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.
In the beginning, when Rovagug perfected the way of destruction, the lands were littered with the dead. Crows, maggots, beetles, worms, and the other crawling things of the earth complained to Rovagug.
“You destroy and maim too quickly!” they cried. “We cannot devour all the meat you give us! Please, destroy the people of the earth more slowly.”
“What?” shouted Rovagug, in a voice that toppled pillars. “My glorious destruction shall never cease nor slow!”
Yet in the dark, delighting in the destruction god’s slaughter, watched Lamashtu, the Mother of Monsters, and she heard the base things cry. In those black days when all the land was covered with death and all the air stank, she watched as a few tribes of men, her followers and devout worshipers, ate the flesh of corpses as the crows did, plucking out eyes, savoring the bloodiest cuts. To these cannibals she led packs of hyenas, and their ways became as one. Of those louse-ridden beastmen rose the first gnolls, half-hyenas who love the stench of carrion and praise each corpse as an offering to their dark mother. And the demon queen delighted in her own perversion and reveled in these monsters’ terrible howling songs. Born of devastation, and insanity, and the corrupt of soul, the man-beasts spread upon the world, and where they prowled they indulged in their hunger for murdered flesh. Surely, they are to be despised by any sane god, and so we make ceaseless war on those who seek to feed on the bodies of heroes and innocents.
And somewhere in the madness between the stars, the Mother of Perversion and the Mistress of Insanity still laughs her wicked laugh, as her ravening spawn, the bone gnawers and carrion eaters, grow fat off our flesh. Gnolls are among the first abominations, and their death is a blessing. Remember this when their laughter haunts your steps.
Blistering, spirit shattering hot. That was really the only way to describe the past several days of travel from Solku on a dreary camel caravan underneath Serenrae's sun. The cracked earth beneath you, the cloudless sky above you. Scrub lands upon scrub lands wherever you turned your head, and where there were no scrub lands, just vast unwelcoming baked earth desert. In the distant haze to the west, one can just make out the immense outline of Pale Mountain looming over the mid-evening horizon like a tombstone. You will mostly likely have found yourself reaching for your water skin to quench a parched throat.
Garavel, the no-nonsense major domo of his patron, Almah, a merchant princess, continued to lead the way by foot, tightly gripping the rope around his hand that was tied to the head camel. Six other camels walked behind the front camel in a row, attached together by a long rope to keep the camels in a straight line. Also attached to them were the many bags of supplies and gear meant for Almah's group they were to meet up with. Upon three of the six camels sat the PCs, reins in hands, while two were occupied by guards, scimitars at their sides as they kept an observant eye on their surroundings.
"We are almost there. Just over the next hill we should be near the Sultan's Claw," Garavel announced in Common, in a deeply accented Kelish accent, his eyes looking forward.
<As so we begin, please feel free to in your post talk about what your character is feeling, their experiences thus far from since taking to this caravan ride and whatever else you want to mention.>
Morius puffs and swipes a sleeve across his sweaty brow, wincing as the cloth comes in contact with his burnt face. Desert travel does not agree with him; his normally shaggy black hair is greasy and matted, his clothes are plastered to his body with sweat, and he winces every time he shifts in the saddle. He doesn't speak to the others unless addressed directly, and his posture has become more and more of a slump as the journey progresses. His red, pudgy face looks ready to burst into tears at any moment.
Darius bobs up and down on his camel, eyes closed inside his desert goggles, his thoughts deep in prayer.
The sun and heat bothered him not, for he was baptized in Sarenrae's heat and light and specially gifted in those domains. To him it was a motherly embrace. His body's needs could be sated by the limitless water that the Dawnflower had empowered him to conjure at will. His waterskin was never empty. He would spend every break replenishing the water supplies of his comrades, speaking to them of the bounty that Sarenrae provides and that the heat of the sun was merely a reminder of the protection that his Lady provided against the foul denizens of the darkness. Praise be.
It had been a short time since he had left the Lambent Citadel in Solku, but his time with the company had been the most intriguing and thrilling time of his life thus far. He reveled in the companionship and the discussions that extended beyond theology and relished the opportunities to exercise his skills as a healer to the wounded and singing to entertain his fellows whenever they made camp for the night. A deeper-rooted part of him also reveled in the battles that he had been part of.
His prayer ended, he opened his eyes and spied Morius and could not resist a small, private grin. The young wizard was not as accustomed to Sarenrae's blessing as he. With a gentle prodding of his heels he brought his mount beside the beleaguered human and proffered him his waterskin. "Drink my friend, I see the early signs of the heat sickness upon you. I speak as a healer." He speaks in a rich baritone voice. He had long since ground down the tusks which betrayed his orcish heritage, so his voice took on a deep human quality.
Morius blinks in surprise at the priest's approach. He squints in suspicion at the proferred waterskin. Then he shrugs and lifts it to his lips for a long pull, and water dribbles through the stubble on his chin.
"Uh, thanks." Morius squints at the priest again. Damn. What was his name? "The water is, uh, appreciated kind priest."
Hakan was riding from the early morning to catch up with Almah's group. Every time he visited the desert parts of Katapesh he wondered why people wanted to live there. So far, Almah's group was nowhere in sight, but then he noticed a small caravan to the south. He watched it for some time then and rode towards it, approaching it's lead.
"Hakan Yıldıray Sabri, here to join Princess Almah. You are?"
Morius tenses at the approach of this rider, his knuckles turning white on the reins. He shoots furtive glances at the others to see how they respond, his eyes darting back and forth between his companions and the newcomer.
Garavel took a moment to pause from his walking and turned his head at the direction from which Hakan appeared from. His eyes fell upon him with scrutiny. The camel he lead shook its head from side to side and bellowed as Garavel shushed him with a hand.
"I am her lady's major domo, leading this caravan to her camp." He declared in stoic monotone. ""Hakan Yıldıray Sabri....right. Bronze Hook. Hmm. I believe your name was mentioned in passing between my lady and myself some short time ago. Hmm. Well, we are almost there, perhaps then you can introduce yourself to her then."
"Nonetheless, welcome." He gave Hakan a brief head bow.
Hakan returned a bow a tad more expressive than majordomo's.
"Sabri family is well known in Bronze Hook. Nevertheless, it would be a great honor for me to work for the Princess. "
Hakan turns his stallion around and rides ahead in whatever direction he suspects the camp is most likely to be found.
Perception: take 10 for 14
Survival: (1d20) max 10
Know local: (1d20+4)
Know geography: (1d20+4)
(in case anything of the above could hint at a good campsite, like that with a water supply, or the actual camp location, tracks leading to it, etc.; north and south are probably excluded as already checked by the meeting parties)
Riding up to 200 yards ahead of the caravan if the area is sufficiently open.
Hakan's need to travel way far up ahead is cut shortly as he tops the last rise, a caravan of a half-dozen wagons and a large tent clustered around the distinctive tree comes into view below. The rest of the group would not be too far behind. Camels in a nearby pen prance in agitation, and a clutch of confused goats and livestock wander the grounds around the wagons. He would see a dozen men and women rush around the campsite, chasing down an animal or hastening toward the center of the cluster, near the Sultan’s Claw, with pails of water in their hands. One of the wagons would be seen on fire!
Lush orange and red flames engulf an elaborate wooden wagon emblazoned with painted moons and stars. A gout of smoke pours from an open door, and as he approaches, an ill wind blows a number of colorful fortune-telling Harrow cards from inside the wagon. One of these singed cards blows directly at Hakan, catching against his chest in a burst of orange cinders. Before he could get a proper look at it the whole of the Sultan’s Claw erupts into brilliant flame! The smoke rising quickly in a greyish white plume.
This sight of smoke rising above the hill, the rest of the group would see as the usually stone faced Garavel would be hit with a brief look of worry. He quickly released the reins on the front camel he was guiding as he hurriedly ran up the rest of the way up the rocky hill.
The central flap of an elaborate tent flies open and a regal woman who can only be Almah steps out. “Douse that flame!” she shouts to the men surrounding the wagon before turning in the direction of the party or rather just Hakan at this exact moment.
"You! Find some way to help!” She quickly and loudly barked before running off towards the fire.
I will be using olive for all NPCs fyi. Anyways.
At the moment, Hakan and (the rest of the PCs when they get there get there of their own accord) have several options to help out here should they choose to. Note that the PCs do not have to all be doing one thing, they can split up to help in different ways.
They could try to put out the fire, joining Almah, Garavel and four guards dressed in in the distinctive red chitin-plate armor of the Pactmaster Guard, who will try to fetch some buckets of water from another wagon twenty feet away from the one ablaze. The wagon has a heavy water barrel that they would also try to carry closer as to reduce the number of trips. That would require a Strength check. This problem could also be dealt with via other means, though that is for you to figure out.
Or they could help four burly mercenaries struggling with an enclosed wooden wagon within feet of the burning wagon, hoping to move it to safety before an errant spark causes it too to burst into flame. This would require a Strength check.
Or they could help a red-headed halfling cleric, who is kneeling next to two severely burned mercenaries who tried to enter the burning wagon. The cleric is tending to a badly wounded mercenary but he is unable to focus on his second patient, who lies near death from terrible burns and smoke inhalation. This would require a Heal Check.
Or assist in wrangling some of the frightened animals that the fire has unsettled. A middle aged camel driver and a woman do their best to wrangle the panicking livestock, but are finding themselves overrun by the chaos of the situation. There are five animals that must be calmed, each requiring a separate Handle Animal check. They are two goats, a pig, and two sheep.
Eager to exploit the perfect opportunity to competently do something the princess is personally attending, Hakan rode as fast as he could, jumping off the saddle near a burned mercenaty, kneeling beside him saying "tunga he rongoa ki te marama " and touching his chest with a faint blue glow that appeared in right hand.
Without paying any further attention to the mercenary, Hakan led his horses to the wagon that four men were trying to move.
Speed up to 250 fpr while on horse. Ignoring the card.
Fast dismount: (1d20+8) DC 20
Cure Light Wounds: (1d8+1)
The plan is to get either Amir or both Amir and Kurhah to help the mercenaries to move the wagon. This could be done in a number of ways, depending on how the wagon is equipped, how heavy it seems, etc. Some possibilities are listed below:
1. Attach the tug(s), if present (to the saddle(s) or stirrup(s) or whatever part of the harness will seem to be most fit for the task)
2. Hold one stirrup with one hand, something of the wagon in other hand, tell one of mercenaries to do the same with other horse and let the horses do actual pulling
3. Use rope, which is in pack saddle of Kurhah saddlebags of Amir
Horses are both STR 20. I'm pretty positive Hakan can make them pull, but if he cannot just take 10, this might take some time (like (1d20+7), (1d20+7), (1d20+7), (1d20+7), ... DC 10)
Morius sits atop his camel as the others race forward to help, his jaw slack as he takes in the scene. Then he shakes his head as if startled and dismounts, struggling to extricate his foot from the stirrups. Once he disentangles himself, he squints his eyes at the fleeing livestock, circles his fingers, and with a few well-chosen words, illusory pens spring from the ground to enclose the sheep, goats, and pigs.
Morius has cast silent image, attempting to corral as many of the animals as possible. I suppose this is also a good time for a rules clarification; when it says that effect is confined to the area of the spell, is the area fixed once the spell is cast, or can I move the area within the range for as long as I concentrate?
Upon reaching the other dying merc near the halfling and the merc he was attending to, Darius would see that the tomboyish merc was a Kelish woman. While Darius was able to remove parts of her armor to give her room to breath (the heal check), twas his healing touch that staved off death for her. His hands would fill her body like a warmth of a ray sunshine. She sputtered and coughed, eyes blinking in confusion.
The halfling tending to the other merc, looked at Darius and nodded his head as he finished up with the merc he was working on.
(Uhm, hmm, I do like the idea of putting more use to the Concentrate skill as it hardly gets any mileage in a typical game, sure, yes, as long as you can make a successful concentrate check)
The animals, being of low mental scores, bleated and squealed as suddenly from their perspective found themselves being corralled in from fences from out of thin air.
The two camel herders and care takers of the animals in general, looked upon the scene, impressed, their eyes wide at the sight of magic. They rushed over with their herding sticks to help the Morius with what they assumed, was him trying to herd the animals towards the real pens, twenty feet away.
Pavlo & Hakan
Indeed it would take some time, a lot of grunting and effort, taking rounds to get everything set up. Alas, the combined efforts of the horses pulling, Pavlo and the four mercs pushing and a few more rounds, the covered wagon would find itself being moved away.
While simultaneously while the PCs helped in their ways, Garavel, Almah, and the four guards who took to the pail by pail method, taking water from the water barrel, close to putting out the fire themselves.
Pavlo and Hakan have some time to assist in what remains of the flames in the best way they could think, though admittedly, the method for pulling the wagon with the horses would be time consuming and more likely get in the way while the others tried to keep the flames controlled and eventually doused.
Darius will continue to comfort the woman, offering prayers to Sarenrae.
He is delighted when she opens her eyes. He stares deeply into hers. "Fear not, my friend. The Dawnflower has given you another chance at life..." He says. His voice is low and rich, soothing as a consoling father.
Morius shifts from foot to foot and runs his hand through his hair, causing the matted tangle to stand straight up. He casts furtive glances at the others running about the encampment, unsure of how to help. He wanders over to the others by the wagon, only to find that they have things well in hand. The others continue their efforts to save and examine the contents of the wagon, and Morius finds himself being jostled as they move past him. The majordomo moves past him twice before Morius manages to get his attention. Um, Garv...uh, Grana...Sir, Morius squints at the man's shoulder. Is there anything I can do to help?
The merc woman just groaned and closed her eyes. "Damn....that bloody...sucked...*cough* t-thanks for savin mah life."
Hakan and Morius
After the fires were completely doused, Almah would grimace at the mess and basically just the whole scenario.
"My lady, what happened? What caused this?" Garavel asked in concerned as two of the guards, putting their hands over their mouths went inside the burnt wagon to recover whatever was not lost to the fire, appreciative of Hakan's magic.
"I know not...it just happened suddenly," She replied quickly surveying the area, her eyes falling on the PCs.
"Thank you for your assistance, it is appreciated" Her eyes mostly focusing on Hakan and Darius, her expression tight. She looked back at Garavel. "I want you to launch an investigation on how this fire may have started.
"Yes my lady," The stoic man replied with a nod of his head. He turned his attention to Morius when the illusionist approached with his question and studied him for a moment. "You can assist me in some investigative work."
The guards appeared a moment later, though this time with a body on their hands. "Madam, Eloais is dead."
Well, dead people, that is one way to begin a game.
Morius opens his mouth and then closes it again, terrified at the prospect of interviewing so many strangers. He gives the priest and the horse rider almost pleading glances, silently begging them to take the lead.
"There were the cards blasting out. This probably means they were used, not stored. Harrow cards. One got even so far to hit me and was apparently fire magical when doing so." - Hakan looked down to see if it left any mark on his chest, then addressed the illusionist and then both him and the princess. - "Can detect magic to see any traces it left? We can try to search for the other cards if they are special, they were blown all over the area."
Hakan continues to direct his drying/cleaning magic, but holds talking to the Princess his top priority. Then he remembers he did not properly introduce himself, so he does that, with a bow.
"Almah Roveshki," Almah replied in tow as her stern gaze fell upon Hakan, sizing him up as she listened to his words. "Harrow cards....I see...hmm....Eloais was my personal fortuneteller I hired. He reminded me of my homeland of Varisia." She softly hmm'd and pinched the bridge of her nose, wrinkling her brow.
"Could you and your companions help Garavel in this investigation? If you need to, you can interview the others.....I...myself...need a moment, this whole scenario has me distraught." She said placing her hand at her head.
Oh. Morius looks about the camp, trying to decide if there would be anywhere that he could hide until this all blew over. He lets out a quiet moan, and then wanders over first toward the guard, then does an awkward course change toward the animal tenders. He sizes them up, picks the least threatening person, and clears his throat. Um, do you, ah, could you tell me what, um, happened before the fire started?
"Dearest child, I must go now to see if there are others I can aid this day. Please, remember me and the second chance you have been given." Darius says, gently pressing a small wooden holy symbol of Sarenrae into the woman's hand. He nods at the cleric and stands, seeking his companions and going wherever his aid may be requested.
"Of course. Will do my best." - Hakan turns to face the wagon - "Kitea mahi makutu!" - his eyes color changes from yellow to bright yellow. He then looks at the wagon for some time, then at his own chest, then around.
Then he is interested in looking at Eloais, with the cleric's help.
"You, you are the cleric, please? What can you say about this corpse?"
Casting Detect Magic. There is some nonzero hope it can pick up lingering auras of moderate strength effects and sure should pick up traces left from strong+ auras. All non-shielded magic items and stuff in the area should be detected as a side effect. Not much hope getting the school, but will try anyway.
Regarding the corpse, anything like the nature (mundane vs magical), location (front/side/engulfing), strength (number of d6s suffered) etc. of the fire that could be estimated would be a plus.
Um, well, that is...ah. Morius' s burnt face turns, if possible, even redder. Unsure of which of the two would be best to look in the eye, he compromises and stares at the woman's shoulder. Ahem. I don't really know that much magic. It was just, ah, a simple trick. It was illusion magic, not a, um, conjuration...
Morius launches into an in depth comparison of illusion and conjuration magic, and is just getting started on theoretical sensory elements when he glances at the face of Harad (Halad? No. The man anyway.) and finally notices the glazed expression. He comes to a stop mid sentence and clears his throat.
But, well, I don't suppose that matters, er, now. He licks his cracked lips. Did you, uh, either of you, that is, see how the fire started?