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Melchiresa
Jun 21, 2006

Nice guy.
Tries hard.
Loves hot dogs The Game.


One day, however it happened – by courier or by note - you received a message. It was cryptic – simply stating, “You have proven yourself well. If it should interest you, I have a task that only one of your skill and renown can complete, with a great reward awaiting you.’ The message ended with a meeting place that appeared to be in the middle of nowhere. Something about this note, despite its cryptic nature, compels you to respond and meet the author of the message. You arrive at the meeting place and are greeted…



“Greetings, honored guests! My name is Daclamitus. Please, please! Make yourselves at home. I should trust that you know why I have asked for your presence, but I am certain you all have had quite the long, treacherous journeys to reach me. Allow me to help you settle in?”

Without awaiting a response, the man putters around the simple dwelling built into the side of a small mesa in the Black Sands, seeking refreshments for the weary travelers before him. He sets a plain wooden bowl, stocked high with various fruits, and a bowl of water on a table and gestures warmly to help themselves. Fortunately for these travelers, the man’s choice of residence provides some comfort from the fury of the sun outside. The inside of the dwelling is simply decorated, with shelving appearing to be carved into the stone walls. He has small rugs and simple wooden chairs and tables. Most remarkably, he has books. These books are a puzzling sight, considering most common folk can pass an entire lifetime without having read a written word – let alone an entire book.

The man smiles warmly and clasps his hands together. “Let us begin, shall we? We have much work to do. “I don’t believe that I need to provide any of you with a history lesson as to why this world is the way it is.” He tuts quietly, shakes his head, and slowly begins to pace. “It’s such a shame, isn’t it? Slavery, bloodsport, defiling magic, desolation, hunger. Hopelessness. All of it. Surely, you all have encountered your fair share of suffering to reach the renown you have.”

He pauses for a beat and ceases pacing. He faces his guests and meets each of their gazes. “What I have summoned you here for is no small task, by any means. It took millennia – eons, even, for the world to reach this depraved state. However, all hope is not lost. I have offered you a great reward for your assistance. Unfortunately, this reward is not monetary. As you can see,” he sweeps his hand around the room,” I have no currency, no jewels, no power to offer you. But the reward I do have for you is much greater than that. That reward is a living, breathing Athas. A world with water and grass – not silt and sand. An Athas without sorcerer-kings or slavers. Your reward will be knowing that you brought Athas back to life.”

He pauses and observes the party, then gently chuckles to himself. “It sounds preposterous, doesn’t it? Impossible, even. But I assure you It most certainly isn’t. It’s quite possible. It will not be a simple task. If it were, this would have happened centuries ago. Though, even though the world took eons to reach this state, it can be awoken much more quickly than that. I will guide you. All I ask is for your trust.”
He holds his hands out, palms up, in a gesture of openness. After a beat, he straightens his posture and draws in a breath. He appears to be determined, drawing strength from some long stored reserve of fortitude.

“We must not tarry. Our first step to waking this world from its slumber is to visit some ruins. Specifically, the temple ruins in the Black Spine Mountains. Its doors have not been open for centuries…perhaps it is time they reopened.”

The old man allows this statement to sink in for a moment. “Reopening the doors is not as simple as turning a knob, or pulling a handle.” The man chuckles to himself, although the joke is unclear. “The temple has been untended in all the time its doors have been closed. Unholy creatures have made the ruins their nest. Before the temple can be used for its intended purpose, these beasts must be disposed of and the area must be cleansed. I have not laid eyes on the temple personally in quite some time, so I cannot tell you specifically how to do so.” His eyes twinkle and a warm smile crosses his face, “however I am sure with your collective experiences and expertise, you will be able to work that out yourselves. Before you arrive at temple, you must pass through the village of Cromlin, at the foot of the Black Spine mountains. It used to be a charming outpost, but it has changed quite a bit over the years. Please, give my regards to the steward of House Shom?”

He claps his hands together and rubs them together briefly. “That reminds me! Perhaps you should take a moment to become acquainted with one another? If you feel it necessary, I am happy to provide you with whatever information I can to begin your journey, so feel free to ask any questions. Once you have completed your task, meet me at Arkhold.”

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Melchiresa
Jun 21, 2006

Nice guy.
Tries hard.
Loves hot dogs The Game.


(Reserved)

OOC thread: https://forums.somethingawful.com/s...hreadid=3841105

Dick Burglar
Mar 6, 2006

ROBBLE ROBBLE ROBBLE!


Jascha the Lost

The elf is the last to enter the building, following shortly after the others. He is clothed head-to-toe in loose-fitting robes and carrying a heavy bow* and a quiver full of arrows. After glancing about the interior and noting its inhabitants, the elf removes his headscarf, revealing a deeply tanned, weather-worn face. He props his bow* up against the wall by the door and offers a nod to everyone in the room.

None of the faces here are familiar. This is a good thing.

"Thank you for your hospitality, Daclamitus." The elf says in a coarse voice. He offers a weak smile and takes a piece of fruit. Turning to address the rest of the audience, he presents an exaggerated bow** at the waist. After he rises, his face fixes to a stern, more serious expression as he eyes the others. "I am the Lost... and, to our host, I suppose I am also the found. In any case, I am a huntsman and tracker. And, if we are to work together, I would prefer to know with whom I am working."

The elf relaxes a bit and takes a bite from his fruit, rind and all.

* the weapon
** the gesture
drat you, heteronyms!

Leaving this here for later use:

pre:
Jascha   						 
HP: 74/74 (THP: __)      AC:   27    Passive Insight: 22
Surges: 7/7 (V: 19)      For:  23    Passive Perception: 26
Initiative: +11  	 Ref:  27    Action Points: 1
Speed: 7     	         Will: 25    Vision: Low-light
Languages: Common, Elven

At Will			Encounter			     Daily
Sensing Eye (Minor)     [ ] Elven Accuracy                   [ ] Healing Lore    
Hunter's Quarry (M.)    [ ] Invigorating Stride              [ ] Sure Shot            
Summon Armor (Minor)    [ ] Second Wind                      [ ] Spitting Cobra Stance
Nimble Strike           [ ] Defensive Volley                 [ ] Attacks on the Run
Twin Strike             [ ] Fox's Cunning
                        [ ] Disruptive Strike
                        [ ] Combined Fire
                        [ ] Biting Volley
                        [ ] Wind Fury Assault
                        

Item Powers
[ ] Screaming Bow (Daily)
[ ] Rain of Hammers Ki Focus (Daily)
[ ] Silt Sandals (Daily)


Conditionals/Passives:

Reactive Stealth: If you have any cover or concealment when you roll initiative, can make a Stealth check to hide.
Superior Will: Can make a save against daze/stun at the start of your turn, even if it is not a (save ends) effect.
Hunter's Aim: You don't take the normal -2 penalty to attack rolls against your quarry if it has cover/concealment.
Hobbling Strike: Can forego one Hunter's Quarry die to slow target until the end of your next turn.
World Serpent's Grasp: When you hit slowed/immobilized enemy, can knock it prone.
Grounding Shot: Ignore attack penalty for ranged attack vs prone target, and deal +2 damage to prone enemies.
Silt Sandals: Ignore difficult terrain and leave no tracks in dirt, sand, silt. Can move across non-solid surfaces.
     If you end your turn on a non-solid surface, you sink. 

Dick Burglar fucked around with this message at Dec 7, 2017 around 04:38

Wol
Dec 15, 2012

See you in the
UNDERDARK




Shaiha Nilil


“My name is Shaiha Nilil. I am a doctor. Charmed to meet you all.” Sitting cross-legged in a battered wooden chair at the side of the room, Shaiha gives the assembled strangers a wink and a slight bow. She doesn’t quite know what to make of them yet. They must all be adventurers of some sort, she figures, or at least distinguished warriors. Judging by their clothes, they haven’t all been as fortunate in life as her, but Shaiha figures they must have distinguished themselves in some way to be standing here. Yes, she trusts their competence. Their character, she will have to wait to judge. For now, it is not her potential new comrades but Daclamitus that occupies her thoughts. Thus far, he’s come across as very likeable, but good hospitality does not mean much in the long run. It doesn’t mean he’s honest. It doesn’t mean he knows what he’s doing. At the very least, he’s not telling them much about the temple he wants them to visit.

“So, Daclamitus. About the Black Spine Mountains temple.” Shaiha turns the name over in her mind, trying to recall what she’s heard about it before. She takes a quick sip of water before continuing, savouring its clarity. “What does this place have to do with restoring Athas? What do you expect us to find there?”


______________________________

History: 1d20+16 = 22 to see what general information I know about the Black Spine ruins

Phoneposting. Will edit a combat block in once I have access to a computer.

Wol fucked around with this message at Dec 4, 2017 around 04:10

LogicNinja
Jan 21, 2011

...the blur blurs blurringly across the blurred blur in a blur of blurring blurriness that blurred...


The first to arrive--already waiting, munching on a sliver of pink fruit meticulously peeled out of a prickly brown skin--is an entirely non-descript human man: average height, an unremarkable build, brown eyes, a moderate tan, a closed-off posture. He watches the others as they arrive, taking them in.

It's not until Daclamitus has finished speaking that he steps forward, having apparently come to some sort of decision regarding the gathered strangers. There's a ripple in the air, running up and down his body, and then in place of the unremarkable human stands a tall man with the pointed ears of someone with elven blood. He's whipcord-lean, more wiry than strong, with, wearing a desert traveler's loose pale garb. He has high cheekbones, a sharp nose, the long fingers of a harper or a thief; his eyes are a faint violet and his gaze has an almost physical force, a pressure on the skin. He has a presence that defies his lean build and mild demeanour, one that was entirely absent when he was in disguise, as if the air around him was thicker than normal and would resist approach.

He's not unknown to some of those gathered.

Jascha remembers a glmpse of a man like this in the thick of the unrest in Raam; Shaiha once saw him, bleeding profusely, gritting his teeth and refusing to scream on her surgeon's table as she cut poisoned obsidian shards out of him; Kayode might recall seeing him in Draj, shortly before Kalak's shocking demise.

"Sathain," he says, and the sound of his birth-name, rather than that of an assumed identity, is a little strange in his mouth. "A warrior, and I'm not bad with people. Most of the time."

LogicNinja fucked around with this message at Dec 3, 2017 around 22:40

Wahad
May 19, 2011



Everything by design.



Kayode "Baba" Babatunde

"Ho-hum." Baba's voice rumbles into the crowded little hut, deep and resonant. The old merchant strokes his beard as his eyes scan the group. "My name is Kayode, of the house of Babatunde. I shall endeavor to keep you all safe as we traverse the treacherous sands." Though one might have seen him in the past in Tyr with deep-colored cloth and many a bright jewel surrounding him, the old man is dressed much more practically now - a simple robe that shimmers as the light flickers across it, a white cloak in a feather pattern to shield him from the sun, and sturdy sandals. Tapping his staff on the ground, Baba continues: "Master Daclamitus, though the doctor's question is certainly important, I should wish to add one more. You have already addressed the ludicrous nature of this quest. As much as we might all hope for a green Athas to be truth, I would beg for a little more proof of your conviction. I can see you are not mad, but how did you come to know of this? Wherefore pursue you this quest? Forgive my doubts, but I am a businessman at heart, and I did not get where I am on hope alone."

pre:
Kayode   						 
HP: 75/75 (THP: )        AC:   28    Passive Insight: 24
Surges: 7/7 (V: 18)      For:  22    Passive Perception: 19
Initiative: +11  	 Ref:  25    Action Points: 0
Speed: 6     	         Will: 28    Vision: Normal
Power Points:  8         Languages: Common, Primordial

At Will			Encounter			     Daily
Bond of Censure         [ ] Argent Rain                      [ ] Force Spheres    
Dimensional Scramble    [ ] Aspect of Agility                [ ] Mind Blast            
Dishearten              [ ] Dream Blade                      [ ] Strength of Many
Kinetic Buffer          [ ] Far Hand
Manifest Dream Form     [ ] Mind over Flesh
Thought Projection      [ ] Mind Shroud
                        [ ] Oath of Enmity
                        [ ] Relentless Stride
                        [ ] Second Wind

Item Powers
[ ] Raven Cloak (Daily)
[ ] Repulsion Armor (Daily)
[ ] Silt Sandals (Daily)

Conditionals/Resists:
Courageous Mind: +1 to saving throws while bloodied. 
Dominating Mind: When inflicting save ends daze, dominate or stun, target takes -2 to the first save.
Dreaming Advantage: When using an AP to make a psionic attack, gain CA against any enemy adjacent to dream form.
Eyes of the Deep Dwarf: Gain darkvision as long as you have one PP.
Human Ingenuity: When using an AP, regain a PP. 
Raven Cloak: Resist 5 cold and necrotic.
Silt Sandals: Ignore difficult terrain and leave no tracks in dirt, sand, silt. Can move across non-solid surfaces.
If you end your turn on a non-solid surface, you sink. 
Staff of Expertise: Do not provoke OAs from ranged or area attacks with a staff. Melee attacks with a staff get reach 1.
Superior Will: Save vs daze and stun at the start of your turn. 

LogicNinja
Jan 21, 2011

...the blur blurs blurringly across the blurred blur in a blur of blurring blurriness that blurred...


Sathain gives Kayode a nod, and directs his too-intense gaze at their host, seconding his question.

Old Kentucky Shark
May 25, 2012

If you think you're gonna get sympathy from the shark, well then, you won't.


Haunted Zevra


Zevra sits in a corner, peeling a small, knobbly green fruit with an obsidian razor identical to the ones carefully woven into her braided hair. She's a smallish woman, with sun-darkened skin and pale, washed out eyes, dressed in ragged grey tatters with bits of bone and chitin strapped on to make a loose, makeshift armor. Her face is painted white, with colorful whorls on her cheeks and lips, and she wears some animal's skull as a helm. So, basically, she's dressed like your stereotypical desert witch. At her feet is crouched the translucent, flickering shape of some sort of ethereal loping desert predator you've never seen before. When she arrived, she came in, gave a friendly wave, and picked a seat that would give her plenty of room, pulled up a chair for someone who isn't, apparently, there, and proceeded to have a whispered conversation with someone only she could see.

"I'm Zevra," she says, when called on to introduce herself. "I'm a witch and speaker for the dead. I do your basic witching; healing," she gives an appreciative nod to Shaiha, "herb-lore, and spirit summoning." She shrugs. "Also, killing. This is Dog," she adds, reaching down to stroke the ghost at her feet. It yawns, displaying pointed teeth, and then presses its nose more firmly against its butt.

"If we're asking questions, I've got one: this place? It's a temple to what, exactly?"

pre:
Haunted Zevra   						 
HP: 76/76 (THP: __)      AC:   24    Passive Insight: 25
Surges: 9/9 (V: 19)      For:  23    Passive Perception: 27
Initiative: +10  	 Ref:  25    Action Points: 1
Speed: 6     	         Will: 26    Vision: Low-light
Languages: Common, Elven

At Will			Encounter			     Daily
Spirit Infusion		[ ] [ ] Healing Spirit		[ ] Spirit of the healing Flood    
Spirit of the Tempest	[ ] Ironbreaker Claws		[ ] Ancient Progenitor’s Spirit            
Voice of Battle		[ ] Granite Armor		[ ] Ancient Warlord’s Inspiration
Call Spirit Companion	[ ] Blood-Red Mist                    
Spirit’s Wrath		[ ] Intellect Pummel
Summon Armor (Minor)	[ ] Speak With Spirits
                      	[ ] Engaging Pursuit
                        [ ] Insightful Warning
			[ ]Twilight’s Veil

Ghost Dog Companion
HP: 38/38 (THP: __)		AC:   26    Passive Perception 29 
Surges: -			For:  24    
Initiative: - 			Ref:  24    
Speed: 6  			Will: 24

Conditionals/Passives:

Resist 10 Fire
Elemental Spirit: Allies adjacent to the Spirit Companion gain +2 to saving throws
Spirit of Vigor: When Spirit is summoned as a minor action, one adjacent ally gains +4 Temp HP
Healing Spirit: When Healing spirit is used, target makes a saving throw, one ally adjacent to Spirit Companion heals 3d6 HP, all gain 6 temp HP
Spirit’s Step: When Spirit Companion is dismissed, one adjacent ally can shift 1 square.
Spiteful Retaliation: if enemy’s attack causes spirit to disappear, enemy is dazed UENT.
Spirit Companion: Conjuration. Uses Zevra's defenses. Can’t flank. Occupies 1 square. Allies can move through, enemies can’t.  Can make OAs from enemy movement but nothing else. 
Can’t be target of area attacks. If dealt 15 damage by single attack, disappears, and Zevra takes 10 damage. Can’t be affected by conditions or forced movement, ignores difficult and hazardous terrain.
Dog Companion Aura: Allies adjacent to dog companion can teleport within aura as move action, enemies give Zevra combat advantage
Totem Expertise: ignore partial Concealment/Cover

Old Kentucky Shark fucked around with this message at Dec 3, 2017 around 18:53

Unknown Quantity
Sep 2, 2011

!
Steven? Steven?!
STEEEEEEVEEEEEEEN!



Good King Gnarglenog

The gnoll stands with crossed arms, sizing up everyone within the room, pacing about like a dog waiting for a new meal to appear. Speaking of which, he does not even so much as give the fruits within the room a second glance. Jascha aside, he has a small grin adorning his face after his appraisal of each person ends. Towering above most if not everyone within the room certainly gives him an air of superiority as well. With a hearty chuckle at the mention of Dog, whom he had a seemingly higher appraisal of than its owner, his gaze turns towards the elf.

"You work with Good King Gnarglenog, Lord of Fowler's Craw, and leader of the largest Gnoll pack in Athas! As do the rest of you! But this matters not, as Gnarglenog is a capable leader of more than just Gnolls, and will lead you all into glorious battle against these 'beasts' that block our entry. I'm fairly certain only the archer and myself have the conviction to spearhead this effort, but perhaps after getting our first taste of blood together, you will impress me. Gnarglenog has no questions for any of you, but a single demand: show Gnarglenog some conviction, and tell him of what drives you. This goes for you too, quest-giver. Gnarglenog, for example, is driven by the desire for blood, meat, and the greater good of the pack."

Placing himself into an armchair that is just large enough to contain him if he reclines against it, Gnarglenog awaits the responses with bated breath and a satisfied expression upon his face.

pre:
Good King Gnarglenog   						 
HP: 80/80 (THP: __)      AC:   28    Passive Insight: 20
Surges: 11/11 (V: 20)    For:  24    Passive Perception: 17
Initiative: +11  	 Ref:  26    Action Points: 1
Speed: 10     	         Will: 24    Vision: Low-light
Languages: Abyssal, Common

At Will			               Encounter			                           Daily
Five Storms		              [ ] Second Wind	                   	        [ ] Masterful Spiral   
Fallen Needle	                      [ ] Ferocious Charge	                	[ ] Water Gives Way       
Iron Soul Flurry of Blow              [ ] Open the Gates of Battle		        [ ] Tsunami Throw
Agile Recovery	                      [ ] Eternal Mountain                              [ ] Lesser Elixir of Speed
Spider Technique		      [ ] Bonecrusher
Psionic Spark	                      [ ] Eyes of the Basilisk
                                      [ ] Quicksilver Motion
                                      [ ] Cloth of the Charging Wind

Opportunity Attack: +19 vs AC, 1d6+9 damage, Crits on 19-20 for Ongoing 10 damage (save ends)

Conditionals/Passives:

Blood Fury: +2 damage when Bloodied
Pack Attack: +2 melee damage against enemies with 2 or more allies adjacent to it
River Rat: Enemies do not gain an attack bonus for flanking you
Basilisk's Boon: +2 to saving throws vs Immobilize, Restrain, or Slow effects
Internalize the Basic Kata: +Dex to MBA attack/damage, can Flurry of Blows off of an OA
Superior Will: Make saving throws vs Stunned or Dazed at start of turn, even if not a (save ends) effect
If Attacked by a Non-Minion while Bloodied: Will use Water Gives Way, or Tsunami Throw if there are 2+ enemies that can be hit by the secondary attack.

Wol
Dec 15, 2012

See you in the
UNDERDARK




Shaiha Nilil

“A loud mouth does not make a leader. Hush, Gnarglenog. I want to hear what Daclamitus has to say.”

Wol fucked around with this message at Dec 4, 2017 around 04:10

Melchiresa
Jun 21, 2006

Nice guy.
Tries hard.
Loves hot dogs The Game.


Daclamitus smiles warmly and nods his head. “All quite reasonable questions. I came to know of this temple through many long years of traveling the wastes and extensive research. Much of that research was done at great personal risk, so I am sure you can understand my reluctance to share further details. Why I pursue this quest? Because I, like you all before me, have seen the struggles just to survive on Athas. I have obtained all of the information that I am able. While I am not a businessman, I can recognize a ripe opportunity to act. That being said – I can understand that mere hope is not always the sturdiest of things to cling to. Should you require further motivation, there are treasures in these temples that should allow for comfortable living upon the completion of our task.”

“To your second question. This temple is dedicated to the element of Air. From my research, I have found that the Old Gods of Athas oversaw elements of the world. These gods are long dead, but I believe their power lives on in relics remaining in the temples. You must restore the temple to its former glory in order to obtain the relic. This temple will appear to be inaccessible, but you will require a guide to get there. That guide’s name is Bevus. Unfortunately, I have not spoken to him in years as we have lost touch over time. I am quite certain you will be able to find him if you ask for him.”

LogicNinja
Jan 21, 2011

...the blur blurs blurringly across the blurred blur in a blur of blurring blurriness that blurred...


"Gods!" Sathain gives a bitter laugh. "You think they were real, even ages ago? But elemental relics... That sounds more plausible. I've seen the power of such things myself, though in the wrong hands. Where will we find this Bevus? And what guardians await us at this temple?"

Old Kentucky Shark
May 25, 2012

If you think you're gonna get sympathy from the shark, well then, you won't.




"Liar! He is lying! Kill the bearded one and the elf and quit this place! This detour brings me no closer to either vengeance or grandchildren!"


"Shut up mom," Zevra says, almost absentmindedly, to the air. "But she does have a point: you are concealing the truth from us, Daclamitus. Research? What research? How can you even read?" Zevra herself can't, exactly, although there are a few spirits she can call on to translate. "This seems more like a trap than an opportunity. How do we know we can trust you?" Zevra opens herself to her Sight, looking at not just Damaclitus but the air around him. Few men of true power or danger survive to an old age without being haunted by literal or metaphorical ghosts.

Insight + Speak with Spirits: 1d20+20 32 to get a sense of whether or not he's lying and to detect outside influence.

Melchiresa
Jun 21, 2006

Nice guy.
Tries hard.
Loves hot dogs The Game.


[Insight] The spirits that you can sense show that he means you no harm - in fact, quite the opposite. The spirits that surround him harbor goodwill and gratitude towards Daclamitus. These spirits seem to wholeheartedly trust him. The spirits appear to be quite emotionally attached to him, like old friends or family members even though they may not have been so in life. Although his statements sound ludicrous, he appears to be telling the truth.

Daclamitus nods gently in consideration of Zevra's questions. "As you have noticed, I have walked this world for quite some time. In that time, I managed to learn to read and write - it's quite astonishing what can be accomplished with time and motivation! And - may I remind you - you are the one who chose to respond to a note to meet with an unknown author at an unknown location. Clearly, some trust lies in your heart?"

He turns to Sathain, "I don't know for certain...however my research tells me that the likelihood is high that these gods were, in fact, real. The temple, once proud, has been overrun by angered, restless spirits. My colleague Bevus has some knowledge of combating these spirits. You will find him in Cromlin, unfortunately I do not know his specific whereabouts as we have lost touch over time."

Dick Burglar
Mar 6, 2006

ROBBLE ROBBLE ROBBLE!

Jascha

"I have heard stories of an artifact of a dead god. I am not sure I believe the stories, but..." Jascha loses focus for a moment. Once he recovers, his gaze fixes on Daclamitus. "I believe they are not to be taken lightly."

Wol
Dec 15, 2012

See you in the
UNDERDARK




Shaiha Nilil

"Hm." Shaiha gives her cup of water a few rhythmic taps, keeping time as she absorbs the conversation. There's a voice inside her telling her not to trust another person claiming to have information on healing Athas. The talk of artifacts and treasure, especially, seems disappointingly familiar. The choice of the Black Spine ruins, however, has her interest irreversibly piqued. She, too, has heard the stories of the ruined temple's former glory. Rumours, legends, one may call them what they will. Shaiha remembers hearing them from a caravan master while traveling with Dejera. The old goliath wove a tale of an elemental air god, capricious but bountiful and kind, from a time when the wind offered succour rather than blinding storms. He had also insisted that the temple was firmly sealed, never to open again. Shaiha and Dejera had considered trying their luck then, but it would have been a long way to travel, and they ultimately settled on easier quarry. Now, Daclamitus's claim of knowing a way into the old temple is something Shaiha can't just ignore.

"That's enough for me. To investigate this ruin, I mean. I guess what we find there will determine if you're really on to something." And I hope you are. Shaiha lets those last words go unsaid, but she's sure Daclamitus can read her expression. "Just one last thing. However you managed to deliver our letters from here," Shaiha looks around as if expecting a courier to jump out from behind a bookcase and greet her, "I trust you can deliver one more? There's someone I'd like to let know that I'll be away."

Wahad
May 19, 2011



Everything by design.



Kayode "Baba" Babatunde

"Aye," Baba agrees, stroking the tip of his moustache with his fingers, "I am still not entirely convinced that this will heal Athas... but I suppose a leap of faith shall be required for any such an undertaking, no matter how much proof there is. I shall accompany those who go. If nothing else, ridding a temple of the restless dead is a noble enough quest." The old man turns to look out the window of the little hut, his eyes scanning the desert ahead. Such a barren waste. Could it really be green, one day? Wasn't it worth a try?

Unknown Quantity
Sep 2, 2011

!
Steven? Steven?!
STEEEEEEVEEEEEEEN!


Good King Gnarglenog

"Bah! Gnarglenog needs no further explanations beyond you pointing in the direction we shall travel! The living dead, if they still have a body, are nothing more than aged meals for Gnarglenog's maw." The Gnoll's pride remains loud and firmly on-display as they continue. "Gnarglenog will ensure The Pack provides enough meat for the road ahead. Gnarglenog will also be waiting for any other preparations to be complete."

LogicNinja
Jan 21, 2011

...the blur blurs blurringly across the blurred blur in a blur of blurring blurriness that blurred...


"I am... not much for temples, ordinarily," Sathain says, and he might be expressing himself more mildly than he normally would for Baba's sake, by his tone and the set of his jaw. "But I am even less favorably inclined towards the undead. Yes, I'll come to Cromlin. I'm sure I'll be able to get this Bevus' location out of the townsfolk."

Dick Burglar
Mar 6, 2006

ROBBLE ROBBLE ROBBLE!


Jascha

"Well then," the elf says, moving to retrieve his bow. "We have our task. Cromlin is a long way from here. Unless there is something to keep us, we should be off. We are losing daylight."

LogicNinja
Jan 21, 2011

...the blur blurs blurringly across the blurred blur in a blur of blurring blurriness that blurred...


Sathain nods, taking up the shield he'd set down and shifting it onto his back. It's a curious thing, a round frame constructed out of some sort of gnarled, dark wood and studded with crystals, the empty space within the frame a ghostly shimmer of psionic force. There's a flare of dull grey light as he touches it, a flicker from his temples, as though something within him is difficult to contain.

"Another hot, dry march." He wraps his pale grey cloak loosely around himself and flips the hood up, to keep the sun off of him. Wrapped in his traveling garb, he looks as gaunt and lean as any full-blooded far-running elf.

Old Kentucky Shark
May 25, 2012

If you think you're gonna get sympathy from the shark, well then, you won't.




"No, I simply don't care very much whether I live or die," Zevra says. "But I trust this man. The spirits favor him." She reaches down to her belt and takes the knife she used to peel fruit; with a flick of her wrist, it becomes a walking stick. "Let's go, then. But with all due respect, I think it'd be more... palatable... if I foraged for food for those who aren't canine."

Melchiresa
Jun 21, 2006

Nice guy.
Tries hard.
Loves hot dogs The Game.


Daclamitus smiles warmly at Shaiha. "Certainly, good doctor. To whom shall I send this message, and how shall it read?"


--------


The journey to Cromlin is long and difficult. Towards the end of the journey, rations are limited and water is sparse but the intrepid group of adventurers is able to complete the trip without any casualties.


The party arrives at the village of Cromlin, near the foot of the Black Spine mountains. From the entrance, you can see the Black Spine Mountains rise sharply in the distance. You can make out, at the highest peak, what appears to be the remains of a once grand temple. In its prime, it must have been a sight to behold. Now, it’s just crumbling rock at the head of a treacherous looking mountain pass, looming ominously over the village.

Cromlin itself buzzes with activity all around the party. Caravaneers are making repairs to their wagons. Pirates argue over their shares of loot. The emporiums are full of people haggling and bartering. A closer look reveals slavers shuffling their cargo off to auction. In the distance is the voice of an auctioneer selling slaves to the highest bidder. Near the entrance of the village are some silt sailors loading cargo. People of all stripes – elves, even! - flit in and out of establishments and residences.

Wol
Dec 15, 2012

See you in the
UNDERDARK




Shaiha Nilil

Before the party leaves Daclamitus's house, Shaiha takes a few minutes to pen a letter to her former adventuring partner.

My dearest friend,

Sorry I did not tell you I was leaving, but I thought I'd only be gone a few days. Things have changed. My priority, as always, is the restoration of Athas. That's why I came with you in the first place, but lately I feel we have begun to differ. That's why a couple days ago I decided to respond to another offer of the same. It looks promising. I will be following it for now. Remember the night we spent in the abandoned belgoi camp, and what the goliath told us? I am following up on that. I wish I could say more, but I do not trust more to paper. Stay well and I hope to see you again soon.

Yours,
SN.


Shaiha considers adding more, like "please think well of me", but decides against it. She's sure Dejera will be at least a little hurt by her departure, but begging for forgiveness in a letter somehow doesn't feel right to her. Having finished, she crisply folds the letter and pours on a dollop of alchemical wax to seal it like Dejera showed her. It brings to mind all the things Dejera has taught her since they met - customs, lore, curious information known only to Athas's nobility. There's no denying Dejera is directly responisble for her relatively privileged position in Draj, and indirectly responsible for the opportunity she now finds herself presented with. As she hands Daclamitus the letter, her lip trembles. She can't help but feel guilty for leaving behind someone who has done so much for her. Dejera probably would have come, too, if she asked. She would have been excited to come, especially after hearing about their current destination. But it was Shaiha to whom Daclamitus wrote, and it is Shaiha who now stands among a group of new compatriots, about to set off for the Black Spine mountains. Nothing else remains but to go with them.

"Daclamitus, please deliver this letter to Dejera Seba of Draj, with - with my greatest love and humblest apologies." She turns to see the rest of the party gathering up their things, Baba motioning her toward the door. "It's the least I can do."


----------------------------


When the party arrives in Cromlin, Shaiha pushes her filter mask down and takes in a deep breath. The air stinks of dung and sweat, but at least it's better than getting sand blown in her face. She clears her throat, spitting out a couple grains of sand that made their way around the mask, and turns to the party. "Okay, first priority. Food and drink. I'm going to see what the marketplace has to offer. Figure it wouldn't hurt to ask some of the merchants for info, either. If this Bevus is some kind of guide, someone who supplies travelers for a living might know him, right? Anyone want to come with me?"

Wol fucked around with this message at Dec 6, 2017 around 09:16

LogicNinja
Jan 21, 2011

...the blur blurs blurringly across the blurred blur in a blur of blurring blurriness that blurred...


Sathain made the journey without a filter mask--just a faint psionic shimmer over his nose and mouth. He, too, takes a deep breath of the town's air, although it's with markedly less distaste than Shaiha.

"I'll join you, Doctor," he says, stepping forward. "I can haggle something out of these merchants, maybe."
She can remember him looking rather different, a bloody mess on her operating table, ribs cracked by a blow from something massive, the flesh over that entire side one massive purple bruise, poisoned obsidian shards in his flesh. He'd refused to scream, but dull-grey light had flared from him as she worked, shoving her furniture around and making a mess. He had been noteworthy more for what wasn't inside him than what was. Most men look the same when you open them up, but he'd lacked the mineral build-up and yellowish deposits near the joints that are giveaways of the unhealthy diet of virtually everyone on Athas . From the way he'd looked when cut open, he had more in common with a noble who could feast well on a variety of meats and fruits, deriving nutrition from a variety of sources, than that of a waste-runner who had to take what he found.

He steps forward to stand at her side, and as he does, he flips the hood of his cloak up, and then back down, and when it lowers he looks nothing like he did. He's that unremarkable brown-haired, brown-eyed human again, just like he'd been when Damaclitus' guests had first entered.

LogicNinja fucked around with this message at Dec 6, 2017 around 11:16

Unknown Quantity
Sep 2, 2011

!
Steven? Steven?!
STEEEEEEVEEEEEEEN!


Good King Gnarglenog

Gnarglenog, as befitting a creature known to roam the wastes great distances and devour carrion, was unphased by either the trip or the sights and smells of their destination. Flipping through the pages of an aging manual of some type and scratching their temples in obvious confusion at trying to comprehend the words within, the gnoll speaks up as the others begin to head off. "This is fine. Gnarglenog would rather take, but understands concept of supply and demand. Speaking of demand, this says to 'sample' the..." he continues to try mouthing out the word until he seems frustrated, closing the book. "Rrrgh! Gnarglenog does not know the word, but understands the meaning, and will be heading to bar to find this Bevus as well as drinks and a table. Those who wish to witness Gnarglenog doing so are free to join."

Without even waiting for a response from the others, he begins stomping his way into the village, making a beeline for the nearest location with a mug or similar beverage-based symbol adorning it. His gait does not deviate in the slightest, regardless of those who may be in front of or passing him. He in fact pays them no mind, as if they weren't there at all. If there is in fact a doorway, the gnoll will express a surprising amount of forethought and duck slightly as they enter so as to not hit their head on the doorway or the ceiling due to their excessive height.

Dick Burglar
Mar 6, 2006

ROBBLE ROBBLE ROBBLE!


Jascha

The trail to Cromlin is unpleasant, but thankfully unremarkable. During the journey, Jascha spotted the remnants of a caravan that had clearly been forced off the trail and raided. The remains were fairly old, but nevertheless it left the hunter on edge for the duration of the trip.

Once in town, Jascha finds Cromlin fairly similar to other backwoods trading posts he's been to: these places are by no means lawless, but they are still dangerous. The guards typically don't intervene in the small fights that inevitably break out, only coming around when the scene is large enough to warrant their appearance to maintain order. Easy to get a knife in the back if you anger the wrong party. And, while he has no worries about Shaiha and Sathain conducting themselves, the elf can't help but be concerned when the oafish 'king' sets off on his own.

"Someone has to make sure he doesn't make too much trouble. I'll follow him," Jascha says to the group and sets off at a light jog to catch up to Gnarglenog. As he catches up to the gnoll, he turns back to the group and cups his hands to his mouth. "Kayode," he calls out. "Can you find out the movers-and-shakers in town? Meet us at the bar after!" Or maybe the jail, the elf thinks.

Dick Burglar fucked around with this message at Dec 6, 2017 around 19:46

Wahad
May 19, 2011



Everything by design.


Kayode "Baba" Babatunde

Kayode remains mostly quiet throughout the journey, lost in thought. He does remain alert, in case of scavengers or bandits, but fortunately such trouble is far away. The sight of Cromlin brings him joy, however. No matter how dirty and backwoods it may be, it is still a place of commerce; and whatever else, the flow of currency is still the merchant's field of expertise. "Ho there, Doctor, master Sathain, allow an old merchant to accompany you. We may run into an acquaintance of mine who can tell us of this Bevus!" He falls in line with the two, motioning reassuringly to Jascha who heads off to contain Gnarglenog's manners. "Now, shall we about? The market is bustling, and it shall bring us much opportunity!" The old man seems to liven up quite a bit as they step off into the market, his eyes glittering with mirthful perception.

Old Kentucky Shark
May 25, 2012

If you think you're gonna get sympathy from the shark, well then, you won't.




For her part, Zevra is a quiet, amiable enough companion on the journey to Cromlin, except for her occasional habit of holding a conversation with a mother only she seems to be able to hear -- although if any of you doubt or want proof that there's an entity on the other side of her conversation, she'll cheerfully summon a desiccated, howling ghost of vengeance on command. Other than that, she doesn't argue or pick fights, not even with Jascha, and seems quite comfortable in the silent, searing desert wastes. It's only when the group draws close to the town itself that she seems to grow antsy.

At the edge of Cromlin she draws up short. "Dog," she says, to her ghostly pet. "Stay. Try not to be seen. I'll come get you when night falls."

When the party splits up, she follows Jascha and 'Nog. "I'll stitch up the wounded," she explains.

Melchiresa
Jun 21, 2006

Nice guy.
Tries hard.
Loves hot dogs The Game.


Team Marketplace:

The marketplace bustles with activity. Merchants hawk their wares and prospective buyers haggle. The footpaths are full of customers and workers making their ways between stalls. At some points, it requires some jostling to get around the bystanders. A slave auction is underway out of immediate sight of passers-by. Near the peddlers of dried meat and jerky are the spice merchants. One of the merchants is particularly gregarious and friendly with his customers. Even his haggling resembles a conversation between friends rather than a business deal.

Team Bar:

You can tell that the Dusty Lizard is rowdy even before you walk in. Upon approach, a mul is bodily tossed out into the street by a goliath bouncer. The mul attempts to argue his way back in, but after the bouncer glowers wordlessly at him he chooses to walk away. As you enter the bar, the background noise turns into a roar. The patrons seem somewhat concerned by the appearance of a gnoll, but not enough to be distracted from their socializing.

In the back corner of the dimly lit establishment sits a hard-faced mul, surrounded on both sides by a posse of associates. He studies the group intensely, Gnarglegnog especially, as he takes long pulls from his drink.

LogicNinja
Jan 21, 2011

...the blur blurs blurringly across the blurred blur in a blur of blurring blurriness that blurred...


Sathain

Sathain approaches the friendly merchant and engages him, sniffing a sampling of powdered spice. "My friend, your sign is wrong! This can not be khren, it's twice the price of khren!"

And just like that, he goes to work. From the spices at hand, he segues into the spice trade in general. From there, he builds the conversation like a ziggurat: first, a broad, safe base, then level after level, each smaller than the one before. How the trade has been in Cromlin, then how Cromlin has fared recently, then the residents. Then, at last, the top of the ziggurat: Bevus.
"Glad it's thriving. Haven't been here in years and years, but I made a friend or two when I last came. There was a fellow, Bevus... he still around? How's he doing?" He takes three small bags of various spices; passes over the settled-upon coin.


---


Bluff: 1d20+14 18
Using Fast Talk to reroll the Bluff check.
Bluff: 1d20+14 26


That's better. Bluff is to come across like he just happen to be asking about Bevus incidentally, rather than like he's tracking him.

Unknown Quantity
Sep 2, 2011

!
Steven? Steven?!
STEEEEEEVEEEEEEEN!


Good King Gnarglenog

Entering the place without so much as a glance at the bouncer, Gnarglenog has a smirk on his maw as he enters, as if he knows something those following him do not. Approaching the bar itself, he slams down a fist containing a singular silver piece before barking out loudly enough to be heard by all. "Barkeep! Gnarglenog and his companions desire refreshments, of whatever type and quantity they desire. For this coin, he will also pay to refill the glass of everyone within this place!" Looking back over towards the crowds at large, he retains his grin and crosses his arms.

"All the Good King asks is that you provide him a table, and for those who wish for more than a second glass of grog to visit him at that table. For the price of a few interesting words about this town, that which lies crumbled past it, or those within, Gnarglenog will approve of your third, or perhaps even fourth drink. However..." he bares his fangs and gives a snarl with his next few words. "...should I find your words be false in hindsight, know that by merely approaching the table and handing me your glass that you give me your scent. A scent that I and my kind can follow effortlessly." Like flipping a switch, he goes right back to smiling. "Now then, let us drink, and make merry! To the generosity of Good King Gnarglenog!"

In the meantime, if you need an Intimidate...

Intimidate: 1d20+18 26

Here's a 26 for you.

Unknown Quantity fucked around with this message at Dec 7, 2017 around 23:33

Old Kentucky Shark
May 25, 2012

If you think you're gonna get sympathy from the shark, well then, you won't.




Zevra steps up to the bar "I will have a drink of... alcohol." She finishes lamely. A decade of being a wandering desert vengeance hermit have left her unequipped with a store of small talk or social skills. "Put it on the gnoll's tab," she adds, after a moment's thought.

Melchiresa
Jun 21, 2006

Nice guy.
Tries hard.
Loves hot dogs The Game.


Market:

The merchant's eyes twinkle and he makes a sweeping gesture towards Sathain and Baba in particular "ah, you are clearly a man of discerning tastes! Especially since you have this fine gentleman with you" He easily engages in discussion with Sathain, telling him a story of some pirates that had made the mistake of attempting a raid with the wrong merchants. "Bevus? In spite of everything, somehow he's still around. Odd that you know him, considering nobody knows what, precisely, he does in Cromlin. He mostly talks nonsense about mountains, but mostly keeps to himself. Claims he's trying to 'unlock secrets' or something like that. Maybe he's lost his mind since you met him."

------------------------

Dusty Lizard:

The noisy din of the bar turns into a roaring cheer upon hearing about free drinks. The barkeep, however, isn't entirely impressed. "You ain't no king I ever heard of," he says leaning on the bar towards Gnarglegnog and eying the rest of the party for a tense moment. He then seems to have a moment of reconsideration and instead chooses to wipe down the bar while making conversation "But since you're paying, I can't say I give a poo poo. I think you've got the jist of Cromlin by now, since you're here. Now...the ruins? poo poo, the only people who go there are stupid pirates out for a quick buck, following some old story. They call come back empty-handed and spooked - won't say a word about what they saw, no matter how much they drink."

LogicNinja
Jan 21, 2011

...the blur blurs blurringly across the blurred blur in a blur of blurring blurriness that blurred...


Sathain

Sathain nods. "Sounds like him! He could have gotten worse. I suppose I should check on him," he says. Almost got it...

"Any chance you know where he's staying?"

Dick Burglar
Mar 6, 2006

ROBBLE ROBBLE ROBBLE!

Jascha the Lost

The elf approaches the bar and looks at the bartender. "One grog, on his tab," he says, gesturing to 'Nog.

After receiving his drink Jascha stays quiet, discreetly keeping an eye on the bartender and using his sensing eye power to surreptitiously watch the mul's table as well. He sips his drink casually, but is more interested in using the mug to clobber someone if the need arises than actually drinking.

Dick Burglar fucked around with this message at Dec 15, 2017 around 03:14

Old Kentucky Shark
May 25, 2012

If you think you're gonna get sympathy from the shark, well then, you won't.




Zevra looks up with interest. "People go up to the old ruins? And don't die immediately?" She'd been quietly resigned to a night spent doing a little impromptu necromancy to turn up a helpful ghost. "Where can we find some?"

Unknown Quantity
Sep 2, 2011

!
Steven? Steven?!
STEEEEEEVEEEEEEEN!


Good King Gnarglenog

The alpha dog responds with a hearty chuckle. "Then that makes the ruins all the more worth conquering, both to reveal its secrets and to do that which others could not." Looking back over at the other table for a moment, he lowers his tone. "That one, in the back. They've had their eyes on Gnarglenog this entire time. Tell me what you know of them."

Melchiresa
Jun 21, 2006

Nice guy.
Tries hard.
Loves hot dogs The Game.


Marketplace:

The merchant shakes his head and tuts. "Poor fellow. He'd probably appreciate it if you did, I imagine. I don't know his precise location, but I do know it it outside of the town proper. He lives in a small hut, and sometimes comes out to gather up scraps of food. If you go wandering around the huts, you'll know his by the strange drawings in the sand. Nobody knows what they mean." The merchant shrugs and briefly turns his attention to another customer. He returns his attention to Sathain. "I'm not sure I can think of much else at the moment. Is there any other way I can be of help?"

Bar:

The bartender shrugs at Zevra. "I guess the door was locked or something. Some of the ones that did talk said something about spirits? You lot are either the stupidest or the bravest to go looking for those ruins." He wipes down the bar and ponders for a moment. "Some old man that comes through here once in a while was talking about them. Some nonsense about an air spirit in a ridge in the mountains? I gotta be honest with ya, I stopped paying attention. It sounded like someone who spent way too long out in the wastes." He hands out drinks to some other patrons who raise their glasses in a small gesture of thanks to Gnarglenog.

"Now, that guy looking at you?" his voice is hushed and he leans in towards the group "is Jaksot Han, he owns the place. I highly suggest you not gently caress with him. He knows, or knows someone who knows, every silt pirate in the region. If they're not here, they're out raiding."

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LogicNinja
Jan 21, 2011

...the blur blurs blurringly across the blurred blur in a blur of blurring blurriness that blurred...


"Well, perhaps one more thing." Sathain lays the merchant's latest offered price in ceramic bits on the rickety table. "I'll take these after all. It's still extortion, mind you, but I've kept you away from other customers." He takes the container of spice--the hottest pepper the merchant has available, the mouth-searing flavor of the desert, often used to cover up the taste of particularly unpleasant meat--and tucks it away into an inner pocket of his dusty white cloak, then leaves the merchant with a nod and a few last pleasantries.

"Shall we?" he asks, once he and his companions have moved away from the merchant. "Hopefully he's sane enough to give us some answers."


---


Taking a short rest as we go, I guess, since I might as well.

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