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Gregor stops and takes his time looking at the lake, the area around the lake, the area around the area around the lake... He generally tries to guess what could have happened and how to most safely approach whoever made it happen.
Like if it could be an ambush at day or is it too open, or it could be a campsite and ambush at night or those corpses could have been chased there and had no route to escape, what locations have good view at the site, including locations on other sides of the site etc. Also if there are one or more ways to approach and if it is possible to approach stealthily.
Spot: 10+5 = 15, eventually 20+5 = 25
Knowledge: Nature (1d20+1)
Knowledge: Local (1d20) max 10
A teardrop shaped crater about a mile across. The floor largely devoid of topsoil and supporting only some scrubby plants. The rim of the crater, on all sides bar the northern breach through which flows the Whitewater and, to the south, the Razor from which you've come, is fused stone slightly elevated above the dark, surrounding forest. The Lake of the Whitewater would provide a convenient water source but it also cuts down movement options.
You wouldn't camp here, it's a perfect place for an ambush. The rim of the crater makes a perfect hiding spot for any ambush. It's a little large. They'd have some rounds of warning, but what would they do with it?
You notice that the bloodtrail is more spread out here. The mule still had the strength or the terror to run.
Korgoth hears the words of the orc and saddly shakes his head "Nay, I have yet to be granted that kind of power by Thor, it requires a heavy price to bring back someone from the dead. Aye we should use caution I don't like the smell of this place... perhaps we should take a look around in the surrounding area before approaching the lake?"
I really appreciate what pathfinder did to the skills system.... made it so much easier to make custom characters with little quirks and hobbies.
A big shout out to Kymme for the fantabulous custom Avatar
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((sorry for those who've already got this information))
Teardrop-shaped crater, about a mile wide, with the broad end facing north broken by the breach of the Whitewater. The rim and floor have a slagged look, with little but scrub plants growing on the meager soil. Around the rim is dark forest.
Not a place to linger in, is everyone's judgement. In fact, it looks like you're nearing an object lesson in what happens if you do.
Of course, Whitewater Rip and Ashdown are at peace, so maybe people are a little more careless than might be considered normal. Also, bypassing the area would, by the looks of things, lead to wasting several hours moving through the surrounding forest.
Wish I had something more to say. This geography looks like what you'd expect if people were throwing epic-level evocations around a couple of thousand years ago.
Gregor decides on what he thinks is the best way to approach a place where he would camp if he were an to set an ambush and proposes to go that way. He'd like to either ambush the ambushers or see them from afar.
Delphi moves about ten yards away from the main group, her sling out and her movements soft and quiet. She tries to think like an ambusher, imagining how she would slip through the low-lying cover and attack unsuspecting prey. She looks around the rim of the crater, attempting to spot anything moving.
Take 10 on Hide and Move Silently for a 22 and a 20, respectively.
She'll Search the pack later, when we have time. She has a +6 in Search, and the skills to be a trapfinder. Do we have an overlap in that department?
"Wait, Horbin. Whoever is there, they'll wait a bit more. I guess we take a bit east, moving on outer side of the rim with Dardiana and Delphi leading the way. I do not want to get to the position of ambushee before I visit the position of ambusher. Let's play it safe."
((DM posts without waiting for debate. Because DM has day off))
A grand piano falls from the sky and inexplicable splatters Korgoth over the surrounding scenery. A Gazebo appears, roaring with hunger from the forest.
Working your way around the rim takes a while, but it all seems quiet and it's good to be cautious.
The trees here are the same as south of the mountains, tall, brown, and spiky.
You work your way around the rim of the Fall until you approach the north-eastern "corner". Then, you see bloodstains and drag marks across your path. The tracks of men and mules. And a copy of "Half-Orcettes Half-Dressed" monthly. Which somebody appears to have left here.
If anyone wants to examine it, either physically or magically, they are welcome to. Otherwise, Grath is very embarrassed at seeing the graphic imagery, snaps it closed, and puts it away in his pack for later review. He mutters, "I always wondered what the fuss was about. I'm starting to get an idea."
Gregor wants to first check possible observation points that ambushers might leave on the ridge, then follow the trail. I guess Delphi will do most of stealth mode, with Gregor riding any recommended distance behind and like 20 feet to the side. He will not ride directly on the trail as long as the trail is obvious to others.
((Not sure. But guessing from his own experience of robbing and ambushing, Gregor thinks nothing of value should be left on the site. If anyone wants to check, Gregor will first check all probable observation spots and then let them.))
The "site" on the shore of the lake. And sorry for the list format.
-One mule-dead. No packsaddle
-One human female-dead. Arrow and slashing wounds. Dark skin. Looks a little like Ingva's by-blow daughter. Tattoos up both arms. No weapons, but a shortspear quiver on her back.
-One Half-Orc male-dead. COD same as above. Blond, oddly enough. Old scar over left eye. Battleaxe in hand.
--BOTH the above are wearing mail shirts and a bronze gorget bearing the words "REICH CAVARANIENSTAFFL"
-One older male-dead. Full beard. Richly dressed. Fingers show signs of having rings pulled from them. Dagger in hand.
-Two human males-dead, leather armour, red cloak. Shortswords near them. Shields by their sides. One has a cut splitting his head apart, plus multiple bite marks as from small animals. The other looks like he got an Eldritch blast critical to the face. After getting chewed on by small animals.
-One half-elf female-dead, leather armour, red cloak. This one's lying a bit apart from the others, like she was sniping from the rim. Leather armour and no shield. Shortbow, but quiver is empty. Shortspear stuck in the gut.
EDIT: Oh yeah, Ravens. I should just stop mentioning them. There'll be a lot.
Dardiana goes to each corpse in turn and looks them over. When she was done with that, she spoke up, "There was a battle here. Redcloaks versus the merchant and his guards, most likely. The older male would most likely be the trader." She looks around, trying to find tracks of more men having moved around this place.
On a general note; you notice an odd pattern to things. Some things of value have been looted and others (like the mail shirts of the guards) not.
You do find an amulet behind a rock. It takes the form of twelve snakes curving counter-clockwise outward from a central hub, which itself takes the form of a vertically-pupiled eye. The whole has the look of copper, but the iris of the eye is set with some kind of greenish stone. It is bound by a fine chain of steel links.
And everyone, even in the thin soil of the Fall, can spot the bloodstains, drag-marks, hoof-prints, and footprints leading to the north-east, past Gregor's position.
Grath, who stayed above the "crater," follows the blood stains, I guess towards the woods? Away from the crater, at least. He doesn't go too far, maybe 50-100' or to the edge of the woods, whatever comes first. He is trying to move slowly and silently, but is ready to shout for help if he's attacked and still has his bow ready and nocked.
Spot - don't fail me now: (1d20-1)
move silent (don't complain if he rolls a nat 1, but I better not) (1d20-1)