Chapter 6: Out of the Black.   Posted by Raellus.Group: 0
Raellus
 GM, 693 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Mon 5 Dec 2016
at 01:58
Chapter 6: Out of the Black

In which the adventurers face an ancient evil awakened from the depths of the earth...

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This message was last edited by the GM at 01:18, Thu 08 Dec 2016.

Raellus
 GM, 695 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Thu 8 Dec 2016
at 01:17
Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The Four sit in the Lord Mayor's nicely appointed chambers- which occupy most of the uppermost floor of the newly renovated Fire Hall- sipping drinks served by Mayor Vander's secretary. Commandant Overmark is there; so is the half-elf ranger, Zima, just back from Yonder's Hole. Everyone's attention is directed, at present, towards a stranger to the Four, a mid-aged dwarf introduced as Kerek Crusher.

"Tell them what you told us." Vander directs the newcomer.

"Alright, then. About a week ago, a prospector named Gulo, and his team are digging an exploratory shaft about two miles north of the camp when they hit a big vein of platinum, least that wide." the dwarf holds his calloused hands about half a meter apart.

"They tried keeping it a secret, but Yonder's Hole aint big, and word spread like the crotch pox."

"So, they stake their claim with the mayor- er, Deepdelver, not your lordship- and start following the vein, digging deeper, bringing out huge chunks of pure platinum. Others show up and start digging nearby. Anyway, some of the miners start getting sick, acting really odd. Gulo goes insane, murders one of his mates, starts eating his face. Sergeant Jaff had to lock him up, gagged and bound nearly head to toe. Hasn't been able to get a word o' sense out of him since."


Kerek shakes his head slowly, as if he doesn't want to believe his own memories.

"With Gulo locked away, there's a big row over who owns his mine. It gets ugly quick. More murders. Deepdevler steps in, negotiates a profit-sharing deal for the rival claimants. Nobody's really happy about it, but at least they can start digging again. And they do- faster now. A day or two later, they hit another shaft, a big one, cut stone, smooth walls, really high. I only saw it for a couple of minutes, but one man could stand on another's shoulders and not even hit his head on the ceiling."

"Show them," Overmark interjects, "the symbol you saw."

The dwarf removes a piece of parchment from his tunic, unfolds it carefully, and flattens it out on the coffee table. "Never seen anything like it in all my life." Kerek claims. Corros recognize the symbol at once. It's the numeral 2, in the long-dead script of the Forgotten Ones.

"Then things get really weird. Dead miners- the ones that got murdered and the others that were killed by them orcs a few months back, they dig themselves outta their graves, start attacking the living. We fight most of them off, but then other things start coming out of Gulo's shaft, monstrous things, lots of 'em. They killed a lot of people. The survivors retreated to the stockade and holed up there. Deepdelver sent us," Kerek indicates Zima, "back to get help."

Vander looks at the Four. There's a pause; everyone knows what's coming next, but Vander seems hesitant to say it.

"I can't send any of the Watch. They're still at half strength- barely able to keep the peace here in the city."

Overmark's scowl confirms Vander's assessment. He continues, "You know the way to Yonder's Hole; you've worked with Deepdelver before. You'll be paid, of course."

And then the Lord Mayor is quiet, looking expectantly at the adventurers.


Your Turn.


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This message was last edited by the GM at 01:34, Thu 08 Dec 2016.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 527 posts
 Human Rogue/Ranger
 Tegyrius
Fri 9 Dec 2016
at 02:08
Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Many cities of Nicolai's acquaintance hibernate during winter.  Travel and trade slow to a crawl and the economic metabolism cools to match.  Industry turns inward to maintenance and repair.  Citizens huddle in their homes, eschewing all but essential social engagements.  Not so in Balefyre - not this winter, at any rate.  The expulsion of the Bloodforged seems to have been a catalyst for growth and progress of a particular sort.  So Nicolai has taken his cue from the locals and eschewed rest as well, staying abreast of the changes and ensuring that his own threads become woven through the new images of Balefyre's social tapestry.

No few of those threads lead back to the people in this room.  They're relationships that run both ways, of course.  Vander well knows the Four have been intimately involved with the Fire Watch's reforging, so his need to speak of the guard force's readiness level is an indicator of his own unease with Kerek and Zima's report.

Nicolai glances sideways at Corros as the witchling leans forward to examine the glyph.  We'll go, of course, he comments to the others through the younger man's telepathic link.

Aloud, he addresses himself to Kerek.  "Describe these 'monstrous things,' if you would, please."  He leans forward to therapeutically refresh the dwarf's drink.  "And the survivors.  Numbers and provisions.  If they hold the stockade, how long will their supplies hold?"
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 391 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Fri 9 Dec 2016
at 22:29
Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Of course we will, although I'm about to make them pay for it, Corros returns across the link.  The rune is a number 2.  Another ring is my guess.  Like the one in the city.

The half-elf sits back in his chair and crosses one leg over the other.  His winter hadn't been quiet, either.  Too much going on in the City.  And a lot going on with Jenna.  It was hard to get excited about venturing back to the mine in the face of what he'd rather being doing with her.  But she would go, and so would he.  For different reasons maybe, but he assumed they would go together.  Hell, the gods would have to pry him away from her with a crowbar the size of a mountain.

He is kind of attached to the priestess, to say the least.

In a calculated move, Corros smiles.  From just about anyone else, what comes out of his mouth next would be rude to the point of insulting, but he manages to make it light.  "So, I'm not intending to be rude, but we go up there, stave of an orc slaughter, bring back word that maybe, just maybe, digging up there might not be such a good idea.  Or it should be done with extreme caution, and then we get ignored.  Due to circumstances sure, what with needing to rebuild an economy and all, and we did see it coming, yeah?  But then the miners go back, dig deeper and faster, find platinum vein of epic scope, murder and eat each other, and then tap into a horde of creatures hat manages to pin them into a stockade?  I just want to make sure we have this right."

He shakes his head. "I will go up there, again, but I need this council to understand something.  If we bring back word because of what we find that this digging must stop, then this digging must stop.  Until we can make is safe to continue.  Of course."  Which may occur never, he adds mentally.

Gods he'd rather be in bed with Jenna.  Or flying above the city making her laugh.
Raellus
 GM, 697 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 10 Dec 2016
at 00:18
Chapter 6: Out of the Black

In an incongruous juxtaposition, Kerek's bearded countenance resembles that of a scolded child. (OOC: He's going to respond to Nic's queries but the following came out of me first.)

Vander steps in to respond to Corros' admonitions. "I understand your frustration, Master Graelor. You did bring warning- warning that there might be danger in continued digging there. The Council took your warnings seriously, but prohibiting all travel to the platinum fields was not considered practical, in terms of enforcement. And for a time, few prospectors dared return, making such prohibitions unnecessary. But memories of the trouble there faded quickly. The lust for wealth often trumps caution and, when new strikes were reported, the trickle of prospectors became a flood. We simply don't have the resources to stop it.

"You must understand, the Fire Council has little control over what goes on in the camps. We sent Deepdelver there  to try to bring order but there are limits to what he can do with the resources that he has available. The Fire Watch detachment there is too small and the prospectors too... willful. Yonder's Hole is a rich prize, and perhaps that fact has clouded our judgment, but if Balefyre washes its hands of the place, someone else will step in and take control- Varimor, Ardane, monsters even, gods forbid. The Fire Council doesn't wish to see that happen. So, we are, as they say, between a rock and a hard place.

"My main concern is this: whatever danger exists to the mining camp might also threaten Balefyre. If this danger is left unchecked, the consequences to the city could be dire. It is our hope that you can eliminate the threat, whatever it may be. What resources the city can spare to assist you will placed be at your disposal."


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Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 434 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sat 10 Dec 2016
at 12:20
Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna Drax sits, listens to the conversations going on around her, both the spoken one that the Mayor and his people are party to and the silent one that is taking place only in the mind of Jenna and her companions. The Priestess still felt an occasional flicker on unease when she thought of that link, of the thoughts that she and Corros had shared. She doubted if Nicolai would wish to willingly intrude on those thoughts but the mere thought that she might unwittingly share something with more than her lover had been enough to bring colour to her cheeks in the days immediately after the Bloodforged had departed the City.

He didn't say that the digging would stop. It was a statement of fact rather than a question, a thought that comes to her unbidden after Vander had finished speaking, his platitudes that of a Politician, skirting around the matter without addressing it directly. It was difficult for Jenna to discern whether his concerns were truly borne from worry over the consequences for the City or from fear that the profit the mines brought would cease. Such was Balefyre. The probability was the digging would never stop.

Jenna sat forward in her chair, her hands clasped together, her eyes flicking to the dwarf, waiting to see what he can add to the discussion. The blonde haired Priestess wore a dark blue dress, one absent sleeves, that clung to her like a second skin, her grey hued battle armour in the home that she now shared with Corros, that which had formerly been Mayor Vander's illicit hideaway. Buying clothes had been one of her vices during the past three months. After all, Arma did not expect Her Clerics to go about unclothed. Her other vice was the young Warlock that sat around the table with her. Brother Jaro had assured her that Arma did not frown upon that vice either, although long hours of whispered conversation in the Temple had not completely assuaged her concerns in that regard.
Raellus
 GM, 699 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 10 Dec 2016
at 20:11
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai Romanelli:
Aloud, he addresses himself to Kerek.  "Describe these 'monstrous things,' if you would, please."  He leans forward to therapeutically refresh the dwarf's drink.  "And the survivors.  Numbers and provisions.  If they hold the stockade, how long will their supplies hold?"


Overmark reminds Kerek of Romanelli's earlier query. The dwarf shudders as he begins to describe the horrors that emerged from the shaft.

"There were a bunch of kobolds- we took care o' most of them. You know what an Umber Hulk is? Well one of 'em fucked up a bunch o' people before Zima here and the watch chased it back underground; there was the skeleton of a minotaur swinging a big fucking battle axe. And other things, creatures I ain't ever seen or even heard of before, like this big vulture-headed beast with sharp hooks for arms. Fucking scary shit.

"There's at least a hundred people holed up at the stockade. It's not like the orc siege, but it's not exactly safe to move around outside the walls, especially at night."


Zima picks up the thread and continues, "What's more is that others had begun to show up, just before the miners broke into the cursed shaft. A party of Reaver priests for one, posing- badly- as prospectors. And more besides, but we hadn't figured out what they were about before Kerek and I left to come here. It's a bit more than a coincidence, if you ask me."

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This message was last edited by the GM at 20:43, Sat 10 Dec 2016.

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 436 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sun 11 Dec 2016
at 11:52
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"How many in the Reaver party?" Jenna asked. "And how do you know they follow him?" Nicola and Corros had already committed to going but that snippet of information by itself meant that Jenna would have gone alone had they not done so.  "And this other group that you speak of, one whose allegiance you say you don't know, what are their numbers? Are they all quartered within the stockade?"
Raellus
 GM, 700 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 11 Dec 2016
at 19:59
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna Drax:
"How many in the Reaver party?" Jenna asked. "And how do you know they follow him?" Nicola and Corros had already committed to going but that snippet of information by itself meant that Jenna would have gone alone had they not done so.  "And this other group that you speak of, one whose allegiance you say you don't know, what are their numbers? Are they all quartered within the stockade?"


"The priests? Half-a-dozen, maybe. They didn't know the first thing about mining, to start off. That's not that unusual in itself, but they didn't seem to care to learn about it either. And at least a couple of 'em bore the mark of the Reaver- a double-headed axe branded on their necks, plain as day. Tried to hide 'em but a couple of us noticed. And to top it all off, when the other prospectors got to fighting over Gulo's strike, these blokes started selling curses. I shit you not!

"The others, I'm not sure who they're working for, if anyone. They were kind of like you lot, I think- adventurers, I mean. They helped us fight off some of the monsters. Seemed like decent types, though one of 'em was clearly demon-touched (i.e. a tiefling). Pretty much everyone at the camps have moved into the stockade since the monsters started coming out, but those two groups I mentioned left for gods knows where, not too long apart, just a bit before me an' Zima did. Supplies are starting to run low, but like I said before, things aren't clamped down quite as tight as during the orc siege."


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This message was last edited by the GM at 22:40, Sun 11 Dec 2016.

Raellus
 GM, 701 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Thu 15 Dec 2016
at 00:58
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The Four pack their gear, make arrangements, and depart Balefyre, heading towards Yonder's Hole, with Kerek and Zima tagging along. The Fire Council provides the group with mounts and a sturdy pack horse for any excess baggage. Before she leaves, Brother Yaro gifts Jenna a Holy Medallion. Once a day, the priestess can use the medallion to cast a Bless spell on up to four individuals, herself included if she wishes. The magical item can only be used by a priest of Arma

The six riders arrive at Midway at the end of the first day's ride, fresh but more than a little saddle sore. Pace's Place, the seminal settlement's one and only inn, is coming along, but slowly- it's barely four walls and a partial roof, at present. Ol' Klem explains that it's almost impossible to keep workers on site for more than a day or two before they inevitably elope for the platinum fields. Thanks in part to the capital investment of the four, the former caravan driver has the materials to finish the building, but he doesn't have the labor.

Although spring has sprung all around the Great Inland Sea, it still rather cold at night out on the open steppes. The four make camp on the bare earthen floor of the skeletal inn's common room. Ol' Klem shares some of his provisions, supplementing the party's trail rations, and makes a welcome peat fire in the finished stone hearth. The travelers sleep well, and wake shortly after dawn rested, if a little stiff from lying all night on the hard-packed earth floor.

Having breakfasted on cold rations, the Four carry on with their journey, departing Midway an hour or so after sunrise, bundled in their travel cloaks against the chill morning air. They make good time, arriving at the badlands in the afternoon. The region looks much the same as before- barren, rocky, gently undulating hills marching off towards the wooded slopes of the foothills and the white-clad peaks beyond. Small patches of snow linger on here, in the shadow of the deeper ravines. The wagon trail isn't hard to follow, the ruts even more pronounced than before after the early spring platinum rush.

Zima seems ill at ease, and Nic can sense something amiss- the feeling of being watched by malicious eyes, stalked even. He warns the others, and not a minute too soon. As a result, it comes as not-quite-a-surprise when a hairy white beast roars out of a west-branching side ravine. It looks like some kind of horned abominable snowman, taller than the tallest man or half-orc any of the companions have seen. Its dark blue eyes burn with rage, or hate; its blood-curdling howl doesn't seem to differentiate.

The horses, none of which were bred or trained for war, immediately panic, bolting in all different directions. Jenna's mount and the pack horse gallop north. Nic and Kerek's horses bolt east. Gronk's horse skirts the charging monster and heads west, down the ravine from which the danger appeared. The white-furred monster slashes at the half-orc as he blurs past, raking the rider across the back with its claws (Gronk takes 7 slashing and 3 cold damage). Corros' horse stamps and snorts in fear, but remains rooted in place. As Zima's mount races south, back down the wagon trail, she shouts, voice trailing off,

"Yeti! They hate fire!"

The monster homes in on the lone stationary mount/rider (Corros).

OOC: The horses will cover 30' this round (and every subsequent round during which they continue to panic). Regaining control requires a successful Animal Handling check. Dismounting from a galloping horse is possible, but doing so without sustaining injuries [1d6 bludgeoning damage, IIRC] from the fall requires a successful acrobatics check.


Your Turn.

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This message was last edited by the GM at 00:35, Fri 16 Dec 2016.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 393 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Thu 15 Dec 2016
at 01:56
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Corros, not one for waiting around to fall victim to a panicked or paralyzed mount, slides off the saddle and takes a few steps towards the approaching monster.  It occurs to him that the rest of his group is fleeing from his position, leaving him exposed and alone.  The warlock is secure, though, that they will return to stand by his side.  And if the monster should hurt him, well The Library might have an opinion on that.

"Fire then?" Corros says with a slight grin. "Come and find some."

OOC:
Corros
AC 13, HP 61/61
Casting Fire Bolt: 2x bolts, +8 to attack, 1d10+5 damage each
If hit, will cast Hellish Rebuke,  4th level slot, 5d10 fire damage, save for half

This message was last edited by the player at 02:38, Thu 15 Dec 2016.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 531 posts
 Human Rogue/Ranger
 Tegyrius
Thu 15 Dec 2016
at 02:20
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Then:

Nicolai keeps his tone mild as he sends a wave of wordless agreement toward Corros.  "Lord Mayor.  My colleague is correct.  Our research," sorry for the "our," Corros, "over the winter has refined some of our concerns.  You recall, of course," he assumes nothing of the sort but it's the kind of diplomatic prompt Vander seems to appreciate these days, "our accounts of the events we experienced before returning to find the Bloodforged here.  We don't believe Balefyre is the first settlement in this area, and something befell the previous tenants."  He leans forward, setting his body language to "earnest and concerned."  "We don't know enough about that catastrophe yet, but the fact that the local orcish tribal memory memorializes it is a significant indicator.  You know what it takes to make a lasting impression on a culture's oral history."

Leaning back again, he fixes Vander with a level gaze.  "We'll investigate.  But Corros has the right of it.  Right now, we're fishing blindly for someone else's lost sovereigns in a barrel full of broken glass.  If we don't take the time to sort it out, sooner or later we're going to pull back a handful of pain."




Now:

His instincts validated, Nicolai emits an irritated hiss and slides out of the saddle.  He'll deal with the horse later - or, more likely, let Zima deal with it, as his relations with equine associates have never been that warm.  For now, Corros is the fragile lynchpin around whom the party needs to reform.

Ice-rimed mud splashes and crackles under Nicolai's blurring feet as he races back to rejoin his companion.  A whistle captures the attention of the ravens that are never far from him these days; a finger-flick of thieves' cant from his right hand sends them spiraling in toward the white-furred colossus.  His left hand is otherwise occupied with steel...

Nicolai
AC 16; HP 61/61; Superiority dice 4/4
Move: Toward the fight
Bonus: Master of Tactics to "Help" Corros' attack with a raven distraction (granting advantage as the yeti's attention is on the birds, not the warlock)
Attack (if in melee at end of move): Rapier +1 (two attacks at +7, damage 1d8+4 [+2d6 on first hit if an ally is in melee too])
Attack (if not in melee at end of move): Dart (attack +6, damage 1d4+3 [+2d6 if an ally is in melee too])

This message was last edited by the player at 02:21, Thu 15 Dec 2016.

Gronk
 Party NPC, 116 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Fri 16 Dec 2016
at 00:22
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The monster doesn't scare Gronk, but the panicked mount does. This is the half-orc pit fighter's first experience on horseback, and he doesn't remember reading about this scenario in the user's manual.

"Whoa! Stop! STOP!" he bellows, pulling hard on the reins.

The horse ignores him. Gronk wants off. Now. He pulls his left foot out of the stirrup and attempts to jump to the ground to his right, which is rushing by beneath the galloping hoofs of the terrified steed at an alarming speed.

If and when Gronk gets his feet back down on the ground, he means to sprint back to the ambush site to assist his friends.

Gronk
AC 19; HP 78/88
Acrobatics check to dismount panicked horse; running back to join the fight


-

This message was last edited by the player at 00:28, Fri 16 Dec 2016.

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 437 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Fri 16 Dec 2016
at 15:44
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna clings on tightly to her horse as it gallops off. With little experience of horses she knows that she is unlikely to manage to bring the beast back under control, however every step it takes is carrying her further away from the monster that is attacking them. And to add to the problem, the pack horse has followed her steed’s lead, and so their provisions and supplies are in danger of also disappearing over the horizon.

Ultimately though supplies are replaceable. Jenna looks at the ground racing by beneath the horse’s hooves, eases her booted feet out of the stirrups and tries to dismount from the beast as agilely as she can, bracing herself for a hard impact with the frozen ground.

Provided she doesn’t injure herself too badly getting off the horse she’ll rise to her feet, move back towards the Yeti as quickly as she can. If / when she gets within range she’ll then call on the Goddess’s grace to send a powerful Guiding Bolt towards the monster.

Jenna
AC: 21, HP 56/56
Dismounting / moving towards Yeti / casting Guiding Bolt (Level 3) when in range

Raellus
 GM, 703 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Fri 16 Dec 2016
at 22:43
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

With his companions scattered to the four winds, Corros stands alone against the charging Yeti. Heeding the involuntarily retreating Ranger's advice, the young warlock hurls a mote of magical fire at the monster; it strikes home in a brief burst of orange flame, leaving an angry-looking scorch mark in the beast's white belly fur (Yeti -8HP; next attack is at disadvantage). The successful spell attack fails to stop the monster's headlong charge, however. As it covers the intervening distance with long, loping strides, the Yeti's deep blue eyes are fixed on the warlock, and Corros can feel his body start to freeze up (Corros is paralyzed for 1 minute- CON save at the end of each turn to remove condition).

Unable to move, Corros can do little but await the ungentle caress of the monster's claws. The first blow lands hard. The second somehow manages to miss completely. (Corros -10HP).

Corros' companions, meanwhile, are doing everything that they can to come to his aid. Choosing expediency over caution, Nic leaps from the back of his galloping steed. He tumbles hard over the rocky ground before regaining his footing (Nic -2HP; -15' movement). He sprints towards Corros and the attacking Yeti but, realizing that he won't arrive within melee range quickly enough, Nic elects to use his darts. The projectile lodges itself in the Yeti's upper left arm, drawing a howl of annoyance and a trickle of crimson blood.

Jenna too tumbles from the saddle, getting to her feet slightly bruised but in one piece (Jenna -4 HP; -15' movement). She too races back towards the melee. Extending her arm, she launches a Guiding Bolt at the Yeti, blasting it with a burst of radiant energy. Staggering back, away from Corros, the beast roars in anger and pain (Yeti -23HP; Yeti grants advantage on all attacks until the end of Jenna's next turn).

Gronk hits the ground hard and rolls a few feet before coming to a stop (Gronk -5HP; -15' movement). The impact is painful enough, but the fresh wounds on his back make it damn-near excruciating. He climbs to his feet and quickly reorients himself. Wielding Spike above his head, the raging half-orc charges towards the fray, bellowing a guttural war cry.

After struggling briefly and with futility to calm her panicked horse, Zima decides to attempt a high speed dismount. Alone among all the adventurers, she manages to hit the ground on her feet. As her skidding landing comes to a halt, she turns to face the Yeti, unslings her bow, and notches an arrow. She fires twice from range, but misses with both shots.

OOC: Nic, Jenna, and Gronk can all reach the Yeti (i.e. melee range) and still take an action during the upcoming round. Corros is paralyzed until at least the end of the upcoming round, but can still communicate telepathically.


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:50, Mon 19 Dec 2016.

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 438 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sun 18 Dec 2016
at 16:25
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Seeing that Corros is the target of the beast's attack, Jenna feels a familiar mix of emotions coursing through her, a desire to protect her lover mingling with a raw anger that is directed at the source of the threat, an anger that is enough to make her eyes change colour several times, blue giving way to milky white that in is in turn speckled with black as she interjects herself between the monster and Corros, who appears to be making no moves to protect himself from its claws,

"Leave him be!" Jenna hisses as she places herself between the Yeti and the Warlock, the shield on her left arm raised to try and block its blows as she swings the warhammer held in her right, willing Arma to guide her blows as she tries to strike the beast down.

Jenna
AC: 21, HP 51/56
Melee Combat with Yeti, Warhammer +1
Using War Priest feature for bonus action (1st of 5)

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 394 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Mon 19 Dec 2016
at 21:12
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Confidence in The Library drains rapidly from the warlock's mind as Corros feels his limbs succumb to the freezing effects of the Yeti's gaze.  There is fear to be sure, but also a touch of self-hatred and humor at putting himself in this situation.  Not the wisest decision, he muses around the pain of the Yeti's claws.  The fact that he can't scream in pain is probably what is keeping his thoughts relatively well put together.  Despite the paralysis, he can feel blood running down his side.  Claws hurt.

His allies are coming.  He knows it deep in his bones because he would be coming for them.  All he can do is try to will his mind and body free of this terrible prison.  And wait to get hit again.

I'm okay, he sends, trying to reassure his friends.  Just can't move.  Fear leaks through the channel, but not panic.


Corros
51/61 HP, AC 13
Trying to shake off paralysis
Con Save +3

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 533 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Mon 19 Dec 2016
at 22:47
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
The dagger comes into Nicolai's off-hand as he gauges the furry giant's reach and strength.  Be calm.  You've been worse, he tosses back at Corros as he closes on the yeti.  Then he's out of time for banter as Jenna interposes herself between the yeti and its intended victim.  Letting the priestess hold the creature's attention, he hooks around her right side, looking for a vital spot in which to plant his blades.

Nicolai
AC 16; HP 59/61; Superiority dice 4/4
Move: Into the fight
Attack: Rapier +1 (two attacks at +7, damage 1d8+4)
Bonus: Off-hand attack with dagger +1 (one attack at +7, damage 1d4+4)
Also: +2d6 sneak attack damage on first successful attack from Jenna's flanking

This message was last edited by the player at 22:48, Mon 19 Dec 2016.

Raellus
 GM, 704 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Tue 20 Dec 2016
at 00:54
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Jenna and Nic arrive almost simultaneously, attacking the yeti from opposite directions. The monster bats Jenna's first hammer blow aside, but the priestess is undeterred. Her next swing drives Arma's Blessing into the yeti's hip, producing an audible crack (Crit! Yeti -10HP).

Nic gives the creature no time to recover, thrusting twice at the yeti's unprotected back with his rapier. Reeling from Jenna's powerful hammer blow, the creature suddenly lurches into Nic's attack, neutralizing his primary weapon's reach. Not missing a beat, Nic makes his dagger the focal point of his offense, driving it deep into the yeti's torso, aiming for the spot behind which most humanoids' livers reside (Yeti -4HP). Mortally wounded, the beast arches its back and moans, then falls on its right side, where it lies motionless, steam, blood, and black bile escaping from the deep stab wound (Yeti is dead!).

As soon as the Yeti falls, Corros' strange paralysis ends. Gronk arrives too late to influence the outcome of the contest. The fight is over.

Zima pads up, fresh arrow knocked. "I've never seen or heard of a Yeti being down this far from the mountains this time of year." she says, shaking her head in disbelief.

"Lost my horse; couldn't get him under control. I can track them easily enough but which one do we go after first? Or do we go after them at all? If there're more monsters about...

"Where's Kerek?"



Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 01:11, Tue 20 Dec 2016.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 534 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Tue 20 Dec 2016
at 02:21
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai shrugs at Zima's observation on yeti migration.  "Wildlife.  Definitely your forte," he acknowledges, cleaning and sheathing his blades.

"Kerek's horse was taking him east, right behind mine," he observes, pointing in the appropriate direction.  "He'd probably appreciate not being eaten by something else horrible.  The horses, too," he adds sourly after a moment's reflection.

"Corros, Gronk, let me see to those before we start moving.  We don't want them to fester."  He rummages in his pack for a bandage and a packet of dried herbs.

Nicolai -2 poultices
Corros +10 hp
Gronk +12 hp

This message was last edited by the player at 02:25, Tue 20 Dec 2016.

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 439 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Tue 20 Dec 2016
at 11:03
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
”My horse and the pack mount were still headed towards Yonder’s Hole.” Jenna muses in reply to Zima’s question about tracking the horses. ”We should probably go after Kerek.”

Seeing that Nicolai has the required healing well in hand the blonde haired Priestess then walks over to Corros, places her hand gently on his arm, her voice soft as she looks at the Warlock. ”Are you OK?”
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 395 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Wed 21 Dec 2016
at 01:28
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Corros considers bravado in answer to Jenna's question, but tosses the idea immediately.  Acting tough really hasn't been the basis of their relationship.  Honesty has been the foundation.  Well, that with a little roguish charm.  And my amazing good looks, he allows himself with some humor.

"I'm okay," he answers back after meeting his eyes.  "A little chilly around the edges, yeah?  I'd prefer if our enemies," a booted foot prods the yeti's corpse for a moment or two, "didn't remove the ability to move my hands, but, you know, we don't get to choose... Your flying dismount went well?"

The warlock takes stock of their situation and gives Nic a nod of thanks.  "I can fly up and get a look around," he offers.  "Maybe spot the horses before they get too far and give us a better idea of what where they're leading us."
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 535 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Wed 21 Dec 2016
at 01:33
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"That would be very useful," Nicolai muses.  "If you can give us a look at the terrain around here, it'd save us a lot of time.  And possibly pain."  After a moment's thought, he adds, "Just don't make yourself a target.  Get the hell back down here if you see another manticore, yeah?"
Raellus
 GM, 705 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 24 Dec 2016
at 22:36
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

His garments fluttering as his feet leave the earth, Corros rises slowly into the sky. This is no simple levitation spell, the bread-and-butter of street magicians Torwheld over. As the warlock gains altitude, this becomes clear. Corros means to fly. It's not something that many outside of the most renowned academies of magic have witnessed first hand. Gronk nearly dislocates his jaw gaping at the sight.

Corros is, pardon the pun, learning on the fly. It takes complete concentration and some time to master control of his airborne body but soon he's sailing west 100 feet above the nearest bluffs, searching out the errant dwarf miner. Several of Nic's ravens accompany the warlock, darting about the flying half-elf with a mixture of curiosity and bemusement. From this height, away to the north, Corros can see the simple hilltop stockade that serves as the ultimate redoubt for the inhabitant of the mining camp (an addition to the Yonder's Hole constructed during the rebuilding of the valley camp). Facing west, Corros follows the draw for a few hundred feet until he spots Nic's horse drinking from a small pool of snowmelt. Kerek, still astride his mount, is not much further on. His horse is in a lather, walking now, head down, away from whence it was terrorized. Ahead of the rider, around a small bend in the ravine, is another camp, much smaller than Yonder's Hole, and much dingier than the mining settlement ever was, even at the height of the Orc siege. Kerek, however, can't see this camp. His mount is stumbling, unawares, towards it.

This wouldn't be a problem if this squalid camp were simply an outlying annex of Yonder's Hole. But it is soon apparent that it is not. From a height, its occupants appear as tall, dog-headed men, mostly naked, most carrying nasty looking weapons. Within the bounds of the camp is a crude cage, packed to brimming with huddled humanoids- men and dwarves, predominantly. Not far to the east of this camp, boring into the flank of a low bluff, is a tunnel. As Corros watches, a stoop-shouldered man emerges from the tunnel bearing a basket of earth, dumping it as his overseer's lash bites at his naked back.

The others watch Corros sail off to the west, eventually losing sight of the airborne warlock as he's screened off by the looming western bluff. Zima volunteers to go after the pack horse.


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:59, Sun 15 Jan 2017.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 397 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sun 25 Dec 2016
at 22:30
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros leaves the ground and his friends behind in a moment of weightless freedom.  Nothing has compared to the sensation of freedom that this spell has given him.  The only feeling that he can remember as coming close to soaring through the air was the initial discovery of The Library many years ago.  He wants to rise higher than the bluffs and climb higher and higher into the skies to leave the earth behind.  Given that he's also not suicidal, and that he doesn't know what awaits him around the area or in the sky, common sense prevails and he stays near the ground.  Or nearish.

Sighting Kerek and his ultimate destination causes Corros' pulse to spike.  Their ally is in danger, and despite their short time together, Corros knows he has to do his part to save the man from imprisonment, if not death.  The warlock turns to the crows escorting him through the sky as he begins to descend.

"Go to Nic," he tells them, "please tell him that there are gnolls ahead and they must hurry.  Lead him to that place."  Corros points to the camp, then dives, skimming across the ground hoping to intercept Kerek before he meets his fate.


Corros
61/61 HP, AC 13
Flying to intercept Kerek
10' above ground
If gnolls come around the corner before he can stop Kerek, he'll cast Evard's Black Tentacles at a choke point
If he can get within range before Kerek is exposed, he'll use telepathy to turn him around and try to keep him silent

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 537 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 25 Dec 2016
at 22:42
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai watches with more than a touch of envy as Corros takes flight.  "He did not tell me he could do this.  Did he tell you he could do this?" he asks Jenna rhetorically.

The envy turns to concern as the witchling's course suddenly veers west and drops.  The cloud of crows plummets, too, returning to Nicolai.

"Gnolls," croaks one in a passable imitation of Corros' voice.  A second emphasizes the missive with a head-tilt and flutter of wings that's an eerily accurate imitation of the thieves' cant for "hurry" and "follow."

"Shit.  Gnolls," Nicolai repeats for the benefit of his companions, breaking into a run.
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 440 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Mon 26 Dec 2016
at 15:28
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna can't help but smirk a little at the look on Nicolai's face when the Rogue asks the question that he clearly already knows the answer to. "He did more than tell me, he would take me with him." Together she and Corros had soared over Balefyre, she clinging tightly to him as the City had slipped by beneath them.

She's still smiling at the thought of those memories when the ravens return, flock around their Master, the gist of the message that they carry understandable even before Nicolai repeats it. Jenna wonders whether these gnolls are connected to the same pack that they had bested before, the ones that had been plaguing the orcs, the ones from whom they had recovered the Hand of Doom talisman.

These were questions that could be asked after they had tasted Arma's wrath. For now Jenna sets off after Nicolai, matching her pace to his.
Gronk
 Party NPC, 117 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Mon 26 Dec 2016
at 22:40
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gnolls.

Gronk smiles and falls in behind Nic and Jenna, eager for the fight that was clearly coming.

-
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 538 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Mon 26 Dec 2016
at 22:50
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"He took you with him?  And neither of you told me?  He never takes me anywhere," Nicolai rejoins, tongue planted firmly in cheek.  Then he shuts up and runs.
Raellus
 GM, 707 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Fri 30 Dec 2016
at 16:03
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Despite their seeming preoccupation with things subterranean, the gnolls, for gnolls they most certainly are, can't help but notice the floating elf-man and his swirling coterie of ravens. A particularly observant gnoll's barks of alarm alert the others; the presumed leader, conspicuous by his unusually large size, directs several from among his band to proceed east, at speed, down the draw, towards the airborne interloper. Corros realizes that this puts them on a collision course with Kerrek, still completely unaware of the danger into which he's riding.

The rest of the party is in hot pursuit, but Kerek, thanks to his runaway mount, still has a substantial lead. At the moment, the dwarf is closer to the gnolls than he is to his own travelling companions. As Corros watches, Kerek finally gets his mount turned around, but the gnolls are closing fast (quarry and hunters still can't see one another).

The party of gnolls moving towards Corros (and Kerek) numbers six, accompanied by four hyenas. There appears to be at least a dozen gnolls in and around the squalid camp; the cage contains several humanoid prisoners, although there are very likely more currently out of sight, digging below ground.


Your Turn.

-

This message was last updated by the GM at 16:03, Fri 30 Dec 2016.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 400 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Thu 29 Dec 2016
at 22:31
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros has to double down on his decision to try and save Kerek before the gnolls arrive.  Despite the warlock's reluctance to enter combat without his four allies, if he doesn't act, their new friend will perish.  Or be forced to spend the next several hours to days slaving under the whips of gnollish slave masters.  At least they gnolls are after Corros now, and that means he might be able to lure the creatures away.  Especially if he plays a little hide and seek.

Keeping low, he tries to try to keep a ridge line between himself and the gnoll camp.  He'll make it look like a bad attempt at stealth in an attempt to buy Kerek time to move.  At the same time, he starts looking for a good spot to draw their enemies towards.  A place where Nic, Jenna, and Gronk can do their best to inflict damage.  A choke point or a draw would be best.  Just away from Kerek will be sufficient.

If he has to protect Kerek, he will.

"Push Kerek to Nic," he tells the ravens.  When he has a good location to do battle, he'll send that via raven too.
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 541 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Fri 30 Dec 2016
at 01:38
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai sees Corros dip below the jagged horizon, trailing ravens like an ebon comet.  "He's doing something stupid and heroic," he observes to Jenna, probably unnecessarily.  He concentrates on his footing.  As soon as the first gnoll is in sight, he wants to be in its face with blades out before it realizes what's happening.
Raellus
 GM, 708 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Fri 30 Dec 2016
at 16:08
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros' diversion works. He drifts to his right, over the bluff that forms the northern boundary of the draw currently being used by all three parties (Kerek, Corros' friends, and the gnolls). The gnolls, still unaware of Kerek's presence (he's just out of sight around a gentle bend in the draw), scramble up the bluff towards the floating intruder.

Nic's ravens seem to understand Corros' spoken directions. Four of them break off and dive towards Kerrek, noisily hectoring him and his exhausted mount east, towards Nic and the others.

When the first gnoll reaches the crest of the ridge, he notches his bow and takes aim at Corros. Corros sideslips into defilade and the hastily-sent arrow sails wide. The gnoll archer's companions arrive in short order and, although their attention is naturally drawn to the floating humanoid, they now have a better view down the length of the draw. Invariably, one of them notices the noisy ravens herding a rider away from the gnoll camp. Much barking and snarling ensues. Four of the gnolls slide back down the draw and peel off in hot pursuit of the mounted dwarf, accompanied by all four of the hyenas. This leaves two bow-armed gnolls atop the ridge, both focused on Corros.

Nic, Jenna, Gronk, and Zima are still closing on Kerek from the east. They can finally see him up ahead. Since they and he are moving towards one another, his friends should reach him before the gnolls do.


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 16:20, Mon 02 Jan 2017.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 542 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sat 31 Dec 2016
at 01:48
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Keep going," Nicolai snarls as he passes Kerek and his winded mount.  He tugs his rapier and dagger free of their scabbards and angles toward where he estimates the gnolls will appear.

Nicolai
AC 16; HP 61/61; Superiority Dice 4/4
Move: Into melee with gnolls.
Attack (x2): Rapier +1 against first available gnoll (attack +7, damage 1d8+4)
Bonus: If necessary, Cunning Action for Dash to get into melee; if not, expending a superiority die to feint (first attack has advantage; +1d8 damage [on top of sneak attack damage] if it hits)

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 401 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sun 1 Jan 2017
at 20:52
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
With his companions forming up a battle line, Corros decides to take a chance and see what he can do against a lone archer with a few of his own missiles.  The decision isn't without its flaws, to be sure.  If it works, though, his allies will have magical support to the gnolls rear.  Not a bad situation for any group of adventurers to find themselves in.  And if it starts to go bad, the street rat can make like rats everywhere, and scurry for friendlier shores.

And maybe The Library can help

Corros
Using Entropic Ward, casting Eldrtich Bolt x2 at the gnoll archer, +8 to attack, d10+5 damage each
Trying to stay behind cover as much as possible

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 442 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Mon 2 Jan 2017
at 10:30
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna pulls up short when Nicolai rushes forward, positing that she can do more damage if she stays back slightly and calls on the Goddess to aid her and her friends in the impending battle. So as the Ardani advances she takes a deep breath, raises her hands and points towards the spot where they expect the first of the Gnolls to appear. When the creature comes into sight she'll unleash a bolt of radiant energy towards it.

Jenna
AC: 21, HP 51/56
Casting Guiding Bolt (Level 2) at first Gnoll to show itself.

Gronk
 Party NPC, 118 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Mon 2 Jan 2017
at 16:18
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"Wait up!" Gronk says, trying to keep up with the fleet-footed Ardani. Once Nic stops and gets into position, Gronk falls in on his left side, ready to bash some gnoll heads.

Gronk
AC 19; HP 83/88
Moving to Nic's left flank; 2x attacks to first target that gets within melee range

-

This message was last edited by the player at 16:28, Mon 02 Jan 2017.

Raellus
 GM, 709 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Mon 2 Jan 2017
at 17:19
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Kerrek's expression leaps from relief to alarm as Nic, Gronk, Jenna, and Zima pass him in rapid succession, moving quickly in the opposite direction. When he turns his head to see where they're going, he finally realizes the danger he's been in for the last few minutes or so.

Nic and Gronk set up a two-person battle line, with Jenna and Zima hanging back a bit to provide fire support from range.

If the gnolls are alarmed to find that their easy prey has formidable friends, they don't show it. The four hyena-headed monstrosities, followed by four quadrupedal relations hot on their heels, charge forward, directly at Nic and Gronk.

The lead gnoll stops dead in its tracks, just short of Nic, as a bolt of radiant energy hurled by Jenna slams into its furry chest (GH1 -17HP; grants advantage on next attack).

Nic thrusts his rapier through the stunned gnoll's throat. Dark red blood spews from the entry wound; the monster falls down, mortally wounded, as soon as Nic slides the slim blade free (GH1 -9HP; GH1 is dead!).

The next gnoll rushes forward, undeterred. Gronk is ready. Spike rises and falls twice, bashing the dog-man into the dirt, where it lies unmoving at his feet (G2 -25HP; G2 is dead!).

The others come on. Nic feints to create an opening, then follows through with another rapier thrust. The blade bites deep into the gnoll's midsection (GH3 -17HP). It snarls and hacks at Nic with its short swords (on in each hand). Both blades cut through Nic's studded leather armor, drawing blood (Nic -12HP; -10' movement until end of GH3's next turn).

Zima targets the next gnoll, sending two arrows its way. Both miss. It hurls itself at Gronk, spear reaching out hungrily for the half-orc's belly. Gronk turns the polearm with his shield and swings his morning star at the attacker, crushing its shoulder (G4 -15HP).

Two hyenas go for Nic, the other two go for Gronk. Nic's armor is proof against the beast's teeth; their breath on the other hand... it's nauseatingly foul. Gronk's armor can't stop one of the hyenas from nearly taking a finger (Gronk -3HP).

Meanwhile, Corros is engaged in a ranged duel with a pair of gnoll archers. Corros strikes first, killing one of them with a powerful brace of Eldritch blasts (Crit! GH5 -25HP; GH5 is dead!). The second gnoll archer is luckier, feathering Corros with a black-fletched shaft (Corros -6HP; -10' feet movement until end of GH5's next turn).


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 21:34, Sat 31 Mar 2018.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 543 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sat 7 Jan 2017
at 22:20
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai curses and staggers as the two staggering blows pummel his left leg.  He shoves himself backward with his good leg, and the unpredictability of the off-balance hop is probably what keeps the oncoming hyenas from pulling him down.  The point of his rapier buys him a few more seconds of keeping the beasts at bay.  It's enough time for him to slot into formation with Gronk and pivot toward his humanoid adversary to finish the job.

Nicolai
AC 16; HP 49/61; Superiority Dice 3/4
Attack 1: Rapier +1 on G3 (attack +7, damage 1d8+4)
Attack 2: Rapier +1 on G3 or G4 (attack +7, damage 1d8+4)
Bonus: Off-hand attack with dagger +1 on G3, G4, or H1 (attack +7, damage 1d4+4)
Note: First successful attack on an enemy Gronk can reach gets +2d6 sneak attack damage

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 402 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sun 8 Jan 2017
at 02:50
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The sight of the first archer falling under the blast of magic that Corros sent screaming across the distance is enough to almost make up for the pain the second archer inflicts on the warlock.  Almost.  Alas, getting feathered by an arrow isn't the most painful injury Corros has ever taken, but it still hurts.  A quick glance at his companions tell the warlock that they are doing okay.  He should still hurry.  With his confidence bolstered by the first exchange of fire, Corros draws forth another pair of magical bolts and sends them flying toward the remaining archer.

Corros
Casting Eldrtich Blast x2 at the gnoll archer, +8 to attack, d10+5 damage each
Still trying to present a difficult target

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 443 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sun 8 Jan 2017
at 12:56
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Holding her position behind the main battle line Jenna's lips curl into a satisfied smile as she sees the Gnoll that she targeted fall and not get up again, radiant sparks still flitting randomly around its lifeless body. The Priestess has already turned her attention to the next target, her eyes milky white as she extends her hands towards the beasts menacing Nicolai, intending to send them to meet their false God with the same speed that the first one had been despatched.

Jenna
AC: 21, HP 51/56
Casting Guiding Bolt (Level 2) at G3
If G3 already dead alternate target is G4

Gronk
 Party NPC, 119 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Sun 8 Jan 2017
at 19:56
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

In spite of the painful bite wound, Gronk stays focused on his gnoll adversary, attempting to finish the dog-headed monstrosity before it can make another stabbing attack with its spear. If he can kill the gnoll, Gronk will ignore the nipping hyenas and instead assist Nic with his gnoll- unless Nic can take care of it himself, in which case the slavering hyena will taste cold steel.

Gronk
AC 19; HP 80/88
Attack +9 on G4, rinse and repeat on G3 (or hyena)


-
Gronk
 Party NPC, 120 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Sun 8 Jan 2017
at 20:23
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The gnoll hunter can't deal with Nic's quickness. Touch of Sylk pierces the monster's beady dog eye and slides into the puny brain behind, killing it instantly (G4- 10HP; G4 is dead!).

Gronk, meanwhile, attempts to finish his own opponent. The gnoll sidesteps the first blow, but it can't avoid a quick follow-up backhand strike. Spike slams into the side of the gnoll's dog head, caving in its skull and dropping the beast like a sack of wet laundry (G4- 13HP; G3 is dead!).

Deprived of both her primary and secondary targets in short order, Jenna instead directs another bolt of Arma's power towards one of the hyenas besetting the more lightly armored rogue-ranger. The hyena flies backwards in flash, rolling limply once it hits the ground, still smoking and clearly dead (H1- 13HP; H1 is dead!).


Nic runs the second hyena through, leaving just the two hyena's still snapping at Gronk. Redeeming her earlier misses, the half-elf ranger feathers both dogs, dropping them (H3 -10HP; H3 is dead! H3 -10HP; H4 is dead!).

Just like that, the companions, minus the still-airborne Corros, are alone. Corros' ranged duel with the gnoll archers continues. His second round of attacks are just as successful as the first, and he blasts the beast into oblivion (GH6 -22HP; GH6 is dead!).

Kerrek is safe and the gnoll reaction force has been annihilated. The gnoll camp and its slave laborers still remain under heavy guard.

Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the player at 20:25, Sun 08 Jan 2017.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 544 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 8 Jan 2017
at 23:59
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Geh."  Nicolai gingerly tests his leg until he's sure it'll bear his weight.  He begins to kneel, intending to clean his blades on a gnoll's fur, then wrinkles his nose and digs a rag out of his pack instead.  "Where's Corros?"  He cocks his head for a moment, listening.  "I don't hear anything, which means he won.  Let's get him back here and find out what he's seen."  He whistles to his ravens and flashes the thieves' cant for fetch little witch.

"Kerek, if you're all right, help Zima recover the rest of the horses, please.  We'll need them soon enough."
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 403 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Wed 11 Jan 2017
at 02:54
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
When the ravens arrive with their summons, Corros heeds the call.  He floats over the ground, not exactly stalling, but savoring this moment of flight.  Post battle, and post being sliced by an arrow, being airborne gives him a few bits of pure joy.  This kind of magic is fun, and fun is something that has been in relatively short supply over the half-elf's life.  It is, he concludes, something he needs more of.

He approaches his companions and hovers just off the ground, unwilling to let the spell end quite yet.

Are you okay? he sends to Jenna, wrapped in emotions of concern and warmth.

"Short work, that," Corros says aloud.  "But we've got a bigger problem.  Around a few more corners there's a gnoll prison camp.  They're mining.  With slaves."  The last word comes out thick with distaste.  "The gnolls we just defeated were sent from the camp to deal with me, so they know we're here.  If we're careful though, I think we might be able to hit them now.  It's hard to say if we'll get another chance.  And if the gnolls feel threatened, they might pack up and leave.  After taking care of their slaves, yeah?"
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 444 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Wed 11 Jan 2017
at 20:35
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
The unspoken answer to Corros' silent question is accompanied by a toss of blonde hair and a smile as he hovers there, just off the ground. Showing off. And she loves him for it. Yes. Just bruised from where I fell off that horse. For a fleeting moment thoughts of him examining that bruised skin spring to mind, just long enough to carry across the link before the news that he bears forces her attention back to less pleasant matters, her own countenance becoming equally grim as he talks of slaves being forced to mine.

"You're right. We should attack them now, before they have a chance to react to our presence." There's a nod towards one of the dead gnolls. "Do these beasts have the wit and cunning to do this by themselves?" The Priestess shrugs her shoulders. Ultimately the question was immaterial, they would find out the answer soon enough. There were other matters to address. "And more to the point, does anyone need healing?"
Gronk
 Party NPC, 121 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Thu 12 Jan 2017
at 00:58
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gronk sucks at his gouged knuckle and spits a wad blood on the stony ground. "Nah, I'm good. Thanks, though." He'd almost forgotten about the Yeti claw marks on his upper back- Nic's poultice seems to have done the trick.

"I'm all for a attacking the camp." Gronk adds his vote. Turning back to Jenna, he adds, "If we're going right back into battle against superior numbers, one of those blessing spells you do sure would be nice."

Looking to Nic, Gronk asks, "Got any clever ideas how we're going to do this?"


-

This message was last edited by the player at 00:58, Thu 12 Jan 2017.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 546 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Thu 12 Jan 2017
at 01:05
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Possibly."  Nicolai scratches his fast-blooming stubble.  "Corros, about how many more are there?  We'll need to be fast.  They'll figure out we took care of these," he gestures at the scattered corpses, "quickly."

"I don't think we can assume any of the slaves will be able to help once we attack.  I'm sure they want to but they're probably on minimal rations.  So we'll take the help if we get it, but we won't count on it.  Though... hmm.  Jenna, could you invoke Arma's favor for them?  Anything that would help keep the gnolls from slaughtering them?"

"And Corros?  How much longer will you be able to fly?  If you can circle around behind their camp and wait until we have their attention before sucker-punching them with witchcraft..."
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 446 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Thu 12 Jan 2017
at 21:52
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna's first act is to step over to Nicolai, place a hand on his forearm and whisper a prayer to the Goddess, her eyes turning milky white for several heartbeats as the Warrior's power healing courses through her and into Nicolai, causing the flesh torn by the gnolls and their hyena minions to knit back together. (Nicolai, +7 HP)

The Priestess then looks over to Gronk, fingers the amulet that Brother Jaro had given her. "I can call on Arma to Bless us all when we go in to battle." She turns back to Nicolai. "If I can get close to them I can call on my Spirit Guardians to help me to defend them but I'd need to be more or less right up next to them. I'm not sure if there's anything else I can do for them from a distance."

21:41, Today: Jenna Drax rolled 7 using 1d8+5.  Cure Wounds Level 1.
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 548 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 15 Jan 2017
at 13:37
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Thank you."  Nicolai flexes his formerly-injured limb experimentally.  "All right.  My best thought, which isn't all that good, is that Jenna and I form up on Gronk so we can support each other more easily.  We've just seen that these things will fight like a wolf pack, so anyone who gets isolated and in grabbing distance will get pulled down.  Corros - if you can fly behind them and hit them from an unexpected direction, that will sow confusion.  But only if you can stay aloft."

He shrugs uncomfortably.  "We'll have to hope for the best for the slaves.  If the gnolls decide to start slaughtering them, we'll try to intervene, but we can't do them any good if we're dead because we didn't concentrate on the fight first."

This message was last edited by the player at 13:38, Sun 15 Jan 2017.

Raellus
 GM, 713 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Mon 16 Jan 2017
at 15:37
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The companions, minus Zima and Kerrek (sent to collect the horses), advance up the draw towards the reported gnoll camp. It doesn't take long to make contact again. A large gnoll force comes out to meet them.

Apparently realizing that its pursuit force had fallen afoul of an ambush of some sort, the gnoll chieftain is personally leading out a second, larger war party. The leader of the band is at least a head taller than any of the others, its greasy fur adorned with multiple red-black handprints, a severed hand on a thong around its long, thick neck. It's a flind, an exceptionally large, physically powerful gnoll- an alpha male who leads by virtue of its sheer strength and higher than above average (for a gnoll) intelligence. Hanging from its hand is an impressively crafted flail, perhaps of dwarven make.

Intelligently led, this group of gnolls fights with more tactical acumen. The main body is preceded by skirmishers armed with bows. They stop about 30' from the adventurers and draw their bowstrings. A small pack of hyenas runs ahead of the archers, grunting, laughing, and snapping. The flind hangs back with six warriors armed with assorted melee weapons (mostly spears).

W1 W2 W3 FC W4 W5 W6

    A1 A2 A3 A4

    H1 H2 H3 H4



      N  G  J
          C
Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:53, Mon 16 Jan 2017.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 408 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Mon 16 Jan 2017
at 17:37
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
The discipline of the gnoll battle line is almost impressive to Corros.  He's not used to creatures using actual tactics to attack him and his allies.  That being said, he's about to mess with their intentions.  He's had enough of being hit with arrows today.  "I'm not evil," he says, standing behind Jenna, Nic, and Gronk.  "But this spell might give you the wrong idea."  With a series of complicated gestures and words in no human tongue, the warlock calls for a pitch black pit of shimmering, writhing, tentacles that reach for the archers.

Corros
55/61 HP, AC 13
Casting Evard's Black Tentacles, 20' area
Creatures who start their turn in the area must save vs str (DC 16) or suffer 3d6 damage and become entrapped.  Creatures moving into the area must save or suffer the same effect.  Entrapped creatures suffer 3d6 per round until they save successfully.

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 451 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Mon 16 Jan 2017
at 18:10
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna can sense the power of the Amulet that is worn around her neck, feel it radiating out, almost like a gentle glow, one that though unseen envelops her in Arma's grace, spreads through her, around her, reaching out to caress each of her companions, share the Goddess's blessing and protection. It feels both serene and powerful at the same time.

The Priestess watches as the gnolls approach, growing larger as they come closer. A toss of blonde mane as she hears her lover's words, a smile, for she knows that he is not evil. There's the briefest of joining of minds. She's tempted to let her thoughts drift back to time spent together in Balefyre, time spent alone, in the rooms acquired from Vander. But it is perhaps best that there are no distractions.

And so the link is broken as he begins to speak in unfamiliar tongues. Jenna raises her own hands, her palms upturned, her lips moving in prayer to the Goddess, eyes turning milky white as the air around her begins to shimmers and ghostly figures start to form.

Jenna
AC: 21, HP 51/56
Bless in effect via Medallion
Casting Spirit Guardians (Level 4)

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 553 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Mon 16 Jan 2017
at 20:46
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Uh.  Those are tentacles of inky blackness."  Despite the imminent threat of the gnolls, Nicolai turns his head to look at Jenna.  "You knew about the flying.  He took you flying.  Did you -- um -- never mind.  Let's kill some gnolls," he finishes as the sword-priestess ignores him and begins invoking her own powers.  Tucking himself into the formation, the Ardani raises his blades and prepares to advance at whatever speed Jenna sets.

Nicolai
AC 16; HP 56/61; Superiority Dice 3/4
Move: In conjunction with Jenna, staying within Spirit Guardians AoE
Attacks 1&2: Rapier +1 on first available melee target (attack +7, damage 1d8+4)
Bonus: Help (deflecting incoming attacks to give Corros advantage on Concentration check to maintain his tentacles)

Gronk
 Party NPC, 122 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Wed 18 Jan 2017
at 00:54
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gronk resists the urge to countercharge the hyenas. Instead, he stays in line with Nic and Jenna, advancing steadily, shield up, morning star poised to deliver destruction.

"Bring it on, bitches!" he shouts, goading the bipedal gnolls and their four-legged kin.


Gronk
AC 19; HP 83/88
Keeping pace with Nic & Jenna
2x attacks on nearest target/s; riposte on tap


-
Raellus
 GM, 714 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Wed 18 Jan 2017
at 02:31
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

OOC: The following is a half-turn. Corros' area-effect spell has created a tactical situation that might affect other players actions. Nic, Jenna, and Gronk may take actions in this half of the turn; Corros has already done so.

The Four advance, three abreast in the van, Corros brining up the rear. The warlock's spell takes immediate effect, ensnaring six of the eight gnolls in its area of effect. The monsters struggle against the clubbing, constricting tentacles.
(A1 -12HP, A2 -14HP, A3 -5HP, W3 -14HP, W4 -9HP, W5 -12HP)

The charging hyenas run heedless into Jenna's ring of Spirit Guardians; all four are instantaneously annihilated by the radiant summons (all four hyenas are dead!).

W1 W2 W3 FC W4 W5 W6

    A1 A2 A3 A4



      N  G  J
          C

OOC: The enemies with a strike through them are restrained and will have to waste their actions attempting to escape (or attack at disadvantage). Entering that area is not recommended.


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:32, Wed 18 Jan 2017.

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 456 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Wed 18 Jan 2017
at 19:41
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
The whimpering of dying hyenas is still echoing in Jenna's ears as she takes a step forward, the ethereal figures of the Spirit Guardians swirling around her as she advances purposefully, knowing that Nicolai and Gronk are with her, Corros a little behind. She can see the tentacles grasping their prey just ahead of them, had purposely chosen to pretend not to hear answer Master Romanelli's question on the subject.

There's a gap between canyon wall and the lead gnolls, one that Jenna judges will allow them to close with the beasts without being caught in the tentacles' clutching grasp themselves and should hopefully allow the Guardians to continue to smite down anything that comes at them. Reaching that spot, Jenna pauses, points extended fingers towards the Gnoll Chieftain, her body trembling visibly as Arma's grace courses through her, more powerful than she has ever known it before, that divine power manifesting itself in a bolt of radiant energy that leaps from her fingertips, streaking in the direction of the Gnoll chief.

Jenna
AC: 21, HP 51/56
Bless in effect via Medallion
Spirit Guardians in effect via Concentration
Advancing in formation / casting Guiding Bolt (Level 4) at Gnoll Chief

Raellus
 GM, 718 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Fri 20 Jan 2017
at 22:49
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Jenna leads the team in skirting the grasping, inky tentacles to launch an attack into the gnoll's left flank. Her Guiding Bolt flies straight and true, striking the huge gnoll chieftan squarely in its hairy chest (FC -20HP; grants advantage until the end of Jenna's next turn).

To the left and a little in front of Jenna, Nic squares off against the leftmost gnoll warrior, wounding it with the second thrust of his rapier (W1 -15HP). The beast hits back, driving the point of its spear into Nic's left bicep (Crit! Nic -7HP). Jenna's Spirit Guardians pass through this gnoll without any effect.

Just to the right of Nic, Gronk delivers two crushing blows to his opponent, permanently felling the creature (W2 -27HP; W2 is dead!).

The Flind wades effortlessly through the magical tentacles, flail lashing out at the nearest threat. The monster runs afoul of Jenna's Spirit Guardians along the way (FC -17HP), but it doesn't seem phased, savagely pressing its attack regardless of the fresh damage. Gronk's Lemnish shield deflects the first blow, and he barely ducks the second. The half-orc delivers a quick counterattack, leaving the gnoll chieftain smarting but still very much in the fight (FC -17HP). The monster's third attack lands squarely between the gladiator's shoulder blades, almost driving Gronk to his knees (Gronk -10HP). He's been hit with flails before- although he senses that he avoided the worst of its power, something about this one tells him that it's no ordinary weapon.

Meanwhile, several of the gnolls ensnared in the mass of writhing tentacles manage to break free. Those that weren't affected are already moving quickly around the spell's area of effect to join the fight.

One of the archers (A4) circles around behind the four and launches two arrows at their backs. The first strikes Corros, but the young warlock manages to keep his concentration on his spell (Corros -6HP; -10' movement). The gnoll wastes his second shot on Jenna, whose armor easily deflects the arrow.

The rightmost gnoll warrior (W6) arcs around behind his trapped confederates and charges Nic with its spear. Fortunately, the point catches nothing but air.

A1 -12HP; freed
A2 -14HP; freed
A3 -5HP; restrained (will take additional damage at the start of its next turn)
A4
W1 -15HP
W2
W3 -14HP; restrained (will take additional damage at the start of its next turn)
W4 -9HP; restrained (will take additional damage at the start of its next turn)
W5 -12HP; freed
W6
GC (Flind) -54HP; granting advantage



Your Turn.

-
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 457 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sat 21 Jan 2017
at 10:56
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
When she sees Corros struck by the arrow Jenna's heart immediately screams out at her to strike down the creature that had attacked him, to send it to meet its false God. Flecks of black are staining the milky whiteness of her eyes, the darkness spreading across her irises in a way that eerily mimics the tentacles that the Warlock had unleashed on their enemies.

Logic, though, tells her that they should concentrate on the leader. The afterglow of the Goddess's radiant power is still flickering around it. It is close enough that she can smell its foul reek. Has already lashed out at Gronk. Jenna's eyes go jet black as she lunges forward, her astral protectors by her side, Arma's grace still flowing from the medallion around her neck invoking the Warrior's power and glory as she raises her warhammer above her head, every ounce of her strength in the blow as she tries to strike down the Flind.

Jenna
AC: 21, HP 51/56
Bless in effect via Medallion
Spirit Guardians in effect via Concentration
Melee Combat with Gnoll Chief, Warhammer +1
Using War Priest feature for bonus action (2nd of 5)

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 558 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sat 21 Jan 2017
at 16:08
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Fucker," Nic hisses as the spearpoint drives deep into his sword arm.  He drops to a knee to avoid another thrust as the snap of a bowstring alerts him to the threat behind the party.  He pivots and lets fly with his dagger toward one of the archers closing on Corros, then spins back to face the spear line as he plucks his spare dagger from his belt.  Following Jenna's lead, he drives for the gnoll leader's flank, hoping to drop the creature and break the enemy line.

Nicolai
AC 16; HP 49/61; Superiority Dice 2/4
Move: As needed to stay in formation
Bonus: Off-hand thrown attack on A2 with dagger +1 (attack +7, damage 1d4+4)
Attacks 1&2: Rapier +1 on flind (attack +7, damage 1d8+4, first successful attack gets +2d6 sneak attack damage)
Option: If the flind goes down, any remaining melee attacks are on W1

Gronk
 Party NPC, 122 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Sun 22 Jan 2017
at 20:14
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gronk makes contact with the huge gnoll chieftain, the biggest- literally and figuratively- threat on the battlefield. It's an unspoken contract, you or me, to the death; let's do this. Gronk knows that the odds are long; it's going to take everything he's got to survive this duel. Drawing upon his orcish heritage, Gronk calls forth the rage buried deep inside. He swings Spike at the monster's head with all of his might.

Gronk (Raging)
AC 19; 73/88 HP
2x melee attacks: 1st is a Goading Attack v. Flind, 2nd is standard v. same target


-

This message was last edited by the player at 20:14, Sun 22 Jan 2017.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 409 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sat 21 Jan 2017
at 18:40
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black


The gnolls breaking free of the tentacles manage to suddenly tip the balance of power in the skirmish.  Corros snarls in frustration, and starts trying to draw more power from The Library.  A sudden tear in his side causes a dip in his concentration that is answered by a doubling down on the thoughts holding that particular wave of power together.  For once, they might have bitten off more than they can chew.

"Gods," he mutters to no one.

With this left hand holding the seething mass of tentacles in existence, he throws a pair of Eldritch Blasts at the archers struggling free.


Corros
49/61 HP, AC 13
Holding Black Tentacles
One each Eldritch Blasts at A1 and A2.  +8 to attack, d10+5 damage each.

Raellus
 GM, 721 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 22 Jan 2017
at 01:36
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The front rankers concentrate their offense on the gnoll chieftain, piercing and bludgeoning it with a string of powerful attacks- even Jenna's Spirit Guardians join in. The mad beast reels back and falls, overcome by his opponents' collective fury (Nic does 24HP damage, Gronk does 32HP damage, Jenna does 13HP damage, her spell does 18HP damage- the Flind is dead!).

Driven by bloodlust and the desire to avenge their fallen chief, three gnoll spearmen wade through the revolving barrier of Spirit Guardians without any ill effect. Nic is pierced (Nic -4HP), as is Gronk (Crit! Gronk -4HP). Smoke, Jenna's enchanted plate, is proof against her attacker's spear.

Corros turns to face the hunters emerging from the tentacle field. A pair of Eldritch blasts kills a pair of gnolls (A1 -12HP; A1 is dead! A2 -8HP; A2 is dead!), leaving only the archer who'd just feathered him. Although, caught in the shin by Nic's thrown dagger (A4 -5HP), its first shot flies true, striking the young warlock with agonizing force (Crit! Corros -9HP). Somehow, Corros manages not to lose his control of Evard's Black Tentacles- they continue attacking the three entangled gnolls, overcoming one of them (W3 -4HP, A3 -7HP, W4 -16HP; W4 is dead!). The hunter's second arrow misses Corros by a hair's breadth.

Both entangled gnolls break free from the grasping black tentacles, one on the far side of the seething mass, the other just behind the trio of gnolls assailing the party's front rankers.

    N W1
 C  J W5 W3
    G W6                              A3

    A4

Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:09, Sun 19 Feb 2017.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 411 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sun 22 Jan 2017
at 12:27
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Still alive, yeah? Corros observes silently.  The two bolts of magical energy had done their job and dispatched two more of the gnolls.  That still left six.  Corros and his friends are still outnumbered and even with gnoll leader dead, the dogheaded warriors are still fighting like fiends.

The warlock is considering his next move when an arrow shaft embeds itself in his thigh with a wet thump.  Pain lances through his nerves, almost shattering the thought patterns needed to hold the tentacles in place.  He knows a cry escapes his lips, he can't help it.  The wound is painful.

I have something for you too, Corros whispers directly into the mind of the archer who's arrow is in his leg before unleashing two more blasts of magical energy at the creature.


Corros
40/61 HP AC 13
Two Eldritch Blasts at A4, +8 to hit, d10+5 damage

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 458 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sun 22 Jan 2017
at 12:47
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
The sounds of the battle are filling Jenna's ears. The whimpering of gnolls as they fall, the clash of speartip against armour as her shield deflects the blow aimed at her. She can feel a dampness on her cheek, blood, not her own. Her spiritual protectors are still flitting around her, swirling ethereal forms, their touch death to those they do not recognise as her friend.

She is face to face with one of the spearmen. She has to jerk her head back to avoid its snapping jaws. Its breath is foul. She can hear Corros cry out directly behind her. Anger courses through her, through every fiber of her being. Her tresses are rippling, moving of their own accord. She wants to kill the gnolls. To kill them all. Every last one of them. Her eyes are pools of pure blackness as she swings her hammer again, Arma's Blessing cutting through the air, its blunt head aimed at the gnoll's skull.

Jenna
AC: 21, HP 51/56
Bless in effect via Medallion
Spirit Guardians in effect via Concentration
Melee Combat with W5, Warhammer +1
Using War Priest feature for bonus action (3rd of 5)

This message was last edited by the player at 13:45, Sun 22 Jan 2017.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 560 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 22 Jan 2017
at 13:42
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai feels another spearpoint gouge his flesh but it's not the near-crippling blow that the last strike was.  Eventually, enough of these will bring him down.  Not yet, though.  He sidesteps to give Jenna room to swing and unleashes his own flurry of steel on the maddened gnolls.

Nicolai
AC 16; HP 45/61; Superiority Dice 2/4
Attacks 1&2: Rapier +1 on W1 (attack +7, damage 1d8+4)
Bonus: Off-hand attack on W2 with dagger (attack +6, damage 1d4+3)
Special: First successful attack gets +2d6 sneak attack damage
Option: If W1 goes down, switching targets to W5

Gronk
 Party NPC, 123 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Sun 22 Jan 2017
at 20:16
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gronk's a bit surprised that the Flind is down already, but he doesn't complain- he's still juiced up on rage. The half-orc gladiator turns his full attention to the gnoll berserker now front of him, attempting to smash its dog face in with a big, spiky ball of heavy metal.

Gronk
AC 19; HP 69/88; 1/4 combat superiority dice
Raging melee attack v W6; repeat, if necessary, or switch targets


-
Raellus
 GM, 722 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 22 Jan 2017
at 20:36
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros' gift lays the dog-faced archer in the dirt (A4 -22HP; A4 is dead!)

Jenna dispatches her opponent with a mighty hammer blow (W5 -10HP; W5 is dead!)

Gronk's first attack lands, but not hard enough to finish the berserker (W6 -13HP). The monster parries Gronk's second, then cocks its swords to deliver a savage counter.

Nic steps in and puts Touch of Sylk through the berserker's neck, killing it (W6 -9HP; W6 is dead!)

The last two remaining gnolls, both just out of the tentacle field, turn tail and run back towards their camp, leaving the Four masters of the cramped battlefield. Thirteen hyena-headed corpses, nine of the two-legged variety, litter the ground at their feet. Of the weaponry strewn among the bodies, only the Flind's massive flail appears to have any value. The dead war chief wears a Hand of Doom talisman around its thick neck.

The gnoll's camp is about a furlong to the northwest. The Flind likely didn't leave it completely unguarded, and the two escaping gnolls will certainly bring word of their leader's demise.


Your Turn.

-
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 413 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Mon 23 Jan 2017
at 01:16
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Yeah, no," Corros says to the backs of the fleeing gnolls.  His mind gives up on holding the tentacle spell in place, allowing the conjuration to fade into nothing.  Or back where it came.  Running would be tricky with the arrow in his leg and that's why he has spells.  Another pair of Eldritch bolts fly from his hands in the direction of the running archer.  He's had enough of their shit.

Corros
40/61 HP, AC 13
Two bolts at fleeing gnolls
+8 to attack, d10+5 ea

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 562 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Mon 23 Jan 2017
at 01:25
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai has never claimed to be an archer.  He carries a bow when he's in the wilderness, but it's really more in the way of reassurance so he'll have something with which to shoot back.  In this case, though, he's not above shooting backs.

Nicolai
AC 16; HP 45/61; Superiority Dice 2/4
Move: Toward fleeing gnolls to close the range
Bonus: Cunning Action for Dash to further reduce range
Attacks 1&2: Shortbow on fleeing gnolls (attack +6, damage 1d6+3)

This message was last edited by the player at 01:51, Wed 25 Jan 2017.

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 460 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Mon 23 Jan 2017
at 14:08
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna pauses long enough to gulp in a lungful of air. There’s an immediate, instinctive thought to go to Corros. She heard him crying out. She knows that he is hurt. And then there’s the desire to kill more Gnolls. The two now trying to flee the field as rapidly as they can. She knows that she will never catch them on foot. But they cannot outrun Arma’s wrath.

The blonde haired Priestess raises her right hand, fingers extended, a ripple coursing through her as a bolt of radiant energy takes form at her fingertips, shoots through the air towards the fleeing beasts. She can sense that it’s not as powerful as the one that struck the Gnoll chief. She is growing weaker, needs to rest, to pray, to regather her strength.

Jenna
AC: 21, HP 51/56
Bless in effect via Medallion
Spirit Guardians in effect via Concentration
Launching Guiding Bolt (Level 2) at fleeing gnolls

Raellus
 GM, 724 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Thu 26 Jan 2017
at 02:20
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The Four are not about to let the two fleeing gnolls escape. Corros acts first, sending forth two more Eldritch Blasts. Each magical projectile finds its respective target; one gnoll goes down permanently, smoking wound in its back (W3 -9HP; W3 is dead!), the other staggers under the impact of the arcane energy, but continues its headlong flight- Nic ends it, planting an arrow between the monster's furry shoulder blades (A4 -4HP; A4 is dead!).

The camp lies about a furlong away. Again, it probably wasn't left undefended, but its guards know not of the fate of their leader and his warriors, and no one is left to tell them.


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:09, Sun 19 Feb 2017.

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 464 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Thu 26 Jan 2017
at 21:54
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
The Spirits are fading in and out of existence around Jenna, the effects of the Medallion also beginning to lessen, the Priestess's hair no longer moving of its own accord, her eyes flitting from back to milky white as she turns to face Corros.

"You're hurt." she says quietly, the concern etches in her voice as she closes the gap between the two of them. The others are hurt as well, but her attention is focused solely on the young half elf Warlock for the moment. She'll see to the others in the moment. But she'll always turn to Corros first. Always.There's a smile on her lips as the gap becomes nothing, her hammer and shield set to one side as her hands reach out to gently stroke his cheeks "Let me take a look."

With a toss of blonde mane Jenna crouches down. "Look away. This will be painful, but only for a moment, then it will feel better." Her hands grasp the arrow, pull it out of his leg. She knows that it will cause him more pain, feels bad for that, but it will only be fleeting, for her hands are already hovering above the tear in his flesh where the arrow was, her lips murmuring a prayer to the Goddess, radiant energy shimmering around the wound, knotting the skin back together again. There's still a little blood, but it is better than it was.

The Priestess rises slowly, stands next to Corros, looks at the others as the Guardians disappear from sight, their work done. She feels weak, knows that she needs to rest soon, gather her strength, pray. "Does anyone else need healing?"

Corros +7HP, Cure Wounds 2
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 415 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Thu 26 Jan 2017
at 22:46
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The battleground is a blood splattered mess except for the curiously bare patch in the middle where the conjured black mass was.  Some of the blood puddles have been curiously cut in half in a sharp line.  On one side of an invisible line, the ground is saturated and sticky.  Then, on the other side of the curving razor divide, the ground is hard and clean.  The effect is disconcerting.

"I'm okay," Corros says to his lover, smiling at her concern.  "You are amazing.  As always, yeah?"  His eyes dutifully turn away when Jenna asks.  Her care is comforting, a complete break from the force of justice and violence she becomes in battle.  And it is so far away from anything he has known in an life filled with fear, secrets, and betrayal.  Better not to think of those things around her.  It is hard enough to keep his mind from reaching out with the pleasant emotions.

He flexes his leg, feeling the newly mended tissues flex and bend.  They are still sore, to be sure.  The healing isn't complete.  Time will heal the rest.

"Shall we finish this my friends?
" the warlock asks, pointing at the trail.

He's out spells, except for his blasts.  Those have been doing just fine.
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 565 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Fri 27 Jan 2017
at 00:44
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai squints at the field where the tentacles grew.  Thinks about a pool of blackness sliding across the ground.  Thinks about pools of blackness sliding across Jenna's eyes.  Tests his sword-arm, finds it sufficient to serve for now.  Decides not to ask for magic at the moment.

"Good enough to finish this," he says aloud.
Raellus
 GM, 726 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 29 Jan 2017
at 20:31
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

In the Camp

With the guards distracted by events somewhere south of the camp, the Elven Monk, Amaldaris Cenovir, manages to saw through his bonds with a jagged segment of wooden cage slat. He's unarmed and weak from his wounds, but his mind and heart are strong. If something's about to go down, he's not giving in without a fight. Deemed too dangerous to be among the other prisoners- mostly simple miners- the elf is in his own cramped cell. The guards appear nervous and agitated, arguing amongst themselves in their guttural, growling native tongue. They keep looking south; the occasionally clang of steel on steel hint of battle yonder that way. One of the guards, a particularly feral-looking gnoll, keeps looking at Amadlaris, liking its muzzle and slavering.

Meanhwile, the Four, girded for what they hope will be the culminating chapter of the current battle, approach the camp. They can see it up ahead and to the right, just atop a gentle rise leading to a relatively high, steep-sided bluff.

Two of the four guards spot the four humanoid interlopers and bark a warning. They are joined by two more gnolls. The gnoll quartet ready their bows and prepare to launch a volley at the intruders. The feral guard decides to take this opportunity to lunch on the tender, seemingly defenseless elf. He unlocks the cage and enters slowly opens the slatted door...


Your Turn.

-
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 566 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Mon 30 Jan 2017
at 00:48
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"No more tentacles?" Nicolai asks Corros warily.  When the witchling shakes his head, Nic grunts an acknowledgement.  "Okay, then."  He whistles.  A cloud of ravens descends from the sky and plummets toward the remaining gnolls.  As the hyena-creatures' eyes flick upward, Nicolai charges, slashing at ankles and bowstrings.

Nicolai
AC 16; HP 45/61, Superiority Dice 2/4
Move + Bonus: Into melee with gnoll archers (Cunning Action for Dash)
Attacks 1&2: Rapier +1 on bowstrings if available; gnolls if not (attack +7, damage 1d8+4)

This message was last edited by the player at 19:05, Mon 30 Jan 2017.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 417 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Mon 30 Jan 2017
at 15:53
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Without breaking stride, Corros starts pulling yet more magic out of the ether.  The warlock's more formidable energies are spent, leaving him only the simplest spells.  The first that The Library taught him.  Those spell have proven over and over to be enough.  His face wears a simple expression of cold determination to finish this thing and free the prisoners locked in the camp ahead.  Someone has to.  It might as well be them.  Walking with his friends into yet another battle feels comfortable and familiar now.  It's another battle.  Another chance to make the world a little better.

"Let's finish this," he says, releasing his attack.

Corros
47/61 HP, AC 13
Eldritch Bolt x2 at a gnoll archer.  +8 to attack.  d10+5 damage ea

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 465 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Mon 30 Jan 2017
at 18:30
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna raises her shield arm to try and block any arrows that the Gnolls may be able to loose at the Four as they try to close down the distance between themselves and the foul beasts as rapidly as possible, the blonde haired Priestess breaking into a run, breathing harder as she tries to keep pace with Nicolai, Arma's Blessing held in right hand, the blunt end of the hammer still stained with blood and gore where it had met the pack leader's skull.

Closing with the archers she will swing the hammer towards the archers as Nicolai's ravens swoop at them, lips moving in a silent prayer to the Goddess, imploring Her to guide the blow, to strike down the remaining gnolls.

Jenna
AC: 21, HP 51/56
Melee Combat with Gnoll archers, Warhammer +1
Using War Priest feature for bonus action (3/5)

This message had punctuation tweaked by the player at 18:30, Mon 30 Jan 2017.

Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 2 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Tue 31 Jan 2017
at 23:44
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
As the gnoll approached, seemingly intent on taking the opportunity to take himself some elf flesh to eat, Amaldaris struck, lashing out with a series of blows on one of his tormentors.

Though he was in poor shape from his time as a prisoner they had left him alone for long enough for him to collect his wits.  He had meditated and drawn the mystical Ki power that emanated throughout Tohrweld, present in everything that was natural and in harmony with the world, to him, filling up his reservoir of energy that allowed him to perform great feats.  Though he seemed defenceless to his guards, his spear and other weapons taken by them as trophies to adorn the walls of their crude huts, he was not.  Many decades of study and practice of the kata taught by the Ral'Keth had made his hands and feet as strong as iron, able to inflict grievous wounds without the need for a blade or other weapon.

The sounds in the camp that Amaldaris had been listening to for a while now indicated that something was up.  The gnolls were disturbed by something and seemed rattled, unsure what to do.  A sizeable number of warriors, a war party if he was any judge, had left a little while ago on some errand and a quiet anticipation has fallen on the rest of the camp since their departure.  Maybe someone or some thing had challenged their cruel brute of a leader or some rival tribe was attacking.  Something was clearly going on and either way Amaldaris doubted that he would get as good an opportunity as this to escape.  Summoning his Ki energy he unleaded a torrent of blows on the gnoll who had opened his cell door, trying to drive his opponent back out of the prison so that the entrance was open and Amaldaris could make his bid to escape from his torment.


OOC
Amaldaris
HP: 39/63
Ki Points: 8/8
Spending 1 Ki point to perform Flurry of Blows to have a total of 5 attacks.  He will try to drive his opponent back out of the cell and then knock him prone if possible.

Attack #1: +7 to Hit, 1d6+4 damage - if he hits he will spend a 2nd Ki point to make it a Stunning Strike (TN#13 Con save or be Sunned until the end of Amaldaris' next turn)

Attack #2: +7 to Hit, 1d6+4 damage - if the last attack failed to stun the gnoll and this attack hits then Amaldaris will make it a Stunning Strike

Attack #3: (from Flurry of Blows) +7 to Hit, 1d6+4 damage - if Amaldaris hits he will use Open Hand Technique to force the gnoll to make a TN#13 Str save or be pushed back 15 feet

Attack #4: (from Flurry of Blows) +7 to Hit, 1d6+4 damage - if the gnoll has been knocked back by Attack #3 Amaldaris will use Open Hand Technique to fore the gnoll to make a TN#13 Dex save or be knocked prone - if the gnoll was not knocked back by Attack #3 then Amaldaris will attempt the knock back again

Attack #5: (Bonus Action) +7 to Hit, 1d6+4 damage - nothing special

Movement: Presuming that Amaldaris manages to clear a way out of his cell he will use his full 45 feet movement to put some distance between himself and any gnolls

Reaction: He will attempt to catch and throw back any missile weapons fired or thrown at him - Deflect Missiles for 1d10+12 damage

Gronk
 Party NPC, 124 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Fri 3 Feb 2017
at 00:51
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gronk loves a good ol'-fashioned headlong charge as much as the next half-orc gladiator. He tries not to outstrip the others as he throws himself into the fray, picking out an opponent and attempting to render the unfortunate gnoll dead posthaste.

Gronk
HP / ; AC 19
2x melee attacks v. unengaged gnoll


-
Raellus
 GM, 727 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Fri 3 Feb 2017
at 01:55
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

With his conspiracy of ravens distracting the gnolls, Nic closes the distance first. His rapiers severs one of the archers' bowstrings. The second gnoll quickly yanks his bow out of the rapier's long reach, then drops it and draws a short sword. He lashes out at the Ardani, but the ravens have got him seeing double. The blades whistles by inches from Nic's throat.

Corros blasts his target with Eldritch energy, badly wounding the gnoll archer, but failing to take it out of the fight (A3 -19HP). The stricken gnoll counterattacks, hitting the warlock with an arrow (Corros -6HP).

Jenna calls upon her god to grant accuracy to her strike. Arma's Blessing falls true, pounding her target, but the gnoll survives the blow and strikes back (A4 -11HP). Smoke once again deflects the blows, leaving Jenna unharmed.

Gronk goes after Nic's first target (Nic is engaged with his second) and bludgeons it to death with his morning star (A1 -27HP; A1 is dead!).

Amaldaris launches a flurry of lightening fast blows against the feral guard, knocking it backwards and beating it down to the ground. When he's done, the gnoll lies dead at his feet (GFG -27HP; GFG is dead!).

Three guards remain, all wounded.


Your Turn.

-
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 568 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Fri 3 Feb 2017
at 12:57
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai skips backward as he briefly becomes the focus of far too much of the archers' attention.  For a moment, it's a blur of reeking hyena breath and notched, rusty swords.  Then Jenna and Gronk plow into the formation, completing its disarray.  The Ardani grins and drives forward, ready to finish off the pack.

Nicolai
AC 16; HP 45/61, Superiority Dice 2/4
Attacks 1&2: Rapier +1 on any available gnoll (attack +7, damage 1d8+4)
Bonus: Dagger +1 on any available gnoll (attack +7, damage 1d4+4)
Special: +2d6 sneak attack damage to first successful attack on a gnoll that's engaged with an ally

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 466 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Fri 3 Feb 2017
at 15:19
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
As her shield deflects the gnoll’s blow easily Jenna is aware of Nicolai by her side, catching sight of the Ardani out of the corner of her eye for a moment before he lunges forward. The blonde haired Priestess’s eyes come to rest on the gnoll that her hammer had already connected with once, the beast’s muzzle matted with blood, although whether its own or some unfortunate victim’s she can't tell. Jenna does not hesitate, lashes out again with Arma’s Blessing intent on ending this fight as rapidly as possible.

Jenna
AC: 21, HP 51/56
Melee Combat with A4, Warhammer +1
Using War Priest feature for bonus action (4/5)

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 418 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sat 4 Feb 2017
at 04:10
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

A kind of sick laugh of the damned escapes Corros's lips when another arrow strikes him.  He's not resigned to death.  He's just really tired of being treated like some noblewoman's pincushion by dog headed bastard children of a chaos god.  They all just need to fuck off and die at this point.  Thankfully, there aren't many left.  Soon, there will be even fewer.  The warlock's allies are all fighting strong and he moves forward with them.

Corros
Eldritch Blast x2
One at A3, A4 +8 to hit. d10+5 damage

Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 6 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Sun 5 Feb 2017
at 14:09
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Stepping over the body of the dead gnoll Amaldaris gave the guard no further thought.  It had been intending on eating him and so killing it had been his only option.

Instead he looked around the camp and spied a pile of gear that the gnolls had dropped in the middle of the camp, including his backpack discarded on top.  Moving quickly he made his way over to the equipment that the gnolls had confiscated from their prisoners and started to search through it all, looking to see if the contents of his backpack had been emptied out and whether his spear was buried somewhere in the pile.  He loaded up his possessions, put his backpack back on and then slid his dagger into the scabbard at his belt.

All the time he kept glancing around for any other gnolls, either guards or other ones living in this camp.  Something was going on, giving him this opportunity to escape, and he wanted to find out what it was.  Particularly as there were other prisoners incarcerated in the camp and Amaldaris wanted to free them from their fate, either as slaves or as food.


OOC
Amaldaris
HP: 39/63
Ki Points: 5/8
Searching the pile of gear for his equipment, particularly his spear, as well as looking round, trying to work out what is going on

Raellus
 GM, 728 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 5 Feb 2017
at 20:18
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gronk doesn't have to lift a meaty, green-grey finger. His companions all manage to finish their respective opponents- Nic and Jenna in a whirlwind of steel, Corros with his Eldritch magic. Three more gnolls lie dead- pierced, bludgeoned, and blasted.

There's no further opposition between the Four and the makeshift prison camp. As they approach the crude stockade, they see an elf rummaging around in a pile of baggage. He could be a confederate of the gnolls, but there's something about the elf that makes that seem highly unlikely.

In a few moments, the Four and the elf are face to face.


Your Turn.

-
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 419 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Mon 6 Feb 2017
at 23:45
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros walks with a slight limp to Jenna and pulls her close, placing one hand behind her neck and touching her forehead to his.  From here he can smell her sweat and the blood that covers both of them.  Truth be told, it's a combination that he kind of associates with her now.  He breathes it in, along with her breath and just takes in the relief that they are all okay.  The emotions of concern and happiness at their survival flood out of his mind into her's, with more than a little of the depths of the feelings he's developed for this warrior priestess.

After ten seconds or so, he breaks contact and turns to face the camp.  And the elf.

"Hey, look.  An elf."  Corros says with a grin that shows just how tired and drained he is from the fight.  Can we keep him? The Warlock sends to his friends across their minds.

"I'm Corros," he says to the former occupant of the stockade.  "Are there more prisoners we need to free?"
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 467 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Tue 7 Feb 2017
at 12:54
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna pulls off a mailed glove as Corros pulls her in, lets it fall to the ground, not wanting anything in the way as her fingers move to find his cheek, tracing an aimless pattern as they glide over his skin. ”Did you cast a spell on yourself to attract arrows?” she whispers to him with a smile as they share the briefest of moments of tranquillity on this field of death. Unlike him she had survived the battle virtually unscathed, her shield and armour having deflected every blow that had been aimed at her, a glance at her shield in particular showing the marks left on it by the Gnoll chief’s flail, indicating how close it had come to landing what would surely have been a terrible blow.

The Priestess was tired though. She had felt the Goddess’ power course through her far more strongly than it had ever done before during the battle, had channelled it against the pack of gnolls but it had left her drained. Exhausted. She needed to rest. And she needed to pray to Arma. To regain her strength.

Reluctantly she steps away from Corros, not wishing to be parted from him. She can see the lines of tiredness etched on his face too. They need to rest. And soon. If they are attacked again they will be down to their last reserves. The blonde haired woman stoops down, to pick up her glove, her eyes, now back to their normal shade of blue, turning to the elf as she rises to her feet again, watching him, waiting for his reply, wondering if any will need healing.
Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 7 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Tue 7 Feb 2017
at 14:15
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
The elf bowed very formally as the reasons for the chaos in the gnoll camp approached him, taking the time to greet each of the four of his rescuers with their own respectful greeting.

His appearance was a lot less serene than his manners however, his clothes showing numerous small tears and a couple of bloodstains along with the general dirt and grime of travelling.  His hair was unkempt and in need to a comb and then trying back in a proper warrior's top knot.  There were also marks on his face, scratches and bruises that he were obviously the result of a beating he had taken at some point.  Or from a series of beatings.  He moved gracefully though and it seemed that his injuries were purely superficial in nature, merely requiring rest for recuperation from them.

"My thanks to you all," he said politely as he finished his fourth bow.  "I am Amaldaris Cenovir, a wanderer from the City State of Thand-vaar and I am very pleased to make your acquaintance.  In answer to your question I believe that there are other prisoners who we should free from their captivity.  I was kept isolated in a cell but this pile of possessions scattered across the ground suggests that there are other victims of the gnolls in this camp.  That is assuming that the gnolls have not eaten them all."

It appeared that the elf either liked to talk or felt the need to make up for a recent lack of conversation.

Hefting his spear he continued in the same polite tone.  "Shall we see what we can find?  Either prisoners to free or more gnolls to defeat.  Or have you disposed of all of them yourselves?"

He took a position towards the front of the group, ready to engage any other threats that appeared, seemingly untroubled by his lack of any armour or any weapon besides his spear and the dagger at his belt.

Glancing round the camp to find his bearings Amaldaris then looked for any other pens or cages where other prisoners might well be kept.
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 569 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Wed 8 Feb 2017
at 02:43
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
If you keep him, you have to feed him. Nicolai sends before tilting a weary smile at Jenna and deliberately withdrawing from the link.

He summons a small reserve of energy and turns to the newly-rearmed elf.  He pauses for a moment at the mention of Thand-vaar, flipping through his mental files, but he can't quite summon the right accent.  With a mental shrug, he settles for switching to an academic Elvish, as if book-learned.  "Well-met, wanderer.  I'm Nicolai Romanelli, lately of Balefyre.  That was a nicely-executed self-rescue."  His tone is friendly enough despite the blades still in his hands.

Returning to the trade tongue, he continues, "I think we're out of gnolls for the moment, but this isn't the place to let down our guard.  There's more trouble in the area than these."  He nudges one of the fallen creatures with his boot.  "Let's see if we can rally any other survivors and put their story together."
Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 8 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Wed 8 Feb 2017
at 21:21
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Amaldaris bowed again and smiled at Nicolai when the man replied in Elvish.  "I am very pleased to meet an educated man," he replied, also speaking his mother tongue, his voice taking on an almost musical tone as he spoke.  "My thanks for your compliment but it is unnecessary.  The gnolls were brutes, not disciplined warriors, and your attack drew off all but one of my guards.  Had he restrained his hunger to eat Elven flesh he would not have given me the chance to escape.  He was sloppy and he paid for it with his life."

When Nicolai switches to Common Amaldaris nodded in response to his suggestion and then led the way, trying to find where other prisoners were  being kept in the camp.
Raellus
 GM, 729 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Thu 9 Feb 2017
at 18:09
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The rest of the prisoners are not hard to find. Their pen is just a few meters away from Amaldaris' solo cell. Two others, chained together by the ankles, are cowering in the shaft.

They all recount more or less the same tale- having been caught outside the mining camp by gnolls, violently subdued and brought to this place, made to dig in shifts until exhausted, given very little water and meat that was extremely suspect in origin. The longest any of them have been here is four days, and that particular dwarf is in very bad shape. The others are weak and hungry, all show signs of abuse. Several prisoners died on the job; the gnolls reportedly feasted on their fresh corpses. No one knows why the gnolls wanted them to dig. The monsters didn't seem particularly interested in platinum, although not much of the precious metal was found anyway.

Filthy bedrolls and pieces of gnoll clothing (to use the term loosely) lie scattered about the camp. Aside from Amaldaris' light panoply, there's nothing of interest or value in the captured baggage. The freed prisoners rummage through the pile, taking back their stolen gear and casting lots for that of the dead.


Your Turn.

-
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 421 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sat 11 Feb 2017
at 21:27
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros looks over the ragged former prisoners and has to suppress a grimace.  "You're free," he tells them with an imitation of genuine warmth. "Take whatever you need to from the gnolls.  I wish I had good news for you about the condition of Yonder's Hole.  Alas, I don't.  From what we're hearing, it's not much better than the conditions the gnolls had you in.  We're heading there to try and fix whatever went wrong after we figure out what ever it is in the hells the gnolls were digging for here.

"You're welcome to wait for us to head to Yonder's Hole.  We're going to go hide up in the hills for a bit to catch our breath in case more trouble heads this way.  The better decision, in all honesty, is for you to make your way back to Balefyre.  I can see by your condition that's not going to be easy either.  Let us know what we can do to help."

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 573 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sat 11 Feb 2017
at 23:20
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai comes up alongside Corros.  "Whatever you decide to do," he adds, "you'd best do it armed."  He waves toward the small pile of rusted swords, unbalanced spears, and warped bows he's accumulated in the course of making sure every gnoll and hyena is truly dead and not just shamming.  "There's a lot of wildlife in this country just as dangerous as these, and probably more gnolls on top of the orcish tribes.  Take what you need.  And if you decide to head back to the city, Pace's is a well-defended stopping point.  Tell Klem we sent you his way and to put your meals on my tab."

He turns away and mutters to Corros, "I fucking hate the wilderness."
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 470 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sun 12 Feb 2017
at 11:07
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna moves amongst the newly released prisoners, having a look at each of them to see if they require any assistance. She knows that she's too tired to use any of the Goddess's healing power on them, that what little reserves of energy she has need to be held back, for her and her friends. It was a harsh calculus, but if fresh enemies fell upon them now it would do these impoverished wretches no good if their rescuers were the first to fall. All that would achieve would be to delay their return to captivity by a few turns of a minute glass. So the last vestiges of Arma's gift to her would need to be saved. instead all that she can do for these poor unfortunates is offer a modicum of aid that will hopefully stand them in good stead whichever direction they choose to go in.

That done, she rejoins the others, just in time to catch Nicolai's whispered aside. She can't resist the temptation to tease the Ardani. "He took me camping once as well."   The Priestess then moves to stand next to Corros, her fingers lightly brushing over his forearm. "Shall we find a place to rest, return here later?" she asks, clearly as much statement as question. Her blue eyes flick to the elf. "What is your intent, Master Cenovir?"
Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 9 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Sun 12 Feb 2017
at 13:05
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Amaldaris bowed to Jenna with a smile. "Please call me Amaldaris.  I am no Master yet, though I hope one day to be so.  I still have much to learn and my wanderings in the world away from my cloistered life are but one of the opportunities to learn that I seek.

"As to my intentions I am interested in more details of what you plan to do now.  What is this Yonder's Hole place and what has gone wrong there?  I think I heard mention of a mine at Yonder's Hole from one of my previous travelling companions.  Is that the place?  If your appointed task is to rid this place of some evil influence then I would like to join you and aid you in that task."
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 575 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 12 Feb 2017
at 13:26
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Clearly, I need to get my own witch," Nicolai murmurs, a small measure of good humor restored.  "You're obviously not inclined to share this one."

He turns to Amaldaris.  "Balefyre is a port city a couple of days' ride that way."  He points toward the coast.  "One of the major factors driving its economy is a platinum mine in these hills.  Yonder's Hole is the necessary cesspool that sprang up to support the miners.  Unsurprisingly, it's a trouble magnet.  These gnolls," he wrinkles his nose, "as well as a pack of Reaver priests, have some interest in it that seems to go beyond wealth.  The local orcish tribes believe some sort of ancient spiritual adversary is imprisoned in the area and are concerned that the digging may awaken it.  We brokered a temporary peace with them last autumn."

He quirks his mouth in something not quite a smile.  "Last week, unexplained sickness and insanity struck the miners.  Then there was an outbreak of risen dead, and some other manifestations.  Because we know something of the area and we've previously proven ourselves to be useful meddlers, the Balefyre government asked us to investigate."
Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 11 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Sun 12 Feb 2017
at 20:02
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"That sounds like a worthy task to investigate and problem to resolve," replied Amaldaris, a grave look on his face at the news that Nicolai related.  "I would join you if you will have me?"
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 576 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Mon 13 Feb 2017
at 23:25
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai kneels over one of the dead gnolls to cut free its moldy belt pouch.  The brief action gives him time to toss an unvocalized thought through Corros' telepathic link.  He's competent, and eager despite the risks, and they weren't keeping him in that cage because he was their friend.  I'm inclined to allow him to recruit himself unless there are strenuous trust issues here.
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 471 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Tue 14 Feb 2017
at 19:54
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna smiles at Amaldaris. "I, too, grew up in Cloisters. Dedicated to the service of Arma." The smile then fades, briefly, her expression momentarily darkening when Nicolai made mention of the Reaver's lackeys, a reminder that they should make haste for Yonder's Hole, that the Goddess's justice might be delivered.

Putting that thought to one side for the moment the blonde haired Priestess looks from Corros to Nicolai, unaware that Nicolai's thoughts are in line with her words. "I see no reason to refuse his request."
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 422 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Wed 15 Feb 2017
at 13:14
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Corros looks the elf over, not exactly overtly, but appraising.  Like Nic and Jenna, he's inclined to say yes.  The complication is that he's always felt like his mother's people abandoned him in a bad way.  There are a lot of elves in the world and of course most of them aren't bad.  To hold Amaldaris repsonsible for the actions that put Corros on the streets would be unfair.  Worse, it would be an echo of the very treatment that the half-elf received.
With a swallow that he hopes no one notices, Corros nods.

"I agree with Jenna.  Shocking I know.  Any help against the evil we face is welcome." He smiles and it's kind of shocking just how young Corros is.  Twenty years.  Maybe.  "Welcome aboard, yeah?"
Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 13 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Wed 15 Feb 2017
at 20:32
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"My thanks to you all," replied Amaldaris with another polite, formal bow.  "I am a Warrior Monk from the Order of Ral'Keth so I fight with spear or fist.  I hope that I will prove myself a worthy companion."

He glanced around the camp before continuing.  "You spoke however of finding somewhere first to rest for a while.  Do you have somewhere in mind?"
Raellus
 GM, 730 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 18 Feb 2017
at 23:49
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"And again, they were Five."

Chronicle of the Five


-
Raellus
 GM, 731 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 19 Feb 2017
at 00:10
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

With their new companion, the Elven monk, Amaldaris Cenovir, in tow, Nic, Corros, Jenna, and Gronk enter the unfinished shaft. It's canted downward at a shallow angle and not particularly deep. Its ceiling hasn't been reinforced, so it's less safe than most wildcatter mine shafts- not a place where one should poke or stick around. The odd thing- and this confirms the captive miners' tales- is that there are several thin veins of platinum clearly visible in the walls, but no attempts to excavating the precious metal have been made.

Speaking of miners, they mill about outside. Some have helped themselves to the slain gnoll's short swords (the monsters' spears are too big and unwieldy for a human or dwarf), but they clearly don't know to use them very well. A spirited discussion about whether to stick with their saviors or head out on their own is underway. It sounds like the stick-withers are winning.

The camp site, although it reeks, offers a decent spot to rest. Climbing to the crest of the bluff into which the shaft has been cut would give the party a higher, more easily-defensible vantage point, but it would also make the group more visible to prying eyes. Yonder's Hole is not far off, probably about two leagues, as the crow flies- about two hour's march cross-country if the party pushes itself.

Your Turn.

-
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 580 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 19 Feb 2017
at 16:59
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai takes watch while the rest of the group rests upwind of the pile of dead gnolls.  The nearby high ground is a little too exposed to make a good campsite but there's enough cover and concealment for a one-man sentry position.  He settles in with a grunt of relief and sets to changing the dressings on his earlier wounds.

Most of the demonspawn's rations (even those that aren't hewn from former prisoners) were stomach-turning, too disgusting to even consider looting.  Instead, he breaks out his own supplies and lays out a small meal.  He nibbles at it and sips from a waterskin while tossing tidbits to his corvine followers.

Over the winter, he's learned that ongoing casual interaction keeps the ravens on task and makes them less likely to revert to instinct and petty vandalism when unattended.  It's not unlike managing a youth gang, a comparison that he has so far avoided making to either the birds or the Drowned Rats.  Also like the youth gang, occasional infusions of sparkly things make pretty good bribery, so he tosses a couple of bits of the gnolls' cheap jewelry into the air for the birds to tussle over.

"Should I name you?" he asks one of the individuals who's been with him since the flock first showed up.  He's gotten better at identifying them, too.  "It seems impolite to have such an impersonal working relationship.  Or do you already have a name that you just haven't bothered to reveal yet?"

The bird cocks an eye at him, then stabs at a breadcrumb and hops back with its prize.  It doesn't seem inclined to greater intimacy.  Nicolai shrugs and scans the horizon again.

11:52, Today: Nicolai Romanelli rolled 2 using 1d8+1.  Rogue hit die 1 (short rest).
11:52, Today: Nicolai Romanelli rolled 8 using 1d8+1.  Rogue hit die 2 (short rest).
11:52, Today: Nicolai Romanelli rolled 6 using 1d8+1.  Rogue hit die 3 (short rest).
Short rest: HP 61/61
Short rest: Superiority Dice 4/4

This message was last edited by the player at 17:01, Sun 19 Feb 2017.

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 473 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sun 19 Feb 2017
at 18:16
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna stands by the entrance to the mine for long moments, staring into the gloom, wondering what it contained that was so important to the gnolls. Clearly it was not the platinum, for they had made no attempt to remove any of it as far as she could tell. So what else was hidden in its depths? Her mind wandered back to the orcs that they had encountered in these hills before, how they had spoken of ancient evils that should not be disturbed.

"I do not like this place." The comment is murmured as she turns away from the opening in the earth, not addressed to any one of her companions in particular as she looks for a good spot to rest for a short while. A spot that she can share with Corros, where she can regain some of her strength.

Once they have rested they will likely be descending into that hole. It must be just the wind, but Jenna thinks her cloak moving, the rough wool brushing against her throat. The Priestess's lips begin to move, in a silent prayer to the Goddess.
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 424 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sun 19 Feb 2017
at 19:45
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Corros sits legs crossed and eyes closed.  Jenna's presence is near to him, close enough that he could lean over and touch her shoulder to his.  The disquiet in her mind is in the channel they share, close enough now that he can feel many of her emotions even when they are not actively communicating.  He doesn't mention it though. He's kind enough to give her space to process her own concerns. There's plenty to worry about, for their next hours will carry them back into the earth.  Instead of dwelling on that fact, he breathes slowly and visualizes the Library, the twisting impossible corridors and the endless stacks of books.  Each book a mystery that the half-elf thinks maybe he'll be able to open someday.  So much knowledge waiting to be uncovered.

Without conscious thought, he sips from his waterskin and takes small bites of food he doesn't taste, attention elsewhere.

Eventually he thinks about his little enclave in the endless building.  The simple chair at the simple table where he learns.  He pictures his hands running over the ancient aged wood of the tabletop.  And The Library fills his mind.

Corros
HD roll #1: 3
HD roll #2  8
HD roll #3  6
HP 61/61
Spell slots recovered

Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 14 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Tue 21 Feb 2017
at 11:28
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Amaldaris rested briefly alongside his new companions, meditating to draw in the natural energies around him, filing up his well of Ki power as well as calming his mind.  It was more difficult than normal, the pain inflicted in the vicinity by the gnolls disturbing the mystical flows, their torturing and killing of prisoners upsetting the environment.  This place was how scared by the actions of the gnolls, an echo of the suffering they had inflicted lingering, quite possibly permanently.

Once refreshed in mind he took a little time to do something about his appearance, trying to scrape some of the dirt and grime off his skin and his clothes.  A cleansing bath would have to wait until they found a river or travelled to somewhere with an inn but Amaldaris did what he could in the short term.  He would also need the services of a seamstress to repair some of the tears and frayed edges of his clothing, the result of more than just travel on the road.

His eyes wandered around the mine.  “I am no expert in ore or metals and their procurement but even I can see that seams of value have been bypassed for some reason,” he commented aloud at one point, before pondering a question out loud.  “I wonder what that reason was?”


OOC:
Short Rest – Ki points recovered to 8/8

Raellus
 GM, 734 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 4 Mar 2017
at 16:11
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The Five move a short distance away from the stench of the gnolls' filthy camp to rest for a brief spell (hit dice spent/HP recovered, permitted spells and abilities recharged).

Somewhat refreshed from their recent labors, the group resumes its march, backtracking down the draw towards the intersection where they were ambushed by a yeti not two hours earlier. They find one of the horses there waiting, Zima's by the look of it (it had run off to the south during the ambush), but no sign of Zima.

The party calls for the ranger for a few minutes but receives no response. After spending a few minutes at the ersatz crossroads, the Five continue on towards Yonder's Hole.

On the trail, the more observant members of the party note some strange, non-humanoid tracks on the stony ground, but without a ranger's (or a druid) expertise, they can't identify the creature/s that made them.

After about two-hours' worth of hard marching, the Five enter the broad bowl-shaped valley that contains Yonder's Hole.

There've been some changes at the mining settlement since the adventurers were here last. The rebuilt camp still occupies the low ground astride the steam where it was sited before, but the remains of the surrounding log wall are gone, transferred to the top of the western bluff. A modest, wooden motte-and-bailey fort now dominates that height, providing warning from surprise and a redoubt for the settlement's fluctuating population of prospectors, diggers, and service-providers in case of attack.

A few unconcerned souls are going about their business in lower Yonder's Hole, but it looks like most of the remaining inhabitants of the settlement are holed up in the hilltop fort.

A couple of miners, a man and a dwarf, stand next to a horse, rummaging through the baggage strapped to its pack saddle.


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:47, Sun 05 Mar 2017.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 428 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sat 4 Mar 2017
at 19:54
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Corros won't go so far as to say he's glad to reach Yonder's Hole, it is a run down rat hole of a mining camp that seems to cause rather more than its fair share of trouble.  Never the less, he is happy to reach their goal and to have at least the illusion of civilization in the form of several buildings perched on the bluff.  The wilds make him nervous.

"Hi," Corros says to the folks going through the horses's saddlebags with good humor that he doesn't quite feel.  "I almost hate to ask this question, but is that one of our horses by any chance?"
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 477 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sat 4 Mar 2017
at 20:13
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Fatigue is etched on Jenna's face as the mining camp grows closer. The rest they had taken in the gnoll camp had relieved some of the physical tiredness that the Priestess felt but it had not been long enough to allow her to spend the time she needed in prayer to the Goddess, so Arma's spirit was still weak within her, a solitary flame that flickered and danced as though it was exposed to a wind rather than the inferno that it should be. Jenna is not disheartened though, for she knows that will soon change when she has sufficient time to pray properly. And she is with her friends.

When Corros addresses the man and the dwarf the Priestess leaves the talking to her lover, takes up a position close to him, on his right shoulder, near enough that she can intervene and place herself between the Warlock and the pair should they decide to take objection to his question and come at him with weapons in hand. Arma's Blessing is held in her right hand, its blunt head lowered, to the ground, while her lips offer each of them a brief smile, like the lowered hammer an attempt to appear non threatening.

After all,  enough blood had been shed already this day. Some of it still adorned her hammer, other streaks on her grey coloured armour. None of it was hers but hopefully the sight of it would serve as deterrent to the pair, persuade them that violence would not be a wise choice.
Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 19 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Sat 4 Mar 2017
at 22:11
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
As Corros engaged the man and the dwarf in conversation about the ownership of the horse and its saddlebags, Amaldaris stood still and took the time to study this miners' camp called Yonder's Hole as it was his first time here.  It was hardly a name to suggest that it was a place of culture and decorum, somewhere where polite manners were important and respected.  It sounded much more like a place of desperation, where people came to seek their fortune at great personal risk, and of exploitation of the masses by the few ruthless enough to place themselves on top of the pile.  He was no expert but mining operations tended to be very dangerous affairs as far as he knew and many miners, unless they were dwarves, only took the work because they couldn't find anything safer that earned them nearly as much money.

He studied the crude castle for a while before focusing on the rest of the valley, taking in as much of his surroundings as he could.
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 584 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 5 Mar 2017
at 12:52
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"I have to wonder how well-supplied that is for a siege," Nicolai comments, lifting his chin toward the hill fort.  He flickers a bit of thieves' cant toward his ravens, dispersing them to act as a perimeter warning mechanism.

Then he turns his attention to the horse and the miners who are picking over it.  His expression and posture are set to let attention slide off of him.  The supplies are transitory - everything he really needs to do his job is on his person.  He's not going to start a fight over trail rations.  But he's also flicking through the mental file that says some of the miners out here have gone anthropophagous.  If either subject makes a threatening move toward Corros, he's primed to put nine inches of steel into someone's blind side by way of opening negotiations.
Raellus
 GM, 735 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Mon 6 Mar 2017
at 01:46
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The two pickers take one look at the Five and back away from the packhorse, hands raised apologetically.

"Uh, this your horse? Uh, it just showed up here, by itself. We were, uh, we were just looking for anything that might have the owner's name on it. We weren't gonna take anything." The human does all of the speaking.

Sure enough, it is the party's pack horse, last seen galloping north, fleeing the Yeti ambush. All of the baggage is still there, albeit about jostled about.

"You two seen a half-elf ranger, name of Zima, or a dwarf named Kerek come through here last hour or so?" Gronk asks.

"Last hour? No, they left here like a week ago, ain't come back," the dwarf answers.


-

This message was last edited by the GM at 01:47, Mon 06 Mar 2017.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 585 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Mon 6 Mar 2017
at 01:59
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Oh, good.  There's a sack of apples in that gray leather satchel."  Nicolai points helpfully by way of establishing that yes, the group knows what the horse is carrying, and therefore, yes, they really are the animal's rightful (ab)users.  He steps up, withdraws one of the withered fruits, and offers it to the horse.  Almost as an afterthought, he pulls out another, cuts in in half with a casual flick of a dagger, and offers it to the men.

"They got to Balefyre," he continues, picking up the thread of Gronk's inquiry.  "They had an audience with His Honor.  He asked us to look into your problems.  We had a run-in with the local wildlife today.  Horses got spooked.  They're probably still busy rounding up the rest of the mounts.I hope.  "In the meantime, where can we find Jaff and Deepdelver?  They should remember us from the last time we came out here."  He cleans the blade before making it disappear again.

He twitches a thought at Corros: I'm not entirely unconcerned, but I'm also not sure we'd be any real help to Zima if we stumbled back out there to look for her.  We may as well see if any other help is available here for that.

This message was last edited by the player at 00:04, Fri 24 Mar 2017.

Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 20 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Mon 6 Mar 2017
at 16:47
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
While taking in his surroundings thoroughly Amaldaris listened to the exchange between Gronk, Nicolai and the man and the dwarf.  It was clear that some organisation and order would be beneficial in this mining camp as it was presently a rather ramshackle affair that had grown rapidly rather than being laid out according to a plan.  The sanitation was poor for a start and it was likely that illness would soon be an issue for the population to deal with, though his definition of soon was rather different to a human's.

Teaching these people how to live in a sensible and well ordered manner was not his appointed task to resolve however, even though the mess of buildings and paths that had become streets irked him somewhat.  One of the instructions he had received from his Masters was to help others in the world but not to try to fix the entire of Tohrweld.  That was too big a task, even for an elf.  He had to remind himself of that sometimes.

He had several questions forming in his mind but he kept quiet for the moment, letting Nicolai resolve his line of enquiry with the two would be horse thieves.  They had clearly thought better of doing something silly but it was clear that Nicolai hoped to get some information or news from them while they were still off kilter.
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 478 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Tue 7 Mar 2017
at 21:19
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna relaxes slightly when the human and the dwarf rapidly back down over the ownership of the horse, her eyes flicking from the pair to the other denizens of Yonder's Hole who are moving about the camp, watching to see if any of them are paying what might appear to be too much attention to the new arrivals.
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 429 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Tue 7 Mar 2017
at 22:13
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

I couldn't find the gnoll camp again with a map and we just left there, Corros sends to Nic. I'm not writing them off, but we can't do much good either.

The warlock watches the human and the dwarf back away from the pack horse.  With ownership fully established, Corros figures they can be a little nicer.  Play for some friends in the pack, if things are as bad as they've been told.  "No problem, yeah?  Just wanted to make sure.  Most horses look the same to me.  So, thanks for looking out for...him?  Her?"  Corros walks forward and digs in the saddle bags for a few second before drawing out a bit of the food they brought with them.  The newly regained Five can't afford to feed everyone here, not by a longshot.  They can afford to be a little generous.

"We understand you lot are hungry out here."  His hand doesn't shake as he offers some hardtack and jerky to the men.  "Rations is what we can spare for you.  But not a lot, so mums the word, yeah?.  Can you tell us how bad it is up there?"  His head tilts towards the keep.  "I hear it's not good."
Raellus
 GM, 736 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 11 Mar 2017
at 17:31
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai Romanelli:
"They got to Balefyre," he continues, picking up the thread of Gronk's inquiry.  "They had an audience with His Honor.  He asked us to look into your problems.  We had a run-in with the local wildlife today.  Horses got spooked.  They're probably still busy rounding up the rest of the mounts.I hope.  "In the meantime, where can we find Jaff and Deepdelver?  They should remember us from the last time we came out here."  He cleans the blade before making it disappear again.


With a bit of hesitation, the men take the apples.

"Sergeant Jaff is up there," the man points to the hilltop fort. "The mayor is probably at the inn." he hooks him thumb over his shoulder, to indicate the valley settlement.

Corros Graelor:
"We understand you lot are hungry out here."  His hand doesn't shake as he offers some hardtack and jerky to the men.  "Rations is what we can spare for you.  But not a lot, so mums the word, yeah?.  Can you tell us how bad it is up there?"  His head tilts towards the keep.  "I hear it's not good."


"Well, it's been better. Never know when a fucking zombie or monster's gonna show up. It's hard to dig, that's for sure. Belts are tight," he continues, munching on the apple, "but foraging parties manage to bring back some game and wild 'shrooms and stuff from the forest, so no one's starving to death just yet."

He must mean the forest into the foothills north of the badlands. Taking another bite of the half-apple, he asks, "Why hasn't Balefyre sent another caravan?"

-
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 431 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Mon 13 Mar 2017
at 00:50
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"The reports coming out of here aren't exactly brimming with the kind of information that makes the city want to send what little bit of supplies it can manage to scrape together up here.  Things aren't great there either." Corros says.  "So they sent us.  The people who keep getting Balefyre out of trouble."  If there's bitterness in his voice, it's hid well under a layer of charm and a smile.

"Don't take it personally.  We don't."  Corros picks a fleck of dried blood of his robes and flicks it to the ground.  "Still digging, yeah?"
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 590 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Fri 24 Mar 2017
at 00:08
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai clamps down on a snicker at Corros' well-veiled barb toward Balefyre's political leadership.  Not for the first time, he lets a brief flicker of regime change fantasy play out behind his eyes before clamping down on that, too.  With Corros and Gronk taking point on the conversation, he carves out a moment to survey the mining compound.  He's not yet certain what he should be looking for, but gauging a place's "normal" has always been useful in identifying "not normal..."
Raellus
 GM, 737 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Fri 31 Mar 2017
at 23:09
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Corros Graelor:
"Don't take it personally.  We don't."  Corros picks a fleck of dried blood of his robes and flicks it to the ground.  "Still digging, yeah?"


The two miners look at one another and shake their heads. The dwarf answers, "Not much. I mean, not out of sight of the camp. It's too dangerous!"

Still listening, Nic surveys the camp. It looks better than it did when last he saw it- more semi-permanent and permanent buildings. The inn's been repaired and looks to have added a second story. By appearances, Yonder's Hole must have been doing quite well before the latest... setback.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:09, Fri 31 Mar 2017.

Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 21 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Sat 1 Apr 2017
at 19:49
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Taking a step forward Amaldaris joined in the conversation with the miners and Corros.  "Why is it too dangerous to go out of sight of the camp please?" he asked politely.  "What threatens the camp and this mining operation?"

This message was last edited by the player at 19:50, Sat 01 Apr 2017.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 591 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 2 Apr 2017
at 19:03
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai waits for the men to answer Amaldaris' query - and to finish their nutritional supplement.  Then he tilts his head toward the inn.  "Tell you what.  If you gentlemen can keep an eye on our horses here and keep the other eye out for Zima and Kerek, we'll go check in with Deepdelver."
Raellus
 GM, 738 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 2 Apr 2017
at 20:00
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Amaldaris Cenovir:
Taking a step forward Amaldaris joined in the conversation with the miners and Corros.  "Why is it too dangerous to go out of sight of the camp please?" he asked politely.  "What threatens the camp and this mining operation?"


"Some big fuckin' monsters, that's what!" the dwarf answers impatiently. The human looks sidelong and down at his shorter friend and adds,

"Some assholes musta tunneled into their den."

His tone is somewhat accusatory. This draws a dirty look from the dwarf.

Nicolai Romanelli:
Nicolai waits for the men to answer Amaldaris' query - and to finish their nutritional supplement.  Then he tilts his head toward the inn.  "Tell you what.  If you gentlemen can keep an eye on our horses here and keep the other eye out for Zima and Kerek, we'll go check in with Deepdelver."


"Yeah, OK," the human answers. The dwarf rolls his eyes, not at Nic, but at his companion, and nods his head in acquiescence.

-
Raellus
 GM, 739 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Fri 7 Apr 2017
at 00:38
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Mayor Berald Deepdelver's office is in one the inn's new upstairs bedrooms. Filled, as it is, by the Five and the just-arrived Sergeant Jaff (present at Deepdelver's invitation), the room is a rather cramped.

"All the miners were given explicit instructions to stop digging immediately upon finding anything unusual, but of course, some people just can't be bothered. Perhaps it's poetic justice that those very same people are dead now," Deepdelver explains.

"Twice," Jaff adds.

"Yes, there were the zombies: all the bodies in the cemetery, plus those killed by the first wave."

"The things that came out of the tunnel were worse," Jaff continues, "I lost a few men trying to keep the monsters out of the town. After we retreated to the fort, most of the monsters wandered off- back into the tunnel, or still roaming the badlands, I reckon. They left the town pretty much untouched. I'm down to a dozen effectives. With some healing and a couple of new recruits from among the miners, I can put maybe twenty- total- spears into the field."

"I suggested covering over the tunnel entrance, but I can't get enough volunteers to do it properly," Deepdelver complains, "But even if we had the manpower, we'd need someone to hold off the monsters long enough to get it done."

The mayor looks plaintively at the Five, inviting their thoughts.

Sergeant Jaff interjects, "Where's Zima?"


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:48, Fri 07 Apr 2017.

Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 23 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Sun 9 Apr 2017
at 19:02
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Raellus:
"I suggested covering over the tunnel entrance, but I can't get enough volunteers to do it properly," Deepdelver complains, "But even if we had the manpower, we'd need someone to hold off the monsters long enough to get it done."

Amaldaris bowed politly to the Mayor.  "Mister Mayor.  Though I have not known my companions for long I believe that we can be of help to you in this task.  Firstly though please let me introduce myself.  I am Amaldaris Cenovir, a member of the Ral'Keth Order, and I would be honoured to help this community in this way.  I have a question though.  Do the people holding off the monsters for a long enough period for you to be able to cover the tunnel entrance need to be inside the tunnel to do so?  If they do would they be trapped inside?  Or have I misunderstood in some way?  My apologies if I have."
Raellus
 GM, 741 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 9 Apr 2017
at 21:39
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Amaldaris Cenovir:
Amaldaris bowed politly to the Mayor.  "Mister Mayor.  Though I have not known my companions for long I believe that we can be of help to you in this task.  Firstly though please let me introduce myself.  I am Amaldaris Cenovir, a member of the Ral'Keth Order, and I would be honoured to help this community in this way.  I have a question though.  Do the people holding off the monsters for a long enough period for you to be able to cover the tunnel entrance need to be inside the tunnel to do so?  If they do would they be trapped inside?  Or have I misunderstood in some way?  My apologies if I have."


"It would be tricky, for sure. I'm not sure how it could be done- I'm just throwing ideas out there. I invite everyone here to do so as well."

-
Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 24 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Sun 9 Apr 2017
at 22:21
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Raellus:
"It would be tricky, for sure. I'm not sure how it could be done- I'm just throwing ideas out there. I invite everyone here to do so as well."

Amaldaris nodded in understanding and pondered for a few seconds before asking another question.

"Would it be possible to go and see this tunnel entrance to see what is spewing forth and how it might be sealed shut?"
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 434 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Mon 10 Apr 2017
at 18:27
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"We got separated from Zima while dealing with a gnoll encampment.  They had prisoners and were conducting their own mining in the area.  It is our hope that she either turns up back here, or someone is going to have to go back out looking for her, yeah?"
  With the monsters wandering around the area, The Four-no, The once again Five, couldn't just leave things as they were and hope for the best.

"As long as we have creatures spilling from tunnels," that we asked you not to dig, "we're going to have an unstable situation.  Something really bad is hiding underneath us, and sealing the tunnel off isn't going to solve the problem.  It's looking like we might have to go down there and clear out the problem."
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 593 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Mon 10 Apr 2017
at 23:30
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"The ones who kept digging," Nicolai speaks up slowly.  "Are there any survivors?  We'll need to speak with them."

He pauses just long enough for Deepdelver to wonder if there's an implicit threat there, then adds, "I'd like to hear their firsthand impressions of what happened beneath.  And give our sword-priestess," he nods toward Jenna, "the chance to see if there's any residual taint upon them."
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 480 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Tue 11 Apr 2017
at 18:59
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna meets Nicolai's eyes, nods her head in agreement with his suggestion, then turns to Deepdelver. "I have heard that there are servants of the Reaver here, masquerading as prospectors. If this is so, do you know where they are?" Jenna knew that if she crossed paths with the Reaver's minions it was likely to immediately lead to violence, for it was the duty of the faithful of Arma to ensure that scum like that were dealt with, wherever they may be found. It was even enshrined in the tents of her faith. Those who succumb to Him and turn from Arma to His Dark path, must be hunted down and slain where ever they may be found. Arma's will made no allowances for Jenna's current state of fatigue.
Raellus
 GM, 742 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Tue 11 Apr 2017
at 23:57
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Amaldaris Cenovir:
"Would it be possible to go and see this tunnel entrance to see what is spewing forth and how it might be sealed shut?"


"Well, I wouldn't take just anyone, but your companions here have proven quite capable so, with Sergeant Jaff's permission..."

The Fire Watch officer smiles knowingly and nods his head. "I won't try to stop them."

Nicolai Romanelli:
"The ones who kept digging," Nicolai speaks up slowly.  "Are there any survivors?  We'll need to speak with them."


"Not that I know of. They're all dead or disappeared. Ogar's cousin was on the crew. As far as I know, he's still around here somewhere. Hangs out with a tall human named Mak. He might know something."

Jenna Drax:
Jenna meets Nicolai's eyes, nods her head in agreement with his suggestion, then turns to Deepdelver. "I have heard that there are servants of the Reaver here, masquerading as prospectors. If this is so, do you know where they are?"


"They arrived just before the shaft was opened, then left the camp during the confusion causes by the zombies. By the time their presence was reported, they were already gone- I didn't have a chance to investigate. A witness claimed that he saw them go into the shaft itself, but he was killed during the monster incursion, so it might not be more than a rumor."

-
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 595 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Fri 14 Apr 2017
at 12:04
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Hmm."  Nicolai nods noncommittally.  "Ogar's cousin.  I think we met Ogar and Mak when we arrived."

"He'll keep for later, though.  First, I think we want to take a look at the quarters the Reaver's followers were using and see if they left any, ah, information we can use."  The verbal correction away from "intelligence" is almost natural by now but he's pretty sure Corros and Jenna noticed it.  "Then the excavation, at least the mouth of it.  After that, we'll interview Ogar and see if he knows anything.  Hopefully, by the time we're done gathering information, Zima will be back."

He turns to the rest of the reconstituted Five.  "Do you see any wrong paths there?"

This message was last edited by the player at 19:49, Fri 14 Apr 2017.

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 481 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Fri 14 Apr 2017
at 14:20
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna shakes her head in reply to Nicolai. ”I see no flaws in your logic. Although I find the idea of being in close proximity to anything to do with the Reaver to be...unpleasant –“the involuntary shiver that courses through her body serves to underline the distaste ”- it needs to be done. We need to see if they have left any clues as to why they are here.”   The Priestess doubted that it was random chance that had brought them to this place. Something in the mine had drawn them here.
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 596 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Fri 14 Apr 2017
at 14:51
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai nods silently.  Through Corros' link, he sends Jenna a rare moment of candor: If you're unsettled, I'm fucking terrified, but you're right - it needs doing.

This message was last edited by the player at 15:35, Fri 14 Apr 2017.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 435 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Fri 14 Apr 2017
at 20:45
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
We're here and we're here together.

It's a rare moment of global support from the warlock.  He's used to propping up Jenna when necessary or giving Nic a lift, but he's not one for the group hug.  Except now it seems like his companions could use one.  If he's being honest, he could use a pep talk, too.

We'll deal with this together, too, yeah?

"If you could point us to the quarters, then, we'll start sorting this out."  Corros tells the leader of the mines.
Raellus
 GM, 744 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 15 Apr 2017
at 17:50
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Corros Graelor:
"If you could point us to the quarters, then, we'll start sorting this out."  Corros tells the leader of the mines.


"Certainly. From what I understand, they spent one night in one of the common tents. I don't know why they didn't stay here. It's been said that they had quite a lot of coin."

Sergeant Jaff interjects, "I'll take them."

"Thank you, Sergeant."

As they leave, Deepdelver informs the Five that they may stay at the inn free of charge, and that he will pay for their dinner this night.

Jaff leads the Five to a large canvass tent a bit down the road from the inn. There are very few people staying there now- a result of casualties, flight, or using the daylight hours to prospect and/or dig. No one there now had any direct experience with the Reaver party, but all can share second and third-hand information. The rumors aren't particularly helpful. It's more or less a dead end.

"Do you want to visit the shaft now?" Jaff asks. "Pardon my saying this, but you look a little... tired. Perhaps you rest tonight, then I take you there first thing in the morning?"


Your Turn.

-
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 599 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 16 Apr 2017
at 00:08
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai canvasses his companions.  Gronk is as stalwart as ever but he still bears the marks of the day's fighting.  Amaldaris' elven inscrutability appears intact.  Corros and Jenna, though, almost certainly need communion with their respective patrons - and probably some alone time in as much privacy as is to be found in the camp.

Outwardly, his face remains impassive as he thinks for a moment.  "That would be good, Sergeant.  If you can tell us where we can find quarters, I'll fetch Ogar and bring him in for a talk while the rest of us dump our gear."
Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 25 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Wed 19 Apr 2017
at 22:15
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Amaldaris looked around the area of the inn.

"Is there such a place as a bath house here?" he enquired rather naively of those present.  "I would wash if possible and, though a stream will do, hot water would be preferable."
Raellus
 GM, 746 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Thu 20 Apr 2017
at 00:43
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Sergeant Jaff volunteers to find Ogar, leaving the Five to clean up as best they can. Deepdelver rings for the innkeep, a convivial dwarf named Goli, who arranges for the companions to take turns using the bath (located downstairs, next to the kitchen)- hot water is two silver scribes a kettle.

The garrison commander arrives with Ogar. He's not the best source of information regarding the discovery, but he shares what he can. None the companions get the sense that he is being dishonest or prevaricating- the dwarf simply knows nothing.

"One day, he's over the moon, talkin' 'bout how he's gonna be rich- next day, he's barking mad. Tried to stab me, he did! Said I was 'gonna to take it from him. I had to defend myself, didn't I? I knocked him down, he started shaking and spitting, eyes rolled back in his head, then he's dead! I thought I'd killed him! Then I found out that everyone else in his party was acting more or less the same way! He wasn't buried five minutes before he comes out of the ground tyrin' to bite people- didn't stop until Mak caved his head in. Never thought I'd have to bury my cousin, let alone twice!"

-
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 600 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Thu 20 Apr 2017
at 18:08
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai perches on a table, one foot drawn up along its leg, and frowns in thought.  "Did he show you anything he'd brought up from the mine?  Or did he describe what he'd found in any great detail?"  He blinks as a particularly unpleasant thought strikes him.  "Also, did he say anything about needing to travel - to take something someplace or to someone, perhaps?"
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 436 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Thu 20 Apr 2017
at 18:49
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
One of the benefits of being a couple is that Corros and Jenna could use less hot water through that most intimate of methods: sharing.  Not that they actually use less hot water, but they could.  That's enough to make Corros feel better about forking over a gold piece for hot water in an encampment they've come to save.  He has a brief fantasy of explaining in quite explicit terms why Goli should let them have whatever they want, but it's a fantasy that he doesn't give voice to.  The dwarf is too polite and Corros has resolved to not be an asshole to people when the dead are coming out of the ground shortly after being killed.  You never know who may try to eat you or need to unlock a door to let you hide from zombie hordes.

"The people that got bit.  Did they end up crazy and undead, too?  Or was this more of an 'I'm just going to eat your flesh' kinda thing.  Not that that makes it better, yeah?  I'm just trying to put all the pieces together..."  Corros enjoys a sip of lukewarm ale that is also featuring weak taste and nosebleed prices.  "And are all the dead people accounted for?"

This message was last edited by the player at 18:49, Thu 20 Apr 2017.

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 483 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Fri 21 Apr 2017
at 09:53
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna had found her bath most...refreshing. The Priestess is now sitting on a simple wooden chair, one leg crossed over the other as she listens to her companions question Ogar. Her hair is still damp. When the dwarf mentions his cousin accused him of wanting to take his discovery from him it stirs a chord in Jenna, although it takes a moment before she can drag the thought from her memory. Before the Bloodforged, when they had been in the underground City, and Corros had retrieved the crystals, some other artefacts. Jenna had been jealous.

The Priestess shivers visibly, looks over at her half elf lover. She had been more than jealous. The emotions had been much deeper than that. Much darker. Maybe there was a connection, maybe not. Although then there had been no sign of anyone having risen from the grave. Clearly dark forces were at work here, with the waters made even more murky by the presence of Reaver’s minions, who were no doubt here to further their own torn and twisted ends.

Jenna leans forward in her chair, uncrossing her legs as she does so. ”The ones that rose, I take it you buried them again, yes? Have they shown any signs of stirring again?”
Raellus
 GM, 747 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 22 Apr 2017
at 19:14
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Ogar seems a bit overwhelmed by all the questions but he does the best he can.

"I didn't see anything besides some platinum- nothing out of the ordinary there. But he said they found 'power'. That's it. 'Power'. No explanation. Course, that was when he'd started losing his mind. He didn't sayanything about going anyplace 'cept deeper into the shaft. Said it- 'the power', I guess- was calling to him. When we told him he was sick, and shouldn't go back, that's when he tried to bite and stab us.

"As for the zombies, I don't know why they tried to bite people. The people they bit got sick and died, then came back as zombies too. But then, so did everyone who died, from whatever cause."


At this point, Sergeant Jaff weighs in, "Once we'd killed them, again, we didn't bury them. We burned 'em. Nothing left to come back, you know?"

-
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 601 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 30 Apr 2017
at 13:04
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai glances at his companions' faces and doesn't need Corros' link to tell him that the witchling, Jenna, and Gronk are all reliving memories of their experiences in the ancients' caverns.  "'Power,'" he repeats.  "And a summons.  We've seen something like that before," he says, mainly for Amaldaris' benefit.  "There's an underground complex northwest of here. It's older than any history I've read.  It, or something in it, has a similar effect.  Paranoia, acquisitiveness, wild magic.  Possibly creating or attracting monsters, too," he adds with a well-suppressed shudder, thinking of the amorphous, cacophonous blob of flesh.

He turns to Ogar.  "Ogar, thank you for your time.  I'm sorry for your loss.  I think we're done here, but I'd appreciate it if you could make yourself easy to find for a few days.  If you remember anything else, no matter how trivial, please tell us."  He tosses the dwarf a couple of coins and a smile.  "Here.  Go buy a round on the council's money."

He falls silent until the miner takes the hint and leaves.  Then he clears his throat.

"The last time we were here," he continues, inserting a not-so-subtle reminder of services previously rendered, "the orcish threat had a religious basis.  They weren't here to seize the platinum.  They were here to stop you from digging deep enough to awaken a 'Sleeper.'  It's a mythic apocalyptic figure for them.  I'm not saying correlation is causality, but events are strongly suggestive of something exerting more and more malign influence the deeper you dig, whether that's a being or an artifact.

"I expect they'll return soon.  Their shaman will be aware of these events.  So that's another imminent problem to consider.  We managed some diplomacy last time but I don't expect we'll be able to pull that off again."  He doesn't lean forward but his face hardens and his voice drops to a venomous hiss.  "And despite that threat, and despite our full disclosure of what we had to do to stop the war last time, and despite the demons and living dead, these gold-blinded drooling idiots," he stabs a finger toward the wall and the camp beyond, "are still poking the bear.  That stops now.  They are making it worse.  I'm sick to death of having our good work undone."

Now he leans forward.  "So pass the word.  No more prospecting.  No more digging.  No more grubbing for personal wealth at the expense of the entire city's survival.  Until this threat is resolved for good, this operation is over.  The Fire Council sent us out here to solve the problem and we will solve it, but previous attempts to be polite haven't worked.  So polite was yesterday.  Today is getting the gods-damned job done.  So I will personally fucking murder," he chooses his words with deliberate extrajudicial malice, "the next ten men I see so much as lay hands on a pick without our express orders.  I'll start getting creative with the eleventh."

This message was last edited by the player at 13:05, Sun 30 Apr 2017.

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 484 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sun 30 Apr 2017
at 19:45
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
The tenets of Arma's faith require Her Clerics to defend the weak and protect the innocent. At this moment in time Jenna is unsure as to how the Goddess's  commandments reconcile with Nicolai's threat to kill ten miners. Perhaps he is bluffing. Perhaps he is not. If these fools have any sense they will not put it to the test. Jenna does not know herself. She should speak out, tell her companion that he cannot do that. Yet her lips remain still, her eyes dart for the most fleeting of moments towards Corros. How many other tenets had she cast aside? The Goddess had told her that she would find redemption in the company of strangers. Was this what She had in mind? And if so who was Jenna, a mere mortal, to question her Goddess?

Her gaze shifts from Corros back to Jaff. Still she remains silent, as mute as a servant of the Reaver, for the Ardani is more than capable of intimidating the hapless Sergeant without her assistance, although the eyes that come to rest on Jaff bear a chill as bitter as that of the frozen Dales of the North, the ones ravaged by the Icewinds. Hopefully Jaff would be convinced of the wisdom of doing as he was bid and ensuring that the mining stopped, would not seek to find out whether Nicolai was truly bluffing or not. For Jenna doubted that he was.

This message was last edited by the player at 19:55, Sun 30 Apr 2017.

Raellus
 GM, 748 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 30 Apr 2017
at 20:19
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"I'll do the best I can," Jaff answers, adding, "... with the men I have available." He looks at Deepdelver, soliciting help from the ersatz mayor.

The dwarf is quiet, conflicted. "You're right," he finally replies to Nicolai, "I had such hopes for this place, but the cost... too high." Deepdelver looks to be on the verge of tears. He's got personal baggage, clearly.

"I will officially forbid all further excavation, in no uncertain terms," he announces, trying to project resolve. "Sergeant Jaff, if I order the evacuation of Yonder's Hole, will you escort the miners back to Balefyre?"

Now it is Jaff who looks conflicted. "I'm not sure my commission would allow such action, but... yes. I think it would be for the best."

"Then I suppose we have a lot of work to do," the mayor says, his tone more assured now. "What are your intentions?"

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:40, Sun 30 Apr 2017.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 604 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 30 Apr 2017
at 20:38
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Be sure to tell the Council I forced your hand," Nicolai says.  There may be a slight emphasis on the personal pronoun.

He glances around the assembled group.  "Recommendation: Let's rest tonight, but maintain a watch in case anything boils over.  In the morning, we'll help get the evacuation moving.  I don't want to go too deep into the mine works until the noncombatants are out of the way, in case we provoke an extreme response from the Sleeper or its ancillary evils.

"Sergeant, you'll need all your troops to cover the evacuation, given the local wildlife's activity levels.  But if any miners want to stay on for security - and in case we need excavations opened or closed in a hurry - I won't object.  That's only for volunteers who understand the high likelihood of dying horribly, though."
Raellus
 GM, 749 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 30 Apr 2017
at 20:49
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"I will stay," Deepdelver announces, barely waiting for the Ardani to finish his piece. "I know my way around a mine, and I was known to swing a mean hammer in my day." His tone makes it clear that his decision is non-negotiable.

-
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 438 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sun 30 Apr 2017
at 23:40
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"We will be happy to accept all the qualified help we can get," Corros says with gracious tone.  He's more than willing to play good-watchman to Nic's bad-watchman.  Of course, with the agent, it's probably not a bluff that he'd do exactly what he's proposing.  Nic might not enjoy it, but....  No link is necessary for him to pick up on the tension coiled in Jenna's frame.

"I agree with Nic, we need to rest.  It is still our hope that Zima shows up, yeah?  If not, our evacuees are going to have to keep any eye out for our missing ranger.  Once we finish up below ground, we can go look if necessary, but the evil underground is probably a worse situation than whatever is crawling around outside of this camp."  Probably, anyways. The  gods only know the truth.  There is an itch in his rib cage, a little spear of guilt, accusing him of leaving an ally behind.  But there is only so much that can me done.
Gronk
 Party NPC, 125 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Sun 30 Apr 2017
at 23:52
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gronk wasn't really an idea guy, but one had occurred to him, perhaps even important enough to share.

"What if something from the tunnel grabbed Zima & Kerek and took 'em down there?"

-
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 440 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sun 30 Apr 2017
at 23:56
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros starts in his seat at Gronk's interjection.

"Well that's a hopeful thought," he mumbles before smiling at the half-orc.  "And entirely too possible to be ignored. Although there's not a whole lot we can do for them except rest up and go get them when we're ready.  Shitty though, yeah?  Well done, Gronk."

The warlock knew that Gronk didn't exactly consider himself the brains of the group and Corros wanted to make damn sure he felt comfortable speaking up whenever he felt the need.  Plus, he just likes the guy...er orc...oh whatever.
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 605 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Mon 1 May 2017
at 01:02
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai blinks at Gronk.  "That is very astute.  And very disturbing.  And it makes me wonder if some of the creatures in the area may be drawn by the Sleeper, not just randomly wandering around out there."

He draws a deep breath and shrugs.  "I'd expect Zima to leave some signs if she were being dragged along against her will.  We'll keep an eye out for that.  In the meantime, though, we need rest if we're going to be effective rescuers."
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 486 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Mon 1 May 2017
at 09:53
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"That there is a connection between the Sleeper and the sudden appearance of these monsters seems logical to me." Jenna offered as the conversation continued., the words followed by a barely stifled yawn. She was tired, knew it, knew that meant that her channel to the Goddess was weak, Dangerously weak. If she was to be of any use to the others she needed to rest, and to pray, to regain her strength, spiritually as well as physically.
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 441 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Thu 4 May 2017
at 00:11
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
The sky is dark when Corros walks outside.  He feels exposed, not dreadfully, but exposed enough that it. Rings back bad memories of his past.  Still he has allies in danger and while it is more likely that they have been drug underground,looking for evidence of their passage may give them the best chance possible.  The warlock scans the sky, remembering with physical pain the manticores that hunted earlier.  Fear is nothing.

He utters the necessary words, and rises into the still night air.  He won't be gone long.
Raellus
 GM, 750 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Fri 5 May 2017
at 18:50
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros glides through the cold darkness that covers the landscape like a heavy, black burial shroud. A human wouldn't see much from 50 feet above the ground, but Corros is blessed with his elven lineage's darkvision. He sees the openings of several mine shafts of various sizes- all but one appear dormant. The lone exception appears to be occupied by a single humanoid zombie. It shuffles around mindlessly, taking no notice of the half-elf warlock floating overhead. Corros can't make out any tracks, save for those left by the wagon trains that, until recently, come and go every few days- he doesn't have the skill to pick out the spoor left by small groups or individuals. He does, however, find a dead horse, or what's left of it. He can't identify it, per se, but he's relatively certain that it was one of his companions', lost during the Yeti attack. All that remains is gnawed bone, scattered tackle, and a few scraps of hair.

-
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 607 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sat 6 May 2017
at 00:06
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
The hilltop fort would be a better vantage point, but it also has too many potential witnesses on duty.  Instead, Nicolai swings out the window of his room on the inn's second story and levers himself onto the roof.  A low whistle brings his ravens swirling to him in a rustling, shadowed cloud.  With a flicker of thieves' cant, he sends a trio soaring away in Corros' wake, ready to report if the witchling finds trouble he can't fight or flee on his own.  For the rest, he has scraps of dinner.  He's not certain if Mórag's bond with the birds needs reinforcement in this manner, but it can't hurt.
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 442 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Tue 9 May 2017
at 21:41
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"Not much but a dead horse," Corros says to Nic when he lands.  Having the crows show up had been a welcome addition, one that the warlock wishes he would have thought to ask for.  Despite the last months that he has stood along side his new friends and love, he still has moments where he's too tempted to just do things on his own.  "If our allies are out there, I can't see them.  We should rest."
Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 27 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Fri 12 May 2017
at 22:37
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Amaldaris, now a lot cleaner after his bath, had listened with great interest to the discussions between his new companions and a couple of the local officials.  There had clearly been a lot of trouble around this mining settlement and it sounded like it wasn't yet all resolved.  He had been a little shocked by Nicolai's threat to murder any errant miners who continued to take risks digging in the earth and drawing vile threats towards the village but he had managed to keep his impassive Elven demeanour and to mask his emotions.  He did wonder whether it had been an idle threat meant to bluff the miners or if Nicolai actually meant it.

At present he simply didn't know the man well enough to decide.

"Resting until morning and then organising a search seems like a sensible way to proceed," he commented to Corros.  "Do you believe us secure enough here or do we keep a watch ourselves?  I need little rest."
Raellus
 GM, 752 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 13 May 2017
at 19:36
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The companions are given a room of their own at the inn. They pass a restless night in peace, troubled only by strange dreams- not quite nightmares, but in a way more upsetting. In their dreams, each of the Five is haunted by a presence, always on the outer edge of perception- invisible, odorless, silent but...

There.

Trying to communicate.

Pleading? Warning?


Each companion wakes alone at some point in the night, strangely compelled by the dream to leave the inn and go to the shaft alone. All manage to resist, although Gronk is halfway out the door by the time an awakening Amaldaris stops him. These wakeful turns facilitate an ad hoc watch schedule. By dawn, each companion has managed to piece together enough sleep to regain his/her full strength (Long Rest completed).

After a breakfast of rabbit and wild mushrooms, the companions are ready to depart. Mayer Deepdelver has ordered the evacuation of Yonder's Hole and put Sergeant Jaff in charge. There's some grumbling, but it appears that most of the settlement's remaining residents will cooperate.

The Five plus one make the short journey to the shaft entrance. Deepdelver wears an old suit of mail and carries a two-handed war hammer, neither which appears to have seen recent use.

The party enters the shaft and descends into the darkness. Nic's ravens wait dutifully at the opening, hopping around squawking nervously.

The roughly dug miner's shaft opens up into a tunnel, about 10 from floor to ceiling, reminiscent of the loop beneath the City of the Forgotten Ones but smaller in scale. The floor is tiled, the smooth, arching walls show no pick marks. Confirming their suspicions, the wall bears an inscription in the dead language of the Forgotten Ones. Only Corros can understand what it spells out.


The tunnel runs roughly north-south.


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 19:53, Sat 13 May 2017.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 608 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sat 13 May 2017
at 19:52
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
The last time the Five were underground, Ulfgar was along for the trip.  Nicolai finds himself missing the vulgar dwarf now, less for the druid's ease in cramped quarters than for the occasional gift of temporary darkvision that he bestowed.

The Ardani pauses and passes a hand near the inscription, not quite touching it.  He looks inquiringly at Corros.
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 487 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sun 14 May 2017
at 16:20
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna had not slept well, her rest disturbed by a feeling that someone...something...was probing at her mind, trying to reach into her head, but for what purpose she knew not. At one point it had caused her to wake from fitful slumber, enticing her, luring her towards the mine shaft. The Priestess had closed her eyes tightly, tried to force whatever it was out of her head, clung tightly to Corros through the night, was glad when the Sun had finally risen over the horizon and it had been time to actually go to the mine. Whatever lay in its depths it was better confronted, now.

Slowly she descends with the others, her right hand grasped tightly around Arma's Blessing, as tightly as she had held Corros during the night, her eyes adjusting easily to the gloom, a gift from the Goddess Herself the Priests had said at the Cloisters. When she sees the inscription on the wall she comes to a halt, watches as Nicolai steps closer, mimicking his action as she looks to Corros, waiting for her lover to translate the inscription. And doubting very much that it was an invitation to proceed.
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 443 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sun 14 May 2017
at 20:31
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"It says 'all those who enter here will be skinned alive in the Hell of the Upside Down Sinners," Corros says solemnly.  When the heads of his companions turn, he smiles, trying to break the mood of the oppressive night it seems like all of them shared. "Nah, just kidding.  It says 'No unauthorized people past this point.  Leave your weapons here.'  I think we should ignore that part."  The most winning grin the warlock can muster crosses his face and he winks at Jenna.  Hopefully it's good for morale.

The warlock peers into the dark shaft, thankful for the heritage of his mother that allows his eyes to function in the gloom.

"No time like now, yeah?  Just remember, before we go down there, we all like each other and if it get's weird, it's the tunnel or the things we find.  Not us."
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 609 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 14 May 2017
at 21:58
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai ostentatiously adjusts one of his sheaths to tuck a dagger a little farther up his sleeve.  "Oops," he intones with mock solemnity.  "Right.  Forward into wholly-authorized exploration we go."
Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 29 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Sun 14 May 2017
at 22:39
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Amaldaris normally didn't dream.  His sleep each night was actually two hours of meditation and dreams didn't normally intrude in that so last night had been very strange and disconcerting experience for him, enough to wake him, as such, from his meditative state to be able to stop Gronk leaving their shared room in the tavern.  And Gronk's desire to enter the mine alone had been the same as Amaldaris had felt in his dream and so what they had dreamt had not been a coincidence.  Something, or rather someone, had initiated the same dream in both of them.

It has taken him a while to regain his centre and begin his resting meditation again but he had eventually succeeded and had managed to rest for long enough to be fully refreshed by morning.  He was still disturbed by the dreams however.

"Did anyone else dream a strange dream last night?" he enquired of the others as they contemplated the mines.  Continuing he started to share his thoughts but they were inconclusive, just a collection of things that had occurred to him that he could only speculate on at the present moment without any form of conclusion.  "For me dreaming is a rare enough experience but if I read my dream correctly there is some evil presence in these mines that can both invade our minds and wishes us to enter the tunnels.  It wants us individually however so does that imply that it fears us as a group?"

He glanced again at the inscription that Corros had deciphered before continuing.  "And is that inscription recent or old?  If it is recent then why write it in a language that most cannot understand.  If it is old then whom was it intended for.  Not us at least."
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 610 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 14 May 2017
at 22:45
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"I'm not sure if it's even a presence," Nicolai admits.  "It may be a spiritual contamination without any will behind it.  When we explored another set of ruins nearby, last year, it manifested as paranoia and greed.  But it was unfocused.  You're right - it seems to work against group integrity.

"The language is ancient.  It's the same one we saw in the other ruins.  These may be connected to that complex, if we delve deep enough.  I suspect the inscription dates back to those times as well."
Raellus
 GM, 754 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 14 May 2017
at 23:14
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The Five arbitrarily choose the branch to the right (north) and proceed in that direction, leaving the dim light of the opening behind them. The tunnel slopes gently, almost imperceptibly, downward, into rapidly deepening darkness. Nic is the only member of the party not blessed with some degree of Darkvision; the others accommodate for this hereditary disadvantage by lighting a hooded lantern. All benefit from the added light (see Darkvision rules).

The air is still. Cool and dry. Dead.

They haven't gone very far when they find the remains of several that had gone before. Some of the bodies appear freshly dead, showing very little sign of decomposition. Deepdelver recognizes a familiar face among them, one of Yonder's Hole's old-timers, Mortimer Greech. Other bodies are nothing but piles of bleached bones. One particular corpse, bisected at the waist, displays both conditions. The legs of the lower half look fit enough that if it they were miraculously attached to a willing torso, they could stand up and walk out of the tunnel right now; the upper half, however, is bone crumbling to dust. There are no useful artifacts among the strewn remains. Fortunately, none of the remains appear to be those of Zima, although a couple of badly decomposed dwarven bodies can't be ruled out as belonging to Kerek. Strangely, there's no odor of corruption.

The companions press forward, past the small field of dead. Amaldaris and Corros see it first. Up ahead, just beyond the reach of the lantern flame's orange light, a large humanoid figure stands stock still in the middle of the tunnel, its head almost touching the ten-foot-high ceiling. The Five slow their pace, approaching with utmost caution. As they draw nearer, the construct lifts his left hand, palm facing the intruders, and points with his right to a room cut into the left (west) face of the tunnel. The being appears to be formed from the same hard, grey stone through which the tunnel is bored. Like the walls, it bears no chisel marks. It's been carved to resemble a warrior clad in archaic armor; its flawless facial features are more or less human, perhaps elvish. It speaks not, its face completely dispassionate, but its posture and gestures seem to say, 'Stop! Enter that room.' On its chest, a platinum badge of some sort glints in the lamplight.

"I reckon that's a stone golem," Deepdelver opines.


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:23, Sun 14 May 2017.

Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 30 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Thu 18 May 2017
at 22:43
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Amaldaris looked at the badge on the chest of the stone golem, taking a few moments to study it, trying to work out any symbols that had been carved into the platinum.  It was clearly important, otherwise why would the badge have been made of such a valuable material.  Understanding it might well be a clue to working out the purpose of the golem and therefore bypassing it.

After studying the golem's badge for a little while Amaldaris then moved cautiously over to the entrance to the room the golem was pointing at and looked inside it in an attempt to figure out what it was indicating.

"I assume that that is some kind of guardian to prevent us proceeding," he said quietly to his companions.  "They are strong constructs and tough to defeat.  It will be a severe test for us if we have to fight it.  Does anyone have any ideas on how to bypass it?"
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 611 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Fri 19 May 2017
at 00:37
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"It seems to be offering an alternative," Nicolai suggests.  "We could take its recommendation and go west.  Or we could negotiate."  He glances at Deepdelver.  "I speak the language but I think it might react better to one of the Stoneblood.  Do you recognize the heraldry on its chest?"

This message was last edited by the player at 00:37, Fri 19 May 2017.

Raellus
 GM, 755 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Fri 19 May 2017
at 00:46
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The dwarf squints, trying to make out any details on the golem's platinum badge.

Slowly shaking his head, he answers, "It's not familiar. There's a rune on it, but it's unlike any I've ever seen before."

-
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 444 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Fri 19 May 2017
at 11:55
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"I saw one of these in Silverleaf," Corros says, referring to the golem. "It, uh, was defending the home of one of the soon to be removed lords of the city.  Can't say I'm eager to cross one after that, yeah?"

The half-elf peers at the golem, looks the badge over along with their new elf companion.

"I'm tempted to follow its advice.  For now."
Raellus
 GM, 756 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Fri 19 May 2017
at 19:47
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The rune isn't familiar to Corros but, given his studies and the context, he can surmise, with some degree of confidence, that it indicates a measure of official authority. One could even infer that this golem is one of the 'guards' manning the 'guard post' mentioned in the inscription near the tunnel entrance.

-
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 612 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sat 20 May 2017
at 01:13
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Left it is." Nicolas proceeds forward with care, ready to leap back and draw steel - for whatever good it'll do - if the golem issues objection to his passage.
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 488 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sat 20 May 2017
at 08:37
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Indeed." Jenna nods in agreement with Nicolai, hefts her hammer in her right hand, smiles at the Ardani. "After you?" Her tone is light, intended to convey the humour in her words, even if that humour is more than a little forced after what they had witnessed getting to this point.

Still, if he defers she'll willingly take the lead instead. After all, she was a Priestess of Arma, would not stand by while another stepped into danger. For she fully expects following the golem's advice to be every bit as likely to lead to danger as not doing so. But, for the moment at least, it seems like the most practical option.
Raellus
 GM, 757 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 20 May 2017
at 17:48
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Watching the golem warily, the companions walk through the doorway and enter a large room, lacking any other exit. Running down the center of the room is a low stone bench. The wall on the left is subdivided into many tall, but narrow, doorless niches. These compartments remind Jenna of the temple alcoves in which the priests of her temple store their different sets of vestments. On the floor in most of the niches lie the crumbling remains of clothing. Some of the piles look very similar, others are unlike any other.

The right side of the room is lined with similar compartments, only each of these are closed off by smooth metal doors, each inscribed with a different symbol that Corros recognizes as numbers in the Forgotten speech. Each door has a small keyhole on the left side, midway between top and bottom. Some of these keyholes are empty, while the stems of keys protrude from others.

The golem, thankfully, did not follow the party into the room. It's massive bulk can be seen looming just outside.


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:54, Sat 20 May 2017.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 613 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 21 May 2017
at 16:21
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai kneels to examine a few of the clothing scraps, stirring them with a gloved hand.  He shrugs in incomprehension, then stands.  "Ritual robing and disrobing?" he asks, lofting the question in Jenna's general direction.  "When we were in the other place - the tunnel loop - we saw a record of some sort of ritual.  Did they need to cleanse themselves before conducting their summonings?"

He looks around the room.  "No other way out.  What do we need to do here to satisfy him before we can proceed?"  He tilts his head toward the golem.
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 489 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sun 21 May 2017
at 16:57
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna's shoulders form a brief shrug in response to Nicolai's first question. "Temples of Arma have rooms like this. Or at least similar to this." The last is added hastily, left anyone draw a wrong conclusion. "Look, some of them look like they are the same, others are clearly not. That might mean different ranks. In Arma's Priesthood the lower ranked Priests were white, so that the blood that we shed for the Goddess can be more clearly seen. When one has attained a certain rank one is then permitted to wear grey."

The blonde haired Priestess turns her attention to the doors that line the opposite walls, considers Nicolai's second question. "Perhaps we need to find out what lies behind those doors before we can proceed." She can see the symbols on the doors but they are incomprehensible to her, so instead she looks at the remnants of clothing again, trying to see which sets appear to be unique and which doors they are opposite.
Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 32 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Sun 21 May 2017
at 22:02
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"I believe that you are correct," commented Amaldaris to Jenna as he looked around the room, taking in the layout.  It had a familiar feel to it, similar to temples he had visited over the years.  "It may be that we have to offer a prayer to a particular deity as well in order for the golem to let us pass.  There may well be some kind of entrance ritual to prove that you should be allowed further into the temple complex.  That is presuming that these tunnels are indeed a temple or holy shrine of some kind."

He walked over to the closest of the smooth metal doors that still had a key in its lock and examined it further.  Prodding it with the tip of his spear he checked to see if it was actually locked or not and then opened it, turning the key it necessary, to see what the compartment contained.
Raellus
 GM, 758 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 21 May 2017
at 23:46
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Amaldaris turns the key and opens the... locker. It is empty, save from a cross-piece that runs horizontally across the compartment, near the top. The cross piece has three notches cut into it.

Fortunately, the locker wasn't booby-trapped or Amaldaris might have paid dearly for his curiosity.

-
Gronk
 Party NPC, 126 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Sun 21 May 2017
at 23:49
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gronk takes a peek over Amaldaris' shoulder, briefly studying the inside of the just-opened compartment.

"I used to have a locker kind of like that, back when I was a pit fighter- I bet that's where you're supposed to hang your weapons," the half-orc opines, pointing to the notched cross piece.

-
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 445 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Mon 22 May 2017
at 01:41
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros eyes the slots and shrugs.  "How many weapons do I leave? Daggers? Wands?"  Deciding to try the system out, and electing himself most likely to have zero use for steel implements of violence, Corros puts his daggers into the slot Amaldaris opened up and starts back for the door.  Maybe this place has its version of logic or rules that must be adhered to.  It could be riskier trying to get around the defenses that just going along with them.  At least for a little while.

"It's okay," he says trying to keep his courage up.  "I'm going to go slow.  If the thing tries to block me, I'll just back off, yeah?." And not getting torn limb from limb would be a bonus.
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 614 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Mon 22 May 2017
at 01:45
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"If it tries to block you, stop going slow," Nicolai advises dryly.  He eyes the... lockers... with all the enthusiasm of a vegetarian at an orc hill tribe's pig roast.

This message was last edited by the player at 01:46, Mon 22 May 2017.

Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 33 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Thu 25 May 2017
at 21:38
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Amaldaris watched Corros place his daggers in the slots of the locker and then return to the Golem.

"So your thought is that we are supposed to leave our weapons here and continue unarmed?" he asked, watching to see how the guardian responded to Corros' actions.
Raellus
 GM, 759 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Thu 25 May 2017
at 21:43
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The golem side-steps to block Corros' path, its warding hand still outstretched. It's other hand gestures to the platinum ring on its chest. Corros realizes that if he tries to pass the stone sentinel, it will likely attempt to use force to stop him.

-
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 616 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Fri 26 May 2017
at 19:52
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"'My parts are valuable on the salvage market?'"  Nicolai mutters at the golem's gesture, once no attack is forthcoming.  "'Please polish me?  You cannot be taller than this ring to ride this ride?'"  He waits until Corros is clear of the construct's reach, then turns back to the lockers to toss them for any sort of badge or passkey.
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 447 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sat 27 May 2017
at 00:21
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros steps back carefully, giving the golem plenty of space and distinct lack of threatening gestures.  This time Corros puts his wand in the locker as well and prepares to approach the golem again.  Slowly and unthreateningly as possible.
Raellus
 GM, 760 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 27 May 2017
at 14:37
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

While Corros re-attempts to bypass the guard golem, Nic sets about trying to open a locker. He picks the one furthest from the door (and therefore furthest from the golem) and takes a knee, setting the lantern down so that its light is cast upon the lock he will attempt to pick.

The Ardani carefully inserts his lock pick into the small keyhole and probes the internal workings of the mechanism, making adjustments by touch and by ear. After a few seconds, there's a satisfying click and the door pops open. Fortunately, this does not appear trigger any sort of trap or alarm.

Inside, set in the notched bar, is an ornate sword hilt. The center of the crossguard is decorated with a sunburst.

Meanwhile, Corros has no better luck with the golem. The massive construct continues to bar his path, again pointing to the platinum ring on its chest.

Gronk crosses the room to the dressing niches and pokes around in one of the piles of rotting clothing. It crumbles at his touch, yielding nothing but dust. He tries again at the next cubby over. Same type of garment, same result. The next cubby down contains a pile of unlike clothing. He gives it one last try.

"Hey guys," he says, holding up a platinum ring, "Look what I found."

-
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 617 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sat 27 May 2017
at 16:14
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai grins at Gronk.  "Nice!  I think you just found our way in without a fight."

He removes his own find from the locker to examine it in the lantern's light.  "And here we have the sword you give the guy who can't find the pointy end of a normal one, I guess.  The very rich guy," he clarifies as the inlay sparkles.
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 490 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sun 28 May 2017
at 15:13
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"I suppose we'll need to leave that here as well." Jenna muses as she looks at the blade that Nicolai has picked up. "I mean, if we're supposed to leave all weapons." The blonde haired Priestess's shoulders wrinkle into a shrug. A stray thought flashes through her mind, namely that the original owner of the blade that the Ardani now holds may have once been in the same position as they were now, had left the weapon expecting to return and reclaim it but clearly had not done so.

She sees no benefit in putting such thought to voice and potentially unsettling the others, so moves away to inspect any of the apparent lockers that have yet to be searched. Parting with her Hammer makes her uneasy though, for it is no ordinary, common weapon; it has been blessed by the Goddess and Her power and grace radiate through it. But fighting the Golem is an unequally unpleasant option.

"Perhaps it is the ring that is the key rather than absence of weapons." She ponders as she completes her search. "Maybe we should retain our weapons while we try with the ring, see if that grants us passage. If that doesn't work we can try again without weapons." She looks over at Corros. "I'll try if you wish." So far the thing had not attacked the Warlock, only refused to allow him to pass so Jenna wagered that trying with weapons was worth the risk but she was unwilling to have another put her theory to the test, particularly Corros, just in case the thing did choose this moment to attack.
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 448 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sun 28 May 2017
at 17:02
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros flips his eyes over to Jenna and sees the worry reflected there.  Sees too her determination to see her own theory through rather than ask someone else to take the risk.  It's the same sentiment he had been using to test his own ideas and one that he must respect.  The warlock stands aside wishing he could take a moment to make physical contact with his lover, letting the feeling pass as this tunnel is neither the time nor the place for such things.  A feeling of being lucky the Jenna is here with him in the place and in his life washes over Corros drawing a warm smile.

"Careful, yeah?" he says needlessly.  "I wouldn't want you to have break the golem, he seems like a nice enough fellow."
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 491 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sun 28 May 2017
at 18:40
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna locks eyes with Corros for a moment, nods her head, the gesture intended to convey more than a simple acknowledgment of his concern, it goes further than that, deeper, a recognition that she wants to hold him, to be close to him, but that will have to wait, until later, when they are alone. For there will be a later.

Her lips curl into a smile. "I shall try to be gentle with him." There is a twinkle in her eye, her demeanour light despite their current circumstances. Corros had changed her, given her something to focus on besides Arma, shown her that was a World outside the Cloisters.

Jenna pauses a moment, simply savouring the Warlock's nearness before nodding once again, taking a step away from him, turning to Gronk, holding her hand out for the ring. "May I?" When she has the ring she intends to approach the Golem slowly, with ring on left hand and hammer in right, the head lowered to the ground in an attempt to demonstrate that she does not intend to use it on the construct. If it continues to block her path she will simply step back, rejoin the others.
Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 34 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Sun 28 May 2017
at 22:38
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"If the ring is what we require to pass the golem then it may be that we need one each," commented Amaldaris as he continued on from where Gronk had left off, searching the remaining piles of debris and open lockers for any more rings.  "Regardless of whether we need to leave our weapons here or not."

He left any unopened lockers for the moment so that Nic could open them as necessary.
Raellus
 GM, 761 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Mon 29 May 2017
at 02:46
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Amaldaris and Gronk search the remaining piles of rotting clothing but find no additional platinum ring badges amongst the debris.

Through trial and error, the Five discover that the golem will only allow an individual, unarmed and bearing the badge to pass. It blocks all attempts at any armed and/or badgeless individuals, even those 'escorted' by an unarmed badge-holder to get by.

-
Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 35 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Mon 29 May 2017
at 07:22
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Maybe someone unarmed and wearing the badge can issue orders to the golem," suggested Amaldaris.  "Perhaps order it to walk out of the mine and then deactivate."
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 450 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Mon 29 May 2017
at 13:56
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros takes the ring and badge of safe passage back from Jenna and steps in front of the stone creature.  There is a patient power radiating off the thing, a timeless sentinel waiting to do it's job.  For a moment, Corros wonders what that kind of patience would be like, an eternity of waiting and standing still until the conditions are right to act.  And then, what, a return to waiting.  His error, he knows, is bringing his own thoughts to something that is not human and doesn't share his way of thinking.  Something totally foreign.  With that in mind, Corros gathers The Library in his thoughts, seeking a link to the golem.

The probe is careful, the connection tenuous so as not to startle the creature.

Greetings sentinel, he sends.  We seek passage and do not wish to anger or disturb you.  We believe there is danger to our world beyond you and must discover the source.  How may we pass?
Raellus
 GM, 763 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Mon 29 May 2017
at 15:42
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros has little doubt that the golem can understand him, but it quickly becomes apparent that the ancient construct is unable to reply in kind. It's ability to communicate is apparently limited exclusively to gesture.

The golem's actions and the signage that the party has so far discovered strongly indicate that the golem will not allow any unauthorized (i.e. badge-less) or armed personnel past this point. Fortunately, the construct doesn't seem to have the capacity to become impatient or angry with the party's persistent experimentation with bending the rules.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 21:14, Mon 29 May 2017.

Raellus
 GM, 765 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Mon 29 May 2017
at 21:13
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Being the most capable of the Five when it comes to unarmed self-defense, Amaldaris leaves his elven staff spear with his new friends and takes the platinum ring badge. The Golem allow him to pass by unhindered. In fact, the golem seems to completely ignore anyone who successfully passes its invisible threshold. Its sole focus appears to be prohibiting the unauthorized entry of armed individuals.

The soft-footed elven monk pads into the darkness beyond the single-minded guard and is soon lost from view. The tunnel continues straight ahead for some time, until it terminates in a small chamber made of metal. This chamber is closed off on Amaldaris' side by folding metal grate. This grate does not appear to be locked. In the far wall of the chamber is the hollow imprint of a ring, by the looks of it the same dimensions as the platinum badge he currently bears.  It reminds the elf of a mechanical lift, quite common in the advanced, sylvan cities of his people. There's writing inscribed inside the chamber, but Amaldaris is unable to read and comprehend it.

The others wait, under the unblinking gaze of the sculpted stone guard.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 21:15, Mon 29 May 2017.

Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 39 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Mon 29 May 2017
at 21:38
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"I am trained in fighting with my hands," commented Amaldaris as he lent his spear against the wall.  He then pulled his dagger and placed it on the ground next to it.  "Should I take the ring and make my way past the golem?  It may be that further rings can be found just beyond the guardian."

Receiving a series of nods from his companions he took the ring and approached the golem.

Raellus:
The Golem allow him to pass by unhindered. In fact, the golem seems to completely ignore anyone who successfully passes its invisible threshold. Its sole focus appears to be prohibiting the unauthorized entry of armed individuals.

The soft-footed elven monk pads into the darkness beyond the single-minded guard and is soon lost from view. The tunnel continues straight ahead for some time, until it terminates in a small chamber made of metal. This chamber is closed off on Amaldaris' side by folding metal grate. This grate does not appear to be locked. In the far wall of the chamber is the hollow imprint of a ring, by the looks of it the same dimensions as the platinum badge he currently bears.  It reminds the elf of a mechanical lift, quite common in the advanced, sylvan cities of his people. There's writing inscribed inside the chamber, but Amaldaris is unable to read and comprehend it.

After studying the writing for a while Amaldaris removed his calligraphy set from his pack and then copied it down as best he could on a sheaf of parchment, making use of his scribe training.  Once the ink was dry he then rolled up the parchment and returned it to his pack in order to show his companions later.  Hopefully one of them could make sense of the words.

He then took the platinum ring and placed it in the hollow that seemed to match the shape of the ring, half expecting the floor to move in some way.
Raellus
 GM, 767 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Mon 29 May 2017
at 21:53
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Amaldaris carefully opens the sliding metal grate and enters the chamber. When he inserts the platinum badge into the recess- it fits perfectly- he is not disappointed. The badge glows faintly with a pleasant pale blue light. Two wedge-shaped crystal pieces set flush on either side of the metal ring mount slowly light up. The one pointing up is red. The one pointing down is green.

-
Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 40 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Mon 29 May 2017
at 22:06
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Amaldaris studied the two crystal arrows, unsure what the colours indicated.  Based on the logic that they needed to go deeper into the mine he both said "Down" aloud and then thought the same in his mind.

If that didn't work he then waved his hand at the green arrow in the hope that that would work.
Raellus
 GM, 768 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Mon 29 May 2017
at 22:28
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Words and thoughts seem to have no effect. Lightly brushing the down-pointing, green-lit crystal, however, does. The light turns red and an unpleasant, intermittent buzzing sound blares out from somewhere behind him. He turns to find the source of the noise and realizes that he left the grate open behind him. He closes the gate and the buzzing sound stops. Clearly, the Forgotten Ones were big on safety precautions. After closing the gate, he tries again with the lift controls. What follows is a low rumble and a sharp creaking sound coming from somewhere above the chamber. The chamber shudders briefly, showering the elf in fine, grey dust, then it begins to descend, slowly at first, then picking up speed.

The lift descends for about thirty seconds or so, then screeches to a jouncing halt. The machinery has clearly not been used for quite some time.

Amaldaris looks past the grate into the space beyond. The lift entrance opens into a short hallway, ending in a metal door. Next to the door is another empty, circular recess.

-
Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 42 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Wed 31 May 2017
at 12:35
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
There seemed to be a high degree of dust, judging by what had fallen on him while he descended.  Brushing the worst of it off he looked to see if there were any tracks in the dust on the floor of the hallway that ended in a metal door, trying to judge if any booted feet or animals of some kind had crossed the floor.  Once he had scanned it thoroughly he then searched the chamber for any more of the rings, hoping that something had been dropped and was concealed in the accumulated dust.

The rings seemed to be the key but Amaldaris was a little unsure whether he should proceed without the others.  Everything had been simple since passing the golem to this hallway but he was concerned that a solid metal door could have been installed to keep things in as much as to keep them out.

Once he had completed his various searches the High Elf then returned to the lift and tried to work out how the machinery worked so that he could return to the others.  He tried to repeat the gesture he had done previously but this time focusing on the arrow pointing upward, brushing it gently if simply wafting his hand in front of the crystal was insufficient to make the floor move again.
Raellus
 GM, 772 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Fri 2 Jun 2017
at 21:19
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

After examining the floor between the lift and the metal door (there are none), Amaldaris retraces his steps, reactivating the mechanism that returns him to the upper level. He finds his companions waiting patiently on the far side of the stone-silent guard, discussing possible ways to bypass the security system without a potentially costly fight with the powerful construct.

While the elf was away, Nic had a bit of an epiphany. Perhaps the extra-dimensional space inside Ulfgar's Bag of Holding will conceal the party's assorted weaponry from the golem. There's only one way to find out...

One at a time, bearing the platinum ring, the adventurers bypass the sentinel, tossing the badge back to those still waiting their turn. Again, once someone passes the golem, it ignores them, even if they no longer have possession of the badge. Corros and Amaldaris cross the threshold first, being as both are comfortable and competent when it comes to fighting without a conventional weapon. Gronk, Jenna, and Deepdelver, each still armed, wait on the near side. Then, it's Nic's turn, carrying his own weaponry, the suspected Sun Blade found in the locker, and Amaldaris' staff spear, in the Bag of Holding.

It works. The Golem, still facing south, makes no move to stop him. He tosses the ring, and the bag, back to Gronk who stuffs the rest of the party's weapons into the magical satchel. The half-orc crosses in turn, and the ring is passed on until all Five adventurers and Deepdelver are past.

They proceed down the passage to the lift and descend to the lower level. The ride is a bit cramped. The lift probably wasn't intended to carry quite so many.

The lift grate opens in to the short hallway endcapped by the metal door. The ring is placed in the lock plate and the door pops open with a long, sighing hiss.

What lies beyond is a natural cavern, dimly light by red and blue mosses. The cavern roof, hung with dozens of small stalactites, is roughly twice as tall as Gronk. The sound of slowly dripping water echoes around the cool, humid chamber. As soon as the first of the companions steps foot into the room, the floor and walls of the chamber seem to vibrate. Nic issues a warning. Something seems off. He gets the feeling the party is being watched, or otherwise monitored. The vibrations cease. The companions are on their guard, their personal weaponry recovered from the BoH in the lift. Another step is taken. The vibrations resume, more intense this time. Before Nic can issue another warning, a creature burst out of the cavern floor, about 15' ahead of the party.

"It's an Umberhulk!" Deepdelver cries.


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:02, Sat 03 June 2017.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 624 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Fri 2 Jun 2017
at 23:45
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Can we kill it?" Nicolai asks, but it's a pro forma question as he flicks his blades out.  He doesn't know what an umber hulk is, but it's apparently an ambush predator, which makes it a lot more inviting target than a golem that's just stoically doing its job.  He matches pace with Gronk and steps in, angling for a strike at the joints where the chitinous exoskeleton appears to have weak spots.

Nicolai
AC 16 • HP 61/61 • Superiority Dice 4/4
Move: Into melee (waiting for Gronk to move in for flanking)
Attack x2: Rapier +1 (attack +7, damage 1d8+4)
Bonus: Off-hand attack, dagger +1 (attack +7, damage 1d4+4)
Special: +2d6 sneak attack damage to first successful attack

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 453 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sat 3 Jun 2017
at 02:58
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
The face emerging from the floor gives Corros pause.  He watches, drawing forth energy as Nic and Gronk move forward in a now familiar battle line to deal with the creature.  A few steps take the warlock to where he knows his place in the center of their group will be.  Flinging loose two bolts of power, he draws the Library near, betting that if there is one of these, there could potentially be more, each one ready to move through the stone like the brute in the corridor before them.  Emerging exactly where? That's the rub, yeah?


Corros
AC 13, 61/61 HP
Casting Eldritch Bolt x2 (+8 to attack, d10 +5 damage)
Will use Entropic Ward if another creature attacks him

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 497 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sat 3 Jun 2017
at 14:34
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
The ground seems to simply part, the thing emerging from the hole ahead of them, perhaps thinking to block their passage. Unknowingly mirroring Corros' thoughts, Jenna's eyes flick about the chamber for a moment, looking to see if there any others coming out of the ground before she turns her attention back to the one ahead of the,

The blonde haired Priestess steps forward, not as far as Nicolai or Gronk, but placing herself between Corros and the creature as she raises her right hand towards it, a deep breath as she calls on Arma, the ends of her blonde mane beginning to move of their own accord and her eyes turning from blue to milky white as the Goddess's power and grace flows through her, culminating in a sudden ripple of energy that dances around her fingertips for a moment before she unleashes it at the Umberhulk.

Jenna
AC: 21, HP 56/56
Taking position in front of Corros / behind Nic and Gronk
Casting Guiding Bolt (Level 3) at Umberhulk

Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 45 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Sun 4 Jun 2017
at 16:42
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"And what, prey tell, is an Umberhulk?" asked Amaldaris as he looked at the creature erupting from the floor of the chamber.  There was a degree of uncertainty in his voice as he tried to recall matching descriptions he had read while studying.

Nicolai's question was really the relevant one however.  It was clear that this creature was intent on attacking them and that it wasn't something that could be parlayed with.  Therefore he looked for a way to get behind it so that he could attack it from the rear and increase the number of people engaging.

"Once it is engaged I will leap behind it," he called to his companions.  His intention was to get behind the creature and the attack it with his spear twice, wielding it two handed, and to then release his spear with one hand and strike his target with his fist.


Amaldaris
AC: 18, HP 63/63, Ki Points 8/8
Move: Using Acrobatics and his 45 foot movement to do a running leap behind the Umberhulk so that he can attack it in the rear (and hopefully ensure that Nic gains his flanking bonus)
Action: 2x Attack with Spear held two handed (+7 attack, 1d8+4 damage)
Bonus Action: 1x Attack with Fist (+7 attack, 1d6+4 damage)

This message was last edited by the player at 16:42, Sun 04 June 2017.

Raellus
 GM, 774 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Mon 5 Jun 2017
at 18:28
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Amaldaris vaults the Umberhulk before it's completely emerged from its burrow, landing gracefully on his feet, staff-spear in hand, behind the monster.

Nic steps forward, expecting Gronk to be right beside him as usual. Instead, the Half-Orc stands still, a look of utter confusion writ large across his grey-green face (Gronk is confused!).

While Amaldaris and Nic are moving swiftly into attack position, Jenna and Corros unleash their magic. The cleric slams a bolt of radiant energy into the monster, wounding it, and illuminating the target for her companions (UH1 -23HP; grants advantage to Nic's attack). Corros' twin Eldritch blasts also connect, doing further damage (UH1 -10HP).

Nic lunges for the beast, aiming for a gap between the plates of its exoskeleton. Touch of Sylk fails, twice, to find the soft spot, but Nic's not out of tricks yet. With a flick of his left wrist, he slices the inside of the monster's elbow with his dagger (UH1 -11HP).

The creature's armored hide stops Amaldaris' first spear thrust, but the elven monk's second attempt is better, piercing the shell over its lower back. A follow up palm strike, however, has no discernable effect (UH1 -10HP).

Although preempted by the quick reflexes of its intended prey, the subterranean ambush predator fights back, lashing out at Nic with both of its claws (Nic -18HP). Surprisingly quickly for such a large creature, the Umber Hulk then turns on Almaldaris, mandibles snapping (Amaldaris -14HP).

While the Umber Hulk unleashes its wrath against the front rank of the party, three stalactites detach themselves from the ceiling and drop, silently, falling towards those in the rear. Despite benefitting from the element of surprise, all three creatures fail to do damage. The one targeting Corros misses entirely, hitting the ground beside the warlock, hurting itself instead (P1 -3HP). The other two bounce off the armor of their respective targets and land on the ground, injuring themselves in the process (P2 -3HP, P3 -3HP). Although startled, neither Jenna or Deepdelver are hurt. The strange, roughly conical creatures start to slink off towards the walls of the cavern, emitting a disgusting smell as they retreat. Appears that the monsters have shot their bolt, and now wish only to escape retribution.


Your Turn.

-
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 498 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Mon 5 Jun 2017
at 19:30
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna is momentarily taken by surprise when the....thing...falls from the roof, glances off the shoulder plates of her armour before falling to the ground. Her eyes flick towards it as it scuttles away, her nostrils wrinkling as she inhales the foul odour that the creature is secreting.

The Priestess has no idea what it is, is momentarily concerned that the smell may be harmful, toxic perhaps, but the snapping of mandibles ahead of her swiftly draws her attention back to the umberhulk that is clearly posing a threat as it menaces Nicolai and Amaldaris. Unable to strike at both she calls out quickly to Deepdelver. "Look up, see if there are more of those things!"

The words tumble from her lips. Her fingers are already crackling with radiant energy as she takes a deep breath, channels the Goddess's grace into another bolt that hurtles towards the umberhulk.

Jenna
AC: 21, HP 56/56
Talking to Deepdelver / Casting Guiding Bolt (Level 3) at umberhulk

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 625 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Tue 6 Jun 2017
at 22:57
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai cries out in pain as the creature's claws bite deep into his overextended left bicep and forearm.  He manages to hold onto his dagger but it's a near thing.  As the creature turns on Amaldaris, he staggers backward, exaggerating his pain - then steps back in and rams his rapier toward the base of the creature's skull.

Nicolai
AC 16 • HP 43/61 • Superiority Dice 3/4
Bonus: Feinting attack (-1 superiority die)
Attack 1: Rapier +1 (attack +7 w/ advantage, damage 2d8+4)
Attack 2: Rapier +1 (attack +7, damage 1d8+4)
Special: +2d6 sneak attack damage to first successful attack

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 454 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Wed 7 Jun 2017
at 13:14
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Corros risks a glance at the ceiling trying to spot a blank spot that lacks the possible living missiles that just dropped in an attempt to skewer the warlock and his lady love.  A few steps lead him to what he hopes is a safer spot where impalement is a less likely option.  Lighting up the strange creatures now walking away is tempting, except for the fact that the umberhulk is hurting his companions.  With the flick of his wrist, Corros sends two more bolts of energy flying

Corros
AC 13, 61/61 HP
Casting Eldritch Bolt x2 (+8 to attack, d10+5 damage each)

Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 49 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Mon 12 Jun 2017
at 12:45
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Reeling from the gash the umberhulk had opened up on him Amaldaris kept moving, trying to give it multiple targets to think about and therefore hoping to prevent it focusing all of its attacks on one single person.

He then lashed out with another series of blows with his spear and then his fist.


Amaldaris
AC: 18, HP 49/63, Ki Points 8/8
Move: Continuing to move but still engaging, trying to prevent the umberhulk focusing on a single target
Action: 2x Attack with Spear held two handed (+7 attack, 1d8+4 damage)
Bonus Action: 1x Attack with Fist (+7 attack, 1d6+4 damage)

Gronk
 Party NPC, 127 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Tue 13 Jun 2017
at 15:53
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gronk snaps out of whatever strange fugue state the Umber Hulk had provoked in him, and instinct takes over. The half-orc, just on the edge of rage, lashes out at the big bug-headed beast with his trusty morning star, Spike.

Gronk
AC 19; HP 88
2x melee attack +8


-
Raellus
 GM, 775 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Tue 13 Jun 2017
at 16:12
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The Umber spins around, its sweeping kaleidoscope eyes sweeping its rather feisty prey. Nic and Amaldaris are overcome by confusion (Nic & Amaldaris are confused!).

Jenna and Corros continue to fight back, as does Gronk, who's just come back to his senses.

Arma's power flows out through Jenna's outstretched hand, slamming into the Umber Hulk (UH1 -23HP; UH1 grants advantage to next attack). Corros hits the monster with one Eldritch blast (UH1 -6HP), further weakening it. The Umber Hulk is grievously wounded. It's half-way back into the tunnel from which whence it came when Gronk serves it a mighty overhand blow, caving in its insectoid head (Gronk scores a Crit!). The glimmer instantly leaves the Umber Hulk's multi-lensed eyes and it keels over, dead.

The mind-scrambling effect of the Umber Hulk's presence instantly ends; Nic and Amaldaris are one again in control of their own faculties.

The strange, stalactite-mimicking, slug-like creatures that dropped from the ceiling continue their slow, oozing retreat back up the cavern walls. Deepdelver smashes the nearest of the four with his hammer, splattering himself in its gooey, foul-smelling innards in the process (P1 is dead!). The other monsters slink out of reach. They no longer appear to pose any kind of serious threat to the adventurers.

Up ahead, the cavern curves to the right. Over the sound of their heavy breathing, the companions can hear the faint, almost ryhtmic clink of metal against rock.


Your Turn.

-
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 455 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Wed 14 Jun 2017
at 18:43
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"So we're going to need to get you a bath, yeah?" Corros says to Deepdiver.  The warlock is obscenly glad one that the strange creature didn't pop on him and deliver that terrible smell all of his skin and robes.  Or Jenna for that matter.  Would have made things awkward.

Corros turns toward the sound of metal coming from further down the corridor.  "I suppose we should see what awaits us now."  The creatures they've been facing have shown a tendency to be tougher than what they've seen before.  What that means for the power at the center of this place is hard for him guess, but it can't be good.
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 626 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Thu 15 Jun 2017
at 00:40
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Post-combat hygiene seems to have been a theme since we met," Nic comments dryly.  Then the pain hits.  "Ow.  Shit.  Give me a minute."  He staggers to a nearby rock that's roughly the right height for sitting, fumbles a roll of bandages and an oilskin packet of herbs out of his back, and begins clumsily cleaning and binding the gouges in his arm.

Nic -1 poultice
20:39, Today: Nicolai Romanelli rolled 8 using 3d6.  poultice #1.
+8 hp (51/61)

This message was last edited by the player at 00:40, Thu 15 June 2017.

Raellus
 GM, 777 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Thu 15 Jun 2017
at 01:15
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"What the 7 hells happened?" Gronk asks, patting himself down. He seems a bit surprised to have come out of the scrap completely unscathed. "One hit? I know I'm like real strong and all, but that fight ended way too fast." Apparently, the half-orc is unaware of the time he lost to the Umberhulk's confusing gaze.

-
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 499 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Thu 15 Jun 2017
at 19:55
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna's eyes follow the retreating slug things suspiciously, her nose wrinkling as she does so. "Should we let them go?" The Priestess asks after a moment. "They may return in greater numbers, seek to attack us again?" There's a significant amount of uncertainty in her voice, not having any clue as to what the creatures actually are.

Putting the matter to one side for the moment, she looks over to Nicolai. "Would you like me to have a look at that for you?" Poultices and herbs were all very well after all, but they were no match for the power of the Goddess. "Is anyone else hurt?"
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 627 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Thu 15 Jun 2017
at 22:16
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"I'll walk holding a dagger over my head," Nicolai rejoins.  "I've got this one.  I need to stay in practice.  I might annoy Arma someday and it'd be a shame if I'd forgotten how to take care of myself."  He arches a millimetric smirk at Jenna as he ties off the bandage, then relents and nods toward Amaldaris.  "I think I saw our new companion take a bite, even if he's too stoic to admit it."
Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 50 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Sat 17 Jun 2017
at 21:56
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"No, I am not that stoic," replied Amaldaris with a forced smile as he indicated the wound he had received.  "I could do with some healing myself if that is available.  It's bite was bad and it's gaze was worse.  I was unable to attack or even defend myself after it looked into my eyes.  We should be careful of them.  If there are more that are avoiding us rather than choosing to engage then I suggest that we let them go.  We do not need to pick unnecessary fights."

He glanced again at the umberhulk.  "Besides that feels like an innocent denizen of this cave complex rather than the root of all evil emanating from here, if you see the distinction I make."
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 500 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sun 18 Jun 2017
at 17:16
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Just make sure that if you kill one you are standing downwind of me at the time." Jenna says to Nicolai when he mentions holding a dagger above his head. "They stink." Her lips then curl into a grin. "And should you annoy the Goddess you would likely need more healing than that -" she nods towards the poultice "- will provide." She's working on her sense of humour but there's probably still a way to go. And besides, she thinks, looking over at Corros, her own slate was not exactly clean when it came to annoying Arma.

Pushing those thoughts to one side for now, Jenna walks over to Amaldaris. "Hold out your arm." She instructs the High Elf. When he has done so she places her hands on his bare flesh, her lips moving in prayer to the Goddess, her eyes briefly going milky white as Arma's energy flows from her hands, knitting the Elven monk's flesh together again.

Cast Cure Wounds, Level 2, Amaldaris +18 HP
17:53, Today: Jenna Drax rolled 18 using 2d8+5.  Cure Wounds, Level 2.

Raellus
 GM, 778 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 18 Jun 2017
at 20:13
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

After a brief respite, the party bypasses the hole in the floor and advances deeper into the cave complex. Around a slight curve, behind a tall column of natural rock, the party encounters a strange device. Made of metal, it resembles an octopus, sitting upright, its eight arms held aloft, close to its body. The ends of several of the arms hold metal balls, about the size of a crabapple. The three arms facing south, southwest, west, and due north (facing the elevator shaft) do not. The arms are slightly convex on their inner faces, forming chutes that run from the tip, where the balls are situated, into holes in the body. A metal plate at the base of the device reads is inscribed with Forgotten Script. It reads:


The high-ceilinged chamber narrows at its southern end, forking right and left. The faint sound of metal ringing against rock seems to be coming from the western branch. An unpleasant aroma wafts forth from the eastern tunnel.


Your Turn.

-
Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 51 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Mon 19 Jun 2017
at 12:53
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"My thanks for the healing Priestess Jenna," Amaldaris said with a friendly smile and a slight bow of gratitude as the flesh on his arm closed up completely, her magic healing his wound fully, leaving no sign of a scar at all.  He flexed his hand, grasping the shaft of his spear, confirming in his own mind that his combat capabilities, particularly his speed of striking, had not been diminished.  The sleeve of his shirt still showed signs of the injury however, both torn and ripped in several places and marked with both his blood and the umberhulk's saliva.  The High Elf paid those marks no heed however.

Proceeding forward he studied the strange metal device with the eight arms, confusion on his face as to its purpose.  As others studied the script on the metal plate on its base, Amaldaris made his ways towards the southern end of the chamber where it split into two.  Stopping short of the actual fork he concentrated on what he could hear and smell from the respective tunnels, trying to work out what the unpleasant aroma was and whether there was any rhythm to the echos of metal striking rock.  Whether it was the sound of a miner at work or something else.
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 628 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Tue 20 Jun 2017
at 00:40
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai leans forward to examine the device without touching it.  "More of the ancient script," he says, probably unnecessarily.  "If we keep doing this, I'm going to ask you for lessons, Corros."
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 502 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Tue 20 Jun 2017
at 19:01
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna walks around the metal structure, circling it, her eyes on it, studying it though in truth she knows not what it is, what function it serves, so even if something were amiss about it she would be unlikely to spot it. Still, perhaps logic might aid her efforts to make sense of it. "Perhaps those balls -" she points to the ones still atop the various arms "- are meant to roll down at some point, join those ones." Now she gestures to the three that nestle in the body of the metal beast. "Perhaps when all eight have fallen something significant might occur?"

The blond haired Priestess shrugs, continues to circle around the structure. Or perhaps the balls have no significance whatsoever. Even although her gaze keeps flicking back to the ones that are still mounted on top of the arms, curiosity flickering in her eyes.
Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 52 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Thu 22 Jun 2017
at 12:37
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"What is the name of this ancient script?" enquired Amaldaris quietly.
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 456 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sat 24 Jun 2017
at 01:51
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"I don't know that I can teach you to read this," Corros says to Nic slowly.  "I'm not sure I really read it, and I certainly don't know what it's called.  It's more accurate to say the Library translates it, puts the knowledge in my brain.  And even then..." the warlock pauses and peers at the machine. "'Seismography Station Number 2,'" he quotes.  "Even with the words, I don't always get the meaning."

Corros looks at the machine, trying to parse the meaning of the device.  A moment later, he shrugs and his eyes move to the hallways.

"I'm more likely to push one of these balls down the ramp than want to explore that smell.  The sound...another machine?"

This message was last edited by the player at 01:57, Sat 24 June 2017.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 629 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 2 Jul 2017
at 00:09
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Hmm."  Nicolai frowns in thought.  "Yeah, that's not exactly how I've learned any tongue before.  Seismography," he repeats, rolling the unfamiliar word around his brain.  "No idea.  But it's a numbered station, so presumably this is one of several.  And if those are like guard stations or way stations, each one is at a location that has some significance and value.  Not just placed randomly."

He shrugs.  "So what's valuable or significant here?"  He turns in place, slowly scanning the walls.
Raellus
 GM, 780 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Wed 5 Jul 2017
at 21:42
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Nicolai's careful visual inspection of the cavern chamber yields no valuable insights. The "Seismography Station #2" device is the only man-made object in the room. The rest of the cavern appears completely natural and unremarkable. There are a few stalactites hanging from the ceiling. These do not appear to be the disguised ambush predators that dropped on Jenna, Corros, and Deepdelver during the fight with the Umberhulk.

The tink, tink, tinking continues, seeming to come from the right-hand tunnel. To Amaldaris' pointy ears, it sounds like metal picks striking rock. Deepdelver, a man with much more digging experience, shares this opinion. The smell emanating from the opposite tunnel is a mélange of death and stale excrement.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 16:42, Thu 06 July 2017.

Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 54 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Sun 9 Jul 2017
at 14:58
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Amaldaris retreated a few paces away from the tunnel junction so that he could speak with his companions and report what he had observed.

"The sound of mining comes from the right hand corridor.  The scent of death and a meat eater's excrement comes from the left hand corridor.  Which would you rather investigate first?  I would vote for the right hand corridor as there is something moving down there.  Or do we wish to do something with this machine first?"
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 631 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 9 Jul 2017
at 15:17
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Let's see who's mining down here," Nicolai suggests.  "After all, we are here to stop miners from digging up things best left untouched, yes?"
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 458 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sun 9 Jul 2017
at 16:33
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"Lead on, my friend," Corros says, "before they find something else we don't want to deal with.". Even the theoretical knowledge of the sleeper is enough to give the warlock pause.  And to cause a level of nervousness that makes him eager to prove the mining has been stopped.
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 504 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sun 9 Jul 2017
at 20:50
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Stay behind me." Jenna says to Corros with a smile, moving to stand in front of him as they begin to make their way down the right hand tunnel, her eyes occasionally glancing upwards, just in case there are any more unpleasant surprises lurking above their heads.
Raellus
 GM, 781 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 15 Jul 2017
at 15:21
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The party takes the right fork, entering a fairly narrow, slightly down-sloping tunnel. It gradually curls left, then opens up a bit, before entering a large chamber. Stalactites and stalagmites reach towards one another from ceiling and floor respectively. The sound is definitely louder, more defined; it seems to be originating from deeper in this chamber. The adventurers creep forward, using the stalagmites to conceal their approach. They reach a sort of windowed ledge, where a gap in the rock allows them to look down on a lower level of the chamber. It appears that if the party continues forward, they'll eventually come to a sharp, descending bend, which will take them to the area they are now observing from above.

An odd assortment of creatures, each chained to another, is digging a shaft into the wall of the chamber below, supervised by half-a-dozen grey dwarves, one wielding a bullwhip with sadistic enthusiasm. The cracked exoskeleton of a dead Umberhulk, like a discarded suit of plate mail, lies near the excavation. Among the motley crew of diggers, a dark-skinned gnomish creature, a white-haired drow, a nearly naked, twisted mannish creature, and a grey, vaguely reptilian creature. They are clearly digging against their will.


Your Turn.

-
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 633 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 16 Jul 2017
at 16:09
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
I don't see anyone who looks like a Yonder's Hole captive, Nicolai sends to Corros, but this is definitely undesirable mining.  Those dwarves - some kind of subterranean breed like the drow?
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 459 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Tue 18 Jul 2017
at 22:39
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Perhaps, Corros replies to Nic.  They've the same bad skin and worse attitude.  I'm going to pull the others in so we can figure out what to do.  Let's see what our new friends make of this.

A smile crosses the warlock's lips, one that is half amusement, half pain at the shock of what is about to happen.  His mind dances across his friends, caressing Jenna with a rush of affection, drawing Gronk in with friendly pat on the "back."  Then he reaches out, carefully, almost quietly, to Amaldaris.  The warlock's "voice" is calm and reassuring.

Don't panic.  This is how we communicate in difficult situations.  I can't read your mind, I can only hear what you send me.  The others are here, too.  I'm going to reach out to our dwarven friend next.  We need to plan and I'm curious what he knows about these dwarves below us.

Corros waits patiently, then reaches out to Deepdelver as well.  His mind reels at so many contacts, so many bridges.  It takes more seconds than he would like to become the calm center of a storm, pulling at threads and weaving a "conversation" together.

He'd like someone to be proud of him for doing it and is left feeling hollow when he realizes that there's no one left to impress.
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 505 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Wed 19 Jul 2017
at 10:20
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna’s eyes close briefly, a mere second or so, as she feels Corros’ mind brush over her own. Different thoughts dance through her head momentarily, ones of love, tenderness, lasting for but a fleeting moment, a moment of fleeting intimacy before the others are each drawn into the mental web.

The Priestess’s right hand grasps the shaft of Arma’s Blessing tightly as she awaits Deepdelver’s response. The tenets of Arma’s faith seldom allowed for shades of grey, preferred to deal in black and white. Evil was afoot here, whoever they are or wherever they came from the workers were being treated harshly, cruelly, so Jenna’s immediate instinct is that they should intervene, strike down these grey dwarves.

This message had punctuation tweaked by the player at 10:21, Wed 19 July 2017.

Raellus
 GM, 783 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 22 Jul 2017
at 17:37
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros senses Deepdelver startle at his unexpected telepathic presence. The dwarf starts to speak, then stops, thinking his reply instead. Clearly unused to such thing, the old dwarf's lips work silently beneath his grey, almost white moustache.

Duergar- dark dwarves. Fallen brethren. Greedy. Good fighters. Don't usually do their own dirty work- slavers, as you can see. I doubt they're digging for platinum.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 21:13, Sat 29 July 2017.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 635 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Wed 26 Jul 2017
at 01:02
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
So we're going to do this.  Nic's mental tone is as carefully uninflected as his speech would be.  It's laundry, or perhaps market day.  We don't have a lot of options for subtlety.  Open with a volley on the one with the whip, then Gronk, Amaldaris, and I close with them?
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 460 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Wed 26 Jul 2017
at 23:57
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Yeah, volley of spells on the slave master, then let them come to us if they will, if not, try to herd them.  When they mass, even if they don't fall for the bait, I'll cast something nasty.. It's not the most original of plans.  It will, Corros hopes, do in a pinch.

Corros
61/61 HP, AC 13
Two Eldritch blasts at the dude with the whip.  +8 to attack, d10+5 damage each

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 636 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Thu 27 Jul 2017
at 00:11
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Right.  Whose idea was this expedition, again? Nicolai asks rhetorically as he checks the string on his seldom-used bow.

Nicolai
AC 15; HP 61/61; Superiority Dice 4/4
Attack x2: Shortbow on whip-wielding dwarf (attack +6, damage 1d6+3)
Bonus: Master of Tactics Help on Corros' attack

This message was last edited by the player at 00:13, Thu 27 July 2017.

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 506 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Thu 27 Jul 2017
at 21:08
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna moves to try and get in to a position where she has a clear view of the dwarf with the whip, takes a deep breath as she feels the Goddess's power begin to course through her, the ends of her blonde tresses starting to stand on end as she becomes a conduit for Arma's power, raising her hand and pointing at the whip wielding slave master, ready to channel that power, unleash it at him.

Jenna
AC: 21, HP 56/56
Casting Guiding Bolt (Level 4) at duergar with whip
Spell slots expended (including this one): 1 x Lvl 4, 2 x Lvl 3, 1 x Lvl 2

Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 58 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Sat 29 Jul 2017
at 20:45
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Concentrating hard Amaldaris tried to send back his thoughts, hoping that he was doing this correctly.  He had experienced something similar once before while studying in the cloister and, though it was something that made sense to him, it did not come easily to him.  Communication with one's allies in a combat was something that had been drilled into him during his training and thinking like this felt wrong.

I, Amaldaris understand, he focused in his mind, trying his best.

He then looked to Nicolai and waited for him to launch his arrow, initiating the assault.  When that happened he planned to move quickly to engage the dark dwarf with the whip, flanking and turning him if possible so that others could attack his rear.  His attacks were his usual pattern for an opponent who's strengths he did not know, two quick slashes with his spear and then a pair of off hand jabs with his fist after first summoning up his inner Ki power and releasing a little of it.


Amaldaris
AC: 18, HP 63/63, Ki Points: 8/8
Move: Use is 45' move speed to try to get behind or flanking the dwarf with the whip so that others can use Sneak Attack on him
Attack#1: Normal Strike with Spear: +7 to Hit, 1d8+4 damage
Attack#2: Normal Strike with Spear: +7 to Hit, 1d8+4 damage
Bonus Action - Spend 1 Ki point for a Flurry of Blows
Attack#3: Normal Unarmed Strike: +7 to Hit, 1d6+4 damage
Attack#4: Normal Unarmed Strike: +7 to Hit, 1d6+4 damage

Gronk
 Party NPC, 128 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Sat 29 Jul 2017
at 21:12
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gronk flashes Corros & co. an enthusiastic thumbs-up and pantomimes charging the grey dwarf slavers. His meaning is clear. As soon as his companions' ranged attacks are away, the half-Orc gladiator is going to close with the enemy and do his thing, up close and personal like.

Gronk
AC 19; HP 88/88
Move to nearest enemy
Dash action to get into position; CE die on tap just in case


-

This message was last edited by the player at 21:22, Sat 29 July 2017.

Raellus
 GM, 784 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 29 Jul 2017
at 21:42
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

With Amaldaris and Gronk poised to rush into melee range, Corros, Nic, and Jenna let fly at the whip-wielding grey dwarf.

The unwitting slave-master is overwhelmed, first buffeted by eldritch blasts (D1 -15HP), then blasted by a bolt of Arma's radiant energy (D1 -18HP). The duergar is knocked forward, dropping his whip and face-planting at the feet of one of the slaves (D1 is dead!).

Nic smoothly switches targets, putting one arrow, then another, into the next closest Duergar (D2 -17HP). Startled and hurt, it spins around with a pained yell to face its attacker.

Amaldaris and Gronk are off down the passageway leading to the level below. They arrive at a sharp U-turn and realize that the passage continues on, after a short jog to the right. They ignore this alternative for now and curl around the sharp, descending turn. As they come around the corner, ready to fight, the five remaining Duergar disappear in quick succession, blinking out of sight like candles hit by a stiff breeze. The captives are, for the moment, too startled to react, but when they do, the Drow is first, crouching down and moving quickly towards the fallen slave-master.


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:19, Sun 30 July 2017.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 637 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sat 29 Jul 2017
at 23:15
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Well, that was unexfuckingpected," Nicolai growls as he discards his bow and readies his blades.  He circles to put Corros between himself and Jenna's armor, hopefully giving the witchling some protection from the Duergar who he expects to be maneuvering for advantage.  "Let's move up.  This is about to turn into a knife fight in a pantry."

Nicolai
AC 16; HP 61/61; Superiority Dice 4/4
Move: Toward the Duergar's last known position
Attack x2: Rapier +1 on first Duergar to appear in melee range (attack +7, damage 1d8+4)
Bonus: Off-hand dagger +1 on first Duergar to appear in melee range (attack +7, damage 1d4+4)

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 507 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sun 30 Jul 2017
at 14:40
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Where have they gone?" The duergars' sudden disappearance left Jenna momentarily confused, her gaze lingering for a split second on the spot where they had been but were now no longer. Nicolai was already moving though so the blonde haired Priestess simply bobbed her head, her question a rhetorical one, looked over at her half elf lover. "Corros, stay behind me." If they did reappear hopefully it would not be in their rear.

Jenna then falls in to step behind the Ardani, her head moving from side to side as she moves down the same passageway that Gronk and Amaldaris descended a few moments before, watching for any sign of the mysterious dwarves, ready to smite them down with their Arma's Blessing or another bolt of the Goddess's radiant grace dependent on how close they are if and when she sees them.

Jenna
AC: 21, HP 56/56
Ready to engage duergar on sight - warhammer +1 if in melee range, 1 x guiding bolt (level 2) if at a distance
Spell slots expended: 1 x Lvl 4, 2 x Lvl 3, 1 x Lvl 2, 1 x Lvl 1

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 462 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Mon 31 Jul 2017
at 23:45
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros doesn't have to be told twice.  Or three times.  Nic's movement placing the warlock between the priestess and the rogue had been statement enough.  The half-elf suspects Nic is right, too.  He doesn't think that sudden disappearance of the dwarves means the companions have carried the day in battle.  In any moment, he is expecting the sudden reappearance of bloodshed.

"Happy right here, yeah?"  He might even have flirted in the moment a little, too.  If he didn't think he was about to get stabbed.  The power of The Library begins coalescing around him, ready to wreak vengeance.

Corros
61/61 HP, AC 13
Hellish Rebuke prepped (4th level, 5d10 damage, dex save for half)
Will cast Shatter on a mass of three or more duergar (4th level, 5d8 damage in 10' radius, con save for half)
2x Eldritch Blast if less targets present (+8 to attack, d10+5 damage each)

Gronk
 Party NPC, 129 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Wed 2 Aug 2017
at 19:31
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gronk is startled by the Duergars' sudden disappearance, but he doesn't lose his cool. Deepdelver didn't say anything about dark dwarves being able to teleport, so the half-Orc assumes that they are still nearby, but invisible. He looks at the floor of the cavern, searching for signs of movement, while cranking his other senses up a notch.

Gronk
AC 19; HP 88/88
Attempting to make a basic attack on unseen target; riposte on tap


-

This message was last edited by the player at 20:03, Wed 02 Aug 2017.

Raellus
 GM, 787 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Wed 2 Aug 2017
at 21:16
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Amaldaris pulls up short of the chained slaves, seemingly at a loss for what to do now that the Duergar are no longer visible.

Gronk passes the half-elf, shield up, but it proves difficult to block the blow that can't be seen. A Duergar's warpick strikes Gronk under his right collarbone; the half-orc's scale mail absorbs most of the blow, but the sharp point of the weapon still manages to draw blood. (Gronk -6HP). The Duergar attacker is now visible, standing toe-to-toe with the much taller half-orc. Gronk reels back as he is struck again, this time by a second attacker which duly appears before him. (Gronk -6HP).

Amaldaris somehow manages to avoid the same fate. He feels a puff of wind on his cheek as his invisible attacker's mattock whizzes by. The Duergar appears on the back-swing, presenting its exposed right shoulder to the half-elf monk. Amaldaris is quick to respond; his long-bladed spear darts out twice, both times piercing the Duergar's armor (D4 -22 HP). The monk withdraws the blade with one hand while lashing out with the other. The onslaught is too much for the Duergar to withstand (D4 -8HP; D4 is dead!)- it falls dead at the half-elf's feet. Amaldaris isn't so lucky the second time. A warpick wielded by a second unseen attacker embeds itself in the half-elf's upper left arm (Amaldaris -6HP). The wielder then appears, replacing his fallen comrade.

Nic and Jenna round the corner to see Gronk beset by two Duergar, and Amaldaris facing off against a third. Just past their two engaged comrades, another Duergar suddenly appears, growing rapidly to ogre height. It's still got two of Nic's arrows lodged in its side, but the feathered shafts now look ridiculously small protruding from the dark dwarf's enlarged body.

While Nic continues moving towards the melee, Jenna stops in her tracks and focuses her goddess' power into a bolt of radiant energy. Gronk appears to be in the most trouble, at present, so Jenna ignores the physically larger target and directs the spell attack towards the Duergar just to the right of her half-orc companion. It impacts in a shower of incandescent sparks, temporarily highlighting the target for Jenna's friends (D5 -20HP; grants advantage to next attack).

Corros is also hanging back. He takes aim at the largest target, that being the ogre-sized Duergar. Somehow, both of the young warlock's spell missiles streak by the overgrown dark dwarf without hitting it.

Gronk, hovering on the edge of rage, homes in on the glowing Duergar, knowing full well now what that divine illumination signifies. Spike caves in its head with a satisfying crunch (D5 -15HP; D5 is dead!). The half-orc pit fighter turns his attention to the first attacker, but misses with his next swing.

Nic doesn't miss, though. The Ardani arrives at his green-skinned friend's side and launches a flurry of attacks against the outnumbered Duergar. Touch of Sylk bites twice, and the rogue's dagger finishes the jobs with a curling slash. The Duergar drops hard and proceeds to bleed out on the floor. (D3 -30HP; D3 is dead!)

The Duergar in front of Amaldaris disappears again as the half-elf takes aim, leaving only the enlarged Duergar in sight. The big one hurls a javelin at Nic. The comically small (compared to the wielder) projectile sails wide, leaving Nic unmarked.


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:32, Sat 12 Aug 2017.

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 508 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Thu 3 Aug 2017
at 18:26
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
How could you miss that! There's an amused twinkle in Jenna's mind, her thoughts drifting fleetingly through Corros' head as the Warlock's spell fails to find its intended target. There was no time to dwell on the matter though, for the giant sized dwarf - the mere thought of that particular paradox was enough to make Jenna's nose wrinkle - was still standing and appeared to be spoiling for a fight while another one was probably lurking under a cloak of invisibility, could appear anywhere to strike at one of them.

Jenna moved forward, took a step to one side to try and ensure that none of her comrades are in the way then raised her hand, concentrating on the threat that she could see for now, intent on unleashing another bolt of Arma's radiant energy in the direction of the giant Duergar, hoping that that would aid the others in their efforts to smite it down.

Jenna
AC: 21, HP 56/56
Engaging giant Duergar with Guiding Bolt (Lvl 3)
Spell slots expended (including this one): 1 x Lvl 4, 3 x Lvl 3, 2 x Lvl 2, 1 x Lvl 1

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 464 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Fri 4 Aug 2017
at 22:25
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Corros gives a mental sigh of disbelief and then sends Jenna a mental smack on the ass as she heads towards the ogre sized dark dwarf.  Some spell slinger you are.  His own voice is echoing a sarcastic laugh.  With no further time to dwell, he starts pulling two more bolts out of the ether.  Maybe this time he'll get a little luckier.


Corros
61/61 HP, AC 13
Two Eldritch Blasts on the ogre sized threat, +8 to attack, d10+5 damage

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 638 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Fri 4 Aug 2017
at 23:57
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Oblivious to the byplay, Nicolai closes on the enlarged Duergar - what do you call a giant dwarf? - and lays into it with a flurry of slashes.  The hairs on the back of his neck are standing up, though - there's at least one more enemy close by and invisible, and he doesn't know if any of the chain gang membera are going to turn on their rescuers.

Nicolai
AC 16; HP 61/61; Superiority Dice 4/4
Move: into melee with enlarged Duergar
Attack x2: Rapier +1 on enlarged Duergau (attack +7, damage 1d8+4)
Bonus: Off-hand dagger +1 on enlarged Duergar (attack +7, damage 1d4+4)

Contingency: If other Duergar reappears, Nic will divert movement and all attacks to it instead.  If it pops out of invisibility in melee with him, he'll spend a superiority die for a riposte.

This message was lightly edited by the player at 17:54, Sun 06 Aug 2017.

Gronk
 Party NPC, 130 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Sat 12 Aug 2017
at 18:30
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gronk's certainly not much of a finesse fighter, so he looks to engage the rather large target that he can see instead of the smaller one that he can't. He pivots to face the giant Duergar and strides in, Spike cocked to deliver a killing blow.

Gronk
AC 19; HP 76/88
Move to target, 2x basic attacks v. the biggun


-

This message was last edited by the player at 18:33, Sat 12 Aug 2017.

Raellus
 GM, 790 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 12 Aug 2017
at 19:32
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

For two or three seconds, the cavern is illuminated as if by the noonday sun. The giant Duergar is flung down by Arma's power, killed instantly by an overpowering blast of radiant energy. (GD -35HP; GD is dead!)

It takes a few seconds for the hero's eyes to adjust to the returning dimness of their surroundings. They just catch sight of the Drow slave darting off into the passage to the left, leading away from the hairpin turn leading back to the rock shelf/window where the party first espied the diggers. They also hear footfalls that don't seem to match up with those of the fleeing Drow- likely the vanished final Duergar- heading away in the same direction.

The other slaves are either cowering or scrambling for the keys that the escaped Drow presumably used to free him/herself. Among the chained prisoners are one dark-skinned gnomish-looking creature, a malodorous, bipedal reptilian, and a hideously ugly, pot-bellied humanoid, clad only in a ratty breechclout.


Your Turn.

-
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 639 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 13 Aug 2017
at 00:52
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai blinks away afterimages from Jenna's overcharged spell.  "Whoa.  Go Arma."  He shakes his head, then steps forward and kicks the keys toward the vaguely-gnomish prisoner.  "There you go.  It'd be great if you didn't turn on us.  For you, I mean."  He gestures with a dripping sword to clarify his meaning.  "Some grateful regurgitation of information wouldn't go amiss, either."

With that, he puts his back to a wall to forestall assassination attempts from invisible dwarves and watches the prisoners for any sign they're desperate, stupid, or confident enough to attack their erstwhile liberators.
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 511 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sun 13 Aug 2017
at 07:52
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Arma brings light to the darkness." The words tumbled softly off Jenna's lips in response to Nicolai, a recitation of an expression she had often heard spoken in the Cloisters, though one that she had always thought to be metaphorical rather than literal. Her eyes had returned to their normal blue, appeared to be shining, perhaps partly a trick of the light following the explosion of radiant brilliance that she had just called down on their foes. Or perhaps that brilliance had been like oil poured on fire, caused the Priestess's faith and zeal to surge.

In any event she seemed more than a little in awe of the power that she had called down. Jenna still thought of herself as a novice within Arma's ranks, but to look at the Duergar, the after effects of the bolt still dancing around its lifeless corpse and to know that she had done that, that in the course of one moment, one beat of the heart, she had struck it down with an explosion of light that was still causing her to blink.

That was Arma's power. And glory. Was Jenna fit to channel that power, to be a conduit for it? Could she be trusted with it? She suddenly felt unsure, wanted to go to Corros, to have him hold her. She always felt safe in his arms. But she could not, not now, the others would not approve. There was still work to be done. And so she restricts herself to moving close to the Warlock. Anyone watching that was unaware of their relationship might think that she was simply seeking to protect him should more Duergar - or other foes - appear. Were he to let his mind drift through hers he would note that the casual banter of  few moments ago was no longer in her thoughts.
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 465 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sun 13 Aug 2017
at 19:02
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros smiles a little as Jenna steps closer, moves just a little bit, protecting her as much as she protects him.  Maybe the others can't see the uncertainty in the way she stands, but the warlock can and he wants to comfort her as much as she will allow.  It's fragile, this thing she holds, and Corros knows that.  More fragile than this cavern will allow.  He does what he can with a slight nod, acknowledging that yes, he would love to be somewhere else with her, but that this is where they belong right now.

Instead of focusing any longer on the two of them, he watches as Nic turns to the only creature remaining.  The creature doesn't look exactly happy, which is understandable.  Anyone that could dispatch its captors so effectively could certainly return the favor if so inclined.  If the communication attempts from the rogue go nowhere, Corros will tap into The Library and offer up a tentative "Hello, do you mind if we ask you a few questions before we let you go?"
Raellus
 GM, 791 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 13 Aug 2017
at 20:11
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The Deep Gnome holds up its hands in surrender, nods in response to Nic's instructions, then slowly reaches for the keys. The reptilian and the grotesque humanoid both hang back as a result of the Ardani's rapier gestures.

The gnome unshackles himself then holds up the keys as if to ask, "Should I give these to the others?" It looks startled by Corros' psychic inquiry. For the moment, its mind remains closed to the warlock.

Despite some initial awkwardness, communication is eventually established. Both the Deep Gnome and Amaldaris speak Undercommon. The High Elf translates.

"You have rescued me. I will gladly repay the deed with information. What do you wish to know?"

The Deep Gnome's name is Svnimn. He's not exactly sure where he is now- he estimates that his village is about a day's march from here. He was part of a foraging party- mushrooms- that was ambushed by Drow. The Dark Elves were forced marching them somewhere- perhaps their cursed city- when the ambushers became the ambushed. A force of Duergar overcame the Gnome's original captors and brought him here, forcing him, and their other captives, to dig.

For what? Svnimn can't say for certain, but the Underdark's been buzzing with rumors of a great power buried somewhere in this region. Both the Drow and the Duergar have dramatically stepped up their raiding recently. If Svnimn had to guess what for, it would be to capture slaves for digging in search of this great power.

-
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 512 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Mon 14 Aug 2017
at 14:39
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"It seems we need to be wary of the Dark Elves." Jenna mused when the gnome had recounted his tale. "The one who fled may bring others here."

This message was last edited by the player at 14:40, Mon 14 Aug 2017.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 640 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sat 19 Aug 2017
at 23:10
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"It'd be great if we could get them and the Duergaur to kill off each other."  Nicolai cuts Corros a sideways glance, one street kid to another.  "So every major player knows there's something valuable in play and we're too far on the outside to deal ourselves in or blend.  Kinda limits our options, doesn't it?  I think this," he nods to Svnimn, "is about as much diplomacy as we're likely to luck into."

"I'm in favor of cutting the others loose.  I don't know that the enemy of my enemy is anything more than my enemy's enemy down here, but it may spread some confusion.  That's probably our only remaining advantage."
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 467 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sun 20 Aug 2017
at 16:14
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"Agreed," Corros tells Nic.  "A little more chaos down here probably isn't going to hurt us.  Might even get us a little more time.  Or a moment of hesitation when we need it most." The half elf cocks his head slightly and grins.  "Besides, I don't have enough hard-tack to share and getting to know more new people feels like a chore, yeah?"
Raellus
 GM, 792 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 9 Sep 2017
at 21:33
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"Again, thank you. If ever you need a place of refuge, my village will welcome you... as long as I am there."

The subtext is subtle but clear- there's no guarantee that Svimn will make it back home alive to tell his people of the rescuers he bid welcome. The Underdark is a dangerous place at the best of times and clearly, recent developments have upped the danger considerably.

-
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 468 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Tue 12 Sep 2017
at 14:46
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros goes forward, making sure the prisoners are loose from their chains to send them on their way.  Whatever they need from the bodies of the Duergaur they are free to take in order to increase their odds of survival in the busy Underdark.

"I guess we go down, yeah?" he asks his friends. "There was that center room in the old place.  The one with the crystal.  Maybe we need to find that here."
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 642 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 17 Sep 2017
at 17:12
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai stands back while Corros frees the other prisoners, just in case any of them confuse mercy for easy victimization.  "That's as good a route as any," he responds to the witchling.  "Svimn, we can't guarantee anyone's safety, but if you're going in the same direction, we'd welcome a guide."  He flicks a mental interrogative toward Corros, querying how much the party wants to reveal of its agenda down here.
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 514 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Thu 21 Sep 2017
at 19:29
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna's head nodded in agreement with Corros. The Priestess felt tired but knew that there was no time to rest, they had to press on now, not give their enemies a chance to regroup. Besides, there was every possibility that the Reaver's servants were somewhere in this underground labyrinth, and they needed to be dealt with, face Arma's wrath and justice. And so Jenna's hand grasped Arma's Blessing tightly.

"Let us go." If the Deep Gnome could guide them then so much the better. Provided he could be trusted of course.
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 643 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 15 Oct 2017
at 21:18
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai's gaze flicks to Jenna for an instant, reading her suspicion even though she's not broadcast it through Corros' link.  He nods incrementally and his right wrist flexes slightly as he presses the heel of his hand to the pommel of the dagger up his sleeve.  If Svimn decides to betray the group, he won't live to revel in it.
Raellus
 GM, 793 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Fri 24 Nov 2017
at 18:45
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The grateful Svirfneblin beckons the Four to follow him. It quickly becomes apparent that Svimn is not entirely sure where they are, but after a few minutes of essentially aimless wandering, he finally recognizes the surroundings; soon the party is on course for Svimn's village.

As the group winds and dips through the caverns, Svimn gives the newcomers a primer on recent events on this corner of the Underdark.

"My people found the old tunnels above some time ago. We did a bit of exploring, didn't find much, except some places clearly meant not to be disturbed. You meet the Gollum guards? Yeah? Well, they clearly didn't want us poking around so we left it all alone. Wasn't worth the risk. Trouble started when others began showing up. The Underdark's always been a dangerous place, you know, but it started getting even moreso- all kinds of monsters you might only see once every couple of years, showing up nearly every day, acting unnaturally aggressive too. Even peaceful creatures, like the mushroom men, started attacking folks. And then the Drow and Duergar came. They're clearly looking for something, and I'm guessing it has to do with those ancient tunnels. They dig- or make their slaves dig, leastways- and fight- each other mostly, but anyone or anything really. We- my people- try to keep to ourselves as much as possible. You saw what can happen if we don't."

The party emerges into a large chamber. The high ceiling is hung with massive stalactites and coated with bioluminescent lichens. About four Gronks up, in the far wall of the chamber, there's an opening, covered by an iron door. From just above the door extends beam. Hanging from it is a wrought iron basket, of sorts, connected by a chain and pulley. Svimn approaches the opening, stands beneath it and closes his eyes. A few seconds later, the door opens and another Svirfneblin appears. He does something just inside the doorway and the iron basket slowly descends on its chain.

"You lot are bigger than me so we'll need to take a couple of trips. Who's going with me?" Svimn asks.

Your Turn.

-
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 644 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Fri 24 Nov 2017
at 20:52
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai eyes the basket, does some quick math in his head, and decides, fuck it.  "Nice craftwork," he says appreciatively and sincerely.  "I'll go first.  I want to see this in action.  And," he makes a production of glancing around, "Gronk to balance out the weight."

As far as it goes, his math is sincere, too.  Nic and Corros are similarly slightly-built, and Jenna plus her armor is probably almost as heavy as Gronk.  Amaldaris likely weighs more than Svimn, so... close enough.  Two trips, from what the gnome just said.  And if there is treachery at the bottom, Nic figures he and Gronk have the best chance of surviving - maybe even clearing some working room - until Corros can magic himself and Jenna down to them.  He's not willing to bet against Amaldaris having his own method of making the descent quickly, either, based on what he's seen the elf do so far.
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 469 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sun 26 Nov 2017
at 17:11
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"I don't mind waiting," Corros says with a cock-eyed grin and a sidelong glance at Jenna. "Quality time is quality time.  Even in a dank, dangerous, evil filled dungeon, yeah?"  Nic is death on legs with his sword and Gronk just plain smashes through bad guys.  If the spellcasters are needed, the warlock can tear a whole in space and emerge up there anyway.

And besides, he's curious what the deep gnomes have to show them.  Even if all it is is a safe place to sleep for a few hours under glowing fungus.  And maybe the location of the ancient tunnels that have led to all this trouble.
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 515 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Mon 27 Nov 2017
at 09:55
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"After you" Jenna said to Nicolai, bobbing her head and waving her hand towards the basket with an exaggerated flourish, much like a courtier might do in the presence of their liege. Or at least what she imagined a courtier might do in the presence of their liege.

Straightening up, the blonde haired Priestess stepped over to Corros, placed her mail gloved hand on the warlock's shoulder. "We could wait until they get half way then use your fly spell to go past them." Her eyes are shining, the corners of her lips curling into a grin. She's joking, knows that it would be a frivolous use of the powers that her lover has been gifted with.  Although if the others are walking into a trap they may have to do just that.
Raellus
 GM, 795 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 16 Dec 2017
at 00:31
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Two trips, no treachery, and the Five enter the Deep Gnome village. After ascending in the iron basket, the party passes through a thick, iron door, set high up in the cavern wall, then walks the length of a long, fairly straight tunnel. It's made for and by Deep Gnomes, so Gronk has to bend over nearly double; it's also a tight fit for the others, who must watch their heads lest they scrape them against a low spot in the ceiling.

The tunnel terminates in another heavy steel door, this one covered in runes that suggest defensive wards. At Svimn's touch, it opens into a very large, dimly lit chamber, revealing a village of small domed shelters, made from rock. The dwellings' small windows glow softly red. The chamber is warm and relatively dry. A small stream trickles from a crack in the far wall and flows into a faintly-glowing pool. Deep Gnomes peer out from doorways, studying the strangers. Svimn calls to them reassuringly and, although they continue to appear somewhat weary, their behavior isn't remotely hostile.

"You are welcome to rest here. We don't have much food- not since it became so dangerous to gather wild mushrooms- but I will share what I have. Come, this is my home."

Svimn leads the party to one of the rock domes. "Oh. I don't think all of you will fit. No worries. Right next door- Snrb's place is empty since..." Svimn laughs nervously and shakes his head. "Drow," he mumbles, confirming suspicions.

A high-pitched voice shouts Svimn's name and a female Svirfneblin appears. To those not of the Deep Gnome kind, she looks quite similar to her mate, save for a head of long, stringy grey hair. She embraces Svimn and then begins to berate him tearfully, slaps him hard on the face, then embraces him again. This must be the missus. The emotional ruin continues for a couple of minutes, which pass rather slowly and awkwardly for the milling guests. Eventually, Svimn tears himself away and shows the party to its accommodations. The rock dome is only part of the abode- it extends into a chamber of equal size excavated out of the cave wall. It's a bit cramped, but all five adventurers can squeeze into it and still have enough room to maneuver.

The Five settle in, resting and tending to their wounds, while the Svimn household prepares a meal. It consists of a single, fist-sized mushroom (per person) roasted with some sort of spicy lichen. It's quite tasty, if one cares for mushrooms.

"What's our next move?" Gronk asks around a mouthful of savory fungus.

OOC: You have unlocked a safe resting place.


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 01:40, Sun 17 Dec 2017.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 645 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Tue 26 Dec 2017
at 14:32
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai leans against his pack and feels his back unknot.  Apparently, the subterranean settlement has enough of the feel of a town that his subconscious doesn't consider it to be howling wilderness.  He doesn't need to remind himself that "civilization" isn't synonymous with "safe," though.

"The job hasn't changed."  He almost uses "mission," which, while accurate in his mind, might not be the best way to portray the task at hand.  "Find the source of the reanimation of the dead and the monster eruption and shut it down.  Which probably will require the professional application of violence."

He looks up as Deepdelver enters the chamber, still dripping from his bath to remove the umber hulk's remains, and offers the dwarf a mushroom-stuffed mushroom.

"Corros, you still think we're dealing with more of the same problem we faced last year - leftovers from the Forgotten Ones?"  When the half-elf nods an affirmative, Nicolai continues: "So we ask the locals what they know.  And by 'we,' I mainly mean 'you,' because you have the best idea of what questions to ask."  He grins briefly.  "Emphasize the danger, de-emphasize any potential for profit if it comes up.  No one gets rich off gibbering horror in the long run, and everything we've seen so far is an equal threat for everyone.  And it's down here with them, which should give them some vested interest in solving it.

"Zima and Kerek are still missing, as far as we know.  Gronk, your previous theory was that something from the tunnels grabbed them.  We know duergar and dark elves are both operating down here, and taking slaves, so that's a definite possibility.  They're obviously aware that something's awake and trying to get their hands on it.  Kerek's briefing back in Balefyre mentioned another adventuring company as well.  We should keep an eye out for them, too.

He takes a long breath before continuing.  "And last night, there was a... presence in my dreams.  In all of our dreams, I think."  He looks around the circle.  "So we set a watch tonight, as much as 'night' has a meaning down here, and don't let anyone sleepwalk out the door.  And call each other on being uncharacteristically paranoid and dickish."
Gronk
 Party NPC, 131 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Thu 15 Mar 2018
at 23:37
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"So," Gronk says, swallowing another bite of 'shroom, "Should we try to hit one of these Drow or Duergar crews, see if they have our friends, ask 'em what they're looking for down here? It sounds like our new pal Snervbif, or whatever, knows where we can find 'em."

-
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 649 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Fri 16 Mar 2018
at 22:40
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai nods.  "I like that.  I don't know if we can negotiate with the drow, so it might come down to interrogating prisoners.  We know for certain the duergar aren't interested in negotiation, though..."
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 473 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sun 18 Mar 2018
at 02:16
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"Dark elves, dark dwarves," Corros yawns a bit.  "Someone down here has to know what The Sleeper is, yeah?  And it's not like the world is any worse off with a few less slavers.  I'll be happy to talk to who ever we run across."
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 517 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Mon 19 Mar 2018
at 21:34
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna nodded. "I would rather strike down slavers then question them afterwards when they are our prisoners. Parleying with them under a banner of truce then leaving them to go about their business would not sit well with me. Or the Goddess."
Raellus
 GM, 797 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 24 Mar 2018
at 22:46
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

In a tray of dust apparently used for this sort of thing, Svimn sketches a rudimentary map of the cave complex surrounding the settlement. Uncapped ends indicate areas unexplored or not well known. Simple Xs indicate areas of danger. He explains that the Drow arrived from the west, and control that area of the known complex; the Duergar came from the north; there are rumors of other delvers- goblinoids, of a sort- moving in from the west [One of the Five] transfers the map to a scroll of parchment for future reference.

"You are always welcome to rest here," Svimn says, presenting a satchel full of dried fungus (a sort of mushroom jerky, if you will) and adding the caveat, "As long as you come alone. If danger follows you, the entry will remain shut."

OOC: Assume that your character receives all of the benefits of a full rest before setting forth from the Svirfneblin village.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 21:53, Sat 31 Mar 2018.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 476 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Wed 28 Mar 2018
at 00:35
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Corros looks at the map trying to figure out the unfamiliar layout.  It helps when he starts to pretend the irregular corridors are instead wandering alley crammed in the crowded streets of his youth.  Which wasn’t all that long ago.  ”Where have the drow been most active?  We’ll start our search there.”  It’s a start anyway.  And eventually he’s going to have to come to grips with the fact that he’s deep underground.
Raellus
 GM, 799 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Thu 29 Mar 2018
at 01:23
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"They pop up all over the place," Svimn answers. "But there's always more to the west." Svimn carefully removes a bottle from his satchel and hands it to Nicolai. "Your eyes aren't made for the dark," he says, sympathy in his creaky voice, "This should help. It will only last about eight turns of the glass so use it wisely. I wish I could give you more, but this is all I could get." He reaches back into his satchel and withdraws a squat wooden bronze cylinder, capped with clear crystal. "Do you have one of these?" Svimn asks. It's a compass.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 22:03, Sat 31 Mar 2018.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 477 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Thu 29 Mar 2018
at 17:25
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Well, like the man says, 'The West is the best.'"  The Portals.  Good band.  Too bad the bards didn't survive the overthrow of Silverleaf.  "It's a place to start."
Raellus
 GM, 804 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 31 Mar 2018
at 22:20
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

In shifts, Nic, Corros, Jenna, Gronk, Amaldaris, and Berald descend from the Svirfneblin village in the iron lift, back to the chamber floor. Without the benefit of being able to see the sun, it's difficult to tell direction in the sprawling caverns and winding tunnels of the Underdark. Svimn's compass helps the party bear roughly west. They find a passage in the western wall of the chamber and enter; it narrows until the companions must walk single file, and Gronk has to duck. The natural passage eventual opens, giving everyone a little more room. The party moves through caverns covered with faintly glowing mosses- inedible, according to Deepdelver. The burble of trickling water hints at nearby subterranean streams. Sounds bounce around the cave walls, seeming to come from everywhere and nowhere all at once. Berald doesn't seem particularly troubled by this rather eerie phenomenon, but the others find it slightly unnerving. The party comes across sundry tracks in the dust that covers much of the cave floor like a paper thin carpet. Unfortunately, none of them have the skill to determine who or what they belong to, or read their history. The party continues to move forward, always bearing roughly west.

This particular passage is wide- four can walk comfortably abreast- and tall enough that Gronk can jump straight up without bashing his skull against the ceiling. Amaldaris is currently walking point. He stops abruptly and silently raises a hand to signal those behind him to halt. Gesturing first to his pointy right ear, he motions down the passageway, indicating that something is coming towards the party.  The party can retreat to a cavern about a furlong behind them, and attempt to conceal themselves, or they can stand and face what is to come.

Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 22:26, Sat 31 Mar 2018.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 655 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 1 Apr 2018
at 01:07
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai drifts to the right, putting his weak side nearer the wall.  He loosens his rapier in its scabbard but doesn't draw yet.  The chance of encountering another diplomatically-inclined group down here is low but naked steel does tend to negate any chance of negotiation, and he's confident in his ability to get his blades into play quickly.
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 482 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sun 1 Apr 2018
at 01:25
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Corros drifts back, setting mg himself firmly between and behind a giant half-orc and his own lady love.  For the sake of at least show diplomacy, he parks a grin on his face that looks a little less than crazy, but not much.

”What do you suppose passes for ‘hi, don’t stab us,’ down here?”
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 519 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sun 1 Apr 2018
at 16:57
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna moved to take up a position where she was behind Nicola and Gronk but in front of Corros, so that anything that tried to come after him would have to get past her first. Her fingers were close to Arma's Blessing but she did not heft it, not yet, although she thought it unlikely that whoever was approaching had good intent, for they were rarely fortunate in that regard.
Gronk
 Party NPC, 132 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Sun 1 Apr 2018
at 19:47
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gronk sets his big feet in a defensive stance, shield up and braced, morning star cocked and ready.

-
Raellus
 GM, 806 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 1 Apr 2018
at 21:18
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Soon all can hear what Amaldaris' sharp ears first detected. The clip-clop of hooves striking stone, quite incongruous in this subterranean environment, growing in volume as the source rushes nearer.

Around the slight bend ahead, a tall (taller than Gronk, even not accounting for its horns), bull-headed beast runs, upright, towards the adventurers. Gripped in its big, human-like hands, a battleaxe. An admixture of fear and determination glistens wetly in the wells of its black eyes. If the minotaur sees the party arrayed across its line of egress, it initially doesn't show it; the beast doesn't slow or change its course, instead sprinting directly towards the center of the line.

Finally, the minotaur spots the waiting danger, but still maintains its course and speed. The beast bellows something in its abyssal tongue and lowers its head. Only Corros understands.

Spoiler text: (Highlight or hover over the text to view)
"Out of my way!"



Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:45, Wed 11 Apr 2018.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 484 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Mon 2 Apr 2018
at 00:40
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Corros growls back in the Abyssal tongue, the syllables almost painful to cough out.  He does it a with a bow of the head and an opening of his hands to show deference, figuring that it makes more sense to play on the vanity of the creature.  ”Move to the wall, yeah?  We’ll try to let him pass.”. Corros moves aside before letting out another series of throat rending snarls.


Spoiler text: (Highlight or hover over the text to view)
Of course, Lord Minotaur.  Allow me inform my companions.
We hunt the Drow.  Do you know of any near here?


Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 657 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Mon 2 Apr 2018
at 00:54
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai raises an eyebrow as Corros tries to pass a hairball.  He doesn't speak the language but he's heard it before, and the witchling's body language suggests acquiescence to whatever the minotaur wants.  Judging from its haste and its own nonverbals, that's the right-of-way, and it's rather urgent.

Which means something bigger and meaner is following it.

Nicolai draws in on himself and tucks tighter against the wall, coiling for a lunge out of the peripheral vision of whatever's chasing the bull-man.  There is no "I."  There is only cold stone.  Nothing here holds vision, emits sound, is of interest.

OOC: Cunning Action to Hide.
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 521 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Mon 2 Apr 2018
at 21:15
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
When Nicolai moved to the side Jenna took several steps to the right, so that she was no longer in the minotaur's path, would cause no impediment to its progress.

It seemed in a hurry though, so the Priestess thought it not unreasonable that something was causing its haste and that that something was probably not likely to be friendly. And so while she waits to see what else may emerge from the tunnel ahead of them Jenna's lips move in a silent prayer, her eyes milking over as she invokes the Goddess's blessing, using her body as a conduit for Her power and grace, letting it ripple out through her and invisibly surround her companions.

Jenna
Casting Bless (Level 3, to cover everyone including all NPC's)

Raellus
 GM, 807 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Tue 3 Apr 2018
at 00:19
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Ignoring Corros' friendly inquiry, the sprinting minotaur makes for the gap vacated by Nicolai, slows down not at all, its passage through marked by a breeze carrying on it olfactory hints of bovine desperation.

The retreating minotaur's echoing hoof-falls trail off, replaced by a strangely hollow silence.

Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 04:06, Tue 03 Apr 2018.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 485 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Tue 3 Apr 2018
at 14:06
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"Huh," Corros grunts at the departing minotaur. "Some creatures just can't be polite."  With one ear cocked for the sound of returning hoof beats, Corros turns back the way the Five had been heading.  The silence is something he doesn't like.  It doesn't sound...normal?  Whatever that means.

"So..." he says softly.  "Let's see what spooked our friend, yeah?"

The warlock draws the power of the Library close, the opening incantations of his spells drawing near his lips.  He suspects they won't have to wait long.
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 522 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Tue 3 Apr 2018
at 17:51
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
The whiff of the animal's scent that she caught caused Jenna's nostrils to wrinkle briefly in protest as it passed her by, either oblivious to her presence or caring not. "Berald." the Priestess hissed as the sound of hoofs receded behind them. "Keep eyes to our rear." The minotaur appeared to be heading away from them as quickly as it could go but it would be prudent to make sure that one of their party was alert and watching that direction in case it decided to change its mind. Particularly as if they were attacked from behind there was every chance that Corros might bear the brunt of it. And Jenna did not wish that to happen.

The blonde haired Priestess then turned her own eyes to the front, her right hand now grasping the shaft of her warhammer firmly  as she used the gift that the Goddess gave her to peer into the gloom and shadow, all the while maintaining her focus on Arma, Her power continuing to flow through Jenna, causing her blonde tresses to move of their own accord.

Jenna
Directing Berald to cover the rear / still casting Bless

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 658 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Tue 3 Apr 2018
at 23:47
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai nods in acknowledgement, the first movement he's made in a minute.  In lieu of speech, he sends a flicker of unverbalized wariness through Corros' link and moves forward in Amaldaris' wake, intent for ambush or the minotaur's presumed pursuers.

This message was last edited by the player at 23:48, Tue 03 Apr 2018.

Raellus
 GM, 808 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 7 Apr 2018
at 23:23
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Amaldaris remains on point, Nicolai walking slack. They probe forward carefully, expecting to meet whoever/whatever put the minotaur to flight shortly. Gronk takes the three slot, followed by Jenna, Corros, and Deepdelver.

Nic hears it first, this time. Footfalls, softer, but more numerous.

Four or five, maybe six, dark figures appear ahead, emerging one after the other from behind the curve of the tunnel wall. In height and shape, they are like humans or elves; their white hair, however, belies their true heritage. The adventurers have found the Drow.


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:05, Tue 10 Apr 2018.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 660 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 8 Apr 2018
at 18:22
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Drow, Nicolai thinks toward Corros.  There's no time for refined planning - if the ash elves haven't seen him and Amaldaris yet, they will within seconds, and this is arguably their home territory.  On the other hand, no one expects to be hunted in his own home territory.

There's not enough light down here for Nicolai's blades to glitter as he sweeps his rapier free of its sheath and flips his sleeve dagger into his off-hand.  He's driving forward as he moves, aiming through the Drow formation to take out the last one in line and cut off their retreat - and trusting speed, surprise, and ruthlessness to keep him alive through the first few moments of the fight.

Nicolai
AC 16; HP 61/61; Superiority Dice 4/4
Bonus: Cunning Action/Disengage to move through the drow line
Move: into melee with last Drow in line, readying rapier and dagger
Attack (x2): rapier +1 (hit +7, damage 1d8+4)
Bonus: attack dagger +1 (hit +7, damage 1d4+4)
Special: if given advantage from ambush, first hit does +2d6 sneak attack damage
Reaction: if attacked and missed, riposte (rapier attack against attacker, +1d8 damage if I hit)

This message was last edited by the player at 22:47, Sun 08 Apr 2018.

Gronk
 Party NPC, 133 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Wed 11 Apr 2018
at 01:03
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gronk is tempted to keep pace with Nic, but he's got enough self-awareness to realize that he's not as quick and elusive as the Ardani, nor is his preferred fighting style particularly suited to that kind of maneuver.

What would Brawgo do?

Silently wishing Nic good luck, Gronk barrels towards the lead Drow, meaning to strike him/her down and move on to the next one.

Gronk
AC 19; HP 88
Move: to melee range v. D1
Attack: 2x melee (+9 attack; 1d8+8 damage)
Reaction: Riposte v. missed enemy melee attack


-

This message was last edited by the player at 01:44, Wed 11 Apr 2018.

Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 59 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Wed 11 Apr 2018
at 02:43
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

As Amaldaris dropped into a fighting stance, he called out to his new companions, "Beware Drow magic! They're wont to play tricks with light and darkness, but they fear the power of the sun!"

NPC'ed

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:39, Wed 11 Apr 2018.

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 524 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Wed 11 Apr 2018
at 19:37
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna takes her usual place in the battle line, slightly behind Nicolai and Gronk but ahead of Corros, so that if anything wants to come after the warlock it will have to come through her first.

Taking a deep breath her eyes scan the shadows, watching for the first sign of the dark elves approaching, at which point she will call on Arma's favour to unleash a bolt of radiant energy at the first one that she sees.

Jenna
AC: 21, HP 56/56
Casting Guiding Bolt (Level 4) at first Drow spotted
Still casting Bless (Can I do that? If not forget about the Bless)

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 486 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Wed 11 Apr 2018
at 23:55
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The sighting of the Drow brings a strange blend of emotions through Corros.  He's relieved that they've found their pray.  Now, though, they have to deal with them.

The power of the Library swirls around him, pulling glowing bolts of light from the energy around them.  The warlock scans the Drow he can see for any signs of a spellcaster and, in the age old tradition of breaking their enemy's advantages, he lets fly before pulling the Library in close again, letting its pages whisper in his mind.

Corros
AC 13, 61/61 HP
Casting Eldrtich Bolt x2 at any obvious spell casters.  Lead Drow if not.  +8 to hit, d10+5 damage each.  Will cast Counter Spell as a reaction should the Drow spellcaster get an attack off.

Raellus
 GM, 811 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Thu 12 Apr 2018
at 01:36
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Nic slips through the pack of charging Drow warriors, arriving behind them unscathed. The nearest Drow is robed like a wizard, as opposed to the others, clad in dark mail or scale. The Ardani thrusts at the apparent magic user twice, with his rapier. Perhaps the Drow mage is protected by some sort of enchantment; perhaps the rogue's aim is just off. The sudden arrival and impact of Corros' twin Eldritch blasts suggests the latter (DM -21HP).

Jenna sends a Guiding Bolt sizzling past Gronk's ear into the lead Drow. It disintegrates the dark elf in a burst of holy fire (Jenna does 21 points of damage- D1 is dead!). Gronk moves quickly through a gently falling rain of sparks and ash, all that remains of the Drow point man, and attacks the next nearest enemy. Spike crashes down once, twice, but the gladiator's opponent does not go down (DEW -28HP). Instead, this particularly tough dark elf stabs at the Half-orc with his sword, missing on the first pass, but connecting with the backswing (Gronk -7HP -10 poison damage).

With his dominant hand, Amaldaris slashes at his adversary (D2) with his elven spear; with his free hand, he attempts to deliver a rapid series of palm strikes. He misses more than he connects, but the monk still manages to seriously injure his opponent (D2 -12HP). The grievously wounded drow strikes back, cutting the high elf with a short-sword slash (Amaldaris -5HP).

The Drow warrior nearest to his magic-user comrade (D3) stops in his tracks and doubles back, attacking Nic with short-sword- the blade tastes flesh (Nic -5HP).

With elegant fingers, the dark elf spell caster weaves arcane symbols in the air, his lips spilling abyssal incantations. Spell complete, the Drow mage's expression changes self-satisfaction and triumph to shock and disappointment. Apparently, the spell failed.


Your Turn.

-
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 526 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Thu 12 Apr 2018
at 20:54
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna felt her hair beging to dance of its own accord as the first drow that she targeted disintegrated before her milky white eyes, its death a manifest demonstration of the Goddess's power and glory, bringing light to this dark underworld, smiting Her enemies wherever they might be found. And Jenna was the vessel of that power.

She was already seeking out her next target, saw the dark elves' magic user attempting to cast his spells, his hands scything through the air, his lips moving, but to no avail. Doubtless he would try again though and so Jenna turned her attention to him, her own lips invoking a silent prayer to the Goddess, her back arching as she felt Her power course through, her body the bridge that it flowed through, her hand the instrument of Arma's will, another bolt of radiant energy shooting from her fingers, this time aimed at the dark elf spell caster.

Jenna
AC: 21, HP 56/56
Casting Guiding Bolt (Level 3) at Drow spell caster
Still casting Bless

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 663 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sat 14 Apr 2018
at 23:16
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai twists away from the worst of the Drow swordsman's attack, turning a stab through his brachial artery into a thin line along the underside of his arm.  He backs a pace, deflecting blows with his rapier, then whirls inside the spellcaster's line of attack and smashes at the mage with the pommels of both weapons.  The group needs a prisoner and this seems as good as any.

Nicolai
AC 16; HP 56/61; Superiority Dice 4/4

If Jenna's Guiding Bolt hits:
Attack (x2): rapier +1 (hit +7, damage 1d8+4)
Bonus: attack, dagger +1 (hit +7, damage 1d8+4)
Special: first attack has advantage and does +2d6 sneak attack damage if it hits

If Jenna's Guiding Bolt misses:
Bonus: feinting attack (-1 superiority die)
Attack (x2): rapier +1 (hit +7, damage 1d8+4)
Special: first attack has advantage and does +2d6 sneak attack damage +1d8 feinting attack damage if it hits

Note: All attacks are against drow mage until he drops, then D3.  If I drop either target with my attacks, I want him unconscious, not dead.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 488 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Mon 16 Apr 2018
at 00:27
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

With Nic and Jenna taking the spell caster into their sights, Corros shifts to support his other companions.  The half-elf twists slightly ensuring that he has a clear angle of fire and splits his attack sending a blast of energy from each of his hands, one toward the Drow that has poisoned Gronk and the other in support of the monk.

Corros
AC 13, 61/61HP
Eldritch Blast x2, d10+5, +8 to attack
Still holding CounterSpell in reserve.

Gronk
 Party NPC, 134 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Tue 17 Apr 2018
at 01:42
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gronk's been cut enough to know when an opponent's blade has been doctored. It's a dirty trick, one that gets his blood boiling. On the precipice of rage, he swings his morning star at the Drow champion's white-topped crown.

Gronk
AC 19; HP 71/88
Move: to melee range v. D1
Attack: 2x melee (+9 attack; 1d8+8 damage)
Reaction: Riposte v. missed enemy melee attack


-

This message was last edited by the player at 02:02, Tue 17 Apr 2018.

Raellus
 GM, 813 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Tue 17 Apr 2018
at 02:01
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Another bolt of radiant energy leaps from Jenna's outstretched hand, screams through the melee and smashes into the Drow mage, disintegrating him before Nic can land a stroke (Jenna kills the Drow Mage!). The Ardani quickly shifts the focus of his attack to the fighter who'd just cut him. Like a snake's tongue Touch of Sylk kisses the Drow's foot, causing him to drop his guard. Taking advantage of the opening, the Ardani backhands the pommel of his dagger into the side of the Drow's exposed head, knocking him out and opening up a nasty gash (Nic incapacitates D2!),

Gronk does not fare well. The elite Drow warrior manages to avoid both of the half-orc's attacks, countering with one of his own, blade biting into his opponent's green-grey flesh (Gronk -17HP). Corros' Eldritch blast causes the Drow to miss his second attack, but Gronk can't take advantage, missing with a clumsy riposte (Corros does 15 damage to DEW).

Corros' second blast misses its target, but Amaldaris handily strikes down his opponent, leaving only the elite Drow warrior, currently facing off against Gronk, standing (Amaldaris kills D2!).


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:57, Tue 17 Apr 2018.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 489 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Tue 24 Apr 2018
at 14:16
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros decides that one prisoner is more than enough, especially since the Drow that Gronk is fighting refuses to do the polite thing and die under their combined attacks.  That doesn't especially bode well for his future cooperation under interrogation.  So the warlock does what he does best and flings two more blasts of energy the champion's way.

Corros
AC 13, 61/61HP
Eldritch Blast x2, d10+5, +8 to attack
Still holding CounterSpell in reserve.

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 527 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Wed 25 Apr 2018
at 17:05
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
There's just a flicker of black in Jenna's eyes as she looks for her next target, her lips moving in silent prayer to the Goddess as the fingers of her right hand point towards the last Drow still on his feet, hoping to channel Arma's divine grace to strike that one down just as she had struck down the others.

Jenna
AC: 21, HP 56/56
Casting Guiding Bolt (Level 3) at Drow Elite Warrior
Still casting Bless

Gronk
 Party NPC, 135 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Fri 27 Apr 2018
at 17:05
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gronk was getting his ass kicked. The embarrassment was unbearable- he could take the pain, but not the humiliation. Rage building, the Half-Orc lashed out at the elite Drow warrior with the first of an intended triplet of powerful blows.

Gronk
Raging
54/81 HP
- 1 combat manouver (failed riposte)
2x melee attacks, +9 to hit


-

This message was last edited by the player at 17:13, Fri 27 Apr 2018.

Raellus
 GM, 814 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Fri 27 Apr 2018
at 17:13
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Before Gronk get a single shot in, the elite Drow warrior is felled by the party's spell-casters (Corros hits with one Eldritch Blast, Jenna hits with her Guiding Bolt: DEW is dead!). The Half-Orc gladiator, caught up in his own range, mindlessly pummels the smoking, fallen corpse for a bit.

The party has defeated the Drow slaving party. Only one Dark Elf remains alive- he lies, unconscious, at Nicolai's booted feet.

OOC: Please make sure to track all expended powers and/or spell slots.


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:15, Fri 27 Apr 2018.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 664 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sat 28 Apr 2018
at 13:30
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Huh.  Everyone relatively okay?"  Nicolai looks around, as if expecting more Drow to materialize from the stone.  When no reinforcements are forthcoming, he sheathes his blades and begins searching the unconscious Drow.  Anything that could be used as a weapon or a tool to escape winds up in a pile at Gronk's feet.  "We should find someplace out of the way to have this conversation," he notes absently, with a nod in the direction toward which the minotaur fled.  "This tunnel feels a bit too much like a high-traffic market street."
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 491 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Mon 30 Apr 2018
at 19:37
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Regular high-road of death, looks like from here," Corros says while he prods the Drow on the ground softly with his boot.  The elf's mind is blank with unconsciousness, the warlock can't feel the link necessary to speak to the prisoner.  Probably a good thing, that, he muses.  Blue eyes look over his lady love, searching for damage he knows she didn't take and would have been annoyed with him for fretting over her had there been any.

"If Gronk feels up to it, or if he needs a little divine pick me up, he can drag our friend here the way the bull went."  Corros' eyes drift up the hall. "Make sure this guy doesn't have friends, yeah?"
Gronk
 Party NPC, 136 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Tue 1 May 2018
at 17:20
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Rage subsided, Gronk walked over to the unconscious drow and hoists him up on to his broad right shoulder. With a grunt, he starts walking back the way that the party had come. It is an uphill climb but not a particularly steep or long one. The party emerges from the tunnel into a larger chamber, natural, dimly lit by luminous fungi. There's no sign of the minotaur, just a cluster of quiescent miconids scowling in a dark corner- the adventurers didn't notice the fungal creatures the first time that they passed through the room. Gronk unceremoniously dumps the drow warrior on the damp rock floor and takes a seat nearby, where he begins to inspect his wounds. A lizard watches the proceedings from atop a stumpy stalagmite.

-

This message was last edited by the player at 20:07, Wed 02 May 2018.

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 528 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Tue 1 May 2018
at 21:48
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"I'm good." Jenna said in reply to Nicolai's question, her eyes slowly returning to their normal colour as she looked around at all that remained of the Drow. None of them would be taking any more slaves.

She then followed the others as they retraced their steps until they merged into the chamber and Gronk put the captive down. "Let me look at your wounds." she said to the Half Orc, moving over to where he sat.
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 493 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Fri 4 May 2018
at 01:50
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros leaves the wounds and healing to the others and turns to their prisoner. "Let's bind him before he wakes up, then we can have a little chat, yeah?" he says to Nic.  While the warlock isn't generally the interrogating type, he figures that he might have to come up to the task.  Unless one of the others speaks Drow, or by some chance this guy speaks Common, Corros figures he's probably looking at another throat tearing round of Abyssal.  Or telepathy.

But that would be showing their cards a little more than he'd like.
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 666 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 6 May 2018
at 20:35
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Hey, little guy," Nic says in passing to the lizard, hoping belatedly that it's not some wizard's familiar.  He turns to Gronk.  "Hey, big guy," he continues, pulling a poultice from his pack.  "Put this on that cut.  I didn't like the look of whatever that guy had on his blade."

"If only I'd paid more attention in dungeon school," he replies to Coros.  "Oh, wait, I didn't go to dungeon school."  As humor goes, it's a sad attempt even for him, but it beats screaming from thinking too much about the innumerable tons of rock over his head... no.  Instead, he applies himself to the task of securing, and more thoroughly searching, a probably-concussed subterranean elf.
Raellus
 GM, 818 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 6 May 2018
at 21:48
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

After applying a poutlice to the worst of Gronk's sword cuts (Gronk regains 13HP), Nic secures the prisoner's bonds (applied by Corros) and searches through the dark elf's clothing. The only items of interest he finds are a dagger, a small red gemstone in a small, hard leather belt pouch, and a spider brooch fastening a dark purple cloak. Amalaris steps forward and examines the objects, starting with the brooch.

"Lloth- the Spider Queen. Their demon goddess," the high elf spits in the dust. He tosses the brooch aside and picks up the dagger. "Poisoned, as are all drow blades," he comments, turning the weapon over to inspect the pommel. "House Dzex," he explains, "Operating far from its homeland. This is worrisome."

The prisoner starts to stir.


Your Turn.

-
Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 1 post
 Dwarf
 Druid
Mon 7 May 2018
at 01:19
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Before the Drow could awaken the curious lizard scurried over to it.  With quick darting movements, the reptile climbed onto the dark elf's forehead, where it appeared to pause just long enough to excrete a white liquid substance from its cloaca.  The lizard then darted away, not more than 3 paces before turning back to face the assembled adventurers.

Suddenly the lizard started to grow as powerful druidic magic, familiar to all assembled but Amaldaris, began to transform the squamate into a hill dwarf.

This message had punctuation tweaked by the player at 01:26, Mon 07 May 2018.

Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 2 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Mon 7 May 2018
at 01:37
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Ha, I've been wanting to do that to a drow for a long time," the transformed dwarf said.  "Good to see you all again," Ulfgar Frostbeard added as he looked to Gronk, Corros, Jenna, and Nicolai.  The hill dwarf druid's gaze stopped at Amaldaris.

"Except you, I don't know you."  A primal dwarven 'not too fond of elves I don't know' tone permeated the statement.  Still, the hill dwarf produced his empty right hand and offered it to the high elf.

"I'm Ulfgar Frostbeard.  Well met," he said, his tone somewhat friendlier.

This message was last edited by the player at 01:38, Mon 07 May 2018.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 494 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Mon 7 May 2018
at 14:33
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"You find hill dwarves in the strangest of places," Corros says with a huge smile.  Relief floods through the half-elf at the return of their friend.  Coincides be damned, he'll take the help. Even if the dwarf's sense of humor runs towards leaving a lizard dump on a prisoner's forehead. Corros thinks briefly about making a jest about the short lived joy of married life, then reconsiders the joke in front of Jenna.

"Welcome to the fun, my friend.  If standing under only-the-gods-know-how-much rock is your idea of fun.  Amaldaris is a recent addition to our marry band.  He was just telling us how this Drow here is far from home and how that's not good, yeah?"
Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 3 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Mon 7 May 2018
at 18:20
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Well..." Ulfgar said in response to Corros' "standing under only-the-gods-know-how-much rock is your idea of fun.'"commend.  "I've been living down here for a bit.  There's a fascinating ecosystem centered around phosphorescent fungi in a nearby cavern that I now tend.  I mean, I tend it most days.  Since Evra and I came back, I've been commuting back and forth half-time." The last sentence was delivered with something of a sigh at the end, suggesting there was something more to the story.
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 531 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Mon 7 May 2018
at 19:43
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
When Amaldaris flung the brooch aside Jenna bent down, picked it up, drawn to it by idle curiosity, spent a moment examining the symbol of the false god, turning it around in her fingers. She was still looking at it when the lizard scuttled forward and then began to grow before her eyes, taking a form that was most familiar.

"Ulfgar!" Thrusting the brooch into a pouch the Priestess stepped forward, put her arms around the dwarf in a completely spontaneous hug. "It's so good to see you!" Then, perhaps remembering that she was one of the Chosen of Arma and hugging dwarves in underground caverns was  behaviour likely to be frowned upon by the Elders in the Cloisters she moved back, her cheeks colouring slightly. "It's really good to see you Ulfgar."

And then a random thought crossed her mind. "I mean...you are Ulfgar? Yes?" Her eyes flicked to Corros first, then Nicolai.

+1 Drow Brooch to inventory
Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 4 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Tue 8 May 2018
at 08:48
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Ulfgar returned Jenna's hug briefly before also stepping back.  He quickly glanced around to see if any other fauna might be near by, as he wasn't entirely sure that Evra wasn't using the occasional animal friendship/animal messenger spell to keep tabs on him.

"Aye, it's me.  Would a fake Ulfgar be able to do this?" Frostbeard said before producing the tree of life totem he'd carried before.  He spoke a series of magical druidic words and cupped his hands before him.

"Aeron da i bawb ac i gyd ar gyfer aeron da!"

Suddenly 20 small berries appeared in his hands.

"If'n you're injured or hungry, please take some," he offered.
Gronk
 Party NPC, 137 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Wed 9 May 2018
at 05:39
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The lizard excretes on the drow's forehead.

Gronk expels a few low, grunting laughs.

The lizard grows into an oddly familiar dwarf.

"The fuck?" the Half-orc exclaims.

Ulfgar offers the wounded some goodberries.

Still struggling with a lingering sense of disbelief, Gronk accepts a few of the magical healing fruits, muttering a slightly stunned, "Thanks," as he takes them from the druid's outstretched hand. He pops one in his mouth- sense memory confirms its provenance. Smile slowly spreading across his homely face, he adds, "It's good to see you again, Ulfgar."

-

This message was last edited by the player at 14:05, Wed 09 May 2018.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 668 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Wed 9 May 2018
at 10:41
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai blinks, looks at his hand as if surprised to find a dagger in it, and slides the weapon back into his sleeve.  "Look at it this way, Jenna," he says.  "If a fake Ulfgar can find us here, take on his face, and duplicate his magic, we're probably fucked regardless of what we do.  So I think it's fair to assume it's him."  He shoots the dwarf a grin and accepts a couple of berries.
Raellus
 GM, 820 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Fri 11 May 2018
at 21:40
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The prisoner begins to come to. Amaldaris crouches beside the drow, asks him a question. The dark elf responds, sneeringly. The pale-skinned elf continues to probe, his patient veneer pulled thin, almost transparent. Amaldaris is apparently upset, although at what, it is difficult to say. The drow laughs derisively at his interrogator's poorly concealed discomfiture. Amaldaris, barely keeping his voice even, persists with the interrogation. The drow smirks, practically spits a reply. Literally in the blink of an eye, the elvish monk strikes the prisoner in the throat with the blade of his right hand. The drow flinches backwards, a split-second too late, begins gaspsing for breath. Despite his increasingly desperate efforts, the prisoner fails to draw enough oxygen into its rapidly-starving lungs. He flops on his side, legs kicking in the dark dust, as he chokes to death. In a few seconds, he lays still, milky-white eyes wide, staring at the cave roof above his killer, seeing nothing.

The only explanation the high-elf volunteers: "He knew nothing, spoke only curses."


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:15, Fri 11 May 2018.

Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 6 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Sun 13 May 2018
at 19:23
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Well that's one way to do that," Ulfgar said, looking a bit skeptically at the High-Elf 'iron-hand' disciple.  Frostbeard's instincts were telling him that the whole 'never trust an elf' inclination is spot on.  The dwarf snapped his finger's, locked eyes with Corros, then he raised a bushy eyebrow.

'Where'd you get this guy?  He seems pretty sketch,' Ulfgar thought to himself, trying to dump the musing into the Graelor's special mind-speak channel.

This message was last edited by the player at 19:26, Sun 13 May 2018.

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 533 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sun 13 May 2018
at 20:37
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna looked on, aghast, as Amaldaris administered what the Priestess could only think of as a summary execution. This was not how prisoners were to be treated, went totally against Arma's tenets, was a blasphemy against all that Jenna held holy. A Priest of Arma shows mercy to a defeated opponent. Only those who had turned to the Reaver were to be slain wherever they were found and the Drow was clearly not one of them.

And besides, there was something about Amaldaris' demeanour that suggested to Jenna that the elf was being untruthful. Perhaps rational thought might have been to say nothing, to let the matter go. After all, they were far below ground, needed each other. But not for the first time in her life, Jenna was not thinking rationally.

"I do not believe you." she said to Amaldaris, still shaking with anger at what she had just witnessed.
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 495 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Mon 14 May 2018
at 00:39
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
He was a prisoner in a digging gang," Corros sends back at Ulgar.  Corros' eyes are fixed on the dust their former prisoner had been kicking around in.  Seemed okay, although that was sudden-

Jenna's blunt words rock the half-elf back into the moment.  Between the set of her shoulders and the deadly calm of her voice, Corros knows that violence is not far away.  Her pupils are probably already turning a deadly shade of black.

With no time to spare, Corros disengages from Ulfgar and reaches out at the mind of the elf who just showed his cards, his own thoughts tinged with reasonableness and a request for cooperation.  You had best explain yourself quickly, Amaldaris, and do so without moving.  She may be my love, but I cannot hold her back. And she has decided you are not what you say.  Runes slip through the warlock's mind, drawing power ready to be unleashed.


Corros
Will cast Hold Person on Amaldaris (Save DC:16) if he so much as twitches

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 671 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Mon 14 May 2018
at 02:01
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
This time, Nicolai is unsurprised to find his dagger back in his hand.  "That," he remarks casually, "was unprofessional."  He plays back the last few seconds in his mind, consciously parses the set of Jenna's shoulders and the forces swirling in her eyes, and sidesteps to cut off Amaldaris' line of retreat.

Nicolai
Will give Amaldaris a good feinting and stabbing if the Hold Person doesn't take

Raellus
 GM, 822 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Mon 14 May 2018
at 02:43
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

For a couple of heartbeats, Amaldaris' body- a living weapon- is tensed. Then he relaxes, closes his eyes, and inhales deeply. The tension melts away, the monk's almost preternatural calm returns.

Some truths are better left unspoken, he replies telepathically, then he speaks aloud, so that all can hear,

"The Drow seek an artifact of great power- that much I already suspected, for my mission is to confirm rumors to that effect. The prisoner confessed his house's purpose. Then he accused me of seeking this same 'Dark Heart' for my own people, and called upon his spider queen to make me one of them- a Drow. You must understand, there is no greater curse." Locking eyes with Jenna, he continues, "Would you allow an acolyte of the Reaver to call upon his god of murder to baptize you into his fold with blood of innocents?"

This time, Amaldaris seems truthful, almost desperately so.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 04:20, Mon 14 May 2018.

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 534 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Mon 14 May 2018
at 15:04
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna’s eyes were unblinking. For a moment dark clouds drifted across her irises but the storm that they hinted at was not unleashed as some of the tension eases out of the air. ”No.” the Priestess allowed after a moment, in answer to Amaldaris’ question, continuing in a tone that was even, measured. ”I would not. But nor would I lie to my friends about my actions.”

She held the Elven monk’s gaze for a moment longer then turned away, her back to him, stepped in Corros’ direction. She was still visibly shaken, although she knew not whether it was from the act that she had just bore witness to or Amaldaris’ invocation of the Raver’s name, the comparisons that he had drawn.

”So, what do we do now?” she asked, the question addressed to all of them.
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 672 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Tue 15 May 2018
at 22:40
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"We regret not having had the chance to ask him about the people we're trying to find down here," Nicolai says mildly, answering Jenna's question but addressing Amaldaris.  "Zima and Kerek.  You may remember us mentioning them around the time we met."  He doesn't bother to recount the circumstances of that meeting; if the elf can't remember a day ago, it's not worth the breath for the argument.  "Did he say anything at all about prisoners or other surface-dwellers they'd slain or encountered?"

This message was last edited by the player at 22:41, Tue 15 May 2018.

Amaldaris Cenovir
 Adventurer, 60 posts
 High Elf
 Monk
Wed 16 May 2018
at 00:02
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"I beg your pardon," Amaldaris says, addressing the whole of the party. "I acted rashly." A pause. He then addresses Nicolai's questions. "The Drow didn't say anything about prisoners..." Because I summarily executed him before I thought to ask, one could be forgiven for thinking. "That was a slaving party. They were pursuing the minotaur. If we retrace their footsteps, we will undoubtedly find more of them- and, perhaps, your friends." Another pause, "But, if you'd prefer to part company, I will understand."

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:07, Wed 16 May 2018.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 496 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Wed 16 May 2018
at 14:12
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Corros tries to give Jenna one of his award winning "don't worry, it's going to be all right," smiles, but he's pretty sure he can't do the effect justice.  He draws the priestesses mind into a mental hug. Not a good sign, love, but for now I think he's what we've got even if his choices are...not good.

"We go after the slavers,"
Corros says out loud.  "That's what we've always planned to do.  For now Amaldaris, I think you stay with us.  But we will revisit that arrangement should you choose to, uh... interrogate a prisoner and shade the exchange in the future, yeah?  I spent my life being told I was less than elves like you.  I'm not seeing it."
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 535 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Wed 16 May 2018
at 21:28
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna had moved to stand next to Corros, turned her eyes to him as she felt his mind gently caress hers. Once she would have found it disconcerting to allow another to be so...intimate...with her, but now she welcomed it, closed her eyes for a moment, her chest rising and falling as she breathed deeply, let her lover's mind soothe her, a thought coming unbidden as she heard the words he spoke aloud. Never, ever think that you are less than him. Or anyone.
Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 7 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Thu 24 May 2018
at 11:42
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Mind if I tag along?  I'm interested in getting to the bottom of these drow raids.  Perhaps bring some order back to the ecosystem down here," Ulfgar asked.  "Uh.. and yeah, I'm more than happy to take the rear," he added, strongly preferring to have the elf in front of him and not behind him.
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 673 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sat 26 May 2018
at 23:30
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai smirks at Ulfgar, acknowledging both the dwarf's words and his subtext.  "That would be great.  If we have any trouble, you can put on that giant spider skin again."

He turns to Gronk.  "How are you feeling?  Is the poison out of your system?"
Gronk
 Party NPC, 138 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Sat 26 May 2018
at 23:41
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"Yeah, I'm good to go," Gronk reports. Between the urban ranger's poultice and the druid's goodberries, the gladiator was feeling much better. The poison must have been fast-acting but not persistent.

+13HP (poultice)
+10HP (Goodberries)


-

This message was last edited by the player at 23:54, Sat 26 May 2018.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 674 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sat 26 May 2018
at 23:46
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Glad to hear it."  Nicolai offers his towering accomplice a fist-bump.  "Okay.  Everyone ready to go get our people back and find someone who can tell us more about this 'Dark Heart'?"
Raellus
 GM, 823 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 27 May 2018
at 20:36
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The septet retraces its steps- again- returning to the site of its most recent battle. There's something odd about the Drow bodies. They seem to have partially melted into the floor. Most of the flesh is gone, falling off the bones; what's left appears to have been liquefied, although it remains fairly viscous. The bones peeking out from the pooling soft tissue look somewhat warped, as if soft like a newborn's, subjected to pressure for a long period of time. The Drows' armor, however, appears in relatively good shape- there's no sign of corrosion or other damage, save that taken during their last use. None among the seven companions have seen anything like this, except for Deepdelver,

"This reminds me a bit of what a black dragon's breath does to flesh and bone, but it's not quite the same. This looks more melted, as opposed to dissolved. Besides, we would have heard something if such a beast was about."

OOC: If you want to more actively investigate this phenomenon, feel free. Passive perception reveals nothing. If you have any specific lines of inquiry, however, let me know and I'll make any prerequisite rolls. There's no obligation to do so, however- I just don't want you guys to feel like I'm pushing things ahead too quickly.

The party continues past the strange phenomenon, moving deeper into the underground (bearing roughly west). Smaller tunnels periodically branch off to the left and the right, but Ulfgar and Deepdelver both agree that they go nowhere (although how they can tell this remains a mystery to the non-dwarves amongst the party). The main tunnel corkscrews downward, the path getting progressively steeper. The sound of moving water emerges from a crack in the north wall. It appears to be coming from somewhere down below. Instead of growing cooler, the temperature rises as the party moves lower. A faint light appears at the bottom of the corkscrew. Backlight, two Drow guards stand watch there. They don't seem to notice the party point man.


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:37, Sun 27 May 2018.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 497 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Thu 31 May 2018
at 19:44
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Corros kneels near the puddle that used to be one of their Drow enemies.  "Well, that's gross, yeah?" he deadpans, rocking back on his heels.  He peers at the partially liquefied and warped flesh, looking for signs of anything...well...anything more unusual than this.  Signs of specific magic involved or the reek of corruption.  Something the Library may recognize.  "Ever heard of the Reaver's followers doing something like this after meeting a bad end?" he asks Jenna.

OOC: Investigate and Arcana rolls
--

"Well there's the Drow," Corros says at the report of guards.  "Sneaky-sneak or full frontal?"
Raellus
 GM, 825 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 2 Jun 2018
at 18:31
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros examines the remains, determining that the strange, melting effect doesn't result from any spells that he's familiar with or aware of.

Jenna does not believe that the phenomenon has anything to do with Reaver-worship. In fact, nothing in her past studies speaks to what she's looking at.

-
Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 8 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Sun 3 Jun 2018
at 19:08
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"I've got something that can help with stealth, though perhaps just directly dispatching as many of these evil-elves would be better for the environment down here," Ulfgar said.  For the former, he'd cast Pass without Trace on the group.  For the latter, he'd probably go with Entangle, and let the pokers, slicers, and bashers move into melee with the hopefully trapped Drow.  Frostbeard wondered if 'throat-puncher elf' could pull the same stunt against someone in combat as he did with the prisoner.   Elf-on-elf violence was the best kind of violence in Ulfgar's book.
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 675 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Tue 5 Jun 2018
at 01:57
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai has seen many stalks ended prematurely (and ended a few himself) through the target's sudden awareness of eyes upon him.  The secret to not being seen, as best he's been able to determine, is to not see.  So he sinks behind a rock and lets his eyes unfocus, not staring at anything in particular, keeping the guards in his peripheral vision where any movement will be immediately obvious.  Not coincidentally, Amaldaris is also in his peripheral vision...

Amaldaris and I can probably rush them, but they're not in a good position for an ambush, he sends to Corros.  I can't guarantee they won't get off a warning.

This message was last edited by the player at 01:59, Tue 05 June 2018.

Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 11 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Mon 11 Jun 2018
at 14:15
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Let's see if we can draw them toward us.  I'll hit 'em with eau de mephitidae," Ulfgar said with a grin.  He adjusted his gear and once satisfied that any extra ratting bits were tightened or tucked away, he started to creep forward slowly and carefully, evaluating each footfall before placing it.

Ulfgar Frostbeard
Moving stealthily toward the drow (1/2 speed or less)
Casting Druidcraft (making a skunk smell), centered on the one furthest back.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 681 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Wed 13 Jun 2018
at 00:20
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai mentally translates Ulfgar's archaic phrasing, sends a wordless chuckle down Corros' link, and flows forward a half-dozen paces behind the skin-dancer.  He's never been an advocate of fair fights and opening this one with a skunk-bomb appeals to his sense of unfair play.  Even better, he's experienced that particular unpleasantry before - the Throne's Reach had its own contingent of ulfskennar who were fond of it as a less-lethal mechanism.  So he's well aware that the sentries won't be able to sound an alarm for a few brief moments, which is all the time he and his associates should need.

Nicolai
Moving stealthily forward, 20 feet behind Ulfgar
Preparing to commit a stabbing

Raellus
 GM, 833 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 16 Jun 2018
at 15:55
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

With the others waiting, ready to spring an ambush if the ruse works, Ulfgar advances as stealthily as possible, until he can see the Drow guards' pale hair at the foot of the corkscrew tunnel. He begins casting his druidic spell, realizing almost immediately that his whispered incantation is audible to the two sentries. He carries on, nonetheless. The net effect of this action is what the party hoped for. The sentries leave their post to investigate, advancing on the dwarf as an invisible barrier of stench rises behind them. Fortunately, the Drow guards neglect to raise a general alarm. If the party can end this fight quickly and quietly, they may be able to avoid provoking a much bigger one.

OOC: The two Drow guards are advancing towards Ulfgar. Nic acts first; after that, it's first-come first-served; regardless, the Drow will act tomorrow evening.


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:55, Sat 16 June 2018.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 683 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sat 16 Jun 2018
at 22:09
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Taking the one on the left, Nicolai sends to Corros.  He plots an invisible line, just within the distance he knows he can cover within a competent opponent's reaction time, and as the Drow crosses that line, he springs.  His rapier and dagger come out as he steps in, leading with the smaller blade to draw his opponent's eyes to it and away from the low slash angling up into the guard's armpit.

Nicolai
AC 16; HP 61/61; Superiority Dice 4/4
Move: Into melee with the Drow on the left side of the passage
Free (Dual Wielder feat): Draw rapier +1 and dagger +1
Bonus: Feinting Attack (-1 superiority die; gain advantage and +1d8 damage on first attack)
Attack #1: Rapier +1 (attack +7 with advantage, damage 2d8+2d6+4)
Attack #2: Rapier +1 (attack +7, damage 1d8+4)
Reaction: If target survives, attacks me, and misses, Riposte (-1 superiority die)

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 539 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sun 17 Jun 2018
at 07:04
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna takes a step to one side as the two sentries head towards them, stepping out of the shadow of the tunnel so that she can properly see the dark elves as they advance. Her lips are already moving in prayer, calling on the power of the Goddess again as she raises her hands, fingers extended towards the one on the left, as Arma's grace ripples through her, causing her back to arch slightly as a bolt of radiant energy shoots through the gloom towards its intended target.

Jenna
AC: 21, HP 56/56
Casting Guiding Bolt (Level 2) at left hand Drow

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 503 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sun 17 Jun 2018
at 17:56
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Got it, Corros sends back Nic's way.  Instead of focusing his attacks, the half-elf splits the difference, sending one blast of energy at each of the Drow guards. The attacks allow him to stay back, out of the range of the weapons the dark elves hold.  At least unless they manage to push through the rest of the party.  Which means they have bigger problems than these two Drow.


Corros
AC 13, 61/61HP
Eldritch Blast x2, one at each sentry, d10+5, +8 to attack

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:02, Tue 19 June 2018.

Gronk
 Party NPC, 139 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Tue 19 Jun 2018
at 02:39
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gronk moves up to his customary slot next to Nicolai, the grey-green brawn to the Ardani's brains. The half-orc gladiator strikes hard and fast at the right-hand Drow, attempting to silence the dark elf guard before he can raise the alarm.

Gronk
83/88
AC 19
Spending 1 superiority die to attempt trip attack v D2
2x melee attacks (+9) v D2


-
Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 13 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Tue 19 Jun 2018
at 03:05
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Lured by the dwarf druid's spell (not its intended result, but a welcome one given the tactical situation), the two Drow sentries inadvertently move into range of Nic's rapier. Jenna's Guiding Bolt flashes by the advancing drow's white-capped head, wasting its radiant energy on the tunnel roof. The flash, nevertheless, causes the dark elves to pull up short. Nic's already lunging out to meet them. A deft feint of the Ardani's pirate rapier has its desired effect; the blade dances deceptively, slipping the started Drow's guard and finding its heart. The mortally wounded guard sinks to the floor. Corros' spell has better luck that his paramour's, striking the second Drow in the chest. The guard reels but stays on his feet. Not for long. Gronk's morning star ends him, concluding the ambush.

Stepping over the bodies, the party moves slowly, quietly towards the chamber into which the tunnel opens, stopping short as they encounter Ulfgar's druidic flatulence. The hirsute dwarf dismisses the spell, removing the invisible stink barrier. The adventurers close the gap, sneaking a peek at the scene beyond.

They look into a huge chamber, larger by several factors than the largest they've seen so far. It's lit by several pools of slow-burning oil. Heat, scored by the sharp tinking of falling picks, rises to meet the spies. Dozens of diggers are hard at work enlarging the cavern, shovel-full by shovel-full, guarded by more Drow. Several large piles of slag rise from the chamber floor. The captives are hard at work excavating what appears to be a large ribcage. A single rib is two or three times as tall as a Drow guard.

The party has a good vantage point- high ground, only one way up. The flip side of this, however, is that there is only one way down- a long, narrow path winding its way along the near wall to the cavern floor, exposed to the workers and guards below.

"A Priestess of Lloth," Amaldaris whispers, pointing out a Drow clad in flowing black robes. The monk continues, "...and a mage, a dozen warriors at least and... abomination- a Drider," This last is a creature like a perverted centaur: the head, arms, and torso of a bare-chested Drow, atop the body of a huge spider.


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:14, Wed 20 June 2018.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 684 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Wed 20 Jun 2018
at 00:01
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Hmm," Nicolai replies noncommittally, studying the Drider.  He's hear rumors of them before but seeing one in the unspeakable flesh is more disgusting than he anticipated.  "Does anyone see our people down there?"
Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 14 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Wed 20 Jun 2018
at 00:31
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Hmm... not sure.  What do they look like?" Ulfgar offered.  A plan started to form in his mind on how to handle the problem below.
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 506 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Wed 20 Jun 2018
at 19:10
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"Oh that can't be good," Corros mumbles when he sees the massive rib-cage.  The view comes when he leans over the ridge, disappears when he slips back.  "Statue, idol, avatar, or actual Devourer?" he asks, not supposing that it really matters until they've dealt with the Drow. Half-elven eyes scan the dark elves below. "I can keep their mage in check for a bit, but he's gotta die first, yeah?"
Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 19 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Sat 23 Jun 2018
at 23:22
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Aye, the mage should die quicker than a cat can lick its own butt," Ulfgar said.  He brief the others on the plan he'd been hatching.  After some shared refinement of the idea, he was ready to proceed.

"Alright, time to deal with these dark scum," Ulfgar said.  He cast a spell, touched Romanelli, the immediately turned into a giant spider.

Ulfgar Frostbeard
Moving into the cavern caring Gronk in spider climb after casting Greater Invis on Nic
AC: 14, HP: 26 [Spider form]
Greater Invis casting, quickly wrapping a few webs around Gronk, then carrying him into the cavern using spider climb

This message was last edited by the player at 23:22, Sat 23 June 2018.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 690 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sat 23 Jun 2018
at 23:39
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai sets his shoulders and grimaces as his skin prickles under the shrouding magic.  It's not the first time he's been cloaked in shadow-magic, but his previous experiences were blessings of Mórag passed through the bards of the Throne's Reach.  This working feels rougher - as befits the skin-dancer, he supposes.

As Ulfgar takes to the wall, the Ardani draws his blades and creeps down the path to the Drow work site, keeping one eye cocked at the ceiling.  He may be invisible but he's not silent, so he takes his time and chooses his footing carefully, avoiding loose gravel as best he can and staying out of the more-trafficked work areas.  His focus narrows as he closes on the mage.

Nicolai
Creeping toward the mage on little cat feet
AC 16; HP 61/61; Superiority Dice 3/4

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 545 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sun 24 Jun 2018
at 09:55
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"A moment." Jenna said as preparations were made. The Priestess then closed her eyes, her left hand moving to the amulet that she wore,  fingers grasping it while her thumb moved over the inscription that was etched on it, a sacred prayer to Arma. Her lips moved in time with her hand, saying the words softly as her thumb moved over them, her hair beginning to dance and move of its own accord as she felt the Warrior's divine grace and radiance course through her, her body serving to channel that holy power that rippled out in unseen waves that enveloped her four trusted companions, bathing them in Arma's Blessing.

Once the prayer was completed her eyes opened again and she nodded. "I am ready." She then turned to Corros, placed her hand on his shoulder, her eyes meeting his. "Stay behind me, yes?" Her body would be his shield, her hammer would smite down any who meant him harm.

Using Amulet to cast Bless on Corros, Gronk, Nic, and Ulfgar then moving in to battle once Nic kicks everything off
Raellus
 GM, 839 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Fri 29 Jun 2018
at 15:52
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"These knees aren't what they used to be. I'm afraid I'll only slow you down. Perhaps I should stay here, make sure reinforcements can't hit you from behind," Deepdelver offers. There's not much that the old dwarf can do, in the face of more than a couple of Drow warriors, but he can at least shout a warning, slow them down a bit. "I can use this, too- target the magic users," he adds, unslinging his double-slotted heavy crossbow.

OOC: If you'd rather he join in on the assault, that's fine. I run Deepdelver as a Veteran NPC, w/ 58 HP, AC 17, and two +5 attacks per turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:24, Fri 29 June 2018.

Gronk
 Party NPC, 140 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Fri 29 Jun 2018
at 16:03
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gronk's not an ideas guy, but he can see that the numbers are clearly against the party- something needs to be done to redress the imbalance ("even the odds", in Gronk's less learned vocabulary). He speaks up,

"We need to try to rally the slaves, get them to help."

He has some experience with slave revolts, having taken part in one as a gladiator in Freeport, but he wasn't one of its leaders and he recalled, with some sadness, that it didn't end well for most of the participants. Here, there was the likelihood of a language barrier, and the tactical consideration that he and his allies would be badly outnumbered the second they set foot on the cavern floor- there likely wouldn't be a moment to spare once the fight began.

Gronk is not a big fan of the ordinary, house spider, so the thought of being transported by one nearly as big as himself, albeit a temporary, allied, sentient spider, is rather unsettling. He girds himself for the experience, reluctantly allowing Ulfgar Spider to wrap him in sticky filaments and lift him off the ground. The jacked Half-Orc soon discovers that he's not a very big fan of heights either. Since there's little else that he can do, as a passenger, during the climb down, he tries his best to channel his high anxiety into fighting spirit. Gronk's seen what his allies' magic can do, so it's pretty clear to him that the Drow magic users will need to be dealt with first.

-

This message was last edited by the player at 17:23, Fri 29 June 2018.

Raellus
 GM, 840 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Fri 29 Jun 2018
at 18:16
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Prepared- as best they could, under the circumstances- for battle, the party puts their audacious surprise assault plan into action. Cloaked by Corros' Greater Invisibility spell, Nic creeps carefully down the long, narrow, exposed path leading to the chamber floor. The creatures below seem not to notice. After a couple of minutes, having seen or heard nothing of their invisible ally- the party assumes that Nic is close to being in position near the Drow mage (perhaps he signals Corros psychically?). Ulfgar, in giant spider form, steps out, on eight legs, on to the cavern roof, Half-Orc cargo slung underneath. As he starts down the near vertical chamber wall, one of the Drow guards spots him. The Dark Elf calls out a warning, tone more surprised than alarmed, and the rest of his comrades look up. The sight of a giant spider is not uncommon to the typical Drow, but this one, unaffiliated and arriving unbidden, is out of the ordinary. The priestess, sitting in an eight-legged sedan chair rises, shouts a command, apparently directed at the spider, but Ulfgar has no idea what she's saying, so he nonchalantly (for a giant spider) continues his downward climb. Several Drow guards ready their crossbows.

It's now or never. Nic is close enough. He lunges at his target, sinking his darting blades into the Drow magic user. (DM -30HP; DM is Surprised!) The Dark Elf coughs out a breath and and arches his back in agony. He spins on his heel to lay eyes on his attacker, but there's no one there (Nic is still invisible).

At this point, a little over half-way down the cavern wall, Ulfgar-Spider drops his Half-Orc cargo on the nearest cluster of Drow guards (the Magic User and Priestess are not close enough to the wall for him to land Gronk within melee range of them). The surprisingly agile gladiator twists and turns in midair, somehow managing to land on his feet, uninjured by the fall and ready to brawl (successful Acrobatics check). OOC: Due to his arachnoid characteristics, Ulfgar-Spider can drop to the floor from his current position and not take any fall damage or go prone. Instead of dropping here, he can move laterally, up to 30', and drop from that position.

Amaldaris drops his spear and steps off of the narrow landing high above the cavern floor, tucking himself into a ball as he falls, glancing once off the jagged chamber wall. He too lands on his feet, miraculously no worse for wear, near a pair of Drow warriors.

With their companions already entering into melee combat below them, Corros and Jenna start descending the pathway overlooking the battlefield. OOC: Jenna and Corros, you have options. You can spend your non-move action to Dash, covering 60 feet of the pathway instead of 30. This will essentially get you to the cavern floor this round, but you won't be able to take an attack action as well in the current turn. Alternately, you can move 30 feet and then launch a ranged spell attack, but this means you won't be able to reach the floor/melee range until the next round. Or you don't have to move at all- you can stand on the landing and sling spells from range (60' minimum). Obviously, you both don't both have to do the same thing.

Deepdelver's crossbow is loaded, cocked, and aimed at the Drow Priestess...

OOC: This is a surprise round. Your next action will precede any actions by the Drow.

Nic is engaged with DM. There are also a Drow guard within 30' (D7).

Gronk is engaged v D5 & D6. Ulfgar-Spider is roughly above this particular melee.

Amaldaris is engaged v D3 and D4 about 30' from the foot of the path.

Two Drow, D1 & D2 are at the foot of the path down which Jenna and Corros have begun to descend.

Two Drow guards stand near a ground-level passageway more than 60' from the foot of the pathway (D8 & D9).

Three Drow (D10, D11, and D12) closely guard the two dozen or so slaves. Based on the experience from your last engagement, one these three is likely an Elite Warrior. It's probably D12, who stands atop one of the slag heaps nearest the excavation.

Oh, and don't forget about the Drider.



Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:48, Sat 30 June 2018.

Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 20 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Sat 30 Jun 2018
at 20:21
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Ulfgar moved to try to deal with the Drow Priestess in some fashion.  He let his eight legs carry him 30 feet, then fired off a web glob, hoping to entangle the servant of Lloth.

Ulfgar-Spider
Moving 30' toward Drow Priestess
AC: 14, HP: 26 [Spider form]
Firing off a Web (Recharge 5-6): Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, range 30/60 ft., one creature. Hit: The target is Restrained by webbing. As an action, the Restrained target can make a DC 12 Strength check, bursting the webbing on a success. The webbing can also be attacked and destroyed (AC 10; hp 5; vulnerability to fire damage; immunity to bludgeoning, poison, and psychic damage).

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 546 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sun 1 Jul 2018
at 17:23
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna took a deep breath then moved down the path as rapidly as she could, the tenets of her faith echoing in her head, as though she was back in the Cloisters, being schooled in the ways of the Warrior by the elder gray clad Priests.

A Priest of Arma defends the weak and protects the innocent. The slaves that were toiling in this cavern were weak. They must be defended.

A Priest of Arma fights until victory is achieved or she dies trying. Perhaps this would be her last battle, perhaps not. She had been told to seek out redemption in the company of strangers. Surely falling in Arma's name would redeem her. Would it not?

There was no further time to dwell on such matters. Each step had taken her closer to the foe, about half of the distance to the two Drow who stood at the foot of the path now covered. Jenna paused, raised her right hand, opened the conduit to the Goddess's divine power, her eyes turning white as Arma's grace coursed through her, her body a channel, guiding that grace into a bolt of radiant energy that leapt from her fingertips towards the Drow Priestess. Even as it left her fingers Jenna knew that the bolt was not as powerful as those that she had launched at the last group of Drow. Her connection to the Goddess was growing weaker, needed prayer to renew it.

Jenna
AC: 21, HP 56/56
Advancing 30 feet then casting Guiding Bolt (Level 2) at Drow Priestess

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 512 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sun 1 Jul 2018
at 17:42
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Corros swallows as the odds in front of him begin to make sense.  The attack may have been rash, but the adventurers are committed now.  His friends are below and his lady is running forward.  The warlock doesn't consider himself a coward, but he can't do a lot up close, so he hangs back, trying to play the role of spoiler and protector.  The wand he'd been given comes up and lets go with three magical darts, the glowing missiles flying forward and arching towards the Drow mage. Corros hopes that maybe this will be enough to bring the dark elf down, that by sacrificing accuracy for power, they can tilt the killing in their favor.

Already he can feel The Library pulling power into the air around him, ready to lash out at any magic that should reveal itself on the battlefield.

Corros
AC 13, 61/61 HP
3x magic missiles at DM, 1d4+1 each  (4/7 charges remaining)
Counter Magic spell readied as reflex action

Gronk
 Party NPC, 140 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Sun 1 Jul 2018
at 21:15
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gronk faces off against the two nearest Drow warriors. Based on recent experience, he knows that they're not the toughest of opponents- there are clearly much bigger fish to fry just beyond them. But these two are barring his way to more dangerous adversaries and he has to deal with them first. And then there are the slaves,

"Come on, you guys! Help us out here!" is all that he can think to shout at the chained prisoners in the moment. This isn't really the time to talk, though. So, hoping the slaves rise up, the big Half-Orc presses forward, attacking first the Drow to the right.

Gronk
HP 83/88; AC 19
Superiority Dice 3/4
2x +9 attacks v D5 (dam 1d8+8); action surge, depending on results
Riposte on tap

-

This message was last edited by the player at 16:10, Thu 05 July 2018.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 692 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Thu 5 Jul 2018
at 18:45
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
There's a flare of light, like a sunbeam leaking through a crack in a door, as Nicolai withdraws the Sun Blade from the Drow mage's back.  As the subterranean elf spins, Nicolai steps back and maneuvers around him.  The cloak of Ulfgar's magic still clings to him, muting his senses and quenching the manifested weapon's glow.  He comes in again on the mage, angling for a flurry of stabs to the vitals that will remove his target from the fight permanently.

Nicolai
AC 16; HP 61/61; Superiority Dice 3/4
Statuses: Invisible (Ulfgar); Bless (Jenna)
Attack x2: Sun Blade (attack +8 w/ advantage, damage 1d8+5 radiant) on Drow mage
Bonus: Rapier +1 (attack +7 w/ advantage, damage 1d8+4 piercing) on Drow mage
Special: First successful attack gets +2d6 sneak attack damage

Contingency: If Drow mage drops before all attacks are expended, move into melee with Drow priestess and continue stabbing

Raellus
 GM, 850 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Thu 5 Jul 2018
at 20:30
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

After dropping Gronk into position near the chained slaves, Ulfgar-Spider skitters vertically along the rough chamber wall, closing the distance of the angle to the Drow Priestess. From his spinneret, the Wildshaped druid shoots a sticky glob of web at the enemy leader, but it sails past her, splatting harmlessly against the chamber floor.

The party's magic users pause halfway down the path, casting spells to support their committed comrades, currently outnumbered on the floor of the chamber. Jenna's Guiding Bolt smashes into the Drow Priestess in a burst of radiant light. (Crit! Jenna hits DP for 37HP damage; DP grants advantage to next attack)

Incandescent bolts of purple energy streak forth from Corros' outstretched Wand of Missiles, exploding against the hapless Drow Mage. (Corros hits DM for 13HP damage; Surprise condition negates enemy reaction)

OOC: Jenna and/or Corros can reach the chamber floor this round, and take non-movement actions.

After a ham-handed attempt to rally the chained slaves, Gronk smashes down his first opponent, then his second. (D5 & D6 are dead!)


Hands cutting through the air in a blur, Amaldaris dispatches one of the Drow guards, then stuns another with a palm strike to the side of the head. (D3 is dead! D4 -10HP; D4 is stunned)

Taking advantage of the shock of his first attack, and Corros' magical fire support, Nic strikes down the Drow mage in a flurry of unseen blade strikes. (DM is dead!)

Deepdelver, still atop the landing high above the chamber floor, fires two crossbow bolts at the Drow's apparent leader; only one hits home. He bends to reload and re-cock his weapon. (DP -7HP)

Facing her fallen magic-user, the Drow priestess' hands curtly weave an arcane tapestry in the air before her, surrounding Nicolai in a halo of shimmering Faerie Fire (Nic is no longer invisible; attacks against Nic grant advantage; advantage granted by spell negated by effects of sunlight emanating from Sun Blade). The nearest guards close on the now-exposed Ardani from his right and left. The elusive rogue dodges both of their attacks.

Compounding Nicolai's growing troubles, the two Drow guarding the floor-level entrance at the far end of the cavern race [towards Nic] to defend their priestess.

Perhaps sensing some kind of animal kinship, the Drider homes in on Ulfgar-Spider. The foul beast bends its bow and sends an arrow at the intruding arachnid. The arrow clatters off the rock between the druid's spider legs, drawing a hiss of frustration from the Drider. Carried on its own eight legs, the cursed servant of Lloth races up to and onto the cavern wall, drawing, as it does so, its sword. Closing to within range of its prey, the Drider lashes out, twice. One slashing blow connects, drawing ichor (Ulfgar-Spider -7HP).

Yelling something in his mother tongue, the Drow warrior standing atop the slag pile nearest the prisoners leaps down and charges at Gronk. His first strike misses, and the Half-Orc gladiator takes advantage of the mistake, delivering a savage counter. (Crit! Gronk hits D12/DEW for 25HP dam). Somehow managing to stay on his feet, the Drow pushes forward, sinking his blade into Gronk's exposed shoulder, delivering poison as it draws blood. (Gronk takes 7 piercing & 10 poison damage)

One of the Drow guarding the slaves follows his officer's lead, closing quickly on the Half-Orc. Gronk's Lemnish shield easily turns the Drow's falling blade aside. A second guard attempts to join in on the melee, but is dragged down from behind by his own slaves. (D10 is grappled)


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:31, Thu 05 July 2018.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 693 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Thu 5 Jul 2018
at 22:34
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
This, Nicolai thinks as his skin crawls under the priestess' spell, is the problem with cloaking magics.  Then, as Ulfgar's working evanesces away from him, the Sun Blade in his left hand flares into incandescence.  The swordsmen facing him stagger involuntarily and he slips between their blades.

Capitalizing on the guards' momentary distraction, he closes with the priestess.  It'll only buy him a few seconds before he's encircled, but the other elves' defense of her suggests she's their leader, which makes her death his next priority.

Nicolai
AC 16; HP 61/61; Superiority Dice 3/4
Statuses: Bless (Jenna); Faerie Fire (DP); emitting sunlight (Sun Blade)
Bonus: Cunning Action to Disengage from D1 and D2
Move: Into melee with DP
Attack x2: Sun Blade (attack +8 [first attack has advantage from Jenna's Guiding Bolt], damage 1d8+5 radiant) on DP
Special: If first attack is successful, it gets +2d6 sneak attack damage
Reaction: If any enemy attacks and misses, -1 superiority die to riposte (Sun Blade attack, +1d8 damage)

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 514 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Fri 6 Jul 2018
at 21:43
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
This could be going worse... Corros thinks as he moves down the ramp.  He doesn't dare cross the full distance to the floor, pausing instead at a rock sticking up from the floor where he can hide from flying missiles.  The Drow are carrying all sorts of nasty pointed weapons that he doesn't really want to get punctured by.  He doesn't really want his friends to get punctured by them either.  Eyes sweep the cavern floor, looking for points of weakness both in friendly positions and enemy.  The half-elf decides that maybe four people with weapons is a bit much, even for Nic, and sets his sights on the two advancing Drow in the rear.

It's gonna get loud, he tells his friends.

Corros
AC 13, 61/61 HP
Casting Shatter at D8 and D9, 4th level spell, 5d8 damage, reflex save for 1/2 damage
Still holding Counter Spell ready for the priest

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 549 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sat 7 Jul 2018
at 16:23
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna moved forward, not hesitating as she advanced into the fray. She was aware of Corros holding back, thought that it was a prudent thing to do, for her lover was not equipped for close quarter battle. And she would make sure that none threatened him, would stand between him and the Drow.

The battle was joined now, the Drow reacting, although the Priestess noted that several of them had already fallen, amongst them the Mage. The servant of the false god still stood though, so Jenna raised her hand towards her, took a deep breath as she called on the Warrior's power, felt Arma's grace ripple though her as another bolt of divine energy left her fingers, although this one too lacked the strength of some that she had hurled eariler.

Jenna.
Moving to quarry floor
Casting Guiding Bolt (Level 2) at Drow Priestess

Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 23 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Sun 8 Jul 2018
at 13:56
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Ulfgar spider carefully extricated himself from combat with the drider, then leapt down to a relatively clear spot on the floor.  Once safely on the ground of the cavern, he transformed back into his dwarven form, happy to be back under the protection of his shield and armor.

Action: Disengage (No opportunity attacks)
Move: Spider jump and move to an area clear of enemies (30').
Bonus Action: Revert to normal form (Dwarf)
AC: 18, HP: 84

Gronk
 Party NPC, 141 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Sun 8 Jul 2018
at 19:12
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The bite of the Drow blade is followed by the now almost familiar wave of nausea brought on by the fast-acting poison with which it is dosed.

"So you wanna fight dirty, spiderfucker?!?"

Counting on his boiling rage to mitigate the effects of the poison, Gronk continues to duel with the Drow champion, trying to overwhelm his opponent with a combination of technique and brute strength.

Gronk (Raging)
HP 65/88; AC 19
Superiority Dice 2/4: Spending one to attempt a trip attack (to gain advantage on 2nd attack)
2x +9 attacks v D5 (dam 1d8+8+2)
Riposte on tap


-
Raellus
 GM, 857 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 8 Jul 2018
at 20:03
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The Sun Blade bites through the Drow priestess' scale mail, sinking into the purplish flesh beneath. Somehow, the gravely wounded Dark Elf manages to hang on to life. (Nic hits DP for 26 damage) She staggers backwards under the blow, hands rising to draw upon the power of her demon goddess. The Ardani's call for assistance is answered by his own priestess companion. The Armist's Guiding Bolt flies true, blasting the apostate to the ground in bright flash and puff of white smoke. (Jenna kills DP!) One of the Drow bodyguards lunges at Nic, attempting to skewer the human on the point of his sword. Nic gracefully dodges the blow and delivers a well-placed counterstrike, killing the attacker. (Nic kills D1!). The Dark Elf's companion comes to a sudden realization and, instead of attacking, flees towards the floor-level entrance to the tunnel.

Corros, meanwhile, deals with the approaching Drow reinforcements. The explosion created by the warlock's Shatter spell strikes both warriors dead and causes bits of ceiling to rain down on the chamber floor. (Corros kills D8 & D9!)

Still in spider form, Ulfgar climbs away from the sword-wielding Drider. He crosses the ceiling to a point above unoccupied floorspace and drops on top of a slag heap. When his eight feet meet loose rock, Ulfgar returns to Dwarf form. The Drider follows his every step, dropping down to the floor next to him. Twice in quick succession, the fell creature swings its sword at the Dwarf's two legs, missing only once. Pulling its sword free, the Drider bends at the waist, its humanoid upper half lunging forward, jaw opening unnaturally wide to deliver a stinging bite above Ulgar's knee. (Ulgar takes 7HP slashing damage, 9HP poison damage)

Gronk's rage and skill overwhelms the elite Drow warrior. The Half-Orc gets in two powerful blows before his opponent can respond. The Dark Elf misses with its counter-attack; Gronk doesn't give the Dark Elf a chance to take another swing. Spike smashes into the side of the Drow's white-pated skull, effectively caving it in. (Gronk kills DEW!) The Drow foot soldier thinks better of tangling with the enraged Half-Orc and, instead, runs for his life, heading for the chamber entrance (floor level).

Amaldaris finishes his stunned opponent with a familiar knife-edge hand strike to the throat. (Amaldaris kills D4!) The High Elf surveys the subterranean battlefield, sees the fell spider-Drow hybrid skittering after an ally, rushes to the newly transmogrified Dwarf's side. Amaldaris strikes the monstrocity in the abdomen with his fist, but the beast brushes off the monk's second attack with a wave of its hairy, articulated leg (one of eight). (Amaldaris hits Drider for 8HP) A crossbow bolt glances off said leg, barely cracking its hard outer shell (Deepdelver hits Drider for 2HP damage; his first attack missed entirely).


Your Turn.

-
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 697 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 8 Jul 2018
at 20:25
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Going for the runner, Nicolai sends to Corros as he kicks the spider-priestess' falling form in the face for insurance and uses her body as a starting block to launch his pursuit.  He doesn't waste time explaining the obvious.  The witchling grew up on the same streets as the Ardani, even if it was in a different city, and knows equally well that a fleeing combatant brings down either official heat or the rest of his gang.  The group is winning the fight but they're expending a lot of resources and they won't be able to maintain this level of exertion for a second battle on the heels of this one.

Nicolai - AC 16 • HP 61/61 • Superiority Dice 2/4

Statuses: Bless (Jenna) • emitting sunlight (Sun Blade)

Bonus: Cunning Action to Dash
Move: Into melee with D2
Attack x2: Sun Blade (attack +8, damage 1d8+5 radiant) on D2
Reaction: If any enemy attacks and misses, -1 superiority die to riposte (Sun Blade attack, +1d8 damage)

Contingency: If Dash is not needed to enter melee with D2, bonus action is an off-hand rapier attack (attack +7, damage 1d8+4 piercing)

Trying some new combat tag formatting... advise if too annoying.

Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 25 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Sat 14 Jul 2018
at 12:44
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"To my health!" Ulfgar says as he pulls out a small bottle of beer and drinks it in the middle of combat.  "Ffon curo!" he adds, as he drops the empty bottle and pulls out the belaying pin he took from the pirate ship.

Ulfgar Frostbeard
Standing Ground Against Drider
AC: 18, HP: 68 out of 84
Action: Use object - Beer-Potion - 'Asp APA’ Grants Protection from Poison, per the spell:

You touch a creature. If it is poisoned, you neutralize the poison. If there's more than one poison, you neutralize one you know is present, or one at random. For the duration (1 Hour), the target has advantage on saving throws against being poisoned, and it has resistance to poison damage.

Bonus Action: Casing Shillelagh

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 515 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sat 14 Jul 2018
at 18:38
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Well hells," Corros smiles as the priestess falls.  He sends Nic a mental thumbs up, making a note to check back in with the agent in a few moments.  Corros is fairly confident that man doesn't need magical death hurled over his head while he runs after the Drow. He's trying not to get cocky here, which can be a problem for the half-elf.  It's part of his charm, after all.  Still overlooking the battlefield, he looks for an opportunity to continue to spike the fight in their favor.  With Ulfgar and Amaldaris tangling with the Drider, he decides to hopefully free up Gronk to join in the bashing occurring there.

Let me see if I can get him, he sends to Gronk and pulls power out of the air.

Corros
AC 13, 61/61 HP
Blessed
Casting Eldritch Blast x2 at fleeing D11. +8 to attack, d10+5 damage each.

This message was last edited by the player at 01:02, Sun 15 July 2018.

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 550 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sat 14 Jul 2018
at 21:09
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
The battle appeared to be going well but Jenna knew that it was not yet over so she turned her attention to the spider thing that was attacking Ulfgar, a ripple of radiant energy darting from her fingers and flying towards the monstrosity, trying to weaken it so that the others could bring it down. Even as the bolt left her fingers though Jenna felt herself weaken, fatigue rippling through her, her connection to the Goddess growing ever more tenuous.

Jenna
On quarry floor
Casting Guiding Bolt (Level 2) at Drider

Gronk
 Party NPC, 142 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Sun 15 Jul 2018
at 21:20
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Small fish, Gronk thinks as he watches the Drow fighter running away. A quick survey of the battlefield instantly reveals the most formidable enemy remaining- the large, half-spider, half-Drow hybrid creature, currently squaring off against Ulfgar, now back in his original dwarven form.

Gronk takes off at a run, heading for the drider, keen on helping his druid companion destroy the foul beast. He almost shouts, "Hang on little buddy!" but he decides Ulfgar wouldn't appreciate that.

Gronk
HP 65/88; AC 19
Superiority Dice a/4
Dash action into melee range w/ Drider


-
Raellus
 GM, 862 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 15 Jul 2018
at 21:41
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Nic, fleet of foot, catches up to the fleeing Drow well short of the exit. A single swing of the Fire Blade from behind instantly parts the Dark Elf's head from its shoulders (Crit! Nic kills D2).

Corros, meanwhile, stops the other fleeing fighter with twin blasts of Eldritch energy (Corros kills D11). Together, the warlock and the Ardani's efforts have just significantly decreased the odds of Drow reinforcements joining the battle.

With Gronk and Amaldaris both rushing to Ulfgar's aid, Deepdelver fires another pair of crossbow bolts at the Drider from on high. Again, only one of the bolts hits its target, but this one does more than just graze the beast (Deepdelver does 11HP piercing damage v. Drider).

This leaves only the Drider. Jenna hits it squarely with a Guiding Bolt, outlining the monster with radiant energy (Drider -15HP; grants advantage to next attack).

The determined Drider attempts to even the playing field. It stretches a hand towards the priestess of Arma and, instantly, she and her warlock companion (within 15' of target) are enveloped in a sphere of magical darkness. (Jenna & Corros are affected by the Darkness spell.)


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 21:58, Sun 15 July 2018.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 701 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Mon 16 Jul 2018
at 23:18
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
I could get used to this, Nicolai decides as he withdraws his glowing blade from between the fleeing Drow's shoulder blades.  He turns back to the fight just in time to see a rippling hemisphere of inky velvet envelop Jenna and Corros.  The culprit is evident - and, conveniently, it also has its back to him and an Ulfgar in its face.  Nicolai's no mage but the counter-move is painfully obvious.

Nicolai - AC 16 • HP 61/61 • Superiority Dice 2/4

Statuses: Bless (Jenna) • emitting sunlight (Sun Blade)

Move: Into melee with Drider
Attack x2: Sun Blade (attack +8 [advantage on first attack], damage 1d8+5 radiant) on Drider
Special: First successful attack on Drider gains +2d6 sneak attack damage from advantage and/or Ulfgar's presence in melee
Bonus: Cunning Action to Help Ulfgar's next attack

Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 27 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Mon 16 Jul 2018
at 23:35
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Ulfgar positioned himself for an attack as he watched Nic rush forward to impale the half-spider/half-drow beast with the Sun Blade.  After the swarthy human made his move, Ulfgar made his - a powerful swing with the carved wooden belaying pin.  Frostbeard had smacked around quite a few enemies with the pirate ship souvenir.  Now it was the drider's turn to enjoy the unyielding salt-seasoned oaken club.

Ulfgar Frostbeard
Standing fast against the Drider
AC: 18, HP: 68 out of 84
Attacking w/Advantage.  +8 to hit, 1d8+5 damage.
Active Buffs: Protection from Poison.

Gronk
 Party NPC, 143 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Tue 17 Jul 2018
at 00:29
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gronk arrives on scene, joining Nic and Ulfgar in their assault against the Drider thing. Fueled by rage, the big half-orc swings Spike with a joyful abandon.

Gronk
HP 65/88; AC 19
Superiority Dice 1/4
Attack x2 (+9) v. Drider
Riposte on tap


-

This message was last edited by the player at 00:30, Tue 17 July 2018.

Raellus
 GM, 866 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Tue 17 Jul 2018
at 00:38
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Nic approaches the spider-legged monstrosity from its blind side, slips between two of its back legs and thrusts his sword at its bulbous hindquarters. With a hiss of foul-smelling steam, Nic's Sun Blade pierces the Drider's abdomen. (Nic hits Drider for 26HP damage; Drider loses concentration spell). Jenna's sight is instantly restored as the veil of magical darkness drops.

With his enchanted belaying pin, Ulfgar thwacks the Drider on one of its knees, smashing the joint (Ulfgar hits Drider for 9HP damage).

For the Drider, the hits just keep coming. Gronk's morning star cracks exoskeleton, spurting himself and his companions with reeking ichor. (Gronk hits Drider for 32HP damage)

Up Next: Jenna and Corros (in any order)

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 01:24, Tue 17 July 2018.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 517 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Tue 17 Jul 2018
at 01:22
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The blackness that wiped out Corros' vision leaves as abruptly as it arrived.  He looks first to Jenna, making sure that she's okay and feeling relief surge through his veins to see her still standing and looking none the worse for wear.  Then he turns his attention to his allies, particularly the mob surrounding the Drider.  The abomination looks bad, but still so very dangerous.  Corros raises his arm and lets fly.

Corros
AC 13, 61/61 HP
Blessed
Eldritch Blast x2, +8 attack, d10+5 damage

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 555 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Tue 17 Jul 2018
at 11:26
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna blinked as the darkness that had briefly enveloped her vanished. The brief wave of panic that had swept through her disappearing with the effects of the spell she focused her gaze on the foul abomination that was the drider, raised her hand towards it and called down Arma’s power – or at least as much as she could, for the conduit felt increasingly weaker – and unleashed another bolt of radiant energy at the eight legged thing.

Jenna
AC: 21, HP 56/56
Casting Guiding Bolt (Level 1) at drider

Raellus
 GM, 868 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Tue 17 Jul 2018
at 16:04
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Dark energy and light, both strike the badly-wounded monster. The Drider's eight legs give out at once, dropping its pendulous abdomen on the cavern floor. Its dark-elf torso remains upright for a beat or two, before falling forward, face-first, landing with a meaty thud. (Corros and Jenna kill the Drider!)

The noise level in the cavern diminishes suddenly, the sounds of battle- metal on metal, metal on flesh, heavy breaths, blood pumping through (or out of) arteries in the head and neck- replaced by the comparatively melodic rattling of chains. The prisoners- Zima conspicuously not among them- have taken a set of keys from the guard they overwhelmed and are using it to free themselves. The sound grows louder as a few of thecreatures struggle to be the next to use them. One set of shackles is already empty, its former occupant nowhere to be seen.


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:08, Tue 17 July 2018.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 703 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Tue 17 Jul 2018
at 23:35
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"This isn't what I'd call subtle, but it has its uses down here," Nicolai comments to Corros.  He whispers the Sun Blade's command phrase in Primordial and watches, still fascinated, as the glowing blade collapses into the hilt.

"You two okay?" he asks Gronk and Ulfgar, who seem to have taken most of the hits in the brief but intense skirmish.
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 556 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Wed 18 Jul 2018
at 20:50
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna took a deep breath, blinked, almost as though she was scared that her vision might disappear again. The blindness had sent a wave of panic coursing through her when it had happened for what if it had not been the drider?  What if it had been Arma? Had Jenna angered Her by giving her love to another rather than the Goddess? Was this punishment for not following Her teachings? It was foolish to think in such ways of course, but she could not help herself.

"We killed them all?" She said. It was part statement, part question, more than a hint of surprise in her voice for she had not thought it possible that they could have overwhelmed the drow in the way that they had, seemingly taking little damage themselves.  Little damage was not teh same as no damage though.

"Do any of you need healing?" If they did she would help them as best as she could, but that help was likely to be limited, for Jenna felt weak. Drained. As though she could hardly stand, was exhausted, both mentally and physically, the weariness etched on her face. She needed to pray soon, to renew her connection with the Goddess.
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 518 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Wed 18 Jul 2018
at 23:33
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Handy to have in a fight," Corros confirms to Nic.  "Especially for the 'oh gods, my eyes' set."  Truth be told, the warlock can't really believe they're all standing there, not really that much worse for wear.  Jenna is worn out, Gronk and Ulfgar have some wounds, but most of them look good.

"We'll find a place soon, love," he says softly to Jenna, squeezing her shoulder once and ignoring the fact that the Underdark isn't really a place for softness.  He leaves her to the healing work and start walking over to the group of struggling slaves.

"Easy," he says in common, before repeating again in Abyssal.  "We'll get you all free and we've no interest in keeping you from putting some distance from the slave parties.  We're hunting Drow and I'm really damn curious about that thing," the warlock's hand indicates the stone edifice poking out of the rock.

OOC: Corros will use psychic communication with an identified leader if he has to (ex: if no one speaks common or Abyssal), but he doesn't really want to tip that advantage yet.
Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 28 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Fri 20 Jul 2018
at 18:54
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Aye, I'll have some healing, but save your strength.  I'll summon some berries for Gronk and me." Ulfgar said.  He held the Tree of Life around his neck and cast a spell.  When twenty berries appeared, he divvied them up evenly between himself and Gronk.

"I'll check the dead to see if they have anything useful," Ulfgar said once he'd wolfed down his 10 good-berries.


+10 HP for Gronk and Ulfgar
Ulfgar now HP: 78/84
Searching the dead for LOOOOOT!

Gronk
 Party NPC, 144 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Sun 22 Jul 2018
at 21:03
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

With a subtle wince, Gronk wipes blood away from his freshest wound. In answer to Nic and Jenna's inquiries, he replies with good humor, "Yeah, but you should see the other guy." He gratefully excepts a new batch of Goodberries from Ulgar. "Much thanks, dwarf." Popping one in his mouth, he makes a contented sound, adding, "I just wish I didn't have to get cut to enjoy these things."

+10 HP (now 75/88 HP)

-
Raellus
 GM, 869 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 22 Jul 2018
at 21:38
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The prisoners continue to unshackle themselves. None of them are talkers. Although it's a stretch to describe it as such, the most civilized among them is a Gnoll. "Damned if I know," the jackal-headed creature replies gruffly (speaking Abyssal), in answer to Corros' question. "Too bad you can't ask him," it adds, dropping his chains on the Drow guard that he and his fellow captives literally tore limb from limb a couple of minutes earlier. The other prisoners- among them a troglodyte, a grimlock, a quaggoth*, a hook-horror, and an ogre- depart as soon as they are freed. Corros doesn't get much more out of the Gnoll, except that it was part of a Gnoll slaver party that clashed with the Drow and lost.

The others examine the strange, rib-like structures the slaves were excavating. They could be ribs, but if so, of a creature more massive in scale than any dragon of which any of them have heard tell. They could also be crude columns, or the bars of a enormous cell of some sort. Whatever they are, as evidenced by the piles of slag heaped about on the cavern floor, the Drow have invested a significant amount of effort to expose them.

Several minutes pass with no sign of Dark Elf reinforcements. The party counts a total of 23 Drow, including the Drider, that they've encountered, and sent to meet their gods, since entering the caverns beneath the ancient tunnels (two were killed by something else). Amaldaris explains that this number is almost exactly half the size of a typical Drow war company. Such bands are led by a priestess, he adds, implying that whether this be half a company, or half of a whole one, the party has almost assuredly deprived it of its high-level leadership.

Satisfied that they are relatively safe, and badly in need of a long rest, the party beds down on the cavern floor. Amaldaris volunteers to take the first watch at the elevated entrance, stationing himself on the landing at the top of the pathway. Deepdelver volunteers to watch the floor-level entryway.

The party is about four hours into its planned respite, when Nic awakes with a start. He senses that something is amiss. Listening to his gut, he looks up. Amaldaris is not at his post. Instead, a strange figure darkens the doorway atop the landing, gazing down at the sleeping adventurers with black eyes. The creature has the body of a man, at least it would appear so, as it wears dark robes like in cut and size to those of a human acolyte or magic user. The head atop the body, however, is grotesquely incongruous in shape and aspect. It's as if someone has spliced the body of a large squid onto the body of a man. Another, larger figure, appears at its shoulder. It's got the now-familiar long neck and bull head of a minotaur.

OOC: Long rest interrupted; short rest completed. All spells and abilities that recharge after a short rest are recovered. Those requiring a long rest are not.

*The party encountered and bested a Quaggoth in the tunnels beneath Warehouse 8 in Balefyre. Its presence here may or may not be coincidental.



Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 21:48, Sun 22 July 2018.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 706 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Mon 23 Jul 2018
at 00:28
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Tales of unwholesome worship services in coastal elven enclaves come back to Nicolai in a squeamish flash.  His left hand closes on the Sun Blade's hilt.  The word of command hangs on his lips but he doesn't speak it yet.  Instead... he hasn't tried to awaken Corros through the witchling's psychic link, isn't even certain if it works while he's asleep, but -

Corros!  Wake up!  There's an elder god's squid-headed avatar at the door!

OOC: Superiority dice have refreshed.
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 520 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Tue 24 Jul 2018
at 14:14
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Words infiltrate Corros' sleeping mind, coming with them a sense of alarm.  At first it feels like a dream, then it very obviously isn't.  There isn't enough control of the emotions behind the message.  The warlock's eyes click open and his muscles take a moment to react before slowly lifting his head to look at the creatures overlooking the group.  Corros looks at Nic and shrugs.  The squid headed humanoid is troubling, no doubt about it.  Evil attracted by evil perhaps.  The Minotaur looks and maybe is the way in and around potential violence, they did get out of his way once before after all.

Corros rises, squeezing Jenna's shoulder softly to wake the priestess as he stands, sending a mental message of alert and quiet to her sleeping mind.  Very slowly, he rubs his hands on his robes and holds them out to his sides before taking a few steps away from his sleeping comrades.

"Lord Minotaur," he says in Abyssal with a nod.  "We dispatched the Drow slaving party that had their eyes on you."  The syllables are so sharp it hurts to speak them, practice being the only reason his throat hasn't been torn by the effort.

And you, Corros sends to the other thing with a tone of respect, Are you here to find out what this construction is as well?
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 558 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Tue 24 Jul 2018
at 21:17
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna opened her eyes at the touch to her shoulder, blinking away the sleep that still clung to them as she sat up. Trying but not quite succeeding to suppress a yawn, she turned her head in the direction that Corros was walking, immediately came to full wakefulness when she saw two creatures standing there.

The Priestess pushed herself up, to her feet, realized that she still felt weary. Tentatively she tried to reach out, to the Goddess, looked for Her presence, but it was weak, a tenuous thing, fleeting. Despite the fact that she had prayed before she had lay down to rest it seemed that Arma had not heard her.

Remaining spell slots
3 x Level 1
1 x Level 4

Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 30 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Tue 24 Jul 2018
at 22:18
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Ulfgar awoke, sat upright, and eyed the minotaur and abomination in the landing doorway.  "A most foul looking creature," he muttered under his breath.  The enmity he felt for the octopus-headed monstrosity burned deep inside, a primal hatred summoned from the depths of his soul.  Still, he'd allow a chance to parley with the creature.  But if negotiations failed, Ulfgar would unleash his full druidic powers against it.

Expend 1 short rest HD - Ulfgar Frostbeard rolled 6 using 1d8+3.  Short Rest Hit Die #1.  HP now maxed.
Wild Shape - Refreshed
Natural Recovery - 1x4th level slot
Spell Slots Now Available
2x1st
3x2nd
3x3rd
2x4th

Raellus
 GM, 872 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Wed 25 Jul 2018
at 18:55
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Corros Graelor:
"Lord Minotaur," he says in Abyssal with a nod.  "We dispatched the Drow slaving party that had their eyes on you."  The syllables are so sharp it hurts to speak them, practice being the only reason his throat hasn't been torn by the effort.


The minotaur snorts in the universal language for derision.

Corros Graelor:
And you, Corros sends to the other thing with a tone of respect, Are you here to find out what this construction is as well?


Find out? No. I am here to take possession. I thank you for your service in ridding me of the Drow meddlers, but now I must insist that you leave. Go now, in peace, or become like this one.

The mindflayer makes a gesture with its long, tentacle-like fingers. A dwarf moves out of the tunnel behind the creature and stands by the underdweller's side. It is Kerek. The miner's  eyes are glazed over, bearded face slack, his mind a total blank to Corros.

Or, if you prefer death instead, that can be arranged.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:59, Wed 25 July 2018.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 522 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Thu 26 Jul 2018
at 02:04
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros swallows at the appearance of Kerek.  This thing has made the dwarf its tool.  The warlock can't even decipher if there is a mind left inside the dwarf or if he is just a puppet.  There are only seconds to decide what to do, Corros can feel that intently.  He can feel the minds of his friends becoming more active, more alert and ready.  But he doesn't know what this creature can do.

The psychic web he weaves pulls away from Kerek and the abomination, encompasses his friends and asks a simple question: Fight or run?
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 524 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Thu 26 Jul 2018
at 19:45
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
It doesn't take words, the emotions coming in from his companions are enough.  The group of friends (now missing one elf who, admittedly, had become less than reliable) are going to take their chances again.  And really, anything evil enough to wipe the mind of Kerek probably shouldn't be left as the caretaker of this...whatever this thing is.

Hit the abomination with everything you have Corros sends his friends.  Hopefully the minotaur can keep for a few moments.  Or they'll just end up bleeding some more.  The Library wraps its power around its warlock and prepares for battle again.

Corros
AC 13, 61/61 HP
Casting Shatter (4th level) on the Minotaur and Mindflayer.  5d8 damage, save for half.
Will use Hellish Rebuke (4th level) if hit by the Mindflayer only.  5d10 damage, save for half.
Will use Entropic Ward to defend against the Minotaur.  Imposes disadvantage to attack, if misses, Corros gets advantage on his next attack.
Ring of Evasion to reroll failed Dex save if necessary (3/3 charges remaining)

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 560 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Thu 26 Jul 2018
at 20:43
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Everything you have. The unspoken words resonate in Jenna's mind.

The blonde haired Priestess takes a deep breath. Everything she has.

"Goddess! Hear me Goddess! Hear my prayer." Her hair dances, fair tresses moving of their own accord, rising up, framing her face, as though she was leaning back, in water. Being baptized.

Somewhere far off in the shadows rocks fall. Jenna's back arches as he hands rise, fingers pointing towards the....thing. Her eyes turn jet black.

"You have no idea who you are dealing with!"

The bolt of radiant energy leaps from her fingers, towards the monstrosity. As it courses through the air Jenna falls to her knees, her eyes still pure black.

Jenna
AC: 21, HP 56/56
Casting Guiding Bolt (Level 4) at Mindflayer
Cue SFX

Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 34 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Sat 28 Jul 2018
at 11:52
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
It was time.

It was time to unleash the full power and wrath of a druidic Initiate of the 7th circle.

Ulfgar muttered the ancient tongue and from his hands, powerful magic leapt forth.  Suddenly, eight new figures appeared among the ranks of the Five.



This was the full power Ulfgar Frostbeard now possessed.  Tiny Green Pixies.

"Evil!" Ulfgar said to the Faerie as he pointed to the octopus-headed creature.  He then pointed to himself and his allies  "We must fly to meet it, as you must fly away!" he said to five of the tiny pixies.  "The minotaur must face his phantasmal fears," he said to the last three.


Ulfgar Frostbeard
Casting Conjure Woodland Beings.
Summoning 8 Pixies.
Pixie 1 - Casting Fly on Nicolai, then moving 30 feet away from the party.
Pixie 2 - Casting Fly on Gronk, then moving 30 feet away from the party.
Pixie 3 - Casting Fly on Jenna, then moving 30 feet away from the party.
Pixie 4 - Casting Fly on Corros, then moving 30 feet away from the party.
Pixie 5 - Casting Fly on Ulfgar, then moving 30 feet away from the party.
Pixie 6 - Casting Phantasmal Force on the Minotaur (Bullfighter with red cape and sword adjacent to Minotaur)  INT Save vs. DC12 or take 1d6 damage
Pixie 7 - Casting Phantasmal Force on the Minotaur (Bullfighter with red cape and sword adjacent to Minotaur)  INT Save vs. DC12 or take 1d6 damage
Pixie 8 - Casting Phantasmal Force on the Minotaur (Bullfighter with red cape and sword adjacent to Minotaur)  INT Save vs. DC12 or take 1d6 damage

http://engl393-dnd5th.wikia.co...jure_Woodland_Beings
http://engl393-dnd5th.wikia.com/wiki/Phantasmal_Force
http://engl393-dnd5th.wikia.com/wiki/Fly

Once Fly is cast, Ulfgar will use his 60' Fly movement to fly away from combat, so he can keep concentration up on pixies, who have also flown away to keep concentration up on everyone's Fly spells.  #AIMHIGH

This message was last edited by the player at 14:47, Sat 28 July 2018.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 710 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sat 28 Jul 2018
at 12:44
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai comes off the floor with his hand already curled around a dagger.  It's not that he always sleeps with a knife under his pillow, but the party's surroundings do seem to inspire that level of paranoia.  Corros' word of power reverberates in his ears as he whispers the Primordial syllables that bring to life the empty hilt in his other hand.  For the second time today - perhaps ever - sunlight blazes in this subterranean cavern.  It would be more impressive if it weren't washed out by the divine manifestation coursing through Jenna.  On the other hand, such as it is, the searing arc's afterimages are a worthy distraction for the Ardani's first strike as he hurls himself into the air...

Nicolai - AC 16 • HP 61/61 • Superiority Dice 4/4

Statuses: emitting sunlight (Sun Blade)

Move: Flying into melee with illithid
Attack #1: Sun Blade (attack +8 [advantage from Guiding Bolt], damage 1d8+5 radiant) on illithid
Bonus: Feinting Attack against illithid (-1 superiority die)
Attack #2: Sun Blade (attack +8 [advantage from Feinting Attack], damage 2d8+5 radiant) on illithid
Special: First successful attack on illithid gains +2d6 sneak attack damage from advantage
Reaction: Riposte (-1 superiority die) on tap
Inspiration: If needed, will spend to re-roll failed save against any disabling or mind controlling effect

Raellus
 GM, 876 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 28 Jul 2018
at 18:58
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gronk's never flown before. He can't decide if he enjoys it or not but, at the moment, he has other things to think about- like what he's going to do when he lands. As the half-orc is lifted up, level with the landing, he sees bulky shadows behind the Mindflayer and its minotaur lackey. Gronk doesn't know a mindflayer from a piece of undercooked calamari, but his more knowledgeable companions seem to reckon it a great threat, so he decides to kill it first.

Gronk
AC 19; HP 88/88
Superiority Dice 4/4
Rage 0/2
Trip attack v. mindflayer (successful attack knocks target prone, granting advantage)
Second melee attack, regardless


-
Raellus
 GM, 877 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 28 Jul 2018
at 19:07
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The adventurers strike first. Corros blasts the elevated landing with a blast of arcane thunder, buffeting both the Mindflayer and the minotaur. Kerek falls and doesn't get back up. (Mindflayer, minotaur, and Kerek all make their CON saves, taking 14 damage each; Kerek is killed!)

Jenna follows up with a bolt of divine energy, striking the Mindflayer; it flickers with tell-tale radiance, making it harder to miss for a few moments. (Jenna hits the mindflayer for 16HP radiant damage; next attack on target grants advantage)

A trio of matadors appear adjacent to the minotaur. The bull-headed beast does not seem to grasp their illusory nature, nor does he realize that he's being duped when his double-bladed great axe passes clean through one of them without doing any apparent damage. (Minotaur takes 15HP psychic damage)

Ulfgar and his companions (save Deepdelver) rise above the cavern floor, taking magical flight thanks to the dwarf's summoned pixie allies.

Nic lands next to the Mindflayer and immediately launches a flurry of attacks. His Sunblade cuts through the monster's breastplate like a hot knife through butter. He can smell its plate, nearly translucent flesh cooking as the burning blade bites deep (Mindflayer takes 29HP radiant damage).

Gronk sets down beside the Ardani. The mindflayer sidesteps a sweeping attack aimed at its legs. The Half-Orc gladiator goes high with his second attack, landing a smashing blow to the side of the monster's squid-like head. (Mindflayer takes 14HP damage; mindflayer is killed!)

As the mastermind is struck down, its other minions lose heart. An ogre, a quaggoth, a grimlock, and a troglodyte take flight, running up the corridor away from the wrath of the surface-dwellers. The minotaur is preoccupied with the trio of phantasmal matadors.

OOC: I don't know if Corros and/or Jenna would like to land, so please advise in next IC post.


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:34, Sun 29 July 2018.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 713 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 29 Jul 2018
at 00:21
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai ducks a flying gobbet of squid, its tentacles still flailing.  "Nice one," he comments to Gronk as the half-orc withdraws his heavy weapon.

The Ardana pivots, tilts his head toward the pixie-beleagured minotaur in invitation, and charges a half-step behind his massive companion.

Nicolai - AC 16 • HP 61/61 • Superiority Dice 3/4

Statuses: emitting sunlight (Sun Blade)

Wait: a second for Gronk to engage so sneak attack is available
Move: Flying into melee with minotaur
Attack x2: Sun Blade (attack +8, damage 1d8+5 radiant) on minotaur
Bonus: off-hand rapier attack (attack +7, damage 1d8+4 piercing) on minotaur
Special: First successful attack on minotaur gains +2d6 sneak attack damage from Gronk's presence in melee

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 528 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sun 29 Jul 2018
at 01:40
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Gods," Corros whispers in a mix of fear and awe at the attack that just assaulted the mindflayer.  He could feel the power wash through Jenna as she called down the goddess to smite her enemy.  The one he asked her to kill.  The one she drained herself for.  The warlock doesn't need to see her eyes to know they are black pits.  A sinking feeling fills his stomach and he is torn between rushing to her aid and rushing forward to battle the minotaur.

Love wins.  I'm here, he sends privately, hovering near the cleric where he can protect her if he needs to, aid her if she wants him to.  That thing is dead.  Corros doesn't know what will come next with Jenna, so he does the thing he can do best and throws more energy towards the bullheaded creature fighting his friends.

Corros
AC 13 61/61 HP
Casting Eldritch Blast x2 at the minotaur.  +8 to attack, d10+5 damage each

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 562 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sun 29 Jul 2018
at 11:54
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Taken completely by surprise when she had suddenly been swept into the air, Jenna had cried out as she had returned to the landing considerably more swiftly than she had descended from it. She had 'flown' before of course, with Corros, but that had been in very, very different circumstances.

She nodded when she heard - or rather felt - Corros' voice within her head, calming, reassuring, soothing the maelstrom of emotions that were coursing through her, her eyes changing colour several times, black, white, their normal blue, each visible for perhaps a second before it was chased away by another. It was dead. It should have known better. Jenna had tried to warn it. But it had not heeded her words, had paid the price.

As would its minion. A hand of peace had been offered. Corros - her Corros - had tried to speak with the creature and it had shunned him. How dare it! And so it would pay the price too. Her eyes stopped changing colour, remained black as she pointed fingers towards the bull headed thing, summoned forth Arma's power, although the radiance that leapt forth was a mere fraction of what it had been a moment ago, her link to the Goddess feeling like a tattered thread that was about to snap at any moment.

Jenna
AC: 21, HP 56/56
Casting Guiding Bolt (Level 1) at Minotaur

Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 36 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Sun 29 Jul 2018
at 17:02
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"WHOOO!" Ulfgar said as he did something of a flying victory lap, soaring above the cavern floor.  He approached within 30 feet of the raging bull-man, hovering off the cliff, however, out of reach.  In the palm of his hand, Ulfgar produced a small flame.  He grinned mischievously for a moment, then hurled it at the Minotaur.

Ulfgar Frostbeard
AC: 18, 84/84 HPs
Flying around and back toward the minotaur.  Staying 30 feet away, with the cliff between us.
Produce Flame Cantrip - +8 to hit, 2d8 Fire Damage.

This message was last edited by the player at 17:11, Sun 29 July 2018.

Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 38 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Sun 29 Jul 2018
at 20:43
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Bloody, battered, singed, the Minotaur falls dead at the companion's feet (at least, the feet of those currently not still floating). The battle is over, the adventurers once again victorious. They currently control the large chamber housing the mysterious structure that was the focal point of the Drow excavation, and the apparent objective of the slain Mindflayer and its thralls. Kerek is dead. Amaldaris, dissapeared. Zima is still missing. The companions are no closer to knowing what they've found, or why so many seem to want it.


Your Turn.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:21, Sat 04 Aug 2018.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 532 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Wed 1 Aug 2018
at 01:35
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros watches the minotaur fall near the mangled body of its master.  He supposes it got what it deserves.  The walls of the cavern are nearly vibrating with the amount of magical energy that has been thrown around here in the last several hours.  And that doesn't include the strange objects sticking out of the ground.

The warlock kneels in front of his lady love and reaches a protective hand to her shoulder, watching as her eyes cycle between colors.  "Jenna, love, you're okay, yeah?"  He sighs and looks around. So much for waiting until they're prepared to check this thing out. "This is bad spot, more trouble coming.  I'm going to figure out what this thing is so we can get away from this gods forsaken spot and back to the gnomes."

Thin fingers caress Jenna's cheek in concern and guilt washes over Corros, like he's abandoning this priestess of battle.  "Call if you need me, yeah?"  The half-elf stands and walks towards the stones.
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 717 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Thu 2 Aug 2018
at 00:05
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai watches the play of emotions across Corros' face and silently raises an eyebrow at Gronk and Ulfgar.  "You'll probably hear the screaming before we can actually call you, so consider yourself called if that happens," he tosses over his shoulder.

"Ah.  So, Ulfgar.  You mentioned you were tending fungi down here.  Dare I ask how that happened?  It seems like most of the local life is aggressively self-tending."
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 565 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Thu 2 Aug 2018
at 19:20
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna feels herself descending, the landing receding from her view, the ground growing closer. Perhaps it's just as well, for if she wants to smash Arma's Blessing against the heads of their two fallen foes, even although they are already dead. Why? Because she...wants...to. Just as she'd once mounted a fallen foe's head on a pole outside the lost City. Anger is coursing through her. Rage.

But the descent gives that anger time to dissipate. It's almost as though she can feel it oozing out of her much like the ocean rolling away from the beach with the tide, and by the time her booted feet are back on the cavern floor her eyes have returned to their normal colour. But she's tired. By the time Corros comes over to her she's slumped to her knees. Arma seems far away. "I'm fine." The lie spills from her lips when she replies to Corros. She's not fine. But the structure at the centre of this place needs to be examined. Perhaps it needs to be destroyed. Perhaps.

When Corros walks away Jenna pushes herself up, to her feet. She is not going to look weak. She takes a deep breath. "Has anyone seen the elf?"
Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 40 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Fri 3 Aug 2018
at 00:54
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Post Battle

With the minotaur slain and the party back on the ground, Ulfgar thanked the Pixie's for their help.  He was grateful that none had been hurt during the fighting.  "Return to your realm with our deep and abiding gratitude," he said with a bow, before releasing them from this plane.

Ulfgar considered how to respond to Nicolai before answering.  "After I left Balefyre, the visions and nightmares I was having became worse by the day.  Eventually, Evra convinced me to travel across the Great Inner Sea to meet with her druidic Conclave," Frostbeard said with some trepidation.

"The Conclave judged them to be worth of investigation.  They inducted me into the rites and rituals of Grey - those who tend the lightless realms under the surface.  They implored me return to the north coast to assume care of the caverns you found me in, after its previous caretaker disappeared,"  Ulfgar's tone made it clear that he assumed the worse for the druid who proceeded him in this charge.

"On the plus side, I've discovered several small vents to the surface, which allow me to travel back and forth to see Evra, in avian form of course.  Also, I've made friends with a Tiefling who watched the grove when I'm away," he added.  Ulfgar smiled earnestly when he mentioned Evra, though his expression changed slightly when he mentioned the Tiefling.  There was clearly more to that story.

Ulfgar abruptly changed the subject.

"Now should we try to block off the route we came down?  I have a spell that might help create a formidable stone barrier."

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:21, Sat 04 Aug 2018.

Gronk
 Party NPC, 145 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Sat 4 Aug 2018
at 02:12
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"What about the other entrance?" Gronk asks, unhelpfully, while he searches the dead Minotaur. "Nic, you wanna search the squid-head?" When Gronk's finished, the half-orc joins Corros down on the cavern floor.

Gronk stands looking at the row of gently-curving, parallel structures. "Kind of makes me hungry," he muses out loud, by way of explanation adding, "They remind me of huge ribs. I could go for a nice rack myself, right now!"

To Jenna, he asks, "Thinks this is some sort of ancient temple or something? I guess those could be... what do you call 'em? Pillars?"

When Ulfgar is done with his magical construction, Gronk addresses him. "You're like, all about nature, right? Do you think these are bones? Ribs maybe? What kind of creature has ribs that huge?"

-

This message was last edited by the player at 05:19, Sat 04 Aug 2018.

Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 41 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Sat 4 Aug 2018
at 11:24
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Gronk:
"What about the other entrance?" Gronk asks, unhelpfully, while he searches the dead Minotaur. "Nic, you wanna search the squid-head?" When Gronk's finished, the half-orc joins Corros down on the cavern floor.


"What if I summon one of those pixies back and have it cast polymorph on you.  Turn you into a big fat dinosaur to block that entrance," Ulfgar says laughing.  Before a response could be offered he continued.

"It's possible there's a bypass that allows those fleeing minions to take another route around to come up through that entrance.  One guard and maybe some traps though should alert us to that.  If not through, we don't have to worry about them anymore, just whatever's down the other rabit hole.  And since we haven't poked those bees yet, maybe they are content to stay in their hive," Frostbeard offered with a shrug.

Gronk:
When Ulfgar is done with his magical construction, Gronk addresses him. "You're like, all about nature, right? Do you think these are bones? Ribs maybe? What kind of creature has ribs that huge?"


"Sea creature would be my guess.  Or land," Ulfgar offered.

07:23, Today: Ulfgar Frostbeard rolled 3 using 1d20.  Nature (INT) check.

This message was last edited by the player at 13:35, Sat 04 Aug 2018.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 718 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sat 4 Aug 2018
at 11:30
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai shakes his head in response to Jenna's inquiry.  "He was gone when I awakened, and so is his stuff."  He indicates the empty space where Amaldaris had last been seen with his belongings.

"Ugh," he says to Gronk.  "'Want?'  No.  But I will."  He draws on a pair of thin leather gloves and moves in to check the cephalopod's pockets, ready to start stabbing wantonly if the creature comes back to life.

This message was last edited by the player at 13:49, Sat 04 Aug 2018.

Raellus
 GM, 885 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 4 Aug 2018
at 18:16
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Nic's search turns up a scroll and a fist-sized corundum gem. He unrolls the scroll to take a look; the script is completely unfamiliar to the Ardani, and he can't decipher its contents.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:39, Sat 11 Aug 2018.

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 566 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sat 4 Aug 2018
at 19:11
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Pillars." Jenna nods in agreement with Gronk. "Or columns." It was teh same thing really. There had been many pillars in the Cloisters, but none had looked anything like these.

Still, she supposes that it is not impossible that this was once a place of worship to some false deity and so the Priestess approaches the maybe pillars maybe ribs to take a closer look, the mystery of the disappeared elf pushed to the side for the moment.

20:10, Today: Jenna Drax rolled 16 using 1d20.  Religion Check (INT)
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 719 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sat 4 Aug 2018
at 19:49
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Unf."  Nicolai wipes his gloves on the cephalopod's robes before stripping them off and inspecting them for lingering contamination.  "Okay, that's enough fun for now.  I'll take over at the other tunnel."  He trots over to the entrance Gronk indicated earlier.  "Hey, Corros.  When you're done there, the dead thing had a scroll.  I've never seen its like.  I think it's written in Squid."
Raellus
 GM, 886 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 5 Aug 2018
at 20:43
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gronk takes Ulfgar's teasing in stride. In fact, he thinks he probably wouldn't mind knowing what it feels like to be a dinosaur for a bit. He snorts at Ulfgar's analysis of the structures. "What about that Tiefling you mentioned? Think he might be able to tell what this is?"

-
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 567 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Mon 6 Aug 2018
at 08:58
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna takes a few minutes  to study the unfamiliar structure, moving around the things that might be pillars, at one point standing inside them and looking upwards before stepping back out, into the main part of the cavern, and shaking her head. ”In the Cloisters they had books, tomes, that described the different ways that false gods were worshipped.” The young Acolytes had been schooled in the contents of these tomes, that they would know their enemy when they encountered it.

”This is unlike anything that I have heard of. No cult or sect was recorded as having constructed underground stone circles.” She shrugs. ”I am no Builder but it seems to me as though this structure would be incapable of bearing the weight of a roof. So I think it highly unlikely that this is some form of Temple. If it is it is not associated with any false god that I am familiar with.”
Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 43 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Tue 7 Aug 2018
at 22:02
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Raellus:
"What about that Tiefling you mentioned? Think he might be able to tell what this is?"


"Perhaps, but I'll need to rest to move the block of stone out of the way so I can get back to her," Ulfgar said, with the last word spoken a bit sheepishly.
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 720 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Wed 8 Aug 2018
at 02:15
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai parses the subtext, flashes an exquisitely bland Ah. to Corros, and makes sure he's facing away from Ulfgar before briefly smirking into the darkness.
Raellus
 GM, 887 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 11 Aug 2018
at 02:37
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros consults the Library, comes up empty. If he has to guess, he'd say that this is some sort of eldritch beast, long entombed- the sort ambitious necromancers would love to get their hooks into.

He studies the plundered scroll. He can read the text, no problem. It's a Imprisonment spell, a particularly powerful ritual.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 18:24, Sat 11 Aug 2018.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 534 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sat 11 Aug 2018
at 17:55
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Corros prods the squidheaded pile of mush gently with a boot, one eye turned towards Jenna in concern, and the other at the imprisoned remains of whatever they happen to be camped out in.  "Best guess?  This guy here had some necromatic tendencies that we interrupted with some of our own.  He planned on waking this thing up, at least its spirit, and imprisoning it to do his will, yeah?"  The half elf shakes his head. "This thing is an asshole magnet.  Might be worth sealing off one of these caverns just to slow everyone down and let them fight over it.  If we hang out, we're just going to be killing more and more people."  From the tone of his voice, it doesn't sound like Corros is particularly bothered by the idea of killing the kinds of things that are going to come down this far into the dark to play around with this thing.

"So then, is this The Sleeper?  A sidekick?  This is huge, yeah?  If this is the little buddy, we need to figure out how to stop the main event."If they're even related.  This could just be something else buried far underground in the hopes of never being found again.

This message was last edited by the player at 20:14, Sat 11 Aug 2018.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 722 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 12 Aug 2018
at 12:17
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Huh.  Is anyone else getting the crawling High Court paranoia again?"  Nicolai casts a glance over his shoulder.  "The last time we were down here, something was poking at our heads.  If we're not experiencing that, I don't think that's the Sleeper.  It's clearly valuable to every asshole down here, as you say, but it doesn't seem to be active in any way."
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 569 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sun 12 Aug 2018
at 13:21
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Can we destroy it?" Jenna asks, standing with the others, her arms folded, looking up at the structure. "If we let everyone fight over it then sooner or later someone will win. But if we can destroy it then there is no prize for the eventual victor to claim."
Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 44 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Sun 12 Aug 2018
at 14:06
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"There use to be a miner's pick in the bag," Ulfgar says, motioning to the bag of holding.  "Someone could start chipping away at skeleton." Frostbeard knew that it would take a long time to destroy the creature, but perhaps targeting a few key points, might be enough to render the rest worthless.
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 724 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sat 18 Aug 2018
at 18:14
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Huh again."  Nicolai glances over his shoulder at the skeleton.  "Kneecaps and elbows?  Maybe the jaw hinge for good measure?"
Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 47 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Sun 19 Aug 2018
at 15:10
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Ulfgar settles in to continue his long rest.  He wasn't as much concerned about his remaining slots, as he was updating his spells to deal with this environment and its enemies.

Updated Prepared Spells (13):

Level 0: Druidcraft, Produce Fire, Shillelagh, Guidance
Level 1: Absorb Elements, Faerie Fire (DEX), Goodberry, Speak with Animals (R)
Level 2: Darkvision, Heat Metal (CON), Hold Person (WIS), Spike Growth [CoL: Spider Climb, Web]
Level 3: Conjure Animals, Plant Growth, Wind Wall (STR) [CoL: Gaseous Form, Stinking Cloud]
Level 4: Conjure Woodland Beings, Wall of Fire (DEX) [CoL: Greater Invisibility, Stone Shape]

Spell Slots: 1st: 4, 2nd: 3, 3rd: 3, 4th: 2
Spell Save DC: 16             Spell Attack Modifier: +8

Assuming we don't get interrupted again...

Raellus
 GM, 892 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 19 Aug 2018
at 21:18
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Ulfgar magically seals the upper cavern entrance with a wall of rock. While Jenna and Ulfgar bed down (not together, of course) to get some more restorative sleep, the others set a guard at the lower entrance and attempt to destroy what they can see of the giant skeleton. As they approach the exposed ribs of the long-dead megabeast, tools in hand, the would-be vandals are struck with a sudden wall of fear. They exchange glances, both reassured and troubled that each is not alone in experiencing this odd, seemingly-irrational emotion (the creature is, after all, dead already). Gronk shakes it off and strikes at a massive rib with his morning star. The blow knocks a chip out of the rib, and the orc experiences no immediate ill effects. The feeling of fear is still there, however, rubbing against consciousness, but it doesn't stop the adventurers from whacking away at the skeletal remains. Still, it turns out to be a lot of work for little apparent reward.

At the end of the fourth hour, Jenna and Ulfgar awake, refreshed. The others, on the other hand, are tired and frustrated. Not surprisingly, Deepdelver, and experienced miner, produced the best results, removing an impressive 4'x4' chunk of from the lower end of one rib (about 90% of undamaged rib remains exposed). Gronk takes second place, with a  6"-square excavation. Nic and Corros barely chipped their ribs, their only reward being numerous blisters. The massive creature is still dead, the strange fear diminished but still present.

Long Rest (Jenna & Ulfgar) completed.


Your Turn.

-
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 728 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 19 Aug 2018
at 23:54
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"This is the advantage of being rich," Nicolai comments sotto voce to Corros.  "You can hire other people to do your manual labor and dangerous exploration.  Say, some rootless adventurers without any inconvenient strong local ties."  He restrains himself from tossing the pickaxe aside only through a long-standing habit of not needlessly abusing tools.

"So.  Amaldaris is missing.  He'd only been with us a day or three and his loyalties were questionable but he was at least not trying to kill us.  Zima's still unaccounted for.  Kerek is, unfortunately, accounted for.  Where do we go from here?"  He spreads his hands.  "I'm not sure we've learned much beyond this thing," he tilts his head toward the skeleton, "is important and creepy and prone to attracting trouble."
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 541 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sat 25 Aug 2018
at 15:47
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"I don't know," Corros replies to Nic, flexing his hands and trying to gauge the blisters to necessary flexibility needed for casting spells ratio.  "I mean, we get all the physical benefits of our work: blisters that will turn into callouses, the fitness of constant fights, and the views of beautiful caverns, complete with mostly dead monsters from ages long ago.  Who wants to be rich and miss out on all of that, yeah?"

His hands hurt, there is no denying it.  "If we can get back on our feet, I guess we go hunt down the rest of the Drow.  Based on earlier sudden throat bashing, maybe Amaldaris headed that way.  Or he got pulled into stone and his screaming bloody murder as his sanity is drained away by the next creature to find this thing." From his tone, it's not obvious whether the half-elf has strong feelings on the matter.

"We've got too many loose ends and too many people missing who know what we're doing here."

Corros looks over at the stirring spell casters.

"All else fails, we keep going down."
Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 50 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Wed 29 Aug 2018
at 11:22
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Ulfgar clapped his hands after standing and stretching.

"Alright, since no one made coffee, I guess we'll get back to exploring the Underdark," Frostbeard said.  "I can open up the upper passage now that I've gotten some rest.  We should be prepared for a horde of baddie to be lurking behind it." he said, as he motioned toward the location where the passage had been, before he'd sealed it up with his Stone Shape spell.
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 573 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Wed 29 Aug 2018
at 16:09
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna could feel the renewed connection with the Goddess as soon as she opened her eyes. Arma was with her, was in her thoughts, Her power and grace was rippling through her as she rose. Blinking away the last vestiges of sleep she walked across the cavern to join the others gathered around the giant skeleton, her neck craning as she looked up at it. She was a little confused, for she had thought that the others were going to knock it down while she and Ulfgar rested but it seemed that they had made little impression on it.

”It looks much the same as it did before” she said to Corros innocently before turning her thoughts to the conversation about their next moves. ”So, are we going onwards and downwards?”
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 545 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Wed 29 Aug 2018
at 20:22
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The blisters in Corros' hands burn about as bright as his face.

"Lucky I love you," he croaks out quietly.  Then he freezes, aware of what he just said out loud.  He quickly proceeds like nothing at all has happened. "Down.  The bad guys are always down, yeah? Things have never gotten better by going farther down.  Ever."  He knows it's true.  The Library told him so.
Raellus
 GM, 894 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Thu 30 Aug 2018
at 00:04
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Corros Graelor:
"Lucky I love you," he croaks out quietly.  Then he freezes, aware of what he just said out loud.  He quickly proceeds like nothing at all has happened. "Down.  The bad guys are always down, yeah? Things have never gotten better by going farther down.  Ever."  He knows it's true.  The Library told him so.


Despite his lofty status as "mayor" of Yonder's Hole, Deepdelver has so far not been one to offer unsolicited opinions. For once, however, he speaks up, "Hm. I've been thinking about what's above us- those big, finished tunnels with the tile and the Golem guard. When we first entered from aboveground, we had a choice- right or left. We chose right. The tunnel continued to the left, though. And we haven't found anything down here that makes dead folks into undead ones. It's just a suggestion, but why don't we head back up, and explore the left-hand tunnel, see where it leads?" He getures towards Ulfgar, "We can stop at your druid friend's along the way, ask him about this thing." This last, clearly a reference to the massive, partially exposed skeleton that denizens of the Underdark are so interested in.

-
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 732 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Thu 30 Aug 2018
at 00:12
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Forewarned by the couple's body language, Nicolai has enough self-control to not react outwardly to Corros' unintended declaration.  He does, however, turn away slightly to give the witchling a moment of privacy to get his blush under control.  Part of him considers warning Corros of the hazards of giving fortune unnecessary hostages, but it's a small part.  Jenna, as demonstrated repeatedly over the months of their acquaintanceship, does not let her steadily-eroding cloistered naivete get in the way of taking care of herself.

Deepdelver's apparent obliviousness to the byplay - nope, definitely oblivious, as Nicolai checks the dwarf's mien - saves him from having to excavate the conversation.  "Her."  When Deepdelver pauses in confusion, Nicolai amplifies, "The druid is a she."  He quirks an eyebrow at Ulfgar.  "But otherwise, I'm easily convinced to try another branch.  I think we've squared our accounts with the gnomes and I'm sure they'd rather we were on our way out of the neighborhood.  Though we may want to warn them about this."
Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 52 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Thu 30 Aug 2018
at 17:09
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Aye, it's 'her'," Ulfgar said, trying not to sound too defensive about it.  In a land of dragons, faeries, and powerful magic, Ulfgar's platonic relationship with a female tiefling was the hardest thing for some people to believe in; some people meaning Evra.

"Well, we'd best be about it," Frostbeard grumbled out as he moved to face the rock face that he'd created just a few hours ago.  "I'm going to turn it into a door this time," he said.  After pausing for just a second to center himself, he started chanting in the ancient Druidic tongue.


Ulfgar Frostbeard
Casting Stone Shape and creating a door with two hinges and a latch per the spells:

The object you create can have up to two hinges and a latch, but finer mechanical detail isn’t possible.

https://roll20.net/compendium/...tone%20Shape#content

Raellus
 GM, 895 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Fri 31 Aug 2018
at 00:12
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

As Ulfgar prepares to weave the ancient druidic [Stone Shape] spell over the interior rock face, constructing a hinged and latched door through the barrier, he hears the insistent metallic tinking of picks striking against its far side. Someone is trying to get in.

OOC: Ulfgar can either continue the spell to completion, or terminate it without expending the spell slot.


Your Turn.

-
Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 53 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Fri 31 Aug 2018
at 00:58
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Ulfgar executed an abrupt spell pull-out; a frustrating experience as he had pent up 4th level spell energy.

"Fuuuuuu...  fuuuunnny sound coming from there," Ulfgar said as he pointed at the 5 foot section of wall he was moments away from casting all over.
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 546 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sat 1 Sep 2018
at 16:30
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"If we pause to fight, we're going to be right back where we started," Corros says.  Their other spell casters just got back up to full strength.  "Maybe a hasty retreat through the back door, yeah?"  Of course, that's our way back up and maybe it's the other half of the Drow slaver party.  That would be fun.  And who knows how long it would take them to figure out a way around this room.  "Otherwise, let'em work and ambush'em on the way in."
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 733 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Tue 4 Sep 2018
at 18:31
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"If we go out the back, do you know how to get to the fungus garden by that route?" Nicolai asks, looking at Ulfgar.  "If not, then the ambush option is probably the best of a bad set."
Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 54 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Wed 5 Sep 2018
at 12:12
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Ulfgar shook his head no.  "Not sure where that leads..." he said, tilting his head back toward the other, open passage.

"Keep in mind, if I cast the Stone Shape spell, we'll get them when they're armed with picks and such.  Hell, if I time it right, I might get a few mid swing, which'll throw 'em way off balance." Frostbeard offered.
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 574 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Fri 7 Sep 2018
at 12:32
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
”We don’t know for sure who is on the other side of the rock.” Jenna said. There was a chance it might be the gnomes. Or someone else that didn’t want to kill or enslave them. Granted it was probably a slim chance so Jenna took up a position where she could fire a Guiding Bolt at the opening should Ulfgar make it reappear.
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 547 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sun 9 Sep 2018
at 15:31
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Okay, the front door it is," Corros nods. "Let's just make sure we don't slam some slaves we're trying to save, yeah?  After that, we'll deal with whatever else is out there."  The power of The Library is already beginning to coalesce in his hands, a Shatter spell starting to take form.

The slim warlock takes his place behind Jenna, taking comfort in her presence and knowing that's where she'd prefer him to be anyway.  In a totally non-dirty way.
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 734 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 9 Sep 2018
at 18:01
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai nods, checks his angles, and puts his back to the stone in a place where he'll be just out of the peripheral vision of anyone coming through the door.  Assuming "anyone" has a normal humanoid eye arrangement, anyway.  He unsheathes his rapier with his stronger left hand and lets the sun blade's hilt drop into his right.  He doesn't awaken the artifact yet, though, saving that for a last-second surprise.
Raellus
 GM, 896 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 9 Sep 2018
at 20:48
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The sound of picks striking stone continues, growing louder as the rock on the opposite side is chipped away. It's repetitive and jarring, especially with only anticipation to accompany it. Finally, bits of rock crumble from the near side of the barrier. A small hole appears, then the pointy end of a pick. It disappears, reappears, gets hung up temporarily on the ledge of the opening. No light shines through. Whoever/whatever is digging apparently does not require light to see. The hole grows, then the wall collapses, creating a opening the size of a standard door. The companions stand back, trying to stay out of the diggers' line of sight. A grey dwarf steps through the hole, followed a moment later by another. They don't see the lurkers until...


Your Turn.

-
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 549 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Mon 10 Sep 2018
at 14:48
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
With the enemy identified, Corros grasps the power whirling around his fingers and calls forth The Library.  He can see the figures emerging from the newly mined door.  A combination of harsh words and fine finger movements delicately places a spell of destruction a foot or so behind the second dwarf to emerge and announces the presence of The Five with an ear shattering explosion.

This place really does attract all kinds of trouble.

Corros
AC 13, 61/61 HP
Casting Shatter directly behind the second dark dwarf to emerge, 4th level, 5d8 damage, save for half

Raellus
 GM, 897 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Tue 11 Sep 2018
at 00:53
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

A violent explosion shakes the ledge, completing the destruction of Ulfgar's magical stone wall. Buffeted by the blast, the lead pair of Duergar stumble but don't fall, the worst effects of the explosion behind them. There are others beyond the opening, revealed now by its violent widening. Two figures are flung down by the destructive power of the warlock's spell. There are others behind them, still on their feet and preparing to fight.

D1 -10HP
D2 -10HP
D3 -10HP
Orc = dead
Human = dead
D4 uninjured
D5 uninjured
D6 uninjured


Your Turn.

-
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 575 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Tue 11 Sep 2018
at 13:33
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna points towards the first figure that she can see that appears to be unharmed, calls on the Goddess's divine power to let loose a bolt of radiant energy.

Jenna
Ac 21
Hp 56/56
Level 3 guiding bolt at D4

Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 55 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Wed 12 Sep 2018
at 14:11
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Ulfgar cast a spell as the evil dwarves emerged through the opening.  "Ewch ati!" he commanded, as green Faerie Fire enveloped the doorway area.  Hopefully some would stick to these menotho-knurlags*!

*Dwarven Equivalent to 'Bad Hombres'

Ulfgar Frostbeard
Casting Faerie Fire in the middle of the group.  20ft cube, DC16 DEX Save to avoid.  Effect: An attack can be made with advantage against any creature or object that is affected by this spell and that creature or object cannot become invisible.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 552 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Wed 12 Sep 2018
at 19:39
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gods Corros curses silently.  He doesn't specify which ones.  Time in The Library has dissuaded him of the unique nature of any one of them.  Instead, he invokes all of them.  It makes the swearing feel extra good.

And he deserves to swear.  He can see well enough behind the first group of advancing dwarves that he has blasted another pair of humanoids into shapeless piles at the feet of his adversaries.  The warlock really hopes they weren't slaves but willing accomplices.  The Five probably owe it to them to try and find out.

Corros steps slightly to the side and flings two blasts of energy into the face of the first dwarf to emerge.

They're going to have to press hard to get to his victims in time.

Corros
AC 13, 61/61 HP
Casting 2x Eldritch Blast at D1, +8 to attack, d10+5 damage each.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 737 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 16 Sep 2018
at 00:05
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
The Sun Blade ignites as Nicolai subvocalizes the phrase of command.  Given the magical energies shrieking and reverberating through the cavern, let alone his own weapon's thoroughly unsubtle nature, he doesn't really need to be discreet, but some things are ingrained deeper than mere habit now.

He notes the crumples forms of the human and orc as obstacles to be avoided.  A small part of his mind tugs at the same concern that's dawning for Corros, but - sucks to be the hostage is a universal truth.

The better part of his attention is turned toward the dancing fires of Ulfgar's magic wrapped around the underdwarves.  It's as good a mechanism as any for choosing a target.

Nicolai - AC 16 • HP 61/61 • Superiority Dice 4/4

Statuses: emitting sunlight (Sun Blade)

Wait: a moment for magic attacks to resolve
Bonus: activating Sun Blade
Move: into melee with nearest Faerie Fire'd Duergar
Attack x2: Sun Blade (attack +8 with advantage, damage 1d8+5 radiant) on duergar
Special: First successful attack gains +2d6 sneak attack damage from Faerie Fire advantage

Gronk
 Party NPC, 146 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Sun 16 Sep 2018
at 19:58
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gronk moves into his customary position beside Nicolai, morning star cocked and ready to deliver a smashing blow at the first Duergar that steps into range.

Gronk
Moving into melee beside Nic
2x +9 melee attacks (possibly w/ advantage); 1d8 +8 damage
Riposte on tap


-
Raellus
 GM, 899 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 16 Sep 2018
at 20:17
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Jenna might be too close to the point-dwarf for her Guiding Bolt spell to work. The Duergar might be exceptionally lucky. Either way, the priestess' spell fails and the Grey Dwarf somehow avoids the effect of the druid's Faerie Fire spell as well. No matter. Corros Eldritch blasts catches the first Duergar full force, blasting it backwards in a smoking heap.

Nic and Gronk combine to kill the second Duergar, the half-orc's brute force complementing Nic's sophisticated swordplay.

Just beyond the blasted threshold, four more Duergar glow with a shimmering, green light, enveloped in Ulfgar's Faerie Fire. A seventh Grey Dwarf, at the very back of the ragged formation, is there one second, gone so fast that the adventurers are left to wonder if they'd just imagined him.

The Duegar are taken completely by surprise by the unexpected onslaught.

D1 is dead!
D2 is dead!
D3 wounded, granting advantage
D4 granting advantage
D5 ""
D6 ""
D7 invisible?



Your Turn.

-
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 738 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 16 Sep 2018
at 21:48
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Next," Nicolai hisses, pointing at the third Duergar in line.  He steps forward with Gronk to continue their work.

Nicolai - AC 16 • HP 61/61 • Superiority Dice 4/4

Statuses: emitting sunlight (Sun Blade)

Move: into melee with D3/D4
Attack x2: Sun Blade (attack +8 with advantage, damage 1d8+5 radiant) on D3
Bonus: attack with rapier (attack +7 with advantage, damage 1d8+4 piercing)
Special: f1irst successful attack gains +2d6 sneak attack damage from Faerie Fire advantage

Contingency: if D3 goes down, shift remaining attacks to D4

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 553 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Mon 17 Sep 2018
at 17:51
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Corros advances with the violence being inflicted on the dwarves.  The Five are like a wave in this moment, rolling back their enemy.  The disappearance of the final dark dwarf <i>does</>T raise a few red flags in the warlocks mind, flags that he will address should they become a problem.  For now, he wants to close the distance between himself and the human soon to be permanently dead body on the ground.

With the Library wrapping it's protective energies around him, Corros moves and unleashes another blast of energy.


Corros
AC 13, 61/61 HP
Advancing toward the bodies on the ground behind Nic and Gronk (move action)
Casting 2x eldritch blast at the next D in line. +8 to hit, d10+5 damage each
Counterspell ready for possible enemy spell caster as reaction

Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 56 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Mon 17 Sep 2018
at 20:49
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Let the flames cleanse these Dwarven abominations!" Ulfgar intoned as he created a small mote of fire in his hand and tossed at the fifth of the original Duergar foes.

Ulfgar Frostbeard
Staying 25 foot away from D5
AC: 18, HP: 84
Casting Cantrip Produce Flame @D5.  +8 to hit (w/Advantage), 2d8 fire damage.

Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 576 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Mon 17 Sep 2018
at 21:43
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna has no time to dwell on the fact that her first attack has missed. Rather, she moves to one side so that she can get a clear shot as Nicolai and Gronk advance, the air around her suddenly alive with raw energy as Corros and Ulfgar launch their own onslaughts. Eyes that are milky pools of white pick out the next in line, the green aura that surrounds him highlighting him as she raises her hand, invokes the Goddess's name and sends her own bolt of radiance arcing towards him.

Jenna
AC 21, HP 56/56
Casting Level 3 guiding bolt at D6

This message was last edited by the player at 21:44, Mon 17 Sept 2018.

Gronk
 Party NPC, 147 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Thu 20 Sep 2018
at 00:38
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gronk moves in step with Nicolai, ready to knock down the next row of Duergar. The half-orc, ex-gladiator has developed an unspoken understanding with the Ardani, a symbiotic working relationship that imperils anyone or anything that stands in their way.

Gronk
Moving into melee beside Nic
2x +9 melee attacks (possibly w/ advantage); 1d8 +8 damage
Riposte on tap


-
Raellus
 GM, 900 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Thu 20 Sep 2018
at 00:57
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Nic cuts down his first target (D3) with a quick flourish, then wounds the next Grey Dwarf (D4) with an almost casual flick of his wrist. Corros finishes the latter Duergar off with an Eldritch Blast, clearing his allies' respective paths to the next rank of Grey Dwarves. Ulfgar burns his target (D5) with a mote of magical fire; Gronk finishes off the scorched Duergar with a forehand blow from his trusty morning star. Jenna's bolt of divine radiance is so powerful, nothing is left of her target (D6) but a smoking, greasy stain on the tunnel floor. It's hard to tell over the sound of heavy breathing and echo of ringing steel, but the companions believe they can hear the soft slap of feet against rock receding down the now empty tunnel beyond. Bodies- six Duergar, one orc, and one human- litter the floor at their feet.


Your Turn.

-
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 555 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Fri 21 Sep 2018
at 21:42
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The half-elven warlock doesn't waste time looking for more enemies, not with life literally bleeding out of the bodies on the ground.  His friends have proven time and again that they will protect him while he works, with their own bodies if need be.  Fear that he has struck down two relative innocents drives him into action.

Corros kneels near the human and presses his hands against the dying man's forehead.  He's never cast this spell, but it doesn't matter.  The Library pours the knowledge into its servant's mind, the words escaping his lips to halt bleeding and keep a soul from taking flight.  Even with the cantrip, the damage has been done and will take more than his meager healing powers to address.

And he knows they can't stay here for long.


Corros
Casting Spare the Dying on the human.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 740 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Fri 21 Sep 2018
at 22:57
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai fistbumps Gronk, then steps to one side of the door and puts his back to the wall.  "There's still one out there," he tells his battle buddy.  "Let's get set up in case he comes back with more friends."
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 577 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sat 22 Sep 2018
at 16:57
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna watches as her enemy quite literally disintegrate before her eyes, the power of the Goddess striking him from this place as though he had never existed. Such was Arma's glory, Her might. Surely it was folly for any to try and stand against Her! And Jenna was the instrument of Her will, the conduit through which Her grace flowed out.

The Priestess takes a deep breath, a shiver visibly coursing through her a Corros moves forward. Corros. Her eyes close for a heartbeat as she steals a moment to revel in her lover's nearness. Yet what would Arma say? If Jenna was Her conduit then what did that mean when she was with Corros? It was a question that she knows not the answer to.

And one that there is no time to dwell on. For where these dark dwarves came from there were probably others. If, indeed, they had managed to kill all of these ones. Jenna is unsure and so shifts slightly so that she can send another bolt of Arma's power through the opening should any show themselves.
Gronk
 Party NPC, 148 posts
 Half-Orc Fighter
 Raellus
Sat 22 Sep 2018
at 18:17
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Gronk, relaxing just a bit in his fighting stance, smiles at the fist bump, and proclaims, "Coach told me never to get cocky but, damn, we're good."

He takes a few steps forward, stands in the middle of the tunnel, vigilant and ready to restart the fight, forming an ad-hoc half-orc roadblock so that Corros and the other casters can do their work.

-

This message was last edited by the player at 18:18, Sat 22 Sept 2018.

Raellus
 GM, 901 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sat 22 Sep 2018
at 18:30
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

As Corros finishes his incantation, the dead man's eyes flutter open. He gasps. It takes a few seconds for Corros to calm him down. He has trouble speaking at first, and when the words finally come, he explains that there are gaps in his memory. In bits and pieces he recounts the tale of his capture.

"We were digging...

"Monsters attacked us. We ran. It was dark, I couldn't see anything...

"I heard someone calling my name- thought I did, at least. It was strange. It was like the voice was coming from inside my own head. I know this sounds crazy but... I started to follow it, then I...

"I fell."

He's quiet for a full minute, eyes closed as he dredges the dark recesses of memory.

"The next thing I can remember is... being in chains."

He looks pointedly at one of the fresh Duergar corpses. "These bastards caught me, I guess. Brought me here. Told me to dig."

When questioned about a certain elven monk, and a half-elf ranger he thinks hard for a few seconds.

"No, no elven monk but yeah, I remember a half-elf woman. She... I think she got away. I can't tell you when or where, though. Hells, I'm not even sure how long I've been down here."


Your Turn.

-
Raellus
 GM, 902 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 23 Sep 2018
at 21:03
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

When revived, the Orc simply glares and snarls. He refuses to answer any questions. He clearly does not trust his strange saviors. He's too weak to fight, or perhaps he would.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 21:06, Sun 23 Sept 2018.

Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 557 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sun 23 Sep 2018
at 21:56
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros nods at the man's tale and smiles encouragingly.  "Turns out digging isn't the best of ideas around here, yeah?"  He looks around at his friends and the admittedly surly orc who seems to have made his decision on who he would like to support.  "We'll try to get you back to some safety, at least," Corros adds, thinking about the gnome settlement as the only real place they can leave their new friend.  "Maybe while we travel your memory will return, or with some rest.  But we can't stay here."

Snarls from the recently-dead-then-not-dead orc draw Corros's attention away from the human.

You can show some thrice-damned respect and answer some questions or we'll leave you here for the drow to draft into their digging parties.  Your choice.  The thoughts projected to the humanoid are sharp and pointed, and leaving no doubt as to which way Corros would be happy to lean.
Raellus
 GM, 903 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Tue 25 Sep 2018
at 00:05
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros senses shock, confusion, fear- emotions he's come to expect as the de rigueur response to the initial, unexpected psychic contact. The Orc's thoughts are confusing jumble of crude language and imagery, thought pictures both literal and symbolic. One in particular stands out, a nondescript creature, lacking recognizable shape or form, like the shadow of a shadow, but huge in physical dimensions, suddenly opens a glowing red eye.

The Sleeper Awakes.

The Orc can sense that Corros is reading its thoughts, this image in particular. It shakes it's head violently and howls, willing its mind blank. Unless the Five can somehow establish trust with the unwilling creature, they'll get nothing more from him.

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 00:05, Tue 25 Sept 2018.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 741 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Tue 25 Sep 2018
at 00:24
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai steps forward.  For a human, he'd take a knee to put his eyes on a level with his subject, but orcish culture uses different power dynamics, so he remains on his feet with one hand resting on his rapier's hilt.  "We're familiar with the Sleeper," he says in the orc tongue, already regretting what this is going to do to his throat.  "Krŏsh and One-Eye have told us some about it.  What has happened since we last were their guests?"
Raellus
 GM, 904 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Tue 25 Sep 2018
at 05:02
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

At the mention of Krŏsh and One-Eye, the orc stops his carrying on. He looks flabbergasted. The already swart-eyed creature squints, studying the Ardani hard, then looks at the others, each in turn.

He slowly reaches for his own neck, grasps a leather thong, pulls it slowly up, revealing a familiar totem- the Five have one of their own. Nic draws it from Ulfgar's Bag of Holding, holds it up so that the orc can see it.

"You are... were, friends of the Skullbusters." the orc declares in his native tongue. "But how can I trust you now? The diggers returned," he says, rather accusatorily. "They roused the Sleeper. And I find you here. Why? What are you doing here?"

Anticipating that his saviors- or captors, he's not sure which- might ask him the same thing, he continues, "I was sent to check on the mine. We heard rumors that the digging had begun again, and One-Eye's visions returned."

-

This message was last edited by the GM at 05:04, Tue 25 Sept 2018.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 742 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Fri 28 Sep 2018
at 20:01
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai nods.  He expected this and is more than ready to throw Balefyre's city leaders under the wagon.  "We're here because people didn't listen to us last time and their digging is causing problems again.  Perhaps we didn't kill enough of them to make the point."  He frowns.  "Also, after the last time we met Krŏsh and One-Eye, we were trapped in another set of tunnels."  He makes an ambiguous wave at the surrounding walls.  "Time flowed differently there.  We were underground for a few hours, but when we returned to the city, months had passed and our warnings had been forgotten."
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 558 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Fri 28 Sep 2018
at 22:03
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"Well this keeps getting better," Corros mumbles, following the translations as best he can from Nic's mind.  The warlock wishes he was surprised at the orc's revelations.  But warnings from missing heroes had been no barrier to cold hard coins.  Sleeper or not.  "If the orcs are still fighting the sleeper, we're on the same side.  But we've got a problem, because the Sleeper is awake.  Not waking, yeah?"

They've got a "Weapon" and they've got a "Sleeper" to deal with.  "Do we get this guy back to shallow tunnels and let him go?  Send him home to tell Krŏsh that we're on it?"  Corros would really rather not have a war party of orcs down here to contend with as well as all the other hostiles they've seen lately.
Raellus
 GM, 906 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Tue 25 Dec 2018
at 22:15
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

The companions are gathered around a small campfire in a subterranean grove. Instead of trees, stalagmites; instead of shrubbery, clusters of footstool-sized mushrooms that glow blue and red. Cold, clear water runs down a central floor-to-ceiling stalactite, collecting in a round central pool which empties into a small stream that exits the chamber through a floor shaft in the corner. The grove's caretaker is a Tiefling druidess named Ladresa. Despite her demonic ancestry and somewhat unsettling visage (including a pair of curling, ribbed, ram-like horns), the druidess is quite attractive- smooth, ebony skin, midnight black hair, and blood-red eyes. Her sharp, yet delicate facial features are arrayed with nearly perfect symmetry. Her contralto voice is uncommonly deep, yet pleasingly mellifluous.

"The complex above is ancient, so much so that these caves are young by comparison. The Elder Race of Men built the vaults to contain a powerful weapon of some sort, however, its exact nature is still unknown to me, nor do I know why it was abandoned.

"Most of these caves didn't exist when the complex was constructed. The larger caverns were bored out by nesting Purple Worms and expanded by collapses and natural erosion as water from the surface found its way down. Over the centuries, various Underdark dwellers constructed their own annexes and connected them with passageways and tunnels. The two subterranean worlds remained separate and unknown to the other until a cave-in created a connection. I have yet to determine whether this was a natural or intentional event.

"I'm also not sure which came first, the weapon awakening, or the Underdwellers' discovery of the containment compound. I suspect the former is the case, as the device seems to call creatures of an evil persuasion to itself. I think that it wanted to be found. Now, many seek the weapon- the Drow, Duergar, agents from the surface- even the brutish and stupid are drawn to this thing. It is undoubted an extraordinarily powerful artifact, although the precise nature of its power is still unclear. One of its abilities appears to be the granting of undeath. Mind control might be another.

"What is clear to me now is that such a thing was entombed for a reason. If the Elder Race of Men could not master it, and feared its power enough to lock it away, guarded and hidden- ultimately forgotten- I believe strongly should remain unclaimed and unfound. This, now, appears an increasingly unlikely outcome."


-

This message was last edited by the GM at 04:47, Wed 26 Dec 2018.

Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 744 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Wed 26 Dec 2018
at 02:03
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai sits cross-legged with his back against a moss-shrouded stalagmite.  His hands and a corner of his awareness are busy mixing fresh healing poultices, using some dried herbs from his pack and a few fresh ingredients gathered from the cave-grove with Ulfgar's advice on substitutions.  The better part of his attention is on Ladresa, both her exposition and her appearance.  He's known a few of the devil-blooded before, mainly in the context of his service to the Throne's Reach, where the ones on his side were capable agents and the ones in opposing service were equally-capable and highly-unpredictable opponents.  So the druidess' looks, while exotic, are neither unexpected nor off-putting.  Quite the contrary, in fact, and Nicolai has to remind himself to stay professional.  Purely platonic, hm, Ulfgar?  I'll take that at face value, and thank you for it, and now I understand why Evra has a bad case of green-eye.

"We've some experience with its effects," he contributes when Ladresa pauses.  "We were here some months ago, the first time the undead attacked the miners on the surface.  Ulfgar's told you of the echoes, for lack of a better word, and of the paranoia, and the things in the caverns around it."  He glances at the dwarf and receives an acknowledging nod.  "It's unlikely that common sense and self-preservation will prevail, so in the absence of all involved parties pulling back and agreeing to bury the thing, I agree we need to deny it to them.  Preferably permanently, although the best we can do may be to defer the problem for a few generations the way its original owners did."
Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 60 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Wed 26 Dec 2018
at 12:51
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Aye, we need to make sure no one can use this thing," Ulfgar said, in general agreement with the Ardani.  "That said, I think we must learn much more about it in order to do so.  Perhaps it holds the means to its own destruction?  Or at least some magical ability to that we might use to bury it again?" Frostbeard added in a speculative and somewhat unsure tone.
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 560 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Wed 26 Dec 2018
at 18:30
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Corros sits on the ground next to Jenna, leg brushing up against hers.  There's no point in pretending he doesn't take comfort in her presence anymore.  Talk of ancient weapons, another race of men, and the denizens of the Underdark combining in the local area is unsettling enough.  The fact that the said weapon can bend minds as well as time is just plain not good.  Still, the group is going to have to piece the puzzle together and figure out how to take this down.

"So is The Sleeper the weapon or are they two different things?" Corros asks looking at Ladresa.  She's attractive enough, for sure, but the warlock has enough self control not to leer or stare long enough to make Jenna uncomfortable.  And the part-demon thing is a bit of a deal-breaker in any case.  The Library whispers all kinds of not-so-great things about demons in his dreams on a regular basis.

"And we need to figure out how to contain this thing before we make a grab for it.  Given the mind-fuck it hit us with before, I'm not positive we can hold off its effects for long."
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 579 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sun 30 Dec 2018
at 22:40
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna sat, next to Corros, enjoying his closeness, the proximity of his leg to hers. It was a simple thing, really, innocent enough, but it brought her pleasure in this strange and dark place. She was unsure about the druidess, for her demon born heritage was obvious, yet it seemed that her cause was the same as theirs.

"Even entombing it again may not suffice." She said quietly. "For if it is known that it is here then surely others will come, and others after them, until, eventually, someone claims it. I think we shall have to destroy it."
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 745 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Tue 1 Jan 2019
at 00:53
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Or we could kill everyone who knows about it, Nicolai sends to Corros privately.  The thought is tinged with the bitter self-awareness of gallows humor that, deep down, isn't entirely said in jest, even though it's a really bad idea for many reasons.

He crumbles another few dried hensbane leaves into the mortar in front of him and carefully wipes his hands on a damp rag.  "Then we need more information on the Sleeper.  And the weapon, if it is a separate power.  Entity.  Thing."  He nods to Corros.  "Any thoughts on options there, apart from capturing a senior ranking drow and convincing her to tell us everything she knows?"
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 561 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Tue 1 Jan 2019
at 17:00
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Our departed mind-flayer 'friend' gave us an option that we can use if we find The Sleeper," Corros pats the satchel on his side.  "The creature had a scroll that we can use to bind The Sleeper into a perfect diamond, which we also have.  So that's good, yeah?  The bad is we have to figure out what to do with a bound entity which is going to be powerful and ancient.  I'm also guessing we will be buying off a portable monster magnet to carry around until we can figure out how to dispose of the thing."

Corros swallows. "I'm all for destroying it, yeah?  But somethings tend to resist being destroyed.  They transcend those kind of things.  We should still try.  Even getting it bound and removed from here will go a long way towards making things better.  Maybe our undead friend back in the city has some ideas.  Awkward as that conversation would be."

"As far as finding The Sleeper, I'm not sure yet that anyone knows exactly where it is.  We have a general idea.  Maybe back at the bones.  But even with this scroll I'm not sure I can call it forth.  Not without its Name.  Not without standing near it.  So we either shadow the other groups and hit them after they find it, or we join the random search."

Finally the warlock turns to his lady love.  "Jenna love, can you follow the evil this thing represents?  Sense any kind of power it radiates?"
Raellus
 GM, 909 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Tue 1 Jan 2019
at 17:18
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Ladesra interjects, "I believe that the Weapon, the Sleeper, and the Dark Heart, as the Drow call it, are all the same artifact. Unless someone has already found it and moved it, or the floor has collapsed out from under it, the artifact is most likely still up above, in a containment chamber of some sort, built and forgotten by the Elder Race in ancient days."

-
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 580 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Wed 2 Jan 2019
at 22:57
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"I can try." Jenna said softly, her head turning towards Corros, her blue eyes meeting his. "I can...ask...Arma...I mean...I can pray....and ask Her a question...and She will answer." She's hesitant, there's no question of it. "At least I think I can. I mean, I've never done it before. Spoken directly to Her like that. I've prayed to Her, of course, prayed to Her since I was a child, but this is different." Hesitancy is giving way to apprehension. Jenna was nothing before Arma. Did she dare to reach out to Her like that? At the Cloisters it was only the highest ranked among the faithful that could so such a thing. But Jenna could feel her link to the Goddess, knew that it was so much more powerful than it had been when she had left the Cloisters. But, still, could she do such a thing?

She looked away from Corros, to address the group in general. "If I try to speak to Her I can only ask Her one question. What should I ask Her? It has to be something specific."
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 562 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Fri 4 Jan 2019
at 01:35
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Corros rocks back a little and closes his eyes.  He can see that Jenna is uncertain, but he believes in her and her power.  "Perhaps," he says finally, "She can show us the way forward.  If there is a hidden path, maybe She can reveal it.  Or tell us where to begin.  I mean, we know it's above us, yeah?  But that still leaves an awful lot rock and cave to go through.  And time is probably in short supply if half the Underdark is after The Sleeper."
Ulfgar Frostbeard
 player, 62 posts
 Hill Dwarf Druid
 Spartan-117
Fri 4 Jan 2019
at 10:11
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"If it is a Weapon, then perhaps there's already interest on her part.  I can tell you that if there was a black rhino up there, my Archdruid couldn't stop rattling on about it if I opened up link to him," Ulfgar said, referring to an endangered species of creature.
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 581 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Fri 4 Jan 2019
at 12:52
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna nodded as Corros and Ulfgar spoke. Something had begun to form in her head, a question that perhaps the Goddess might answer for her. The blonde haired Priestess rose from her place next to Corros, took a few steps away from him, not because she wanted to be parted from his presence, but because she needed to focus, could not do so next to the Warlock. She would be…distracted...and that might not sit well with the Goddess.

Would what she was about to do sit well with Arma? Or rather what she was about to try and do? Jenna was nothing before Arma, a mere speck. Did she dare try to speak directly with Her in this fashion? Slowly she sat, cross legged, her back straight as she placed her hands on her knees, palms turned up. She could hear the sound of water, he stream that ran towards the shaft hewn into the corner of the chamber. It seemed to be growing louder as she tilted her head back, her blonde hair falling loose about her shoulders. She was looking upwards, to the roof of the cavern, to the heavens far beyond that, but her eyes were closed so she saw nothing but darkness.

”Goddess…hear me….hear my voice…her my prayer…” her lips began to move, ritual words tumbling from them, words that she should not have known and yet she did. There was a moment of confusion. Teeth chewed on lower lip, biting it hard. How did she know these words? She had not risen sufficiently through the ranks of the Priesthood. Yet she continued to speak, her hair now moving as though of its own accord, dancing. It was similar to what  it did when she channelled the Goddess’s power to toss a bolt of radiant energy at Her enemies. Similar, yet not similar, for its movements were somewhow…fiercer…blonde tresses…whipping through the air as more words feel from her lips. ”Arma, guide us. Can you show us the way Goddess, lead us to where the Sleeper lies?”

Her eyes snap open, stare upwards, pure white, all hint of their normal blue gone, vanquished, her body now trembling, shaking, her breathing ragged. She can hear the water, it sounding like a tidal wave that is sweeping towards her. Somewhere a stalagmite shatters into a myriad of tiny shards. She is speaking more loudly, although she doesn’t know it. ”Show us, that we may do Your bidding Goddess, guide us to it so that we may smite it from this World in Your name and slay the Reaverkind that seek it! Glory to Arma!!!! Death to the Reaver!!!!”
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 746 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Sun 6 Jan 2019
at 16:02
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Nicolai keeps himself from taking a few steps back as Jenna communes with her goddess, though it's a close thing.  His own relationship with the Cofgodas is nowhere near as direct as this, and his own sole visitation with Mórag was more conversational than the invocation of searing power taking place in front of him.  His methods, he suspects from Jenna's own demeanor, are ones of which Arma would rarely approve, so he pulls in on himself to avoid attracting her attention.  Only his eyes move, watching Corros for any indication that Jenna's prayer is going wrong.
Raellus
 GM, 910 posts
 Sage
 Raconteur
Sun 6 Jan 2019
at 20:22
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

Jenna finds herself in a large, domed chamber. Slowly pulsing ripples of reddish light dimly illuminate the smooth walls. In the very center of the room is an octagonal plinth. Atop the plinth, resting upright, is an ovoid shaped stone, the size of a large melon. It is perfectly balanced atop the pedestal. The stone appears to be made of a blood-red crystal, veined with purple. The stone is emitting the faint, pulsing light.

The Sleeper.

The Weapon.

The Dark Heart.


A rushing sound, keeping rhythm with the pulsing light, fills the priestess' ears. She knows that she does not belong here, that many undisturbed wards, unroused sentries bar the way- she can feel their weight behind her.

Jenna knows that she can find this room, that she'll somehow recognize the way. No map appears in her mind's eye- it's more of an intuition. She understands that this chamber is above where her physical body now stands. She realizes that when the party first entered the shaft leading down from the surface, that it chose the wrong path. Instead of going right, as they did, they should have gone left. That, unlike the tunnel beneath the City of Forgotten Ones, this subterranean construct is not in the form of a loop, but rather that of a finite line.

Jenna awakens in the druid's grove.

-
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 582 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Sun 6 Jan 2019
at 20:35
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna blinks, pure white eyes turning to blue slowly enough for anyone looking at her to see their colour change, the blue like water washing over white sand.

"I have seen it" The words are gasped, her chest heaving. "I was there! The Goddess showed me the way!" The Priestess sprang to her feet, pointed above her head, to the rock roof. "It is above us!"

She moved to Corros, literally grabbed him, by his clothing, the gap between them mere fractions of inches, her face right up against his, her breath a warm caress on his skin. "I know where it is! Come! I can take you! I can take us all!"

The words have hardly left her lips when she goes limp, collapses, fainting against her lover.
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 563 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Sun 6 Jan 2019
at 22:37
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
To say that Corros manages to catch his lady love would be a generous description of what can only be described as a controlled fall.  In her full battle armor, there is an awful lot of Jenna Drax and not that much of Corros Graelor.    The priestess falls against the warlock and he wraps his arms around her, determined to protect her against whatever the world throws against them, even if it's just the force of gravity.  Heavy plates of armor halt whatever squeeze he can offer against Jenna's body and he feels the muscles in his legs burn as he controls the momentum carrying them both to the ground.  Breath explodes out of the warlock in an "oof!"

He can feel the amusement leaking out of the others' thoughts.  Despite the revelation they've just been a witness to, Corros has managed to steal most of the dignity of the moment.  Jenna's face is still next to his, her breath shallow and fast.  Corros can see her eyes are closed in something like sleep.  A few subtle movements inform him that he's trapped underneath the priestess unless he wants to spill her to the floor.  "Little help here, yeah?" he asks the his friends.  His pulse slows as the effort of the moment leaves him.

When they've got it all sorted out, and Jenna is resting near him where Corros can keep her safe from the subterranean hell they've been walking around in, he turns his attentions back to the business at hand.

"Guess she was rewarded for her faith," the warlock says, fingers brushing Jenna's blonde hair back from her forehead.  "Can't say I'm looking forward to dealing with this."
Nicolai Romanelli
 Adventurer, 747 posts
 Human Expediter
 Tegyrius
Wed 9 Jan 2019
at 00:53
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
"Yeah, maybe she needs to sleep it off a bit before she takes us there," Nicolai remarks.  "Wherever 'there' is.  I do find myself in agreement with you on the lack of anticipation."

He exhales sharply.  "Maybe we can get the golem at the front door to help us destroy it."
Jenna Drax
 Adventurer, 583 posts
 Human Cleric
 Dave Ross
Thu 10 Jan 2019
at 11:22
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black
Jenna’s eyes snap open. She is lying down, on her back. The first thing that she is aware of is floor, hard under her, cold. But not the rocky floor of the underground cavern. This floor is smooth. She can feel it under her fingers. Stone. She can see a ceiling above her, domed.

She is in the Cloisters. The place that she was brought to as a small child, the place where she learned of the true Faith, the place where she was schooled in the ways of the Warrior, the place where she dedicated herself to Arma.

The Priestess sits up, on the stone floor, realises that she is no longer wearing her battle armour. She is clad in the robes of the Priesthood. White. Pristine. The more senior Clerics of Arma wore grey. Jenna’s armour was grey but she had not been formally accorded the rank within the faithful that would permit her to wear grey, had simply donned the armour of her own accord. The junior ranks of the Clergy wore white robes, but usually they would carry stains, faded crimson standing out against the white, each one marking where the wearer had shed his or her blood in Her name.

But these robes are spotless. The robes of a novice, a new initiate, one who has yet to spill their blood in the name of the Warrior. Jenna is confused. A moment ago she had been talking with the Goddess. Arma had shown her the way to the Sleeper. The Priestess had spoken to Corros...

Corros! Jenna looks around, frantically. Corros is not here. Rationally there is no reason that he should be in the Cloisters. But no one is here. In front of her she can just see a hallway, stretching forward, seemingly forever, pillars lining the walls. It is utterly deserted, no sign of anyone.

What is happening? Where is she?

She blinks.


Jenna blinked, looked up, saw Corros sitting over her, felt his fingers in her hair, heard Nicolai’s voice. She moved an arm, tentatively, felt the weight of full battle armour. Wherever she had been she was back in the cavern now. She sat up, slowly, took a deep breath, looked at her companions. ”I know where it is.” But where had she been? And what did it mean?
Corros Graelor
 Adventurer, 564 posts
 Half-Elf Warlock
 keys138
Wed 16 Jan 2019
at 19:42
Re: Chapter 6: Out of the Black

"When you're ready then, love," Corros says to Jenna with a genuine smile.  "Take your time.  We probably all need to be ready for this."  Something between excitement and wariness wars in his eyes.  Something between being proud and being worried stirs at his heart.  What he could lose if this all goes wrong.  Not just Jenna, but Nic and Grong, and Ulfgar.  Friends and companions that he's never known.  It's a lot to carry.  The warlock shakes his head, trying to focus on what needs to be done even with the risks of being left alone again.

"We need to shut this beast down."