[Burichan] [Futaba] [Nice] [Pony]  -  [WT]  [Home] [Manage]
[Catalog View] :: [Graveyard] :: [Rules] :: [Quests] :: [Discussions] :: [Wiki]

[Return] [Entire Thread] [Last 50 posts] [Last 100 posts]
Posting mode: Reply
Name
Email
Subject   (reply to 807859)
Message
File []
Password  (for post and file deletion)
  • Supported file types are: GIF, JPG, PNG, SWF
  • Maximum file size allowed is 10000 KB.
  • Images greater than 250x250 pixels will be thumbnailed.
  • Currently 38780 unique user posts. View catalog

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.
783 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>>
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.
[Return] [Entire Thread] [Last 50 posts] [Last 100 posts]

Delete post []
Password