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The world: Gai-len Gai-len is a world different from those most are familiar with. The greatest and most flourishing civilizations consist of Orcs and Goblinoids, which live in relative peace alongside plenty strong and proud tribes of Giants of all sorts, Kobolds, Lizardfolk and many more monstrous beings. The element that disrupts the peace of this world the most is the relatively small and scattered population of Humans, Elves and Dwarves. Gnomes and Halflings exist, but only in captivity. They are being cultivated by the Orcs for their superior qualities as servants and mobile side tables.
Ages ago, the monstrous humanoids (this includes Orcs, Goblins, etc.) decided that the Humans, Elves and Dwarves deserved a place of their own. All humanoids were provided with free passage to a continent far overseas where they were left in peace, as promised. In return, being regarded a pest, the humanoids were outlawed in all other continents and mercilessly hunted down. Being once, in a distant past, the dominant creatures of this world, the humanoids slowly developed a sense of entitlement, however. This was their world and they felt they had every right to be wherever they wanted to be.
Over many, many years the humanoids developed a tradition in which the second and fourth born son and daughter in every family underwent rigorous military training and was then sent off to the continents of the monstrous humanoids. Their mission was simple: through whatever means necessary, which usually implied guerrilla warfare, attempt to disrupt the monstrous humanoid society and, if possible, start settlements. One important element of this tradition is that this is a one-way trip. Return to the humanoid homeland is not an option: A simple matter of pride. The main characters in this story are guerrilla warriors sent to the monstrous continents, and about to find out that the repopulation tactic of their ancestors had not quite been successful.
Two and a half months at sea had taken its toll on most of the troop you were sent with. Out of 50 men and women, 20 had died of malnutrition and disease. The remaining warriors were weakened, yet determined to succeed. Each and every one of them wanted to slay at least three monsters for every friend they had lost. No one, nothing would stop them from doing so.
The giants that were travelling alongside the sun-scarred beaches disagreed, however. After landing and leaving their vessel, and after congratulating one another on surviving the trip the warriors set out on the beach, discussing the next step.
As if through magic they were surrounded by four colossal dwarves. Although....as if? Their pitch black skins were only visible on their with fierce red hair covered forearms, the rest of their bodies were covered with chain armor. Four devastating sweeps with huge hammers and a few seconds later only a few of the proud warriors remained. Swiftly running back to their boat, they managed to evade a certain death. The giants were not planning on entering the water. Dozens of bodies were stripped of valuables and the band set off, leaving the disillusioned warriors afloat.
You are these warriors. There was one more, Durgol, a dwarven barbarian. In almost all ways a typical dwarf: stout, strong, far from comely and with a determination only surpassed by the length of his pitch black beard. He only lacked the sense of organization and calm typical for his kin. Too terrified to enter the beach again, you stayed afloat for two days. During the second day you noticed two small vessels, quicker than and with more maneuverability than your ship, approaching you, packed with Orcs. If it weren’t for your shattered morale, you would have gone down fighting.
Shortly after your incarceration the Orcs found out about your abilities as magicians and escape artists, which made them decide to transport you bound and gagged. As long as you stay calm you can breathe through your noses and, if necessary, you can communicate using variations on ‘murr’, ‘hnng’ and ‘gaah’. Your feet are tied by ropes to one another, leaving just over one foot of room for careful treading. Your hands are bound behind your backs with small manacle-like contraptions and, in order to make sure none of you wiggles out, they are fit so tight that your skin is torn beneath the edges. Every movement of your hands leaves you in fear of breaking your wrists. These precautions made them so confident to decide to have you escorted by only four Orcs, two of which look distinctly daft. Moreover, you are carrying your own equipment: you seem harmless and it saves them energy.
During the past two weeks you have been escorted through what strikes you as a savannah, travelling from one source of water to the other. The frequency and density of the bushes is slowly diminishing and you realise you are heading towards a desert. You are heading perhaps towards a mine of some sort to be put to labour or maybe to tribes living on the other side of the desert to be sold as slaves. Durgol, the dwarf, is the only other captive on this transport. You have noticed that with every day his face looks more and more grim. During the past three days you have been hearing distinct whimpering... he is either in a lot of pain, or he is about to crack mentally. Or both. Then, right after a short stop in which the Orcs drank some water and offered you and the dwarf a sip of a mixture of sand and water, a most peculiar event takes place.
It all started with a faint snap, or was it the feral roar? Either way, right after, Durgol leaps forward towards the two Orcs in front of you as you see the manacles hanging from his left wrist and a bloody stump on the end of his right arm. Raging and howling the dwarf smacks the manacles, as if it were a flail, into the back of the head of one of the Orcs. The Orc topples as the dwarf turns his attention to the other Orc. The two Orcs behind you shout and draw their axes while they see the berserker effortlessly snapping the neck of the terrified Orc. Both remaining Orcs charge at Durgol and probably due to his uncertain footing in the sand the first Orc fumbles his attack horribly, cleaving his buddy in half. For a short moment the dwarf and the last remaining Orc gauge one another as Durgol decides to reach for the axe of one of the dead Orcs. His lapse of defence proves fatal when the rusty blade of a greataxe gets planted in the side of his head.
Merely 10 seconds after the snap and the roar, the Orc pulls the axe out of the dwarf’s head with some effort. He turns around and glares at the both of you. “So...let that be a warning for you” he grunts in the Orcish language. “Let’s move, pinkskins”. As the Orc reaches out to collect the few valuables he can carry this story starts....
Your current state
If only being bound and gagged was the worst of your condition. Alas, it isn’t. You are strained to the point where normal mortal souls would have succumbed. It is only through cannibalizing your arcane energy that you managed to stay afoot and conscious. A mere swing with a rotten club could take you out of commission swiftly. At least, that is how you feel. The only exception is Nala. She is exhausted and winded, for sure, but she seems to possess the strength and stamina to endure the punishment you received through pure physical and mental power. Still, she has the same scary dreams about rotten clubs.
This exercise also exposes your weaknesses in a painful way, and a good example of this is Jakkun, the Dwarf. While extremely stout, he was never the strongest and right now his strength has drained to alarming levels. He wobbles on his feet and has been supported by Nala during the past few days, as well as by an inner fire that is alien to humanoids, a fire that powers dragons to live for aeons. Velethi and Vrishchika, both ladies clearly not cut out for heavy physical endeavours, are hanging in but struggling. Their arcane power leads their feet and allows them to think straight, but only barely so. With Nala being occupied with pulling Jakkun through, Velethi and Vrishchika have been taking turns in helping the other over and through tough moments.
If you only had been vaguely familiar with one another by the time the ship landed, that has changed now. This has been a team-building extraordinaire experience, so far, in which each of you depended on the others to get through....and this was only the beginning. Still....something has to happen....for you are literally dying slowly and this, well, this may very well be the moment. You share a common insight: poor Durgol. We cannot have him die for nothing....because if he did, so will we.
OOC: First of all Siel, the Fey, is not with you. She will come in later, the opening scene is for the other four characters.
The strain I described above results in the following temporary conditions (there are some exceptions for Nala, which I grant her because of her feat selection and because she is the (only) physical character). No worries, you will get rid of it soon enough:
-Your Str and Dex are reduced by 4 points (to a minimum score of 4). Nala, your Str and Dex are reduced by 2.
-You have a -2 penalty on attacks, saves and ability checks (including skills), this is superimposed on the -4 Str/Dex penalty. Nala, your penalty is -1.
-Your hp are low, very low. You don’t know exactly how low, but you are sure it is less than 50% of your standard maximum.
-Spellcasters, binders, invokers, breath weapon users and eldritch blasters have used up their arcane soup. You still know/have memorized all your abilities, but you have the energy left to execute/capitalize on just one move. One spell, one invocation, one blast, one breath. Make it count, if you can.
This may come across a bit harsh, and that is the whole purpose. No worries, you will get to full power soon enough and I will not rid you of your powers again (well, not like this). It is just the way this campaign kicks off.
Jakkun's eyes widen as he sees Durgol fall, and as soon as he can do so without letting the lone Orc see he nudges Nala in the side, gesturing feebly at their one remaining guard. He nearly chokes on his gag in what could only be called excitement.
Last edited by Steamsaint : 06-14-2011 at 09:47 AM.
Barely able to keep her eyes open, she looks to Jakkun and Nala, nudges Velethi and nods toward the last orc. With her movement, a tiny spider emerges from her coat, scampers about over the front, and comes to rest on the bottom hem.
A small map of the situation, to prevent confusion:
VElethi Orc that died
Since Jakkun and Vrishchika are the first to seek contact, you may both make a bluff check to see if you can relay your motives well (a bit like innuendo used to work). The DC is 3. The others can use Sense motive against you (DC3, +1 for each point the sender failed his or her check by (if applicable)).
Nala hadn’t moved the entire time while Durgol made his stand because of shock, confusion, general pain and the constant need to keep Jakkun on his feet. If anyone falls over no one but that now remaining single orc will have the hands needed to pick him back up. After seeing two meaningful glances from Jakkun and Vrishchika, she considers the opportunity that Durgol had abruptly given them. There is only one left. An armed one. But, so is she. In fact, she has a six foot long pointy stick strapped to her back in a stable and potentially useful position.
But the orc is standing too far away for comfort. She doesn’t want any of them to have to approach the orc. But how to make him come over? After a brief second she glances down at Jakkun and gives him what she hopes is a clearly very apologetic expression, and gives him an unceremonious shove with her shoulder.
Bluff to say "Hope your plan can be accomplished prone...": (1d20+3)
Very awesome avatar by Derjuin.
Meaningful glances are being exchanged as the Orc kneels down to collect some of Durgol's gear. The clear need to act is visible on the faces of the ladies in the back, but at the same time one can see a frustration of not being able to do something.
Jakkun is clearly up to something as he notices Nala's apologetic expression. Nala drops the support and Jakkun lands on his side, facing the Orc that is 12 feet away. Nala watches the Orc as he turns around and sees what happened.
Now what? Hrm...I was never told that dwarvies were that weak. He chuckles with a mean undertone. Oh, well....he was slowing us down anyway. We're better off like this. The orc starts to walk to Nala and Jakkun, planning to rid Jakkun of some valuables before deserting him.
Everybody is entitled to one standard 'surprise' action in between the orc starting to walk and arriving at Jakkun.
Jakkun draws a deep breath and exhales, a golden gas creeping out of his mouth and enveloping the orc. Then he closes his eyes and prays to any god that will listen.
I use my slow breath on the orc, using up my one ability in this fight in order to have these effects:
Rather than dealing damage, your breath weapon slows all creatures in its area for 2 rounds. A successful Fortitude save reduces the duration to 1 round. A slowed creature can take a single move action or standard action each turn, but not both (nor can it take full-round actions). Additionally, it takes a –1 penalty to its Armor Class and on its attack rolls and Reflex saves. A slowed creature moves at half its normal speed (round down to the next 5-toot increment), which affects the creature's jumping distance as normal for decreased speed. Multiple uses of this breath effect on the same creature don't stack; use only the longer duration. Slow Breath suppresses any haste effect on creatures in its area for the duration of the slow effect. You can apply this breath effect only to a cone-shaped breath weapon.
Nala waits and waits as the orc approaches, not daring to move until it is in range. She catches a glimpse of some creeping gold gas emanating from Jakkun and hopes that, whatever it is, it is intentional and not some sort of magical accident.
She shifts her weight just slightly and summons some desperate, hidden reserve of energy. Since the orc stands several inches above her, this shouldn’t be impossible to pull off, hopes one stray thought in her exhausted mind. As he reaches a point a few feet away from her, she abruptly ducks and twists to bring the shaft of the spear sticking out above her shoulder swinging rapidly down toward their captor.
Melee attack: (1d20+7) Factors in -2 to Str and -1 to attacks
Damage (if it's a hit): (1d6+3) Factors in -2 to Str and not using 2 hands.
Very awesome avatar by Derjuin.
Jakkun, breathing drains the last of your reserves. Your vision blurs a bit as you see the orc fighting the gas. Suddenly, a spear wielding a human darts through your view. It all looks as if you are dreaming...
As the cone of gas creeps towards him, the Orc startles and tries to avoid it, but to no avail. You stinking rat!
Fort save (1d20+2)
As the cloud envelops him, his muscles strain and panic shoots from his eyes. When Nala lunges towards him he let's out a grunt, trying to avoid her. He would have, if it weren't for his slowed physical state. Nala drives the tip of her weapon into his chest and he topples.
Nala, make a jump check, please. You are going to fall and end up randomly. However, if you hit DC15 on the jump, you can remain standing after your leap attack, or decide to land right on top of the Orc.
The first real round starts now. If you want to do something, please roll initiative and describe your action.
I will be in the mountains today, so I'll report back in ~10 hours.
For a moment Nala thinks she has missed, but the pained grunt from beyond her field of vision proves her wrong. But, her unnatural movement and the sudden (and admittedly somewhat unexpected) jarring hit to the orc had unbalanced her and she hits the ground with a thud. She needs to act quickly before their captor has a chance to recover his wits.
Init: (1d20) (-2 Dex means no bonus for me)
If within reach, will attempt to kick orc, if in range, from ground position. Preferably the face, but hey, I’ll take anything. No idea about the penalties to such a roll, but I’ll roll unarmed damage and you can alter (or reroll) as you see fit.
Attack: (1d20+2) (with current Str mod, BAB and the -4 penalty for attacking while prone)
Dmg if hit: (1d3+1)
Very awesome avatar by Derjuin.
Not bothering with trying to cast a spell, Vrishchika wills her spider companion to creep from her and attack their solitary foe, while she works at removing her own bindings.
Escape Artist: (1d20+2)
Spiderfamiliar crawls from my space on the map directly toward the orc - if the orc is within 20 feet, Spiderfamiliar moves into its space (provokes AoO) and bites it. (1d20+10) for 1 damage, plus Poison (Fort DC 12, deals [/roll]1d2[/roll] Strength initial + secondary).
While Velethi and Vrishchika try to wriggle free, the Orc is slowed, unarmed, prone and injured. To make matters even worse, he is clearly afraid of spiders. At least, for the big ones. When he sees the big hairy spider moving towards him, he lets out a shriek that is far too girly for an Orc of his posture. Right after this shriek, you see a flock of birds flying up from a large group of trees 100 yards away followed by a small stampede of startled deer fleeing the woodland. He flails his arms and legs at the spider, but the critter is too quick. He gets bit in the hand and starts whimpering Please, no, please...I didn't mean to... as Nala puts in an effort to swing her legs at the sitting Orc's head. Her boots create a nice thud as they land on his temple, after which he falls over. Knock out.
Soon enough every one of you finds out that you do not have the ability to escape from the bonds. It is either impossible, or just too hard for the untrained. You also realize that you will need water soon enough and would definately benefit from shelter from the sun.
The four of you could manage to get up and move around if you want, but you will have to leave Durgol and the Orcs behind.
Your knowledge of mother nature comes in handy here. Since there were apparently large mammals fleeing from the patch of woodland, it is likely there is water there. This notion is confirmed by the tones of green you see in the foliage: it is brighter and more varied than in other woodlands and shrubs you can see.
In lieu of not being able to talk, Vrishchika begins hobbling toward the treeline, making sure to retrieve Spiderfamiliar on the way. She turns and nods toward it, trying to make it look as if where she's going is where everyone should go.
Rolling in OOC for the bluff check to send the message
After a few false starts Nala struggles to her feet and manages to avoid tripping herself once again. Reluctant to shatter her wrists by struggling against the bonds, she believes that right now they need to avoid exposure to the harsh sun. At least Vrishchika appears to have an idea, or at least a hope, of where to find shelter. So Nala gives her a tired nod and looks back to make sure Velethi can stay on her feet for that much longer and moves to help Jakkun as much as she can again. Hopefully they can make it that far before their strength gives out. Only then can they think about getting fully free. She glances back once at the orcs and at Durgol. There is no way they can bury their comrade in return for the help he had given them. Hopefully anyone who crossed this site would think that Durgol had been alone and he and the orcs had killed each other. Either way they need to get away from this site quickly.
Sense motive roll on Vrishchika…
(1d20+4) (with -1 skill)
Very awesome avatar by Derjuin.
The whole situation with Durgol was unexpected and eventful; the scene after that was unanticipated but succesful. The stress, however, is not over yet. Nala sees Vrishchika nodding and returns with a hopeful glance. Together the three of you get Jakkun on his feet and head for the patch of woodland.
The journey may very well be the longest you ever undertook. Slowly the lush area closens and as you reach it you are welcomed and warmed by shadow and comforting bird songs. As you lean aginst a tree you see a small lake about 40 feet ahead of you. There are large reptiles bathing in the sun on the coast and fairly fat friendly looking hairless cow-like beings in the water. The water is perfectly blue and fresh....how that makes you feel in short: heaven on earth. The long version: heaven on earth! The question is: who is in first?
knowledge nature: (1d20+10)
Alarm! The reptiles are Caiman...they are fairly harmless when compared to their bigger nephews, but the fat creatures in the water are hippopotami (?). They are agressive and territorial and known to tear an Ogre apart in one go. Inhabitants of the oasis are familiar with this, but your comrades are not.
Upon arriving within the miniature Eden, Velethi chooses to relax beneath a tree, not worrying about food or water thanks to the ring the orcs had failed to confiscate. After sitting down, she notices Nala's spear, and makes an attempt to gesture her bound hands towards it, indicating that they could try to pierce through the knot.
Nala doesn’t quite trust this apparent oasis, no matter how nice it looks, especially since it’s inhabited. She remains further back, trying to stay out of sight but not willing to abandon this refreshing area. After catching Velethi’s glance and gesture, she beckons with a nod and slowly sits down behind a tree and facing away from the lake, making the spear orient sideways at an angle. Hopefully the others could use the tip to saw their bonds off.
Sense Motive (1d20+4)
Bluff for communication (1d20+3)
Very awesome avatar by Derjuin.
The material your hands are bound with is a form of leather and there are metal wires there, either to reinforce it or to join both sides together, that is not quite clear. Since Nala's spear is pointy, and not jagged, it is far from the ideal tool to use to get rid of them. It may work, but it is going to take you long....an hour, maybe....maybe more?
Your feet are bound by normal rope. You can walk with these bonds, but putting in a few minutes of effort and Nala's spear may free you of them and offer you some more freedom.
Your gags are some form of cloth and, given enough time and a person that is somewhat proficient at making and untying knots, you cold undo them fairly fast. It just requires some awkward positioning and patience.
As you are settling down and figuring out how to release yourselves and in what order, the ambience of the oasis penetrates your senses. The rustling sound of the wind playing with leaves is as comforting as the birds chirping and it slowly driving the stress out of your system. If you listen carefully, you can hear voices every now and then. Distant, faint and soft, it sounds a bit like children's play and laughter. You cannot pinpoint it and it is very irregular, but it seems like you are not alone.
After a few minutes the serenity in your vicinity gets a bit disturbed. You hear distinct shuffling in the bushes, about 7 feet away from where you are sitting and standing. Something is out there...it is not approaching you, but rather seems to be hiding and observing you.
Once discovering the strength of their bindings, Nala grumbles to herself in annoyance. Considering that she has little to no skill with knots, and her own distance from the point of the spear way over her head, there was nothing she could do for the rest of them at the moment. She sits and waits.
When the shuffling in the bushes alerts her to their watcher, she immediately looks over to try to spot who or what has taken an interest in them. Wanting to be fully prepared in case of hostilities, she stands up slowly and tiredly once again, and looks directly towards the noise. Hopefully whatever is the bushes would know that they wouldn’t be taken by surprise. With an awkward gesture she tries to invite it out of the bushes to where they could see it.
Untrained spot check: (1d20)
Bluff check to communicate with bushes: (1d20+3)
Very awesome avatar by Derjuin.
Jakkun, half asleep against a tree already in the relative serenity of the place, is jolted awake by the rustling in the bush. He realises that it isn't one of his comrades and immediately coughs, a feeble attempt at kindling at least a small spark in order to burn away the gag so he can warn the others.
Finally able to do something about her bindings, Vrishchika begins chewing intently at the gag in her mouth, her teeth sawing across it in an attempt to rip it apart. Though she acknowledges the rustling just beyond the group's location, she continues her biting, her eyes keeping watch on the bushes.
He who is in the bushes is enjoying quite an extraordinary view. There's a lady with small horns and a general sinister aura surrounding her calmly gnawing the cloth that is in her mouth with her fierce teeth. There's a man that is too short to be an orc and too big to be a goblin who is coughing up puffs of smoke and fire....and seems to be enjoying it. Then there are two ladies that look far too fair skinned to be an orc, though one of them looks tough enough to be one. All of them are bound. One of the last two ladies is trying to rip her bonds with the spear the tough lady has on her back. What is the story behind this? Whatever it is in the bushes, it for sure does not try to be silent and remain undetected.
You are all, with the exception of Nala, working on your bonds. Vrishchika and Jakkun are making steady progress. Velethi a bit less: the bonds she is working on are tougher than the cloth gags and the instrument she is working with is pretty lethal. All of you hear the shuffling and Nala is the first to react. She calmly stands up, making sure not to impale Velethi, and takes two steps to the bushes. She inspects the area closely and then turns around. She looks at you with a meaningful glance, she is obviously trying to tell you something. It is either a very complex message, or she is not doing a very good job conveying it.