The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default IC AoW - Encounter at Blackwall Keep (PF) (Take 2)

    The party is now set to travel with Allustan to see an ally of his, Marzena, a battle mage of the Free City assigned to Blackwall Keep at the northern edge of the Mistmarsh. The woman sent Allustan a message reporting the presence of strange green worms in the Cairn Hills. Allustan thinks this is connected to the party's discoveries and wishes to travel to Blackwall Keep with them. The fort is approximately 36 miles from Diamond Lake through some rough country, and he wishes to arrange their travel and then leave in the next several days.

    I need the PCs to reconnect with each other and meet and accept the new PCs into the party. My suggestion is to have the remaining members of the original party meet in Diamond Lake to purchase gear for the trip and encounter the others, but I will leave the details up to you guys.

    So...begin the role-playing! Get the party together If you want to look ahead, my next story-driving post is below (I can have NPCs react as needed to get the RP started...):


    Spoiler: As soon as the party is re-established
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    (Don't worry, this scene is a little bit later.)

    The morning dawns bright and sunny, and the party meets Allustan at his home ready for the day's travel. They leave and begin walking along the shores of the lake for which Diamond Lake was named, though it looks nothing like the gem. The pollutants of the mines, smelting, and other activities of the area have utterly ruined much of the water, and even on a beautiful day like this one it is not a pretty sight.

    Walking along the path one can expect a variety of other travelers, but no one crosses the party's way all morning.

    For an older man, Allustan sets a steady pace and the party is past the borders of the lake by lunch. Afterwards they begin walking again and the scenery changes to a mix of lowlands and farms, with the aptly named Mistmarsh becoming visible in late afternoon. Sometime afterwards the party sees a small group of halfling farmers dutifully wheeling their cart towards Diamond Lake. When Allustan asks if they have anything for sale they decline, saying they have a long way to go and prefer not to sell on the road.

    As the little people make their way past the party can see that the produce is not of high quality. It appears to have been plagued with pests, with the tubers, bulbs, and roots appearing to have taken the brunt of the infestations. Looking closely at the farmers, their clothing appears somewhat ragged too, as if it has been a particularly difficult year.

    The party finally makes it to the roadside home Allustan mentioned the previous night. The single-story farmhouse lies around fields that have lain fallow for some time, though the house seems to be in decent shape. A well stands behind the house with a rope and bucket, and inside the place is largely clean and dry. "Well, I am tired. Shall we go inside?" Allustan asks as he begins to do so.

    Spoiler: OoC
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    This is an opportunity to either get to know Allustan better or get some clues as to how pervasive the subtle influences of the approaching Age of Worms are. Feel free to ask Allustan questions, discuss the halfling farmers, explore the fields, etc...Every paragraph above is intended to be a potential conversation starter/topic. Respond to whatever moves you.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Default Re: IC AoW - Encounter at Blackwall Keep (PF) (Take 2)

    Olorfire stretches for a while. Oof, I don't know about you all, but I feel like I have been sitting in the same spot for years!
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: IC AoW - Encounter at Blackwall Keep (PF) (Take 2)

    "...and interpose thine strong shield between the wicked and the meek. So let it be." With a small bow, Lydia finishes her morning prayers to Heironeous and traces his lightning bolt sigil in the air before her. The jagged lines mirror those on the pendant around her neck, the holy symbol glinting softly in the first rays of daylight.

    She grunts as she rises from a kneeling position, stiff from yesterday's ride and from the austere cot at the garrison that is to be her accommodations in Diamond Lake. No one could ever accuse the Heironean order of being soft or pampered, she muses as she goes through a series of stretches and then begins fastening on her armor. But even by their standards, this place is a dump! Valkus Dun had received her report yesterday and promised whatever assistance he could render, but so far it hadn't amounted to more than a hard cot and stale rations. Infuriatingly the man couldn't tell her exactly where to find her objective, the paladin "Frederick" - he suggested that she just wait around town and that he'd be sure to "turn up", eventually.

    "How many half-orc holy knights can a place like this be hiding, anyway?" Her preparations complete, Lydia sets off from the Chapel of Heironeous in the direction of The Captain's Blade, which has been recommended by Dun as the closest thing to a proper armory in town. It's something to do while she waits, at least.
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    Waylan, Kestros and Auspice (Wrath of the Righteous)


    Lydia (Age of Worms)

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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Farmerbink's Avatar

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    Default Re: IC AoW - Encounter at Blackwall Keep (PF) (Take 2)

    A short distance outside Diamond Lake, Frederick snorts. "We get to sleep on a dry floor with a firm roof over our heads for the first time in a fortnight and you get stiff?" He rolls to his side, and takes in the amusing image of Olofire trying to work some mobility into his limbs. "You know," he begins, with a smirk, "those forms I go through every day aren't just for show? If you really want to limber up, let me know and I'll show you. It's absolutely necessary if you want to keep your arms and legs working right under all the plate." A distinct rumbling from his abdomen alerts him to other priorities.

    "But first, breakfast."

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: IC AoW - Encounter at Blackwall Keep (PF) (Take 2)

    Amearin Deh. Accountant.

    It wasn't supposed to be the most exciting career choice. In fact, when given the choice, Amearin would've preferred that he stay in Greyhawk with his nice apartment, fake friends, and boring job. At least he would be safe. Out here though, on the edge of...for lack of a better term, civilization, he steps lively to dodge a pile of something smelly and brown. Well, out here, anything could go wrong. It was his own fault, he supposed. The only thing stronger than his desire to avoid excitement was his desire to figure out where that blasted money had come from, and why it was in his client's accounts when it shouldn't have been, and what the Seekers had to do with all this, and for that matter just who the hell was Kellek? Those questions had culminated in an early morning exit from Greyhawk that just about ruined his best suit. Luckily he had run into that cleric, Lydia. All it took was a scare look from him and she had absolutely trounced his pursurers. No one died, of course, but it had seemed he had become persona non grata for the time being.

    As luck would have it, she was also heading to Diamond Lake, the place where he had found several notes in a red ledger left out at just the wrong time for him to find it. Amearin figured there were less unfortunate circumstances that one could find themselves in when pursuing a shadowy organization halfway across the continent.

    They had split in the evening. She had gone to the barracks, and he had gone to the Able Carter Coaching Inn. He wasn't much of a cot person.

    Amearin found her up early, moving through the town with a purpose. Doubling his step around a donkey carrying various half rotted vegetables, he caught up to her and with a tap on her shoulder proclaimed, "I never did properly thank you. Might I do so with some food? Tea? I can get it to go. Where are you headed?

    Spoiler: OOC
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    There is a lot of background here that can be fleshed out later. Just trying to set something up for a response. If Muffinman is not ok with Lydia knocking some heads to save a scared wizard, let me know and I can change it.

    Feel free to grab Amearin along in your posts.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: IC AoW - Encounter at Blackwall Keep (PF) (Take 2)

    Quote Originally Posted by Untarr View Post
    Amearin found her up early, moving through the town with a purpose. Doubling his step around a donkey carrying various half rotted vegetables, he caught up to her and with a tap on her shoulder proclaimed, "I never did properly thank you. Might I do so with some food? Tea? I can get it to go. Where are you headed?
    "Are you always this full of questions?" In the mid-morning light, Lydia sizes up the somewhat scrawny fellow she'd rescued on the road yesterday from some thugs - not that there was much to size. She lets her question linger just long enough to see him begin to squirm, and then with a sigh she offers out her hand in greeting. "It was nothing. Heironeous teaches us that it is right and just that the strong should protect the weak" she pronounces, holding his gaze for a moment. "I just did what any of the faithful would do. My name is Lydia Constantine - what's yours? And why were those men after you, anyway?"

    At some point after introductions have been made, she continues. "I don't want tea and I'm not going anywhere in particular, unless you know where I can find a half-orc dressed in plate mail about so high" She indicates Frederick's substantial proportions. "No? Didn't think so. And not that it's any of my business, but just what is a bookish fellow like you doing in Diamond Lake, anyway? If it's for work, you must have really pissed off your boss, somehow. You don't exactly blend in with the locals." She indicates a passing miner, his soot-covered rags in sharp contract to Amearin's fine city clothes.
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    Waylan, Kestros and Auspice (Wrath of the Righteous)


    Lydia (Age of Worms)

    Age of Worms loot tracking

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Default Re: IC AoW - Encounter at Blackwall Keep (PF) (Take 2)

    Quote Originally Posted by Farmerbink View Post
    A short distance outside Diamond Lake, Frederick snorts. "We get to sleep on a dry floor with a firm roof over our heads for the first time in a fortnight and you get stiff?" He rolls to his side, and takes in the amusing image of Olofire trying to work some mobility into his limbs. "You know," he begins, with a smirk, "those forms I go through every day aren't just for show? If you really want to limber up, let me know and I'll show you. It's absolutely necessary if you want to keep your arms and legs working right under all the plate." A distinct rumbling from his abdomen alerts him to other priorities.

    "But first, breakfast."
    "Frederick, I don't understand it either, but you bring up a very good case for breakfast! In that it is breakfast time." Olofire smiles for a moment. But as the memories if those that were lost in the recently returns, his demeanor becomes more stoic.

    Sheepishly he asks, "If you don't mind, I would like to join you for your forms." He will need to work on his alchemy at some point. But for now he will leave it be. The rush he gets from mutating is making it harder for him to keep his wits about him.

    I need to work on it more.. It could be better..
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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: IC AoW - Encounter at Blackwall Keep (PF) (Take 2)

    Quote Originally Posted by MuffinMan View Post
    I just did what any of the faithful would do. My name is Lydia Constantine - what's yours? And why were those men after you, anyway?"
    "I do not rightly know. Likely wanted to rob me. Your timing was most excellent though![
    Spoiler: Bluff
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    (1d20-1)[19] Rolling bluff because it is a lie. Feel free to see through it!


    Amearin wasn't quite ready to spill the beans to just anyone about what he found. Sure, a cleric of Heironeous was probably someone he could confide in. But, he certainly wasn't going to take that chance. Not yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by MuffinMan View Post
    At some point after introductions have been made, she continues. "I don't want tea and I'm not going anywhere in particular, unless you know where I can find a half-orc dressed in plate mail about so high" She indicates Frederick's substantial proportions. "No? Didn't think so. And not that it's any of my business, but just what is a bookish fellow like you doing in Diamond Lake, anyway? If it's for work, you must have really pissed off your boss, somehow. You don't exactly blend in with the locals." She indicates a passing miner, his soot-covered rags in sharp contract to Amearin's fine city clothes.
    Amearin looks nervously at his garb, realizing how much of a target he had made himself. Fool! Maybe there was a store somewhere? Surely these people were not so backwards that everyone made their own clothes. Oh, he hoped not. Surely. Maybe?

    Plastering on a fake smile to hide his internal monologue, he goes about trying to once again lie to the cleric.

    "Vacation. Actually. Just getting out of the city for a while for some fresh air and relaxing country atmosphere!" he exclaims as they continue down the street. Several interesting smells interrupt their conversation. He wondered just how long this was going to hold on. Amearin wasn't the best liar. And clerics were notorious for sniffing out lies. But he was scared enough of the situation that he didn't rightly know what else to do.

    "I actually may know where your half-orc is. An old acquaintance of mine from the university is in Diamond Lake. It seems that he and a few others have become somewhat local heroes. One of them was described to me as a half-orc in spiked plate. Large. Mean." Amearin points a short distance outside Diamond Lake. "I found out he was staying in a house just outside of town. If your friend? is not there, I'm sure Dr. Olofire could direct you to him. He said friend with a question mark, not knowing if Lydia meant to harm the half-orc or not. Heironious clerics were rather notorious in their prejudice against orcs.
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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: IC AoW - Encounter at Blackwall Keep (PF) (Take 2)

    "Uh-huh. Robbers, sure. Mm-hmm. Vacation." Lydia groans inwardly at Amearin's pathetic attempt at subterfuge, fighting to maintain an outwardly stoic demeanor. The man had delivered his tall tale earnestly enough, true, but the idea of anyone voluntarily vacationing to a dung heap like Diamond Lake is the most outrageous thing she's heard in... well, she can't remember exactly how long! No, the pencil-pusher was being evasive about his business here, that much is certain. But, it also seems equally obvious that whatever he's up to is completely and utterly irrelevant to her mission. She starts looking about for an excuse on the street - something, anything to rescue her from this conversation. "Well, it was nice catching up, but I really ought to be..."

    Quote Originally Posted by Untarr View Post
    "I actually may know where your half-orc is."
    "What?!" At that, Lydia's eyes open wide and she whirls around, fixing the little man with an intense stare not unlike one she would give a foe on the battlefield. Ah, easy - don't want to frighten the poor fool to death! Grunting, she forces herself to relax - slightly - and resume a conversational tone. "Really? Local heroes, you say?" (Trask, you left that part out, damn you!) "I don't know about spikes but the rest does sound like the description of the one I seek. Did you say you knew the location of this... house? I would count it a great favor if you could direct me there, immediately." Her hand tightens on the shaft of her spear and she raps the butt against the road, eyes narrowing. "I have business to attend to with this man." If she detects Amearin's apprehension she doesn't let on, content to let him interpret her words however he will.
    Last edited by MuffinMan; 2019-11-21 at 05:05 PM.
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    Waylan, Kestros and Auspice (Wrath of the Righteous)


    Lydia (Age of Worms)

    Age of Worms loot tracking

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: IC AoW - Encounter at Blackwall Keep (PF) (Take 2)

    uuhhhh....its this way! Amearin stuttered, barely containing his scream. He was going to need a long sip of brandy after all this. Likely to get the memory of this crazy lady jabbing multiple holes into some brute. Or of her pretty face getting ripped off by said brute. You never knew. Either way...he knew it would be awful and he would take the first opportunity to run once Lydia found her target.

    Walking quickly, he did his best to not gather any more attention from her.
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  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: IC AoW - Encounter at Blackwall Keep (PF) (Take 2)

    Jan's twisted knot of blue-black hair and... unusually flexible limbs begins to untangle itself at the sounds of Olofire and Frederick's conversation. She stretches, her spine arcing just slightly further than one might expect from a gnome her stature, and then somehow her tiny fists reach well past her robe's cuffs... and almost twice her height, before shrinking back into her long sleeves. Unconcerned by (or perhaps oblivious to) any of her companions' notice of her unusual physiology, the gnome watches with amusement as the two discuss forms... but her eyes and grin widen at the mention of sustenance!

    "Ooh, breakfast! I feel like I could eat... I could eat... something improbably large!" She lapses into a fit of bubbly laughter at the non-joke. "But seriously, I think I could maybe even eat a whole egg and one... maybe TWO sausages!" She grins mischievously over to the wiry halfling, and then up to the weathered half-orc.
    Lehasti Gesmeha and Azkin for Mummy's Mask
    Morevek for Wrath of the Righteous
    Janstina Silentall for Age of Worms

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: IC AoW - Encounter at Blackwall Keep (PF) (Take 2)

    Amearin and Lydia are walking up the path to the old mine office as breakfast ends, so they get to see the unlikely trio exit the recently restored building prepared to exercise and stretch. The half-orc and his diminutive companions know that Allustan wants to leave for Blackwall Keep before noon to reach a safe-house he knows on the road. That said, they have plenty of time to meet new PCs and collect their gear before the sage will start missing them...

    Spoiler: OoC
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    Feel free to meet, role-play, and so on. Allustan won't leave without the party and there is even enough time to do some last minute shopping (if desired) before departing.
    Last edited by DarkOne7141981; 2019-11-21 at 11:27 PM.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Default Re: IC AoW - Encounter at Blackwall Keep (PF) (Take 2)

    Olofire steps out shielding his eyes from the sun. Frederick, will it be possible to do these forms with my scalpel? I fear your sword may be a little heavier than I am use to. Before Frederick has time to respond he notices to figures coming up the road. He squints and attempts to get his eyes to focus as recognition sets in.

    Amearin? Amearin! Is that you?! Olofire rushes up to his old classmate.

    I haven't seen you since Greyhawk! What brings you all the way out to this area? If I remember correctly, Diamond Lake isn't exactly your typical go to locale., he chuckles as he greets his friend with a hearty two handed hand shake.
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  14. - Top - End - #14
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: IC AoW - Encounter at Blackwall Keep (PF) (Take 2)

    Lydia is somewhat interested in the answers to Olofire's questions - I wonder how his story will change this time - but she ignores the halfling for now and keeps her gaze fixed on Frederick. "You there! Are you the one called Frederick Strongarm?" Her bearing and equipment are militaristic, but she wears a holy symbol of Heironeous prominently displayed on a pendant about her neck - unmistakable to one of his followers. It must be him - it has to be! She tries to hide her eagerness at the answer that will tell her whether her journey from Greyhawk has been a success, or not.
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    Waylan, Kestros and Auspice (Wrath of the Righteous)


    Lydia (Age of Worms)

    Age of Worms loot tracking

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Farmerbink's Avatar

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    Default Re: IC AoW - Encounter at Blackwall Keep (PF) (Take 2)

    Frederick saunters into the sunlight, clad only in breeches and a simple linen undertunic. He offers a brief pat to Leroy, who stands grazing just a few feet past the short wooden porch. "Well, the first several steps don't involve a weapon at all. In fact, you want to be as free to move as possible for- uh, Doctor?" He turns his head slowly, to follow the Halfling's scampering up the walk and then road beyond. "Hmmm," he mutters, with a slight scowl.

    Olofire approaches an Elf, speaking with the comfort of familiarity, and Frederick begins to relax a little. He glances upward to briefly judge the sun's tracking. "I suppose we have a few minutes for old fri-"
    Quote Originally Posted by MuffinMan View Post
    "You there! Are you the one called Frederick Strongarm?"
    The scowl returns in an instant, as Frederick snaps his eyes back to the road and narrows them in a futile attempt to focus at this distance. "Hold, Leroy," he commands. The Half-Orc begins walking slowly forward, not eager to approach too close to the obviously armed woman who knows... of him, at least.

    "And if I am?" He continues pacing slowly through the rough yard, gently motioning for Jan to stay back as well. "What business-" As he approaches the squat stone fence, he finally notices the silver lightning bolt hanging at her neck.

    His tone lightens, but still offers little concession to her apparent loyalties. He leans forward slightly and rests a pair of heavy, gray, mitt-sized hands atop the stones. "Of what significance is my name?"

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    ElfRangerGuy

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    Default Re: IC AoW - Encounter at Blackwall Keep (PF) (Take 2)

    Quote Originally Posted by Farmerbink View Post
    "Of what significance is my name?"
    First the first time since Amearin has known her, Lydia's posture relaxes, and the smallest of grins betrays itself momentarily about her lips. "Little, I suppose, except that it means that you are the one I seek! Well met." She stands expectantly at attention, staring at Frederick and waiting for... something. (Those with a knowledge of Heironean traditions would recognize this as the point where the lower-ranked member of the faith initiates a salute to the higher-ranked, but in this case - nothing!) Her brow furrows, and after a few awkward moments she goes on, an edge of stiffness creeping back into her voice.

    "My name is Lydia Constantine and I am, as you see, a cleric of the faith we share. You may not have heard of me, but I have heard of you, Frederick Strongarm. Knights of your... heritage are unusual even in the order. And then there is the matter of your more recent exploits..." She walks up to the fence a few yards away from Frederick and gently leans her spear against it, freeing her hands as she continues. "Commander Trask informs me that you rooted out a cabal of Hextorites hidden below these very hills - that was well done!" Her gaze sweeps from Frederick to pass over Olofire and Jan, and she looks puzzled for a moment before continuing. "Trask also said you did this with the aid of powerful warriors... Where might they be? Have they gone into town ahead of you?"

    A few moments later, Lydia reveals the substance of her mission. "Word of your activities has reached the upper echelons of the church in Greyhawk, and the elders thought we needed another agent in the field. This... Age of Worms is very likely just another fake apocalypse spread about by superstitious peasants, but they thought it serious enough to be worth investigating, at least. So, there you have it - I am to come with you and render aid until such time as we have determined the truth or falsity of this rumor. You can give me your report on the road. When do we leave?"
    Last edited by MuffinMan; 2019-11-22 at 03:19 PM.
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    Waylan, Kestros and Auspice (Wrath of the Righteous)


    Lydia (Age of Worms)

    Age of Worms loot tracking

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Farmerbink's Avatar

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    Default Re: IC AoW - Encounter at Blackwall Keep (PF) (Take 2)

    Frederick nods politely at the greeting before noting her statements impassively. As she approaches, his eyes track her steps, and his stance remains relaxed. Awkwardly, but politely, he acknowledges her statements of heritage and exploits. At mention of the Hextorites, he sneers almost subconsciously, but quickly remasters his expression.

    Quote Originally Posted by MuffinMan View Post
    "Trask also said you did this with the aid of powerful warriors... Where might they be? Have they gone into town ahead of you?"
    Frederick snorts quietly. "Power is not always precisely what it seems, I suppose." He favors Jan with a fond smile before lapsing into silence as Lydia finishes her declaration.

    For several moments, he stands in silence, his own turn to wait for... more. After a time, he scowls almost imperceptibly, sighs, and rises from the fence. He crosses his broad arms over his chest with a slight frown. "I am," he begins, speaking slowly. "to take... your word, for all of this?
    You were sent without written orders?
    "
    Last edited by Farmerbink; 2019-11-22 at 03:49 PM.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: IC AoW - Encounter at Blackwall Keep (PF) (Take 2)

    Jan grins at Olofire's burst of enthusiasm as he approaches his old friend. The gnome takes a few skipping steps to follow, clearly curious about the newcomers, before noting Frederick's warding gesture. With a tilt of the head, the gnome peers curiously at the robed figure, taking a few shuffling footsteps toward Frederick and this militaristic figure.

    Quote Originally Posted by MuffinMan View Post
    "Trask also said you did this with the aid of powerful warriors... Where might they be? Have they gone into town ahead of you?"
    The proud (and tall, for her stature) bearing of the gnomess over the glowing description of their exploits fades into a confused and annoyed lean. She opens her mouth to speak...

    Quote Originally Posted by Farmerbink View Post
    "Power is not always precisely what it seems, I suppose." He favors Jan with a fond smile before lapsing into silence as Lydia finishes her declaration.
    The gnome grins infectiously up at the burly half-orc before adopting a deliberately haughty expression. With a few murmured words (and an expression of idle detachment), the gnome causes the dagger in her sheathe to rise, apparently by itself, and spin just above a tiny finger, pointed upward at the sky. With a dismissive gesture of her hand, the gnome propels the dagger in a looping flight before it slides neatly into place at her hip.

    Quote Originally Posted by Farmerbink View Post
    "I am to take... your word, for all of this? You were sent without written orders?"
    "Oh orders, shmorders, Frederick. She's friends with Olof's friend, she's one of your church, and we've got plenty of road ahead for you two to iron out the particulars. 'Sides, can't you look into her soul," in a tone reminiscent of a light-hearted ghost story, "and make sure she's on the up-and-up?" Looking directly at the cleric, she continues, "Looks a bit stodgy to me, maybe, but I bet we've had worse!" The gnome grins mischievously up at the cleric, clearly anticipating a reaction to her mild barb.
    Last edited by JWallyR; 2019-11-22 at 06:28 PM.
    Lehasti Gesmeha and Azkin for Mummy's Mask
    Morevek for Wrath of the Righteous
    Janstina Silentall for Age of Worms

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: IC AoW - Encounter at Blackwall Keep (PF) (Take 2)

    Quote Originally Posted by Albinobrow View Post
    Olofire steps out shielding his eyes from the sun. Frederick, will it be possible to do these forms with my scalpel? I fear your sword may be a little heavier than I am use to. Before Frederick has time to respond he notices to figures coming up the road. He squints and attempts to get his eyes to focus as recognition sets in.

    Amearin? Amearin! Is that you?! Olofire rushes up to his old classmate.

    I haven't seen you since Greyhawk! What brings you all the way out to this area? If I remember correctly, Diamond Lake isn't exactly your typical go to locale., he chuckles as he greets his friend with a hearty two handed hand shake.
    Dr. Olofire. What a sight. Amearin couldn't help but smile at seeing the diminutive doctor again after so many years. Though they only shared a few introductory classes together, they had always stayed together to study throughout their time at University.

    You are not wrong Dr. Olofire. But that is a story for later... Amearin backs away, instinctively grabbing Olofire and pulling him back as Lydia and the half-orc begin their row.

    The interchange between Lydia and Frederick??? what the hell kind of name was Frederick? I thought they all named themselves things like Bonemasher and MurderMachine...

    we've got plenty of road ahead for you two to iron out the particulars. 'Sides, can't you look into her soul," in a tone reminiscent of a light-hearted ghost story, "and make sure she's on the up-and-up?"
    What does she mean, Dr., plenty of road?
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Quote Originally Posted by Untarr View Post
    What does she mean, Dr., plenty of road?
    Amearin, you know that I am not quite the adventuring type myself. However, in helping this group we have stumbled upon something that appears to have some significance in the world. I do not understand it myself, but we hope to seek the counsel of a mage who might know more.

    They, however, are a bit of a trek from Diamond Lake. Some 36 miles or so. I know you just arrived, but perhaps you can travel with us? And you can tell me more of life since our time in university!


    Olofire listens more to the conversation being had between Frederick and the cleric.

    Sounds like maybe your friend will join us too? Olofire gives him a sly wink and a chuckle as he elbows Amearin in the thigh.
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  21. - Top - End - #21
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    Default Re: IC AoW - Encounter at Blackwall Keep (PF) (Take 2)

    Quote Originally Posted by JWallyR View Post
    Looking directly at the cleric, she continues, "Looks a bit stodgy to me, maybe, but I bet we've had worse!" The gnome grins mischievously up at the cleric, clearly anticipating a reaction to her mild barb.
    Lydia's eyes, having widened somewhat at Jan's unexpected display of magic, narrow again. "Quite an interesting choice of traveling companions," she responds to Frederick, deliberately ignoring Jan's remark and refraining from looking at her. "Should we have a need to impress more Hextorites with parlor tricks I'm sure they will be quite useful." She doesn't give Jan another look as she continues speaking with Frederick, unless she does something sudden.

    Quote Originally Posted by Farmerbink View Post
    For several moments, he stands in silence, his own turn to wait for... more. After a time, he scowls almost imperceptibly, sighs, and rises from the fence. He crosses his broad arms over his chest with a slight frown. "I am," he begins, speaking slowly. "to take... your word, for all of this?
    You were sent without written orders?
    "
    "Of course not, don't be absurd. Here." After a moment of rummaging in a pocket, Lydia produces a folded document bearing a broken wax seal in the lighting bolt sigil of Heironeous. The parchment is slightly crumpled from travel and she does her best to smooth it out as she unfolds it and hands it over to Frederick for inspection. It is written formally, with many "Be it known"s and "Thus is is decided"s, but its meaning is unmistakable - orders directing one Lydia Constantine, cleric of the faith, to travel to the town of Diamond Lake and there render assistance to one Frederick Strongarm, paladin of the faith, for the purpose of determining the veracity or lack thereof of the rumors surrounding the armageddon event colloquially known as the Age of Worms.

    "...and there you have it. I don't know why this particular doomsday prophecy requires such special treatment, but the church elders surely possess more wisdom about such things than I. I suggest that the sooner we get to the bottom of this, the sooner we can get back to our other duties. So tell me, what have you learned about these rumors?"
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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    One eyebrow raises at Lydia's summary dismissal (and insult) of Jan. He reaches lackadaisically for the unfolded parchment, being careful and deliberate to inspect the seal before bothering to turn his attention to the words. As he reads the missive, he betrays his relative inability, spending several moments longer than one might have expected to parse the formal language contained therein. However, there is no mistaking his understanding, as his demeanor steadily grows more and more unhappy as his eyes slowly descend the parchment. About halfway down, he suddenly looks like he's swallowed something decidedly distasteful. He looks up to face the woman, who eyes him expectantly. For several moments he just breathes, his thoughts a mystery. He blinks once more, and returns his gaze to her orders.
    Quote Originally Posted by MuffinMan View Post
    "...and there you have it. I don't know why this particular doomsday prophecy requires such special treatment, but the church elders surely possess more wisdom about such things than I. I suggest that the sooner we get to the bottom of this, the sooner we can get back to our other duties. So tell me, what have you learned about these rumors?"
    Finally, having read to the bottom of the page, he steps to the fence's opening, approaching the cleric. With notable weight, his knee dents the sod a few paces in front of her. Keeping his head erect, he closes a fist over his chest in salute. "Forgive my imprudence, Reverend Constance." The forms are stiff, the words formal and obviously forced, but nonetheless, he graces Lydia with the appropriate deference offered to the clergy, and waits for the traditional blessing to follow.

    With or without, he responds gruffly. "This particular doomsday prophecy requires special treatment because it's true. I would suggest not remaining overly attached to these 'other duties'..." He rises steadily, his height and stature imposing without effort. "Come inside," he grunts. "We can talk while we prepare." He heads back towards the house, and begins collecting his equipment, saddling Leroy, and bundling rations for the journey to come, filling Lydia in on the details while he works.
    Last edited by Farmerbink; 2019-11-23 at 06:41 PM.

  23. - Top - End - #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albinobrow View Post
    Amearin, you know that I am not quite the adventuring type myself. However, in helping this group we have stumbled upon something that appears to have some significance in the world. I do not understand it myself, but we hope to seek the counsel of a mage who might know more.

    They, however, are a bit of a trek from Diamond Lake. Some 36 miles or so. I know you just arrived, but perhaps you can travel with us? And you can tell me more of life since our time in university!


    Olofire listens more to the conversation being had between Frederick and the cleric.

    Sounds like maybe your friend will join us too? Olofire gives him a sly wink and a chuckle as he elbows Amearin in the thigh.
    "Oh! No. I couldn't possibly venture further into the wilderness. Amearin shook his head vehemently. "This is about as close to the wild as I never wanted to be." Amearin pulls his friend to the side as the Heironious pissing contest comes to an inevitable conclusion when surprisingly the cleric wins the rank battle.

    "I actually was looking for some help. Amearin waits until the rest of the group walks inside. "I need to know if, while you were here, you ran across a man name Khelleck or the Seekers.
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  24. - Top - End - #24
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    Default Re: IC AoW - Encounter at Blackwall Keep (PF) (Take 2)

    Quote Originally Posted by MuffinMan View Post
    "Should we have a need to impress more Hextorites with parlor tricks I'm sure they will be quite useful."
    The pursed lips on the gnome woman's face at the beginnings of a non-response split into a lopsided, amused grin. Chuckling, she murmurs under her breath, "Hoo boy, this is gonna be interesting."

    As Frederick reads the missive and his demeanor worsens, however, the grin fades from Jan's face to be replaced by a genuine concern. Tiny brows furrowed, she watches the formal gestures and eyes the newcomer appraisingly.
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: IC AoW - Encounter at Blackwall Keep (PF) (Take 2)


    (Don't worry, this scene is a little bit later.)

    The morning passes quickly as Frederick explains the threat of the Age of Worms. Shortly before noon the party returns to Diamond Lake to meet Allustan at his home. The sage greets them at the door and they leave, walking along the shores of the lake for which Diamond Lake was named. It looks nothing like the gem - the pollutants of the mines, smelting, and other activities of the area have utterly ruined much of the water, and even on a beautiful day like this one it is not a pretty sight.

    Walking along the path one can expect a variety of other travelers, but no one crosses the party's way all afternoon.

    For an older man, Allustan sets a steady pace and the party is past the borders of the lake by mid-afternoon. They continue walking and the scenery changes to a mix of lowlands and farms, with the aptly named Mistmarsh becoming visible in late afternoon, just before dusk. The party sees a small group of halfling farmers dutifully wheeling their cart towards Diamond Lake as the sun is getting ready to set. When Allustan asks if they have anything for sale they decline, saying they have a long way to go and prefer not to sell on the road.

    As the little people make their way past the party can see that the produce is not of high quality. It appears to have been plagued with pests, with the tubers, bulbs, and roots appearing to have taken the brunt of the infestations. Looking closely at the farmers, their clothing appears somewhat ragged too, as if it has been a particularly difficult year.

    The party finally makes it to a roadside home Allustan knows. The single-story farmhouse lies around fields that have lain fallow for some time, though the house seems to be in decent shape. A well stands behind the house with a rope and bucket, and inside the place is largely clean and dry. "Well, I am tired. Shall we go inside?" Allustan asks as he begins to do so.

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    This is an opportunity to either get to know Allustan better or get some clues as to how pervasive the subtle influences of the approaching Age of Worms are. Feel free to ask Allustan questions, discuss the halfling farmers, explore the fields, etc...Every paragraph above is intended to be a potential conversation starter/topic. Respond to whatever moves you.

  26. - Top - End - #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farmerbink View Post
    Finally, having read to the bottom of the page, he steps to the fence's opening, approaching the cleric. With notable weight, his knee dents the sod a few paces in front of her. Keeping his head erect, he closes a fist over his chest in salute. "Forgive my imprudence, Reverend Constance." The forms are stiff, the words formal and obviously forced, but nonetheless, he graces Lydia with the appropriate deference offered to the clergy, and waits for the traditional blessing to follow.
    Now it is Lydia's turn to look startled and uncomfortable at the sudden formal gesture. She signs a lightning bolt in the air above Frederick's head and quickly murmurs, "There is nothing to forgive. Rise, Sir Frederick." She notices the scrawny bureaucrat, Amearin, discussing something with the halfling physician in low, earnest tones, but she doesn't pay it too much attention as she follows Frederick into the old mining house, listening to his tale as the group prepares its gear.




    Quote Originally Posted by DarkOne7141981 View Post
    The morning passes quickly as Frederick explains the threat of the Age of Worms. Shortly before noon the party returns to Diamond Lake to meet Allustan at his home. The sage greets them at the door and they leave, walking along the shores of the lake for which Diamond Lake was named. It looks nothing like the gem - the pollutants of the mines, smelting, and other activities of the area have utterly ruined much of the water, and even on a beautiful day like this one it is not a pretty sight.
    As the group assembles outside Allustan's home Lydia is shocked to see Amearin standing there waiting for them, his traveling pack in tow. "What are you doing here?" she blurts out. "We're not heading back to Greyhawk, for some time anyway, and I doubt there'll be very many ledgers needing balancing on the road. Shouldn't you be in one of the mining offices, where it's safe?"

    A bit later on she introduces herself to Allustan and explains her mission from the church, and asks him a few polite questions about himself. Something has been nagging at her about first Frederick's, and now Allustan's words concerning the Age of Worms prophecy. It still sounds like utter nonsense - un-killable worms rising from the depths to devour the world - but both of them speak with unmistakable conviction. They believe in this crazy rumor, at least - and the thought sends shivers down her spine.

    Quote Originally Posted by DarkOne7141981 View Post
    For an older man, Allustan sets a steady pace and the party is past the borders of the lake by mid-afternoon. They continue walking and the scenery changes to a mix of lowlands and farms, with the aptly named Mistmarsh becoming visible in late afternoon, just before dusk. The party sees a small group of halfling farmers dutifully wheeling their cart towards Diamond Lake as the sun is getting ready to set. When Allustan asks if they have anything for sale they decline, saying they have a long way to go and prefer not to sell on the road.

    As the little people make their way past the party can see that the produce is not of high quality. It appears to have been plagued with pests, with the tubers, bulbs, and roots appearing to have taken the brunt of the infestations. Looking closely at the farmers, their clothing appears somewhat ragged too, as if it has been a particularly difficult year.
    Although she remains silent as Allustan questions the passing farmers, she speaks up once they are out of earshot. "How unusual - I've never known a merchant or farmer to turn down the chance at a sale, even an unexpected one! Their wares were pretty sorry-looking, though. Have the rains been particularly bad this season?" she asks the Diamond Lake natives.
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    Default Re: IC AoW - Encounter at Blackwall Keep (PF) (Take 2)

    Frederick yokes Leroy to the cart, to ease their overland travel, and allows most of the party's belongings to be carried therein. Someone has to drive the thing or lead Leroy by hand, so Frederick finds himself taking turns trudging alongside his companion and sitting on the uncomfortable seat- made slightly less-so by his folded cloak laid out beneath him.

    The clear sky and bright sun feel oddly refreshing on his shoulders- his plate mail among the belongings stacked carefully in the cart, and the lack of insulation leaves him finding the journey surprisingly comfortable.

    He frowns silently, assuming Lydia's question to be directed to someone, anyone else, and keeps his peace unless directly addressed. Upon arrival at the farmhouse, he scowls. "Do you know the owners, Allustan? Or has this house lied in disuse for some time?" He leads the party inside, and immediately looks for a stove to light to stave off the evening's chill.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    Quote Originally Posted by Untarr View Post
    "Oh! No. I couldn't possibly venture further into the wilderness. Amearin shook his head vehemently. "This is about as close to the wild as I never wanted to be." Amearin pulls his friend to the side as the Heironious pissing contest comes to an inevitable conclusion when surprisingly the cleric wins the rank battle.

    "I actually was looking for some help. Amearin waits until the rest of the group walks inside. "I need to know if, while you were here, you ran across a man name Khelleck or the Seekers.
    Khelleck? The Seekers? I'm sorry old friend but I am not familiar with those names. But Allusten has been here a while, perhaps we ask him? In private if you'd prefer of course. I'd be happy to introduce you to him! He pauses briefly to reconsider Amearin's previous objection. I understand you do not wish to venture further, but we must make haste and Allusten will be accompanying us there. We might find time on our travels to ask.

    Quote Originally Posted by MuffinMan View Post
    As the group assembles outside Allustan's home Lydia is shocked to see Amearin standing there waiting for them, his traveling pack in tow. "What are you doing here?" she blurts out. "We're not heading back to Greyhawk, for some time anyway, and I doubt there'll be very many ledgers needing balancing on the road. Shouldn't you be in one of the mining offices, where it's safe?"
    My lady, I have asked him to join us. It has been some time since we have spoken, and I wish to catch up. However our mission does not allow time to dally. I hope his boyish charms are not too much of a distraction to your duties, he smiles to himself, still not fully understanding the connection between the two traveling together.
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  29. - Top - End - #29
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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: IC AoW - Encounter at Blackwall Keep (PF) (Take 2)

    Quote Originally Posted by MuffinMan View Post
    "How unusual - I've never known a merchant or farmer to turn down the chance at a sale, even an unexpected one! Their wares were pretty sorry-looking, though. Have the rains been particularly bad this season?" she asks the Diamond Lake natives.
    Allustan turns and responds over his shoulder as he continues his steady pace. "No, not particularly, but my sources tell me that there have been bad crops throughout the region. Most of the farmers have been struggling to keep pests off the plants, only to find that the worst pests are below ground..." He sighs and wipes his face with a cloth from his pocket. "Some of the Bronzewood Lodge outside of town tell me that the wild animals seem to be suffering as well. They have been suffering from too little to eat, disease, and even parasites. It has been a difficult year with no obvious cause..."

    Quote Originally Posted by Farmerbink View Post
    "Do you know the owners, Allustan? Or has this house lied in disuse for some time?" He leads the party inside, and immediately looks for a stove to light to stave off the evening's chill.
    "I did know them...Just last year this little homestead had a small family of four - a farmer, his wife, and two young children. But now it looks like it has lain abandoned for nearly a decade. How very odd..." responds the sage as he watches Frederick enter the house. The half-orc finds it in decent repair with a large fireplace. The furniture is all broken and worthless, but the roof still looks like it will keep the rain out.

    Over dinner Allustan offers to tell stories by the fire, if anyone is interested. The sage sits next the the flames, warming himself and spends several long moments thinking. "Perhaps you would enjoy some history of the Wind Dukes, since you have explored the tomb of one of their powerful servants already. The story is long, and begins at the beginning of time itself..." Allustan begins, casting a spell to illustrate the story as he tells it, and doing a passable job at telling the drama and impact of the creation of Oerth, ending with the climactic Battle of Pesh and the beginning of the modern age.

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    You can read about this here. I don't feel bad linking this, as it has a thorough bibliography of supporting material for the Greyhawk setting going all the way back to the 1980s. Enjoy as you will - there are no real spoilers on this material, as Allustan could easily spend the evening covering the material in detail.

    Feel free to have your PC get bored with the story or be engrossed, based on their interest in such history.

    Around the third watch a brief but torrential shower blows in off the lake. Frederick wakes briefly and carefully brings Leroy inside the abandoned home. By the next morning the sky has turned overcast with a heavy fog covering the ground. As they wake, the party finds the air is heavy and muggy, threatening to make the day's walk very draining. No one sounded any alarms during the night, but when Frederick goes out to check on the cart he is greeted to an unusual and discomforting sight.

    All around on the soggy ground are hundreds, if not thousands, of green worms. The entire perimeter around the house is a mess of the segmented, green bodies. None of the party members were disturbed by such a revolting interruption in the night, and the worms are not acting in concert (like a swarm), but the sight is disconcerting.

    As Frederick hitches Leroy to the cart again the worms nearby wriggle back into the earth, leaving little sign of their presence. The cart doesn't appear any worse for wear, and the party's gear looks fine. However, the dampness of the road, the heat, the fog, and their goal (a swamp) suggest the day's travels may be slower than planned.
    Last edited by DarkOne7141981; 2019-11-28 at 08:20 AM.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: IC AoW - Encounter at Blackwall Keep (PF) (Take 2)

    Amearin does not respond to Lydia's question. He just kind of looks at Allustan and keeps his thoughts to himself.

    ____________________

    When the party reaches the house, Amearin rushes to Allustan's side and starts asking him:

    "Now, I've come out here for the day just like you asked old man. Tell me about Khellek and the Seekers, or I'm just going to walk away!"
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