The Emperor of Curd.   Posted by Autarch.Group: 0
Gethin Ballider
 player, 582 posts
 +9, d8+4; Ins22, Per15
 AC24, F17, R16, W17
Mon 10 May 2010
at 12:46
Re: The Emperor of Curd
Gethin takes it as evidence of Pelor's divine guidance that despite his abysmal failure in the streets of Loudwater today, their (unsettlingly) clean and chipper maître d' has a lead for them.

He clears his throat in the awkward pause after Brother Zellias' flatly delivered question, then leans in and adds helpfully, "For example, what was spooky about them?  How long did they stay here?  How many and what sort of men were they?"

Diplomacy: 24
Autarch
 GM, 1015 posts
Tue 11 May 2010
at 01:26
Re: The Emperor of Curd
Gethin's superb elocution nearly flusters Chet who is accustomed to providing full service without encouragement, nay even during times of excessive discouragement.

He answers all of your questions, his voice having the crispness of a sliced apple. You hear again that there were three of them which seems a scant number for a company. You surmise that one or more of the members might have had the power to swell their numbers.  You also learn that they headquartered themselves in Loudwater for more than a decade before establishing themselves as Stormcrow Tor.

"They were residents," Chet repeats several times helpfully. "But they checked out, didn't they? That would mean they stopped being residents. They liked Gorgonzola on Mondays and smoked Gouda on Fridays."

The head concierge deftly interweaves his voice between the clinks of spoons of the late-evening milk-and-custard crowd.

"One of them was a warlock, the lady. Spooky!" he finishes.

Quinn's scout returns frustrated, unable to see past the heavy, black curtains favored by warlocks.
Ravex
 player, 548 posts
 +11, d8+5; Ins3, Per3
 AC23, F19, R16, W14
Tue 11 May 2010
at 17:38
Re: The Emperor of Curd
Ravex spits. "Warlocks. Pah! More magic tossers." He adds, without actually adding anything to the conversation. He stands up and rests his hand on his trusty khopesh. "Let's go take a look."
Gethin Ballider
 player, 583 posts
 +9, d8+4; Ins22, Per15
 AC24, F17, R16, W17
Tue 11 May 2010
at 19:24
Re: The Emperor of Curd
"Agreed, let us have a look.  Come with us, Zellias."

Gethin also stands.  He waits for Quinn (who has the key) to gather his sundry magical paraphernalia, including his new pet.  What happened to the old creature?  Best not to ask, perhaps.

"Which suite, Chet?  Or maybe, since you're a Full Service Establishment, you could lead us there."
Quinn Marhanen
 player, 299 posts
 +4, 1d8+1; Ins6, Per6; T2
 AC 22, F 17, R 20, W 19
Tue 11 May 2010
at 21:47
Re: The Emperor of Curd
Quinn gazes absently off into the distance for a few minutes, then sighs in frustration.  Shortly his transformed familiar flips back in and takes up position on his shoulder, watching the others with interest.  "There are massive black curtains covering every window, suggesting they left something behind they didn't want anyone to see.  I suggest we be extremely paranoid about this."

Gathering his staff the mage rises to his feet and gestures for Chet to lead the way.
Brother Zellias
 player, 10 posts
Wed 12 May 2010
at 03:34
Re: The Emperor of Curd
"Yes," Zellias responds to the invitation. "I would like to learn more about this situation. It piques my curiousity."

With that, he springs up from his chair silently and pads off with the others.
Autarch
 GM, 1016 posts
Thu 13 May 2010
at 03:42
Re: The Emperor of Curd
While the Emperor's Crown may be a full-service hotel, as you're well aware, Chet does not administer all of its services. A bellhop, neatly attired in blue and gold livery, leads you to the sixth floor, the top one.  Several doors down on the right, he nods solemnly before leaving you alone in the hallway.

You let yourselves in to a suite of rooms full of stale air, cheese rinds, and pentagrams. A quick search reveals the rooms to have been long abandoned, the residents having packed and left over a decade ago, as again you're well aware.

Amidst the lonely chambers, one bespeaks a fervor of activity, the counsel room. On a mahogany table a vast map surveys the lands east of Loudwater, with Relkingham at the far end.  The area that interests you, though, is an area labeled the "Badlands." On this part of the map, one of the members of Stormcrow sketched some notes.

--a bluff on a river (SW portion of the map)

--a fort in the middle of the badlands (middle)

--a pinnacle of rock beyond the fort (north)

--an watchtower in the hills (east)

You can see that old mining roads connect all of the landmarks. Which one, you wonder, marks Stormcrow Tor?
Quinn Marhanen
 player, 300 posts
 +4, 1d8+1; Ins6, Per6; T2
 AC 22, F 17, R 20, W 19
Thu 13 May 2010
at 06:15
Re: The Emperor of Curd
Quinn leans in to see if the rock outcrop is resting atop a hill.
Autarch
 GM, 1017 posts
Thu 13 May 2010
at 15:38
Re: The Emperor of Curd
Leaning in, Quinn can see that the jutting rock sits in the midst of the badlands, with the hills to the east. He can also see that the artist added some local color with renderings of tarantulas, coyotes, and vultures. Badlands do rise and fall but not in a pronounced fashion like hills. This rising scrape of rock sits on a low rise.

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:41, Thu 13 May 2010.

Ravex
 player, 549 posts
 +11, d8+5; Ins3, Per3
 AC23, F19, R16, W14
Sun 16 May 2010
at 13:52
Re: The Emperor of Curd
"Is this supposed to be helpful?" Ravex grumbles as he gestures at the map. He stares at it a moment, rummaging around in his brain for something useful.

Rolled an 18 on a history check to see if Ravex knows anything about the badlands or the fort/tower indicated on the map
Quinn Marhanen
 player, 301 posts
 +4, 1d8+1; Ins6, Per6; T2
 AC 22, F 17, R 20, W 19
Sun 16 May 2010
at 20:57
Re: The Emperor of Curd
"Well a tor is a rock outcropping at the top of a hill, but it's also often used to refer to a tower in some of the old tongues.  As that rock pinnacle doesn't really seem to be on a hilltop I'd suggest we try the tower."
Autarch
 GM, 1019 posts
Mon 17 May 2010
at 01:51
Re: The Emperor of Curd
Quinn:
"Well a tor is a rock outcropping at the top of a hill."

The bellhop chimes in from his position at the door, "Sometimes a tor is nothing more than an amalgam of fractured and fused rock, but big enough to note as a topographical detail."

Full service, indeed.

Ravex recalls that the badlands are so named for having been the former home of salt, basalt, and saltpeter mines--till the overlord of the time had mined them dry, his rapacious appetite not allowing for environmentally sensitive measures.  Naturally, he had to have a central position of authority to project his power both within and without.
Brother Zellias
 player, 11 posts
Mon 17 May 2010
at 02:53
Re: The Emperor of Curd
"I believe we should investigate the pinnacle of rock to the north," Zellias offers. "It seems to be the most tor-ish of the various locations." He looks for some water or tea to drink.
Gethin Ballider
 player, 584 posts
 +9, d8+4; Ins22, Per15
 AC24, F17, R16, W17
Mon 17 May 2010
at 04:11
Re: The Emperor of Curd
With his dagger, Gethin cuts away the useful part of the map, rolls it up, and tucks it in his belt, heedless of the artistry that went into making such a map.

"A good suggestion, Zellias.  But now that we have some specific sites where they Stormcrows may be, let us try our luck again in the libraries and streets.  If we can rule out even a few of these locations, we will make our task much easier."

OOC:
DM, can we make skill checks for each location to potentially rule some of them out?  Maybe Streetwise, someone head to a library and roll History, etc.

Ravex
 player, 550 posts
 +11, d8+5; Ins3, Per3
 AC23, F19, R16, W14
Wed 19 May 2010
at 13:58
Re: The Emperor of Curd
"Bah!" Ravex snorts at Gethin's suggestion. "There ain't likely to be anything useful in this town." Clearly, if the information wasn't already rattling around in his own head, then no one could possibly know it!

He pokes his finger in Zellias's direction. "Skinny is right, we should head toward the rock first."
Gethin Ballider
 player, 585 posts
 +9, d8+4; Ins22, Per15
 AC24, F17, R16, W17
Wed 19 May 2010
at 21:14
Re: The Emperor of Curd
Gethin shrugs, and lightly drums his fingers against the steel helmet tucked under his arm.  "Fine with me.  One place is just as good as another, at this point."

He glances around at the other two men.  "Ready then?  Let's make sure we're well provisioned, then head off.  Glory awaits us."

OOC: Gethin will buy 10 days of dry rations, then I'm ready to go to the pinnacle of rock at the north of the map.  DM, what's the estimate on distances?  If we end up having to travel to all 4 locations, horses would help.
Autarch
 GM, 1022 posts
Thu 20 May 2010
at 20:46
Re: The Emperor of Curd
"It is decided, then," the bellhop announces incongruously as another departs leaving a full tea service in his wake, complete with a burbling samovar, a tray of sugar cubes, and a frothy creamer.  Several cups of elderberry tea later, Brother Zelias feels refreshed and ready for an expedition to the badlands.

The still-present bellhop continues: "The badlands aren't as far away as you might think. Follow the road to Relkingham and head north after you reach the old Gentleman Rider's redoubt."

He scratches his head. "Now, if you reach Hamona, you've gone to ... well, you don't want to reach Hamona; let's just say that."

By the by, you receive the full set of directions detailing a trip of about seven days on horseback.

~~~

And so you eventually reach and travel through the badlands, taking care to avoid the still-standing fortress in its center. You're convinced that this trek will demand your every resource and skill.  Scorpion anti-venom? Check! Terrycloth towels? Check! Four week's supply of fairy biscuits (baked with real fairies!)? Check!

But the traveling's really quite easy.  The weather's cool this time of year and all the predators pursue pursuits other than warriors.

So you amuse yourselves with thoughts of ghost miners and demonic taskmasters (or better yet, demonic taskmistresses) but you hear no ghostly tapping of pick or cracking of whip. Matwau swears that he can see foxes behind every bluff, but he's not even with you so that makes no sense whatsoever.

After several more days of dust, dunes, and vultures, you behold:

A weathered pile of stones and packed earth protrudes from the ground like a giant’s rampart. The battered shell of a ruined tower leans from the tor’s apex. The tower is roofless and hollow.


Oh, now you get it. Tor refers to both the tower and the pile of stones, clever, clever.  Of course, the tower was built after the company had marked the map.  And now it lies here destroyed.
Quinn Marhanen
 player, 302 posts
 +4, 1d8+1; Ins6, Per6; T2
 AC 22, F 17, R 20, W 19
Thu 20 May 2010
at 21:11
Re: The Emperor of Curd
Keeping almost a mile away Quinn sends in his scout homunculus to take a look around.
Gethin Ballider
 player, 586 posts
 +9, d8+4; Ins22, Per15
 AC24, F17, R16, W17
Fri 21 May 2010
at 14:25
Re: The Emperor of Curd
Gethin waits patiently on the back of his horse while Quinn gazes into the distance.  He's grown accustomed to the wizard's strange trances and other... personality quirks.

To pass the time, he makes quiet small talk.  "So, Brother Zellias, which god does your order follow?"  (Growing up in a monastery, Gethin never heard the old adage about avoiding religion and politics in polite society.)
Brother Zellias
 player, 12 posts
Fri 21 May 2010
at 17:20
Re: The Emperor of Curd
Brother Zellias also waits patiently, then slowly turns his head to regard Gethin after hearing the Pelorite's question. There is almost a hint of a smile on his stoic face.

"That depends upon whom you ask," he says in response. "The Ancient Order once worshipped a deity but no longer does so. Some of my brothers say the deity no longer exists - that it 'died' in a manner of speaking when the Order attained a certain degree of enlightenment and knowledge. Others of the Order maintain the deity never existed at all, and that the Order only realized its nonexistence when a certain degree of englightenment and knowledge was attained."

The monk shrugs almost imperceptibly. "In any case, at this point the Order is more concerned with the disciplined pursuit of knowledge than with worship of a deity, whether or not it ever existed in the first place."
Autarch
 GM, 1023 posts
Fri 21 May 2010
at 19:42
Re: The Emperor of Curd
Quinn's homunculus returns and reports to Quinn that atop the tor it sighted a wooden hatch door strewn with leaves, dirt, feather, and whitish offal.
Gethin Ballider
 player, 587 posts
 +9, d8+4; Ins22, Per15
 AC24, F17, R16, W17
Fri 21 May 2010
at 20:10
Re: The Emperor of Curd
"And your order is content to leave unanswered a question of such import?"  Gethin's voice is incredulous.

"If it were the temple of Pelor, twelve of our best theologians would form a committee that would sequester itself in a hall of the Grand Temple with only bread to eat and water to drink, until the question had been answered.  Then it would worry us no more, for the matter would be decided."

He shrugs.  To each his own, I suppose.

~ <> ~ <> ~

When Quinn's creature reports back, Gethin urges his horse forward.  "Let us see what waits below."

This message was last edited by the player at 20:12, Fri 21 May 2010.

Brother Zellias
 player, 13 posts
Sat 22 May 2010
at 15:13
Re: The Emperor of Curd
Zellias nods at Gethin's take on the issue. "It seems that long ago the Order decided it was not a question of great import for us, though it is sometimes interesting to debate over an ale or two."

After hearing of Quinn's report, Zellias peers out into the distance, trying to pick up any signs of movement or threats that might lie between the group and the tor.

11:12, Today: Brother Zellias rolled 21 using 1d20+10. Perception.
Ravex
 player, 551 posts
 +11, d8+5; Ins3, Per3
 AC23, F19, R16, W14
Sat 22 May 2010
at 16:26
Re: The Emperor of Curd
Ravex dismounts from his horse and readies his shield. "Come on, let's find a place to tie up the horses." He cautiously begins to search around for just such a place.
Quinn Marhanen
 player, 303 posts
 +4, 1d8+1; Ins6, Per6; T2
 AC 22, F 17, R 20, W 19
Sat 22 May 2010
at 19:14
Re: The Emperor of Curd
Swinging down from his horse with a sigh of relief the mage pokes the door with his staff, trying to see how loose it is.  "Ravex, if you open this a little I can send down the scout."