like Ji is better suited to that sort of thing. Not looking to compromise their chances of success by volunteering.
>>
No. 887299 ID: 3abd97

>any word from anyone on whether or not we want to go hostile with Aaphia, and further more, if we want to target her for information gathering purposes?
I was thinking attempt diplomacy since it's worked before, and since we might be able to get information out of her that way. I was gonna follow up with a post outlining the different ways to deal with her that had come up after we got the tunnel decision finalized.

Wasn't thinking she was a good person to capture for the "question an orcusite" mission, since she doesn't seem involved in their day to day operations at all.
>>
No. 887307 ID: d22dc0

>>887299
Totally fine with diplomacy if that seems like the best way forward. Two main points for consideration

1) It's been suggested that she'd not be happy with us capturing someone, and we'd probably have to pass her on the way out. Certainly there are ways around that, but it seems like a poor plan to bank on either getting lucky or fighting her on the way out instead of when we're fresh, especially if she's hidden friendship bracelets that can hurt us on other people. Biggest loophole could be letting the 4-5 non-sworn members take the brunt of the capturing job, thereby excusing us from liability, but that still leaves fighting her on the way out with a hostage we want alive, that she probably would rather kill than let escape.

2) She may have some beneficial information for getting further in, even if she can't tell us everything we need to know. We can basically just pop in, deal with her fresh, then when we go back in we're either at the same place we started, with one less threat to contend with, or we actually have some useful intel in our back pocket. Obviously if things go poorly we could be set back or disadvantaged in a major way, but I guess I'm optimistic we have what we need to take her down with minimal risk for permanent losses. The hope is that it's something like the situation with Cap, only now we can throw all our weight at one target. No element of surprise here, but if we can't subdue her we'll still have 3-4 supreme disintegrations to throw around- certainly there's no risk doing that under ground with targets we don't want to breach, right?
>>
No. 887338 ID: 0b65ea

rolled 2, 3, 2 = 7

Hore will tag along for the scouting mission, anything to stay outside where it's nice and warm and populated by bloodthirsty marauders and NOT floating undead babies with laser eyes that curse whoever kills

Besides which, she's sick of watching her company argue with each other instead of doing something profitable, and doesn't want to turn more people hostile. Hore will leave a small note to Helen saying she's not going to steal the sub, she's just going to charge a paltry service fee in the form of scientific knowledge of how this thing even works

Hore is on scanby during the trip to whoever they're meeting in the forest. Roll for perception
>>
No. 887759 ID: add037

rolled 2, 4, 6 = 12

>Who wants to tag along on a scouting mission while the surveyors work?
Vos is always up for a scouting mission! He'll roll to help with navigation.

>Do we want to investigate the monastery too?
Vos says the monks would probably not receive him well.

>2a. Just dig a hole
Sometimes simplest solution is best! This way we have fewer worries about obstacles when climbing out. Also we're still not sure about how exactly to force Viste intangible, unless I missed something. That's what the eel man thinks.
>>
No. 888117 ID: 2007b6

>>887281
>>887338
>>887759
Despite Vos's assistance, you reach the Grove of the Fethine quickly and without incident.

Seems to be a fairly standard spirit court setup. King Elmander, long-nosed and sallow-skinned, wears elaborate robes that somehow resemble both ermine and birchbark. His hair is green and tangled like spanish moss, and his scepter is a rough-hewn cudgel larger than a man. Queen Kaja, seated beside him, appears more nearly human (though both of them are ten feet tall) apart from deer hooves peeking out under her long purple skirt. Her arms and chest are bare but for a half-cape of tawny fur, her brow is crowned with silver wrought in the shape of fangs and horns, dark hair in cornrows tied back by being threaded though ivory beads. Together, they represent the sum and pinnacle of local flora and fauna.

The petty courtiers and servants are a mix of flower fairies (butterflies and butterfly-sized mosquitos, but with elvenoid rather than insectile faces, arms, and legs) and kodamas (picture a clay golem made from a lumpy defective instance of a bobblehead parody version of a https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hummel_figurines interpretation of http://yumenikki.wikia.com/wiki/Uboa ). Flower fairies glow about as bright as candles, in coordinated waves like fireflies, and kodamas rattle some loose bit inside their mute, expressionless heads to much the same effect.

The knights are mostly pixies, a mix of cavalry archers on rabbits and gossamer-plated heavies on badgers with lances less than a yard long. Remainder are grigs, which could be approximated as tiny centaurs with the body of a mango-sized locust instead of a horse. Noble positions include two dryads bedecked in copper and amber jewelry - one has her arm in a sling, the other walks with a limp - and the blue-skinned naiad of the brook which runs through a valley you crossed on the way here, who has bloodshot eyes and a persistent phlegmy cough.

Once initial formalities are out of the way, it's made clear that for the past few months the court has been at war with an entity known only as the Wheel of Charred Bone. The abomination seems to be mostly stumbling around maddened with pain rather than attacking purposefully, and has no fixed lair, but random damage is still damage, and there may be some larger scheme at work. Demon-cultists have more than once been spotted attempting to aid or steer it, but melted away into mist before they could be cornered and put to the question. Accordingly, the mood is tense and weary, and unexpected foreign visitors are met with a certain amount of suspicion on the grounds that they might be spies - particularly if they're well equipped for scouting and surveying, and plan to head straight for that monastery in the swamp as their next stop.
>>
No. 888125 ID: 8a87e5

>>888117
Hm, sounds like there might be something nasty in the water, best to take extra precautions if we need to drink. Maru asks everyone present how they feel about striking some sort of deal. We do something about the wheel in return for a future favor, which might be cashed in soon for the courts hospitality to a number of contractors we’d like to keep safe, or something else entirely. Not rolling because I’m not actually trying to pursuance anyone out in the open, just see where everyone stands on both sides, and I notably don’t want to take direct action before everyone’s had a chance to weigh in.
>>
No. 888130 ID: add037

rolled 4, 3, 3 = 10

>Wheel of Charred Bone
Vos cups/pinches the sides of his eelface with his hand/claw and says we might have seen this creature before. What does it look like and what kind of damage has it done? Vos says he will absolutely help destroy this Wheel of Charred Bone if King Elmander and Queen Kaja will have his help.
>>
No. 888140 ID: 2007b6

>>888130
>What does it look like
An elephant-sized pile of assorted bones, many of them partially burnt, sculpted into a wheel shape, tentacles sometimes protruding from the sides. They're concerned it may be angelic in origin. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ophanim https://killsixbilliondemons.com/comic/seeker-of-thrones-3-20/
>and what kind of damage has it done?
Trampled with it's heavy rim or torn at anything in reach with tendrils like bladed whips, mostly. Broken the branches and roots of trees, bled foul effluence into the water. It once disemboweled a bear, tore the pelt to shreds, removed six ribs and all the long bones out of the limbs but left the rest to rot. They're not sure what it eats, or even if it needs to.
>>
No. 888147 ID: 3abd97

>>888125
Offering assistance would seem in line with securing goodwill and the possibility of future hospitality.

A pity Bone Puppet Dance specifies a "single mostly intact skeleton", or else Ji could turn the abomination's weapons and armor against it.
>>
No. 888162 ID: d22dc0

rolled 2, 1, 5 = 8

>>888147
>>888130

"Sounds like we're agreed den. Favor for a favor sound good? We'll do somefing about dis Wheel of Charred Bone, you lot agree to help us wif something we need in the future. Specific examples might include 'ospitality for a party of our choosing, some augry or divination maybe, or 'elp bringin back any of are folk who gets deir shit kicked in by dis demon wheel you've got"

In non accented terms: Our party is in favor. If we help you with this problem will you agree to help us in return, by offering an unspecified favor such as hospitality, or expensive/difficult to set up magic?

Rolling to cement the deal despite the vagueries surrounding it; Maru doesn't want to promise to do something specific that they can't pull off, but she's not specifically trying to make loop holes to get out of helping. She's just not 100% sure how they'll actually end up being helpful when the dust clears. And what they really want is a secure spot for their survey team, but if they don't end up needing it, feels like they should have something else arranged so they don't get suckered out of a useful reward.
>>
No. 888191 ID: 094652

Hore plans on investigating the beast further, in its unnatural habitat, by scoping it from a distance. Her main goal is to use her plasma sniper to wound a cultist, with the intent of capture. When they have enough data on this beast, they can wail on it alongside the fae and take it down with an ambush.

Hore requests a map of the woods (by density of trees and stuff) and the current path of the beast. Maybe there's a pattern they can't see... or detect. Hore might be able to use her scanners to determine if the beast follows a specific energy signature or grows aggravated at specific times.
>>
No. 888508 ID: 3abd97

rolled 3, 3, 5 = 11

Let's see if we can located this Wheel of Charred Bone.

If the locals are willing to point us at its last known location, we can follow the trail of destruction from there. We have portals to cover ground quickly, and eyes in the sky if we make use of Viste's familiar (of it any of the flying faeries assist).
>>
No. 888546 ID: 7e68fa

rolled 4, 5, 2 = 11

>>888508
Wif any luck we’ll find it. *cough* I worry dere might be sand around it dough, and you know how my froat gets when it’s dry and itchy, I won’t be able to talk, you know?

Rolling to convey meaning. Broadly speaking she’s using the sign words. More specifically she’s worried/unhappy, and is trying to say that she thinks it won’t be safe to talk in the forest and she can’t say why out loud, but wants to talk to Davina about what she’s saying
>>
No. 888580 ID: 2007b6

>>888508
Finding the damnéd thing isn't the problem. The king and queen can sense damage it's doing to their domain almost in realtime, just as they could feel those rapid-fire portals. Whenever they gather enough forces to corner it and fight a pitched battle, one of those cultists shows up and the whole enemy force melts away into mist, like vampires or Drusilla's questers. What's needed is some way to block that, either by trapping the mist, or incapacitating the cultist before that demonic miracle is cast, or by circumventing or disrupting whatever divination allows them to arrive in the nick of time.

As for the original matter of brief hospitality for traveling surveyors, the sworn word of a Knight of Tittivila that you would not willingly work with those responsible for the Wheel of Charred Bone, and have some precautions in place against being compromised by demonic possession or blackmail, would be quite sufficient. No need to go on a grand quest for such a small favor.
>>
No. 888616 ID: 7a129c

Hore is confident her... “shamanic powers” will help her track the beast when it apports, or what actually happens when it fades to mist.

Hore also has a theory: what if the cultists are creating lesser copies of the undead beast, using magic to construct a quick construct modeled of the actual Wheel of Charred Bone, which is somewhere secure, allowing them to sneak into key areas of the forest and deploy it on-site, and when it fades into mist the magical energy used to create it is partially recycled back to the cultists? In this way, they could deal damage and look like they’re not in control.
>>
No. 888675 ID: 4f1cbc

>just as they could feel those rapid-fire portals
Apologies.

>Whenever they gather enough forces to corner it and fight a pitched battle, one of those cultists shows up
Interesting. That means we know when and where a cultist will appear in advance. An attack on the Wheel of Charred Bone could secure a cultist for questioning before ever entering the dungeon.

>what do
I think our immediate options are:

1) Return and break into the dungeon as previously discussed
2) Grab the others, divert efforts towards neutralizing the Wheel of Charred Bone and collecting the cultist who comes to its aid.
3) Go scout out the monastery before committing to 1 or 2.

>>888546
Well, once we're clear, what's Maru's concern?
>>
No. 888678 ID: add037

rolled 6, 1, 1 = 8

>the sworn word of a Knight of Tittivila that you would not willingly work with those responsible for the Wheel of Charred Bone, and have some precautions in place against being compromised by demonic possession or blackmail, would be quite sufficient.
On Vos' soul, he would never willingly work alongside such individuals. Not sure how to take precautions against possession exactly, though.

>>888675
Vos will go with 2. Not only would it probably be easier to nab a cultist on the surface than walking into their own house, we'll be preventing the monster from causing anymore damage. Suppose we could scout out the monastery real quick though.
>>
No. 888679 ID: d22dc0

>>888675
2 sounds like the most fun and exciting prospect to Maru, although she didn't catch the part where it was revealed these cultists were related to Orcus. Her primary concern was that it seemed like everyone was agreeing to go in and destroy this thing when A) they don't know just how powerful it actually is and B) they hadn't gotten confirmation that there would be anything in it for them. After the court assured them that simply taking precautions against being compromised by enemy forces was enough to secure hospitality, Maru was less concerned, as they seemed like they were going to be reasonable people. Maru didn't want to say "Hey, shouldn't we make sure we're going to get paid before saying yes" in front of the people in charge though, seemed like after her other personal affronts had fouled things up for the group she'd best air on the side of caution and try not to piss anyone off. Wasn't actually that big a deal.
>>
No. 888708 ID: 4f1cbc

>>888678
>Not sure how to take precautions against possession exactly, though.
Vos himself presumably counts as a defense against demonic infiltration: anything or anyone possessing one of his allies would have to find a way around his aura sight.

>>888679
>she didn't catch the part where it was revealed these cultists were related to Orcus
The Wheel of Charred Bone is presumably the Guardian of Skin previously driven from the Temple of Final Sacrament, which is maintained by Orcus' cult. That they are active nearby and have a reason to be interested makes a good first suspect. But no, not confirmed.
>>
No. 888984 ID: 2007b6

>>888675
>Apologies.
Queen Kaja reassures Viste that sensation is far more comparable to the sound of a footstep in shallow water than anything like pain. Just try not to use it too much underground, or anywhere else moonlight wouldn't be able to reach.

>>888679
>>888678
>>888616
Forces are gathered, battle is joined. Cultist turns out to have been on the scene before any of you got there, lurking up in a tree. Whips out a scroll from under her supernaturally bland and nondescript cloak, reads it aloud, the Wheel of Charred Bone melts away to mist like usual and the scroll crumbles to ashes. Just before the cultist can similarly de-solidify, Esmeraude plummets from the sky and captures her. http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20110916 Now you've got a live, albeit disconcertingly bored or possibly even sleepy, captive tied up in a mottled ocher straightjacket. She identifies herself as Sister Goris.
>>
No. 888985 ID: 094652

rolled 2, 1, 1 = 4

Did Hore get a look at that scroll with augmented vision before it crumbled? Let's find out!

And search the area for clues to the nature of the undead katamari.
>>
No. 889011 ID: 2007b6

>>888985
>Did Hore get a look at that scroll with augmented vision before it crumbled? Let's find out!
>rolled 2, 1, 1 = 4
Hore's idea of 'augmented vision' is that, unlike most gnolls, she's not red/green colorblind. Fortunately she happened to be standing in the same tree with Goris (climbed right past her without even noticing, which is disturbing in retrospect) and glanced at the right angle, in the right moment, to get a very good look at the scroll. Might even be able to make a passable non-magical forgery of it, given time and materials. Definitely could reconstruct the unfamiliar language letter by letter with legible clarity.

>And search the area for clues to the nature of the undead katamari.
It's not undead, for one thing. Definitely some sort of living creature, though not native to the area or probably even the continent. Closest point of metabolic similarity might be those blue resin-secreting beetles, or
>>888708
>the Guardian of Skin previously driven from the Temple of Final Sacrament
though if so, it's had some major illness, dietary change, or something similar since Hore last smelled it.
>>
No. 889119 ID: 4f1cbc

rolled 3, 6, 2 = 11

Some reference on Goris: >>/questdis/123633 >>/questdis/123649

Although if we want an IC read on her, perhaps Vos should assess her aura.

>Just try not to use it too much underground, or anywhere else moonlight wouldn't be able to reach.
I'm going to hope the Bloodmist Labyrinth falls outside this spirit court's domain.

>you and those who serve you will never strike the person of, nor speak harshly of, nor hold imprisoned, any faithful priest of the church Deggin Tar gave his life to protect, nor despoil and plunder any shrine or temple attended by such a priest

>Whoever did this wasn't as powerful as Azarthraine, and even then clearly wasn't putting their best effort into covering all the contingencies.

If we have suffered no ill effects for detaining Goris, it would seem being an accessory to imprisonment is acceptable. Or that detaining her doesn't count as imprisonment, yet.

Another thing I'm not clear on is if Goris counts as a priest. She's an active member of the faith, but churches generally have hierarchies with sub-priest or non-priest positions. Is every cultist a priest? (She's a spell-caster, and her class might mechanically even be "priest", but that's a different matter, I would think).

>your main goal today is gathering intel on the Church of Orcus's presence in the Bloodmist Labyrinth, in particular the base of operations of Aaban Bonegnasher's successor
Is Maria still with the group? A binding preventing lying would be useful.

Rolling to attempt questioning Goris, starting from the role of nice cop or reasonable authority figure. Possible areas of interest:

1) Her rank and allegiance (might be willing to share this even if she's not otherwise willing to cooperate, and we don't technically know that she's working for the church of Orcus right now).
2) What she was trying to achieve with the creature we suspect to be the Guardian of Skin. It's curious that it has not been returned to the Temple of Final Sacrament if the church possess the means to transport it.
3) Any intelligence about the Church of Orcus' operations in the Bloodmist Labyrinth. (One possible inroad there would be to ask Goris if she has any news on the art restoration project >>/questarch/767974 Davina donated to >>/questarch/768091 ).
4) Information on Aaban Bonegnasher's successor, and location.
5) Any notable spellbooks that the church has acquired in the labyrinth in recent months.

>>889011
>though if so, it's had some major illness, dietary change, or something similar since Hore last smelled it.
Well, suffering a serious injury and a change of habitat would be consistent with that.
>>
No. 889134 ID: add037

rolled 4, 4, 3 = 11

>>889119
>Rolling to attempt questioning Goris, starting from the role of nice cop or reasonable authority figure
Vos can try to be the bad cop but he's terrible at it. He'll help with the questioning either way. What's Goris' aura look like?
>>
No. 889150 ID: 2007b6

>>889119
>I'm going to hope the Bloodmist Labyrinth falls outside this spirit court's domain.
Yep, whole different plane of existence... though that doesn't necessarily mean portals are any more ecologically friendly or spiritually unobtrusive down there.
>If we have suffered no ill effects for detaining Goris, it would seem being an accessory to imprisonment is acceptable. Or that detaining her doesn't count as imprisonment, yet.
Azarthraine gave the order, Esmeraude did most of the work, and neither of them have ever been in any chain of command under Lord Grimwald, nor even met him.
>Another thing I'm not clear on is if Goris counts as a priest. She's an active member of the faith, but churches generally have hierarchies with sub-priest or non-priest positions. Is every cultist a priest? (She's a spell-caster, and her class might mechanically even be "priest", but that's a different matter, I would think).
Assuming the Church of Orcus uses similar terminology to the Reformed Mithraists who gave weekly sermons and organized midsummer festivals and archery contests back in Davina's hometown - which would make a certain amount of sense, given that they both effectively started out as cell-structured mystery cults and then grew into the same postapocalyptic power vacuum by cribbing from basic frameworks of Old Empire bureaucracy - 'acolyte' or 'crow' would be someone who's literate and sufficiently trained to participate in a supporting role for certain rituals. Someone who's fully ordained, allowed to take a leadership or instructional role is known (in Mithraism at least) as a 'bridegroom,' and referring to herself as 'Sister Goris' would imply at least that rank, while being out on a military operation in the field alone would tend to imply the third rank specifically. Of course, higher initiates of Orcus probably don't take vows of cleanliness and pacifism - if anything they seem rather inclined to the reverse - so following the analogy too far might be dangerously misleading.
>Is Maria still with the group? A binding preventing lying would be useful.
That's up to Archivist, or a designated successor, or persuade-an-NPC actions in a flashback.
>Rolling to attempt questioning Goris, starting from the role of nice cop or reasonable authority figure. Possible areas of interest:
>Her rank and allegiance (might be willing to share this even if she's not otherwise willing to cooperate, and we don't technically know that she's working for the church of Orcus right now).
She says she's a second lieutenant, holds no title of nobility, and that notification of her capture should be sent to King Robert II of Gelid-Tar.
>What she was trying to achieve with the creature we suspect to be the Guardian of Skin. It's curious that it has not been returned to the Temple of Final Sacrament if the church possess the means to transport it.
She says her orders were to come here, wait for the fight to start, then use that scroll.
>Information on Aaban Bonegnasher's successor, and location.
She rolls her eyes and says that Father Hesperix weilds Dacris and runs the Talon North outpost/temple of Orcus now, everyone knows that.
>Any notable spellbooks that the church has acquired in the labyrinth in recent months.
>Any intelligence about the Church of Orcus' operations in the Bloodmist Labyrinth. (One possible inroad there would be to ask Goris if she has any news on the art restoration project >>/questarch/767974 Davina donated to >>/questarch/768091 ).
Talk of prior donations leaves Goris somewhat confused. She cautiously explains that she's pretty sure she has some useful information, but before she shares it, she wants to either see some hard proof of who you're allied with, and what your own intentions are, or else hammer out a mutually satisfactory bribes-and-torture package.

>>889134
>What's Goris' aura look like?
Well, mostly it's a garbled, multilayered mess. She's got a belt boosting her strength, some weaker (maybe single-use?) magic items in concealed pockets, shadowy spots suggesting other pockets lined with lead, some sort of undead abomination that she's wearing as a suit of armor... underneath all that, after hours of dilligent observation from different angles and during the questioning, looks like a masochistic / http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/dandere sort of personality type with some obsessive-compulsive overtones, probably a natural talent for mathematics, and a 3rd circle divine spellcaster with some variation of the https://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/core-classes/cleric/domains/paizo-domains/death-domain , not to be confused with the more benign https://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/core-classes/cleric/domains/paizo-domains/repose-domain
>>
No. 889169 ID: 4f1cbc

>notification of her capture should be sent to King Robert II of Gelid-Tar
That's interesting. That's the king of deep-dwelling ghouls, the ones who were trading with Passholdt until the gugs got in the way. >>/questarch/772272 (Was the trade dispute still ongoing when we returned to Passholdt?)

As I understood it, the Church of Orcus and the Ghoul Kingdom have been presented as distinct entities in the underworld political scene.

I'll follow up with an actual suggested action later, just putting this observation out there for the other players.
>>
No. 889181 ID: 2007b6

>>889169
Sort of an odd technicality in the prisoner-of-war rules. Normally, uniform and insignia would make her allegiance obvious, or lack thereof would mean you could treat her as a bandit (or, more or less equivalently, a wild animal). She never actually said she was working for the Ghoul King, just that you should send a capture card to his court. Conceivably it would then be forwarded to someone else, either as part of some secret diplomatic arrangement, or by a spy, or the innocent implication (if Robert II has no MIA 2ndLT with that name and number, but knows who might) that some bureaucratic error resulted in delivery to the wrong address.
>(Was the trade dispute still ongoing when we returned to Passholdt?)
Yes. Latest round of intrigue apparently involved some multilayered scheme of falsified shipping manifests, trying to figure out what the gugs are after and who's leaking intel. Aftermath of that involved a lot of outraged auditors, because at least one of the officers involved apparently also seized the opportunity to commit tax and/or insurance fraud, but with the usual paperwork compromised it's effectively impossible to prove that one way or the other.
>As I understood it, the Church of Orcus and the Ghoul Kingdom have been presented as distinct entities in the underworld political scene.
Indeed they are. Robert II has no known diplomatic ties with the church of Orcus or the city of Greznek, and has longstanding trade agreements (though not, it should be noted, any sort of formal alliance or mutual-defense treaty) with some of their sworn enemies among the cavern-dwelling White elves.
>>
No. 889326 ID: 4f1cbc

>that doesn't necessarily mean portals are any more ecologically friendly or spiritually unobtrusive down there
I'm somewhat less concerned about ecologically preserving the interior of dungeons. Although if dungeon ecologies have spirit courts (or some equivalent) to offend that are capable of tracking portal-use in real time, that could be a concern.

>she wants to either see some hard proof of who you're allied with, and what your own intentions are
I see no reason not to give a straight answer, here. Sometimes lying can further an interrogation, but I don't think what we're after directly challenges Goris' interests.

We are the Fire Hawks, a mercenary company licensed out of Passholdt*. Our current mission is one of search and retrieval, primarily for the bodies of fallen allies, and a misplaced tome.

*I'm assuming who issued a mercenary company's license matters in questions of allegiance. Accepting contracts that jeopardize where we prefer to put up our feet would be less likely, or at the very least, more expensive.

>or else hammer out a mutually satisfactory bribes-and-torture package.
If Goris isn't going to make an opening bid for us to haggle down from, I'm going to need additional information to work from. I don't have a good idea what the exchange rate for the kind of intelligence we're looking for would be in-universe.

(If her masochism means she considers the torture an asset worth bartering for, I suppose we could price the value of that out along the same lines of comparable sex-work, at least).
>>
No. 889340 ID: d22dc0

>>889326
Esmeraude might be useful in that regard, although I'm not sure what, if any, personality changes have occurred in general and more specifically after the recent binding operation.
>>
No. 889785 ID: 2007b6

>>889326
>licensed out of Passholdt
Conveniently, Passholdt is also the good ship Ardent Star's port of registry. Goris explains that she considers herself a faithful priest of Orcus, but politically is an apostate - and accordingly, keeps tabs on the church's local activity by various means, so she'll have advance warning if they ever get around to sending competent assassins. She's been trying to catch the Guardian of Skin in order to add it to her captain's collection of bizarre mind-bondaged monsters.

If you're planning to raid the high-value item vault at Talon North, she knows an easier way. There's a concealed entrance, way off on the other side of the Stoneheart River, which bypasses the Bloodmist Labyrinth entirely. They've probably reconfigured some of the defenses by now, but major tunnels and sacred geometry aren't modified lightly, so she could provide from memory a practically inch-by-inch floor plan of any area where she used to have janitorial responsibilities. The entire goblin outpost, the hall of chains, the residential, detention, and storage wings branching off from the central shrouded shrine room, practically everything except the Seer's sanctum and the vault itself. Even the high priest's bedroom.
>>
No. 889848 ID: 094652

rolled 6, 5, 5 = 16

While the rest of the party was busy doing the talking, Hore rewrote the scroll from memory on some regular parchment papers. In piecewise (anything that looks like a complete sigil, write each half on two papers), just in case the full incantation can be written and activated on anything. She's not stupid, you know. Hore will attempt to decipher the basic concepts of the scroll and WHAT it does. Anyone who wants to help her is welcome to join or take charge of the analysis.
>>
No. 889926 ID: 4f1cbc

>Goris explains that she considers herself a faithful priest of Orcus, but politically is an apostate
A political rift in the church of Orcus might allow a loophole around Aaphia's oath against harming priests or plundering a shrine or temple (side with a true believer against a heretical, corrupt or unfaithful faction). >>883632

>She's been trying to catch the Guardian of Skin in order to add it to her captain's collection of bizarre mind-bondaged monsters.
Marijke: lovecraftian pokemon master!
Sounds like an opportunity to get paid twice: once by the spirit court for pest control, once by this captain for delivery.
https://www.schlockmercenary.com/2006-01-20

>what do
Okay, it seems like we've met our objective for the day, which was to grab an orcusite for questioning (final resolution possibly pending a roll negotiating the details of the bribes and torture package). Question is what do we do next?

Do we want to go after the Guardian of Skin again, and if so, are we trying to kill it, or to catch it for Goris' captain?

Do we want to raid the high-value item vault at Talon North, hoping it contains Azarthraine's spellbook, and possible leads on the missing fire hawks?

If we do raid Talon North, are we forsaking Aaphia first, or trying for a loophole?

We've already got surveyors and equipment here for boring a hole into the dungeon. Do we want to do that before we leave, even if we aren't going to be using it immediately? (Ie, should we make use of these sunk costs)?

(Personally I'd say "yes, catch it", "yes, loophole" and "yes, bore the hole" but I'd like to give other plays a chance to weigh in before we commit).
>>
No. 889930 ID: 23b7bd

>>889926
Yes, capture it, yes loophole, no, bore later. Maru is in favor of hunting down big monsters, that’s fun and poem worthy. Loophole makes sense- if they have markers of loyalty to Agatha, that could help them out so they don’t need to forsake her right away. If we get pressed to turn against our oath though it could turn odds against us at a crucial moment, so that’s worth thinking about. No, we shouldn’t bore; yes we’re losing cost, but announcing not only that someone powerful is coming, but the entry point? That’s an over simplification, but money can’t buy us too much in the ways prevention and protection- spending a little extra to make sure we’re not showing our hand too early is a worthwhile cost.
>>
No. 896342 ID: 2007b6
File 153368412750.png - (549.81KB , 588x877 , getoutthereandtestify.png )
896342

Here's the map Goris drew of Talon North. Ask questions, compile an assault plan.
>>
No. 896344 ID: 094652

Hore talks to Maru about a small list of important things that any military company on a raid should find out first:

* Mission Objectives - This is ALWAYS the first priority. Every mission revolves around knowing the objective of the mission. If you don't know where your target is or WHAT it is, the commanding officer will say "@#$% it" and order a full-frontal assault / mortar bombing / diplomatic trade rather than expend agents on suicide missions.
* Expected Enemy Locations (Prioritize higher-rank enemies first) - Patrol patterns don't really matter for this one. Specialists and champions on the defensive are typically placed on reserve or in key locations to increase the overall morale of the army. If they deviate from their relative position, they're out of formation, which is a good thing.
* Patrol Shifts - Patrol Patterns are surprisingly random, people are smart enough to know that rigid patrols can be outsmarted by idiots and stealthed around by morons working on orders from idiots. Expect reserve guards to occasionally deviate from patterns and check up on their colleagues and blind spots. However, knowing when patrols shift is the key - around "closing time to go home and get laid" or "the beginning of the meat grinder shift", people get sloppy - REALLY sloppy. Hore has curb-stomped guard shifts just as they were trading places, half too tired to fight and half still half-asleep. Like fighting 3/4ths of a guard. She kind of feels bad about that, though.
* Asset Locations - These aren't just beneficial for either the party or the enemy, they're a rally point. Capturing the rally point means the enemy is both drained of resources and a common beneficial area to congregate. Individuals aren't keen on suicidally engaging a full squad of hardened killers, even in numbers, when there's a perfectly convenient wall of ballistae that's short-staffed. Take these out, and they'll run like headless chickens looking for the next rally.
* Chokepoints (Anywhere that usually has many guards and not enough space to flank them) - Once again, a rally point. If they capture this, they can use superior numbers while we can't dodge. We capture this first, and anyone coming in gets a hail mary to the face.
** Buffs and Meds (Potions and / or enchantment areas containing combat improvement) Every battle has the potential to injure someone. Make sure we have the medical supplies at hand to fix our team, we can't depend on the healers all the time or the enemy will realize we're playing mother-bird to our healers and focus on THEM. That's just bad.
* Alternate Pathways - A real kicker. For stealth work, knowing places that patrols do not go, ever, is the key. They might be well-trapped. They might have alarms the size of elephants. They might be sewer lines that are in use. But disarm a single tile of an infrequent rout, and they're the first place to hide.
* Traps - Not as essential as the above. When someone goes missing, you can expect the enemy to move their non-pit traps a few tiles to the right or something. Still, Goris might know what TYPES of traps there are. Not much will to change the trap setup to a completely different type - too expensive.

She'd ask Goris herself, but... yeah, low CHA.
>>
No. 896345 ID: 4f1cbc

>>896342
>Ask questions
Simplest question is what's where on the map, what rooms are used for. We can probably assume defense forces aren't arrayed the same as they had been, and some rooms can be easily reconfigured for different purposes, but others are likely to remain the same (the kitchen is probably still in the same place, for example).

Where does the concealed entrance connect?

Presumably 3 is the central shrouded shrine room, and the Seer's sanctum and the vault are the unknown areas in the south.
>>
No. 896404 ID: 2007b6

>>896344
>She'd ask Goris herself, but... yeah, low CHA.
Goris is already willingly cooperating, but she's not naturally talkative, and a lot of what you need to know is details she might consider too obvious to bother with. Intel analysis and follow-up has more to do with Int than Cha, but it's still something you should roll for.
>Mission Objectives
Azarthraine's spellbook would likely be in the vault (16) if they have it, certainly a lot of other valuable stuff is there. Non-negligible chance of surviving Fire Hawks in prison (13).
>Alternate Pathways
If she knew any, they'd be on there.
>Chokepoints
Every route runs through that big room in the middle, formally referred to as the nox esonarthex. Only ways to bypass that would be teleportation or boring through solid stone.
>Traps
See those little triangular marks? Caltrops, concealed by unnatural shadows. Moved around on an irregular schedule. Best strategy is to either shuffle along instead of picking up your feet, or else wear wooden sandals four or five inches high. At least, as an acolyte. Higher-ranking priests are granted the ability to see clearly even in magical darkness, around the same time as 4th or 5th circle spells, so Hesperix certainly can. Maybe one or two others, but most of the priests at Talon North have only attained the 3rd circle.
>>896345
>Where does the concealed entrance connect?
That's not an entrance, it's the inner sanctum. Some sort of scrying apparatus. Rumors of some rough new excavation, probably finished by now.
>the kitchen
Bunkbeds, food prep, and most of the other domestic necessities for around 20 acolytes all gets crammed into room 5. Actual priests are in 6, four each on A, B, and C shifts. Long-term food storage is room 8, excavation beyond it was planned as a separate room for live chickens, to better contain the noise and stink.
>>
No. 896472 ID: 094652

rolled 1, 5, 6 = 12

Hore writes up a general analysis of the various tactics they could implement, though the actual battle plan will be left to the others.

Rolling Int check to analyze the intel for tactical advantages.
>>
No. 896483 ID: 4f1cbc

>That's not an entrance, it's the inner sanctum.
I meant
>There's a concealed entrance, way off on the other side of the Stoneheart River, which bypasses the Bloodmist Labyrinth entirely.
Where does this entrance open on the map? There's entrances N, E and W marked. Or does it connect sufficiently far enough away we can choose which tunnel to approach from?

There was also a goblin outpost, and high priest's bedroom mentioned?
>>
No. 896535 ID: 2007b6

>>896483
>Where does this entrance open on the map? There's entrances N, E and W marked. Or does it connect sufficiently far enough away we can choose which tunnel to approach from?
East and west both have an undead-blockling seal, then lead directly into the Bloodmist Labyrinth. Patrols usually go through there when the Seer notices something that requires hands-on attention.
>There was also a goblin outpost,
Oh, that! Right, yes. Greznek military controls the best exit to the surface. Goris's last posting before being captured and sold to pirates was under Mesifin Styx, outpost liaison at Sector 10-B. There's a tunnel leading from the hall of chains (room 2 on that map), past the goblin strongpoint, straight on to the city of Greznek. It's wide and smooth enough to haul supplies with a big four-wheel wagon.
>rolled 1, 5, 6 = 12
Judging by the amount of stuff being hauled up the stairs, probably a platoon-strength unit of hobgoblin medium infantry and half a dozen man-wise wolves, at least one of whom has a custom suit of plate armor. May have been further reinforced since then, depending on how much influence Jang and Kamlyss have back in the city proper. Supposedly they were having problems with spiders even before Marijke passed through, and any sort of spider that can cause trouble for a sapient wolf the size of a pony is not something you'd want to take lightly.
>and high priest's bedroom mentioned?
Room 15, almost like the vault is his personal clothes-closet.
>>
No. 896601 ID: 4f1cbc

rolled 4, 6, 2 = 12

How far is the goblin outpost? We should factor in possible response time of reinforcements from that direction.

>Some sort of scrying apparatus
Any details on the what kind of scying apparatus, or what information it can provide, or what it's limitations are? Harder to raid the vault if they see us coming, after all.
>>
No. 896633 ID: 2007b6

>>896601
>How far is the goblin outpost? We should factor in possible response time of reinforcements from that direction.
A hundred yards along the road, then spiral stairs 40-50' vertically. Well within shouting distance, given a relay stationed at the bottom of the stairs. Maybe 500' up the stairs from the outpost to the surface garrison, with much worse acoustics, though possibly in whisperweb range.

Road to Greznek is about a mile long, maybe five minutes each way for a sufficiently motivated messenger on foot. If they take losses, expect reinforcements from the city in 8-12 hours.
>Any details on the what kind of scying apparatus, or what information it can provide, or what it's limitations are?
She's never seen it in active use, but based on the materials it was made of and indirect ritual maintenance needs, Azarthraine conjectures that it's Cartesian rather than Contagion-based. Probably can't be used to spy on anything at all outside the Bloodmist Labyrinth, has to lock on to geometric reference points and then sweep incrementally rather than snapping directly to known individuals. Should be less reliable in areas of uncut stone, particularly if you can disrupt the flow of the fog, and it likely won't be able to hold a "target lock" across/through one of Viste's portals at all. Might be able to track multiple locations at once, but no more than seven, each revealing roughly a 10-15' radius around the viewpoint. Magical darkness likely wouldn't be an effective countermeasure, but extremely bright light could be worth a try.
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