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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    The sun is on its way towards setting as the party arrives at the Vadis manorhouse. It looks a little less foreboding in the light than it did in the dark. A little. Kumoru pauses at the front door, apparently intrigued by the poem carved into it.

    "Who did this?" he asks, sounding just a little unnerved.
    "...so as it turned out, it was a really good thing I took those ranks in Craft: Leatherworking. And that's the story of how I became a blackguard."

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    Horacio

    Horacio reads the poem again. (Mind repeating it for us, Magnus?)

    "Gaudamus, we think. He left one in Nightfang's cave, and another one where he threw away Kinslayer. 'Death is only the beginning...'

    "Yet more clues we can't piece together yet. I'll repeat them for you sometime."


    Horacio then knocks on the door and steps back.

    "Uh, Kumoru, could you stand towards the back? You might look a bit too much like Gaudamus for Firethena. And Terry, could you stand in back as well? I'd rather not surprise her with Kinslayer."
    PCs: Horacio, Gorby, Helionaluxis

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    ExHunterEmerald's Avatar

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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    (From their last little mental exchange, Terry's last mental line with Slayer.)
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    Gee, it sure would suck if I hadn't thought about that in advance.

    Terry nods and hangs back.
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    Terrence Randall by The Stoney One

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    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    "Why? Is there some extra meaning?

    There's prophecy at play in this place, or was, at least. We really won't like surprises, you know? At least not like the exploding demon. Well, he could have been worse."


    Dai is a bit distracted, so he's rambling slightly.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    I am a king in crisis, counting minutes
    until the ending of my reign
    my sins have come to face me, and I feel
    that I have lived my life in vain
    and now I know I'll reap the seeds I've sown


    Kumoru moves to the back, giving Kinslayer a wary look as he does so. In Terry's mind the sword chuckles.

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    Ah, you might be smarter than I thought. You know, smarter than pissing off an intelligent evil sword capable of impaling you through the torso... oh, wait, nevermind. Anyhow, please, do tell exactly what you intend to do about me devouring the soul of anything you kill.


    Horacio's knock is not immediately answered- in fact it takes about two minutes before the door is opened by a slightly flustered looking Firethena.

    "Oh, there are are! I was starting to worry. How is everybody? Who's your new friend?"
    "...so as it turned out, it was a really good thing I took those ranks in Craft: Leatherworking. And that's the story of how I became a blackguard."

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    Tokugal Ardolin

    Tokugal was touched by the housekeeper's apparent concern for their wellbeing. Few of his associations over the years had involved much more than professional interest or academic curiosity.

    "We're actually doing better than might be supposed," he replied. "It was a strange trip; we'll tell you all about it. It's not all roses and lollipops, though: there are some rather dark matters on which we could use your insight and divination."

    The harried look on Firethena's face finally registered. "Of course, if this is a bad time, my lady, we could come back later."
    "So it works in practice. Who cares? Does it work in theory?"
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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    ExHunterEmerald's Avatar

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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

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    Now now, if I tell you, then you can start taking measures to stop me, can't you?

    Terry indulges in a slight grin.
    "Good to see you again. How're you doing?"
    Last edited by ExHunterEmerald; 2007-06-18 at 06:44 PM. Reason: Adding weensy bit of dialogue
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    Terrence Randall by The Stoney One

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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    "Kumoru, Firethena. Firethena, Kumoru. Gaudemus' brother, we already told Kumoru who you are... everyone nice and introduced? Good.

    If anything is amiss, could we help in some way?"

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    Firethena blinks. "Hmm? Oh no, I'm quite alright, you just caught me in the midst of entertaining some company, an acquaintence of yours, as it were-"

    She stops short as Daisilodavi introduces Kumoru.

    "...what the... guys... Gaudemus' brother is dead."

    She backs away. "I don't know who that is but..."

    No, no, it's cool, he's still dead. He just didn't have the decency to rot like most people do.

    What little color there is in Firethena's face drains away. "... you... you found it, I see."

    Kumoru nods. "Yeah. They kind of have a talent for stepping in things. It's a little unnerving actually. Oh, and hi, by the way."

    The housekeeper looks like she's about to faint.
    "...so as it turned out, it was a really good thing I took those ranks in Craft: Leatherworking. And that's the story of how I became a blackguard."

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    Terry grins sheepishly.
    "Wasn't an entirely intentional pickup, ma'am."
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    Terrence Randall by The Stoney One

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  11. - Top - End - #11
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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    Horacio

    Horacio nods, stepping towards Firethena.

    *mutters* "Not exactly what we wanted to do, but we were kind of forced into it...

    "Don't worry, Firethena, we've already done what we can. Terry's got a good hold on Kinslayer, and Kumoru... well, he's not dead, but he's not undead either. At least, not the evil kind. You'd think he's still alive if he wasn't bleeding or breathing. Nothing to worry about for now."


    Horacio grins.

    "Besides, you're a sage; I'm sure you've seen weirder. Just another day in Atalya. We can discuss this over snacks & drinks with... our acquaintence, you said? Could you please introduce us to him?"

    Horacio tries to lead Firethena into the house, occupying her with other thoughts.

    "Also, did you come up with something for that favor I asked of you? Dai's thinking of going out soon, it would be nice if he could take it with him."

    Despite his friendly attitude, in the back of his mind he's trying to determine who would be visiting Firethena and whether a fight would break out.
    Last edited by Mike_Lemmer; 2007-06-19 at 03:37 PM.
    PCs: Horacio, Gorby, Helionaluxis

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  12. - Top - End - #12
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    "Favor? Oh! Yes, I did a little digging. I think Dai's lady friend will find it very intriguing..."

    She leads them into the living room, where a tall, thin figure in a hooded black cloak is sitting on the couch. Firethena seats herself next to him and invites the others to take seats as well.

    "He said he was a friend of you all, anyway. Where did you say you met them again...?"

    The cloaked figure pushes his hood back, chuckling softly as he does so.

    "Oh, it was just a random encounter," says Crush.
    "...so as it turned out, it was a really good thing I took those ranks in Craft: Leatherworking. And that's the story of how I became a blackguard."

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    Horacio

    All of the alarms in Horacio's head go off at once, and he almost draws Tahlion, but doesn't. His hand hovers next to the hilt, though, and he instinctively circles a bit towards Firethena so everyone wouldn't be in a mind blast.

    "Crush..." He says, venom almost dripping off the name. "Funny, we were just lamenting we couldn't talk to you again. And here you are... how did you pull it off? Illusion? Twin brother? Or are you high enough on the pecking order to merit a raise?

    "And for the record, we were going to let you go. I'm sorry if I thought you were smart enough to bide your time on taunts when there's six swords trained on you. You are a mind flayer, after all.

    "But I'm willing to put aside old grudges for now, Crush. I assume you have information for us about that cult we saved you from?"

    Knew I should've cu-
    *stops that line of thought*

    Horacio glances towards Firethena, watching her reaction to gauge if she's being mind controlled by the flayer or not.

    "You mind if I sit next to you, Crush?"

    Sense Motive: 26
    Sense Motive on Firethena for Domination (1d20+16=26)
    PCs: Horacio, Gorby, Helionaluxis

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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    "Right."
    Terry puts a hand to Slayer.
    "Firethena, this is Crush. We killed him. I personally would have liked to avoid that, but I'm still not exactly inclined to sit for tea and a chat with someone who has every reason to want us dead."

    "What happened?"
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    Terrence Randall by The Stoney One

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    Horacio

    "I don't think he wants us dead yet, Terry. Just sit down and enjoy your tea.

    "Welcome to negotiations, Underdark-style."
    PCs: Horacio, Gorby, Helionaluxis

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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    Terry, having moved slightly to one side, continues.
    "Don't get me wrong--I'm more than willing to talk once I know what's going on. Just not readily trusting with individuals I've met and concluded in combat."
    Terry detects magic as he speaks, trying to see if anything is amiss. Well, more amiss.
    Last edited by ExHunterEmerald; 2007-06-19 at 10:32 PM.
    Terrence Randall and the Kinslayer by NEO|Phyte
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    Terrence Randall by The Stoney One

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  17. - Top - End - #17
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    "Thanks for vindicating my theory that is what idiocy to pick a fight with you. I do so like to be right, and do so dislike people getting killed unnecessarily.

    Is there something I can help you with?"


    Dai has a bright and cheery smile. The perceptive will notice he's working out fight and flight paths and plans.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    Nevermind domination- anyone in the room can see that Firethena is suddenly completely inanimate. She's sitting there looking entirely fine, but she isn't moving, even breathing, only staring straight ahead.

    Terry detects
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    The strongest, wierdest illusions he's ever seen. Unless he's seeing things, then neither Firethena nor Crush are actually real. And he'd be darned if he knew what else is in the room with them.


    Crush chuckles as he straightens up, eyeing Horacio malevolently. "Feel free to sit wherever you like- though if I were you I'd be careful, I'm not sure where the elf actually is any more. She is an extremely talented illusionist- the best I've ever seen, and that even with only a fraction of her potential unlocked. With my mind guiding her powers, she can rewrite reality."

    The mindflayer steps forward nonchalantly, but he is changing as he does so. The black cloak flows outwards like a wave of darkness, mingling with the shadows of the room until you can't tell where it is and where the darkness begins. "Crush" grows taller, until his bulbous head nearly scrapes the ceiling, his mouth changing shape, sprouting even more tentacles, his skin growing darker until it blends in with the black of his cloak, his eyes narrowing into cold blue slits that glow with an unholy light.

    "No tricks were employed when you murdered my friend, sadly. The mindflayer you know as Crush is gone from this world, and as few gods are willing to grant powers to a being dedicated to the destruction of the equilibrium they so jealously guard, I lack the resources to reverse his condition. A life is a heavy debt to owe, halfling, and this is what you and your companions owe to me and mine."

    He steeples viciously clawed fingers and his facial tentacles twitch into a horribly parody of a smile.

    "Let's talk about what you can do to pay it."
    "...so as it turned out, it was a really good thing I took those ranks in Craft: Leatherworking. And that's the story of how I became a blackguard."

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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    Horacio

    As Horacio notices Firethena's condition, his eyes grow wide. The muted alarms in his head spring back to life, building to a concentrated wail of agony.

    Firethena? Firethena?! Firethena!!

    Just as suddenly, his eyes narrow and he grins morbidly. Everything in his head shuts down as he focuses on his own heartbeat, forcibly calming the noise down. He whispers a quick mental prayer in time with his heartbeat.

    Xan Yae, guide me through the shadows. Hide me from my foes and reveal me to my friends.

    He moves his hand away from Tahlion, sensing it would be of no use right now. He stands his ground against the shadow flayer.

    Tahlion, if you have any advice, start talking.

    "Well, this is... interesting. You must be The Devourer. If the rumors are true, you've made quite a name for yourself in flayer society. I'm almost honored to meet you.

    "But I think we both know we want to spend as little time in each other's company as possible, so let's get to brass tacks. Crush was investigating an aberration cult when we saved him from that giant summoned worm. I assume your 'payment' has something to do with it? And, given the location you've decided to meet us at, I assume it's linked to our current investigation?

    "Well please, elucidate. We have a lot to do if we're going to be prepared for whatever you toss at us."


    Sense Motive on Devourer for Lies and Threats: 22
    Sense Motive: Devourer (1d20+16=22)
    Last edited by Mike_Lemmer; 2007-06-20 at 10:27 PM.
    PCs: Horacio, Gorby, Helionaluxis

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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    Daewell

    The wizard hangs back, absorbing the situation, and casting about for a way to safely extricate his companions.

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    Beginning to scan the room carefully with Detect Magic, then using Spellcraft (Spellcraft check (1d20+26=38) ) to try to determine the source of the spell.
    Currently climbing out of a heckofa two weeks at work/RL. Now working to catch up. Thanks for your patience.

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    Despair favours the status quo. It is a luxury we cannot afford. ~ Andrew Nikiforuk

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    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    "You know, there's more than one way to sneak back onto the Prime... would your buddy prefer to be avenged, or reincorporated?

    I'm just saying, like I said before, his death was regrettable...

    Just throwing an idea out there."


    Dai looks... extremely innocent and sincere. He never looks innocent and sincere.

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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    Tokugal Ardolin

    Tokugal was startled when Firethena froze. Revulsion and horror welled up from the pit of his stomach and threatened to choke him. He gripped the hilt of his rapier with white knuckles and turned toward Crush. Before he could speak or act, the thing grew and changed. The monster's explanation caught Tokugal off guard. "You mean we owe you because your friend attacked us? That's an easy way to generate a whole sheet of debtors--just send your lackeys after them, then sue for damages when they defend themselves! Perhaps it is you who owe the debt: tell us what you have done with Firethena."

    The elf looked more angry than threatening.
    "So it works in practice. Who cares? Does it work in theory?"
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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    Vodette

    Vodette smiled warmly at Firethena when she opened the door. She was happy to see the elf housekeeper. Her smile quickly faded when they were introduced to her friend. Vodette had a hard time understanding the events that quickly unfolded in front of here.

    All this deception and confusion! How can anybody keep it straight? This isn't Crush but some other...thing. What is it? Who is it? Why are they after us?!

    Vodette couldn't stop herself like her companions. As soon as Crush began to grow in size, her rapier was in her hand. She didn't have the flare for diplomacy like the others. She looked around, quite worried. Throughly confused and frustrated that she couldn't keep anything straight, Vodette let out an exasperated growl and said:

    Alright, just what is going on here? We killed that thing...Crush. What is going on now? What has happened to Firethena?
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    Failyn Sunswift, Human Monk
    Init +7 HP 40/40 Bloodied 20 Healing Surge 10 (0 used /7)
    AC 23 Fort 18 Reflex 22 Will 17 Speed 6
    Str 16 (+3) Con 10 (0) Dex 20 (+5) Int 8 (-1) Wis 13 (+1) Cha 10 (0)

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    If all the world is a stage....I want better lighting.

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    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    Dai looks slightly annoyed, and snaps "Remember, this gentleman is angry at us because we threatened Crush enough to make him feel like we were going to try and kill him... could we at least not repeat that mistake?

    Just this once?"

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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    Hnn. More or less comforting. At least with a very clear threat, you know where you stand. Anything I ought to know, Slayer?
    Mentally bracing himself for whatever snark the runeblade has waiting, he suddenly changes gears.
    Hold it--
    Damn, Slayer, you said you'd like to see anyone get past you before. Can you do the same with my mind?

    Why was he asking the damn sword? For all he knew it was working to control him already.
    And more importantly...mind flayers are known for, well, duh.

    Devourer? You listening in on my little mental cacophony too?

    Terry wipes the sweat from his brow. Getting tense here.
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    Terrence Randall by The Stoney One

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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    Daewell detects:
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    Incredibly powerful illusionary magic- the glow of it to his enhanced vision makes him squint. After some focus, though, it becomes clear tha the epicenter of the illsuion is on the couch that Firthena's image is seated on.


    Terry hears voices:
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    I prefer not to interfere with my wielder's thoughts, it just seems too indirect... wouldn't anyone just rather inflict horrific bodily pain and damage? I know I would! If I'm a bad influence on you it'll be purely because I'm constantly whining at you to kill ****. The only response to Terry's mental question to the mindflayer is silence, however. It's possible he's using all of his telepathic power on the girl- I imagine manipulating a mage to that extent would be difficult. Oh, and by the way, don't you think that Vodette chick totally needs to get smacked in the back of the head with the hilt of a giant demonic greatsword and humped to within an inch of her life? 'Cause I think she totally needs to be smacked in the back of the head with the hilt of a giant demonic greatsword and humped to within an inch of her life.


    The Devourer makes a noise that almost sounds like a girlish giggle. "You've heard of me! Oh, I'm flattered. That's a couple of disciples who were never supposed to mention my title aboveground that I'm going to have to defenestrate. And speaking of killing people, please don't try to justify yourselves to me. I know he tried to kill you. Of course he tried to kill you. He was a damn mindflayer, and you are all humanoids with minds that need flaying. That's like saying a butcher who go trampled by a herd of cows deserved it. Don't test my patience, I don't take guff from my dinner."

    He takes a step forward and walks through Horacio to stand in front of Dai. For the record, being walked through by the illsuion of the scariest illithid in the world is like being splashed with freezing cold water for a split second while demons give you a wedgie. The Devourer strokes the chameleon's face with ephermeal black talons.

    "I saw the battle through your eyes. I like you. You're kind of a wuss, but any being with such incredible capacity for deception interests me. I think you brain would taste like candy... wait, tangent. Anyhow, you needn't worry, decades of being forced to deal with my food like people out of necessity has taught me the value of holding myself to something resembling a code of honor. You refused to raise a hand against my servant, and so I will spare your life... even though I really, REALLY want to eat your brain. That's a compliment, if you like."

    He turns around and looks down at Horacio. From his shoulders there spreads a pair of bat-like wings that stretch from one end of the substantially sized room to the other.

    "Don't entertain any illusions that you are the victims in this matter. I saw what you did to him when you'd finished cutting the spark from his flesh. Those tentacles will bring you a great deal of gold from the snake, won't they? Humanoids... you're all the same. Spouting notions of honor and ethical superiority, then stabbing your fellows in the back because it inconveniences you. You call us monsters, but not a one of mine would kill a man for money."

    He points a skeletal finger between the halfling's eyes.

    "I demand payment in blood, peck, and I mean to have it. I'm going to... wait... wait just a darn minute..."

    The illusiory mindflayer's eyes suddenly blaze brighter than twin suns. Horacio feels that something has been taken from him, but aside from a vaguely nauseous feeling and a sensation of emptiness in the back of his mind he hasn't a clue what just happened. The Devourer takes a step back and starts laughing, hard.

    "They didn't... I can't believe it... they NEVER... oh wow, heh, that IS interesting... and you lot are neck deep in it, too. That has the potential to be all kinds of fun... Nightmare monsters... that's cute... Hmmmm, maybe we do have something to talk about besides your imminent demise after all."

    Tahlion's voice murmurs quietly in all of their minds. Okay, first of all, this is not your average mindflayer, and saying that is like saying a twelve-foot tall hamster that shoots fire out of its anus isn't your run-of-the-mill rodent. All I can advise is to keep him talking and don't piss him off, because right now your lives depend on convincing him that you're more interesting alive than twitching on the floor with multiple aneurysms.
    "...so as it turned out, it was a really good thing I took those ranks in Craft: Leatherworking. And that's the story of how I became a blackguard."

  27. - Top - End - #27
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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    Did you j--oh, gods, I swear I'm painting you white.
    Terry remains silent while the Flayer rumbles on.
    Godsdamnit, more parties in on this disaster.
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    Terrence Randall by The Stoney One

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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    Horacio

    Horacio can't help but involuntarily shudder a couple times, but years of up-close encounters with them and rogue nerves keep him from breaking down... or spouting tart remarks that would get him killed. The suction from his mind almost does it, though.

    Okay, calm yourself, Horacio... yes, I figured that, Tahlion. Now while we keep him away, can you poke around and figure out just what that bast*rd wiped? And whether you can protect the vital parts?

    "Of course. I'm surprised you didn't realize it earlier. A mind flayer investigating an aberration cult, tales of fiend & aberration breeding... of which I think you're intimately familiar, and flying tentacled brains. All kinds of weird, isn't it? Even for your people. And guess who's being tossed into the middle of it?

    "So why don't we compare a few notes? Just what was Crush investigating down there? It might be linked to what we're after... which would only make what comes next even more interesting."


    As he talks, Horacio glances around, trying to figure out what's real and what isn't while gauging the attitude of the devourer.

    Will Save for Illusions: 24
    Spot Check: 21
    Sense Motive Check for Devourer: 20

    Will Save, Spot check, Sense Motive check (1d20+10=24, 1d20+17=21, 1d20+16=20)
    Last edited by Mike_Lemmer; 2007-06-22 at 09:36 PM. Reason: Added Rolls
    PCs: Horacio, Gorby, Helionaluxis

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  29. - Top - End - #29
    Halfling in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    "You're very kind, Great Devourer.

    I might take exception to being called a coward under other circumstances, but for you I'll let it slide.

    Ah, is your matter of interest the swords, or the tentacled creatures possessing humanoids?.. because truth be told, I had suspected the latter of being related in some way to, well, Mind Flayers, but what you've said would seem to disprove that."
    Last edited by WhammeWhamme; 2007-06-22 at 10:00 PM.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PolkaBear's Avatar

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    Aug 2006
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    Default Re: Streets of Atalya Volume Two: Tentacles

    Tokugal Ardolin

    Tokugal bit back an angry retort and tried to school his emotions before he responded. Not wise to piss him off. More. Besides, he may have had the right of it. The episode in the cave was still rather foggy to him. All he could remember with absolute clarity was the pain.

    "Even so, it makes it hard to have a reasoned conversation about this 'something to discuss' when you make frequent references to how delectable you'd find us. It's even harder with Firethena enslaved or ensorcelled or whatever--if she's even still alive. I don't mean to challenge you--I'm not that foolish--but please understand if I'm reluctant to engage in a casual chat."
    "So it works in practice. Who cares? Does it work in theory?"
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