Seanzilla

(B) Episode Two: One Ring To Rule Nothing At All

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When Aramachus revealed that the man would be alright the girl stopped weeping and looked at the Kalashtar with wide eyes. She sniffed a couple more times. "T-they were bandits f-from the S-Silver Keep." She hanged her head dejectedly and remained quiet.

[Current status: 2 successes]

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"Well, that Arcana check wasn't useful at all. How else can a Wizard make himself useful? Uh, the house is on fire. Anyone? No? Should have packed an Ice or Water spell… I'm just gonna go gather herbs then. Don't mind me…"

 

Unheeded by the rest, Bachydios slinked off to forage for some herbs to make curatives with. He returned a mere quarter of a chime later with a clump of greens and flora.

 

Roll(1d20)+9:

6,+9

Total:15 (Success)

 

"Hey, look what I've found! Some Faerie Mimosa! These are good for easing fevers. And uh, ah! Gnomebutt! It stinks, but it's supposed to be useful for curing the KO status! Just gotta wave it around his nose."

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Oh yay. Bandits. Like our quest. I could have guessed as much; it's not like the game would give us something irrelevant, right, if it can't bother letting us actually take the time to smell the roses in this dull-ass place? Why can't she just tell us something more useful? Dayereth whined mentally. Still, after his horrible failure to help 'lia with spotting any clues--and Col's better attempt at it--he was eager to redeem himself.

 

"Here, I'll handle this," he suggested, smiling at his teammate before he turned to the sniffly girl. Sniffles. He hated them. They were noisy and gross; at least if she blew her nose, it would be over in a second. Now, it was just a long, extended torture; that was how people could probably try to interrogate him. Stick him in a room of germy, sniffly brats. He wouldn't last ten minutes.

 

His expression became very serious as he stared her down, trying to impart his solemnity upon her. "Hey, girl. The old guy's been stabilized by the man-mountain over there, but unless you give us more information on what happened and where the bad guys went, I don't know what might happen. I mean, if the bandits or whatever had poisoned weapons, fixing a few scratches and bruises isn't gonna do him any good, yeah? So why don't you just tell us everything you saw from the beginning with all the details so we can make sure he's really okay? 'less, of course, you don't care if he dies."

 

Bluff Check:

Roll(1d20)+10:
15,+10
Total:25

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Korrelia decided to step back from the emotional situation, and also allow Dayereth a chance to work his strategy. She was rather against lying, herself, especially when it was to scare the girl even more, but a conflict now would most likely destroy their previous successes. She focused instead on the second thing she did best, which was to find out what happened through examining the tracks the bandits of the Silver Keep left behind. It seemed obvious they came and set fire to the place, but why? If she could find out what kind of object they might have taken away with them, it would offer a great clue.

 

She knelt down on the dry ground, trying to ignore the smoke flitting into her nose, and took out her Inquisitive's Kit. Col was right by her side. "Thanks for the assistance," she told her. "Now would you mind examining that part of the ground with the magnifying glass? I'm going to find some damp soil where the bandits may have left footprints."

 

[Perception check: 1d20 + 14

Roll result: 20]

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Aramachus stood up to inspect the Gnomebutt. "That's a nice 'butt you've got there, Bachydios." He concluded, checking it out openly and nodding, "I should be able to apply this with my Heal skill to help our poor farmer recover."

 

It was quite fortunate somebody was adept at finding such herbs. While Aramachus had the Healing knowledge to use them, he lacked the ability to easily find them. It was not his main job after all, though he had considered a Cleric role in past. Nevertheless, there was certainly no rerolling now, so he was playing his Paladin class as best he could. His Heal training was a nice bonus that let him still fulfill that desire to help people.

Aramachus took a handful of Bachydios' Gnomebutt and knelt down next to the unconscious man, waving it about his nose and squeezing it carefully to coax out the awakening odour.

[Heal: 1D20+9 => 24]

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Dayereth successfully calmed down the 8 year old girl and while the combined efforts of Aramachus and Bachydios heal the wounded man. Korrelia manages to find several sets of footprints leading in the same direction with the help of Col.

[Everyone receives 125 EXP.]

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The rest of the group gathered around as Aramachus and the little girl helped the old man into a comfortable resting position, his head resting on her lap. To Bachydios' relief, a little blip faded in at a corner of his UI with the message "Quest completed. 125 EXP gained."

 

Hopefully things will start looking up now. 

 

The old man's eyelids flickered and, with some effort, he kept his eyes open. Bachydios took it as a cue to begin questioning.

 

"How many of them there were?"

 

Aramachus chimed in, "Did they take anything valuable from you? We're on a quest to retrieve others' stolen valuables, we could keep an eye out on anything of yours."

 

"There were five of them shitty cowards! No, we don't have much of value. Those bastards stabbed me when they noticed that and left!"

 

What coarse language this game uses.

 

"How long has it been since they left?"

 

Generic Village Girl answered, "T-They left 5 or 10 minutes before you arrived…"

 

Hm, we were here for…" He checked the in-game clock on his UI. Half a chime.

 

"Hey! They can't have gotten far from here! We can still catch up to them if we hurry. Korrelia, you have a Travelers' Song or something?"

 

[Vote to chase after the bandits. 2 more votes required.]

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No valuables? Pity. Well, at least we don't have to worry about the house, Dayereth thought, glancing at the still-burning structure. He wasn't sure if everyone else had forgotten about it, or whether it was just unimportant, but ignoring it was no skin off his nose. Besides, the program would probably just reset it for the next group of adventurers who passed by, and since they'd gotten what they needed, there wasn't a need to do anything extra, right? Especially since the old man didn't seem to be capable of rewarding them.

 

"As long as these are the same bandits we're after, I guess we should chase them?" Dayereth spoke up. "Though I think we should let them lead us back all the way to their hideout instead of attacking them on the road. That way, we can clear out the rat's nest completely instead of leaving them scurrying around causing more trouble. 'less, of course, the game doesn't let us do that."

 

And given how busy they've been, they must have a nice stash of treasure.

 

Vote to pursue

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"Though I'd like to stay and maybe investigate around a little more, I guess the best option would be to not waste time and catch up to the bandits," Col thought voiced. She wondered if there could be anything of any kind of use in the burned down wreck seeing as this is a video game and all. Traditionally, small rewards went to players who took the time to look around even if it seemed pointless but with how hurried the situation was she figured it wouldn't be all that valuable.

 

Vote to pursue.

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The group quickly sped after the retreating bandits, following the tracks Korrelia had managed to uncover. After travelling for little more than an hour the group managed to catch up to the bandits a mere ten minute walk away from the Silver Keep.

The bandits took note of the approaching party members, their hurried footsteps audible from far away. Once the party got into the their range the bandits spread out and prepared for combat.

“Let’s get ‘em, boys!â€

[initiative Order Col (26) > Knifethrower (22) > Lackey (21) > Bachydios (19) > Guard (16) > Korrelia (13) > Aramachus (9) > Dayereth (7)
Extra Rule to speed stuff up: Even if it isn’t your turn, as long as there are no enemy turns between you and the person who currently has to act you are free to take your turn.
Map: Here]

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Col wasted no time drawing her Greatbow and positioning herself so one of the guards were in her sights. As she loaded an arrow she silently sighed a relief that she could use her weapons unlike the tavern (though it was only obvious). She carefully steadied her aim before releasing the arrow; shwing! It hard the guy hard!

 

Roll(1d20)+8 = 13+8 Total:21 (hit), (1d12)+2 = 8+2 Total:9, (1d6) = 6 Total:6

Total damage: 15

 

"I can probably take him out with another!"

 

Roll (1d20)+8 = 18+8 Total:26 (hit), (1d12)+2 = 1+2 Total: 3
Total damage: 3

 

With high hopes, she tried for another shot which hit but he remained standing.

 

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The Lackey decided that it may not be in its best interest to charge ahead without help from the Guards and decided to stick close while the two Knifethrowers tossed their weapons at Col and Aramachus, but both missed.

[Rolled an 11 and 17.]

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"NOW YOU MAGGOTS ARE IN DEEEEEP TROUBLE! I'M ON! I'M GONNA MELT YOUR BRAINS!!!!"
 
The hitherto placid Tiefling, having caught the scent of blood, found himself overcome by a bloodlust as ancient as his ancestry. He unveiled his Orb and focused his bloodrage and Arcana on the group of bandits. 
 
"HERE COMES THE PAIN!!!"
 
He poured excessively more Arcana into the area, enlarging the bounds of the spell. An inky blackness birthed in the middle of the group of bandits and spread outwards in the blink of an eye. Hundred of shadowy hands emerged from the miasma of psychic Arcana and clutched at them, inflicting pain whenever they touched.
 
Standard: Casting Grasping Shadows (Effect: Slow until EoNT)
Bloodied HG 18+4= 22
HG 18+3= 21
HG 17+3= 20
HK 14+3= 17
4 hits.
Damage:3+5= 8

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The Shadows created by the Wizard killed both the Lack and the Bloodied Guard and Bloodied the Knifethrower it managed to hit. The remaining guard walked forward, hoping to get in range to strike, but the Shadows prevented him from getting anywhere close.

 

[unable to get further due to the slow.]

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The faster allies had rushed into action. Col fired off a series of ranged shots from her greatbow, and Bachydios seemed to take on a new battling persona as he fired off shadow magic, cackling as if the shadows had also swallowed his soul. Well, she had heard of some usually placid gamers who started uttering vulgarities when in combat, so maybe this was one of them. He did give off a heavy geek vibe, being uncomfortable around ladies and everything.

 

Korrelia was not a fighter, but she immediately saw a chance to exert her usefulness. She ran up towards the knifethrower on the far left, gripping her own dagger tightly. In her other hand she wielded a harp, a weapon she was more accustomed to than the dagger, to be frank. She set down her harp and began playing a slow, sad tune, her fingers running through the strings like beads of water. When she had lulled the knifethrower into a false sense of comfort, her fingers flew to the furthest end of the harp. An inhuman sound unlike any note anyone had heard before rang out at the knifethrower. He swayed and staggered on his feet, startled by the Staggering Note. She also took the chance to throw her dagger at him, hoping to strike while he was dazed.

 

[staggering Note: 1d20 + 6

Roll result: 17

 

If hit: 5 damage

 

Move knifethrower diagonal down 2 squares]

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It was regrettable the farmhouse could not be saved, it seemed to have already burned quite thoroughly. Time would quench the flames, with almost nothing left to burn eventually. Still, with news that the bandits were still close by, there could be no time to waste before giving chase.

They happened upon the group soon, and Aramchus nodded approval as he watched his allies down a number of the bandits in the first round.

"Korellia, if you can push that straggler on the side inward towards the others, I can capture them all within the effects of my Divine Sanction!" he announced.

Once that was taken care of, Aramachus ran forward, as fast as his heavy armour would allow, and closed in on the bandit directly ahead of him. "I will smite thee, evildoers!" he cried out to all the bandits, raising his shield and swinging from the side with his longsword to deliver a Valorous Smite to the one in front of him.

 

Hit- 1d20+10: 19 [1d20=9]

Damage- 2d8+5: 16 [2d8=4, 7]

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Dayereth lagged behind his over-eager teammates, trying to assess the situation before him. They'd caught up to the bandits and were now engaging them in battle. Funfun. He just hoped he could stay out of the way and avoid getting smacked around by their enemies.

 

The clash of battle rang out everywhere, though ‘lia appeared to be trying to temper it with some music… or not, Dayereth thought, wincing as the tune suddenly became unharmonious and jarring.

 

He slipped under a nearby tree to get a good look at the enemy closest to him, flicking his wand to curse it. Then, concentrating on calling up the reserves of magic lurking within him, he jabbed the slim piece of wood, watching a ball of light form at its tip and arc toward its target.

 

Minor action: Warlock's Curse on HK

 

Eldritch Blast

Hit: 1d20 + 5 = 19 vs Reflex

Damage (if successful): 1d10 + 4 (+ 1 Curse) = 8

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After Col killed one of the Knifethrowers, the other made one last attempt to deal some damage to the party, but after missing he decided to commit suicide by jumped onto the Shadows. This way they couldn't interrogate or torture him!

 

[Party receives 170 gold and 150 XP. Vote to proceed to Silver Keep.]

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"WHAT IN THE WORLD IS WRONG WITH THIS GAME'S AI?" Bachydios shrieked as he watched the last Knifethrower throw himself into the pulsing field of psychic Arcana. He was still delirious from the high off his racial feat and had been eager to land the coup de grace. While he was in this state, watching the terrified mob fling himself into the abyss was like watching a projectile from a creep complete its slow, but agonizingly inevitable, arc towards a dying enemy hero in Defense of the Sacred 2. It was like seeing one's birthday cake slip from one's own hands and fall gracefully in dramatic slow-motion to become mush on expensive carpet flooring. It was like watching from a distance away one's crush, again in exaggerated slowness, lean in to kiss one's love's rival. The incredible helplessness.

 

If Bachydios had been playing with a controller right then, right then would be the time when he sent it on a journey of its own into the television monitor. As things happened, he had his orb, didn't he? He raised it up high, about to dash it against the ground and watch it explode in a contemptible explosion of pixels-

 

And then the Bloodhunt feature switched off and he regained his sanity. He glanced left and right in bewilderment, and then lowered the orb hastily, hoping that no one else saw him. He hurried forward to across the field to where the rest of the group were loosely scattered

 

"Boy, that was intense. Shall we take a short break to recharge ourselves (and our Encounter powers)? Meanwhile, we should also pick up the bandits' uniform for camouflag- Oh, they've disappeared."

 

[Vote to take a short rest, then continue to Silver Keep]

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With the battle music fading, indicating the fight was over, Aramachus sheathed his sword. He was of course used to battles by now. He was used to enemies fleeing or surrendering, but not committing suicide.

 

"We may as well indeed pause a moment before proceeding." he said, setting his heavy shield down and leaning on it. "If the bandits are resolute enough to commit suicide rather than risk being taken alive or to attempt to flee, they must be a rather serious group. One would not imagine such of a typical bandit group. We should proceed with caution."

 

[Vote to take a short rest, then continue to Silver Keep]

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Korrelia gulped. It was an uncomfortable sight, watching a bandit jump into the shadows in an act of desperation. Just what were these bandits made of? They reminded her of some kind of suicide terrorists.

 

"I do think I wouldn't mind a short rest," she said. "I'm feeling a little overwhelmed from what happened."

 

[take a short rest before continuing to Silver Keep]

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The group followed the map to the Silver Keep, but quickly found that they were facing some kind of cliff. Far below the cliff there was a forest, but there was no sight of any keep down there. Of course it didn’t take more than a second for them to notice that far to the east of the forest a large pillar rose to equal the height of the cliff they stood on.

On top of this pillar of earth were several buildings and even a large bridge connecting the pillar to the land they stood on. Another peek at their world map showed that that was the Silver Keep they were looking for.

The group approached the bridge and quickly noticed the two guards standing on the other side of the bridge. With no other options left they decided to cross it. All of a sudden one of the guards called out. “Halt! Who goes there?â€

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"Hello~~~" Dayereth exclaimed, skipping up to the very-obviously-guards. Which, in retrospect, was a really stupid thing to do if they were hostile, but seeing as they had decided to interrogate him instead of whipping out their swords, he took that as a good sign.

"We're a band of traveling entertainers!" he explained cheerfully, giving the two men bright smiles. Motioning to the group behind him, he introduced them to the suspicious guards. "Bachy's our magician and stage designer, 'lia's our musician, Col feeds us when we can't, and the muscle mountain is our guard. And of course, I'm the dancer~~~"

As if to provide explanation, Dayereth bowed and twirled on the spot, bobbing back up with a charming smile on his face. "Our business is done in this area, so we're just adventuring on. Would you mind terribly letting us pass?"

Bluff Check
Roll(1d20)+10:
16,+10
Total:26

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The guards looked at each other with a perplexed expression. "Alex!" One of them shouted. "There's some fellas here who wanna pass through the Keep."

A man wearing a robe and holding a quarterstaff saunted to the bridge while constantly mumbling. "Pass through the keep, eh? Now why would we let a bunch of strangers go through our house?"
 

[skill challenge: Convince the banditsto let you through. 6 successes before 2 failures, Alisyn had the first success.
Initiative: Everyone takes a turn, whenever they want, to engage the bandits in the discussion. After each player the bandit takes a turn.

Bandit does not take a turn after Aid Another's.]

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Aramachus wasn't much for deception and sneaking about; but given the bandits occupied a keep, it did seem a good idea to get inside before drawing steel. Dayereth had established a good start, and Aramachus could put on a friendly face and play along for now.

 

"Goodwill begets goodwill, my good man! If you allow us to pass through, you will have our gratitude. Thus, should we meet again in future, you will find us willing to repay the favour. It costs you no effort to let us pass, and you'll make yourself friends who may be of material benefit to you in future. It can only be seen as a good deal." he called out to the apparent leader of the place.

 

[Diplomacy: 1d20+12: 29 [1d20=17]]

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