Ongoing Games (In-Character)Play-by-post games are going on in this forum as we speak (well, read). All threads on this board are actual games, so please, only post on a thread if you are a player of that game.
It is the last day of Flamerule in the year 1372 DR. Ashabenford has had trouble recently with marauding drow, but recently this problem has lapsed. It is a busier than usual market day as a result, and the stalls that line the streets are pushing up against one another. They are full of wares from the North, the Sword Coast and the lands of intrigue, as well as from other of the Dales. The streets are fuller than usual, and the din of haggling, arguing merchants, laughing children and the town cryers is thrumming on at a fever pitch.
For foreigners, today is not a day to get a good feel for the rustic city's usual pace. Town elders stand in their doorways, shaking their heads in wonder, having not seen a day this busy in perhaps a decade. The Riders of Mistledale are lucky that the drow threat from the forest has abated somewhat, as their hands are full with pick-pockets, foreigners, and merchants arguing over street-space for their carts.
On top of all the hustle and bustle, the sun seems preternaturally hot today, made all the worse by the almost complete lack of breathing room in the central squares and main streets of town. The most exotic merchant in town at this time is a textile seller from Calimshan who also sells the enchanted fans his wife makes (at an exorbitant price) to those afraid of heat stroke.
A mercenary troupe from the Sword Coast North has been permitted to set up an arena and archery range just north of town, where they are allowing those possessed of martial prowess to enter contests of might and skill.
The town's resident wizard, a grumpy Tiefling named Noristuor, is holding a small contest of arcane showmanship outside of his home on the river in the north part of town. This extremely uncharacteristic act of community has drawn almost every local mage who didn't have anything better to do (and even a few that likely did).
In the midst of the buyers and sellers clustered in the west part of town, a woman outfitted like a mercenary or adventurer can be seen handing out small pieces of parchment to those of the adventuring persuasion. Most of the adventurers who receive the parchment laugh and scoff upon reading its contents, throwing the note to the ground with comments like, “Hah! That old braggard? I pity the poor souls who agree to any of his foolishness...” and “Not in a thousand years!” followed by “Not even if Elminster himself threatened to turn me into a gnome!”
It seems whomever the note pertains to, they have something of a reputation. The Dalefolk who receive the note from the sword-carrying woman can be seen with groups of curious foreigners huddled round, regaling them with wild tales and mockery. Before you have time to ask one of them what the scandal's all about, the woman in leather armour with the sword at her back approaches you. She is stern looking, with dark brown hair tied back at a severe angle. She approaches you with one of the notes and says, “Please, if you seek adventure and gainful employment, take the time to read this.” and then moves on to the next adventurer, ignoring those who mock her after reading her note.
The parchment reads thusly:
I am Daurily Corkwill, daughter of the famous adventurer Herlam Corkwill of Marsember. If you have heard or read of my father's deeds, or have heard the rumours of his temperament, know that they are, by and large, true. I have approached you on this day to ask for your assistance. My father is sick. The healers say that he has a year left on Toril, before the gods above take him. In Spring this was true, but with the heat of summer upon us and the rigours of the road weighing heavily on him, I fear my father has less time than even he supposes.
To the point. As any bard will tell you, Herlam is a difficult man of changeable fortunes. He has basked in glorious and profitable triumph as often as he has stared down the ugly face of inevitable defeat. He has seen many things, ranged far and wide, and has made as many friends as enemies. He has learned the secrets of spell and sword, song and stealth (as the ballad goes), but now, good travellers, he is helpless. He is afflicted in mind and manner, as well as with infirmities of the body. He rages at his misfortunes, and wishes only to finish his business...
Please, if you can find it in your hearts to aid an infamous greybeard who once wandered the same paths you yourselves do, meet my father and I at the Ashabenford Arms Inn, just north of the market's main crossroads, on the left hand side. Come after dark. We have a private room on the third floor. Ask the barkeep.
May Tyr and Mystra defend and lend wisdom,
Daurily Corkwill, former Purple Dragon of Cormyr.
Sundown is not for another five hours yet, giving you some free time beforehand should you decide to heed the request in Daurily's note. The shops are open, the taverns are flowing with drink, and the entertainers and contests have no shortage of audiences and participants.
The Realms await!
Feel free to do/participate in whatever you like! And in case anyone wants to start doing PC to PC interactions, I'll rule that you can all notice each other if you wish (seeing as you are likely some of the only adventurers in town that didn't laugh and throw away the note). Before entering either of the contests, please make sure all your stats are completed on your sheets! Other than that, there's a map of town on Page 135(I think) of the Campaign Setting manual.
Also, anyone from Cormyr, the Dalelands, the Western Heartlands, the North or the Sword Coast can make a Knowledge Local check to find out more about Mr. Corkwill and his reputation.
Can't wait to see people's first posts! Please let me know in the OOC thread if there's anything you'd like me to explain/describe/clarify.
Enjoy! And expect regular posting by me. Depending on work it may not be every day, but it will always be better than weekly at the very, very least.
Perelia leans on her elvencraft bow as she reads the letter, considering the woman that gave it to her. She had seemed quiet strong, of body and spirit; and yet her willingness to seek aid spoke of a quiet wisdom that few humans ever managed to obtain. The grey elf drew a long, dark lock of hair back behind one of her ears, looking at the woman as she moved on. It was interesting, to say the least.
Even still, Perelia had to make it over to the competition for arcanists. She had few chances to display her skill in front of so many people, though she was quite nervous about her chances of doing anything but making a fool of herself. She had not yet managed to cast any third level spells, though she believed that she was making good headway in the matter. The allure of the competition was too much to ignore, however; she may get the chance to copy a few spells while she was there, and her spellbook was not yet even half complete. She thought of the heavy darkwood and vellum tome with a faint smile; it was no magical grimoire, but it was hers, and it meant the world to her.
She set out for Noristuor's home, pleased with the headway that she had already made through the busy town. She kept one hand on her staff and one on her dagger, but other than her normal and healthy state of worry she was enjoying the flow and tide of people. It was a place where she could feel aloof and scholarly, a place where her regal elven features and wizardly robes bought a berth of space around her. These people did not know that she was a Generalist, or why that was a bad thing; they just knew that she had power, and most of them had some respect for that. At the very least, she assumed that they did.
Leaning against his horse, Banner, Ryn Kavaren finishes reading the note he was handed. He idly runs his fingers through Banner's mane while he ponders the note and what he knows of Corkwill's reputation. The wanderer hadn't planned to stay in The Dales long after visiting his family in Deepingdale, but it didn't sound like this would keep him here either. In fact, given how far Old Herlam had traveled...
With a sudden grin, Ryn slides the note into his belt pouch. He's long since grown immured to foul words and worse tempers, and such a man will hopefully have an interesting story to tell. He will see what they wish after dark; if nothing else, he remembers good things about the Arms cellar.
Having resolved to at least hear them out, he now has a few hours to spend on the frivolity he came here for. With a crooked smile, he begins to lead Banner to the north end of town, looking to participate in a good joust, archery contest, or a maybe even a melee...
To the Dalelanders milling about in the city streets Ashabenford was a familiar sight, its taverns, alleyways, and faces each a part of an everyday tapestry. On this midsummer day the tapestry was highlighted with the bright and unusual threads of foreigners, merchants and adventurers of outlandish dress, wares, and tales that brought shakes of the head and squeals of excitement to the townsfolk in equal measure. To most of these visitors the town was new, but little about it was surprising; it was a stopover on their journeys, a place to rest and sell and drink and gossip, like many other towns they had seen before.
To Roen Ravensperch, however, Ashabenford was a bizarre and wondrous place.
It was difficult enough to imagine a town without walls. Crinti settlements, from the smallest plantations to the mighty capital at Cathyr, were always surrounded by great walls of dark stone, patrolled by crossbowmen and studded with sharp metal spikes on both sides to keep slaves or invaders from climbing them. Ashabenford seemed somehow naked, with cottages, orchards, and fields of wheat and barley flanking the road and hugging the river right up to the main road that led to the town's namesake ford. Though armed horsemen stood tall in the saddle along the bustling thoroughfare, alert for trouble, their presence was more reassuring than oppressive.
Roen had walked from the outskirts of Shadowdale, and his clothes were caked with the grime of the road; he'd been caught in a summer thunderstorm that had soaked him to the bone and turned the path to mud. Yet he was hardly unaccustomed to being dirty, and his oilskin backpack had kept his important possessions dry. Exhaustion and discomfort had quickly fallen away as he met travelers who greeted him with a smile and nod, a stark contrast to the traditional Dambrathan greeting of attempting to display that one was better armed than the other party and thus should not be attacked.
As he left the small farms behind him and entered the town proper his sense of wonder steadily grew, and the joy of the goddess swelled in his heart. Here were people living free lives, every day a choice. Some of them were caught up entirely in their own business, the sort who would never know what a wonderful opportunity they had been given. Others recognized their freedom but used it to take advantage of others; Roen recognized many a pickpocket, as he himself was a rather accomplished one. But there were some who treated the day as a gift, as it truly was, and they were the truly free ones.
Wandering from market stall to tavern front and back again, up and down the street, Roen took in sights, sounds, and smells he had never imagined. Merchants dressed in exotic silks and summer furs alike exchanged half a dozen different currencies; people laughed, shouted, and gossiped without fear of arrest; the scents of pastries, meats, and roasted nuts drifted on the warm breeze. As he passed the Ashabenford Arms inn, the elegantly carved and painted wooden placard above its door swinging lightly back and forth, it occurred to him that he had never slept in a bed before, and he knew he would have to try it in the best one he could find.
Eyes wide, smile equally so, the somewhat disheveled young man nearly ran straight into the dark-haired lass with the bits of parchment. "I beg your pardon, miss," he said in thickly-accented Chondathan, touching two fingers to the bridge of his nose and then to his forehead in a Shebali gesture of apology. He accepted one of the papers and gradually scanned it, struggling a little over the longer words; he was a self-taught reader, and Chondathan was still a new language for him. But the gist of the message he understood, along with the opportunity it presented.
What better way to bring joy than to make a man well again?
Staring upward to gauge the sun's position, Roen decided that there was plenty of time yet before he needed to pursue the note's course of action. And how better to spend the hours than to bring a little joy and wonder in the mean time? He was no mage to compete in the arcane challenge, nor did he enjoy the thought of a fight, even a false one, so soon after seeing so much all too real bloodshed. But he was not without his talents. Finding a relatively uncrowded spot along the main road, he set down his pack and withdrew five worn leather balls, gifts from his father so many years ago.
Beaming widely at the passers-by, he tossed them into the air as he prepared to spread a few more smiles. Though it'd been some time since he'd had occasion to juggle, his muscles remembered the motions with ease. Soon he was picking up speed, tossing the little balls behind his back, over his shoulder, and under a raised leg. Gaining confidence, he wiggled his dagger from his sleeve and added it to the mix, his hands a blur as steel and leather flew between them, the grin on his dirty face only growing...
Perelia: As you approach Noristuor's part of town, the air seems to change. The clamour of commerce and gossip fade into a rythmic chorus comprised of gasps of amazement and shrieks of delight, as well as rumbling waves of laughter, accompanied all by sudden flashes of light, changes in temperature, cracks, bangs and utterances in every dialect of Draconic ever conceived.
You turn a corner and a squat, three story tower sits huddled between the river to the north and an ancient and formidable willow tree to the south. A large statue of what looks like a ten-foot vulture crossed with a bat guards the entrance along the western wall of the tower, and a small clearing occupies the land east of the tower. The clearing is dominated by a makeshift stage backed up against the tower itself and a throng of onlookers crowding at its base. On the stage stands a short man in blue and purple robes with at least a dozen different necklaces around his neck. This ugly little old man must be Noristuor, Ashabenford's reluctant elder arcanist. He seems to be finishing an announcement in his squeaky, oddly accented, and yet very loud voice:
"...and my apprentice Shelp awaits would-be contestants by the willow, where he will take your name, number of years studying the Art, etc. Now kindly be on with it. Ah, and thank you for indulging an old mage in his rare fit of showmanship."
And with that, Noristuor chants a single word of power, spreads his fingers, coughs, and explodes into a puff of acrid, grey-black smoke that flows up as a single mass and pours in through one of the tower's third-floor windows. Shelp, Noristuor's young Dalelander apprentice, stands under the willow tree with a quill, notebook and look of of almost incurable boredom. Several people from the crowd shuffle forth to give their information to Shelp that they might win the admiration of their elder peers.
Ryn: As you make your way to the northern outskirts, the hearty yells and curses of physical contest drown out the pleasant sounds of the market. Past a set of ragged brown flags bearing the symbol of a white sword interposed over an apple tree, you come across the camp of the Bears Errant, a mercenary company from the Western Heartlands.
Several small arenas with simple fences, guarded by cheerful men of the Bears Errant, occupy most of the campsite. Several contestants are already waiting around and stretching or tending to their weapons, while another group spars in the melee arena. The dirt of the site is hard-packed and the dust and heat will make for an interesting challenge.
A list master stands near the center of the site, with a squire behind him taking down the names of those interested in competing. The contests include: archery, mounted swordplay, boxing, wrestling, and the famous "dirty" melee, where almost anything goes. Sadly there simply isn't enough room for a good old-fashioned joust.
Roen: As you begin to juggle, several young children emerge from the crowd. They seem to be friends. They're all rather grubby, not accompanied by adults, and it's clear that the nearest Rider has his eyes affixed to their swift hands. As you continue your act, the oldest child - a boy of about twelve - removes a velvet coinpurse from his pocket and tosses you several coins from inside. The other children follow suit, realizing that the more stolen money they throw at you, the more likely it is that you'll keep juggling.
Now even a handful of adults are torn from what business they were conducting and find themselves compelled to watch those rustic brown spheres move in a fluid circle. Just as a small crowd is beginning to form, you notice the Rider begin to walk his horse over to where the street urchins are standing to watch...
Perelia: Your Knowledge: Arcana is going to give you a bonus on the rolls for the contest (+2 to be exact). Here's how it's gonna go down: You choose up to three spells, describe how Perelia combines them, what the overall effect is going to be, what the bystanders will see/hear/smell/taste/feel etc. Be as creative as you like. Roll a Spellcraft check for each spell used. Also make a Perform or untrained Charisma check for the overall flare of the show. These are the checks you get the +2 on. I will tally up the results, and let you know how you do. I'll also describe some of your competitor's performances in my next post. If you do well, you can have another shot! Rewards forthcoming after the show...
Ryn: Kindly decide which of the contests you'd like to enter. I'll limit you to two for now, with a chance for more later. Once you decide/talk to the list master in the mercenary camp, I shall give you further instructions. If you plan on signing up for any of the melee/hand-to-hand contests, you might as well give me an initiative roll. Rewards forthcoming after the contests...
Roen: So, the kids are pickpockets (you can tell easily given your own unique set of skills) and the nearest mounted Rider of Mistledale is slowly making his way over (probably having seen the stolen coinpurses they've been using to pay you for your show). You have about three rounds before the Rider is too close. He has a good vantage-point atop his horse, but is having trouble making his way through the crowd. There's currently three street urchins watching the show, and about a half-dozen adults. So-far you have made a solid 55 GP.
For almost a full minute, Ryn surveys the arenas they've erected north of town, his smile getting more crooked. Involuntarily, he rubs the scar on his cheek while he ponders. With a shrug, he turns towards the List Master, already working his muscles in anticipation of bruises and sprains.
Leading his mount by the reins, he presents himself to the master-of-the-lists, sweeping off his hat with a flourish and giving a histrionic bow.
"Olore, List Master. I am known as Ryn Kavaren, of Deepingdale. I would like to enter the lists, to try my hand at the mounted swordplay, and" here he grins, no less cheerfully then before, but with all the assurance of a wolf among hounds, "the melee. Perhaps the boxing too, if I've got both wits and time remaining."
He replaces his hat upon his head and tilts his head slightly to one side, awaiting the List Master's response with respect for the other warrior.
Rolling for Initiative for the Mounted Combat: (1d20+8)
Rolling for Initiative for the Melee: (1d20+8)
Perelia takes a moment to mutter out the simple words of a prestidigitation, and she takes a few seconds to rid herself of the dust of the road and the miniscule amount of sweat she has accumulated throughout the day. Elves were far cleaner and neater than lesser races, and it wouldn't do to appear sloppy or dirty in front of her arcanist peers. She fills the air around her with the very faintest scent of crushed pine needles and cool air, and she adjusts the pack on her back.
Feeling more wizardly by the moment, and ignoring the faint flutter of nerves in her stomach, she moves through the crowd to the willow, observing those around her and looking for any familiar faces. Seeing none, and pleased to do so, she moves up to Shlep, waiting patiently until he gives her his attention. "I am Perelia Laethia, of Halruaa. I have studied the Art in the way of my people for exactly one hundred years, come this winter solstice."
She speaks with a bit of pride as to the length of her studies. Though the shorter-lived races were able to race through magical learning with much greater haste than elvenkind, she felt that the slow and steady methods of learning resulted in more consummately powerful spellcasters, at least in the long run. And, in the end, it was in her blood to consider the long-term results of her actions; let haste be for those more mortal than herself.
In his thirty-one years of life, Roen had done many things that were far from good in and of themselves. He had regularly stolen, often spied, and occasionally killed, and though the victims of each act had been deserving, he fervently wished that none of them had been necessary. Each had been a rebellion against cruel and evil authority, but there was no such authority in Ashabenford, so far as he could see. He would not steal from innocent folk, and by taking gold from pickpockets he was complicit in their crime.
Still, he had no wish for the lads to get in trouble. He had no idea what the punishment would be; in Dambrath it would've been a hand at the least, even for children, and while he doubted it would be nearly so severe here it was also true that these kids had almost certainly never in their lives needed to steal so badly as the perpetually malnourished Shebali. He was no crusader for justice, but he wanted to make things right, to keep the chance of joy for all parties involved if remotely possible. For that, his tongue was his best tool.
"Best drop those, lads," Roen murmured just loudly enough for the urchins to hear, a friendly twinkle in his eye. "You've been spotted now, and I've yet to meet a man who can outrun a horse. But if that rider were to find them purses on the ground, why, there'd be nobody to blame but their careless owners. And I'll keep juggling for free."
Doroga reads the note and considers the implications for a moment, as well as the reactions of the rest of the adventurers disregarding the request for aid. He takes the slip of paper and pockets it, continuing his way towards the ongoing arcane demonstration.
Perhaps there will be someone willing to speak to me on defensive energies. Afterwards, I should test my mettle at that contest. It would be good to stretch the limbs and get the body moving after all that travel.
Once he reaches the arcane displays, Doroga frowns as he sees Noristuor explode into mist and flow into the nearby tower. After a pensive moment, he decides to head over to the melee arena and figure out how to enter the contest.
Bah, had to edit because I missed someone elses post! Thanks Ragged.
Last edited by TheDivineWind : 07-07-2012 at 03:14 PM.
Doroga and Ryn: The Master of Lists takes down both of your names and the contests you'll be taking part in.
First is the mounted swordplay event. As Ryn enters the field atop Banner, the other contestant - an Uthgardt tribesman by the look of him, riding a stocky baley horse - eyes you up. He does not seem impressed...
So Doroga is entering the Dirty Melee I assume? If so, he'll have to wait until Ryn is done his mounted match. In the meantime he is welcome to participate in one of the other events...
EDIT: Doroga can roll Initiative for the Dirty Melee now if he wishes.
Ryn wins Initiative against the Uthgardt contestant. What does he do? The Uthgardt is using a cold iron longsword and a wooden shield cased in moose hide, as well as studded leathers that do not seem to be of the highest quality. His horse looks tough but slow. They are 60 ft. from you, at the other end of the arena. The terrain beneath his horse is packed dirt. The arena's ground gives way to a difficult sharp gravel near the center (-2 on ride checks while in the 40 ft. inner circle).
Roen: The children seem anxious as the Rider approaches - both because of the danger and at the prospect of throwing away a day's hard-earned coin... but in the end the eldest boy throws his coinpurse down on the ground in front of you, and the other two follow suit before all three disappear into the crowd. It seems the street urchins of Ashabenford are not as desperate or immune to diplomacy as some of the more tragic cases you have met in your life...
After a few seconds the Rider makes his way to the front of the crowd gathering around you and asks, "Jester! Those children... Whose purses are those?" pointing to the three small leather sacks with his spear.
The guard seems wary but not aggressive. There's a number of possible reasons a street performer would be surrounded by purses. But he seems to think he saw one of the children with one of them...
Perelia: Shlep shows nary a twitch in his face as you describe your training, but does look up briefly from his ledger when you mention Halruaa. "Hm," he mutters, "Didn't think you folk generally made it this far north. Then again, didn't know you was elves, neither..." He records the information nonetheless and says, "Right, foreigner... You're up first, looks like." and points to the rickety stage.
See my last post for details about the performance side of things.
Well, Doroga is neither a horseman nor an archer, though he could wing either if he really had to. He will wait for his match and enjoy the games.
At a side, you could run both at the same time, and Ryn could post double-duty. Would only be an issue if wounds will be rolling over to the second event I suppose. Either way, Doroga waits. I can't discuss arcane theory with the Wizard since he stopped the show (or can I?).
Doroga grins and walks over to the sidelines, watching the current match, leaning on his guisarme.
Perelia's nerves vanish at the casual comments of the apprentice. She realized that, however weak she may perceive herself as, she was steep in the Art in a way this child would never be. He would die of old age before he reached the point in life that she was at, and she had spent every moment of her life considering and contemplating the depth and complexities of the Weave that permeated their world. She was Halruaan, and she was a moon elf; she was a nearly a being of myth and legend to these people, hailing from a land that they told about in fables. How simple could she be, to get nervous in front of them?
Perelia remained silent, walking to the simple stage with an easy grace, and air of calm dignity. This may have been a quaint venue, but it was also one of the first real tests of her magic outside of the academy; she may as well give the townsfolk a memorable performance. Something, perhaps, that they might tell stories about.
Perelia slipped her hand into the pouch at her pocket, reaching into the highly-organized internal dividers to draw out a few slim chips of mica, the translucent stone sticking to her fingers with little resistance. The air around her swirled and buzzed with her prestidigitation, and with a firm, clear voice she called out the words of one of the most effective and powerful combat spells in the world. Effective, powerful, and beautiful; as her words drew to a conclusion she flung her hand down in a sweeping stroke, and from beneath her and around exploded a massive cloud of gleaming, glittering gold flakes. The sparkling dust spread out in a cloud, twenty feat across in all directions, nearly hiding her from view and covering all the surfaces in reach with a golden cover.
Perelia was not finished, however, and she began her next spell almost before the conclusion of the first one, the gold dust still filling the air with a faint smattering of sparkling light. Her hand went back into her pouch, drawing forth a single speck of phosphorescent moss. She crushed the moss into her hand, and she felt it cease to exist as the power held within its material form was consumed, flowing into her as she directed the forces with a few simple, sharp words. She knelt, bringing her hand down on the stage, and the stage itself exploded into light, as bright as a torch and powerful enough to blaze out ten paces from the stage itself.
The glitterdust had not faded, however, and as the light reached out of the stage it met the shimmering particles. Each mote of golden dust reflected and refracted the light; and the stage was completely covered with the stuff, as was Perelia herself. The light was nearly blindingly brilliant, and a hundred thousand tiny spots were sent out from the stage, covering the surrounding area with a thousand newborn constellations.
Perelia was still not finished, however. She whirled, her now-golden cloak catching the light of the stage, and as she did she cast her final spell, cloaking herself in light and shadows, calling forth an illusion of indeterminate power. There was a blurring of the air, and then she seemed to change size and shape, though with her back turned it was difficult to say what change had really occurred. Her staff was different, and her pack was gone. She was taller by almost a foot, and she was wearing a hat and a sword at her side.
She turned, slowly, just as the glitterdust faded away. As she turned, there was a puff of blue smoke, and a unpleasant and unfamiliar smell filled the air. She faced the crowd, and for a moment there was no sound, no noise. Nothing but light, the faint dregs of smoke from her last puff on her pipe, and Elminster Aumar, standing on the stage in place of Perelia, looking amused at his own cleverness. He took another puff of his pipe, and he looked over to the apprentice, raising a single white brow at the boy and smiling faintly.
As the tribesman sizes him up, so does Ryn study him in turn. He recognizes his type from his short time among the Uthgardt; good fighters, but lacking finesse. This would be a fight of strength and stamina, not guile.
Then again, Ryn thinks to himself, I've been accused of thinking with my spurs more then once myself.
With a laugh and a cry of "Zelzing!" he discards caution, deciding such a warrior deserved to be met openly. Banner responds to the touch of his heels and charges across the ring, angling to meet the other rider.
As he charged across the field, time seemed to slow and it always did, each moment seeming to drag out, slowly moving into the next, then speeding by into eternity. His vision seemed to simultaneously narrow and expand, seeing nothing but his opponent while noticing all the details of the arena. It was times like this that he felt alive. Not happy, or even content. Merely... alive.
And it was moments like this that reminded him how truly absurd war actually was. Yep. I shoulda been a farmer. Familiar thoughts, with that familiar tinge of humor and irony.
Then Banner was a mere stride from the Uthgardt's left side, and time reverted to normal. Humor and irony retreated as always, waiting, leaving behind Purpose and the pure joy of combat. With a flashing movement, Ryn draws his saber, using the motion of his mount and the draw to bring the sword round in a sideways cut, over Banner's head, aiming at the barbarian.
Right then, this should be fun. Got a couple of things though. First, the phrase he shouts is from this here list, it's the closest I could find to an "en garde" that the barbarian would understand.
Second, I'm not actually sure, but did we put padding on the blades so they only do non-lethal damage, are we depending on healing to not kill each other, or is this to the death? I wasn't sure, and it would (slightly) change what I'm trying to do.
If we are using padding, I'm just trying to smack him a good one..
If we're not using padding, then I was wondering, could I cut his saddle strap and have him fall off his horse? That would pretty much win me a mounted match by default, I would assume... and it would be damn funny even if it wouldn't. I'm not wedded to the idea either way, even if it would be funny. If that doesn't work, then again, just a side cut to start things off right.
Note: Rolling Ride just in case, because as far as I know, I don't need to roll it for anything at the moment (I'm controlling the horse with the reins in my left hand). Still, didn't want to hold it up if you decided I needed the roll for something
Rolling for Attack: (1d20+11)
Note: I included the bonus for the charge here, but it did occur to me that I might not be able to actually *Charge* across the gravel in the center, in which case my roll is -2.
Edit: Ya know, it occurs to me, that just in case I hit, I should probably roll damage too. Just in case I hit, that would save a lot of time.
Rolling Saber Damage: (1d8+4)
I think that's the only other roll that's relevant at the moment.
Roen offered the kids an approving nod as they took his advice, vanishing back into the densely-packed stream of people long before the rider reached the little crowd of onlookers. He hoped they would be alright, but the fact that they'd been tossing him money was actually reassuring; if they'd been starving, they wouldn't have wasted the coin on him. The rider wouldn't go after them now; whatever Roen had said about the speeds of men and horses, there was no way he could find the children amongst all the chaos. But that did leave Roen with some explaining to do, for he was tall enough to be spotted if he ran.
Besides, he was not guilty of anything for once. It was nice to be secure in that.
It was strange to be called "jester." There was no jest, merely a display of skill, but somehow Roen doubted that the rider would care to make the distinction. He had his duty to fulfill, and there was no denying that Roen's current circumstances were a bit suspicious. But though he'd had reason all his life to despise authority, the young Dambrathan had no desire to make a bad impression in Ashabenford. He liked the place, liked the people he'd seen thus far, and saw nothing to rebel against. So he would be honest; though he'd lived on carefully woven lies for years, sometimes truth was best.
"I'm afraid I don't know to whom they belong," he told the rider. "I would, however, be glad to help you find out. As they were lost near my act, it is my responsibility to see them returned." Politely thanking his audience, he juggled to a close, sending the balls back into his open pack one at a time before catching his dagger and returning it to his sleeve. Then he bent over and scraped the gold that had been thrown to him from the purses back into them as equally as possible; he had no idea how much had come from each purse, so it was the best he could do.
Scooping up all three, he handed them over to the rider. "How do you suggest we find their owners? There are many who would wish to claim such heavy purses, I think, whether they've ever seen them before or not." Roen hoped that they could find the owners in the chaotic crowd; it would bring joy to return that which had been lost, and that was, as ever, his goal. "Mistress of Revels, aid me in this, my true purpose," he murmured, then looked up at the Rider with an open, expectant smile.
Last edited by Dragonsong : 07-08-2012 at 11:41 AM.
The curious allure of swarming foreigners and strange smells was only just enough to tempt Neth into this steaming bowl of oppressive heat. If any breezes were skirting the river, they hadn't bothered to push their way into these crowded lanes. It was hard for the druid to imagine why someone would fancy sitting in a town-sized open oven all day selling decorative pots, unless their only alternative was unbelievably grim. Deciding this could be the only possible reason, she proceeded to cast every street vendor an expression of profound sympathy, leaving puzzled locals to stare with twisted grins of amusement.
She led her fluffy mountain pony by the bridle, having been so over-hot that she'd removed every detachable and non vital piece of her own armour and draped it over his back. The poor furry creature was huffing and snorting his polite suggestion that they immediately seek out a pile of snow.
Wealthy travellers passed through, seated on glittering mounts heaped with as many jingling coloured pieces of expensive finery as their owners, and curious peasants glared at them. Some time later, Neth noticed a moon elf pass through, and watched how the curiosity of the crowd was very different, awash with genuine reverence and awe. Neth herself was struck. Her lands were not known for anything or anyone with that variety of majestic-ness. Even the witches, who may possess some kind of grace, were still unkempt and savage.
Every so often the sizzling crackle of some roasted foreign delight swept delicious waves through the air. Neth gazed around for the source, as one might seek the face of some mesmerizing voice.
Two children appeared with mild alarm in their eyes and scampered between some oxen and under a cart, escaping into the crowd. She warily eyed the direction they'd come from, as children and animals are usually the first to perceive imminent catastrophe, but Neth was too short to see over the crowd. Gyl took to the air, and circled around for a while, looking for anything curious.
The bustle around the Horsewater Pool had been a bit too much for the exhausted mountain pony, so Neth decided head to that Arms Inn early. She was eager to get out of the sun for a bit, and knew that whoever hung around an Inn before nightfall generally had an intriguing story to tell. And perhaps one or two of the defeated combatants from the arena may arrive for a drink to comfort their battered pride and might appreciate a bit of a mend on battered body parts.
Gyl's looking around... I'll roll a spot for any commotion he sees worth noting...?
Neth: Gyl returns relatively at ease, given the strange environment he finds himself in. And were he not an owl, he'd be returning partially blind after having flown as close as he did to a certain Halruaan moon elf's phantasmagorical display by the river.
As you make your way north through the trade district of town toward the Ashabenford Arms, you notice something that hadn't occurred to you or Gyl all day. You haven't seen a single cat, which is strange in towns of Ashabanford's size or larger (especially, as you have come to notice, in western countries). You sense that Gyl has noticed this as well, as he tends to use cats as wayfinders on perpetual hunt for mice.
"Move along, Uthgardt." says a particularly surly old Mistledarran as he cane-walks past your puzzled-stiff form in the middle of the road.
Perhaps it's just the heat...
You make it to the Ashabenford Arms - a gated, three-storey affair composed of fine yellow brick, a red shingled roof, several chimneys, a semi-detached stable for customer use, and a parapet tower shooting up one side of the main building. The front door to the common area is a double-door made of very fine, dark oak.
After tying your pony up in the stables, you enter through the oaken doors to the welcoming fragrance of fresh rabbit stew, baked bread and the smell of a freshly tapped barrel of ale. The common area is large and L-shaped, with a long bar at the crux, currently attended to by a stately-looking old man with a long mustache and an unnervingly calm expression on his face. There's a man and a woman with raised hoods and travelling cloaks sitting near the unlit fireplace, an off-duty Rider of Mistledale sitting alone over a bowl of stew and a mug of ale, a table of three pipe-smoking local merchants who seem to be used to their surroundings and the barkeep, and, alone at the bar, sits Daurily Corkwill, brooding over a very large mug of water...
A spot check reveals that the hooded men are from the east... you can tell by the face and something in the way they move their hands as they speak to one another.
Roen: The Rider seems entirely baffled by your request to help. He takes the coinpurses, looks at them, and looks back at Roen. His hard, simple face betrays no emotion in one direction or the other. Until the laughter starts. The man laughs so hard he almost unhorses himself.
"By the sewers of Cormanthor! You, good sir, are either the worst or the bravest thief I've ever met in me 'ole life!" And with that, dismounts (probably for fear of falling off), strides over to Roen and slaps him square in the middle of his back, still chuckling.
"You know what? I admire that kind of courage. We could put it to good use out there against them drow's been crawling up through the forest caves an' raiding our borders... And you know, even if it's not courage but stupidity, we can always use more men willing to walk out in front of dark elf spells and arrows! Hah!" He then clandestinely tosses you one of the purses, turns, continues to laugh, and remounts his horse to leave.
With a final shake of his head, a chuckle, followed finally by a tsk tsk, the rider departs...
The coin-purse contained 73GP. You could not sense the man's motives effectively, and were therefor confused as to whether he meant to intimidate you or was being at all genuine. Either way, you see him head in the direction of the Rider's Barracks in the east part of town.
Ryn and Doroga: The charge is executed by horse and rider with textbook finesse - both of you anticipating and shifting to compenstate for the sharp gravel, then regaining control of speed and muscle for the blow with all its momentum. The sword strikes true at the stirrup of the large man's saddle, causing him to falter and half-fall off of his horse.
The spectacle of the proud Uthgardt nearly toppled after a whopping six seconds sends an energetic ripple of laughter through the crowd of spectators. To top it all off, the barbarian drops his sword point-down in the dirt.
"Throgel! Misratthan, holken fjirlon! Fjirlon!" the man swears at his horse, but to no avail as the stocky animal simply leans opposite the side of the broken stirrup, so as to stay standing with the mass of disoriented muscle clawing up its side...
You get an attack of opportunity as he spends his round attempting to get back on he saddle minus a stirrup. He seems to be holding on with both hands and sheer force of will. Incidentally, he is now raging (which, unfortunately, will not help his Ride skill...) So yeah, your previous ride check got you over the obstacle-gravel, and your attack was high enough to call it on the stirrup (IMHO) even including the -2.
As to the question of damage, it is until one side yields or is incapacitated or until the presiding Cleric of Helm decides the match is over. It is also up to said mercenary cleric to heal those wounded in the match.
Also, Doroga, good idea. We shall do both matches simultaneously. Initiative please! I shall make another post later tonight or late tomorrow which will include the beginning of the dirty melee.
Ryn, I hope you don't mind rolling for two combats at once? I'll keep the Dirty Melee posts seperate from any others, so that they're easy to track even with the other stuff going on. There's be 4 contestants in total, including Ryn and Doroga.
Perelia: It becomes abundantly clear to you a moment after the final casting just how profound an effect your performance had on its audience. Most stand before you, jaw-dropped. Shleb laughs uncontrollably (though not in a mocking way). Apparently, some don't know whether to think you're a haughty moon elf or the Sage of Shadowdale himself. A few unsure claps issue forth from the depths of the audience. An owl, seemingly for effect, hoots a low and dramatic hoot as it flies overhead and circles back around towards the trade district.
The only audience member who doesn't seem impressed is a short man in a travelling cloak with the hood drawn up. Upon seeing your magically imbued disguise, he gasps with palpable fear (though you are the only one who seems to notice) and makes his way out of the crowd as quickly as possible. He heads back around the other side of the tower, and presumably towards the rest of town.
Meanwhile, clapping can be heard from the third floor of the tower at your back...
So the man deaks behind the western side of the tower and is out of sight, having given away the fact that Elminster's sudden appearance would (read: did) scare the living daylights out of him.
Okay... A) Epic rolls.
and B) Way to blow an NPC's super-sneaky cover by COMPLETELY RANDOM ACCIDENT.
Fate is truly on your side, ma'am. The only question is... do you stick around to collect the gold you're being showered in, or do you decide there are more important things to be done..?
Perelia takes a long moment to soak up the attention and praise; she had expended a not-insignificant portion of her daily magical power, and it felt truly heartening to see a positive reaction to her extremely-improvised performance. She quirked her hears up underneath her Disguise Self, listening to the mutters from the crowd as best she could, attempting to better discern their reaction. She is distracted from the crowd, however, as she notices one of their number breaking away from them with apparent fear.
She had prepared for some kind of odd reaction to her choice of disguise, and it seemed that the man fleeing the crowd had some kind of qualm with Elminster.Not enough of a qualm, thankfully, to do anything rash like attack her, but then few were powerful or foolish enough to assault a wizard of Elminster's caliber when he was aware and prepared. If Perelia herself tried it she would be rendered unto either oblivion or unconsciousness in a fraction of a second; it made her illusion a bit cheeky, perhaps, but not any kind of true insult.
Perelia generated another puff of noxious, if immaterial, smoke with her ongoing prestidigitation, making sure to have the stuff originate from her 'pipe'. She looked to the third floor of the tower behind her, and she tipped her illusionary hat in a gesture that was both cheerful and respectful. She looked to the audience one final time, and then she let out another thick puff of smoke, not enough to actually obscure her but more than enough to befuddle her visage. She turned, slowly, and when the rotation finished she was a tall and lovely elf once more, though anyone familiar with the stories about Elminster knew that he was a consummate shapechanger. No matter what she did, a few of them would always suspect that she was he, and Perelia couldn't help but enjoy that thought.
She took a brief moment to consider following the man that had fled the crowd. He was clearly no simple townsfolk; he may have interesting information, or some sort of magical knowledge she would find interesting. At the same time, however, he was just as likely to be violent, or know nothing or import, or already be long gone. Besides, she had gotten a good look at him with an elf's eyes, and if she saw him again she would be sure to recognize him unless he went to efforts to disguise himself. If and when she did, she could ask her questions.
She decided rather quickly to stay with her audience and enjoy the fame of the moment, and to milk the good luck of her performance for all it was worth; money, spells, scrolls, and components were forever needed, and it was all she could do to keep up enough with her scholarly demands. "So," she said with a genuinely warm smile to Shleb. "I suppose the others get to try their hand at matching me now, before the winner can be decided. Where should I stand in the interim?" She glanced up at the third floor of the tower for a bare moment, more wistful than truly expecting an invitation.
Seeing the Uthgardt slipping out of the saddle, scrambling to pull himself back in, Ryn presses his advantage. With practiced ease, he reverses the direction of the blade, bringing it down in an overhand slash with all the elegance and grace of a meat cleaver. Anticipating the hit, he angles the blade to the left, intending to complete the figure eight with his next blow.
The calculating part of his mind, the one filled with violent purpose, watches the blow, searching for fault; studies his opponent, looking for openings; senses his mount, feeling his mounts trained steps to a better position.
And inside his head, perched in a corner, watching, Humor and Irony note the barbarians rage at his predicament.
"Oh yes, this isn't going to come back to haunt me at all..." he mutters to himself as he completes his strike.
I'll go ahead and roll for my next attack after the AOO as well. Both of them are simple straightforward hits. I'm going to go ahead and use Power Attack 4 on both hits as well.
Doroga takes his time entering the ring, using the butt of his guisarme as a walking stick. As he makes his way to the starting position, he takes a moment to size up his opponents and get a feel for them; how they hold themselves, their weapons, armor, how ragged or well kept they look.
He looks over to the stands, dimly aware that there are introductions being made, the soft breeze blowing against his skin, and the smell of cooked meats in the air. One by one, he slowly collects each of these distractions, boxes them up, and scoots them into a dark corner of his mind, focusing his attention and will on his opponent(s).
Doroga bends down, the guisarme leaning in the crook of his neck and shoulder, and palms the ground. He rubs the soil between his fingers, drawing the smell of the earth into his lungs, before finally grasping his weapon by its well worn grips. With that, he lowers the point of the guisarme and waits, readying himself for action.
He does this by readying an action! :D
Last edited by TheDivineWind : 07-09-2012 at 01:51 PM.
Re-attaching all her armour, and retrieving her pack from the pony, Neth chuckles to see the beast shudder with relief and dunk his snout in the water trough. She enters the dim commons, absently trailing an appreciative hand along the fine wooden door as she passes. Gyl had decided to doze on her shoulder. His senses seemed to have been overwhelmed by some marvelous display of splendor.
Out of the sweltering street she feels much less like whacking everyone with her staff and jumping in the river, and much more like eating. She takes a stool at the bar, a little more than what a Rashemi would consider a polite distance from the Corkwill woman, having learned her typical distance was not quite adequate for disgruntled Uthgardt and well armed Illuskans, and she now took to leaving generous spaces for even halfling shepherds of one leg.
To the barkeep in a friendly manner she says, "I'd love a drink of whatever you kept in the coldest part of your cellar. And a bit of the rabbit stew, if I may. So long as it is truly rabbit stew," she added in mock suspicion, "since you townsfolk must be doing something with all the missing cats here. And by now you must have an army of rodents, which could truly help diminish those crowds. Have you fitted them with armour?"
It had not occurred to Roen how strange his offer must have sounded to a man charged with enforcing the law - or, frankly, to anyone at all. It must've seemed from the rider's angle that the'd been using his performance as a cover to receive gold from a gang of young pickpockets he sponsored. Or perhaps he hadn't seen the children clearly, and had thought that Roen was disguising purses he himself had cut among his performance earnings. The young Dambrathan was still uncertain as to how genuine his words had been; were they a warning or truly a jest? Being left with one coin purse seemed to suggest the latter.
Nearly as baffled by the entire exchange as the rider had been, Roen finally decided that the best course of action was to let out a hearty chuckle of his own. He hadn't been arrested within a half hour of entering town, and that was cause for joy indeed, especially given how suspicious he'd ended up looking. "Thank you for laughter, my Lady, and all that it solves," he murmured, then picked up his pack and slung it back over his shoulder. It took another moment for what the rider had said to sink in: Dark Elves. His laughter slowed, then stopped. Dark Elves, those who had enslaved his ancestors and put the Crinti in power.
It disheartened him to hear that the Drow were here, so far from his home, as well, and that they were clearly no less malicious. He had met good, selfless people and horrid, craven ones (the man who had betrayed Haldis rushed to mind, but he pushed the thought away immediately), but he could not imagine what could drive an entire race to evil. Philosophical musings, however, could wait. Every day, as he flashed back on the faces of the Crinti he had cut down in battle (and once, though again he pushed the thought away, in sleep), he told himself that he was not a murderer. He was a man who stopped evil however he could, and here was a chance to do so again.
He told himself that this wouldn't be about revenge, but the heaviness in his gut at the thought of it remained.
He could not forget, of course, that he had already agreed to a meeting at sundown. There was no telling where that would lead him, but it seemed a purer goal to heal a man than to kill in order to protect, and the thought stayed him. Still, there was no harm in being informed about the recent raids; perhaps he could do something to protect Ashabenford from the Drow and find a way to help Herlam Corkwill at the same time. Calming himself, relaxing his features once more, Roen began to move through the crowd, pausing at merchants' booths to strike up conversation and ask unobtrusively about the attacks.
If necessary, he was willing to spread around a little coin to get the whole story...
Roen: The merchants seem to be more interested in swapping tales that are better for business than drow raids... but one or two mention (namely those who've seen or been in a raid) that no one is quite sure why the drow have been making themselves known on the surface. Some say it's internal politics of the drow forcing some marginalized group upward, while a few hint that there's something more organized going on related to one of the great drow cities. No one you speak to, however, knows much more than that, other than the fact that the raids had been pretty regular in the outlying countryside until a couple of days ago. The present lull in attacks has not caused the Riders and local adventurers to stand down, but it has allowed for a sudden burst of activity on the roads.
Neth: The barman laughs at the quip about the cats. "It is a strange thing, aye, but I swear by Illmater these rabbits be true!" he laughs again in his strange, straight-faced way as he hobbles off to the kitchen, muttering "..tho' I suppose it is strange all the cat's are either gone or staying indoors last few days..."
After the middle-aged man comes hobbling back with a large wooden bowl of stew and a glass of Silverymoon Summer Wine (vintage 1350), Daurily turns to look at you. "If you don't mind," she asks in her stern, genuine way "I'd like to know if you plan on heeding the request on that letter I handed you. I... saw a lot of you ripping them up and poking fun at my father. It would do my nerves some good, easterner, if you told me the truth."
Ryn and Doroga: Both of Ryn's next attacks swing wide, though they do serve to delay the Uthgardt even more in his awkward situation. In a few seconds, he is finally back on his horse, though leaning to compensate for the broken saddle. In a few more, he will have his sword back...
That's yet another AoO for you sir, and your regular turn as he tries to re-ensword himself. (Poor guy).
Doroga: The beginning of the Dirty Melee will be with my larger postings later today. Very sorry about your relatively sidelined stuff so-far. Aiming to rectify that state of affairs post-haste! Very excited to see what your Abjurant Champion aspirant can do...
Perelia: After the waves of applause die down, you sense a presence behind you on the stage as the crowds suddenly gasp in unison (only to resume cheering). You turn to see Noristuor, who winks his ugly face at you, and then moves to address the crowd.
"Magelings and mere gawkers, I am afraid that this is all we have time for today. If you will excuse me, I must confer with my old friend, the Sage of Shadowdale! Shleb, pick up the old man's gratuities, will you?"
Shleb does as he is told and begins to collect the various rewards thrown at the stage while the crowds leave in the midst of their excitement and disappointment at the lack of further entertainment. Among the tossed prizes are coins, a few scrolls thrown by appreciative fellow wizards, and one or two other baubles. Noristuor turns to you and asks if you will speak with him in private, saying "You are quite a talent, for one so inexperienced. I would like to speak with you about that man who ran away. You see, he visited me earlier today. He has... designs tonight in Ashabenford, and I would have someone talented handling it. What do you say? Think of it as a lucrative short-term apprenticeship..."
Noristuor waits, gesturing crookedly but politely to the door of his tower, as Shleb returns with your winnings...
- 97 GP
- x2 Arcane spell scrolls (will roll those up when I post later in the day... oh the anticipation! )
- EXTREMELY high quality bat guano in a fine leather pouch (value 200 GP) (Enough for three Fireballs. Add's "Fortitude save or Dazed" effect. Exact info when it comes up or, if you're curious, when I post later.)
- A Masterwork Scroll Case with a key, bearing carvings of green and bronze dragons set in ivory (obviously coloured by arcane means).
Perelia was a bit impressed that the wizard had so rapidly noticed her relative inexperience; it meant that he himself had considerable skill in both perception and magical knowledge, for little in her performance had given such things away other than the duration of her spells. That was good; she disliked wizards that had more power than sense, but the tiefling seemed to have an abundance of both."Thank you greatly for the compliments, sir; it is good to meet one so skilled in the Art, and I thank you for the opportunity to display my own modest talent. It would be an honor to work with you." She nodded to the tiefling respectfully, and she moved in the direction he indicated, swinging her pack off of her back to store her winnings.
As she did so a warty, large toad worked its way up out of the leather satchel, making its way to her shoulder with a few clumsy jumps, hanging on to the thin fabric of her robes with its tiny claws. It croaked once, cheerfully, and it gave Noristuor its attention with an uncanny glint of intelligence in its eyes. "Ah, yes, forgive me. This is Bittles, my-" She was cut off by an abrupt and loud croak from the toad. She glared at it, silently furious, and it returned the gaze, unabashed. "Ahem. This is Sir Bittlesby, my familiar. I apologize in advance for his manners; he thinks rather highly of himself, and I have not yet managed to find our common tongue with which to properly reprimand him. As I was saying, I managed to get a good look at the man before he fled, and I don't believe I will have any problem picking him out of a crowd. What is he planning, sir?"
Thank you to Akrim.elf for my beautiful avatar.
Last edited by RaggedAngel : 07-11-2012 at 11:21 AM.
As Ryn completes the figure eight, his crooked smile resurfaces for a moment in admiration of the Uthgardt's efforts. Somehow - he's not quite sure - the Uthgardt managed to twist aside from both blows as he hauled himself back into the saddle.
At the touch of Ryn's heels, Banner repositions himself slightly, giving his rider a better angle on the now seated tribesman. For a brief moment as his horse moves, Ryn considers and discards several tactics - or let's be honest, dirty tricks - that come to mind. Few could be used in such a contest, and the rest...
He thinks to himself, with that familiar, dry sense of humor: No, he deserves a chance to strike back.
Very dryly: Of course, if I really thought that, I probably shouldn't have cut his saddle.
Very dryly: Or tried to finish the fight before he even got back on his horse... Ah well. Fight now, philosophize later.
His horse repositioned, Ryn resumes the attack, banishing humor once again, resuming his focus. No sign of his internal monologue shows on his face as he stands in the stirrups and prepares to bring the saber down again. Except, perhaps, a small twitch of the lips.
Okay, let's see if I can actually hit him this time, eh? two more simple cuts, the first using Power Attack 4, the next not using Power Attack at all (watch, that one will crit and the first one will miss).
It was good to speak to people, to chat openly and honestly with strangers; in Dambrath, one did not speak to one's "betters" unless asked a question, and one did not speak to one's fellows at all (in practice, not within an overseer's hearing) while working. The tension brought on by the mention of Drow slowly flowed out of Roen as he listened politely to the merchants, nodding and asking questions in all the right places to keep the conversation flowing. Unfortunately, the merchants could only give him a basic description of the attacks, but these were the sort of folk who steered well clear of such business.
If Roen wanted to do something about all this, he would have to ask others who were trying to do the same.
It was still hours before sundown, he reasoned, and that left him with plenty of time to make his inquiries. He was no tracker - he'd relied on his nomad allies, may their souls find peace, when such was required - and was thus unlikely to discover the Drow position (or positions), especially since they had gone to ground of late. But perhaps he could still be useful. Politely thanking the latest merchant with whom he had spoken, he turned and headed in the direction the rider who had accosted him had gone. Brave or stupid, he thought, grinning at the memory. He could only hope they didn't really think he was a thief.
It was not far to the Riders' barracks, a walled compound of several buildings, one of which was clearly a jail. Though Roen was certain he could escape it with nothing more than his little finger, on which he kept the nail long to pick locks without tools when necessary, and a bit of good fortune in where the shadows fell, he hoped it wouldn't come to that. He was here to help, and though he was by habit uncertain of authority at best, the people of Ashabenford seemed happy enough to be ruled by this one. Taking a deep breath, he approached the gates...
Roen: As you traverse the street eastward toward the Riders' barracks, you are almost knocked over by a ruddy-skinned man with hawk features speeding in the opposite direction. When he bumps you in the road, the hood of his travelling cloak is cast from his stubbly head to reveal strange tattoos covering his scalp, ears and neck. He curses at you in some unknown language before throwing his hood back on and continuing west toward the trade district of town, muttering the words "Tylarc hilmern... Elmystrel, magist... tylarc hilmern..." as if in disbelief of something he had seen or heard.
As you approach the gate to the barracks, the same Rider that spoke with you in the street is leaning on a post just inside the complex where his well-bred horse is tied up and chomping on a carrot. The Rider chomps on another. "Ah!" he says, "If it isn't the hero-jester of the south come to offer a word to a lowly Rider of Mistledale! Come, friend, what have you to say for yourself?" And with this opens the main gate to speak with you.
Ryn: After two more swipes at the more stabilized barbarian, a hit is finally landed. A good one, too. You feel the saber dig deep into the man's leathers, biting the skin beneath his rustic cuirass. Blood shines on your steel as you return it to an attacking position. The Uthgardt, however, stays ahorse, biting down the pain.
And now he has his jagged iron sword in hand, and is ready to take vengeance in his enraged state...
Decided to roll publicly for the Uthgardt's attack (see dice thread). Looks like he hits for 10! Feel free to incorporate the hit however you like into your next post.
Also, your critical hit is successful. The barbarian's impressive pectorals have seen better days.
Oh it's on...
Perelia: Noristuor leads you into the entrance hall of his home, explaining as he does so the events of yesterday. "What exactly this unscrupulous mage is planning, I do not know. What I do know is that he's a Thayan. He thought he could hide his accent and tattoos from me, but he's a fool. He said he wanted to sponser something of a small performance here at my tower. Said he was recruiting mages for a caravan trip south. Dragon manure, of course, but there's an advantage to letting others think they've got the best of you... The trick of the elderly, I call it." He chuckles as he lights a blackwood pipe produced from within the folds of his robe. "Anyhow, I got the impression he needed today's festivities as a distraction for some larger scheme, but then, when you, erm... when Elminster showed up, he found himself a bit out of his league!" Noristuor laughs his gravelly laugh, leading you from the entrance hall of his musty, grey-stone tower into a small parlour with a table and two chairs.
He sits and offers you some tea. "As I was saying, a distraction. I thought it best to let things go on as they would so that I could watch him without attracting suspicion. I have no doubt he's working in tandem with others, though I have yet to see his companions. I think it best for Ashabenford if I keep myself as far from the action as possible. This is not the time for the city to go mageless... Which is why I invited you in to hear all of this. I was hoping you might be so kind as to find out where the Thayan went exactly and what he plans to do. If you are not interested, I understand, but would ask that you leave me if that's the case so I can take the necessary steps in dealing with this disturbance. What say you, Halruaan?"
And another post soon for Neth, who is almsot done her next one, as well as a seperate one for Doroga and Ryn in the Dirty Melee event. Expect them very soon!
At the barkeep's last mumbled words, Neth's expression flickers with mild surprise and shifts into a kind of wary attention. The cats had not been missing more than a few days? Hearing this, only a ghastly dense druid would not be alarmed. The bustle of the streets had certainly caused some annoyance, but this was the first moment Neth had reason to sense something truly amiss looming over the town.
As the food arrives, Gyl stirs with a groggy coo of awakening appetite, making an increasingly avid commotion as the aroma of the wine drifts over. Seeking to promptly distance him from the beverage, Neth plucks a chunk of stew meat and turns on her stool to toss it away from the bar. Gyl snatches it from the air with a sputter of flapping discord and retreats to a high rafter to tear and peck his prize to death. In the fleeting moment, Neth takes a better look at the off-duty Rider, the smoking merchants and the two figures by the fireplace, (now seeking anything remotely strange about anybody), before the Corkwill woman speaks up.
"Your request is the reason I'm here," Neth replies, moved by how this stranger addressed her. "And I doubt you'll be lacking interest come nightfall. I wouldn't pay much heed to the rest. I imagine any man who's found fame has found scorn, and those who hate your father before they've met him aren't worth the soil they spit on."
After a drink of wine, she takes up the wooden bowl, not thinking her eager feasting discourteous. "For my part, I will listen," she says. "And I am sorry your father suffers. But I'm no great healer. There may be nothing I can help you with."
(rolls about the people in the tavern...)
sense barman motive:(1d20+3)
sense woman motive:(1d20+3)
The dirty melee is a time honoured tradition among mercenaries of the Bears Errant company, whose reverence for Helm causes them to expend perhaps more time, effort, energy and blood in the ring than they should.
Presiding over the match is the aforementioned cleric and the leader of the Bears Errant Second Company, Captain Stailwoln Karpike, a one-eyed ex-farmer from some nameless dirt-speck village in the Western Heartlands. Stailwoln strides to the center of the makeshift arena, spits heavily and wetly onto the hard-packed earth, looks to the four fighters in each corner, and seems to ready himself to give a speech. He promptly smiles, nods, and leaves the ring as quickly as he entered it. This, apparently, is the sign to begin...
The two other contestants are a dwarf in heavy armour wielding an enchanted halberd, and a half-elven swordsman in chain with twin blades glimmering in the hot sun.
Ryn with 18
Half-Elf with 17
Dwarf with 11
Doroga with 7/ready action.
The arena: A rough square of hard-packed earth about 35 ft. across, with the four contestants starting in each corner. In the middle of the ring there's three kegs standing in a triangle. They're empty and relatively light, can be stood on, picked up, hidden behind, etc. All three barrels have a special something inside that can be used in the match.
The rules are fairly simple: No offensive or healing spells, no attacking someone when they're down, no outside help. Other than that, it's all up to luck, skill and showmanship. First place is a yet-to-be-determined purse of gold straight up, with a special showmanship prize offered to whomever got the biggest rise out of the audience (which consists of a couple dozen mercenaries, a few families of townsfolk, and a gaggle of other martial types waiting for their matches.)
Ryn, you're up! The dwarf is across from you in the north quarter. The half-elf is to your right in the east corner, and Doroga, you're to Ryn's left in the west corner (meaning the Half-Elf is across from you and the Dwarf is to your left with Ryn to your right).
The Uthgardt was quick; even off balance, he got his shield up in time to block Ryn's first strike. It wasn't a complete waste though. The impact, combined with his precarious position, rocked him back. He had to throw his shield arm out wide to stabilize himself... just as Ryn's next slash came whistling in. The Uthgardt grunted in pain as the slash sliced into the flesh along his ribs, cutting through his armor.
He was tough though, that Uthgardt; without even a pause for a breath, he lashed out with his blade. Ryn managed to twist his torso aside from the blow, feeling it glance off his armor. His leg was less lucky. He bit back a curse as he felt the longsword bite into his thigh.
A quick glance at his leg assured him that the wound wasn't immediately serious. Even without healing, simple stitches would take care of it, eventually. Still, there was a fight on. He brought his blade around in another slash.
Regular attack, +4 Power Attack (it's got to work sometime, right?)
Before Daurily can respond to your words, another man in a featureless travelling cloak with the hood drawn up enters the Inn. He is clearly out of breath, but attempts to hide the fact as he walks shakily over to his two companions by the fireplace. He begins to blather, much to the chagrin of his more elder companion, before even sitting down. The older easterner stands, puts a hand on the shaken man's shoulder, but instead of comforting him, forces him into his seat. The third easterner, a woman with a permanent sneer, shakes her head at the man's apparent foolishness.
You hear them well enough, though you do not understand their words. A cold shiver runs up your spine, however, as you recognize the language as Thayan. Also, you recognize the tone as one of tension, even fear or deep anxiety in the younger of the three as the elder man attempts to reason with him...
From the barman you get no particular sense, other than that he is not the deceitful sort. Daurily, however, is very obviously troubled. Even more so when the third foreigner comes in to join the other two. She eyes them, notices that you too are eyeing them, and returns to her mug of water, saying quietly, "Do you know those men, adventurer? Forgive me if I'm wrong, but their accent bears a minor resemblance to yours. I must admit that they do not give the best of impressions..." She shrugs. "But I must thank you for your kindness. And worry not. My father is beyond conventional or magical healing of the more mundane varieties, hence my call for aid. When the time comes and any others who choose to heed my request make themselves known, I shall explain more."
Aside from the foreigners, you notice as well that the off-duty Rider of Mistledale has taken a keen interest in the three foreigners. He rises from his table, leaving some silver as a tip, and makes his way slowly over to the door. He makes a point of showing the three easterners that he is watching them, before he leaves the common room to fetch his horse from the stables.
Pretty sure I addressed all of your rolls? Let me know if anything else needs clarification...