Codex V-Chapter 5

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Khaska was the first to awaken. Immediately alert, he looked around. He was in a wooden cage, crudely tied together in knots. His hands were tied carefully around one of the sticks that made up the wall he was propped up against, and he could not move them. His feet were also bound, but just to each other. Rynn was in the same cage as him, similarly tied up. There was another cage a yard or so away, and in it was Jenika. She had been more carefully tied up, each individual leg and arm trussed to one of the sticks. Several goblins stood watch over her, and he could see blood running down her cheek from somewhere on her slumped head.

In the cage with her was an elf. The elf looked the worse for wear as well, but was awake and looking at him.

“Hello, friend,” he said. “Looks like you had the same misfortune that I did to run into these goblins!”

“They were looking for us, specifically,” Khaska said. “I am sorry that you appear to have been caught in the trap they set for us.”

“Just my luck,” the elf said.

With the conversation, Rynn was stirring. In a moment he was awake and alert.

“Where’s Ranna?” was his first question.

Khaska looked around again.

“I have not seen her. I am sorry.”

The ranger struggled against his bonds.

“That’s no good,” said the elf. “They’ve tied us all too tight to get away. Waiting for someone called ‘Kagu.’ Their boss, I would guess.”

“Kagu coming!” a nearby goblin said. “He want know why antelope man go to building! And now that you not in city where golden lady protect you, we find you!”

Another held up Khaska’s scimitar. “You have sword like Kagu!”

Khaska frowned. This was not good.

“What did he say?” the elf asked. “I speak a number of languages, but I don’t speak goblin.”

Jenika was now awake as well, looking around. “Where’s our stuff?”

“Over there, by that tree,” the elf said. “With all of my stuff as well.” Indeed, all of their equipment was sitting in a pile about fifteen yards away. The goblin with Khaska’s scimitar was sitting on a nearby log, admiring it. The elf sighed.
“Well, no need to be unpleasant with each other before we die. I’m Sanjin. Been spending some time on the Death Side studying magic and ancient artifacts and civilizations. I’m a wizard, you see. Not that my magic does me any good when these punks sneak up on you at night and knock you out cold. So, what brings you to this part of our little world?”

Eryx (DM)
So, you’ve made a new friend. Sanjin, the elf wizard.

Actually, Sanjin is not just a new friend. He’s a new member of your party. DeltaWolf and I have been working on getting him a new character for a few months now, and this seemed an opportune moment to introduce him. DeltaWolf is somewhat tired of Jenika, who he finds a slightly boring character to play, so we have a new character that’s a member of the party. I wanted to wait to introduce you all to the idea so your character’s reactions to this new person would be as close to “whoa, who is this?” as we could be.

As the DM, I want my players to be happy and enjoying the campaign, so I readily agreed to let DeltaWolf introduce a new character. However, the next Codex (assuming you’re still going to go after Kaylee to take over her contract) is heavily Jenika-centric. So I will be taking over most of the duties of “playing” Jenika, though DeltaWolf can still contribute if I do something completely amiss with his character. She will be written out sometime in Codex VI, just FYI. Like Amara, we need to wait for the opportune moment, and to make the campaign run smoothly, Jenika will need to remain with the party for at least the remainder of this Codex and part of the next.

Now that we’re at the real stopping point, you also have all gained 3950 XP for killing the Wraith (2700 XP), solving the “puzzle” of the silvery powder (750 XP), and fulfilling the request of Loremaster Onasus to place his brooch at the tomb of Likran Treewind (500 XP).

Anyway, you’ve got nothing but time, because you’re all captured by goblins. Talk amongst yourselves. Also, though I did railroad you into this scenario to introduce Sanjin (instead of having him just randomly be in town or something), what will you try to do to escape? (I can answer other questions about the scenario you are all in that were not answered in the narration.) You're … somewhere in the forest. Seems to be a regularly used camp site for the goblins, one they return too often, based on the wear on certain trees and the condition of the underbrush and things.

Thev
Honestly, I didn't mind the railroading! You seem to do it so seldom that when it does happen, it provides a nice change of pace. In fact, in this case it almost appeals - sometimes you run across things out of which you can't just choose-your-own-adventure. Anyway, I'm excited we've got a new character! This should be interesting.

Khaska's mind will obviously be drawn to thoughts of escape, though something one of the goblins said will preoccupy him more: that Kagu has a sword like his. Khaska figures this means he's stolen Tawru's scimitar - which would go a long way to explaining the strange increase in goblin aggressiveness under Kagu's leadership. He's under the influence of the cursed weapon; perhaps that was what the goblins left dead in the mines were killed by as well. Suddenly, everything is coming together, and Khaska will be more attentive than ever, trying to figure out a way he could get the sword away from Kagu despite his injuries.

He'll also be interested in Sanjin, though mostly in order to find out if he's trustworthy; he doesn't necessarily suspect now that he'll stick with the party and, indeed, is inclined to be a little suspicious. If there's a lull in what the goblins are doing - that is, if he has nothing goblin-related to distract him - he'll inquire after his background, skills, origins, objectives, and purpose here in Twilight: why investigate Treewind's monastery?

BlackWolf
Excellent. A good shared experience always helps bring in a new party member. In contrast to Khaska, Rynn has no reason to be suspicious of Sanjin — his friendly nature takes over and given the situation, he's inclined to take any new ally they can get. Still, he knows that everything surrounding Tawru is special to Khaska, so he'll not share too many details — it's not time for that anyway.

"We were here to help our friend make a pilgrimage of sorts," he'll answer, gesturing as best he can with his head toward Khaska "What about yourself? I'm surprised that anyone would be out by himself in these parts given the situation in Twilight."

Though he's willing to chat with Sanjin (it's not like they've got a lot else they could do), the ranger is distracted. He's worried about Ranna, wondering where she is. He's also trying to assess their situation and figure out what, if any, options they have available.

First he'll look around to see if there is anything near-to-reach that could be useful. He'll also want to see what the nearby goblins are doing. And he'll pull at his bonds to see if they'll give at all. If the ropes are loose at all, he'll keep that fact a secret from the goblins for now.

  • Spot: 23 (rolled 16 + 7 bonus) and add +2 vs. goblins, if applicable.
  • Escape Artist: 14 (rolled 12 + 2 DEX)

Rolling those checks also makes me curious as to how long we've been out. Has any of the poison worn off (affects my skill checks), or would I not be able to tell at this point?

Rynn is curious about what's going on with the goblins. The one they captured before (back in chapter 2) seemed crazed; nigh insane even. It wouldn't even talk to us other than scream death threats. But these goblins aren't foaming at the mouth… so he wonders what's going on — perhaps it's because they are safe at home? Or maybe some kind of spell has worn off?

Before Kagu shows up, he'll try talking to the goblins (in goblin) to see if he can learn anything else:

  • "Who, or what, is the golden lady that protects the city?"
  • "Why has Kagu been attacking the city? I thought he had an understanding with the city council."
  • "Tell me about Kagu's sword. Where did he get it?"

Like Khaska, Rynn suspects Kagu has Tawru's sword. He'll try to be very casual in his talking to the goblins, not trying to rile them up or make them suspicious. The ranger hasn't ruled out a diplomatic resolution, at any rate. (+7 on sense motive checks vs. goblins.) So he's not actively trying to bluff at this point — not that he's any good at it anyway — but rather he's genuinely interested in what's going on.

Diplomacy (to try to make nice with the goblins): 7 (rolled 4 + 3)

Here's a check to see what he can remember about Kagu that might be relevant:

  • Knowledge (local): 14 (rolled 11 + 3)

DeltaWolf
So I will start playing Sanjin, yea? And the DM will control Jenika now, yea?

First of all I want to point out that Sanjin does know Goblin. Upon waking Sanjin would have used his Empathic link to Demandred to make sure that he isn’t in sever pain or terrified.

“I just got back from the death-side… You would think that it would be safer here then there!” :( “Anyhow friend, I think perhaps we could help each other, after all neither one of us wants to be here”.

  • Diplomacy Check: 2 (3 rolled -1Mod)

Sanjin will listen to what the others say to the goblins but will not say anything to them himself.

“We were here to help our friend make a pilgrimage of sorts," Rynn said, nodding his head towards Khaska. “What about yourself? I'm surprised that anyone would be out by himself in these parts given the situation in Twilight.”

The elf made a scoffing sound. “Your statement assumes that I was aware of the situation in Twilight. If I had known, I wouldn’t have come.”

“So you were not investigating the monastery?” asked Khaska.

“Nope. What monastery? That where you were making your pilgrimage to?”

Khaska nodded.

“Sorry it turned out to be such a bad idea. No, for me, Twilight was merely the closest major town that had a hope of delivering a letter to my brother at the university in Dreqorun. I try to write every so often, and wandering by it seemed as good an opportunity as any.”

“You were just wandering by?”

The elf shrugged. “Well, I’d been traveling the coastline to the west for the past few months. When I realized that I was decently close to Twilight, I decided to make a detour. I mean, I just got back from the Death Side. You would thinkf that it would be safer here then there!”

“How long have we been here,” the ranger asked. He was trying to assess their situation. It seemed to be getting towards the evening, but had they been unconscious for an entire day?

“They dragged you in this morning. I’ve been here a few days,” Sanjin replied. “I don’t know how long you were out before they brought you here. They were particularly mad at this young lady here.” He nodded towards Jenika. “You must have put up quite a fight. Monk?” She nodded.

“Good for you. I hope you killed some of them, even if it made them tie you up with extra vigor.”

“I did.”

“Excellent! Anyhow friends, I think perhaps we could help each other. After all none of us wants to be here!”

“I think that would be wise,” said Khaska.

Rynn began slowly testing his bonds, but after a few minutes realized it probably wouldn’t work. The goblins had trussed them up very well, taking advantage of their unconsciousness. There were three goblins standing nearby, but they were not really paying that much attention to their prisoners. He guessed they were guards, but, unsurprisingly, they were probably not very competent. Not that it mattered since probably none of them could do much about their situation, tied as tightly and as well as they all seemed to be. There was also nothing within reach of the cages and their hands were tied to the wooden sticks that made the cages in any event.

Perhaps a diplomatic solution? After all, he could tell that this was technically a different tribe than Kagu’s. Such tribes and allegiances were always fluid with a race like the goblins, but their loyalty to Kagu might not be absolute, even if he was the most powerful goblin for many miles.

“Hello there,” he said, in Goblin.

One of the guards turned to him, moving closer.

“What you want?”

“Just to talk. I would like to know why Kagu has attacked the city? I thought he had an understanding with the city council.”

“Kagu is strong. He tired of humans and dwarves and elves. He wants to kill them.”

“But he stopped attacking the city, right? Why?”

“Golden lady make a deal with him. He no attack city, she no kill him.”

“Who, or what, is the golden lady?”

“Lady of gold, stupid elf! She flies. Talks to Kagu. Kagu leave city alone. We still kill many humans and dwarves, though. Outside city.” The goblin licked his diseased teeth. “Many humans and dwarves.”

“Did you see the golden lady?”

“No. Kagu told us.”

“And I hear that Kagu has a new sword. Where did he get it?”

“New sword? Me not know about that. Kagu have sword like his,” he pointed a finger at Khaska. “Curvy and black. He kills many dwarves. Many humans. He strong leader.”

“Pok, stop talking. We wait for Kagu!” Another goblin was perhaps annoyed at the guard, and Pok immediately turned and took a few steps away.

The goblins didn’t seem to mind them talking to each other. Rynn quickly discovered that Sanjin could speak elven, and none of the goblins seemed to be able to understand them. Not that it did them much good, because no matter how much they were able to secretly converse, there was nothing they could do to help themselves out of this situation.

Night fell and the chill of the air began to seep into their clothing and skin. Khaska, still armored, was the most affected, but the cleric bore it stoically. Rynn was worried about Ranna. Was she dead back at the monastery? Jenika had seen the wolf still up and fighting when she had gone down. Also, what were they going to do when Kagu got here? The idea of being tied up and at the mercy of a cursed-scimitar wielding goblin warlord did not appeal to the ranger in the least. The fact that his life might end soon gave the ranger a bit of a pensive mood. Perhaps he would be reunited with Juliet, if she had already passed on to the next life. The situation they were in reminded him somewhat of the bugbear encampment he and his brother-in-law, Jacob, had tracked down. Before he had to flee, he had seen several of the citizens of Silver Meadow in cages much like the one he now found himself in. Perhaps the goblins would enslave them? The rangers thoughts grew darker as the daylight completely vanished. Soon the sunlight would reflect partially off of Pressen, providing some illumination, but for now all that could be seen of the camp and the surrounding area was what the goblin fires illuminated.

Rynn dozed off, the fatigue of his injuries overcoming his desire to stay awake, and perhaps take advantage of the goblins moving closer to the fires, and further away from the cages. There were only two goblins nearby, both guards obviously unhappy about their assignment.

The ranger came too some time later, his senses alert as he heard a thump. A quick glance at Pressen indicated not more than an hour or two had passed. He glanced up at the guards, to see that one of them was now on the ground, dead. The other was looking away, and hadn’t seen anything yet. He was faced perpendicular to Rynn, in profile, but Rynn could still see the red line appear on the goblin’s neck as the creature’s throat was slit by some unknown assailant. Silently, the other guard collapsed to the ground as well. Rynn was fully awake now, eyes scanning, but unable to see anything in the dim conditions, despite his low-light vision. He was about to kick Khaska to wake the Maha’i up, but then he realized that Khaska was already awake. The cleric, too, had heard the first body fall.

“Well, well, well,” came a voice, making the ranger start. “You know, if you guys keep getting ambushed by goblins it'll be the end of your reputations. Good thing you've always had me around, eh?” Rynn and Khaska both glanced over between the two cages, where the voice was coming from.

Seemingly out of thin air, Orensland materialized right in front of him, the same goofy grin on the elf’s face that the ranger remembered.

Eryx (DM)
Welcome back Crosis! Since he returned from his mission while you were in the dungeons, this was the earliest we could reintroduce his character. (As opposed to “hey, you guys are exploring this abandoned mine too? What a coincidence!” which would have been lame.) Another reason for railroading you into this scenario.

Orensland, in the four months he’s been away, has been busy learning new rogue skills and has recently been acquiring skills as a shadowdancer. You can go back and dig up his file above, and you can find what he’s been up to here in Orensland Among Silderman's Shadowdancers.

Anyway, regardless of how much time you’ve spent unconscious, Rynn shouldn’t have any poison left in his system, as you spent two nights at the monastery after the centipede fight (one to prepare to fight the wraith, and then one extra day to get more questions from Treewind). Jenika needed one more day of rest before you got ambushed. And yes, I'll be playing Jenika, though if I do something completely out of character, call me out on it, DeltaWolf. I'll still ask for your input from time to time, but probably through emails as we get to where we will write her out.

Now that you have a man on the outside, and a man who has a ridiculous amount of skill at sneaking (seriously, go check out his character sheet, +27 to hide and Move Silent, respectively), what do you all want to do? Orensland has killed the two guards, but none of the other goblins has yet noticed.

And don’t forget, he has a generous amount of the red leaf drug left.

And a final note, Orensland is pretty awesome. You’re starting to get to the point where all your characters, by virtue of their level, can start doing some pretty cool stuff. Crosis has very carefully focused to specialize in certain things, but you can too. I look forward to watching all your characters get more and more awesome. “Rule of Cool” seems to apply here as we advance!

Crosis
Hey everyone! Glad to be back! Looks like you've all been busy since I've been gone. :D

Probably in an attempt to be conversational, Orensland would inquire concerning Amara, Ranna, and Sanjin while cutting the ropes. Or he'd remain quiet if the goblins are in earshot- we don't so much as want them to look over with those two dead guards there. I would assume the ropes can be cut/untied from the outside of the cages, and Orensland can pick/slash open the locks on the cages, should there be any.

Given the fact that Orensland just arrived, his plan was pretty simple. Prison break, create a few distractions, grab everyone's gear, and run. However, as somebody who has read the conversations, taking a look at Kagu's sword sounds intriguing. It would be too late to fake sitting around for Kagu to show up, as the two guards are dead. That is, unless the party wanted to spook the goblins into thinking they were haunted by throat-slitting ghosts. In essence, Orensland would probably go along with his original plan unless suggested otherwise. Even if the group wants to do something about Kagu, it might be wise to get out of trouble first. Then do something fun when everybody's ready to go and Ranna's been found, should she be alive.

Eryx, I'd assume Orensland saw the layout of the camp on the way in. What are we looking at? Are we on the outskirts of the camp? How many goblins can see the cages/equipment, and approximately how many would come running if the alarm sounded? Are the tents flammable (distraction)? How far would the red leaf smoke spread, and (forgive me, it's been a while) what effect would it have on the goblins? Anything aside from hazy vision and confusion? What kind of spells can Sanjin cast that could be useful (colorspray, etc.)?

I'd assume those are things Orensland/the party would know that might be useful.

BlackWolf
Welcome back, Crosis!

The shock and disbelief of Rynn seeing his old friend will quickly disappear. A smile will cross his face before he replies, "So are you going to cut us loose, or what?" His mood will temporarily darken though as Amara is mentioned, and for now the ranger will only say, "She betrayed us."

Once free of the ropes and cage, he'll grasp Orensland by the hand and say, "It is so good to see you. I want to know all about what happened to you. And Zeke and the others? But it will have to wait." Rynn will very quickly explain about Kagu while already looking for any signs of Ranna.

  • Search check: 16 (rolled 12 + 4 bonus)
  • Survival check (for any useful tracks; especially wolf ones): 27 (rolled 18 + 9 bonus)

If he can't find her right away, he might try calling for her — but not until we know more about the situation.

I have an idea / suggestion for what we should do next. We know that Kagu is coming, though we don't know how soon. If we can hide ourselves nearby — though not too close — then we can see what happens when Kagu comes. If he does have Tawru's sword and if we get a chance, we should try to swipe it. Or even ambush and kill Kagu. Rynn is thinking that the goblin has gone beyond his bounds, possibly affected by a cursed weapon. If we remove the weapon and then disappear, the goblin tribes may break up and no longer be such a threat to Twilight.

Rynn isn't in the best of health, and Khaska is also affected by the wraiths. But we have 2 new characters to help us now! Orensland is pretty buffed up at level 8 (!) and I'll bet Sanjin has some sweet spells that he could cast. And Khaska can still cast spells to heal and attack (if needed). Meanwhile Rynn can just use his bow from a distance.

Speaking of health, what is our current HP status?

Eryx
One thing I've learned I'm not very good at is making sure all the information I want to convey is either in the gray box or in the narrative. Orensland went to the monastery, where he found an injured Ranna, helped the wolf back to full strength with a potion (DMs prerogative that he had one), and Ranna helped track Rynn. She's nearby, because Orensland was able to get her to "stay" while he investigated the camp.

Rynn is at full health, such as it can be at the moment.
Jenika is at 11/34.
Khaska is at 11/17.
Orensland is at full health, as is Ranna.

The red leaf makes the goblins drowsy and addled. They are also susceptible to commands, but probably just from someone they know. There is not a lot of wind at the moment, so the red leaf would spread out from the fires nearly in a circular pattern. There are currently four main fires, and most of the goblins are clustered around them, as the air is a bit chilly since the sun has gone down. From estimates, you guess there are somewhere around 100 goblins in total at this site.

DeltaWolf need to pick what spells Sanjin would have prepared while journeying to Twilight. Those are the spells he would have at this time, having not been able to study and prepare new ones after the goblins captured him. His bat familiar, Demandred, is around, and could also make an excellent scout, though I've already given you the information he would have discovered about the goblin encampment you are in.

Crosis
Oh, good! Ranna's still around!

So, it's looking like (based on the status of the group) that we're just going to sneak out for the time being, staying around the camp and letting the group heal while the goblin camp is spied on for whenever Kagu comes around. So, that being the case and knowing a little bit more what the red leaf does, Orensland would probably put some red leaf into the fires of any goblins near enough to see the group grabbing their stuff. It might cause some panicked ruckus among goblins with a drugged stupor… should be interesting. After grabbing the stuff, we'd likely just take to the trees (we're in the forest, right?) and live to fight/spy/steal cursed swords another day.

Is Orensland still running off his other silent moves/hide check? (43/40 respectfully, if I recall correctly). And he wouldn't be running, so I don't think he'd take a penalty…?

Thev
Khaska's uncertain about using the opportunity to break free in a way that would be easily visible by the goblins; it would, perhaps, be more shocking for them to be ambushed by the people in the cage. That in consideration, he'd suggest that Orensland free them, but in a way that makes them look as if they're still tied up; if he can somehow weaken the cage to the point that it'll fall apart with a push, that could also be very useful. This way, when Kagu comes around we could, indeed, regale him about throat-slitting ghosts from the monastery while Orensland sneaks away to the fires with the red leaf. Being that close to the camp with the goblins in a stupor would give us a better chance of stealing what we want/need from them.

Furthermore, what does Khaska do about spells? Are the ones he prepared in the monastery the ones he had available now, or can he choose a new set for the circumstances?

DeltaWolf
Welcome back Crosis, there has been a few times where I thought, “we could really use Orensland in this situation”. He certainly made things intresting.

I made up the list of spells that I think Sanjin would have prepared to travel to Twilight. They are listed in the “Spells” tab on his profile (note: alarm is prepared as an extended spell).

Sanjin likes the idea of fleeing into the forest. However if the others decide to go with Khaska’s plan then he will go along with it. He won’t mention what spells he has prepared, but if asked if he can fight he will say he has a few spells ready for an emergency.

BlackWolf
Your idea has a lot of merit, Thev. We could probably learn a lot more from Kagu by talking to him directly. But with only 6 HP to my name, I'm not sure that I want to risk being close to a potentially hostile goblin warlord wielding a blackguard-cursed scimitar. And in the middle of a hundred of his goblins, to boot. Call me old-fashioned, but even if they're drugged that seems a bit dangerous.

Plus I'm not sure how well we'd be able to "ambush" anyone from inside the cage. Surprise them, sure. But I think we'd use up our surprise round just in standing up out of the weakened cages. And it might be a bit conspicuous if Rynn had his bow or other weapons near the cage. Still, it would be pretty interesting to see Kagu's followers freak out from a throat-slitting "ghost."

So I'd much rather be free and away from "ground zero" (so to speak). Unless somebody (Sanjin?) has something else that could turn things in our favor? I don't have access to Sanjin's character sheet yet, so I don't know what he's capable of (though it does also fit the situation.) A wall of fire (or ice) would be good, but it's a 4th level spell so he probably doesn't have it yet. Color spray fog cloud, or darkness could be useful.

But maybe we could get the best of both worlds? Can Sanjin can cast major image, minor image, or silent image? If so, maybe we could leave Khaska (after healing) in the cage to talk to Kagu while the rest of us sneak off. But the image spell would make it look like the escapees are still tied up and unconscious. If our Maha'i friend gets into trouble, we'd then have quite a bit to work with to confuse and surprise the goblins.

I'm metagaming here, of course. Rynn doesn't know that much about magic, so Sanjin would have to offer this up. Of himself, Rynn feels too vulnerable right now to want to risk pretending to still be tied up when the option of getting clear is available.

Thev
Maybe we could split the difference. Perhaps we could have Orensland cut us free and run to the woods, but once Kagu comes up, one of us could approach him and tell him of the throat-slitting ghost that killed the guards and tried to kill the party in the cage as well. Once he broke open the cage, it was all the party could do to fight him off (to protect themselves and the goblins) and hide; we did not want to flee, however, for one of our purposes in coming here was to pay honor to and speak with the mighty Kagu. This would have the advantage of getting us out of harm's way but also perhaps disorienting or striking fear into the goblins; we could also blame Orensland's scattering of the red leaf on the ghost, saying that it is some infernal magic. In the confusion, we could attack or do whatever seems expedient.

Eryx (DM)
I show that you should have access to Sanjin's google doc character sheet, BlackWolf. I'm not sure why you say you can't see it.

This is a great back and forth. Carry on until you've all made a decision as a group.

DeltaWolf
The problem is less in what spells Sanjin has as much as the ones that are prepared. If he had time to prepare he could help in a number of cool plans. As it is, however, he can’t do much. He is strongly in favor of escaping. If the others need to talk to this Kagu fellow so badly then he will help them figure something out, later, when they are safely away. But if they wait until Kagu gets here then they will have a major uphill battle on their hands.

BlackWolf
How about if Orensland cuts us free, then we purposely drag each other out of the camp to leave marks and signs of struggle. Our rogue can also kill some goblins and drag their bodies away from camp as well. And use some red leaf to boot. But Khaska will be left behind as if "it" just hasn't come for him yet. We'd loosen his bonds though, just to be safe.

This would allow Khaska to remain behind to speak with Kagu (and have some hopefully-believable ghost stories to tell) without having to return and bluff that "we didn't want to flee".

When Khaska gives a signal, or if he looks to be in trouble, the rest of the party can attack from hiding.

Eryx (DM)
In the interest of making this very interesting, though not to play your characters for you, I would like to remind you of the following:

  • You just came from some ruins.
  • There was a wraith in the tomb. If Kagu took the sword, he would have been attacked by the wraith, or at least be aware of its presence.

There's some material you could help spin the "ghost story" with. I would like to point out that Khaska's Bluff Modifiers are +0, if that affects your decision.

BlackWolf
No bonus to bluff eh? Too bad we don't have a bard to tell him that, "There will be no survivors! Soon you will not be here. The Dread Pirate Roberts takes no survivors! All your worst nightmares are about to come true!"

So maybe Khaska will just have to take a more truthful tack. There was a wraith, after all. And "something" did show up and drag away the others… :)

Thev
Hm, I got the impression that the circle wasn't a sort of confinement to that space, but rather a sort of binding - preventing the wraith from doing anything until the circle was broken (especially since the rock being thrown into the circle, not disrupting the circle, did nothing). Goes to show how simple dynamics can be misunderstood, haha!

That said, I think Rynn's idea is sound: cast our escape as an attack from the wraith from the ruins. We could even specify that we unknowingly set the wraith free (partly true, as we didn't know what exactly was keeping it contained, or what nature of creature it was!) while we were trying to pay our respects to the person buried there. He could also say that the wraith is an ancient evil against which our weapons had no effect (true! save Khaska's sword, but they don't have to know that), so it overpowered the party (also partially true!) and seeks to reunite itself with the sword that created it.

Any suggestions on a half-truth Khaska could tell Kagu to get him to give up the sword? Or do we just rely on Orensland playing the wraith and drugging the goblin camp with red leaf and attack while they're in their stupor?

For the record, Khaska will be exceedingly wary if he actually obtains Tawru's sword. He will not touch it directly, but will wrap it completely in some sort of fabric (or whatever else might be more advisable - maybe even that white powder back in the mines).

Eryx (DM)
If you're going to do that, I'm going to need a Bluff Check from Thev. Crosis, what is your plan for staging the "abductions?" Will you be dosing the goblins with red leaf before? During? After? How will you get the gear to the others? When Kagu appears? I need some specifics. You do not know how long the effects last, I should note. The goblins back in Codex I inhaled it, became somewhat drowsy, and then promptly were sent off to attack the village, which they readily agreed to both to get more of the red leaf later, and probably because they were susceptible to suggestions or orders while high on it.

Edit: Also, I'm headed up to my brother's house for some vacation time, so won't be getting the next post up until Monday at the earliest.

Thev
Bluff Check: 20 = 20 + 0 (YES.)

Crosis
Sorry about the delay! Midterms, you know…

Generally, Orensland would probably shy away from what could very well turn into open confrontation with a hundred goblins. Getting the sword is all fine and good, he loves that idea, but leaving Khaska in the cage under the very unlikely scenario of us being able to run in and save the day should he get in trouble sounds really risky. But should Khaska be insistent, whatever, man. We'll do what we can to help without committing suicide.

Orensland would likely open the cages and set everyone free first. After the party is ready to move, Orensland would likely pull his distraction/red leaf stunt right then, the diversion giving them a chance to get to their stuff. Orensland would likely not be able to carry the whole thing in one trip. If they wanted and felt it would go relatively unnoticed, he could take their stuff one bit at a time from the pile by the tree to their prisons, but people might raise the alarm when they realize how small the pile has become. Red leaf or no red leaf, we could be in serious trouble right then.

Should Khaska decide to stick around, Orensland would probably carry his stuff away from the camp. I doubt Khaska would be able to successfully hide a scimitar while talking to anybody, so that may not be wise to hand it to him beforehand. If he really wanted, though, Orensland could be standing nearby (hidden in plain sight) with the scimitar in hand to toss to him should the situation turn violent.

As an additional diversion Orensland could shoot randomly into a different group of goblins in the hopes of inspiring a fear of invisible attackers and getting people looking the other way. In that regard, he wouldn't shoot to kill- a screaming goblin turns more heads than one that falls dead. If the whole thing would draw attention to the party, forget it.

And as a thought for inspiring ghost-telling stories, Orensland would encourage Khaska to scream like a banshee after the party runs away.

Rynn smiled. “So, you going to cut us loose or what?” The elf moved to free them, slashing at the ropes that kept them tied to the cages, and to the ranger and the rogue both, it seemed as if they hadn’t even been apart for the past months.

Khaska was grinning so much it was almost disturbing. The Maha’i was very solemn most of the time, but he was happy to see the elf, and it showed.

“And where is Amara?” asked the rogue. “Did she manage not to get caught? When I found Ranna in the monastery, she just started to track you, Rynn, and I followed.”

Rynn’s smile vanished. “She betrayed us.” The look on his face made Orensland raise his eyebrows, and he didn’t ask any follow-up questions. “How is Ranna?”

“Oh, she’s fine. I managed to get her to stay in the woods a ways back. She was wounded, but I gave her a healing potion and I think she’ll be alright.”

“Friend of yours?” asked Sanjin as Orensland worked on his bonds.

“We used to travel together,” Jenika said to the elf. Then, to Orensland, “We’ve missed you. There have been a number of times I thought you would have been useful to have around.”

“I’ve missed you guys too.” He was done cutting them loose, but the cages were still tied shut. “So what’s the plan? There are four campfires, and I think I have enough redleaf I could drug all of the goblins here.”

“You still carry that poison?” asked Jenika. Orensland shrugged.

“Haven’t found a use for it yet.” He smiled. “Until today.”

“If you can drug the goblins and get our stuff, let’s make a break for it,” said Rynn. “I don’t much like the odds of trying to fight off the goblins here, plus whatever Kagu brings with him when he arrives. Even if we got the drop on them by pretending to still be captured, or something.”

“How to explain the guards deaths, though?” asked Khaska.

“Goblins ain’t bright,” Sanjin spat. The wizard was rubbing his wrists, which were slightly raw from being tied up. “They’ll probably think wild animals came and dragged us off.”

“Perhaps I should stay,” said Khaska. “It might be an opportunity to talk with Kagu. You could be nearby to help if I needed it?”

Rynn pondered this for a moment. “Not with you injured from the wraith. One misstep could easily get you killed. I think we should get away and regroup.”

“So I’ll go drug them all right now,” said Orensland. “I’ll try to bring back as much of your stuff as I can, but I won’t be able to bring it all.”

“Get Khaska’s things,” said Rynn. “He makes the most noise in his armor. The rest of us will have to make do.” He glanced over at the pile of their things, judging once again the distances between it and the fires, and it and them in the cages. “If the goblins are drugged, I think we’ll have a good chance to escape unseen.”

“What if we dragged the bodies of the guards with us?” asked Sanjin. “Could help it seem as if we were taken too, instead of escaped.” At that, Khaska perked up.

“I have an idea,” said Khaska, “but I will explain it in detail later. When we escape, we should try to make it look like we were dragged off, but in different directions. Orensland, go drug the goblins.”

Orensland took a bow, turned, and vanished before their very eyes.

“He’s learned some new tricks,” Rynn whispered. The ranger tried to follow, or at least guess, where the rogue was, but if the red leaf had any effect on the fires when it was tossed in, it wasn’t discernible from the regular ebb and flow of the flames.

After about five minutes the rogue returned, rematerializing with several backpacks and weapons in his hands. “I think I can get the rest,” he said. “The goblins are mostly by the fires and enough cover it shouldn’t be obvious that the things are disappearing. Plus … they’ll be high shortly.” He coughed softly, then vanished again. It wasn’t but a minute later that they had their stuff. At Khaska’s prodding, they enacted Sanjin’s plan to drag the goblin bodies with them into the brush, to make it look like they had been taken by “something.” Orensland finished cutting apart the cages, and then dragged Rynn away, then Rynn dragged the others off, taking care to do his best not to leave traces of his footprints. Once a ways into the woods, they left. Rynn went last, sneaking with the rest of the group and doing his best to use the goblin he was dragging to cover their tracks, leaving a trail of blood-streaked mess behind him. After a few hundred yards, Khaska called for them to halt, which was fine with the ranger, as the goblin corpse was becoming quite heavy.

The ranger was breathing heavily. He sat down. “Where’s Ranna?”

“I’m not quite sure anymore,” said Orensland. “Close, but Khaska took us a slightly different direction than I came. I’m sure she’s safe.”

Rynn scanned the forest, looking for the familiar form of the wolf.

“You said you had a plan?” Sanjin asked Khaska. “I think it would be best to just high-tail it out of here.” He looked around the group. “But, I am the newcomer, and am willing to help.” He flexed his fingers and patted the spell material pouch now slung around his waist. “And I can be of help.”

Eryx (DM)
Thevarou has decided that being left alone in the camp with hundreds of goblins was probably not a smart move. He has a suggestion, however, that I want you all to mull over. You have successfully escaped, and made it looked like you were all dragged off. Orensland has no red leaf left.

Thev and I talked about a plan briefly, but I’ll let him explain it, and you can all talk about how you want to handle things from here.

You should probably get healed up. You have all of your gear back. The goblins looked like they didn’t really touch it or go through it except to get it away from you, and as they tied you all up in your armor, you’re basically good to go except for your hitpoint situation, which hasn’t changed since the last gray box.

Thev
So! Khaska's plan. Since this is perhaps the only chance we might get to relieve Kagu of his sword (and perhaps solve the siege of Twilight), Khaska does not want to let it slide. Instead of hanging out in the camp waiting for Kagu to arrive, then, Khaska proposes that the party hide out until Kagu comes; in the meantime, he'll smear himself with blood to make it look like he's injured. That way, when Kagu arrives, he can stagger out of the woods and explain that a wraith from the mines followed them to the camp and is now killing goblins - and prisoners - one-by-one and dragging them out of the camp (maybe it's even looking for the sword, and will only accept it if Khaska, as a Maha'i, brings it back!). He could say that he only escaped because his armor blocked the wraith's attacks and decided to wait until Kagu arrived to emerge from hiding. Maybe he could even say that the wraith could reanimate recently-killed corpses, in order to explain how the prisoners could emerge from the woods to attack Kagu and the camp later.

Meanwhile, perhaps Orensland could sneak up and try to get Kagu and his entourage high to deaden their responses. Based on the situation, the party could perhaps ambush Kagu in an effort to try to wrest the sword from him.

Thoughts?

BlackWolf
I like it! Rynn will totally support this plan, though he is concerned with his friend's safety. So first off, we should use our wand to heal. Here are my results (rolling 1d8+1):

  • Jenika: 2, 2, 7, 4, 4, 5
  • Khaska: 7

So, not great rolls there, but they should both be up to full again now. And by my count, our wand has 24 charges left.

Rynn will try to position himself so he's well hidden, but at the edge of his 100 ft. range. Maximize accuracy to be able to shoot goblins while staying as far as possible. But given his weakened condition, and depending on the terrain, he may stay back further (200-300 ft.) if necessary.

Knowing that Ranna is probably fine, he'll wait to call out to her to avoid giving away our position. But we'll whistle for her as soon as he gets a good chance (i.e. once combat starts).

DeltaWolf

Sanjin will offer to cast Magic Armor on someone; Khaska because he out front or maybe Rynn because of his weaker stat.

Thev
Any suggestions your characters would give on how to handle the discussion with Kagu? Should we organize a sign for Khaska to give in order to signal Orensland to get the goblins high, and then to signal an attack?

Eryx (DM)
Orensland has no more red leaf. He used it all to get them high so you could all sneak out of camp while they were in that state. You are not sure, however, how long the effects will last.

Crosis
What a pity. He rather liked that stuff. Something to buy in Twilight later, yeah?

We don't know how long the red leaf effect lasts, but I think it's safe to assume that it takes two or three hours at least. I don't know how long Kagu will take, but who knows, he may come back before the night is through.

So, with the dragging-goblins-off idea, should Orensland still be walking around slitting throats? Not many, of course, but the occasional straggler every little while…? (I feel like the hyenas in Lion King. "Can't I just pick on the little sick ones?") As for his opinion, what's basically going on in his head is that the idea of spooking goblins and stealing magical swords sounds super fun and exciting. But he's also worried about Khaska. So he'll leave the major decision making up to the party, as he is torn between the two options. But, again, should the party choose to try to confront Kagu, Orensland would be excited to participate. Like Rynn, he would likely set himself up to shoot goblins. I assume I can be out in the open to do so? Shadowdancing. I love it.

Eryx (DM)
Two items.

1. Crosis, I need 3x Move Silent, Hide, and Attacks, if you're going to be picking off stragglers and hiding their bodies.

2. What do you all want to do with the goblin bodies that you have and will have taken off into the woods?

Crosis

Approach 1:Move silent: 42 (roll 20 + 22) Hide: 42 (20 + 22)
Attack 1: Hit 17 (roll 10 + 7), Damage 23 (roll 6 +5, +12 sneak attack)

Approach 2: Move Silent 31 (roll 9 + 22), Hide 29 (roll 7 + 22)
Attack 2: Hit 22 (roll 15 + 7), Damage 29 (roll 8 + 5, + 16 sneak attack)

Approach 3: Move Silent 23 (roll 1 + 22), Hide 27 (roll 5 + 22)
Attack 3: Hit 13 (roll 6 + 7), Damage 17 (roll 4 + 5, + 8 sneak attack)

Basically, He starts off with a bang but slowly get more conspicuous and sloppy. Hopefully the red leaf makes them less observant. We'll see how things pan out, eh?

Goblin bodies? Maybe leave a few around the cages and other visible places, it'll make the story more believable. I'm not sure if they're buddy-buddy enough to notice if a comrade goes missing unless… well, unless he's clearly out of commission.

BlackWolf
Yeah, as for the goblin bodies, I don’t think there is anything specific to do with them. Most of them will just be dragged off into the woods and dumped off somewhere; perhaps in bushes and shrubbery. I don’t think we should put them out in the open or in a big pile or anything… but I don’t see any reason to go to lengths to hide them either.

Thev
Khaska would support just leaving them in the woods. It would support the story that they'd been dragged off and disposed of somehow…

“It may be that your help will be needed, Sanjin,” said Khaska. “Here is my plan.” The Maha’i leaned in. “Orensland, keep attacking and dragging random goblins away. When Kagu arrives, I will dip myself in blood to make it look like I have been attacked. I will claim that the wraith from the tomb has escaped and is taking prisoners and goblins alike, and it is looking for the sword!”

“I like it,” said Rynn. “Goblins are cowardly and superstitious by nature. It’s not a bad plan.”

Orensland grinned. “I accept!” Sanjin and Jenika were slightly more wary, but in the end were convinced. This might be their best chance to get the sword, and thus end the siege of Twilight, something even Sanjin was in favor of.

The plan agreed on, Orensland disappeared into the darkness again, while the others waited.

The rogue made not a whisper of sound, using his newfound abilities to vanish into thin air in the darkness of the night. There was the faintest sliver of light came from Pressen, and there were no other moons in the sky, allowing him both to hide and to use his shadowdancer abilities to blend in with the darkness. The goblins were sitting around the fires, mostly, probably very high from the red leaf. Occasionally, however, one would get up to void his bladder or run some other errand. Orensland followed one into the bushes and killed it with a single blow, dragging the body away. He dragged it to where he thought Ranna was, did find the wolf waiting for him, and then left the body there as he took her back to the others. There was nothing to do but wait, though Rynn had to shush the wolf up when she was so excited to see him. Attuned to his serious mood, her joy did not last long before she took her place at her master’s side, wary and sniffing the air.

Orensland snuck closer to camp and took out another outlier with one strike, dragging him away as well. The goblins continued to move about lethargically or just sit down. “This is too easy,” he muttered to himself, watching the camp.

After waiting yet a few more minutes, he got closer again, and waited until there was another straggler. The goblin was walking from one fire to another, a haunch of meat in his hand, snacking away at it. Orensland crept closer, and just as the goblin reached about halfway between the two outlying fires, he struck …

… and missed. His longsword caught in the goblin’s leather clothing and the point was turned away from where he was aiming. He had probably drawn blood, but had not killed the goblin.

The goblin yelped, a high-pitched squeal that brought the attention of all the other goblins. Hastily, Orensland backed away and began to blend in with the shadows again. He hadn’t been as careful this time, and had apparently paid the price by being noticed.

The goblin he had attacked began talking rapidly, pointing to his back and noticing that, indeed, there was some blood. Another pair of goblins came up and pointed about where Orensland had been standing, gibbering incomprehensibly and indicating the air where the elf had been standing. The entire camp began to stir, and Orensland thought it best to be on his way. As quickly as he could he turned and left. They had briefly seen him, but could not track him now that he was using his abilities again.

It didn’t take them long for the mass of goblins to discover that the prisoners were missing, and that there were pools of blood and drag marks from not just the guards, but several other goblins as well. Orensland returned to the party.

“I’m so sorry,” he said, rematerializing next to them. “I didn’t kill the third one I tried to, and I think I was spotted.”

“I know,” said Rynn. “I can’t make out everything they’re saying, but I think they’ve discovered the trails we left, and it’s starting to freak them out. Some of them caught a glimpse of you before you vanished right before their eyes. I don’t think they got a good look, and that also scares them.” The ranger grinned. “They don’t know what kind of creature you are.”

“I think they are leaving,” said Khaska.

Sure enough, probably due to the effects of the red leaf, the goblins were open to many suggestions, and what the evidence suggested was that something was sneaking in and killing them off, something that could appear and disappear at will. There was not much debate once one of them reached the conclusion that it would be best to leave, and began running away. The rest of the camp followed in a stampede, screaming in fear and yelling.

Orensland’s grin was apparent even in the dim light. “That worked better than I expected!”

“So what do we do now?” asked Rynn.

They were discussing their options when Ranna perked up, her ears moving forward. A low growl came from her throat.

Several worg riders entered the camp, bringing their mounts to a halt as they saw that it was empty. The fires were still burning. One of them dismounted and stepped closer to the fires. It was hard to hear their conversation, but he was obviously displeased. They fanned out, eventually discovering the bloodstains and drag marks (not all had been destroyed by the mass exodus of goblins a few minutes earlier). The other goblins also dismounted and the argument became heated. Then the first goblin drew a sword and slashed viciously through the air. A head of one of the others went sailing, and the others hastily backed away. The goblin picked up the head and walked towards the nearest fire, finally tossing it in. It was as he got close enough to the fire that Rynn was able to finally see his face.

“Kagu,” the ranger said. Back in the camp, Kagu was smearing the blood of the other goblin up and down the sword.

Eryx (DM)
Kagu has arrived. There is him, and six other worg riders, and eight worgs.

I assume you still want to go through with the above plan. Thev, I’ll need exact dialogue options for you (maybe we can RP it through IM) when you get to the camp. Or will you wait until Kagu leaves the camp, looking for the dragged bodies? (Assuming he does go looking.) What blood are you going to use to make it look like Khaska has been attacked?

For the rest of you, just give me the the setup for where everybody else will be relative to Khaska. General thoughts on what the rest of your characters would try to do will be sufficient. Be at max range (like Rynn said above)? Sneak closer slowly? Hide 10-20 yards away in a bush? Will you all spread out? Do you want to make it look like you are reanimated corpses? Will Orensland hide in plain sight right next to Khaska (which would require new Move Silent and Hide rolls)? etc.

I suggest giving Jenika the other casting of Mage Armor, as it will not work on any of the others, since they already have the same or higher of an armor bonus.

Khaska gets to keep his 20 bluff roll from earlier. I’m such a nice DM. :)

Crosis
How lovely. That's several fewer goblins we need to deal with. Orensland has been thoroughly entertained this evening and is definitely happy to be back with the party.

It might be a good idea for us to wait to see if he sends off any riders to find the escaping goblins first. If he decides to stay by the fires but send others away, that would decrease the number of enemies present. If it looks like he'll chase after them himself (which is a distinct possibility), Khaska should probably just run out anyways.

What other blood does Khaska have to cover himself in? I figure a goblin corpse will do just fine. Unless they have different colored blood, which would be unfortunate.

From what I can tell, Orensland has two options. He can, first, stay by Khaska's side in case a fight breaks out. Similarly, he can be in sniping position. Aside from getting ready for defense, however, he could… keep causing havoc. But more would need to be known about the situation.

Eryx, you said "several worg riders" came into camp. Specifically, how many? How nasty (strong) and short-tempered do they look? Are the worgs themselves a threat?

Orensland would throw a few ideas around with the others. While Khaska is talking to Kagu, it could be a good idea to eliminate potential opposition from behind. That could be done by killing a couple stragglers in the back before anyone notices anything and making the story of invisible attacks more believable. Or it could be starting a fight between themselves. Like, take a stab at one goblin and make it look like the other did it. If they're stupid, tired and/or cranky in any way, this would be a possibility. Or stick a sword/crossbow bolt in a worg's hide and cause a miniature stampede. Or kill a worg. Or any combination of those. Something like that.

But if those ideas are far-fetched or otherwise disagreed upon, running to Khaska's aid works too.

Thev
We can do a chat to work out dialogue if you'd like. Just let me know when you'd be available tomorrow.

Khaska would wait to see if any of the goblins or worg (augh, that looks so wrong to my Tolkienian eyes) riders disperse to approach Kagu. Having seen Kagu's wrath, he does not wish to provoke it; he would also like it if Orensland would accompany him, hidden, as he would be able to engage Kagu if he flies into a rage. Furthermore, has the red leaf dissipated enough by this point to nullify its intoxicant effects on the newly-arrived goblins?

I believe that the goblins' blood would work well enough. If it is a different color, though, Khaska could just say that it had splattered him or that he had fought off several reanimated goblin corpses that had tried to attack him. It's easy enough to explain.

Crosis
Orensland would most certainly accompany Khaska if that is his wish. Sounds like Kagu is an authoritative jerk, so Orensland is all on board for taking him out.

DeltaWolf
Before doing anything else Sanjin will cast Mage Armor on Jenika. How close are the trees to the camp? How dense are these trees? Sanjin wants to get close enough to use his spells if it comes to that (and he is sure it will) but he also wants to stay out of sight as much as possible.

BlackWolf
Rynn will hide out in a good ambushing spot at a range as previously specified. If any worg riders do disperse and come too close, he'll open fire and try to take out the goblin rider first.

Some worgs can speak goblin, but they aren't super intelligent, so maybe if we're lucky they'll get scared by Khaska's story too.

Crosis
Eryx, do you want us to do any rolling? As I will likely be sneaking around anyways, here's a move silent and hide check:
Move Silent: 28 (rolled 6 + 22)
Hide: 30 (rolled 8 + 22)
I guess Orensland is getting tired, he's not rolling those 20's anymore. :D

Eryx (DM)
Just FYI Thev and I will be going over the Kagu dialogue Sunday night. Sorry for the delay in getting this next post up.

Khaska whispered quickly to the others. “We’ve set the stage. If I pretend that I’ve been attacked by the wraith, it might scare more off. Or at least get us all ready for a better attack if I can get them into position.”

“You sure?” asked Rynn. “That’s pretty risky.”

“Yes. Cover me in case it doesn’t work. I’ll see what I can do to split them up or distract them. Orensland, come with me. If you see an opportunity to kill one of them, take it after I’ve convinced them the wraith is here with us.”

“Sounds like a plan to me,” the rogue said, vanishing into the night.

As Khaska moved off, Sanjin goggled at him. “Is he usually this reckless?”

“Actually, no,” said Jenika. Then the monk began to slink off as best she could through the underbrush, a different angle towards the camp than Khaska was taking. Rynn and Sanjin glanced at each other, then followed.

Praying that there was still enough red leaf in the camp to affect the goblins, Khaska began to stumble through the brush, making a lot of noise. When he emerged into the clearing, he was half backing into it, pretending to looking behind as he moved toward Kagu and the other goblins.

"Kagu! Kagu the Cunning! I am glad you have come!"

Kagu turned and raised his scimitar, wary. The other goblins also drew their weapons and begin to move towards Khaska, but didn’t advance far.

The cleric raised his hands in a salute. “I mean you no harm, but pardon me if I keep my sword; there is an enemy here.”

Kagu practically screamed at the Maha’i. “What enemy?” The warlord pointed at Khaska. “You are enemy!” Now that he was closer, Khaska could see Kagu better. The goblin seemed hunched over, almost misshapen. Just small details here or there, really, but overall the effect was chilling. He was somehow … changed. He was not a normal goblin. His eyes seemed bloodshot and Khaska could see black veins running up his neck into his face. The effect was unnerving. But the cleric had a bluff to keep up.

“In another situation, maybe. But something followed us here from the ruins, something evil that wishes evil upon us all.”

Kagu dropped his sword down. “Creature from ruins?”

“Of sorts. I came with my my friends to pay homage, and we—and your people, before us—found a powerful wraith. My friends and I were coming to warn you of the danger when your … troops attacked us.”

Kagu’s eyes were wide, and he was almost foaming at the mouth. “The dark one from the tomb! It follows you?” he screamed. “You let it escape?!”

“It followed your men as they brought us here… and it attacked your men and my friends, as you can see.” Khaska swept his hand to indicate a nearby set of drag marks from where Orensland had killed one of the goblins.

The other goblins began to look around. They were not as focused on Khaska, suddenly wary of this other creature. Khaska’s story apparently was believable enough.

“It takes them? They die?” asked one of the other goblins.

Kagu spoke next. “It takes …” he looked around the camp, horrified, “all of them?”

“Some ran off,” said Khaska, “but many were taken. As well as my friends. And it does not only attack by itself. It also takes the bodies of the slain and … forces them to attack. I had to fight off several of your men's … corpses.”

“It makes the dead … live?” asked another goblin.

“That is how it seemed.”

Kagu held up his scimitar and began screaming into the night.

“Kagu not afraid! Kagu kill monster!” He beat his chest, the armor clanking. “Come fight Kagu!” He looked at Khaska. “Puny antelope man runs from monster. Kagu will slay monster!”

“Only because I trusted in your strength above mine. But beware: the wraith can become invisible … it might even be among us.”

Khaska hoped that Orensland would recognize the cue, and the rogue did not disappoint. Khaska saw him materialize near one of the goblins furthest from the others, and the rogue took a swipe at him from behind. Unfortunately, he missed, but immediately vanished as his intended victim whirled. The rogue had covered his face with a black cloth, and his elven features were not apparent. He had finished hiding in plain sight by the time the goblins turned towards him, drawn by the scared shout of their comrade.

“Something attacked me!” he said, backing up quickly.

“It's the wraith!” Khaska yelled, all the while thanking the gods that Orensland remained undetected, despite his failure.

Kagu whirled, laughing, brandishing his scimitar, which was still dripping with blood.

“Come fight! Kagu kill you!”

Khaska raised his scimitar, looking around warily, and even edged a little closer to the goblins, as if for protection.

There was a clank, and all of them turned to see that one of the goblins head had been cleanly detached from his body in a single moment. The head went flying, and the body remained upright for a moment, blood spurting from the neck, before collapsing. Orensland was nowhere to be seen. This time the rogue’s strike had been widly successful.

“I told you it was invisible!”

Kagu charged towards the dead goblin. “I no afraid! I slay you!”

Several of the goblins, however, were not inspired by their leader’s foolhardy bravery. They rushed to their worgs and mounted them, preparing to flee.

Kagu was livid. “Come back, cowards! We slay monster. Antelope-man braver than you! I kill you!” But he was too far away to catch them. They bolted into the woods. One of the worgs went with them.

There were two of Kagu’s goblins left, Kagu, and three of the worgs now. This was going better than Khaska had expected. He had one additional thought that might be of use in this ruse. Still pretending that he was on the lookout, edged yet closer to Kagu, but still out of his reach. He was scanning the area, looking around the camp. “I apologize, but I forgot to mention it. The reason I got away was because only I had a magic weapon … and only magic weapons harm wraiths.”

The two remaining of the other goblins looked at Khaska.

“My weapon not harm it!?” asked one.

“No … only mine. And maybe his.” Khaksa nodded towards Kagu.

One of the other goblins advanced towards the cleric. “Give me sword!”

“It'd be better to keep yours. Even though they cannot hurt the wraith, there are still other … corpses out there waiting to attack.” At this, Khaska perked his ears up and jerkily looked at a specific point in the dark, where he had come from. He took a few steps away from the group while raising his scimitar and motioned for the goblins to be quiet. “What was that? I heard something …” He paused for a long time. Then yelled, loudly. “It's my monk friend! Back from the dead!”

About fifteen yards into the brush, Jenika cursed under her breath. “Seriously? He wants me to pretend to be a zombie?” The monk glanced at Sanjin, hidden nearby, who just raised his eyebrow.

“Best to play your part. We’ve got you covered.” He muttered the words to a spell and then touched her. The air just around her body rippled from where he had touched her. “Mage armor. Now go!” She rolled her eyes, but then got up, and began stumbling towards the camp, pretending to be a zombie as best as she could recollect from seeing the zombies in Hammerdine all those months ago.

Sanjin knew about zombies, and put his hand to his forehead. “She’s a terrible zombie,” he muttered to himself.

Khaska, however, kept the bluff up a little longer. “Run!” he screamed. He turned to the goblins, but then cut his shout off midway, and he collapsed, going limp with his eyes half open, facing Kagu and the others, pretending to have been killed by the wraith. The ruse did not work, however. The remaining goblins were made of sterner stuff than their departed comrades.

Orensland, in the meantime was hovering about ten yards away, close enough to be able to intervene, but far enough that he wasn’t right next to them. Kagu was still whirling, trying to figure out what was going on. Khaska’s bluff had worked, that much was pretty obvious. And now the cleric was “dead,” and the panic was really beginning to set in. They might not run, but they were pretty well unnerved at the same time.

So Orensland appeared, just briefly, as Kagu whirled one more time to look away from Jenika. He wanted to give just a hint of the spectre, a glimpse of something that blended into the night. Would it be enough to scare them?

Not enough to scare Kagu, apparently. The warlord raised the scimitar and charged towards where he had seen “the wraith.” Orensland began to move out of the way, and Kagu did not follow him. The shadowdancer’s skills helped him remain unseen. “You two, kill the monk!” he yelled. The two goblins ran towards Jenika. All three of the worgs followed them.

Eryx (DM)
This is the dialogue that Thev and I worked out, with permission from Crosis to play and roll for his character as things unfolded.

The jig is about to be up. Jenika rolled a 5 Bluff check, so when the goblins get closer it’ll be painfully obvious that she’s faking it. However, Kagu is split from them, and headed to where he saw Orensland for a moment. He will be quite separated from the others.

There are two goblins and three worgs headed towards Jenika and the woods where the rest of the party is, then about 10 yards from there Khaska is on the ground playing dead, and then Kagu charging towards where Orensland was, with Orensland nearby, but unseen. The two goblins headed for Jenika look to be slightly more well-armed than your average goblin. Rynn would speculate easily that they are part of Kagu’s elite guard, or perhaps former chieftains of absorbed tribes or something like this. They will likely not be as easy to take down as an average goblin.

At this point, I’ll just ask you all to give me initiative and 3 rounds of actions.

Crosis
Ooh, how exciting!

So, question about all of this. Would there be a roll of some kind for Orensland to get an idea on the skill level of the enemy he's facing?

From what I can figure, Orensland is on his own…? It seems like the two guards are heading directly toward 3 members of the party, with Khaska behind them. Khaska could come to Orensland's aid, but it would depend on how needed he is elsewhere. Are the worgs a problem?

Orensland could keep playing smoke and mirrors, but feels iffy about getting stabbed with a cursed blade that drove this goblin bonkers. Orensland would likely wait to see what Khaska does. If he goes towards the other fight with the two goblins, Orensland would probably stay out of sword-swinging range and keep doing his little appear-disappear trick until help arrived, then sneak attack Kagu. If Khaska runs in this direction and the two of us take him on, Orensland would just sneak attack him then.

If he's seen before then… hide again. Call me a coward, but this guy sounds like he'd be better at one-on-one combat than Orensland.

First attack: Hit 12 (rolled 5 + 7) Damage 10 (rolled 5 + 5) Add 13 to damage if sneak attack allowed
Second attack: Hit 12 (rolled 5 + 7) Damage 10 (rolled 5 + 5)
Third attack: Hit 27 (rolled 20 + 7) Damage 6 (rolled 1 + 5) Is there some crit bonus for this?

Well, that was mostly terrible. Good damage for bad hits, and bad damage for good hits. Whatever. I hope he lives. Or that he just ends up doing some smoke and mirrors for a while and not have to use those rolls. Regardless, if he misses and is spotted, he will likely again hide in plain sight and move away for a bit.

Orensland would also contemplate moving out of berserk sword slashes of trying-to-hit-invisible-man range and snipe the boy. It depends on if he goes berserk. If that happens, go ahead and tell me and I'll do some new rolls. :D

Thev
Well, Khaska's in a predicament; at least they believe him to be dead for now! With that in mind, Khaska will probably wait for a bit and keep an eye on the battle as it unfolds. He leans toward helping out Jenika, Sanjin, and Rynn, as dispatching the two goblins attacking them would allow the entire party to bring down Kagu together. If Orensland can keep Kagu distracted, that'd be even better! When Khaska rises to attack, he will (of course) use his scimitar.

Initiative (do I need this if Khaska will be waiting for a while?): 17

  • To hit: 18 = 12 + 6
  • Damage: 4 = 2 + 2
  • To hit: 18 = 12 + 6
  • Damage: 4 = 2 + 2
  • To hit: 20 = 14 + 6
  • Damage: 3 = 1 + 2

Wow, those are pretty terrible. Eesh.

BlackWolf
Initiative: 14 (rolled 11 + 3 bonus)

The ranger will loose a storm of arrows, targeting the two goblins first, then the worgs. Using his full round attack plus rapid shot feat, he can fire off 3 shots per round.

  • Round 1:
    • longbow: 23 (rolled 15 + 6 base + 3 DEX + 1 mwk - 2 rapid shot), damage: 6 (rolled 2 + 2 STR + 2 favored enemy)
    • longbow: 16 (rolled 8 + 6 base + 3 DEX + 1 mwk - 2 rapid shot), damage: 10 (rolled 6 + 2 STR + 2 favored enemy)
    • longbow: 7 (rolled 4 + 1 base + 3 DEX + 1 mwk - 2 rapid shot), damage: 11 (rolled 7 + 2 STR + 2 favored enemy)
  • Round 2:
    • longbow: 18 (rolled 10 + 8 as above), damage: 11 (rolled 7 + 2 STR + 2 favored enemy)
    • longbow: 25 (rolled 17 + 8 as above), damage: 11 (rolled 7 + 2 STR + 2 favored enemy)
    • longbow: miss (rolled 1)
  • Round 3:
    • longbow: 26 (rolled 18 + 8 as above), damage: 5 (rolled 1 + 2 STR + 2 favored enemy)
    • longbow: 17 (rolled 9 + 8 as above), damage: 6 (rolled 2 + 2 STR + 2 favored enemy)
    • longbow: 12 (rolled 9 + 3 as above), damage: 11 (rolled 7 + 2 STR + 2 favored enemy)

Not a terrible showing, but certainly weaker than I had hoped for during my surprise opening volley. But hopefully a few of these will land true; and maybe even sow some fear as well.

DeltaWolf
Initiative: 11 (9+2 Mod)

Round 1: Throw down staff (Transform to Snake)
Round 2: Cast Crushing Despair at the goblins coming their way.
Round 3: Cast Burning Hands at the goblins.

  • Damage: 14

So do I control the snake and make rolls and stuff for it?

Eryx (DM)
Yes, you control the snake. Give me two rounds of actions for it. (The first round will be spent by the rod transforming into a snake.)

I didn't realize how cool that rod was. It's … yeah, it's pretty cool. Basically, who do you want the snake to attack, and will it try to constrict them?

Edit: Unless you want to authorize me to roll for the snake. In that case, I'd still like a general idea of what you want it to do.

Rynn decided the game was up. Pulling back on his bow, he began to let the arrows fly, targeting one of the approaching goblins. Sanjin cast Mage Armor on himself, and began to sneak through the bushes, considering his available spells.

“Arrows!” screamed one of the goblins as Rynn’s shots twanged through the air around him. The worgs were outdistancing their goblin masters, and Jenika paused now, waiting for them to come to her, rather than getting closer to all of the charging opponents.

Kagu looked like he might turn to join them, but Orensland laughed a bit away from him, trying to sound unnerving. It worked better than he thought it would, and Kagu remained away from the rest of the fighting, still screaming obscenities in the goblin language and looking for the “wraith.” The worgs closed with Jenika, and she leapt forward at one at the last moment, kicking it squarely in the jaw, followed up by a pair of vicious punches to its side. She could feel the ribs cracking, and the creature yelped even as it tried to attack her back and dance away, letting the other worgs have their chance. Rynn’s arrows continued to rain down on the goblins now approaching, and he was rewarded by several grunts of pain as he hit true, and Sanjin threw his staff out into the melee, next to Jenika.

One goblin managed to get behind Jenika as she defended against the worgs, and slashed at her viciously. A spray of blood arced into the night sky from his dagger, and the monk knew he had done a lot of damage. He was distracted enough, however, that he did not see Sanjin emerge from hiding, the words of a Crushing Despair spell on his lips. The spell made no visible indication, but Sanjin could tell that it had worked on several of the opponents. His staff had mutated, turning into a snake that attempted to grab onto the goblin attacking Jenika.

The worgs danced in and out, still attacking Jenika, until one of them managed to clamp down onto her shoulder and savage it. Too damaged from the goblin’s attack, Jenika collapsed to the ground. Sanjin practically froze. He was alone now with all of them. Just then, Khaska arrived and began attacking the goblin with Rynn’s arrows sticking out of him. The Maha’i cleric had decided the ruse was up, and joined the attack. While the worgs converged on Sanjin, the two goblins converged on Khaska. Desperate, Sanjin tossed his hands up and flames erupted from them, covering one goblin and another worg before the wizard began to move away. The snake chased down the other goblin and this time succeeded in grasping onto the goblin’s hand. Quickly, the snake pulled him in and began to wrap around him. The goblin screamed and tried to stab at it, but in moments was restrained and being crushed.

One worg began moving towards the woods, seeking the source of the arrows, while the other two went after Sanjin. One managed to get a bite onto the elf’s leg, and Sanjin fell in a heap, tripped by the worg. The other began snapping at the elf’s head.

Eryx (DM)
Your hitpoint situation is as follows.

Khaska: 17/17.
Rynn: 6/6.
Ranna: 29/29.
Orensland: 52/52.
Jenika: -4/34. She is bleeding out on the ground.
Sanjin: 13/23. The wizard is prone and on the ground.

Kagu is still looking for Orensland. Khaska is in melee combat with one goblin, and that goblin appears to be wearing plate armor. The other goblin is wrapped up pretty well by Sanjin’s snake-staff thing. Two worgs are attacking a prone Sanjin, and one is headed for Rynn. I made a few executive decisions, and consulted with others through IM or text as I could, regarding how your characters would act in combat.

Please give me three more rounds of actions.

DeltaWolf

I should point out that Sanjin only had one slot of Mage Armor prepared and he used it on Jenika, not that I’m complaining (in the future I am defiantly going to prepare more Mage Armor)

Sanjin
Round 1: Cast Sheild
Round 2: Total Defense
Round 3: Total Defense or if he has the chance he will crawl away

“Nagini” the Python
Round 1: Construct or if dead move to a worg attacking Sanjin

  • Damage: 13 (3+10)

Round 2: Construct or if dead move to a worg attacking Sanjin

  • Damage: 14 (4+10)

Round 3: Construct or if dead move to a worg attacking Sanjin

  • Damage: 17 (7+10)

Demandred (Bat familiar) will fly around the Worg at Sanjin’s head screeching and basically attempt to distract the worg.

Crosis

Kagu doesn't seem terribly bright. Orensland will continue to stall him for as long as he can (hide/move silent checks). If Kagu turns and runs towards the fight, Orensland would shout out something like "Go ahead and flee, coward! You're no match for me!" as wraith-like as he can. If that didn't irk Kagu enough to turn the boy around, he would probably shoot a crossbow bolt at him in hopes of further irking/wounding him. Emotionally as well as physically, of course. Orensland would hide again every time he gives himself away. The cloth covering his face will still be there, keeping the enemy guessing what kind of thing he is trying to fight.

That being said… what kind of rolls should I be making? There are several possibilities, it depends on what Kagu does. If he finds Orensland, a fight would likely ensue. If he runs after the group, Orensland would do a bluff roll for the scary voice. If the scary voice doesn't work, he would shoot a bolt at Kagu. After that, he would likely keep shooting at Kagu (if he feels like a distraction would still work) or the Worgs around Sanjin (who seems to be in the most perilous situation). Regardless, he would try to hide every time he's seen to unnerve or otherwise distract Kagu. What say ye, Eryx? Should I just do all of those rolls, or would you take the liberty of making them as time unfolds? Or would you want to do it IM style? Whatever works.

Thev

Khaska has Hold Animal prepared once and Searing Light twice; would either of those be effective in this battle situation? If so, he will cast Hold Animal on the worg headed for Rynn (so that Rynn can attack it without danger), Searing Light on the goblin he is attacking (does plate armor defend against that?), and depending on how that turns out, Searing Light either on the goblin with whom he is in melee or one of the worgs attacking Sanjin.

I forget - do I need to roll for Searing Light? And would a scimitar attack be more advisable?

[EDIT] Okay, after chatting with Eryx, several things have been cleared up and I've changed Khaska's plans. He's going to attack the goblin attacking him with his scimitar first and, once that goblin is taken care of he will turn his attention to the worgs attacking Sanjin, with Searing Light if needed (at range instead of melee, that is).

  • To hit: 13 = 7 + 6
    • Damage: 7 = 5 + 2
  • To hit: 18 = 12 + 6
    • Damage: 3 = 1 + 2
  • To hit: 6 = 1 + 6
    • Damage: 5 = 3 + 2

BlackWolf
Rynn will continue in his attempt to make our opponents resemble pincushons. He’ll start by targeting the worg approaching him, then probably try to help Sanjin. Overall, he’ll take the best shots as determined by the DM. He’ll shoot into melee if he must (and incur the -4 penalty for so doing), as he does not want to risk getting close to the enemy at this time.

Since his targets will likely be worgs, I’ve left off the +2 bonus damage for favored enemies. Apply as needed if he hits a goblin.

  • Round 1:
    • longbow: 13 (rolled 5 + 6 base + 3 DEX + 1 mwk - 2 rapid shot), damage: 10 (rolled 8 + 2 STR)
    • longbow: 25 (rolled 17 + 6 base + 3 DEX + 1 mwk - 2 rapid shot), damage: 7 (rolled 5 + 2 STR)
    • longbow: 20 (rolled 17 + 1 base + 3 DEX + 1 mwk - 2 rapid shot), damage: 7 (rolled 5 + 2 STR)
  • Round 2:
    • longbow: 28 critical! (rolled 20 + 8 as above), damage: 20 (8 max + rolled 7 + rolled 3 + 2 STR)
    • longbow: 19 (rolled 11 + 8 as above), damage: 5 (rolled 3 + 2 STR)
    • longbow: 7 (rolled 4 + 3 as above), damage: 3 (rolled 1 + 2 STR)
  • Round 3:
    • longbow: miss! (rolled 1)
    • longbow: 17 (rolled 9 + 8 as above), damage: 6 (rolled 4 + 2 STR)
    • longbow: 8 (rolled 5 + 3 as above), damage: 9 (rolled 7 + 2 STR)

Booyah! I love a good crit! Hopefully that shot will bury an arrow up to the fletching in some unsuspecting eye-socket.

If any enemy gets to close, the ranger will sick Ranna on it and quick draw his melee weapons if he must.

Hopefully this trio of rounds goes well so that we can buy time for Khaska or Rynn to rush over to stabilize/revive Jenika. And looks like Sanjin is in trouble too.

The snake gave a final, bone-crunching squeeze to its goblin victim, and then slithered towards where Sanjin was trying desperately to avoid being grabbed by the two worgs. Khaska and the other goblin continued to trade blows, but their plate armor meant that both were well-protected, and their combat would be a lengthy one.

Rynn fired more arrows at the worg approaching him, and two buried themselves in its side. Severely wounded, the worg actually turned and began limping away from the fight, blood dripping from its wounds.

With that, Rynn turned to the worgs. One was snapping at the snake, which hissed and struck, latching onto the worg’s throat and beginning to wrap itself around the large creature. The other had grabbed Sanjin’s arm and was worrying it savagely.

Seeing that his minions were failing in their fight, Kagu began to run in that direction. Orensland yelled out, in his best spooky wraith voice. “Go ahead and flee, coward! You're no match for me!”

Kagu was apoplectic at this, and began screaming more throat-shredding insults at the “wraith.” Orensland cautiously moved away yet again, still unseen, his objective achieved; Kagu was no longer heading towards the others.

Sanjin was trying futilely to extract his arm from the worg’s teeth, blood flying everywhere as the creature shook violently. One of Rynn’s arrows buried itself in the creature’s eye socked, appearing abruptly from Sanjin’s point of view. The worg let go and made a high yelping sound as another arrow landed in its neck. With a gurgle, the worg collapsed.

Sanjin got up slowly, holding his damaged arm. His snake was crushing the life out of the remaining worg, and an arrow from Rynn dropped the one that was limping away. As the snake continued to squeeze, the worg struggled for breath, its eyes bulging out and tongue hanging out, until finally, it died. The snake unfurled itself and began moving towards where its master was.

Khaska had taken a minor wound to his face, and continued to trade ineffective blows with the other goblin. However, now all that remained was just that goblin … and Kagu.

Eryx (DM)
Your HP situation is as follows.

Khaska: 15/17.
Rynn: 6/6.
Ranna: 29/29.
Orensland: 52/52.
Jenika: -5/34. The monk, however, has made one of her stabilization rolls, so she will not lose any more HP unless reinjured.
Sanjin: 0/23. As per the rules, you are “disabled,” so can either move, or perform a standard action.

Snakes. Are. Awesome. That’s all. That python rod was a good purchase, DeltaWolf!

Kagu is still a ways away, looking for the “wraith.” Khaska is still in melee combat with one goblin, and the fact that both of them are wearing plate is making the melee combat slow going. The other goblin and the two worgs are dead (or at least bleeding out).

Please give me three more rounds of actions.

Crosis

I'm presuming that everyone will try to kill the last goblin before moving on to Kagu. Orensland would continue to distract Kagu by chuckling here or there. However, the time for distraction is quickly coming to an end.

As soon as 1) the last goblin is disposed of, 2) Kagu attempts to attack the others and taunts no longer work, or 3) turns and flees (not likely) Orensland would likely attempt a sneak attack. I'm guessing Kagu will give one beast of a fight, but between the 3 of us (Delta Wolf's characters seem out of commission momentarily), the wolf and the snake, he should be manageable.

  • To hit: 25 = 18 + 7
    • Damage: 27 = 3 + 5 + 19 (sneak attack: 6, 4, 4, 5)
  • To hit: 21 = 14 + 7
    • Damage: 12 = 7 + 5
  • To hit: 21 = 14 + 7
    • Damage: 13 = 8 + 5

Oh, please tell me I get a chance to stick him with that first one. I can sneak attack in this circumstance, right?

And in case he runs out of longsword range, some crossbow shots would be in order:

  • To hit: 29 = 20 + 9 (crit! What happens with crits?)
    • Damage: 6 = 5 + 1
  • To hit: 16 = 7 + 9
    • Damage: 3 = 2 + 1
  • To hit: 18 = 9 + 9
    • Damage: 7 = 6 + 1

Good rolls! How lovely. Take that, Kagu.

Thev
Khaska will first focus on taking out his goblin:

  • To hit: 12 = 6 + 6
  • Damage: 3 = 1 + 2
  • To hit: 13 = 7 + 6
  • Damage: 7 = 5 + 2
  • To hit: 16 = 10 + 6
  • Damage: 6 = 4 + 2

After the goblin has gone the way of all the earth, Khaska will turn his attention to his wounded party members, healing as best he can in the limited time both Jenika and Sanjin. He'll then distribute various of his spells among the party members to buff them up before the fight with Kagu (Virtue, Divine Favor, Protection from Evil, Resistance, Guidance). Once they are stabilized, he will focus on Kagu, casting Hold Person and Searing Light (Damage: 17 = 6 + 4 + 7).

BlackWolf
Now that the numbers of our enemy have been reduced, Rynn will pause for a round to grab his potion of Cat's Grace from his pack and drink it. Then, given that Kagu hasn't joined the fray yet, he'll target Khaska's melee opponent with more arrows.

  • Round 1:
    • Drink his potion of Cat's Grace to gain +4 to DEX (increasing his modifier by +2). I believe this should last for 4 minutes.
  • Round 2:
    • longbow: 19 (rolled 13 + 6 base + 5 DEX + 1 mwk - 2 rapid shot - 4 shooting into melee), damage: 11 (rolled 7 + 2 STR + 2 favored enemy)
    • longbow: 26 critical! (rolled 20 + 6 base + 5 DEX + 1 mwk - 2 rapid shot - 4 shooting into melee), damage: 20 (max 8 + rolled 2 + rolled 6 + 2 STR + 2 favored enemy)
    • longbow: 8 (rolled 7 + 1 base + 5 DEX + 1 mwk - 2 rapid shot - 4 shooting into melee), damage: 6 (rolled 2 + 2 STR + 2 favored enemy)
  • Round 3:
    • longbow: 24 (rolled 18 + 6 as above), damage: 7 (rolled 3 + 4 as above)
    • longbow: 9 (rolled 3 + 6 as above), damage: 12 (rolled 8 + 4 as above)
    • longbow: miss! (rolled 1)

Should "Khaska's" goblin go down before Rynn has finished firing, he'll change his target to Kagu.

Crosis

I was told to do a couple of bluff checks for keeping Kagu distracted. They are as follows:

  • 23 (rolled 13 + 10)
  • 14 (rolled 4 + 10)

DeltaWolf
Sanjin will just sit tight and try to not hurt himself. As Nagini attacks.

“Nagini” the Python
Round 1: Move to closest enemy target
Round 2: Construct

  • Damage: 16 (6+10)

Round 3: Construct or if dead move to closest enemy

  • Damage: 16 (6+10)

Taking a moment to drink a potion of Cat’s Grace, Rynn assessed the situation. The remaining goblin and Khaska continued to strike at each other, Sanjin moved away slowly, but was gaining enough space that he was no longer in immediate danger. However, Rynn could tell the wizard was badly injured. The snake, a nifty addition to the fight, the ranger had to concede, was slithering towards where Khaska and the remaining goblin continued to fight. All in all things seemed to be in hand.

“You coward!” Kagu was shrieking some ways away. “If you want to fight me, then come fight me! I will slay your minions!” And with that, the situation suddenly shifted. Kagu began to sprint towards the combat, and he was moving fast. Very fast.

Rynn nocked another arrow, deciding that it would be best to finish off the remaining goblin so they could all focus on Kagu. Orensland, far away, tried to giggle and laugh as wraith-like as he could, but Kagu was having none of it. So the shadowdancer began chasing after him.

Rynn fired at the goblin lieutenant and missed, watching his arrow bounce off of the creature’s armor. His next arrow found its mark, burying itself in the goblin’s neck. The goblin went down in a heap just as Kagu arrived. The goblin warlord was screaming in rage, and Khaska barely had time to turn to meet the charge.

“You trick Kagu!” the goblin screamed as he attacked, sweeping his scimitar up in an arc from the ground, putting all the force he could behind it. The scimitar darted in between Khaska’s shield and his sword and cleaved a gash between the individual pieces of the cleric’s armor. Khaska felt unnaturally sickened as the sword bit into his flesh, and then all was dark.

Rynn continued to fire arrows at Kagu, one of which stuck into the warlord’s arm, while the snake managed to grab onto Kagu’s leg, tearing huge chunks of it bloody. However, Kagu managed to shake it off.

Just then, Orensland appeared behind him, striking from the shadows, hard. The shadowdancer’s sword bit into Kagu’s back, and Orensland buried it several inches into the goblin before withdrawing it for another strike.

Kagu whirled, a blind strike at the “wraith,” and hit Orensland near fully in the head. The elf managed to duck, avoiding being decapitated, but the sword still glanced off of his skull, sending a spray of blood into the night. A follow-up blow grazed Orensland’s arm, biting deep. The elf felt an unnatural darkness sweep into his body, weakening him further as the inky-black scimitar withdrew from his flesh.

“Die!” screamed Kagu.

Eryx (DM)
Your hitpoints are as follows:

Khaska: -6/17.
Rynn: 6/6.
Ranna: 29/29.
Orensland: 13/52.
Jenika: -5/34.
Sanjin: 0/23.

Kagu hits like a truck. In one blow he took Khaska from 15 hitpoints to dying. Then in two blows (the first of which was a crit, which narratively I actually wanted to happen, since he is furious at Orensland) he took Orensland from full health down quite a bit. However, Rynn hit him with an arrow, the snake did take a good chunk out of his leg, and of course Orensland managed to get sneak attack damage in on that first shot. Kagu may be dangerous and powerful, but he is not invincible, and even in this short two rounds of combat you have severely injured him by focus firing.

Khaska is not stable. So Thev, give me 3 d% rolls. At a 91 or higher, Khaska stabilizes. Sanjin has moved far enough away that he is not in immediate danger. It would take Kagu at least two rounds of movement to catch up to the wizard.

This is a boss fight. I have not pulled any punches. Kagu is raging, foaming at the mouth, furious, and berserking, all while wielding a cursed scimitar. Don’t pull any punches. He’s not going to.

Give me three more rounds of actions.

BlackWolf
Seeing his friends falling, a feeling of dread falls over Rynn and he worries whether he'll be able to get to them in time to heal them with the wand. But rushing near Kagu won't help anything at this point (my 6 HP won't last even one hit, I'll bet), so he grits his teeth and aims to kill the goblin dead.

  • Round 1:
    • longbow: 19 (rolled 13 + 6 base + 5 DEX + 1 mwk - 2 rapid shot - 4 shooting into melee), damage: 11 (rolled 7 + 2 STR + 2 favored enemy)
    • longbow: 23 (rolled 17 + 6 base + 5 DEX + 1 mwk - 2 rapid shot - 4 shooting into melee), damage: 7 (rolled 3 + 2 STR + 2 favored enemy)
    • longbow: 14 (rolled 13 + 1 base + 5 DEX + 1 mwk - 2 rapid shot - 4 shooting into melee), damage: 10 (rolled 6 + 2 STR + 2 favored enemy)
  • Round 2:
    • longbow: 11 (rolled 5 + 6 as above), damage: 9 (rolled 5 + 4 as above)
    • longbow: 12 (rolled 6 + 6 as above), damage: 5 (rolled 1 + 4 as above)
    • longbow: 18 (rolled 17 + 1 as above), damage: 12 (rolled 8 + 4 as above)
  • Round 3:
    • longbow: 25 (rolled 19 + 6 as above), damage: 10 (rolled 6 + 4 as above)
    • longbow: 16 (rolled 10 + 6 as above), damage: 6 (rolled 2 + 4 as above)
    • longbow: 21 critical! (rolled 20 + 1 as above), damage: 20 (max 8 + rolled 3 + rolled 5 + 4 as above)

Got a few good rolls in here (and one more critical!), so I'm hopeful that along with Orensland, Sanjin, and the uber-snake we can take this sucker down. As soon as the goblin falls, Rynn would sprint over to his allies to heal them with the wand he carries.

Crosis

And this is why my guy was not trying to take Kagu on until we were all there to fight him. One more hit from the dark scimitar of doom, and he's a goner.

That being said, I am assuming that Kagu is almost down himself. Given texts that Eryx has given me, I believe I've been told that Kagu has turned towards the snake now? If that is the case, Orensland would pull in another sneak attack from behind.

If that is not the case, Orensland would likely hide again, then move out of reach of the swinging scimitar. In that regard, he would move away and off to the side, so that if Kagu decides to charge in the general direction Orensland used to be in he will not reach his target. Once Kagu is distracted by the snake or if he was already distracted by the snake, Orensland would flank him again to do another sneak attack.

I'm guessing this would be his last hit, as that would either kill Kagu or cause Kagu to swing viciously in Orensland's direction again, presumably dealing a fatal blow. As a precaution against the second possibility, Orensland would attack, retreat/hide away and to the side regardless of the outcome, then try again.

That's two possible hide and silent move checks, so here they are:

*Hide: 35 = rolled 13 + 22
*Move Silent: 23 = rolled 1 + 22 (stink! Must be from getting hit in the face with a scimitar…)
*Hide: 41 = rolled 19 + 22
*Move Silent: 40 = rolled 18 + 22

I was also informed that I could use my un-used rolls from last round, as Orensland only got one strike in. So, in repeat, his first two rolls for this round are the following (with the sneak attack bonus added):

  • To hit: 21 = 14 + 7
    • Damage: 30 = 7 + 5 + 18 (sneak attack 4, 6, 4, 4)
  • To hit: 21 = 14 + 7
    • Damage: 13 = 8 + 5

(If a sneak attack is possible, add 14 to that damage to make 27. I rolled 1, 4, 5, 4)

The new one I just rolled:

  • To hit: 13 = rolled 6 + 7
    • Damage: 9 = rolled 4 + 5

(If a sneak attack is possible, add 16 to that damage to make 25. I rolled 4, 6, 4, 2)

My sneak attack rolls were full of 4's. Must be Orensland's lucky number.

And if the situation calls for any crossbow shots (such as if Kagu starts charging elsewhere) I'll just repeat my unused rolls from above:

  • To hit: 29 = 20 + 9 (crit!)
    • Damage: 6 = 5 + 1
  • To hit: 16 = 7 + 9
    • Damage: 3 = 2 + 1
  • To hit: 18 = 9 + 9
    • Damage: 7 = 6 + 1

Let's bring him down, boys!

DeltaWolf

Sanjin
If (when) there is a clear shot he will use Acid Arrow. Then rest.

  • Acid Arrow (Duration 3 rounds)
    • To Hit: 13 (11+ 2Dex)
    • Damage 1: 6
    • Damage 2: 6
    • Damage 3: 4

Nagi

  • Round 1: Grapple
    • To Hit: 37 (14+23 Mod)
  • Round 2: Constrict
    • Damage: 14 (4+10)
  • Round 3: Constrict
    • Damage: 17 (7+10)

Thev

Well, all I can do is enough! To stabilize Khaska, at least. 176 = 74 + 80 + 22.

Orensland decided that perhaps attacking from a distance was a better idea than being so close to the dark scimitar of doom, but he took one more swipe at Kagu, connecting well to a gap in his armor and burying the sword all the way in before withdrawing it and moving away, trying to hide in the darkness of the night. Kagu followed as two arrows sprouted from his back, shots from Rynn that found their mark. Kagu continued to pursue Orensland, despite the shadowdancer’s attempts to blend into the night, but the goblin warlord left a copious trail of blood from his many wounds. Sanjin was in the middle of casting a spell when Kagu caught up to Orensland. The goblin landed a blow that grated across Orensland’s chest. The shadowdancer felt the blade bite into his flesh and felt a sickening darkness come over him … then all went black.

Sanjin was panicking. Despite several blows from a rogue, his leg being savaged by the snake, and multiple arrows sticking out of him, this guy just wasn’t going down! Kagu turned towards him as Orensland collapsed on the ground and the wizard almost froze up. He was severely injured; surely a single blow from this goblin would kill him stone dead. But years of combat training took over and Sanjin finished his spell, a casting of Acid Arrow. A glowing green arrow appeared in front of him and sped towards Kagu. The wizard sent a prayer to Boccob as it flew across the distance between them … and then it struck Kagu. The green glow disappated and spread around him, and in a moment the smell of burning flesh and leather reached Sanjin’s nose as Kagu collapsed in a heap on the ground.

They had won.

Rynn exploded out of the woods, wand of Cure Light Wounds at the ready, rushing to his fallen comrades. Sanjin moved over to help stabilize Orensland as the snake began to sweep around them. Rynn was able to get them all on their feet with the magic … luckily none of them had died from their injuries.

When Khaska arose from the healing, he looked around, panicking.

“Whoa, whoa, it’s okay,” said Rynn. “We got him. Just by the skin of our teeth, but we got him. Kagu’s dead.”

The Maha’i looked over to where Kagu’s body had fallen to the ground, still smoking from the effects of the Acid Arrow spell. Blood pooled around him, and he could see the outlines of three arrows sticking out of Kagu’s back.

Then his eyes swept to the ground by the fallen goblin warlord, where the inky black scimitar lay.

Eryx (DM)
Congratulations! Kagu is slain, and not a moment too soon. Turns out when you all focus fire … you all hit like a truck, too!

With BlackWolf's permission, I took the liberty of rolling some castings of the Wand of Cure Light Wounds to get everybody up and running. With seven castings down, here is your HP situation:

Khaska: 1/17.

Rynn: 6/6.

Ranna: 29/29.

Orensland: 3/52.

Jenika: 8/34.

Sanjin: 5/23.

Now what do you all want to do?

Crosis
Ding Dong, the witch is dead…

Well, that was fun. But I am assuming everyone needs to rest up a bit. Orensland would (weakly) propose that they head back to Twilight with Kagu's head in tow, both as evidence to calm people's fears and, of course, for the possibility of a bounty. "Just like old times, right guys?" We're still in goblin territory, and as such will need to be careful given our HP status.

Orensland would probably also be curious about the scimitar and ask Khaska about it, like what kind of magical properties it might possess. He would also like to catch up with the others on their travels, including some deeper details about Amara, getting to know Sanjin and asking about what they plan to do in the future. With his father out of the picture, he feels good about traveling with the group again.

BlackWolf
Rynn thinks we should heal up, carefully take the sword, and then get out of here. No need to risk any further encounters by lingering around. I'm hoping that with Kagu dead and the sword gone, the goblins will break up into their own tribes. Here's a knowledge check — what would Rynn know about what the goblins are likely to do now?

  • Knowlege (local): 6 (rolled 3 + 3 bonus)

Not a great roll there… so all the more reason to get outta Dodge before anything bad happens. I'm thinking we head toward Twilight and find a place to camp out. Last time we tried to enter the city by night the guards were none too happy about it. Then by daylight we can return to the town and let people know what happened. And maybe sell off our loot!

Metagaming, I'm hoping that Khaska will level and be able to cast restoration to cure us from our CON damage.

Our wand of cure light wounds only has 17 charges remaining, so let me know how much we want to use it to heal. If Khaska can do some healing, we might not need to use the wand. Also, we should start thinking about getting a new group healing wand.

Rynn would really rather not be the one who goes into detail about Amara — the subject still makes him upset. Nevertheless, he'll answer any of Orensland's questions and maybe inject some of his own detail. But mostly he'll let Khaska and Jenika fill the rogue in.

Eryx (DM)
Your roll doesn't give Rynn much information. He speculates, however, that Kagu's lieutenants could very well have been other tribal leaders. With two of them dead by the party's hands, one dead by Kagu's (just after he arrived), and several more having fled the scene, you suspect that the local goblin hierarchy is going to devolve into chaos and anarchy until new leaders can assert themselves. It might take a few days for that to get into full swing, however.

You also mentioned selling your loot. I was unclear on whether that was just the items from the dungeon crawl, or if you also wanted to do some looting at this battle site. If so, roll some search checks.

DeltaWolf
That Python Rod was far better then I expected, sweet!

What does Sanjin want to do? He wants to go to town and sleep! He wanted to sneak away from here when Orensland let them out, but nooo they all had to fight a crazed-probably cursed-wack’a’doo and nearly all get killed! Don’t get me wrong, he is appreciative of their help and all, but clearly they need to get their priorities straightened.

BlackWolf
Haha, that’s awesome perspective from Sanjin. “Sorry,” will be the ranger’s lame reply… though you’d probably suspect he isn’t too sorry about it. Rynn would explain later that recovering the sword was really the reason they came to Twilight, but won’t go into too much detail — that’s something Khaska should do as we get to know the wizard better. Plus stopping Kagu will hopefully improve the situation in the area.

As I posted above, Rynn doesn’t want to linger around here. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take a quick look around to see if there is some good loot. Especially once we’re healed up and ready to go. :)

  • Search check: 11 (rolled 7 + 4 bonus)

Apparently he’s not looking too hard. Heh. But if there are any usable arrows to recover, he’ll also grab some of them. He’s down to 18/60.

As for Tawru’s sword, Thev had previously suggested that if we managed to recover it that we should be careful in how we handle it. I very much agree; I think he suggested we wrap it up or some such. We’d best be careful of it since it apparently has had a significant affect on Kagu.

Thev
Khaska is very relieved to have not died, and is no mood to die; thus, he will suggest that the party lie low and try to work its way back to Twilight as covertly as possible. He will also willingly expend the remainder of his spells for the day to heal the party as thoroughly as possible, focusing on those with the least HP first. He will also help in the looting of the goblin bodies (Search: 7 = 3 + 4), though he will pray over them. He will admit that they should leave the bodies as the reported wraith would have left them, trying to erase all traces of their being there.

He will also take charge of Kagu's sword, finding something in which to wrap it and never touching it directly. If possible, he would suggest, it might be advisable to return to the mines and retrieve some of the powder used around Treewind's tomb to cover the sword's wrappings and thus prevent any "leakage" of evil. If that is impossible, he will do what he can to limit his and the party's contact and proximity to it.

He also advocates bringing Kagu's head back to Twilight, though he would suggest that any reward offered be collected anonymously; being identified as a group might might it impossible to return to Twilight's environs without targeted goblin hostilities. If he does level up, he will most definitely cast restoration on the affected party members. Having 6 and 17 HP isn't fun.

Requested Knowledge (religion) check: 16 = 6 + 10

“Well, just like old times, right guys?” said Orensland. However, as he said it he winced and touched his head gingerly.

“If this is what your ‘old times’ were like,” said Sanjin, “it’s a wonder you’ve all survived this long.” He did glance at Rynn, who was still holding the wand of Cure Light Wounds. “Thanks for the healing, though.”

Rynn nodded. “Thanks for your assistance, Sanjin. Your snake was invaluable and your spell was what finally killed Kagu.”

Sanjin nodded. “Nagini is very useful in such situations.” He snapped his fingers, and the snake slithered towards him, moving with a wet rustle across the grass. As Nagini got closer, however, Sanjin held his hand over the snake, who turned rigid and then morphed back into a Rod of the Python. The elf picked it up and stuck it in the ground, standing with his weight resting against it.

“Whoa!” exclaimed Orensland. “That’s amazing!”

“The snake isn’t your familiar?” asked Jenika.

“No, this is my familiar.” The wizard held his arm out and a large black bat swooped in from above, grasping onto the elf’s sleeve and hanging there. “This is Demandred.”

“So what do we do now?” asked Jenika.

“Well, I think we should do what I originally wanted to do,” Sanjin said. “I wanted to sneak away from here when Orensland let us out, but nooo, you all wanted to fight a crazed-probably cursed-wack’a’doo and nearly all get killed! Clearly you all need to get your priorities straightened out! I say we head to Twilight!”

“Sorry,” came Rynn’s reply. The ranger felt a little lame just saying it, but that was all he had to offer. “Let’s heal up,” he suggested. “I think we should get far away from this campsite. Other goblins might use it. I could use the wand, but maybe Khaska could help. Khaska?”

The others turned to see Khaska, who hadn’t spoken since he first got up. The Maha’i was hesitantly approaching where Kagu had fallen, oblivious to the conversation among his allies. There, lying in the dirt, stained by blood and ichor, almost as black as the night itself, was the scimitar.

Part of Khaska had wanted to jump up the moment after he was awakened, however weak he was, and retrieve the sword from Kagu's now-crumpled body. He withheld, though, out of a sense of solemnity, the desire to ensure his friends'—and his own—safety, and not a small amount of trepidation. Instead, he went back to his friend and began to heal them. However, he kept looking over at the black blade sitting on the bloodied dirt between healing spells. The others seemed to notice his reluctance, but none walked over to investigate. They seemed to acquiesce to Khaska's judgment; all except Sanjin, who seemed puzzled by the party's hesitation.

After his spell casting, though, Khaska walked over to the fallen goblin chieftain. A host of thoughts raced through Khaska's head though his face remained impassive.

Yes, I almost died, but it almost seems too easy to have discovered and recovered Tawru's Sword so soon. In the old stories, the heroes would face fearsome monsters halfway around the world to accomplish their quests. But I am halfway around the world, and I have faced monsters; maybe I am in an old story, after all…

He knelt down and reached out, remembering that the sword was cursed somehow. It would be better to take no chances with touching such an object, especially considering how it had influenced Kagu. Kagu was an unworthy bearer of the sword. He was weak and malleable. Khaska rose and found a cloak and a blanket discarded by fleeing goblins and, making sure that they were without holes, laid one down on the ground. You could be weak and malleable, too, said a part of his mind. Wrapping his hands in the other cloak, he leaned over the sword again and hefted it. Looking closely, he recognized archaic Maha'i engravings on its blackened, gleaming surface. It was Tawru's sword. He felt a shiver in his spine and a sinking in his stomach. He did not know which, but it could have been the realization that he was already deep in a story. It carried with it, though, a glimmer of the feeling he had received when stabbed by the specter and the sword.

Suddenly self-aware and uncomfortable, he quickly but carefully enveloped the sword in the first cloak and then wound the blanket around it. With a nearby cord he tied the bundle securely shut. Standing up, he turned around to face his companions.

“It is the Sword of Tawru. We have found it.” He paused. “And now we must keep it safe.”

“Then I think we should leave now,” said Rynn. “I don’t much like the idea of it falling into other’s hands, and others might be back here tonight.”

“After we loot the bodies!” said Orensland.

Jenika snorted at that, and Orensland grinned at her, head cocked to the side.

“I can cast Detect Magic to see if there is anything magic around,” said Sanjin. “We might get something out of this fight after all.”


Rynn and Ranna led the way, trying to avoid clear goblin paths and find a place to rest for the night. Even with Khaska’s healing, they were not quite back to full strength yet.

“Now that Kagu is dead,” said Jenika, “what will happen to the goblins in this area?”

“I think the other goblins we fought were his lieutenants,” the ranger said. “I mean, different goblins from different areas handle things differently, but they might have been tribal leaders of other, more minor tribes. If we killed Kagu, and at least two of his lieutenants, and he killed one …”

“That’s a power vacuum,” interrupted Sanjin. “I bet they devolve into chaos for a long while until new leaders can assert themselves and come out on top.”

“That seems logical,” said Khaska. “But it will take some time before word of Kagu’s death spreads to all the goblin tribes and clans in the area.”

“We should assume that they will continue to act as if under his influence for the time being,” said Rynn.

“Fantastic,” grumbled Orensland.

Rynn found a copse of closely-growing trees that seemed a good enough place to stop for the night, after about an hour of walking. Sanjin ordered Demandred to keep watch, the bat the least needy of sleep, and the party collapsed and fell asleep.

Eryx (DM)
That will end this chapter.

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