Codex V-Chapter 2

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As the sun rose over the horizon, Rynn awoke feeling more refreshed than he probably ought to have despite sleeping on the streets of Twilight. Ranna licked his face as he stirred. The front room of the inn was abuzz with activity as the guests and the employees pushed the tables and chairs back into their original positions. Khaska and Jenika were sitting at one table with a few others and Rynn joined them. The smell of cooking food wafted from the kitchen, and employees bustled about serving a meager, yet filling, potato dish.

“So you came here on an airship?” one of the other guests asked, a halfling who had to stand on his chair to reach his plate. “That’s mighty brave. Airships aren’t safe out by the clearing anymore. They hover by the town hall. A few have drifted into each other, but no real damage, just some scrapes and stuff.”

“We were supposed to try to contact our friends on the airship today at noon,” Jenika said. “They were going to hover and wait out the night.”

“You might be able to get to the clearing in the daytime. Goblins aren’t as active,” the halfling said. “But hey, if your friends are looking for work, well,” he pointed across the room.

An elf dressed in shining plate, an elegant purple cape flowing behind him, was taking an order of the breakfast potatoes. At his side was a long, slender sword, and even with just the hilt showing it was obvious that the craftsmanship was exquisite. He moved with an elegant grace that indicated his long time in armor. He vanished up the stairs.

“We had a few elves in town for the past few months. Scholars, from their fancy-pants university down on Slyn. That's one of their bodyguards. You can get a good look at Arkenos from here, and I guess they’ve been mapping the evil moon. Preparing for the Dark Times and all that. Well, just as they finished, the goblins attacked the skyships and set theirs on fire. Now they’re stuck! Nobody else has a skyship to lend them, though. Mayhaps your buddies are looking for some work? I get the impression the elves would pay very very well. I wish I could help, but my captain is a man of his word and he already had signed a contract before they started asking.” He finished his meal with a large mouthful. “Might want to ask them.” With that, he hopped down, left a coin for the servers, and disappeared into the growing crowd.

“Seems that the siege of this town has left many stranded,” Rynn observed. “I'll bet the outlying farms and some of the smaller villages had all their people move into the city for protection.”

“That’s why the food is so sparse,” Jenika said.

“And why the city is in such need,” said Khaska.

“Rynn Fowler!” came a voice. Rynn turned to see a human female approaching him. He blanked on her name, but she did seem familiar. “What brings you back to these parts? And how in the name of Markus did you actually get into the city? I’d have seen you before now if you’d been around.”

It had taken the ranger a moment, but finally he remembered. One of the odd jobs in the town he and Arandur had done when they were here was to rescue some miners from a group of kobolds. This woman, whose name he could still not recall, had lost her husband in the incident, but her brother had been saved by the actions of the two rangers.

“Forgive me, I don’t remember your name,” he said. “But I hope the past year has been kind to you, kinder than when you lost your husband.”

“I’m Evelyn Bildge,” she said. “And the year actually has been kind to me. The mining guild took pity on me and gave me a job working the books after Jackson died. Now I run quite a bit of the mining operations in the mountains to the west. I do miss my husband though.”

“My condolences on your loss,” said Khaska.

“Say, if you’re here looking for work, we have a shipment of ore due to come into town tomorrow afternoon. We could use as many hands as we can get to escort it in. More guards there are, the less likely these damn goblins are to attack. Come by the guild hall. We’ll put you to work if you want. Plenty to do around here, though. Guarding farmers while they work their fields. Securing the town defenses, though maybe not so much anymore. I’m sure someone’ll snatch you up, I just wanted to stake my claim for you when I saw you.” She stuck her hand out. “Welcome back to Twilight!”

“I’m glad you’re doing so well,” the ranger said. “We’ll think about it.” It was a non-committal response, and she nodded. “Question for you, though, the goblins only attack around the city?”

“Oh, we run heavy escorts to the mines, too, but yeah, Kagu’s stupid goblins seem to enjoy harassing the town more than anything else after they abandoned the siege. Look, I gotta get back. Good to see you. Hope to see you around. Come by the guild hall. We’ll put you to work. Pay’s good, too.” Evelyn got up to leave, and on her way out she stopped to say hello to an elegant elf woman in simple robes, her braided golden-blonde hair streaked with bits of gray. Rynn perked up.

“That’s Mirwen,” he said. “The owner of the inn. She’s lived here in Twilight for a long time. She’d be one to ask about the monastery.”

Mirwen was walking through the crowd, talking to customers, making small-talk, and just being a welcome presence. She was walking with a cane and a limp, but seemed otherwise healthy. When she came to their table, she expressed surprise at seeing Khaska.

“We don’t see many Maha'i. It’s been decades since one of your people was here. Welcome to Twilight, but, how did you get here?”

How they had arrived at a city in the middle of a siege mentality seemed to be a popular question, Rynn noted, as they answer the innkeeper as they had the others and introduced themselves.

“And what brings you to our city?” was her next question.

This time, however, instead of answering with some vague “just passing through,” or “looking for work,” or changing the subject as they had with the others, Khaska felt to tell her the truth, though he leaned in and whispered.

“We have come seeking an item that may be in the area. Rynn says you have lived here long. I know that elves are long-lived, but I do not know if you have been here for long enough to know of things that might aid us. But I do not wish to speak openly of these matters. Could we go somewhere private?”

She looked at him sideways, as if sizing him up, and thought on it for a moment. “Come, let’s go to my private room. We can speak there without interruption.” She led the way, still speaking here and there, and told one of the servers to bring some tea.

The group entered the room and she shut the door behind them. The furniture was simple enough, just a well-made bed, a chair, a desk, and a secretary that was closed. Mirwen sat on her bed, and indicated for Khaska to sit in the chair.

“Now, what is it you seek, Khaska of the Maha’i?”

Eryx (DM)
Rynn’s Knowledge (Local) check is what led you to Mirwen, and he remembers her as being very knowledgeable, though he was a little fuzzy on the details of how long she’s been in the city as an innkeeper. It was a while, though. Your 22 Gather Info roll will also be about getting information from her, but I’d like to know what specifically you’re going to ask her about the Tawruian Monastery and Likran Treewind’s resting place. She’ll be able to answer your questions.

But this next post doesn’t just have to be the conversation with Mirwen and Khaska. You’ve been offered a job with the mining guild, with whom Rynn is familiar, you are supposed to try to contact Godfrey at noon in the clearing, and there are elves about who might be looking to hire such a skyship. There’s also lots of things that such people as your characters could do for work in the city, as Evelyn aluded to.

So what all do you want to do after your conversation with Mirwen? I’ll give answers in the gray box to your questions to her, and then just work them into the narrative for the next post, in case that will affect what you want to do next.

BlackWolf
Rynn will defer to Khaska, letting the Maha'i ask the questions and share only what he wishes. This is his quest, after all.

After talking with Mirwen, the ranger's next order of business will be to report back to Godfrey. He's thinking the party should just head back to the clearing, though he's open to other ideas for signaling the Skycutter. Perhaps we could enlist another airship for a quick rendezvous?

Rynn isn't interested in taking any jobs at this time. He just wants to help Khaska with visiting the monastery and finding Tawru's sword. After that he may be more amenable to taking on jobs, should the party desire some income that way. But as for Godfrey and his crew, Rynn doesn't expect them to just wait around like some personal shuttle. He'll let them know of the potential for jobs here.

Thevarou
Khaska, while eager to find Tawru's relics, is still somewhat apprehensive; he's uncomfortable with the political situation around Twilight and, despite Rynn's assurances of who would and who wouldn't be trustworthy, is still wary. Knowing that he's the only Maha'i in the city, moreover, makes him feels conspicuous, and he's realizing more that ever the audacity of the quest he took on. He feels quite young and out-of-place, but he is here, and has to do his best to accomplish his goal. He doesn't wish to attract any more attention than the absolute minimum - for his good or for others'. Before proceeding with the conversation, then, he'd do a brief Sense Motive check on Mirwen.

If he's sure she's trustworthy, he'll begin to explain parts of his quest, beginning with the more innocuous: the brooch Onasus entrusted him with. "While I and my party were in Laishtek, I had the great honor to meet Loremaster Onasus. When I mentioned to him that I was coming here, to Twilight, he gave me this brooch" - he'll take it out - "which, he said, belonged to a Knight named Likran Treewind, who came here to found a monastery and was, upon his death, interred there. I am to return this, if I can, to his grave."

He'll also say that he heard that Kagu dwells in a large building outside of town, rumored to be the abandoned monsatery, long closed; is this rumor true? If so, what does Mirwen know about Kagu and his objectives, motivations? Has anyone visited the monastery? What does legend say is at the monastery? Was it ever sacked in the past? Does anyone know what effect Kagu has had on it?

If she asks why Khaska would go to such great lengths to restore Treewind's brooch, Khaska will clarify that he is also here to see Treewind's sword, which is a Maha'i relic - Tawru's sword. (If he feels comfortable, he'll say this earlier. When he mentions that he had already planned on coming to Twilight, he'll say that Tawru's sword was his primary interest. Either way, he'll say it in the conversation unless he feels very unnerved.) He'll inquire whether there's any local lore regarding Tawru's sword - or, for that matter, any other relics of his! Finally, he'll ask whether she has any advice, or whether he missed any questions he should have asked. When the conversation winds down, he will thank Mirwen sincerely for her time and aid, and offer to her his services in repaying it.

Regarding picking up jobs in the local area: Khaska's not keen on signing up for something soon - unless, of course, that would help him and the party get closer to the Tawruvian monastery somehow. He'd also be willing to let the skyship depart if they got another contract; though he's uncertain about how the party would manage to leave Twilight without the Skycutter, he doesn't think it would be courteous to expect them to be a personal ferry service.

Eryx (DM)
The idea of Godfrey's is that he would take you to Twilight. There wasn't much expectation that he would act as your personal shuttle service after that, but Rynn would know that there are usually skyships coming and going. Even with the goblin complications, at some point in the next few months you should be able to either buy passage on or get work on a skyship crew headed back to Gallidus.

In answer to Khaska's questions, I'll give the following information. I'll work it into the narration of the post itself, but will post it here for you to decide what to do with it.

You just have a general impression at first from your Sense Motive that Mirwen is calm, collected, and happy to help with what she can.

Mirwen knows of the monastery, and can give you directions to it. She's been in the city long enough that she remembers it closing down. It is in the mountains to the east, alone atop a plateau. It is somewhat alone and isolated now, as the mines in its area long dried up. Two days travel would get you there, assuming you ran into no trouble along the way. She warns you that the city walls are where safety ends. The goblins will not attack the city itself. She is emphatic on this point.

Kagu and his goblins, like many goblins, usually are very mobile. Especially with his attacks, he's probably near the town at any given moment. He was in the monastery for a few months, but when the attacks began, he abandoned it, as far as she knows.

When she says that she doesn't know anything about the goblin's objectives or why he's attacking the city, you get the impression that she is hiding something, or at least not being truthful. (Metagaming, this is from your Sense Motive.)

Nobody has visited the monastery that she knows of. There aren't really any legends about the monastery. Treewind established it, the "mission" to Twilight failed as the people maintained their stubborn, evil (to the Knights) ways, and as it was not in a strategic location, eventually all of the Knights but Treewind left, though he would have one other Knight with him on a rotating basis. When he died, they buried him somewhere in the area, and then they closed up shop and abandoned the monastery.

She doesn't know anything about Tawru's sword. But she recognizes Tawru as a cognate of the name of the monastery, and would ask why it was named after him.

Thevarou
In response to Mirwen's inquiry about Tawru, Khaska would explain that Tawru was the first of his race to join the Knights of the Silver Dragons, back during the Tlerian Wars. He left his post in Hammerdine to free his people enslaved in Laishtek and succeeded, but as he was travelling the Knights, he was confronted for betraying his loyalty oaths to the Knights and slain in the resulting battle. Treewind, the founder of the monastery, noted that Tawru had displayed honor in his effort to free the slaves despite his abandonment of the Knights, and established the monastery in his memory.

With regard to future plans, Khaska will probably ask around to see what the safest way to get to the monastery would be, then depart when possible. I'll have to think about how he'd plan on dealing with the goblins. He'd probably be tempted to just try to avoid them and hide from them, but that might not my entirely possible. Consultation with Rynn and others would be preferable.

DeltaWolf
Jenika is concerned about walking out to the clearing, even in daylight. She feels silly that she suggested against coming straight to the city and waiting for daylight to land, which in hindsight would both have been better. Therefore she, not having any better ideas, will go along with what the others think.

BlackWolf
Rynn will press Mirwen on details about the goblin attacks; specifically why Kagu is attacking and why his goblins don't attack the city itself. He'll also ask others around, as the opportunity presents itself. He'll also try a Sense Motive check (if the DM hasn't already rolled one for the ranger).

  • Gather Info: 12 (rolled 4 + 8 bonus)

Now that we know the monastery is up on a plateau, it might coincide well with signaling the Skycutter — maybe we can have Godfrey drop us off nearby. Then we'd hopefully be "behind enemy lines" (so to speak) and can make our way back to the city via an unexpected route later.

So Rynn's plan for now (since we haven't hit upon anything better) is to just head back to the rendezvous point. He knows how to deal with goblins (favored enemy) and won't hesitate to attack this time around.

Eryx (DM)
Does this mean Rynn will no longer ask around about taking one of the other skyships to meet Godfrey?

BlackWolf
Good question. I think that Rynn will at least ask around, just in case some skyship captain would be agreeable — I doubt that they'd care to see more ships endangered by Kagu.

So he'll follow any good leads on that front, but he is mindful of the time. If it seems to take too long, he'd rather just risk the goblins.

Khaska was still somewhat apprehensive. Though he sought Tawru’s relics, the situation in the city worried him, and as likely the only Maha’i here he felt self-conscious. But Mirwen just sat there, looking serene and calm, so he felt like he should go ahead. However, he began with a half-truth.

“While I and my party were in Laishtek, I had the great honor to meet Loremaster Onasus. When I mentioned to him that I was coming here, to Twilight, he gave me this brooch.” The cleric removed it from his backpack. “He knew a Knight named Likran Treewind, who came here to found a monastery and was, upon his death, interred there. I am to return this, if I can, to his grave.”

“And you wish to know where the monastery is?”

“Yes. Rynn has lived in the city recently, and he knew not of any such building nearby.”

Mirwen smiled. “You are in luck, then. There are few left in the city that remember the Knights monastery. A fool’s errand, perhaps, given this city’s history, to try to convert us, but try they did. Eventually they all left except for the head Knight, and they would send others to be with him in his solitude. When he died they closed the monastery. It is on a plateau to the east, just as you reach the foothills to the mountains. Two days journey would bring you there, with no interruptions. But, there will be interruptions. The city is protected; the goblins will not attack it. But outside the walls, you are on your own.”

“We had heard that Kagu himself was staying in an unusual building. Was it the monastery?” asked Khaska.

“Yes. He stayed there for a little while. About the time he abandoned it was when the more serious attacks began, and since then he has been more mobile, not staying in one place for very long.”

“Do you know why Kagu began attacking like that? And not all goblins joined him, apparently.”

“I’m not entirely sure. All I know is that he attacks and kills people outside the city. He tried to attack the city, but then abruptly stopped the attack after a few days siege. I don’t know why he did that.”

Khaska tried to maintain a straight face, but as she spoke of the goblins breaking off the attack, he got the distinct impression that she knew more than she was letting on. But he wanted to keep asking questions. The situation in Twilight was not their primary focus.

“Can you tell me more specifically how to get to the monastery?” Rynn asked. He figured that he would be the one leading them through the woods and the mountains, and listened attentively as Mirwen talked about the abandoned mines in the area surrounding it, and what direction seemed the best way to go.

“Is there anything else you could tell us about the monastery?” inquired Khaska. “Local legends? Rumors? Anything?”

She frowned. “None that I can think of. Miners used to stay there coming to and from mines, but never more than a day, and now that the routes don’t go near it, it’s been totally abandoned for decades. I doubt there is anybody you can talk to even left in the city that’s ever even been inside. Maybe you could ask around at the mining guild. There might be an elf or dwarf that remembers it. I’d ask Gloin Graveldigger. He would be the one to know. He’s been around for a while as a mine headmaster.”

“You never journeyed to the monastery yourself?”

Mirwen laughed. “Why? I already support the Knights as I can, despite some of the old attitudes in the city. However, with Arkenos hanging over us like a hammer, the Dark Times don’t seem so much a fairytale anymore. If you are to go to the monastery, be careful. As I said, the protection ends at the city walls. But Khaska of the Maha’i, you seemed very dedicated to this quest. Why does it mean so much to you, this loremaster’s brooch?”

“I obtained the brooch in seeking information about a relic of my people’s history, a sword of one of our heroes, Tawru Khimmak Tova Nem Rujdha. The head Knight of the monastery, Liran Treewind used that sword after Tawru’s … unfortunate death. I have come seeking it.”

She looked at him. “Khaska, does that mean you have come to rob Treewind’s grave?” She stood, and in that moment the frail older elf woman seemed terrible in her rage. “That I will not abide.”

Khaska shyed away from her, intimidated by her suddenly forceful presence and mannerisms. He had not considered the possibility that Treewind would have been buried with the sword. “I am not even sure the sword would be here. I seek further knowledge of its fate, first and foremost. Have you heard of it? Might you know of its whereabouts?”

“I have not,” the elf said, sitting down, her stern voice returning to normal. “If Treewind did have the sword, either it was taken with the Knights when they abandoned the monastery, or he was buried with it.”

“Then perhaps my quest will end here, but I must at least try. Treewind was the last person known to carry the sword.”

“Why do you seek the sword in the first place?” she asked the cleric.

“If I could find the relics of Tawru, of which the sword is one, I could unite the Maha’i tribes before the Dark Times. This is my ultimate goal. I intend no disrespect to Treewind in my quest. He was an honorable Knight, and a true friend to Tawru.”

The elf sat there for a moment, looking at Khaska. If anything, the Maha’i felt as he had with Loremaster Onasus, remembering the elegant human’s green eyes boring into him, observing him, assessing him. But then Mirwen’s expression softened. “I have given you what I know. May the gods be with you in your quest, then, Khaska of the Maha’i. I have told you all that I can think of. Be careful outside the city walls. You are only safe in here.”

With that, Mirwen escorted them back to the main hall of the inn. The crowd had thinned considerably as breakfast was over. Stepping outside, Rynn looked up at the sky, finding the sun hovering over the horizon. He guessed it was about 10 am. He glanced at the others. “We’ve got about two hours until noon. I think we should check to see if any skyship captains would be willing to take their ship for a quick rendezvous?”

“That sounds like a good idea,” said Jenika. “Mirwen seemed to think we wouldn’t be safe outside the walls.”

Unfortunately, after about an hour of checking, it was evident that even for a short rendezvous, it would cost them some serious gold to interrupt the already-established schedules. Some of the skyships were being loaded with goods. Some were preparing to take a group of miners out to the mountains. Several captains simply couldn’t be found in time. So it was that at about 11:30 Rynn decided that they would just head for the clearing themselves. The gate was open, and the elf that had been there last night was standing nearby, his longbow ready.

“You’re leaving?” he asked, surprised.

Rynn nodded. “We’re to meet the skyship that brought us here in the clearing.”

The elf shrugged. “We guards can cover you until you get about to the trees. After that, you’re on your own. Once you step past the gate, the goblins might start taking shots at you, though I haven’t seen any today. For some reason they won’t attack if you’re inside the town. Since the siege lifted, they only attack those outside the city walls. Right now you should be safe enough until the forest, I think. No telling if any of the goblins are awake during the day though once you get in there. Good luck!”

The elf was right. No goblins attacked them as they left the town and made their way through the apparent no-man’s-land between the defenses of the town and the forest. Rynn took them off of the beaten path, wanting to avoid well-traveled areas. Khaska’s armor clanked too much for Rynn’s comfort, but no goblins heard them. As they approached the skyship landing area, Rynn had Jenika and Khaska stay back just a bit as he and Ranna scouted ahead.

The ranger slunk through the undergrowth until he felt he could see the clearing well enough. Sure enough, a group of goblins was in the clearing, though many of them were asleep under a makeshift lean-to, hiding just on the opposite edge where the shade kept them from the sun’s rays. He looked up to see the Skycutter floating lazily closer. It was some distance away, which was good. Godfrey was being cautious. But eventually the goblins would notice it. He snuck back to the others to tell them of the situation.

Eryx (DM)
Mirwen gave you one lead to follow up on. Gloin Graveldigger is a dwarf miner who might be able to tell something about the monastery since the Knights of the Silver Dragons abandoned it.

Now you’re at the clearing. There are a number of goblins, Rynn counted at least seven of them, though all were asleep or at least lightly dozing. The Skycutter is slowly approaching, but you have a few minutes before it arrives and would be visible to the goblins from their angle. What do you want to do?

BlackWolf
I suppose it's possible that we could go around the goblins and climb a tree or something. Or maybe we could even try diplomacy with these goblins…

But those things do not play to Rynn's strengths. From a ranger perspective, he sees these goblins as though they were predators which have outgrown their niche and need to be thinned out. Moreover they are committing evil acts such as planning to murder bystanders in this conflict (i.e. our party).

Therefore Rynn suggest that we ambush. He and Khaska can fire their bows for a ranged assault from the treeline (with a little distance between us). Then if any goblins get too close, Jenika and Ranna can jump out and give them a second surprise. Or if the goblins are too good with their ranged weaponry, we can retreat into the trees and lure them over.

Here are 4 rounds worth of attacks (assuming a surprise round):

  • Round 1: rapid shot:
      • attack: miss (rolled 1)
      • attack: 24 (rolled 17 + 5 base + 3 DEX + 1 mwk -2 rapid shot), damage: 7 (rolled 3 + 2 STR + 2 favored enemy)
  • Round 2: rapid shot:
      • attack: 20 (rolled 13 + 7 bonus), damage: 11 (rolled 7 + 4 bonus)
      • attack: 21 (rolled 14 + 7 bonus), damage: 6 (rolled 2 + 4 bonus)
  • Round 3: rapid shot:
      • attack: 20 (rolled 13 + 7 bonus), damage: 8 (rolled 4 + 4 bonus)
      • attack: 18 (rolled 11 + 7 bonus), damage: 12 (rolled 8 + 4 bonus)
  • Round 4: rapid shot:
      • attack: miss! (rolled 1)
      • attack: 26 (rolled 17 + 7 bonus), damage: 9 (rolled 5 + 4 bonus)

Eryx (DM)
I know consensus on the plan hasn't been reached, but I'll need Move Silent Checks from everybody if you intend to attack. You'll need to move close enough that it becomes a possibility that they might hear you, as Khaska only has a shortbow.

BlackWolf
Rynn Move Silently check: 7 (rolled 2 + 5 bonus)
Ranna Move Silently check: 16 (rolled 13 + 3 bonus)

Almost the worst he could do on that one. Let's hope that between the distance and their lethargy, we'll still get the jump on them.

DeltaWolf
Question: When using flurry of blows can each attack hit a different target, or do both blows have to be aimed at the same target?

  • move silently: 25 (19+6 Mod)

Eryx (DM)
You can hit different targets with each attack. I see nothing in the rules that says otherwise, and that seems to make sense to me.

Are you voting to attack, DeltaWolf? If so, can I get three rounds from you, too (and initiative rolls from all of you). I'll use the three rounds if I need to. We'll see how sneaky you all are, how perceptive they are, how quick they try to close the distance (or if they just run away). We'll see. But three rounds would allow me to move forward whatever happens with the post without having to pause to ask you for your attacks if that becomes necessary.

Thev
Khaska's wary of starting a battle so brashly. While it seems inevitable that an interaction with the goblins would result in an armed conflict, he'd rather not anger the goblins if not absolutely necessary. Though Khaska is, like Rynn, loath to get entangled needlessly in Twilight's politics, he also would like to diagnose and resolve the half-hearted siege of Twilight if possible. Perhaps one of the party could attempt to hail the goblins peacefully first with the others in position to ambush and, if the goblins try to attack despite the gesture of goodwill (or at least non-violence), put them out of commission (preferably without killing any). That way, the party would be able to claim deliberate self-defense.

As Khaska would be the least likely to succeed at sneaking around, he would volunteer to greet the goblins - but only after Rynn and Jenika are in position closer to the goblins. He'd greet them from somewhat far off so that Rynn and Jenika could attack at the first sign of belligerence, and Khaska could join in with his scimitar (at which he is better than with his shortbow).

How does that sound?

  • To hit: 6 = 1 + 5
    • Damage: 5 = 3 + 2
  • To hit: 9 = 4 + 5
    • Damage: 7 = 5 + 2
  • To hit: 20 = 15 + 5
    • Damage: 7 = 5 + 2

BlackWolf
Sounds good to me. Rynn will frown a bit at the initial suggestion though. "They've been trying to kill us ever since we got here, Khaska." But he also sees the wisdom in it and would rather respond with violence than instigate it.

So Rynn will be ready to fire his bow at the first sign of trouble.

Initiative: 18 (rolled 15 + 3 bonus)

DeltaWolf
Here are the attack rolls (hopefully it won’t come to that):

Initiative: 19 (14+5 Mod)

  • Flurry of blows:
    • To Hit: 20 (14+6) *Damage: 6 (3+3)
    • To Hit: 15 (9+6) *Damage: 6 (3+3)
  • Flurry of blows:
    • To Hit: 16 (10+6) *Damage: 10 (7+3)
    • To Hit: 20 (14+6) *Damage: 6 (3+3)
  • Flurry of blows:
    • To Hit: 20 (14+6) *Damage: 6 (3+3)
    • To Hit: 14 (8+6) *Damage: 9 (6+3)

Thev
After a little thought, Khaska will play as if he's coming to the docking site to check for any newly dead bodies, as have been more and more common, so as to gather the bodies and pray for the deceased. "Hail," he'll say, "in the name of Pelor! I come here sometimes between attacks to see whether there are any dead or wounded in need of a cleric, and thanks be to all the gods that your party is safe and unharmed. How passed you the night?"

The ranger was in no forgiving mood. There were a few options available to them. Perhaps climbing a tree to signal the Skycutter after going around. Perhaps even diplomacy. However, Rynn was looking at the situation through his ranger training. These goblins were predators that had outgrown their niche, and they needed to be thinned out. He said as much, suggesting an ambush, but Khaska was wary of instigating violence.

“I would rather not anger the goblins if not absolutely necessary,” he began. “I, for one, would like to know why they abandoned the half-hearted siege of the town. Perhaps I could approach them in peace, with you waiting in ambush should their intentions be hostile. Besides,” he rapped softly on his full plate armor, “I am not going to be able to sneak up on them.”

Jenika looked at Rynn, and the ranger frowned. “They’ve been trying to kill us since we got here, Khaska.”

“I would like to try to save at least one alive if it comes to that, all if preferable.”

“No,” Rynn said, firmly. “If they attack, we’ll respond in kind. It’s noble to not want to start the fight, but not to get ourselves killed. Let us get into position first, and hail them from far enough away that you can have a bit of time to prepare should they attack.” Rynn saw the value in not starting the fight, but if a fight broke out, he would not hesitate to kill.

The cleric nodded, and watched as his companions snuck away to get into a better position. He waited for a few minutes, then stepped into the clearing. The goblins were a good ways away—he had entered the clearing with a large space between them—and he waited until he was partway across the area before he called out.

“Hail,” he called, “in the name of Pelor! I come here sometimes between attacks …”

As soon as the goblins heard his speaking, they bolted upright and looked around. Standing tall, shining in the noonday sun, and out in the open, it did not take them long to find him.

“Kill him!” One of them shouted. With that, they began to run at him, weapons drawn, shields hastily picked up. Two carried shortbows, and they were nocking arrows as they ran. The twang! of Rynn’s bow sounded from the trees to the side. Jenika exploded from her concealment, running full tilt towards the cleric.

Rynn’s arrows managed to drop the two with bows before they could get in range. Jenika arrived with Khaska a few seconds before the goblins did. The cleric had his scimitar out and had already said a prayer. Rynn’s bow continued to fire arrows at the goblins, dropping one more by the time they all converged together. The ranger’s skill had clearly improved, and his expertise in dealing with goblins was showing. A final arrow lodged itself in the back of one of the goblins just as it arrived and took a swipe at Jenika. The monk nimbly dodged and punched it in the face, dropping it to the ground.

The remaining goblins converged on the two figures in the clearing. Prepared and confident, Khaska lashed out with his scimitar while taking steps to defend himself. There were seven of them left and they swarmed the two combatants. One of them landed a serious blow on the cleric immediately, smashing into his leg right at the knee joint. Another landed his morningstar right in Jenika’s chest, smashing into her and cracking a rib.

Rynn was walking closer as he fired at the last of the goblins to arrive in melee range. He was wielding a greatclub, and the creature screamed in rage at the arrow that suddenly sprouted from his arm, but then took a swipe at Jenika. His greatclub smashed into her, sending her sprawling. She was on her feet instantly, dodging the blows from the others swarming her, but another blow from the bigger goblin hit her in the face. The smaller goblins cheered, yelling and screaming and cursing in the goblin language, but none of them hit Jenika nor Khaska, even as the cleric sliced one through the neck and the monk grabbed another’s head and twisted it, the crack resounding in the morning air. The monk, however, was severely wounded. That goblin with a greatclub hit hard. Rynn drew his sword and ran up to that goblin, stabbing him right in the back. The goblin appeared not to even notice, screaming triumphantly, flecks of spittle flying out of his mouth at Jenika, and raised his club again to hit her.

Eryx (DM)
They weren’t interested in talking.

There are five goblins left; you’ve already killed five of them. Rynn took down three with his bow, and Jenika and Khaska both killed one each. The one with the greatclub hits like a truck, he’s severely injured Jenika in just two blows. He and two others are attacking Jenika, and two more are attacking Khaska.

Your hitpoints are as follows.

Khaska: 23/35
Jenika: 6/32
Rynn: 30/30
Ranna: 15/15

I had Rynn continue to fire as he walked closer to the melee. He was ignored by the goblins, who are pretty single-minded apparently. He’s now within melee range. I had to make one set of rolls (it took them 3 rounds to get to melee range) for shooting and then one set of rolls for melee. I figured that would be what Rynn would do, slowly walk closer until melee combat was all that was going on. Now that it is, he draws his sword and joins, instead of acquiring the -4 penalty for firing into melee. That about right, BlackWolf?

In any event, give me three more rounds of actions.

BlackWolf
Go bow attacks! Yeah! One day Rynn will have enough bonuses in his ranged attack that it would be better to just take the -4 penalty. Or perhaps I'll select the Precise Shot feat for him at some point. But for now, entering melee was probably best. You made a good call, DM.

Rynn will hack away at our enemies with his longsword. I'll leave targeting to the DM's discretion; focusing on the greatclub guy would be nice to take him out, but getting rid of his friends is also good.

  • Attack: 14 (rolled 6 + 5 base + 2 STR + 1 mwk), damage: 12 (rolled 8 + 2 STR + 2 favored enemy)
  • Attack: 15 (rolled 7 + 8 bonus), damage: 6 (rolled 2 + 4 bonus)
  • Attack: 17 (rolled 9 + 8 bonus), damage: 11 (rolled 7 + 4 bonus)

Not the best rolls, but Rynn will try to flank to get another +2 to hit.

Rynn will also whistle to Ranna, calling her into battle (a free action; I won't even bother rolling it unless the DM asks).

  • Attack: 9 (rolled 6 + 3 bonus), damage: 3 (rolled 2 + 1 bonus)
  • Attack: 20 (rolled 17 + 3 bonus), damage: 4 (rolled 3 + 1 bonus)
  • Attack: 19 (rolled 16 + 3 bonus), damage: 2 (rolled 1 + 1 bonus)

Thev
Darn. Well, it was worth a shot, and I don't think we're worse for the wear for trying to parley first. If Rynn targets the goblins attacking Khaska, Khaska will continue attacking himself - but trying to help out Jenika against her assailants if he can, especially the larger goblin.

  • To hit: 12 = 7 + 5
    • Damage: 7 = 5 + 2
  • To hit: 22 = 17 + 5
    • Damage: 5 = 3 + 2
  • To hit: 6 = 1 + 5
    • Damage: 3 = 1 + 2

(Ugh, what terrible rolls.)

DeltaWolf
I was telling my brother the other day that Jeika’s dying wouldn’t be the worse thing in the world, but this isn’t exactly how I thought she would go out.

  • Stunning Fist (club goblin)
    • To Hit: 26 (20 Rolled! +6) Damage: 12 (7,2 +3)
  • Move away from club goblin
  • Throw Shuriken (club goblin)
    • To Hit: 26 (20+6) Damage: 6 (2,1+3)

Two 20s! Jenika must really want to live!

However, lightning quick, Jenika leapt toward him and gave him a vicious strike with the palm of her hand, right in his face. His head snapped back and his eyes glazed over as her stunning fist blasted him into a momentary daze, making him drop his club. Rynn withdrew his sword and also slashed that goblin across the back of his head, a spray of blood arcing out in the noonday sun. It collapsed on the ground.

Rynn turned on another of the small creatures attacking Jenika, and his sword slashed down the creature’s arm as the monk backed out of the fight momentarily, reaching into a pouch on her belt. Khaska also managed to get in a good hit with his scimitar, leaving only one goblin left attacking him.

One goblin turned to see Rynn and squealed in panic, his small club whipping up in a hasty move. That sudden hasty move, however, dodged right through the ranger’s defenses to crack him right on his chin. Rynn saw stars but then Ranna leapt onto the goblin and took it down in a screaming mess. Jenika unfurled, and a thrown shuriken buried itself in the throat of another, who Ranna also savaged as it scrambled for breath. There was only one goblin left, and Jenika jumped forward to punch it right in the chest, cracking ribs even as its shortsword found a weakness in Khaska’s armor. The creature dropped to the ground, its breath rattling out from its mouth.

The Skycutter was entering the clearing now, the crew on the edges of the prow, long-range weapons at the ready.

“Are you okay?” called out Godfrey.

Rynn gave a wave signaling that they were fine, even as he swept his eyes over the treeline, looking for more assailants. There appeared to be none.

“Rynn,” said Khaska, who was wiping his blade clean, “is it not the goblin way to run when the battle turns against them? That is how they fight by my homeland in the wastes.”

The ranger frowned. “Typically, I guess. It’s not unheard of for a group of goblins to fight to the death, but it’s not their usual tactic when losing a battle. I found that unusual too. Maybe they are afraid of Kagu. Better to die in battle than go back and report a failure.”

Eryx (DM)
By the time the three rounds you gave me were finished there was only one goblin left standing, so I took the liberty of rolling an extra round just to wrap things up. The goblins got some lucky hits just as they were dying, so your hitpoints are as follows:

Khaska: 9/35
Jenika: 6/32
Rynn: 20/30
Ranna: 15/15

For this fight, you each receive 1050 XP.

The Skycutter is here now. I believe that Thev mentioned he wanted to find out why the half-hearted (and then aborted) siege of the town. There are goblins that are bleeding out, so you could stabilize one of them to chat when he wakes up, or just bring him all the way out of unconsciousness.

What do you want to do now?

BlackWolf
"Maybe they are afraid of Kagu?", Rynn conjectures. "Better to die in battle than go back and report a failure?"

My vote for our next steps are to board the Skycutter and them about how they should just fly right over the town and the work they could get. But first, if Godfrey would be so kind as to drop us off at the monastery?

I figure if we fly right over to it, we can check it out from the air. Then if everything seems still, we can disembark a little ways from it and investigate.

Eryx (DM)
Just as a small reminder, Mirwen did give you a lead to follow up on-Gloin Graveldigger, who might know people who have stayed in the monastery. In discussing all this with Godfrey, it seems to him that two hours trip (his estimate of how long it would take to get you to the monastery) isn't a big deal at all, whether now or even later. He seems keen on helping the elves out, of the jobs you told him about in town.

DeltaWolf
At the moment Jenika is more interested in resting, as she took a club beating.

Thev
Khaska is still curious to discover what's going on with the goblins, as it could provide important information about the local politics and the situation with the monastery. If Rynn is eager to go, Khaska would suggest binding a goblin and taking him back to Twilight; if Rynn is correct about the goblin's motives, perhaps a promise of amnesty/safety inside the town would be enough to get him to talk non-violently. Either way, Khaska would like to head back to Twilight for the time being and ask Gloin Graveldigger about the monastery; best to gather as much information as possible! If Godfrey's amenable, Khaska would ask for transportation to - and, if possible, from - the monastery in the coming days.

BlackWolf
Rynn would have rather just gone right to the monastery, but he won't argue the point — especially since the party is injured. He'll help Khaska bind a goblin to take back to Twilight. He'll also search the bodies for anything that might be useful or valuable.

Once back at the town, he'll also help get info from this Gloin Graveldigger (though the ranger is somewhat skeptical of whether ten-year-old info from the dwarf will be of much use) and the captive goblin.

  • Search: 20 (rolled 16 + 4 bonus)
  • Use Rope: 12 (rolled 8 + 4 bonus)
  • Gather Info: 26 (rolled 18 + 8 bonus)

Maybe it's because the ranger is so close to the wild frontier, or maybe it's because he doesn't want to get wrapped up in local politics — either way, he's not keen on hanging around Twilight. Once the Tawru quest is over, then he'll be more receptive to helping with Kagu or taking on some jobs.

“We should ask one,” said Khaska. He muttered a prayer and touched one of them briefly, stabilizing the goblin with his divine magic. “Perhaps an offer of amnesty will help loosen his tongue, if he does indeed fear Kagu as you suggest. We should bring him back to the town with us.”

“Fine,” said the ranger, but then he went to go retrieve his pack from where he had dropped it. “But I’m tying him up.”

The Skycutter dropped to hover about 20 feet above the ground, and a rope ladder snaked down. Akle’s shaved-headed form was the first down, sliding quickly down the rope, and retrieving his crossbow once on the ground, eyes scanning the area warily.

“Some welcome party, eh?” he said.

They were able to board the ship with no difficulty, heaving the injured goblin up to the deck. Akle was the last to come up, clambering quickly up the rope. The party informed Godfrey of the situation in the town, both with regard to the goblins and all the potential work. Of the jobs they had heard of, he seemed inclined to talk to the elves. He said it was likely he could drop the party off at the monastery, depending on what his schedule was like after getting work in the town.

It took some fancy signaling, and some fancy, at least to the party, flying, to get the Skycutter parked over the central town area with the other skyships still there. They were able to descend to the ground easily, Jenika carrying the tied up goblin.

“I will go get our friend here some food,” Khaska said. “When he wakes, we will show him that we are his friends.”

“Why did you bring a goblin into the town?” asked one of the onlookers. Quite a crowd had gathered as the new skyship had come to rest over the town. Rynn suspected that Godfrey would soon be up to his ears in various offers of work to be done.

“We have questions to ask him,” Khaska said.

“He won’t want to talk to you,” came another voice. A contingent of goblins had joined the crowd, easily able to come to the front as the others moved in parabolas around them, avoiding being too close and pushing away. One of them was slightly taller than the others, and his clothing was a bit more fine, inasmuch as goblin clothing could be considered such. “None of Kagu’s goblins are interested in negotiating.” He emphasized “Kagu.” “He’ll just try to fight you more once he wakes up.”

“Does he still fear Kagu?” asked Rynn. “The goblins we fought did so to the last man, to the death. That seemed unusual to me, and I’ve had dealings with goblins before.”

“Kagu’s goblins don’t act like regular goblins anymore, not that I can tell,” the big one said. “I’m glad they didn’t kill you. You must be the strangers that came in last night.”

“And you must be Nir,” said Jenika. “We heard about you.”

“I lead the goblins that aren’t crazy. Not that we’re all that welcome here, but the hard stares and blatant discrimination of all these fine folk are better than Kagu’s goblins stabbing you in the back. Good luck with that one.” With that, Nir turned and went towards the big town hall on the edge of the square. A tomato flew out of the crowd at him, but he dodged it. “Oh, that’s a great use of what little food you have left!” he shouted. Nothing else happened until he entered the building.

Godfrey came up to Khaska. “I believe you said that there was an inn you were staying at, the one the elves were at as well?”

“Yes,” said Khaska, “and that was where I was going to purchase some food for the goblin. I will show you the way.”

Jenika, Akle, and Godfrey’s first mate came along with two other crewmembers. Rynn stayed behind to watch the captured goblin (and keep him safe, as the ranger did not like the looks the injured creature was getting from some in the crowd) but requested that some food be brought to him. In their rush in the morning, they had not eaten lunch.

The Night Owl was sparsely populated, the lunch rush over by now. Godfrey and his men went to order what they could to bring to the crew, and Godfrey asked to speak to the innkeeper. Khaska and Jenika were deciding what to bring to Rynn and eating their own lunch when Mirwen came out, supporting herself on her cane. She had done her hair up, the blonde locks hiding the graying parts to good effect in general.

“Captain Godfrey Botspringer,” she said. “Welcome to our town. We have much need of another skyship. I am glad you have come. What can I do for you?”

“I was informed that there is a contingent of elves staying in your establishment that would be in need of a skyship. I thought to offer my services to them.”

She smiled and motioned for one of the servers to come over. “Would you escort Captain Botspringer to Master Kilsheron’s room? I believe they have business to discuss.” Godfrey and his first mate left to follow the young lady up the stairs.

As they disappeared up the stairs, Mirwen and Akle were staring intently at each other. He spoke first. “I’s surprised to see you,” he said. He put his hands together and gave a small bow, saying a few words to her in a language that neither Khaska nor Jenika recognized. “But it brings me hope that you still with us.”

“It is a great pleasure to see you again, my young friend, but don’t get your hopes up too much,” she said. “I help this little town out as I can. It hasn’t been much these past few centuries, but it’s a good enough life.”

“Such as we can have,” he said. He looked at Jenika and Khaska. “Have you met my friends, Jenika of Shinadoh and Khaska Nzaidullek Mawkhavi Tereshkven?”

“I met them this morning. You are traveling partners?”

“More by chance than decision, but I’m happy for the chance. They be good people, and I’s honored to travel with them. I suspect we will be parting ways soon, however.”

“That saddens me, Akle,” said Khaska, coming over. “You have been a good friend. Your help in several of our situations was most advantageous.”

Mirwen frowned at seeing Khaska. “You are injured!”

“It became necessary to fight to keep the appointed meeting time with Godfrey and his ship. We are okay.”

She looked sharply at Akle. “Did you fight the goblins too?”

“No, I was on the skyship. Too far away to be of use.”

“Your skills would have been useful!” said Jenika. She remembered how easily the gnome had pinned the man to the ground back as they were about to leave Laishtek, and how easily the gnome had dodged his attacks after letting him go. It had helped embarrass the group greatly that they couldn’t even land a punch on either her nor Akle. 


Mirwen looked at Akle again, leaning forward. “You have been fighting?”

The gnome shrugged. “Well, when overbearing skyship sailors come lookin’ for a good time, and Jenika don’t want to give ‘em one, a gentleman is obliged to do what he can. Good people deserve better. I’s do what I can as I wander this world.”

Mirwen straightened up, paused, then gave a short nod. “Be careful. It is a dangerous world, as you well know.”

He nodded, solemnly. “I’s careful.” Then he smiled and sat down on the bar stool. “And I’s glad you met my friends. They good folk.”

“Mirwen was most gracious this morning,” said Khaska. “It was she that helped us discover the location of the monastery.” He turned to her. “Again, thank you for your conversation this morning. It was a great pleasure, and I am indebted to you for aiding me on my quest.”

Mirwen smiled, and in that moment Khaska felt as if he was a better Maha’i for just having seen that smile. “Repay that debt by helping the people of the town as you can. That is all I ask.”

He nodded and bowed his head. “I will endeavor to do so, though I believe our plan is to head for the monastery first. Now, is there some bread or something we could bring to Rynn?”

She walked back to the kitchen and returned with a full leg of a lamb, wrapping it up to go with a cloth. “Because you’ve been good friends with Aklemendorian here, I’ll give you the choicest pick I can. Enjoy!”

Khaska’s ears flattened against his head. Jenika took the leg from the elf. “Thank you,” she said. Godfrey returned from his meeting upstairs with a large grin on his face. The grin was mirrored by his first mate. “We’s got ourselves a job! We’ll be transporting Master Kilsheron and his associates up to the Fortress of Vigilance, and then back down to the elven capitol. Plan is to leave tomorrow morning, as soon as we can gather what supplies we need.”

Jenika and Khaska looked at each other, then at Godfrey.

“We can still take you to the monastery, but it will have to be before then.”

“Thank you, Godfrey,” said Jenika. “We’d best get to Rynn and let him know.”

They hastened to meet up with Rynn, who was sitting off to the side, with an official-looking man in studded leather armor next to him. The man’s hand was on his sword, and the goblin was gone.

Jenika handed over the lamb’s leg, which Rynn began to eat as they spoke.

“This is Constable Hill,” the ranger said. “He’s been tasked by his boss, the local law enforcement, to keep an eye on us.”

“You are to question that goblin, and then we’ll get rid of him!” Hill said. “We don’t want any more goblins in the city, and Sheriff Vyrdyn has half a mind to toss you guys in jail for aiding and abetting the enemy!”

“Seriously?” the monk said. “We just wanted to ask him some questions!”

The man snorted. “The goblins outside the town won’t talk. Don’t you think we’ve already tried? You just show up, new in town, and expect to find out in a day what’s going on more than we have?”

Rynn waved her down. “They’ve got the goblin locked up. My guess is he won’t wake up until tomorrow or so. You did a number on him, Jenika.”

The monk smiled. “Well, he deserved it.”

“I don’t doubt that,” said the constable, “but don’t be bringing goblins into the city anymore, got it?”

“We may have a problem,” said Khaska. He informed Rynn of Godfrey’s new job and the skyship captain’s plans.

“Well,” said the ranger, “then we’ll just have to go later today. Or tonight, when we have the cover of darkness. Just as the sun sets, we’ll have about an hour or two of pretty good darkness before Arkenos begins to light up.”

“Then we should be prepared to leave by then,” said Khaska. “Let us go ask about this Gloin Graveldigger. Perhaps we will have to wake up the goblin himself using my healing spells, though I had planned to use them all up before bed tonight to heal us from our wounds. That may still be our best option.”

It was not hard to find Gloin. The mining guild building was buzzing with activity. Evelyn Bildge was there, excited to see them, until they informed her that they were not here for work. She curtly pointed them to Gloin, and told them to make it fast, as the shipment coming in tomorrow had them all up to their ears in tasks to be completed.

Gloin was ordering men about to get things set up for the shipment in the back of the guild hall, their storage area.

“That big building,” he said. “Yeah, we used to stay there sometimes on trips back. Haven’t for decades though. No more ore in that area.”

“What can you tell us about it?” asked Khaska.

“It’s a big building. Was a bit weird. Has a courtyard with a big-ass statue in it. One of your kind,” he pointed at the Maha’i. “Other than that, a chapel for praying, quarters for living, and a few other big rooms. Probably for eating and a library, things like that. Then there’s the catacombs. It was built on an old mine, one that had long been abandoned. Centuries before my time, even. Stupid idea if you ask me. Can’t put a building that size on such a foundation!”

“And there was nothing else unusual about it?”

“Nope. We would arrive usually by dusk, set up, sleep because some roof is better than none, and then be on our way as soon as the sun was up.”

“Were there any tombs or graves?” The dwarf stopped what he was doing in helping clear crates out of the way to look at him.

“No. But I didn’t let any of the men go into the catacombs. Too dangerous. Couple of halflings went down once to the entrance, came back swearing they heard voices but I boxed their heads and that was the end of that.”

“Voices?”

“Look, those brothers, the Talkersmiths? More trouble than they were worth. Once we stopped for the night one of them would be busting out a flask and they sure loved their spirits. Hardly worked, didn’t help with the wagons, hardly helped load and unload. They weren’t exactly my best employees. Still, no sense in letting them get killed, so I made sure that everybody knew they were not to go nowhere in the building except for where we stayed to keep indoors, such as it was. They never went back down there after that, and nobody else did neither. Now, was there something else? It was a while ago. We just used it for temporary shelter. Even then it was rotting from the inside out. Stupid Knights build a rock building, but not with any help from anybody that knew what they were doing! Putting a building like that atop an old mine? I’m surprised the whole thing didn’t collapse in on itself, at least the sections over the old mine.”

Khaska thanked the dwarf for his time, and the old miner grunted and then kept at his task.

The party’s next stop was the local jail. It was surprisingly empty, a fact made clear by the sheriff, a no-nonsense gnome. “All the dead weight in this town is, well, dead now. You don’t pull your weight around here we put you on guard duty out in the fields. There, you die. Not many criminals left around here. Ain’t got time for that. Your goblin’s in the back. Make it snappy. I want him out of here soon as can be.”

It was clear he was unhappy with the situation.

Khaska had stabilized the goblin, but that was all. It was still grievously injured. Rynn used their wand of cure light wounds on him, and the goblin was awake instantly, struggling at his bonds, cursing and spitting at them.

“I kill you!” it screamed at them in goblin. “You die! Kagu kill you! Hyj kill you! You die!”

Khaska tried to offer it food and water, to no avail. The creature didn’t do anything but struggle, spit, hurl invectives at them in goblin, swear, and once it tried to bite Khaska’s hand as the Maha’i held up a cup of water. The party's questions went unanswered.

“You satisfied?” came a voice. It was Sheriff Vyrdyn. “They all act that way. Every single goblin we haven’t killed just goes nuts on us, except the ones brought in by Nir. People don’t trust them, but at least they’re not trying to kill you every second of every day. Now, can I get rid of him?”

Rynn nodded.

The Sheriff whistled, and three men came in. They grabbed the goblin by his arms and hauled him up. The creature twisted and tried to bite them, but they were able to keep him far enough away that his attacks were ineffectual.

They were out the door when Rynn realized that they still had his rope. “Hey!” he said, and followed them. “That’s my rope, can I get it back when you’re done?”

Sheriff Vyrdyn turned back to him. “You think we’re just gonna untie this guy bit by bit? Sorry, mate, we’ll cut your rope once he’s well outside the fence. You brought him in here, your problem. My men’s safety isn’t worth the price of your rope.”

There was a crowd gathering as they walked to the entrance where the party had come in last night. Several others, dwarves and men and elves alike, fell into step between the two humans carrying the still struggling goblin, all armed. The gate was open this time, and standing by it were the dwarf from last night, Ulric, and his elf friend. Ulric smiled at the sight of the goblin, and watched as they bodily hauled him outside, dropped him in the mud, pinned him down, and then cut the rope as the assembled group of city guards all trained their bows and crossbows on the goblin.

The three humans shoved his face into the ground one more time and then broke and ran. The goblin was up in a moment, screaming obscenities at them in its language, before it began to run for the treeline.

“Ulric,” said the Sheriff. “You got first shot.”

Ulric smiled and raised his crossbow.

“Wait,” said Khaska, “you’re just going to kill him?”

“And outside the town walls, where he won’t as easily escape in a crowd and cause more of a ruckus,” the Sheriff said, matter-of-factly.

Ulric’s bolt flew and the goblin dropped to the ground, the crossbow bolt sticking right out of the back of his head. There was a cheer from the assembled townspeople, and a groan from the other guards, who dropped their weapons down and returned their arrows and bolts to their quivers, moving to return to the town itself.

By this time the sun was beginning to dip towards the horizon. There was probably only four or so hours of the day left, and Godfrey had estimated that the trip to the monastery would take two.

Eryx (DM)
My apologies for the delay in this post. It grew longer than expected because there was so much to narrate. It’s one of the side effects of the way we do these campaigns. Instead of just telling you what Gloin has to say, I try to narrate it. Also, I added Rynn’s lines actually to the end of the last post, as that seemed to make more sense. Anyway … to sum up what you learned:

Gloin tells that the monastery is old, falling apart, and was poorly planned in the first place. At least part of it sits atop an old mine, but nobody’s been down there that he knows.

The goblin was … unhelpful. He seemed more violent than usual, and the townspeople are apparently accustomed to them basically being unreformable in any way. So they killed him.

Sorry about your rope, Rynn, but the Sheriff wasn’t about to risk any harm to anybody from retying him up or even untying him. They just cut him loose and ran. There’s a 25 foot length left, but the rest of it was destroyed.

There really wasn’t anything of use on the goblins aside from their weapons and clothing. The food they had with them was very bad, even for goblin fare, and their weapons and clothing were ill taken care of, even for goblins. You didn’t deem it worth bringing anything with you.

Godfrey will be leaving in the morning. You have a few hours before the sun sets to get any supplies you might want, because you will be dropped off at the monastery and then left there with no way to get back other than walking. Godfrey is amenable to dropping you off whenever you want, now, night, tomorrow morning on their way out, whatever.

For successfully contacting Godfrey as promised and helping him obtain work in the city, you all earn 500 XP.

I assume you’ll get supplies to head to the monastery and prepare for some time out in the wilderness. So a few questions:

1. When do you want to be dropped off at the monastery?
2. What supplies will you gather?
3. What do you want to do about healing up? Your hitpoints are the same as they were at the last post. I’m even willing to retcon healing in for this post.
4. Also, roll a Knowledge (Local) check, please.

Thev
Khaska thinks it would be good to leave in the morning for the monastery; in the light there would be less possibility of running across anything undesirable on the surface, and it would allow Khaska the opportunity to recharge his spells after expending them on healing the party today. (Would Khaska have enough to heal the party by himself?) I'm not sure what would be of benefit for the party to gather; perhaps rope, to replace Rynn's damaged one, and perhaps something to provide light. Khaska, though apprehensive about the prospect, suspects that they will have to descend into the tunnels beneath the monastery. He also suspects that the Knights weren't as poor builders as Gloin thought, and that perhaps the tunnels bear some additional significance.

Eryx (DM)
Perhaps an Everburning Torch?

Thev
Yes, that sound marvelous! And, per your suggestion, Khaska would also like to ask around (Gather Info: 21 = 19 + 2) about what monsters might be found in abandoned mines. Oh, and here's the Knowledge check you wanted: a big whopping 1.

Eryx (DM)
If anybody else wants to ask around about what might be in abandoned mines, I'd take either a Knowledge (Dungeoneering) or a Gather Info.

DeltaWolf
Unless I am mistaken (which I easily might) Jenika still has a few torches in her backpack. Jenika thinks that they would benefit from waiting until mourning to go to the monastery, but she is willing to go whenever the others want to (provided she gets some HP back).

  • Knowledge (what may be in the mine)
    • 3 (2+1)

BlackWolf
I think that Rynn will also buy an Everburning Torch. Going underground isn't something he's done much of, and he doesn't want to be caught unprepared if his regular torches fall into water or something like that. DM, will the cost be the standard 110 gp, or is it more expensive here in Twilight given the situation? If it's much more expensive, he might just buy a few Sunrods instead.

He'll also buy a new 50 ft. length of rope to add to his 25 ft. remainder. Having rope is always a good thing. And he'll buy a few day's worth of rations, just in case. They're easy to carry in his magic pack and he may not be able to hunt if we get lost/stuck in the mine/caverns.

He'll also ask around to learn about what kind of creatures might be found in the old mine, or even in the general area. Given the strange behavior of Kagu's goblins, he wonders if they are being controlled by something — some kind of monster or drug or some such.

  • Gather Info: 22 (rolled 14 + 8 bonus)
  • Knowledge (local): 13 (rolled 11 + 2 bonus)
  • Knowledge (dungeoneering): 19 (rolled 18 + 1 bonus)

Rynn would like to get to the monastery sooner than later, so maybe tomorrow morning? That gives us time to buy stuff, gather info, and heal up (a night's rest will recover 5 HP for each of us, plus whatever healing Khaska does).

DeltaWolf

  • Knowledge (local): 10 (9+1)

I thought a night's rest recovers all HP, maybe that's something they changed in 4.

Eryx (DM)
A night's rest just recovers as many hitpoints as you have levels. So since you're all level 5, you get 5 points back. Khaska's spells and your natural rest will be more than enough. Consider yourselves back to full health.

The Knowledge (Local) checks are for a piece of information that may be of interest to you. Both Mirwen and Godfrey mentioned that the leader of the contingent of elves in town is a Master Kilsheron. Both Rynn and Jenika would recognize that this could possibly be Redhier Magus Kilsheron, who is the current leader of the elven kingdom and is a wizard and scientist (astronomer). You will have a few hours to talk to him as the Skycutter sets sail in the morning, before you find and get dropped off at the monastery. If there's anything of interest you'd like to ask him or talk to him about, post it here and I'll try to work it into the next post.

Edit: Sorry, forgot about your asking around about what creatures you might expect to find.

In asking around, and from Rynn's Knowledge (Dungeoneering) check, you would come to know the following information:

Sometimes local goblinoids, goblins or bugbears, might move in. You are aware that the goblins were there recently before moving on, so the locals think it unlikely that some bugbear tribe might have moved in in the interim. They very much doubt that there are any goblins left given the circumstances of the town.

Extensive mines usually attract vermin, such as spiders or rats or bats or other such creatures. Swarms of such creatures are annoying, but probably not a big deal. However, over time they can grow larger and may actually begin to pose a threat.

Once vermin have set up, the creatures of the forest might enter the caverns to hunt them for food. In this area, that might include bears, wolves, badgers, wolverines, etc. Such creatures won't want to stay in the caverns, but might get lost and stuck.

If the cavern has been abandoned long enough, oozes, fungi, or mold might have begun to grow. If that's the case, the dwarves you speak to recommend bringing real torches with you and watching carefully. Fire will help with the mold especially. Everburning torches do not do fire damage, so take that into account. They're great for light, not for burning out molds.

For suggestions on metagaming how to handle this information, from the locals and from Rynn's Knowledge (Dungeoneering), may I suggest you read up on swarms, animals, dire animals, molds, and fungi, all from the SRD.
Dungeons and dungeon ecology.
Swarms.
Fungi.
Oozes.
Temperate Hills and Temperate Forests are the filters you would want to use for studying up on animals you might encounter, using the SRD Monster Filter.

And to reflect the circumstances of the town and the siege mentality, anything you buy should be at 110% the prices listed in the SRD. So an Everburning Torch, instead of 110 gold, should be 121 gold.

Thev
Khaska would be quite astonished and impressed to meet the leader of the elves, and is somewhat surprised that his profession is one of learning. Steeling himself to meet the dignitary - whose rank is the highest he's yet had the chance to meet - he'll introduce himself by name and explain that he is from the nation of Jevereshk, currently on a mission of exploration and, if possible, diplomacy to those places and races he visits. An inquiry as to whether Kilsheron has met any other Maha'i would certainly be in the offing, and Khaska would mention their upcoming journey to the monastery and ask Kilsheron whether he knew anything of Likran Treewind or Tawru; who knows, he might just have some knowledge we might need or, at least, find interesting or enlightening.

The party decided just to go in the morning. Godfrey readily agreed; he would drop them off on the way out of town and then sail north with his elven passengers. Jenika and Rynn both were aware that Master Kilsheron was likely Redhier Magus Kilsheron, the current leader of the elven nation! The idea of meeting such a high dignitary was slightly intimidating to Khaska, who was keenly aware that he was the only Maha’i in the city. But forewarned by his companions, he was prepared to be on his best behavior and continue to serve as an unofficial ambassador for his people.

Rynn wanted to get some supplies, and thought that prudence dictated that they rest up and be healed before venturing to the monastery. Khaska used his spells to return them to their full strength and then they hit the market. A few inquiries with local miners and Rynn’s expertise in such matters led them to a better understanding of what creatures might be inhabiting an abandoned building or an abandoned mine. Consensus was there would likely be some kind of animal life, possibly even dire animals, but it was unlikely there would be any kind of intelligent presence, the goblins having left the monastery so recently.

With their supplies gathered and their bodies healed up, they returned to the Night Owl for dinner and then rest. When they entered the inn, the smells of food that hit their noses made all of their mouths water. It smelled better than anything any of them had ever encountered before, better than even the dinner with Lord Yellman or with Haalak. The inn was packed with almost more people than could stand, and the crowd was spilling out into the street. Indeed, as they approached they had seen people sitting on stoops and milling around with food from the inside of the inn.

“What’s going on?” Rynn asked one of the servers, who was rushing to fill more orders.

“Mirwen had a friend over, so she cooked. She’s,” he smiled, “well, she’s a really good cook.”

Mirwen was nowhere to be seen, but the party paid for their food and were lucky enough to find space at a booth that had just been vacated by a group of rangers just back from guarding farmers in the fields. The food was delicious, even if supplies were low. It was a chicken and potato dish with some spices that Mirwen must have been saving for a special occasion. Combined with wine, which for today was priced like ale was in celebration, it was stunningly good. Rynn couldn’t help himself and had two servings of the meal. Normally he just ate what his body wanted, paying attention to the signs and feelings it was giving him. But the food was so good that he decided to just eat more of it. Such a meal was something that he might not have again in the near future, if ever.

As the party finished, Mirwen came out of her back room escorting … Akle. Khaska’s eyes widened in surprise. All of this just for the gnome? A suspicion dawned over him again. The silver dragon that had saved them back by Laishtek … he had suspected Akle was the dragon, but the gnome had denied it vehemently. Still, the Maha’i cleric wasn’t entirely convinced, and had since been treating Akle with an added measure of respect. Perhaps Mirwen knew something more about this matter? Was that why Akle was getting such treatment?

The crowd cheered as she came out, and Akle was beaming, apparently the recipient of a private dinner with the elder elf woman. The two leaned in close and spoke, but the crowd was so loud that nobody could hear what words passed between them. Akle put his hands together and bowed deeply to her, put his hand to his heart, then turned to leave. Mirwen watched him go, gave a wave to the crowd, and then returned to her room. One of the staff immediately posed himself outside the door, and turned away anybody wishing to speak to the elf.

Rynn, his belly full and his body tired from the exertions of the day, opted to get to sleep early. Since the inn was still crowded as the sun set, he opted to sleep outside again. Khaska and Jenika choose to sleep in the inn. Mirwen did not emerge for the rest of the night.


The sunrise brought stormclouds on the horizon. The sky was distinctly overcast, and the light was muted. Rynn had slept sounder than he had in years, probably a combination of fatigue and having just overeaten. He felt a little sluggish getting up, but by the time Jenika and Khaska left the inn to join him he was feeling better. The monastery awaited them, and whatever happened there, they would have to get back to the town by traveling through the wilderness. He knew the area pretty well and wasn’t worried about getting lost, so it would not be exploration, but he would be in true wilderness for the first time in months, and the prospect of it excited the ranger. The bond between him and Ranna transmitted this excitement, and the wolf was happy as well, nearly constantly rubbing up against his legs in excitement.

The party arrived in the town square just as the Skycutter was sinking down. Godfrey and his men were loading it with supplies, and Rynn and Jenika helped them with the various tasks to prepare to be underway. A few minutes before sunrise, the elves arrived. There were six of them; the skyship would be crowded even after the party disembarked from the ship at the monastery. Two were dressed in fancy plate armor, the party had seen one of them before. Between them they were carrying a large chest. One was dressed in leather armor, and he carried a bow slung around his arm and a quiver on his back. He appeared to be a ranger. The other two were wearing robes, one of them was carrying a stack of books, and the other a bag full of scrolls.

Godfrey disembarked from the ship walked up to the one carrying the scrolls and gave a sweeping bow with his hat.

“Welcome aboard the Skycutter Master Kilsheron and friends,” he said.

“Yes, very good,” the elf said. “Are we ready?”

“As soon as we get your things aboard and everybody is on, yes. We have three guests who are going to join us for the first few hours. Friends who want to be dropped outside the goblin-infested zone, and then we will be on our way to the Fortress! May I introduce Rynn Fowler, Jenika of Shinadoh, and Khaska Nzaidullek Mawkhavi Tereshkven.”

“A pleasure,” Kilsheron said, nodding his head. Then he turned to Godfrey.

“Let us depart. I have been delayed too long here because of the goblin problem. Please be very careful with the chest.”

It didn’t take long to get everything aboard. The ship was restocked and ready to go, and the elves clambered up the rope quickly and deftly, even the two of them with plate armor. The Skycutter lifted off and in moments the town was dwindling in the distance. Akle sat in his usual place at the front of the ship, legs dangling over the side, peering out for the monastery. Jenika and Rynn exchanged pleasantries with the elves, but then joined the gnome at the front in looking for where they were headed. Khaska, however, approached Kilsheron.

“Master Kilsheron,” he said solemnly.

“Mister Kakar, was it?”

“Khaska, sir.”

“Sorry. Haven’t had much chance to meet one of your kind. You seem to stay in your lands and not travel much.”

“It is true we are an insular people. I am currently on a mission of exploration and diplomacy for my people.”

“Exploration?” Kilsheron turned to the other robed elf. “Faelunail here would find that funny, as most of the world has been explored and mapped! Even most of the death side!”

“Not the marshes, not for hundreds of years, you know that,” the other elf said. “We have more accurate maps now of Arkenos than we do of that area of our moon.”

“Maps of Arkenos?” Khaska asked.

“It’s why we were here,” Kilsheron said, patting the chest he was standing next to. “We’ve been mapping Arkenos in preparation for the Dark Times. Faelunail is a cartographer, and I’m an astronomer.”

“I find it fascinating that men of such learning hold positions of such importance in elven society,” the cleric said.

“Oh, yes, well, earning your third name usually means the council will recruit you at some point for some job or another. Lucky for me I managed to convince them that I was the right person for this task we’ve done here.” He sighed. “My time is better spent studying than governing. I never felt that I was cut out for that, but when the council nominates you …” he shrugged.

“I am sure you have served honorably and well.”

“I have tried.”

“I did have one question that might be of worth to our current endeavor, if I may?”

“Certainly. I have nothing but time.”

“We are seeking a monastery, long abandoned by the Knights of the Silver Dragons. It was founded by an elven paladin, Likran Treewind, in honor of one of my people, Tawru Khimmak Tovan Nem Rujdha.”

“Your people have a penchant for giving out names,” the elven leader said.

“Our names designate our clan affiliation. Tawru was of the Khimmak clan of the Tova tribe, and was later adopted into the Nem Rujdha clan. He also was called ‘Khatil Tineen,’ which means ‘dragon’s bane’ in the language of my people, as he once slew a dragon.”

“‘Redhier’ is my given name. Upon reaching a particular status as a wizard, I was given the name of ‘Magus,’ and for my work in astronomy, the name ‘Kilsheron.’”

“I am Khaska of the Nzaidullek tribe of the Mawkhavi clan, and I am a follower of Teresh, whom you call Pelor.”

“You have not been adopted into another clan yet? Will you take their name when you are?”

“If I prove myself, then yes, that would be the convention.”

“Our races have somewhat similar views on earning new names, then. What must one do to be adopted?”

“There are many paths. Prowess in battle or the arts, usually. Perhaps completing some quest.”

“Such as being an explorer, or ambassador for your people?”

“Perhaps. The reason we are going to the monastery is a quest for some history of my people.”

“You say it was ‘Treewind,’ though, the name of this elven paladin?”

“Yes.”

“Sounds like a family name. The naming conventions adopted by the council are not adhered to by all of our people. He must have been from one of the outer cities of the kingdom, or perhaps the woodland elves. I haven’t heard of him before.”

“He served as a chapter head of the Knights during the war between Hammerdine and the Tlerian Empire, before coming to found this monastery. He was an honorable Knight, and a true friend to Tawru, the hero of my people.”

“Well I wish Markus to be with you in your quest then,” the elf said.

“I see it!” said Akle, pointing. Sure enough, rising through the mist was a large plateau, and somewhat in the middle of it, surrounded by forest, was a large stone building. The monastery.

Khaska felt the hair on the back of his head stand up in excitement, and a chill ran through him.

Eryx (DM)
Godfrey is going to drop you off pretty close to the monastery. Is there anything you want to say to Akle, Godfrey, or Kilsheron before you disembark?

Once in the monastery, what will you do? It’s still early in the morning. The sun has only been up for like an hour and a half. The building itself is abandoned. You can take 20 on any skill check you desire while looking around. I’ll describe it in more detail in the next post, for now I’m just giving you some basic info so we can move ahead in the narration.

Thev
Khaska was suspicious that Akle was still hiding something for a long time, and Mirwen calling him "Aklemendorian" - and throwing a banquet for him! - made him suspect even more that he's a dragon in disguise. He'll make sure to say goodbye to him with high respect, wishing him well and expressing a desire to meet him again. He'll also thank Kilsheron for his time talking and bid him a good journey, thanking Godfrey sincerely for his help before he departs.

Once at the monastery, Khaska will want to take in as much as he can: the exterior, each room still safe to enter, the courtyard with the statue of Tawru - at the last of which he'll offer a prayer, kneeling. He'll be on the lookout for symbols, writing, decoration, anything that might provide a hint of the whereabouts of Treewind's tomb or other relics. He'll also keep an eye out for entrances to the catacombs, for he has a sneaking suspicion that anything left unplundered over the ages would be found there - perhaps placed there intentionally by the Knights at some long-distant time.

Eryx (DM)
You wouldn't want to write the prayer down for the narration's sake, would you? Even if he whispers it so the other's can't hear, I'd like to include it if you're so inclined.

BlackWolf
Rynn will also bid farewell to Akle, saying, "Take care of yourself, my friend. I hope to see you again after we return to Gallidus."

And to Godfrey, "Good luck. I hope you find your calling for the upcoming Dark Times. I feel that you've more than repaid any favors I granted you, so I'm in your debt."

Once on the ground, the ranger will cautiously approach the monastery with the group. He'll search the monastery itself and the area around (see if there are any recent tracks or anything). But he'll avoid entering into the mines for now. I'll take the 20s that the DM has offered:

  • Listen: 26 (take 20 + 6 bonus)
  • Search: 24 (take 20 + 4 bonus)
  • Spot: 27 (take 20 + 7 bonus)
  • Survival (looking for tracks): 29 (take 20 + 9 bonus)

He's primarily looking for any signs of life or danger. But he'll also keep an eye out for anything interesting, such as the sword of Tawru.

DeltaWolf
Jenika will to the entrance of the mine and without stepping inside, she will look as far in as she can and listen and smell, for any indicators to what they might find inside.

  • Spot: 27 (20+7 Mod)
  • Listen: 27 (20+7 Mod)
  • Smell: 22 (20+2 Wis)

In the next moment, though, he looked at Akle, standing on the prow, looking out as Godfrey angled the ship towards the abandoned building, and was sad. If Akle was the silver dragon, as Khaska suspected, this would likely be the last chance to talk to him for a long while, even if they ever did meet again. “Aklemendorian,” was what Mirwen had called him. He wondered what secrets the old elf woman knew about Akle. Regardless, he was a good friend, and he would be missed.

“Thank you for your time, Master Kilsheron,” he said. “May your neck never fail to stand tall.”

“Thank you, Khaska. May Pelor be with you in your quest as well.”

Godfrey’s men scanned the forest, wary of goblins or other threats, but it seemed that the area around the monastery was clear. One of the walls had practically collapsed, sending stones and masonry outwards. That created an area small enough that the Skycutter could drop down with little trouble, despite the relatively dense forest around the monastery.

“Aklemendorian,” he said, approaching the gnome. Akle shot him a look that was … what, anger? Fear? Surprise?

“I doesn’t use my full name much anymore,” he said.

“I did not mean offense,” the cleric said. Khaska straightened. “May your legs never tire from your journey, my friend. I will look back fondly on our travels together,” the cleric held up his backback, “and the hope that some of our fights has given us, and the treasures I carry because of them.” He was referring to the silver dragon scale kept wrapped in the depths of his pack. Akle nodded solemly. He understood.

The gnome pointed to up to where Arkenos would be, if it were not cloudy. “Hope be important, for the Dark Times are coming. I will remember you also, Khaska. Markus be with you in your quests, now and always.”

“Take care of yourself, my friend," Rynn said to the gnome. "I hope to see you again after we return to Gallidus.”

“I’d like that too,” he said. “You scary Rynn. I can respect that.” He turned to Jenika. “Lady Jenika, been a pleasure. Stay strong. You three be good folk. Good luck!”

The ship was settling down low enough that they could drop the ladder. Jenika gave Captain Godfrey a hug and thanked him for everything, before disappearing over the side. Khaska did the same. Rynn paused at the edge of the ship, looking down as Khaska got off the rope ladder. The ranger turned back to Godfrey. “Good luck, Godfrey. I hope you find your calling for the upcoming Dark Times. I feel that you’ve more than repaid any favors I granted you, so I’m in your debt.”

“It’s been a pleasure, Rynn. I wish you well. Markus be with you.”

“And with you, Captain.” With that, Rynn climbed over the side with Ranna in his arms and clambered down the rope. The wolf was ecstatic, and as Rynn’s feet touched the ground he felt more at home than he had in months. Jenika and Khaska were staring at the dilapidated building, while he scanned the forest for enemies, but there were none apparent. The Skucytter rose, and the last thing Rynn saw before it vanished into the low clouds was Akle, solemnly waving goodbye.

Eryx (DM)
Thus ends Chapter 2. We'll pick it up in Chapter 3.

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