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  1. - Top - End - #271
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: From Across the Multiverse to Barovia: Expedition to Castle Ravenloft (IC)

    "Nay sir," says the woman. "But I can draw a map for you if Arik will lend me a piece of charcoal."

    The bartender nods. "Of course, Ioana," he says. He bustles back into a room behind the bar whence issues the smell of baking bread, and returns shortly with a stick of charcoal. He clears off a space on one of the tables and Ioana sits and begins to draw, her husband hovering over her solicitously. The sketch is rough, but gives you a decent idea of how to get to Nicolae's house, assuming the undead are not overabundant.

    "My father's house is the third down the lane after you turn left."

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    That circle-ish thing at the four-way intersection is the town square.
    Last edited by Jeff the Green; 2012-06-01 at 11:45 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #272
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    Default Re: From Across the Multiverse to Barovia: Expedition to Castle Ravenloft (IC)

    "Then I shall see what I can do." August returns to the door, checking the light outside, then approaches the table. "It seems it is nearly time for me to set out. Perhaps you can discuss matters with the merchant while I am gone?"

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    Can I assume it's dark enough to be invisible by now? If so, we'll start with Nicolae's house, since it doesn't seem too far away, and August is rather interested in the idea of an added protective charm. Taking 10 on Move Silently and Spot for 10 and 26, respectively.
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  3. - Top - End - #273
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    Default Re: From Across the Multiverse to Barovia: Expedition to Castle Ravenloft (IC)

    @Sallera
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    The trip to Nicolae's house is not exactly uneventful. As the night grows colder, so too does the fog grow denser, and you have a number of near misses with the shuffling shades. Though they cannot see you, enough of them can hear your passage to move toward you, and in one case nearly corner you.

    Nicolae's house is one of the smaller ones in the town, with a single story and few windows. The latter fact is perhaps a blessing, as there are several of the walking corpses just outside the house. The few windows that the house does have are shuttered, and no light peeks out from the cracks, nor is there any noise inside; the house seems alarmingly still.

  4. - Top - End - #274
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    Default Re: From Across the Multiverse to Barovia: Expedition to Castle Ravenloft (IC)

    Jeff:
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    August makes a careful circuit around the house from a safe distance, seeing if the shades' interest is consistent. There is little I can do to get him to the inn if he lives - not tonight, that is - but I may at least be able to confirm his survival, or save his work.

    Taking a small twig from the ground, he tucks it into his sleeve and makes his way a few houses further down the street, finding one that is damaged and open. These shades seek light, do they not? Then let us give them something to ponder. Taking a quick look around to ensure none of the shades are in the immediate area, he lights the twig with a blazing glow and hurls it safely inside where it will not impede his escape, then backs away into the darkness. Circling around back to Nicolae's, he waits to see what the lurking shades will do.

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    Daylight on a twig, a hundred feet or so to the east of Nicolae's, and deposit it where it'll illuminate the street to the south and east, but cover will stop it from shining too far back to the west. Get back in the darkness right away, make way back to Nicolae's, and then see what happens. If they leave, he'll go up and knock politely at the door. If not, he'll give it up for a lost cause and head in the general direction of the church, keeping an eye out for the tallest tree he can find.
    Last edited by Sallera; 2012-06-01 at 08:36 PM.
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  5. - Top - End - #275
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    Default Re: From Across the Multiverse to Barovia: Expedition to Castle Ravenloft (IC)

    "Best of luck, August. If you find that poor woman's father and see no way to savely recover him, we'll have to go out in force. No one should have to be on his own, isolated from friends and family in such a crisis." He gave the young man a rather strong pat on the shoulder; he had to trust his abilities here, stealth wasn't anything he was good at himself.

    "Say, is there any place outside this settlement the people could evacuate to? This here seems a rather temporary setup. We have our hopes on finding the source of this menace at the church, and while I trust our strength to succeed at the task, every warrior must fall on the fields of blood, like a have before."
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  6. - Top - End - #276
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    Default Re: From Across the Multiverse to Barovia: Expedition to Castle Ravenloft (IC)

    "I know not well the lands around this village," says Ashlyn. She looks inquiringly at the young man drinking wine, but he just grunts, turns his back, and returns to nursing his wine.

    Sallera:
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    The shades chase after the now glowing stick, and from the sound of their shuffling along the poorly cobbled street it's apparent that they're quite gone.

    When you knock on the door, there's no answer.
    Last edited by Jeff the Green; 2012-06-01 at 09:53 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #277
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    Default Re: From Across the Multiverse to Barovia: Expedition to Castle Ravenloft (IC)

    Jeff:
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    "Hm." August knocks once more, then risks a soft call before attempting to open the door himself. "Friend Nicolae, are you present? Light no lamps, but it is for a short time safe to talk."
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  8. - Top - End - #278
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    Default Re: From Across the Multiverse to Barovia: Expedition to Castle Ravenloft (IC)

    Sallera:
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    A small slat in the door, about eye-level, opens. Instead of a face, though, August sees a crossbow, pointed straight at his nose.

    "Don't know who you are, but these aren't times when you trust everyone claiming to be 'friend'," a hoarse voice from behind the door responds. "Who are you, and how did you manage to get past the legions of hell, if you're not one of them?"

  9. - Top - End - #279
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    Jeff:
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    "I am called August, and I am as hidden to their sight as I am to yours, for I bear a faerie ring, and the ebon hours are my ally," August replies, his voice soft and clear. "I met your daughter at the inn by the square, and she spoke of the charms you craft. Such talismans would be most helpful to my companions and I as we seek to free the town from this curse, if you have any at hand."

    August looks to the right at the distant light, although the motion would be lost on any observers. "I have drawn away the shades with a false light, and only for a short while; the streets are still too crowded to traverse without a shroud. But now that I know you still live, I can bring my companions here in force on the morrow if you wish to join the others. Tonight, however, they are weary from battle, and I must also investigate the church and see what I can learn of what we face."
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  10. - Top - End - #280
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Arthros looks to the door. "Perhaps we ought call on the shopkeeper. Given the situation, he must forgive the hour."
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    Going to go shopping. preemptive diplomacy to get in the door (1d20+14)[19]

    "Good man, we have cleared the square, please let us in, you may have items we are in need of. We can, of course, pay."


    Returning, he excuses himself to rest. "I have been on a number of quests. One must take what sleep they can. Goodnight, wake me if I am needed."

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    He'll summon an elysian thrush to speed everyone's healing, topping off anyone in need but saving a few spells in case things go bad for August.
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  11. - Top - End - #281
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    I'll go along for the shopping, providing a bit of muscle if undead are afoot


    When they were getting ready to rest, Aswin removed his armor, stretching his limbs after a long day of riding and fighting. He took some time to examine those strange unhealing wounds left from his final battle, the one before he arrived here. "Would you mind to take a look at those cuts from before we were brought to this place, Arthros? I'm still kinda trying to figure out whether I'm supposed to be dead, but as you know we've been kinda preoccupied lately."
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  12. - Top - End - #282
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: From Across the Multiverse to Barovia: Expedition to Castle Ravenloft (IC)

    "Of course, have a seat." Arthos brings a candle over to better inspect the marks, looking closely and prodding with a careful finger.

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    heal (1d20+3)[6]
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  13. - Top - End - #283
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    Stack:
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    The wounds are numerous, particularly across Aswin's arms. The one across his chest is particularly ugly, long and deep: it should be fatal. None of them bleed nor do they seem to be tender, but neither do they show any signs of healing. You have never seen anything like it and can't even hazard a guess.
    _________________________

    The thrush you summoned finds a perch among the rafters, and a number of parents come to thank you as even the most colicky infants and hyperactive children doze off to its soothing melodies.

    You slide into the bed that Arik has prepared for you—admittedly little more than a pair of blankets and some straw—and doze off nearly as quickly as the infants.

    You wake to the sound of someone—a woman—calling your name frantically.

    "Arthros! Arthros! Oh Gods, please wake up."

    You sit bolt upright, and you realize where you are: that little inn in Taer Valaestas. Marana is beside you, and instantly hugs you to her.

    "Oh, Arthros," she says, relieved beyond words. "I'd thought I'd lost you. I beat on your chest like you showed me until you started breathing again, but you still wouldn't wake up."

    You suddenly realize that your bedclothes are soaked with your sweat, and your chest hurts; Marana likely broke a few ribs.


    August:
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    You hear the voice behind the door—Nicolae—choke back a sob. "Ioana's alive?" he says. "I was certain she and Viorel had been killed by those walking corpses, maybe even joined them."

    He collects himself and then returns to the hoarse voice he greeted you with. "Right. The bone ravens. I think I have a few lying around."

    You hear him leave the door and search through drawers and cabinets before returning. "I could only find three," he says. "Take them. If you can get me out of here before I die, I won't even charge you." He laughs a dry laugh at his joke as he hands the talismans through the slat, but then turns more serious. "If you and your companions are able to get down here, you'll want to check out my neighbors' house. The one on your right. Some of the dead broke down their door before they were able to bar it, and since then I've seen and heard the things going in and out of there at all hours. Best not to be ambushed from behind while returning to safety, right?"

    Out of the corner of your eye you can see the creatures start to lose interest in the glowing stick and amble off in random directions, some back toward you.


    The door to the shop opens to reveal the heavily built young man that helped repair the barricade. "Don't stand in the way like that, Parriwimple," says an older voice from behind him. Parriwimple silently moves out of the way, and you see Bildrath, a man on the tail end of middle age, balding and paunchy. In barrels and boxes and on shelves and counters are arrayed Bildrath's wares. It's not nearly as well stocked as you are used to, but for such a small village it's impressive.

    "I suppose," says Bildrath, "that even in these circumstances one ought to try to do business." He appraises the warriors arrayed in front of him. "Especially with those who might well try to eliminate said circumstances," he adds.

    "What can I help you find?"

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    The shop has most mundane gear with a price less than 200 GP, though a limited supply of alchemical items, and none that specifically affect undead.

  14. - Top - End - #284
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    Jeff:
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    August takes the talismans, two going into a pocket and the other being hung around his neck. "I thank you for this boon," he recites in a formal tone, pausing a moment to look around before resuming in his usual voice.

    "The shades return; I must go. Fare well, and we will meet again on the morrow." Slipping away quietly, August retraces his steps north toward the church's supposed location, keeping an eye out as he walks for an especially tall tree he can consult about the town's troubles.
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  15. - Top - End - #285
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    "I'm sorry, Aswin. The wound looks fatal. I fear I have no insight to give. Another troubling question in a land full of them."
    __________________________________________________ ______________
    to the shopkeeper:
    "Many of the villagers possess wards to protect themselves from evil spirits. Have you any available? They seem a prudent precaution given recent events, if they work."
    __________________________________________________ _______________

    Jeff:
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    "Marana! By the host, it must have been a dream. A terrible dream." He winces at the effort of speech. Perhaps I taught her too well.

    "What happened? Did I stop breathing? Something strange...Who would...?"

    A pair of quick prayers knit his bones before he looks about for traces of any poison. "Let's check on the girls, if someone did this to me..." His face drains as he darts from the room.

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    I presume spell slots don't matter here, so he's healing himself and looking for any trace of poison.
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  16. - Top - End - #286
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    "Fatal... I thought so, I did die indeed. But this is not how Valhalla is supposed to be, and you others don't remember dying on your own..." He brooded a while on this. If the wound was fatal he must have died, and either this was the afterlife or someone brought him back before he even arrived there.
    But if he was the only one who should be well and truly dead, what did it mean. Was he a shade, if this was the real world? Or were all the others around him, if this was the afterlife after all? None of these thoughts was particularly appealing.
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  17. - Top - End - #287
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    Default Re: From Across the Multiverse to Barovia: Expedition to Castle Ravenloft (IC)

    "I believe I may," says Bildrath. "Parriwimble, go see if we have any of Nicolae's ravens in the back."

    The young man nods obediently and heads through the door in the back of the shop. "You'll have to excuse him if he seems rude," Bildrath says. "He's a little slow sometimes. But he's my sister's boy, may she rest in peace, and a good worker despite it."

    Parriwimble returns clutching three of the bone medallions hanging from black leather thongs.

    "They've kept me and Parriwimble safe from the taint of this place for the ten years we've been here," says Bildrath, "while I've seen farmers and Vistani become sick and go mad without them. They're one hundred fifty gold apiece, certainly worth it if you're going to be dealing with this plague."

    Sallera:
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    On the return north to the square you still see no trees, only houses and the occasional shade. You climb up the barricade using the rope thrown over for you, repeat the procedure for the north barricade, and head toward the church.

    As you approach the intersection Ioana drew on her map, you see a zombie tearing gobs of flesh off a dead horse—not Artax, thankfully, but one dead several days guessing by the insects crawling in its flesh. As you bypass it, you hear a gugling, predatory voice from the open door of a house to your left.

    "Cor, I ain't eaten 'nythin fresh in a week."

    "How 'bout that one then?" another voice asks.

    You freeze involuntarily, but the first voice reassures you that you weren't spotted: "I said fresh, din't I? I c'd dig up fresher'n that in my barrow!"

    "Better'n dry bone, ain't it?"

    You continue on, and the voices squabble for a bit before, apparently, turning on the zombie you passed.


    The church sits on a knoll high enough for it to rise out of the fog. Despite its small size—maybe sixty feet across—it's ominous looking enough to send a chill up your spine. Its sagging plaster and brick edifice is blotched with black fungus in places as if it, too, has contracted some sort of pox or pestilence, and here and there you can hear from within a rasping chant, though you cannot make out the words.

    You think you can see a tree or two along the church's side that have already lost most of their leaves. They're not great in size, but maybe forty feet tall.


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    You see nothing out of place, certainly nothing that would suggest poison.

    Throwing off the bed clothes, you reach the smaller room the innkeeper had given Carissia and Luthien in a flash and nearly batter down the door trying to get it open. Bursting inside, you realize that nobody but your girls is there, though you have managed to wake them.

    "Daddy, what's wrong?" Luthien asks while Carissia moans at having been awoken.
    Last edited by Jeff the Green; 2012-06-04 at 02:55 PM.

  18. - Top - End - #288
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    Jeff:
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    Silently lamenting the townsfolk's apparent lack of love for the green, August circles around warily to one of the church's trees, pressing one hand up against the bark and bending the little finger of his wooden talisman inward. When he speaks, his voice emerges as the quiet susurrus of leaves and the creak of bark, and the tree's like responses enter his ears as words on the wind.

    "<Greetings, wise and holy tree. I would know the cause of the curse upon this land, and thus I ask what you have seen. Did you witness the first shades arise? When did you first see them walk? Was there anyone who accompanied them, or called them forth?>"
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  19. - Top - End - #289
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    "Only three? Perhaps we may be better seeking their source? Our party is larger than that. Their maker may prove grateful to us as well. It is hard to do business when overrun by the dead, is it not?"

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    diplomacy to haggle a bit (1d20+14)[29]


    __________________________________________________ _____________
    JtG:
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    "Its alright. Come with me, I think it best you stay in our room tonight. Don't argue, I get your things in the morning." Arthros ushers the barely conscious girl to the other room and sees them settled before taking position in a chair, blocking the door.
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  20. - Top - End - #290
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    "Old Nicolae may have more, certainly, and he might be willing to give them to you at a lower price," Bildrath replies, "but they take him a while to make, and if I'm not mistaken you'll be wanting to have them right away. Sorry, but if you manage to save us I need to think of my shop and of Parriwimble, and if you don't, well, the gold's not going to do you any more good than it will me."

    Sallera:
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    The tree creaks and you get a flood of images and sounds. Whatever you might have been expecting, it wasn't this. The tree is old, yes, and wise, but it is also distant and aloof, almost cruel.

    You hear sobbing and wailing from the church, but the sound is woody and thin, and there can be no mistake that it is the tree. It shows you flickers of movement coming out of the church, lurching and shambling out the door, and screams from the village.


    Stack:
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    You reach the door to your room and throwing it open you burn your hand. A blast of hot air, flame, and smoke bursts out at you, singing your hair and causing pain, but no serious damage.

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    Were this not a dream, it would be ~2 nonlethal from the burnt hand and ~2 lethal from the fire.

  21. - Top - End - #291
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    Jeff:
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    August shivers at the cries; had this curse been caused by a sacrifice? Or had the lingering sorrow and anger of the church's slain inhabitants spread so far as to induce the whole town to an uneasy rest?

    "<Oh wise tree, I thank you for your insight. On the morrow, I will return and bless all that grows on this land. But please, tell me of a little before. Who entered this church to cause such suffering?>"
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  22. - Top - End - #292
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    Sallera:
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    The tree does not answer with anything but a confused silence.

  23. - Top - End - #293
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    JtG
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    Arthros throws himself back, cover his daughters until the he is certain they are clear of the flame, before rushing in, headless of his own safety, to look for Marana.

    "MARANA WHERE ARE YOU? ARE YOU HURT?"

    __________________________________________________ _______________

    Arthros gives the man a scowl. "As you like it. I have some gold, the imprint may not be of this land but its purity is without question." Glad I had coin instead of notes. Doubt they would be honored here. If we hadn't been on vacation...I need to get back. Even a few hours here has been too long. What will they think has happened to me?

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    I need to re-figure my cash, since dndsheets decided to lose that.

    I'm sure he has at least 150 though, probably more. Can't speak for the rest.
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  24. - Top - End - #294
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    Jeff:
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    Nodding in understanding, August steps away from the tree. Even the wisest oaks knew only so much about the way the world of humans worked, and the results of consulting with them were often cryptic. Still, he now knew a little more than he had - and the tree had only confirmed that he needed to look inside this church, regardless of who might be inhabiting it. Making a circuit around the building to check for any holes he might peep through, he resolves to crack open the door as quietly as he can if none can be found. With luck, the chanting will mask the sound.
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  25. - Top - End - #295
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Jeff the Green's Avatar

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    Stack:
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    Marana is nowhere to be found in the blaze, though you search everywhere. Just as you turn back you hear two screams from the hall: Luthien and Carissia. Dashing after the scream and down the hall, you're suddenly stopped by Marana's voice behind you. "What's the matter, darling? Come back to bed." The flames in your room are suddenly gone.


    Sallera:
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    Peeping in the door you see an old man, his white hair dirty and matted, kneeling at the altar at the back of the church. Breaking through his chants you can hear the occasional sob and wail issuing from his bent, pitiful form.
    Last edited by Jeff the Green; 2012-06-06 at 02:59 AM.

  26. - Top - End - #296
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    stack's Avatar

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    Default Re: From Across the Multiverse to Barovia: Expedition to Castle Ravenloft (IC)

    JtG:
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    Arthros dashing back into the hall, head spinning. What's happening here? Everywhere I turn...am I going mad? Doesn't matter, must get them to safety.

    (I don't want other to get bored, but I know the scouting takes time. When August is done we can fast forward to the end of the dream sequence. Not sure why no one else is shopping.)
    Check out these DSP projects:
    Akashic Mysteries (Incarnum-esque)
    Channeling Unleashed
    (I am not affiliated with either, just trying to get them more exposure.)

  27. - Top - End - #297
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Sallera's Avatar

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    Jeff:
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    Was the man alive? This was... not exactly what he had expected. But he had to know who this man was, and what he was doing. A few precautions are in order, and now that he wears the bone raven, he can face the void without flinching. Silently, a field of broken possibility flickers into place around him, followed by the return of his armour and shield, and a wide band of floor between the entrance and the altar shifts and shimmers, becoming broken and rough.

    When men prayed, did they ask a boon of the Light? Did they ask forgiveness for their own deeds? Or did they beg the Darkness's intercession? Prayers magnified an aspect of the self, sought to turn part of one's own being to a mirror and ask of it a question. August embodied both Light and Darkness, and he had always felt worthy to answer prayers. After all, it was, in a way, what a hero did.

    His voice a resounding stage whisper, he calls out to the man, trusting in his ring to keep him safe. "What is it you would ask of me? What have you done, that you bring yourself here to lament your fate and seek to change it?"

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    Steel Shadows, Extended Caul of Shadow, Carpet of Shadow.

    Is there any light inside?
    Busy with moving and related activities for a while. Posting uncertain.
    Wriggle avatar by memnarch.
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    Current characters:
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    Sei
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  28. - Top - End - #298
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: From Across the Multiverse to Barovia: Expedition to Castle Ravenloft (IC)

    Isaac has been silent the whole of their arrival at this distraught little island of hope. The aging professor's laboratory coat sweeps down around the legs of the chair on which he sits, the man lost in thought.

    Undead...likely created from a pathogen of some sort. Might be magical, might not...no way to test. No time to test, even if there -was- a way. We need to get to the library...but I think we'll need to rid this place of the infection, at least for now, in order to get the peace neccessary to unravel our situation.

    The old man looks up, at the drow, querying about bolts...at their healer's sleep...fitful. Not that he could blame the man, given the circumstances. At the other patrons around the bar. He reaches into one of the pockets on his coat, pulling out a small silver metal object, very thin, inlaid with strange symbols and writiing; 'Credicorp Platinum'. He frowns at the thing.

    I wonder if they take credchips. Ha.

    He slips the thing back into his pocket, before rising, and asking around for a needle and thread. If gotten, he will sew the tear in his coat from the flying head's bite, before finding an empty bed beside Arthros, and laying down to rest, fatigue making his journey to the blackness of sleep an expedient one.
    Last edited by Mahrke; 2012-06-06 at 04:01 PM.

  29. - Top - End - #299
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Jeff the Green's Avatar

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    Default Re: From Across the Multiverse to Barovia: Expedition to Castle Ravenloft (IC)

    An older woman lends Isaac her darning needle and some thin yarn before she goes to sleep, admonishing him to leave them by her pillow before he turns in himself. They're not the perfect tools for the job, but sufficient.

    Sallera:
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    The old man stops his prayers abruptly and turns toward you. By the light of the votive candles you can see that his face is dirty and his eyes dart about the room like a spooked and cornered deer.

    "You! You! No!" he shouts in a hoarse voice. "You will not take my child away from me. My only child!" He sobs, and than issues a single word: "Flee!" You feel a nearly irresistible compulsion to run from the church.

    Spoiler
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    Command, Will DC 15 or flee for one round.


    Stack:
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    Marana is suddenly in front of you, blocking your way. "Arthros, what's wrong?" she asks, putting her hand on your chest. "You knew this day was coming. Come back to bed."

  30. - Top - End - #300
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Sallera's Avatar

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    Default Re: From Across the Multiverse to Barovia: Expedition to Castle Ravenloft (IC)

    Jeff:
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    "Did I come to take? Or to give?" Throwing off the man's desperate command, August stands his ground, although little enough of him is visible in the shadow of the half-open door. "Who do you pray to, that you do not wish for a reply? Be not satisfied with a life of regret. Strike not at me because you see in every answered prayer a mirror to strike at yourself."
    Busy with moving and related activities for a while. Posting uncertain.
    Wriggle avatar by memnarch.
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    Current characters:
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