Codex V-Chapter 1

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Flying in skyships was quick, safe (if you took the proper precautions), and relaxing. The trip over the western ocean took only a few days. During that time, with no land in sight either, it was as if the Skycutter and its crew were all that were left in the world. Khaska knew that was a silly thought, but it was easier for him to look over the edge. With the wind in his hair, he could easily let tension drain from his body. He could see the appeal of meditation, as Jenika practiced daily, as he felt more calm than he had in many years. However, when land appeared, the calmness went away. He was approaching what was possibly a turning point in his entire quest to seek the truth of Tawru. Twilight was the location where Tawru’s sword was last seen, in the hands of Likran Treewind, centuries ago. Many things may have happened in the intervening time. He was nervous, yet excited. Every so often, he would look in his pack to see Loremaster Onasus’ brooch, to remind himself of his promise to the ancient teller of tales.

Jenika was glad to be putting so much distance between them and the tragedies that had befallen the group in Laishtek, as well as Fan’s family. The monk was antsy in her own mind, moving so far from her own quests in seeking Kaylee, but she also knew that they would be able to catch up with the rogue monk later.

In comparison to his companions, Rynn looked forward to arriving in Twilight. He had spent some months there, back when he was under Arandur’s tutelage. It was a rough town, in many ways, on the frontier of the Death Side of the moon, with little of the trappings of civilization in the big cities the group had spent so much time in recently. He wondered at what changes had happened, some that they had heard of, and others that would surprise him. Yet he felt that he was moving more into the fringes of civilization, and this greatly helped him feel better than he had in months. The wild would be much more present, whatever happened in this city.

As it had been in Pemmadhaghra, Akle was the first to see the city in the distance. It was night when they arrived. The sun had set several hours ago, but none of the crew had gone to sleep in anticipation of their arrival. The shaved-headed gnome had finished his golden dragon carving several days ago, though it was not as good as his previous silver-dragon one. He had not begun work on another piece, but had watched Rynn work on his bow, asking questions occasionally and learning what he could, though he claimed no skill as a weapon creator and no desire to become one.

“The skyship landing area is on the north side of the city, about half a mile from the outskirts. It’s in a large clearing made just for that purpose,” Rynn said to Godfrey. “It’s much smaller than the other ones we’ve visited.”

“I expected as much,” the gnome captain said, slowly guiding the ship down. “But hopefully there will be room.”

Like an evil omen, Arkenos hung hugely in the sky. It had grown in size as they had passed over to where it was visible from their moon. Pressen itself was just visible over the horizon as they were close to the Deadlands, where the gas giant always hung over the land, lending light and creating eclipses day by day. There was not much light from the other moons, but between the two giant celestial bodies, there was enough light to see.

“Is it supposed to be that empty?” asked Akle. The gnome was frowning. Rynn walked up to him and looked over the edge. The lights of the town were visible off in the distance, but there were none below them in the clearing. There was enough moonlight that the outline of the clearing was clearly visible, but … there were no ships. There were no campfires. No gatherings of gnomes and Halflings. Nothing. It looked completely abandoned.

“No, I don’t think so,” Rynn said. “At least, that’s not typical of what it was like when I was here a year ago. There were usually at least a few skyships prepping to transport goods, even on a slow day.”

Godfrey brought the Skycutter lower. It was Rynn who first noticed that there was, indeed, a skyship on the ground. However, it was a burned-out husk. Black char marks surrounded its location, the vegetation around it burned up, and the skyship hull itself a mess of holes and burned wood. The mast had snapped in two, and lay across the hull like a severed limb. There was no smoke, so whatever happened hadn’t occurred recently.

“Whoa,” said Jenika.

Khaska’s ears flattened against his head. “This does not bode well.” Akle gave a low whistle.

Godfrey halted the ship’s descent and furled the sails. The ship hung over the clearing, merely hovering. He looked at the situation.

“I don’t want to put her down here until we know what’s going on.”

Eryx (DM)
And we’re off to the beginning of Codex V! BlackWolf, it seems to me that Rynn would have been in Twilight about a year or so ago. Am I reading the backstory right? I can easily change that reference in the narration to when he was present last. Travel time from Pemmadhagra to Twilight was 10 days. Again, I don’t mind if you take 10s on your bowmaking checks.

You’ve arrived at Twilight, but the landing zone for the ships is not in the condition that Rynn remembers. The Skycutter is currently hovering about 100 feet above the ground. The ship does have ladders you could get to the ground on without fully landing. Or you could just head into the city on the ship. Or you could go elsewhere. Or do something else I haven’t thought of. There are lots of options. What do you all want to do?

Yes, that sounds about right: it's been at least a year since Rynn was in Twilight. And I'll again make use of your offer to take 10 on the bowmaking check — I've updated that on my character sheet.

The rumors about Twilight we heard back in Laishtek now come to Rynn's mind and he wonders what has happened since he left. His instinct is to now get off the ship, explore the landing area then head into town by foot. But first he'll scan the area:

  • Spot check: 26 (rolled 19 + 7 bonus)

"Let us down a little ways from here, Godfrey," Rynn will say if the group agrees to explore the area. "We'll find out what's going on. In the meantime, you focus on keeping the ship safe — who knows what's going on out here. Let's plan to meet up tomorrow at midday; look for us at the clearing. If that's not safe, we'll find another way to signal you."

If anyone has any great ideas of how to signal Godfrey, I'm all ears. Rynn plans to pick up Ranna and carry her down the ladder, trusting in his ring of feather falling in case he can't keep hold.

  • Climb check: 11 (rolled 9 + 2 bonus)

Khaska's on board with Rynn's suggestion to investigate the landing area, but he would rather the party wait until morning to do so. The last thing they'd want to do, if they can help it, is jump into a dark area where something is obviously not right. Better to be safer and more secure; Khaska would move for either the ship to head out to where it can hide until morning and then return to the landing area or to drop off the party members in the city itself, where it's more likely that there will be light.

Eryx (DM)
Securing the ship safely wouldn't be difficult at all. Just float it up and hover a few hundred yards off the ground. The wind wouldn't blow it around that much (you need a sail for that) and Godfrey would have a lookout posted through the night. Any skyship approaching would be very obvious, and there would be plenty of warning. So that's an option to go along with Thev's ideas.

Jenika agrees with Rynn's plan, she will say that it is necessary to drop down as soon as possible rather then wait for daylight. Her argument is that if there is hostile intent down there the group should give them as little time to plan an ambush. Furthermore there is an even chance that whatever (whoever) burned the ship will be asleep. Plus the dark will help to cover them -even in daylight there is a strong possibility that they could be hiding so the light would only give them a greater advantage. Ultimately the only real "safe" option would be to fly completely away.

Eryx (DM)
The ship on the ground is burned up, but not smoldering or smoking. From this distance, you can't tell how long ago specifically, but it seems that you didn't just stumble into the immediate aftermath of whatever happened. Whatever it was, it wasn't in the last, oh, ten hours or so (otherwise likely the ship would still be visibly smoking).

Rynn can't see anything with his spot check.

“I’d like to get a look at the ground,” said Rynn. “Can’t tell much of what happened from the air.”

“Is that wise?” asked Khaska. “Jumping into a dark area where something is clearly not right? Would it not be better to wait until the morning and the better light?”

“Easy enough to stay hovered here,” said Godfrey. “We wouldn’t be in much danger. Maybe a skyship could come after us, but there’s enough light that we could easily see one coming. Wouldn’t be a problem.”

“Delaying until morning might also give someone more time to prepare an ambush,” said Jenika. “I say we go now.”

“Whatever happened didn’t happen recently,” said Rynn. “The fires that burnt that ship have long burned out. Let us down a little ways from here, Godfrey. We’ll find out what’s going on. In the meantime, you focus on keeping the ship safe - who knows what’s going on out here. Let’s plan to meet up tomorrow at midday; look for us at the clearing. If that’s not safe, we’ll find another way to signal you.”

“Very well,” the gnomish captain said. He manipulated a few levers, turning the skyship crystals downward, and the Skycutter sank slowly towards the ground. Rynn kept an eye out on the surrounding forests, but nothing appeared. The area, he was fairly confident, was deserted.

When the ship was hovering about forty feet above the ground Godfrey’s men grabbed bows and arrows. Akle grabbed his crossbow, a maniacal glint in his eye.

“We’ll cover you for the first little bit,” the captain said.

“We’s got your back!” Akle responded, happily nocking an arrow.

The ship descended just a little bit further before they tossed the rope ladder overboard. Jenika volunteered to go first. The monk clambered down easily. Rynn grabbed Ranna, and slowly edged his way down. The rope ladder swung at his movements with so much weight, and Ranna whined just a little. About 10 feet from the ground, he lost his handhold, unable to keep his grip, and slipped and fell. However, his Ring of Feather Falling activated, and he and Ranna slowly descended the rest of the way, lightly touching down.

“Are you alright?” called down Khaska, worried.

Rynn nodded and waved their concern away. Ranna was whining some more, clearly startled from the fall, but neither had been injured.

Khaska climbed down very very carefully, encumbered by his armor, but he made it down without mishap. Rynn, Jenika, and Ranna, were scanning the area. It still seemed deserted.

“Well, I’m going to look around, see if I can’t tell what happened here,” said Rynn.

It didn’t take the ranger long to determine the culprits. Goblins had attacked the site. It was a mess, but looked to him like several ships had likely gotten away. The attack didn’t seem well-coordinated, but tracks indicated that there were a lot of goblins. The ranger was slightly disquieted by what he saw. Such a large number of goblins working together, even haphazardly, would have been unusual since he had last been in the city. The goblins all seemed to have left to the east. The tracks looked a few days old at least. Other tracks seemed more recent, but looked to the ranger like they had come to see the site, then left to return to the city. Those more recent tracks were of all the races, humans, dwarves, gnomes, halflings. There were also a few carts, likely for carrying the dead from the attack, as there were no bodies in the clearing, and surely an attack of this size had casualties. He knelt down, inspecting a particular set of tracks headed south to the city. It took him a few minutes to be sure, but it looked to him like some goblins had come with that more recent group. That didn’t make sense to the ranger, but it was clear. There were goblin tracks that had come with that other group, and left with that other group, apparently without incident-at least here in the skyship clearing.

“Everything okay?” called down Godfrey.

“Yes,” Rynn called up. “The attack happened several days ago. I think we’re safe, but we’ll continue to look around.”

“We’ll see you tomorrow at noon, then,” said Godfrey. “Back here, if you can. If not, I’ll wait for your signal.” With that, the captain disappeared from the edge of his ship, and the Skycutter slowly began to rise. The sail unfurled; apparently Godfrey wanted to park the ship somewhere else.

Rynn looked around at the forest. Still nothing.

“What shall we do?” inquired Khaska.

Eryx (DM)
Rynn and Ranna both took 1 point of falling damage. BlackWolf was able to convince me that my ruling that he and Ranna would both (as Medium creatures) overpower the ring's effect slightly was in error. They took no damage, and I adjusted the narration above to reflect the use of the ring.

Rynn was able to get a good look at the clearing (taking a 20 on a Survival check). It appears that several days ago:
1. There was a goblin attack.
2. There was an unusually large number of goblins.
3. All the skyships except one got away. (Obviously the burned one.)
4. Probably a day ago a large group of citizens of Twilight came to the clearing. They brought carts, and left to head back to the city, probably carrying the dead from the attack.
5. Among that group coming from and going to Twilight were at least a few goblins.

What do you want to do now?

"I'd like to spend a few minutes searching this area to see if there are any more clues. After that, I think we should head along the main path to Twilight so we can find out what's going on. Looks like there may be two different groups of goblins in the area — one that attacked the ships, and another that is allied with the other races."

Rynn isn't sure what they might find; he just wants to look for anything else that might be a clue or valuable in some way. Maybe the goblins attacked to get some specific cargo from the burned-out ship? Perhaps they left behind some kind of insignia or tribal markings that Rynn might recognize?

  • Search: 19 (rolled 15 + 4 bonus)

Rynn will want to keep an eye out as they head over to the city in case there are still any hostile goblins about. Plus he doesn't want to be mistaken as an enemy to the people of the city; they may have sentries set up. He'll keep his eyes and ears open:

  • Listen: 10 (rolled 4 + 6 bonus) Add 2 more if vs. favored enemies (goblins).
  • Spot: 17 (rolled 10 + 7 bonus) Add 2 more if vs. favored enemies (goblins).

Of course, if there are any other ideas, Rynn will be happy to entertain them.

Khaska is wary; he'll help with searching the grounds, but will constantly be on alert - for friends or enemies, whomever may be nearby - while doing so:

  • Search: 19 = 15 + 4
  • Listen: 11 = 6 + 5
  • Spot: 20 = 15 + 5

Khaska, moreover, doesn't find it too strange that goblins and other races could be together. After all, in the Wastes the goblins and the Maha'i, despite disliking each other, still relate and do business. He's more curious to discover what exactly is going on in the region, whether he can help, where the monastery is relative to their position, and whether its currently inhabitants have anything to do with the raid on the skyship port.

Before Jenika was concerned that there may be danger for the group in the city, however with the revelation that the attack on the ship was perpetrated by goblins Jenika has been put at ease. She will keep her eyes and ears open for trouble.

  • Spot: 27 (20 rolled + 7 Mod)
  • Listen: 8 (1 rolled + 7 Mod)

“I’d like to spend a few minutes searching this area to see if there are any more clues. After that, I think we should head along the main path to Twilight so we can find out what’s going on. Looks like there may be two different groups of goblins in the area—one that attacked the ships, and another that is allied with the other races.”

“That seems wise,” Khaska replied. “But we should keep a lookout.” He glanced up as the ship continued to recede into the distance. “The city isn’t that far, but we should be careful.”

“I was worried about the city being the dangerous part,” Jenika said. “But now that we know it was the goblins that did this, well, I feel safer.”

“Really?” said Rynn. He glanced around at the trees. “The light will continue to get darker for the next hour or so, then we’ll have probably two hours of brighter light, then darker again until morning, which will come quite suddenly. But we are not terribly safe out here.” The ranger took in a deep breath, then smiled. It was good to be back in familiar territory, both nature in general and a city he had spent some time in that he knew well. “But let’s search the area.”

Their search turned up nothing of use, really. There were no bodies; even the goblin attackers had been taken away. A few possessions here, a shredded tent there, but it looked like everything had been pretty well picked over. By the time the skyship had disappeared from view by flying too high Rynn knew there was nothing else to see and no information of value to gain.

“I think we should press on to the city,” he said. “We’ll have better luck determining what’s going on there.”

“I am most curious about many things,” Khaska said. “I agree that the city is the best place for us to find answers about the monastery, the goblins, and anything else that we might help with.”

“Or that will help us on your quest,” said Jenika.

“And I’m interested to see how the city has changed since I was here a year ago,” said Rynn. “Shall we? It should only be about a 15 minute walk to the city.”

Rynn led the way, he and Ranna constantly on the alert for danger. He didn’t want to run across a group of goblins, but neither did he want to be seen as an enemy to the people living in the city. If the goblins truly had stepped up attacks, it would be prudent to set up sentries. Then again, how far out would the sentries be patrolling? The skyship port was only half a mile away.

The tracks that had come from the city went right on the path, although the path itself wasn’t as well trod as it had been a year ago. It showed signs of disuse, not entirely. Looked like there simply hadn’t been as much traffic, or at least as frequent of traffic, lately.

“Rynn!” Jenika’s voice hissed out, quietly, but sharply. “Goblins!”

Sure enough, the monk’s sharp eyes had spotted a group of goblins. It was headed in their general direction from the south, but as the ranger watched it seemed they wouldn’t meet directly. The goblins themselves looked to be headed to the skyship port. The ranger did a quick headcount as he ducked behind a bush. There were about ten of them, give or take, a little bigger than a hunting party, a little smaller than a raid.

Eryx (DM)
Rynn estimates you’re probably about 1/4 of a mile from the city. If you ran, you could be there in under 5 minutes. The goblins haven’t spotted you yet (Jenika’s 27 Spot Check totally means you spotted them first), but if you want to avoid detection I’ll need Hide rolls from you. They look to be heading straight for the port you just left, and moving with a purpose to do so. They’re currently about 130 feet away from you. The area is a medium forest, per the rules.

What do you want to do?

I say we see what they are up to! Hopefully we can determine whether they are hostile and what they are up to.

Rynn votes to hide, observe, and listen to what they are saying.

  • Rynn hide: 24 (rolled 19 + 5 bonus)
  • Ranna hide: 22 (rolled 20 + 2 bonus)
  • Rynn move silently: 22 (rolled 17 + 5 bonus)
  • Ranna move silently: 10 (rolled 7 + 3 bonus)
  • Rynn listen: 12 (rolled 4 + 8 bonus)
  • Rynn sense motive: 17 (rolled 12 + 5 bonus)

If they seem peaceful, then maybe we can try talking to them. But if they are hostile we can decide whether to slip past or get in a surprise attack!

Khaska, wishing to avoid a confrontation if at all possible, doesn't want to draw attention to the party; he'll try to hide and, since he can't sneak about as subtly as Rynn, he'll simply remain silent while listening for snippets of conversation (as he does understand Goblin).

  • Hide: 11 = 17 - 6
  • Listen: 25 = 20 + 5

He also concurs with Rynn's assessment: if they're friendly, let's talk with them; if not, we'll decide whether to attack or evade.

Jenika will try to get a little closer to hear better. She will only get close enough to be able to hear what they are saying.

  • Hide: 15 (10+5 mod)
  • Move Silently: 18 (12+6 mod)
  • Listen: 15 (8+7 mod)

Khaska moved in front of a large tree. A split in the trunk allowed him to peek through at the goblins with little chance of being detected. He had no desire to sneak closer, as his armor would clank and shine in the light from the now crescent Arkenos and Pressen. Even as far away as they were, he could make out their guttural tongue.

“Faster you slugs! The ship landed ten minutes ago! If anybody’s still there, it’ll be a miracle.” With that, the goblin speaking whacked one of the others with the flat edge of his pock-marked sword. The other goblin yelped and ran ahead.

“What are we going to do when we get there, Srog?” asked another.

“Kill them! Kagu said anything that lands outside the city walls is to be destroyed!”

Khaska glanced over to where Rynn and Jenika were slowly slinking through the bushes. Apparently neither had heard the conversation well enough to understand it.

“Psst!” Khaska hissed. Rynn and Jenika stopped and turned to look at him. He glanced up. The goblins had not noticed them or heard him. He motioned them back.

When they were close enough, the cleric whispered. “They are looking for us, the ones who landed with the skyship; I could make out their words, and they are to kill anybody outside the city walls.”

Eryx (DM)
Short post, but now you know the results of your rolls. The goblins have not detected you, and now you know their intentions, thanks to Khaska’s stellar Listen roll.

What do you want to do now?

Khaska wishes to avoid armed conflict if at all possible. We don't know yet if Kagu is in control of the city or is merely marauding outside it, but either way, Khaska feels it would be much safer if the party were to get into the city. Consequently, having learned that Obscuring Mist is a useful spell for such purposes, he'll cast it between the party and the goblins, hopefully obscuring their view of the road. The mist in place, he'll motion for Jenika and Rynn to move as quickly and as silently as possible in the direction of the city. Hopefully they can arrive without engaging.

Are there any rolls you wish me to make?

Eryx (DM)
It would be good to have Move Silently and Hide rolls if you want to sneak away. The Obscuring Mist will help a lot, but I'd like those rolls anyway.

Rynn will nod acknowledgment then head quietly off toward the city.

  • Rynn hide: 23 (rolled 18 + 5 bonus)
  • Ranna hide: 18 (rolled 16 + 2 bonus)
  • Rynn move silently: 15 (rolled 10 + 5 bonus)
  • Ranna move silently: 15 (rolled 12 + 3 bonus)

Okay, let's see how terribly Khaska does with his awful Dexterity stats:

  • Move Silently: 14 = 20 - 6
  • Hide: 7 = 13 - 6


  • Move Silently: 20 (14+6)
  • Hide: 15 (10+5)

Rynn glanced up, poking his head ever so much above the shrub he was hiding behind. “You want I should follow?” he asked.

Khaska shook his head. “We don’t know enough about the city and what areas Kagu controls. I think it best we head to town.”

Rynn nodded, and began to move away from the goblin party, which was closer now, but beginning to move away. Khaska muttered a prayer and a mist slowly rose from the ground around him, masking their retreat. It made movement a little awkward for a few yards, but they were able to see well enough and move quietly enough that their presence was not detected by the goblins, who vanished into the forest in the distance.

The city itself was not far from where they had seen the goblin patrol. Five minutes of walking and it appeared.

“Whoa,” said Rynn.

Twilight had never been that big of a city, but it was a decent trade hub, and so the city itself had sprung up from just being a shantytown to a decent population of a few thousand. Lumberjacks and others had cleared area for the city itself, but it had basically grown into the forests that surrounded it. However, things had changed since the ranger had been here last. The area surrounding the town had been cleared away, haphazardly, as the ranger saw. A combination of lumberjacking and controlled fires (some probably uncontrolled, as several outlying buildings were half burned) left a large swath of barren ground between the outlying buildings and the surrounding forest, now filled with mud and dirt and tree stumps. A ditch had been dug around the city itself, not terribly deep, but now filled with rainwater at least a foot or two deep, and sharply sloped up to where chopped and sharpened trees were jammed into the earth itself, pointing outwards. Rynn was able to spy men sitting atop the buildings they could see. Lookouts, he supposed.

The ranger took this all in with just a glance. There was one gate that he saw, about where the trail would have led. It was also made of wood, with logs lashed together to make the gate. The ranger’s keen eye noticed that the wood itself seemed undamaged. No protracted attempt to get in had been made. He would have expected a siege to have led to some battering ram attempt, but none had been made.

He glanced around, but could see nothing in the forest. They would have a straight shot to the city itself. “Well, let’s go,” he said, then pushed out into the cleared area. The mud was thick and the all sank a few inches as they made their way into the clear. It wasn’t long until they were spotted from the city itself. One of the guards saw them almost immediately and jumped to his feet. He cried something unintelligible, but then motioned for them to come quickly.

Rynn began to jog, his feet finding firm purchase even amid the muddiness of the cleared area. Jenika and Khaska were just behind him as another cry sounded out, this time behind them and to their right. Three goblins came sprinting out of the woods, nocked arrows, and fired. They were using shortbows, so the arrows all fell short, but the party began to sprint towards the city fortifications.

“Open the gate,” Jenika cried out. The goblins again shot at them, but all missed, the arrows falling short yet again. The guards could be seen wildly gesticulating, but the gates did not open even as the party reached them.

The goblins were sprinting towards them, clearly trying to get within range. Arrows from the guards whizzed towards the goblins, who ducked behind fallen trees and stumps and continued to make their way closer under cover.

“Come on! Open up!” said Rynn.

“Toss them the ladder!” came one voice, speaking in goblin.

“Don’t you dare you little twerp!” said another voice, in common, from further back in the city.

A rope ladder fell down, and Jenika grabbed it and clambered up the gate, not even bothering to use the rungs, just using it as a rope. Khaska went next as Rynn thought about shooting back. Just as the Maha’i reached the top, though, he thought better of it, and grabbed the ladder, holding Ranna the way he had descending from the skyship just half an hour ago.

“Just pull him up!” he heard Khaska’s voice say in goblin, and then the ranger was yanked upward as an arrow hit the gate five feet to his left. He spilled out as he crested the top of the gate, scraping himself, but then the Ring of Feather Falling activated yet again and he and Ranna lightly touched down, right in the middle of several goblins who had fallen on their butts as he let go of the rope ladder. They, along with Jenika and Khaska, had been hauling him up.

Several others were running up, including a dwarf and an elf, weapons drawn.

“You know you’re not supposed to let people in after dark!” the dwarf yelled.

The goblins snapped back at him, speaking a pidgin of goblin and common. One of them finally calmed his compatriots. “Kagu’s goblins were firing at them. They were not a threat, and Nir would not want them to die!”

“Nir doesn’t run this town!”

“Well, I’m glad that his Nir would have wanted us to be on this side of the gate,” said Jenika. “I’d rather be here than out there.”

“Goblins have moved off, Ulric,” the elf said, peeking through the space between the gate door and the frame. “It’s okay. You know they don’t attack anybody inside the walls.”

“Hrmph.” The Dwarf said, jamming his axe into his belt. “Welcome to Twilight!” He turned to storm off.

Eryx (DM)
Welcome to Twilight, indeed.

The goblins are the ones that saved you by tossing a rope ladder over the gate. From the inside, it’s barred with a large piece of wood. It would have been difficult to get it open in time.

You’re now inside Twilight, surrounded by five goblins, only one of whom seems to speak common. Ulric hasn’t left yet, nor has the elf. There are a few others approaching, looking to check out the commotion. What do you want to do?

Also, something I try to do every Codex, but haven’t done so far this time, is to get you to do some world-building. This Codex, though, I’d like it to be a little different. I’d like BlackWolf and DeltaWolf to go back and do some world-building that somehow interacts with your characters. Could be a backstory element you need to flesh out more. Maybe a city you visited once. The name of the local bully when you were growing up. Something like that so that I might be able to put it in the campaign and tie it in later.

Thev, you’re actually excused from the assignment of tying something in with your character. (But do post that stuff about Khaska’s dad, because it was pretty sweet.) Create something other than Maha’i backstory, for crying out loud. ;)

To begin, as Khaska speaks Goblin, he'll thank their rescuers sincerely for coming to their aid despite the regulations that seem to forbid opening the gates after nightfall. While he's confident that they could have taken on the goblin party outside the walls with relatively little difficulty, he feels much more secure inside. As it's night, he doesn't suppose that any local authorities would be up; in their absence, he'll ask the goblins (and the others who are nearby) about the changing situation: why is Twilight so much larger? why are there embankments? what's going on with Kagu? who's in charge? who're the experts on the local culture, geography, and politics? (He will reserve questions about the monastery for those whom he meets that seem worthy of trust.)

If they're not up for talking, or unwilling to do so, Khaska will ask for inns nearby where the party could spend the night. In the morning, he would look for local authorities with which to discuss the above matters.

Jenika will allow Khaska to do the diplomating (i.e. keeping her mouth shut). Instead she will stay guard in case there is trouble (she doesn't particularly like or trust goblins) but she will try not to start any.

Rynn will also thank the goblins and others around. He'll ask what's happened in the last year since he'd been there and why the relations with Kagu have apparently deteriorated. He's curious to know who Nir is. And once Ulric storms off — assuming no one stops him; the ranger won't bother — he'll inquire about the dwarf as well (or he'll just ask directly, should the dwarf stick around).

While the group chats, Rynn will look out over the fortifications for signs of the goblins. He's wondering if he should have returned a few arrows. His mind also wanders a bit as he thinks about whether the group should get involved in local matters. Doing so didn't go over well (in his mind, at least) in Hammerdine or Laishtek. But then again, Twilight is a very different place. Arandur had been almost mercenary in the way he helped with Twilight — perhaps Rynn's recent jading may overcome his normal friendly and helpful nature and lead him to follow his mentor's ways. In any case, the ranger's first priority will be to help Khaska with his monastery quest; that's why they are here.

Here's a couple knowledge checks, just in case there's anything important or useful that Rynn would remember from prior visits to Twilight:

  • Knowledge (local): 22 (rolled 20 + 2 bonus)
  • Knowledge (geography): 10 (rolled 7 + 3 bonus)

Eryx (DM)
I asked Thev for a Gather Info roll. Just posting it here for all to see, and for my own records.

Khaska Gather Info: 18 (roll) + 2 (bonuses) = 20 total.

The elf looked at his dwarven friend with a single eyebrow raised, then he moved off to follow.

Khaska finished picking himself up from where he had fallen to the ground. He turned to the goblins, and began to speak to them in their language. “Your timely assistance was most welcome.”

A few of them still looked confused at him. Rynn stepped forward, putting a hand on Khaska’s arm. “Thank you,” the ranger said simply. At that, the goblins nodded. The one who spoke common stepped forward.

“What were you doing out in the woods so late?”

“We just arrived by skyship,” said Jenika.

“You landed in the clearing?” the goblin was startled. “You’re lucky you’re not dead!”

“Yeah, I’m getting that. What’s going on?” asked Rynn. “The city has changed a lot since I was hear a year ago.”

“Got that right,” said one of the other guards, sitting atop one of the nearby derelict houses. In fact, it wasn’t really a house any more. On this side of the fence, it was clear that the structure was abandoned, and there was a ladder leading to the roof. “Looks like you got out before Kagu went crazy.”

“Oh?” Rynn climbed the ladder to get a better look. The goblins had moved away from the city, just inside the forest, still visible, and well out of range of any arrows. The light was fading fast, but Rynn knew that sunrise would be abrupt and powerful in a few hours as it emerged from behind Pressen. “What do you mean, crazy?”

“Few months back, goblins started attacking the miners again, which is nothing really unusual. Seems Kagu did so every once in a while just to keep the goods from the council flowing.”

“I remember,” said Rynn. “I helped negotiate one of those agreements. Well, translated between Councilmember Agamm and Kagu. Not negotiate. Seems Agamm was the one who most often deal directly with Kagu.”

“Well, it got him killed,” the man said. “He went out to negotiate this last time and Kagu slaughtered the lot of them. That was when they began attacking more directly. Even laid siege to the city for a day or two before he up and left, but his goblins still patrol around the area a lot. Especially at night. It’s easier to move around in the day.”

“And these goblins?” Rynn indicated the goblins who had helped get them into the city.

“They’re from some of the lesser goblin clans in the area. Kagu attacked them, so they fled to the city.”

“Seems they’re not very welcome.”

The man shrugged. “They cause problems, but so do the humans, dwarves, elves, halflings, and others. Their leader, Nir, tries to keep them in line and if Kagu’s goblins attack, they help fight, so I don’t care much. Not like Ulric there. He’d throw the lot of them out on their butts, if he had his way.” He leaned in. “If you get too friendly with them, some of the locals, like Ulric, will take notice. They aren’t very popular in the city right now, as you can imagine, and it might not be wise to buddy up with them, just between you and me.” Rynn nodded. He didn’t much want to get too involved in local matters; it had gone so well for them in Hammerdine and Laishtek. But all local matters seemed to be revolving around this goblin problem, at the same time. It was sure to make the quest for Tawru’s sword more complicated. He thanked the guard for his time, took one last glance at the goblins, then descended back to the street.

Khaska was still speaking with the goblins that had helped them. After the goblin attacks had begun, the city had hastily fortified itself with the results that they had seen. These goblins were mostly scared of living in the city, more scared of Kagu, and severely out of place, for the most part.

“So tell me about Nir,” asked Rynn, joining the conversation.

“Nir!” The goblin practically spat the name. “Since he’s one of the few that speaks common well, he became our ambassador, then our defacto leader. Wanted to run for city council, and I think he has the support, but they won’t let him.”

“It would seem the situation would call for all races to join together, would it not?” asked Khaska.

“Kagu is a goblin. Nir is a goblin. Most folk don’t see a difference.” The goblin shrugged.

“And where could we find this Nir?” asked Rynn.

“He usually stays around the town hall with a few bodyguards. I think it’s for his own safety. People wouldn’t dare kill him around the city hall. It would start a goblin riot inside the city, and that’s the last thing the council wants at this point. Now, if you’ll excuse me, my friends don’t want to stick around much longer.” At that, the other goblins perked up and followed him off.

“Well,” said Rynn, “things have certainly changed in the last year.”

“It will certainly make our quest harder,” said Khaska, whispering. “I would like to inquire after the monastery, but only with those that seem more worthy of trust.”

“Let’s head to one of the inns and see if there’s a place to stay,” replied Rynn. “There’s a good one near the middle of town, The Night Owl. The innkeeper is an older elf, and if memory serves, she’s been in the city for a long time. She might know who we could talk to, if she doesn’t know herself.”

As they walked toward the inn, Rynn and Khaska filled Jenika in on the details of their conversations in goblin. They also got a good look at the interior of Twilight. The town itself seemed run down, and as the party made their way towards the center of town they began to see that the town was also holding more than its fair share of inhabitants. Houses looked full, and there were many just slumped on the side of the street, sleeping where they could. The Night Owl itself was filled to overflowing. The party was quickly informed that there were no available rooms, but that they were welcome to sleep on the floor of the main room. Chairs and tables had been pushed to the side already, and the good spots near the fire were already taken, but there was room. The bartender, who was on duty, said he would charge them but obviously just for food and a few extra coins for the roof over their head. Rynn, actually, declined to stay in those conditions, so he and Ranna went to find a spot outside, while Khaska and Jenika opted to stay in the inn on the floor.

The owner, Mirwen Taldiril, was already in bed, so they would have to wait to talk to her tomorrow. “Breakfast is at 7, but like our accommodations, it won’t be all that much” the bartender said, keeping his voice low to not wake other sleeping customers. It was obvious that not much would be found in the way of information that night. So with that, the party retired to bed, Rynn around the back of the inn, Khaska and Jenika in the front room with many other guests.

Eryx (DM)
So to sum up what’s been going on in Twilight:
1. A few months ago Kagu began acting up.
2. The town tried to negotiate, as this wasn’t necessarily unusual. Kagu killed the delegation, including one of the town councilmembers, Agamm Rockbiter, a dwarf invested in the mining guilds in the city.
3. Kagu also began attacking other goblin tribes in the area. He drove them (and other locals) into the city, which is now overcrowded.
4. There was an actual siege, but it abruptly ended. Now Kagu’s goblins patrol around the city making travel out or in difficult, but since it’s mostly at night, not impossible.

We’ll pick it up in Chapter 2 now.

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