(IC) 1: The Rescue.   Posted by Takmarin.Group: 0
Takmarin
 GM, 113 posts
Wed 29 Jul 2020
at 02:54
(IC) 1:  The Clifftop Keep
Once all together with preparations made, the group leaves the Better Times Inn and heads to the front gates.  The guards, doubled up after the Drow attack, peer out beyond the walls and give a nod to the guard manning the gate below, giving the okay to let you through.  The double sets of gates open, and you can't help but wonder what lies ahead.

The landscape is mostly barren, rocky, and unforgiving underneath the canopy.  There are meager signs of life, where water drips down from the mountain base above, but without the much needed nourishment from the sun, it's a futile effort.  Tortured plants arch themselves towards what little sustenance they get, but it will never be enough.

Clacker drags the wagon, using his sharp metal feet to dig and find purchase in the ground,  but it is extremely slow going.  Even with the strength behind his limbs, the wagon often gets snagged in wayward roots or broken pieces of rubble from the mountain above or from pieces of old ruins from a long lost time.  What should only take less than an hour, ends up taking almost two, with all the stop and go adjustments required to keep the wagon moving.

Once out from under the canopy, a wall of vegetation rises up into the sky, basking in what little sun it can get, though on this day, the sun shines more than it has in quite some time.

It's at this point that Aisling and Scamp take wing, flying high to scout the terrain ahead and also when Thorn sees the first signs of the Hunter's tracks.  The tracks themselves seem fairly easy to follow, not due to the negligence of the hunters, but more due to the continued and constant use of the same path, making it stand out.





It's not long before Scamp and Aisling return, but with the tight knit thick canopy of trees and twisted limbs, it's hard to spot anything of substance without luck.

Heading deeper into the woods, the next 2 to 3 hours are brutal.  The cart, while on a path, continues to get caught on spreading roots or gets stuck in pockets of mud where the rainfall has made its way through the treetops.  The heat and humidity inside the forest is almost nauseating; clothes stick to your skin, with no end to the constant wiping of the sweat from your brows, and bugs that just don't give up...flying at or in your face, biting any exposed skin and reveling in the fresh new meat, or buzzing near your ear to the point of madness.

The tracks of the hunters continue on the path, some fresher than others, and at times, tracks of animals can also be found, like that of a deer or wolf, but nothing out of the ordinary as you continue your journey.

About 3 hours past midday, Scamp comes back hooting and hollering landing on the warforged shoulder.  Just as they converse, the party comes around a turn in the path, and in the distance, about a 1/2 mile ahead, you can see the remains of what looks to be a large, delapidated church.



This message was last edited by the GM at 03:10, Thu 30 July 2020.

Andraste Giltris
 player, 75 posts
 Half-Elf Female
 Envoy of Rau
Thu 30 Jul 2020
at 01:04
(IC) 1:  The Clifftop Keep
I wonder who this church was dedicated too? Seems a bit excessive, but then pride is not seen as a failing by too many of them. To be fair they do have a lot to be proud of. We have nothing like this in Eternis; we had better uses for the space. Maybe someday. Staying near a grave yard does not seem like a good idea but it does offer better shelter than anything else we have found so far.

"Is this where the hunters operated from?"
Sand
 player, 57 posts
 Warforged
 Battle Smith artificier
Thu 30 Jul 2020
at 10:42
(IC) 1:  The Clifftop Keep
It had taken a while but finally the little company was ready to go. Sand had his pack and added a belt to is normally almost bared body, his cloak covering the rest. Using Aisling and Scamp, the group had a good scout team and nothing truly dangerous came up their way for the first leg of the journey, save the constants bugs, heat and humidity, none of it bothering the construct, that had no blood to feast on and no sweat glands.

What did bother him was the lack of progress with his cart he had built for Clacker. Thorin had been right, the terrain was too harsh to have any kind of wheeled vehicle out here, but he had his magic. Andraste suggested to try to level the terrain has much as possible and that helped a lot, covering loose roots, filling holes, freezing water holes so the wheels would not fall into them, creating as smooth a path as he could.



Sand, spent a lot of his attention on the ground, casting his earth magic repetitively, depended on Clacker's senses to keep attentive to his environment. He was still frustrated that his initial idea had basically been a failure, so he started to conceptualize another type of cart, that would use legs to navigate the terrain, not wheels. He had made it possible with Clacker, the same basic concept could certainly be used again!

By the end of the first day, Scamp told him that he had found a shelter, and the group arrived at some massive ruins, a temple of some sort. Could this be the hunters base of operation?

This message was last edited by the player at 11:01, Thu 30 July 2020.

Althaea Sylvaranth
 player, 90 posts
 Autumn Eladrin
 Glamour Bard
Thu 30 Jul 2020
at 15:22
(IC) 1:  The Clifftop Keep
The bugs and humidity were starting to get to me. If we did not arrive soon, I was not going to be pleasant to be around. Traveling with the cart was taking far too long, but I knew there was the possibility of needing it.

Aisling and Scamp had been flying ahead to scout the landscape from the air and they must have finally found something, they had come back hooting and calling to their owners of something. Carefully, I picked up my pace to round the curve and see in the distance the ruins of a massive church.

Once Giltris had caught up with me, she said,
Is this where the hunters operated from?

I believe so, but let us be careful proceeding. I do not want any surprises.


Keeping my eyes peeled for any signs of trouble, I move forward toward the church.

Perception: 23 (18+5)
Mathorn
 player, 48 posts
 Elven Ranger
Thu 30 Jul 2020
at 22:15
(IC) 1:  The Clifftop Keep
The entire experience deeply discomforted Thorn. Not the bugs and heat - certainly unpleasant in their own right - but the fact the majority of her fellow travelers and most especially the cart made more noise than a herd a stampeding rothé. She'd never be able to hear an ambush under these conditions and the dense vegetation blocked much of her view. But apparently, the situation above impaired the birds' perception less since they managed to locate the temple.

"The trail leads that way. But Aisling and Scamp should survey the ruins before we enter."

This message was last edited by the player at 22:18, Thu 30 July 2020.

Takmarin
 GM, 114 posts
Thu 30 Jul 2020
at 22:48
(IC) 1:  The Clifftop Keep
As you close the distance to the church, a small breeze pushes towards you, and with it reveals the unmistakable smell of rot and death.  Up ahead and not far off the trail, Althaea sees it first.  It's hard to understand what the massive lifeless pile could be, hidden within the dense foliage, but as you creep closer, you can see the eviscerated remains of a Large Owlbear.

Its stomach is jaggedly ripped open, its insides now laying among the leaves and dirt; one of its front paws is completely missing, severed  raggedly at the elbow joint...and its head, barely recognizable, as the blood matted feathers cover most of its missing left eye, just an empty socket.

Meanwhile, Thorn, who was keeping an eye on the path itself for any strange tracks, sees what looks like to be a large print that she just can't explain.

The tracks themselves are elongated to a point, almost like what a deer might have, but with no separation between the toes.  It is massive; easily the size of a large oval serving plate used at a royal feast; each hoof print about 2 feet long, and 1 foot wide in diameter.

Mathorn
 player, 49 posts
 Elven Ranger
Fri 31 Jul 2020
at 01:59
(IC) 1:  The Clifftop Keep
After sweeping her eyes about the area for immediate danger, Thorn knelt, studying the print first before moving on to the corpse. Upon concluding her examination she rose and spoke, her face and tone as impassive as ever: "I don't recognize the tracks, but the creature is massive, no less than two tons, possibly three or more. Possessed of sufficient strength to hurl the owlbear through the air. Claws long enough to pierce through its body entirely. And it didn't feed much. That's . . . somewhat unexpected. Also potentially dangerous for us if territorial instincts prompted the kill. The hunters' tracks proceed toward the temple. I suggest we do the same."

This message was last edited by the player at 04:49, Fri 31 July 2020.

Sand
 player, 58 posts
 Warforged
 Battle Smith artificier
Fri 31 Jul 2020
at 02:52
(IC) 1:  The Clifftop Keep
Oh oh. According to Thorn, the hunter they might find in the ruin might not be the hunters for Vertigo, but a massive creature. Sand sent Scamp to scout around, as he freed Clacker from the cart. If there was a battle, it was better to have the defender free to roam and do what he was built to do. If Sand could express disgust, he would right now, as he moved the empty cart to the side of the trail, calling again on his magic to build a wall of earth around it, to try to hide it. Taking a mental picture of where the cart was hidden, he plucked a fallen branch on the small mound to ease the recovery.

Done, the construct took his shield and spear, and followed his companions, Clacker at his side, protecting the rear of the group.

Althaea Sylvaranth
 player, 91 posts
 Autumn Eladrin
 Glamour Bard
Fri 31 Jul 2020
at 13:29
(IC) 1:  The Clifftop Keep
The smell hit me first, making the humid air even harder to breathe. I pulled out a small bit of cloth to breathe into to lessen the severity of the stench. Thorn had come up beside me and was examining the tracks made by whatever killed the owlbear.

Do you know what creature those tracks belong to? I do not believe I have seen them before.

I started examining the wounds on the owlbear, trying to determine what defenses this predator possesses. Originally, I thought it was some sort of large claws that had slashed open the owlbear’s stomach; however, after closer examination I determined it was a large set of antlers that had raked across it. From the size of the tracks next to me, it was much bigger than I was thinking.

There was something odd about the wound that I could not place straight off, not expecting to find it here.


Thorn, there is something odd about the wound. I am noticing traces of magic from the Feywild in it. I believe whatever creature’s antlers made the wound traveled from there recently. We should be very careful moving forward. Creatures from my homeland are not to be trifled with.

Medicine: 21 (19+2)
Arcana: 12 (10+2)
Nature: 7 (5+2)

This message was last edited by the player at 17:32, Fri 31 July 2020.

Sand
 player, 59 posts
 Warforged
 Battle Smith artificier
Fri 31 Jul 2020
at 17:31
(IC) 1:  The Clifftop Keep
Sand approached the slain beast, careful not to step where Thorn might want to examine the footprints, and examined the tracks. While his experience with the natural realms creatures was very limited, his creators did instill him with a sense of the magical domain. Calling on those innate aptitudes, he examined the track and slain Owlbear, noting that it was not killed to be eaten… an act of rage maybe? (Arcana roll 23)

Sand also senses magic signature on wounds. Sand will know next time this is Feywild magic.

Nodding his head towards Althaea to thank her for this piece of information, he turned towards the hunter.

Does Thorn see Vertigo's hunters trace?

This message was last edited by the player at 18:37, Fri 31 July 2020.

Andraste Giltris
 player, 76 posts
 Half-Elf Female
 Envoy of Rau
Fri 31 Jul 2020
at 23:07
(IC) 1:  The Clifftop Keep
Well I do not want to run into whatever killed that beast unexpectedly. Such power; I bet it is magnificent! No, no it is probably hostile and there are people here who may need my help. Job first, sight see when you have time.

I tighten the cloth across the lower half of my face and draw my sword, resting the flat against my shoulder, as I move forward. This time I will be ready if we have to fight!

I wonder what the hunting party is going to be like? Half of them are Elves so this will probably be unpleasant. Althaea has been hit or miss but I have hope there. As for Thorn, I am unsure if it is part of her grumpiness or if she shares their prejudice.

Darn, I need to calm down; I need to focus. Stealth is not a good option for me and its not like we are trying to sneak up on anyone so a little music should not be a problem. I start to hum an upbeat song as I march, my eyes scanning the road ahead and to the sides of us.

We are going to find the hunters and make sure they get back to Vertigo. It is going to be a lovely day!

Perception 19

This message was last edited by the player at 23:09, Fri 31 July 2020.

Althaea Sylvaranth
 player, 92 posts
 Autumn Eladrin
 Glamour Bard
Sat 1 Aug 2020
at 15:57
(IC) 1:  The Clifftop Keep
It was visible in the slouch of her shoulders that Giltris was stressing over this mission. It seemed to be a rare occurrence for her to sing or play music and she only did so when she needed to calm down. I listened to the song she was humming for a few moments until I felt that I knew the tune well enough to sing along and started to harmonize with her. Hopefully, it would help the morale of everyone else as well.

Making sure to keep my eyes alert for any signs of movement or anything out of place, I fall in line behind Giltris moving toward the church.


Performance: 27 (20+7)
Perception: 22 (17+5)
Nature: 19 (17+2)

This message was last edited by the player at 16:25, Sat 01 Aug 2020.

Andraste Giltris
 player, 77 posts
 Half-Elf Female
 Envoy of Rau
Sat 1 Aug 2020
at 16:23
(IC) 1:  The Clifftop Keep
This is awesome! She truly has been blessed and thank her for sharing it. The music passes through me taking with it the distractions and I am able to reach a place of calm and focus I normally I find so difficult. I feel Rao's presence so strongly it is as if he walks beside me. Come what may I will be ready.

This message was last edited by the player at 16:34, Sat 01 Aug 2020.

Sand
 player, 60 posts
 Warforged
 Battle Smith artificier
Sat 1 Aug 2020
at 17:11
(IC) 1:  The Clifftop Keep
Sand took on the rear guard of the party, with clacker as his side. Even if he didn’t get to use it in the previous fight, his spear was enchanted and he could use it both as a range or melee weapon. Holding it to be ready to throw it if something attacked from the front, he was surprise to hear both the bard and paladin start to softly sing. Cocking his head to the side, curious as to the signification of the signing, he still stayed attentive to his surrounding, waiting for Scamp to return from his scouting mission.

Sand Perception 19
Sand Nature 15
Scamp perception 14, 20 (advantage)

Takmarin
 GM, 116 posts
Sat 1 Aug 2020
at 17:22
(IC) 1:  The Clifftop Keep
The discovery of the Owlbear left you all with an unsettling feeling.  An Owlbear alone would have been quite the formidable challenge, yet the creature that did this, seemed to eviscerate it with relative ease.

Giltris starts to hum a tune and not long afterwards Althaea joins in, finding the perfect harmonization and starts to sing along, quickly putting the whole group at ease.  So much in fact, that everyone was easily able to focus on keeping their eyes and ears on the task at hand.

The foliage gets denser as you move closer to the church; more vines can be seen climbing and wrapping themselves around most of the trees and bushes, some of which look strangled by the sheer number covering them.  Off to the left Giltris and Althea notice it first, but one tree in particular is wrapped in a vine with shiny black leaves.  The tree itself looks scarred, as if attacked by rabid animals clawing their way inside.  Althaea gasps for a moment, the realization that this plant is also born from the Feywild....

Just as Althaea stops singing, to point out the dangerous plant to the group, that's when you all see it, about 100 or so feet ahead, only its head visible. The creature's height with the antlers must be almost 12 feet tall, its head alone 9 feet off the ground. 3 large blue orbs for eyes that form an uneven line across its wide face, stare at you placidly...until the singing finally stops.

It shakes its head, clearing itself from the enthralling reverie of the song.  Its mouth opens to show rows of razor sharp teeth that jut forward and out as it lets out an unearthly roar that reverberates through the forest.  Birds and other animals, once quiet and hidden, now flustered and confused, rush and fly out, as far away from the sound as they can.

Then as quickly as it was there, it turns and disappears into the forest behind it.

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:26, Sat 01 Aug 2020.

Mathorn
 player, 50 posts
 Elven Ranger
Sat 1 Aug 2020
at 17:24
(IC) 1:  The Clifftop Keep
Walking openly toward danger, Thorn felt exposed but stealth would hardly benefit her in this company, and she was reluctant to scout ahead alone with something so obviously deadly in the area. So she stayed near Giltris in order to take advantage of the larger female's shield should fighting erupt.

The humming grated on her nerves as well as announcing their location to any creature with ears in the area. Then it evolved into singing, eliciting mixed emotions in Thorn. On the one hand, it made their presence even more obvious. But . . . it was also incredibly mellifluous and the sound touched a part of her which she normally kept carefully contained. And for very good reasons.

Then she caught her first glimpse of the beast who had killed the owlbear. "Magnificent," she breathed, in awe of its strange beauty, regal bearing and lethality. Whatever the others decided, she had no intention of attempting to harm - much less kill- this animal except as a final resort.

This message was last edited by the player at 17:29, Sat 01 Aug 2020.

Takmarin
 GM, 117 posts
Sat 1 Aug 2020
at 17:27
(IC) 1:  The Clifftop Keep

Andraste Giltris
 player, 78 posts
 Half-Elf Female
 Envoy of Rau
Sat 1 Aug 2020
at 17:49
(IC) 1:  The Clifftop Keep
That..was..incredible! I think the hunters may decide this is not a good place to hunt anymore. Anyway it is not interested in bothering me and I am not interested in bothering it. Honestly, I doubt I am much to it's taste, not enough meat to be worth the effort for something that big. Alright, back on mission as I continue forward once more humming a song.
Althaea Sylvaranth
 player, 93 posts
 Autumn Eladrin
 Glamour Bard
Sat 1 Aug 2020
at 18:13
(IC) 1:  The Clifftop Keep
As we move down the path, I notice a black vine with sharp, shiny leaves wrapping itself around a scarred tree. Upon seeing it, I stop singing and an audible gasp escapes my throat. How did this come to be here?

I want to warn everyone, this plant here, I point to the black vines wrapping themselves around the tree to our left, is called a Razorvine. Its leaves are extremely sharp and the plant has a taste for blood that rivals that of a vampire. These plants are extremely resilient. In my studies, I have not read of a way to destroy them. Do not let yourselves be ensnared by it.

As I point out the Razorvine to my companions, I see up ahead the creature from my homeland, although it looks different from what I was expecting. Mutated, even. I had a feeling it was under the same calm my companions had been under from my singing, as it shook its head once I stopped as if to clear it. I could perhaps use this to my advantage later on. It let out a roar that sent a chill down my spine, definitely mutated.

I believe we have stumbled upon a mutation of an Elkthrawn. I say it is mutated because the stories I have heard of the original sound as if it is a peaceful creature. The one we have seen looks less than peaceful, almost aggressive even. If possible, we should leave it in peace, we are not ready for a fight such as that. I do not have the magic to subdue a creature of that magnitude as we did against the Drow. If it becomes a problem, we can return later when we are more capable of facing it.

Insight: 11 (8+3)
Sand
 player, 61 posts
 Warforged
 Battle Smith artificier
Sat 1 Aug 2020
at 18:59
(IC) 1:  The Clifftop Keep
So it seemed that the Feywild had invaded this place more than expected, Althaea warning us about both the vine killing a tree and of the three eyed, horned creature. There was definitely something wrong with this place, but what would you expect from a world that has upside down mountains? Sand put a hand on Clacker’s head to calm him down and avoid a mandible clack that might be taken as a challenge by the beast. The creature still roared, before tuning around and leaving. Sand released the tension in his wood fibers muscles, as he was ready to fight if the creature had attacked them.

Sand thinks this place has strong connection to Feywild, if creatures and plants are moving here. Was this always like this or is this recent? Sand does not know if hunters would always come back here with those dangers.

Opening his magical senses, he tried to pinpoint if there as an origin source to the outpouring of Feywild magic. (Arcana Roll 9… nope! Lol)

This message was last edited by the player at 20:18, Sat 01 Aug 2020.

Takmarin
 GM, 118 posts
Sat 1 Aug 2020
at 23:53
(IC) 1:  The Clifftop Keep
With no more anomalies, the path led to what would have been the front doors of the church, if the front half of the church wasn't missing.  Most of the front and parts of the side walls, as well as the roof were just...gone, without so much as rubble or remains on the ground, as if a powerful wind capable of blowing rock away blew through.

The nave of the church was now a makeshift graveyard.  About 20 graves were scattered here; piles of dirt in front of gravestones with no visible names on them.  4 of the graves seem to have been dug up, as their piles, and the bodies within look to be missing.

A little further past the cemetery, pews once lined both sides of the church, though most are now broken, destroyed or missing.  On each side of the church, there is a second floor balcony that once was used as an overlook to the sermons being held below.  On the left, half of a circular stair that once led to the second floor remains; the right one is completely gone.

Straight past the pews there is an elevated section where the altar still stands.  Behind that, there is a grand staircase, about 20 feet wide that splits off to the left and right.  In the center platform before the split, lies a beautiful oak tree that reaches up to the roof of the church, its roots burying themselves in the building itself.

This message was last edited by the GM at 01:28, Sun 02 Aug 2020.

Andraste Giltris
 player, 79 posts
 Half-Elf Female
 Envoy of Rau
Sun 2 Aug 2020
at 02:09
(IC) 1:  The Clifftop Keep
This is not good. I eye the disturbed graves warily and as I approach what remains of the building I open myself to the world around and feel Rao's power flow through me and out searching for something other. I pause for a second to wait for a return but get nothing. It does not seem like there are any undead near the entrance. Still I have to keep my guard up; there are many people counting on me.

Maybe before we leave here, I can cremate the remaining bodies. It is a sad duty but it is better than to allow them to be befouled by undeath.
Sand
 player, 62 posts
 Warforged
 Battle Smith artificier
Sun 2 Aug 2020
at 02:46
(IC) 1:  The Clifftop Keep
As the group approached and entered gingerly the devastated church, Sand kept on his guards, Clacker slowly opening and closing his mandibles, clearly anticipating some fights ahead. The construct spotted Aisling and Scamp further up, the owl perched a branch of the majestic oak growing on the temple. And he was too far to communicate with the familiar to remind him of his mission.

So this was a temple. He has seen some as big before the cataclysm, but only from outside, when evading the black armored soldiers. 50 years had not been kind to the structure, but some sculptures were still recognizable.


Sand wonders who was worshipped here?

Keeping on his guard, he looked around the structure, to see if he could spot signs of which gods were represented here.

Perception check 8
Religion check 9