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.
"Argh," Viktor yells as Kressle's axe slices into his leg. The pain is excruciating, and the man can see blood pouring from the wound at an alarming rate. Abadar protect me, he prays silently, mustering his strength for a renewed assault. "Estanos," he calls, his voice somewhat weak, "I will require your aid." Then he takes aim at Kressle, his bastard sword igniting with holy flame as he attacks.
Smite evil and power attack on Kressle! B**** is going to die
Ilya winces as he runs forward. Touching his cheek, he finds blood. Just what I needed, he thinks. Still singing, the bard observes the battle. Kressle and her minions are screened by a wall of enemies, but the bandit on the tower has been shooting Estanos. "Stop that," Ilya calls, a little shrilly, as he fires his own arrows at the bandit.
Let's see if the forum dice roller has decided to let Rapid Shot (on B1) actually work. Oh, and also maintaining Bardic Music as a free action.
With everyone in position, Tiereas dashes from his hiding spot, moving toward the unsuspecting bandits with his blade drawn. This hopefully would provide enough support for his allies that have had their fair share of carnage for the battle.
Zinovia's fire washes over Kressle and the other bandit who have positioned themselves behind their log barricade. The unfortunate bandit screams as he catched fire and is rapidly incinerated. Kressle too is burned, but remains standing, her armour and face singed.
Her death comes instead by Viktor's sword. The paladin's sword ignites with Abadar's just vengeance against the wicked turned to holy flame. Kressle parries one blow by the paladin, then another, each time growing more desperate. Finally, she fails. Viktor brings his blade across her neck, cutting cleanly through it. Her headless body falls to the ground.
Meanwhile, the bandit up high in the tree platform overlooking the river stands, trying to get a better shot. Ilya takes advantage of the misstep, feathering him with a pair of arrows. His corpse drops, splashing into the Thorn River.
Tireas dashes forwards, falling on the bandit who has been moving to attack. The long, curved weapon cuts through the bandit from behind, dropping him like a sack of potatoes.
Only two bandits yet remain. One, standing by the broken-down wagon, starts to back away and flee. He fires desperately as he stumbles backwards. The shot, unsurprisingly, is not accurate, and falls away into the bushes.
The other bandit, on the platform, swears and jumps for it. It doesn't go well for him: a crack can be heard as he lands on his ankle, then a cry of pain. He isn't going to be walking any time soon. Still, he might be stupid, but he's a fighter. He fires his longbow at Tireas. Despite his pain, his shot flies true, puncturing Tireas' red skin.
Zinovia pulls herself into an upright position as bandits die around her. She leans heavily on her staff, her body trembling. That was... draining. But I can do more. I must. With a jab of her fingers, she sends a silvery bolt flying unerringly towards the fleeing bandit.
"Oh no, you're not nearly lucky enough to escape," Ilya says to himself, watching one of the remaining bandits fleeing. "We can question the one with the broken foot, I very much doubt he's going anywhere in a hurry." With that, the young man sprints forwards, knocking an arrows as he does so, before firing it at the runner.
Moving 30 feet towards B2 and attacking while maintain Bardic Music.
Stumbling from the bleeding, Tireas makes his way over to the bandit that struck him. He looks as if he is about to decapitate the poor man, but instead swings with the flat of his blade, in a an attempt to knock the bandit out.
Estanos stands back up, dusting himself off. It looking like everything is essentially over here, he checks the two bandits near the log for vital signs (the head bandit no longer having her head, he skips her).
" That is a terrible place to keep your arrows, young man. I believe a quiver is more customary, and more comfortable in the bargain. Affordable, too," quips the priest as he finishes checking the vitals of the first bandit.
Mid stride to the second, he stops for a moment and peers in the direction of the calling tiefling, trying to see if he can spot him as he says," In all seriousness; are either of you actively dying?" Having said that, he gets back to work, pressing his fingers to the neck of the second bandit, checking for a pulse that is almost certainly absent. "If not, it will have to wait until I've seen to these unlucky, ah, fellows. They most certainly -are- dying. If they're not already too far gone."
The fleeing bandit who can still stand drops when Zinovia's magic missile hits him square between the shoulder blades.
Tireas finishes off the other with a blunt strike to the bandit's head. The man will have a horrible headache tomorrow, and a nasty lump, but he'll live.
Estanos checks the fallen for any signs of life. Of the eight bandits present in the camp, including Kressle, six are only corpses now. The two survivors are the pair of bandits who tried to flee only moments before - the one who took Zinovia's arcane missile, and the one who Tireas battered into unconsciousness. The former groans, smoke rising from his body. He is about thirty-five years of age by the looks of him. His face features hooked nose, a scar down one cheek and a tattoo in the shape of a dagger down the other. "Guess that's it then," he quips, despite his situation. "Always knew I'd die in some goddamn place too bloody insignificant to have a proper name." The later is is a large oaf of a man, with an overgrown beard, shaggy hair and brows, and a large rounded nose, thoroughly unconscious.
"Well, I must say, that was well-handled," Ilya says cheerfully as the battle subsides. He returns his bow to it's place on his back, and surveys the camp skeptically. "Hmm. And I had always thought one turned to a life of banditry for riches... Apparently not," the young man notes wryly. Still, it seems wise to inspect the shabby camp nonetheless.
Viktor marches over to the fallen, conscious bandit. His sword is sheathed but his hand still visibly rests on the pommel. "We require information, and quickly," the man begins. "Is there any further banditry presence in the Stolen Lands, and where? Was this woman, Kressle, your leader?"
The conscious bandit raises an eyebrow at Ilya, looking him over. "Best get the lad out of his fancy silks. Tatzylwyrms like shiny colours. And no, most bandits don't get rich. Most bandits get dead, but we still get a few more years out of it than if we stayed to die somewhere else." He jerks his head towards his fallen comrade. "Take Cutter over there. They were gonna kill him over in Pitax. Matter of fact, they were gonna kill me up in New Stetven 'bout ten years back. Course I didn't murder anyone like Cutter over there." He shrugs nonchalantly. "But life isn't fair, is it?"
When Viktor demands information, the bandit's informal, casual air becomes far more serious. "Like I was saying, a bandit's life isn't really a good one, but that doesn't mean I'll turn on them just because you ask me to." He adds a disapproving look at Viktor's hand, resting on his sword's pommel. "Especially when you ask so nicely," he mutters.
"If you want to get anything out of me, we're going to have to negotiate properly. For one, what do I get? As charming as going to my grave knowing I betrayed people I've known for years is, I need something more tangible." He feigns having a revelation. "How about you swear on your holy almighty gods that you aren't gonna kill me, and then I'll swear that I'll do my best to help you hunt down the rest of the bandits? Sounds fair to me."
Last edited by ApatheticAbacus : 06-15-2012 at 05:47 PM.
" We could swear such an oath. There isn't much of a need too, but we could, and mean every word." Estanos begins speaking as he walks over to the small discussion taking place, having seen to his grim task. His voice is pitched to carry, endless practice with oration boosting its volume and staying power. " That's the thing about choosing a path that resolutely does not waver from that of the good. You might swear oaths to that effect, but they're entirely beside the point. The oath isn't why you do the right thing; you are. The goodness lives in your heart." As he says this, the priest touches his own chest, and for the merest moment there is a corona of lambent golden light around his hand as if underscoring his point.
" And beyond that, if you're resolutely -evil-, well, the oath doesn't mean much either, does it?" Estanos begins to tend to Tireas' wound as he continues speaking to the bandit, the cadence of the words he speaks weaving with the tempo of work. " But you're not resolutely evil, are you? You've just had a difficult life. The difficulties of one's life can force temporary paths that are wrong. We know that. The trouble with taking the left-handed path, the path of darkness, is that each successive turning is that much worse. One begins with little transgressions, small sins. Eventually... not so small. You spoke of poor Cutter there murdering, and how you had not. You seemed to hold this as a distinction between the two of you. Is your conscience still clean of killing innocents? After living the life of a bandit?"
After a slight pause to let that thought sink in, Estanos continues,"The thing about these choices between right and wrong, the wonderful thing is that one is always making them. Each moment. Each moment one can choose to do the right thing. Every instant is a chance for an exit from darkness, a rebirth into the light."
Finishing with his ministrations to Tireas, Estanos turns to look once more upon the canny bandit. " If you really want to negotiate, I suppose you could. As the closest thing to a friend and confident you have in this situation, though, I would earnestly advise you against it. You are in a dreadfully bad position vis a vis haggling. Your capitol, the knowledge which you possess, is not unique. You are not the only survivor of this little group, merely the only one currently conscious. The others may not drive such a hard bargain as you, leaving you out in the cold, alone. Beyond that... have you never heard the phrase,' Savvy as a Kele****e Salt Seller'? "
" I urge you; Philanthropy is your best hope at the moment; not a market economy," Estanos concludes.
Heal ( Tireas - Remove Arrow Well ): Taking 10 for an 18
Activating 'Touch of Glory' on Estanos (+1 to the following Diplomacy check)
Diplomacy ( Influence Attitude on the Bandit - If he's hostile, the following roll. If he's merely unfriendly, taking ten for a 22 ): (1d20+12)
"Now here is a captive with a spine," Zinovia says approvingly, seating herself on a log. The wizardess looks over the bandit appraisingly, as one would an item. "Bold, shrewd, altogether too talkative, but still, he could be useful. Far more useful than the boy who led us here, I should think. I say we accept his bargain."
As Estanos speaks, the wizardess smirks. "Or perhaps we can have more for less. Very clever, priest." She looks to the bandit. "My position has been revised." She shrugs with a slightly mean-spirited smile playing about her shrouded face.
The bandit listens through all of Estanos' talk, an amused smile on his hard-worn face. He scratches his black hair, chuckling. "You sure do like to talk, don't you? So do I, as a matter of fact, so let me clear a few things up for you. First, never said I haven't killed an innocent. Only said I haven't murdered anyone." He smiles with an air of bemused secrecy to it, but then it turns good natured. Second, I don't think as much as you do about good and evil. Way I see it, they're for folks who don't know much about they way things work. You ever had your friend decide one night that he's going to kill you? You wake up and he's standing over you with a knife. Now the day someone can tell me what it is when you grab the knife, and struggle with him 'til it gets to his throat, that's the day I'll start thinking about good and evil. You might piss sunshine, priest; well, good for you. You're going to have a bit of a lesson coming to you if you stay in the Stolen Lands, though. See, good and evil are for people with nice cities and holy priests. Out here, there's just survival."
He really does like talking. He grins, an odd brew of wolfishness and sheepishness. "And suppose my knowledge is unique? Suppose Cutter's dumb as a drunken ogre?" He stops to chortle. "Well, he's not, so damn, you got me."
"Guess that means I should answer your questions, eh?" The bandit looks skyward, thinking back to Viktor's interrogation. "There're plenty more bandits. One of the only places to be a bandit, 'cause no one keeps us under control. That's changing, I suppose." He points over to Kressle's headless corpse. "Around her neck - or maybe on the ground, seeing as her neck isn't all in one place anymore - you'll find yourselves a nice little trinket. Amulet with a stag's head on it. That's the boss. He's a mean bastard. Don't know his name; call him the Stag Lord. Well, you ever want to see a true bandit king, you've come to the right place. He's got us all flying his banners." The captive looks around the camp, spotting something on the cart. He points at it: a case of green glass bottles. "Lives in luxury like king, the Stag Lord. Those are a special request of his. We were supposed to bring 'em down to his fort, but I guess that won't be happening."
The conscious bandit raises an eyebrow at Ilya, looking him over. "Best get the lad out of his fancy silks. Tatzylwyrms like shiny colours."
"I'll die without these silks," Ilya replies with a laugh. "They're like air, or water. I'd like to see you go from being a pr-, er, wealthy merchant's son to traipsing about this forsaken forest." He pauses, and his jesting seems to evaporate. "But let's assume, as you say, that I'm not cut out for this. Well, perhaps, but then again, who's asking who for their life right now?"
Ilya, continuing to listen, strolls over to the site of Kressle's corpse and retrieves the mentioned amulet. Toying with it idly, he returns to the interrogation. "And where may your 'boss,' this 'mean bastard' be found?"
"Oh, I like this one," Tireas comments with a grin when the bandit gives his reply to Estanos. "Can we please keep him alive?"
The tiefling absentmindedly feels around his arrow wound. Pain wasn't something he experienced too often, but he supposes that it will be something he's going to have to get used to out in these lands. The Stolen Lands had gained their reputation by being impossible to colonize, so it logically follows that there would be dangerous creatures - or people - preventing civilization's advance.
Could be worse, anyway. Not as bad as the mob beating, for sure.
Zinovia's thin, bloodless lips remain impassive at the chatty bandit's talk. "It is all very well that you find his humour to be to your liking, Tireas, but let us not encourage it above other things. As a means to our survival, bandit, we require information, not a jester."
The wizardess leans in very close to the bandit, speaking slowly and menacing, her voice little more than a whisper. "Tell me, why is it that we should leave you alive? We already have a bandit who Estanos appears to have domesticated. I can read that one like a book: little more than a boy, stupid, doubtlessly fervently religious by now. You are less clear. If we do not kill you, why would you not slip off into the night to regain your past existence, or cut us down in the dark? I do not care for repentance, or redemption, or gods. I will assume the worst of you - that your heart is shrivelled blackness that beats only for wickedness - and then have out of you an answer by which even such a person could assure me of his truthfulness. Otherwise, I will advocate your destruction."
Viktor looks at Zinovia as she speaks, a look of great disdain upon his face. "Lady Surtova is correct, as much as it pains me to admit it. We have no guarantee that he will not turn on us. Still..." the paladin says, thinking. "He can face retribution in Restov. We should return him to Oleg's Post and from there he can be taken north."
"Look, miss..." The bandit looks Zinovia over, not sure what to make of her. "Uh, lovely lady, you don't seem familiar with how banditry works. Main thing you're not supposed to do as a bandit is take up with 'the enemy.' That's anyone who isn't a bandit. Just talking to you is enough that I'll probably get a nice 'welcome home' spear in the gut. If you let me help you, I won't go back, 'cause I'm not crazy. It's that simple. And I know you don't want to hear about redemption, cause all bandits are awful and all creepy wizardesses who toast them aren't, but let me tell you, if clean slates had a price, that's what I'd be saving for."
Viktor suggests sending him to Restov, and the bandit waves his hands in protest. "Woah, no! Send me to Restov and I won't tell you anything else, and neither will Cutter. Better to just give me a good clean death here than to send me to wait in a prison for a few weeks before I get some worse death."
Last edited by ApatheticAbacus : 06-16-2012 at 08:41 PM.
" It is less that I like to talk, and more that the proper tool must be taken to the task at hand. And words are what this situation calls for; using anything else would be worse than pointless. -You- are the one who likes words, friend..," Estanos pauses that half tick, obviously prompting the bandit to deliver his name. " And so words it is."
Estanos strokes his goatee, the metaphorical cogs inside his head turning at a brisk pace as he opines," As I see it, what we have here is a failure of trust. On the one hand, we have no way of trusting that you won't immediately go back to your old ways as soon as you're out of our sight. On the other, you seem to think you have no way to trust that we'll do right by you if you help us. Of course, the reason you don't trust us to do right by you is because you know that we don't think we can trust you and therefore can't simply let you go. Trust, ultimately, is an act of faith. But faith should never be blind."
"As it stands, you seem all together too pleased with yourself by half to be standing on the path of repentance and redemption. Trying to play silly little word games with the death you've caused?" Estanos shakes his head slowly, sadly.
" As to -your- question, friend? I would call that act evil. This, this was evil, too." Estanos gestures about the encampment, at the slain bandits, the decapitated leader, in the same movement encompassing the whole world. " Sometimes we must sin, to avert some yet larger tragedy. One death to save dozens. The greater good is a powerful drive. But it must be mourned. The instant that we stare into the abyss and we no longer blink is the instant when we have ceased being good men who must do something regrettable and instead become men whom the world itself regrets."
Zinovia sighs. "I have concluded that we have little time to waste with this man any longer. Let us decide quickly whether to have him as an ally, or dispose of him as a corpse."
"My own interest in the matter is sated," she continues, looking bored. "I believe that he will prove useful, and he has provided us with assurance that he will not turn against us, for his bandit companions would not have him back. Therefore my suggestion is that we take him with us back to Oleg's Post and, in exchange for his life, he can work for Oleg in whatever capacity he deems best."
"And how exactly would Oleg and Svetlana make sure that he stays within the trading post? Especially if they have weapons available, or failing that, kitchen knives. I would hate for anything to happen to them due to carelessness on our part."
Tireas stretches his arms, and looks back in the direction they arrived. "If you don't want to kill him, we can still take him back to Restov, and just do without the information. We have to explore this whole region anyway, right? We'll find the place eventually." While talking, the tiefling makes his way over to the crate filled with glass bottles. He opens one and sniffs it.
"Say, is this stuff any good? I can't remember the last time I had a drink."
"If you are concerned for the safety of Oleg and his wife, I see little reason why the presence of this man would detract from it. They sit, at this very moment, completely helpless and unguarded, and yet we do not fret. No, it is only when we capture an enemy who wishes to aid us that we must be cautious. If anything, this bandit would help in defending the post, if only because any time his former compatriots spend slaughtering him is time in which they are not murdering the proprietors."
"I am disinclined to leave this bandit alone at the Post with only Oleg and Svetlana. With no officers of the law present, that course of action may have serious consequences," Viktor says, before turning back to the bandit.
"Futhermore, you have not told us where this Stag Lod may be found."
"Right," the bandit says. "Well, either way, looks like we're heading up north to Oleg's." He holds out his hands for binding.
I'd like to keep things moving and not get bogged down with this. Seems like everyone at least wants to take him back to Oleg's Post, so I'll move things along to that effect. You can decide what to do with him once there, or OOC.
You strip the bandits' camp. By the time you have finished, it is mid-morning. White clouds gather in the sky above the canopy of trees, and a gentle snow begins to fall. The ground and the trees' branches and needles are soon dusted in a fine layer of powdery snow. You reach Merrin and the horses and begin the ride back towards Oleg's Post. This time, though, you do not draw a straight route back. Instead, you spend the rest of the day on horseback, tracing the contours of the Greenbelt. Through the morning, you follow the Thorn River's winding path to the northwest. Then you double back, traversing the snow covered pine forest. The entire area is densely populated with evergreens, tangled and thick in some places, but spread out into more welcoming paths and groves in others. All of the trees are ancient and gnarled. Here and there, you notice small hunting trails, rabbit traps, and other signs of minimal human existence.
D4 Explored! 25 EXP
5 Gozren, 4708
You continue to meander your way back towards Oleg's Post. Taking note of each hill and dale of the Greenbelt, it takes you the entire day to explore this section of the forest. The sun melts away yesterdays snowfall, and by the time night has fallen, you have cleared the treeline.
D3 Explored! 25 EXP
6 Gozran, 4708
The night passes without incident. Today, clouds continue to menace in the sky, but there comes neither snow nor rain. The grasses of the plains surrounding Oleg's Post are buffeted by a strong easterly wind that sweeps down over you. At noon, the gates of the Post are in sight.
You are greeted by an unfamiliar sight. A pair of men stand above the gate on the palisade. One of them wears a suit of grey chain mail, with a surcoat embroidered with the red, two headed dragon on yellow and white that is the symbol of Brevoy. He has a crossbow, you note, and it is pointed in your direction. The other is slightly taller, with brown hair that verges on black, and a chiselled face. He wears heavier armour than his fellow: dulled silver plate mail, over which a similar, though slightly more extravagant, tabard is worn. "Hold," he commands. "State your business. Heavily armed parties are not common here."