The staircase winds for an unmerciful four-hundred feet, one-thousand steps, up the mountain. Laden with gear, the journey is pure torture. Legs burning, you must stop to rest several times; too, the trip isn't without its tense moments---the stairs become so steep in places that the need of using a rope enters your minds, but with some careful footwork, and some daring, you ascend the stairs and mountain without having to use anything from your backpacks.
The view over the rail offers little except intermittent flashes of bare, rocky mountainside peeking between branches and vegetation that's creeped up from the Swirling Forest far below. After nearly two hours of climbing along with periods of rest, you sense you're coming to the top of the mountain.
It's here the piping of a flute is heard from the other side of a rocky outcropping a short distance ahead. The position of the stairs and the outcropping of rocks is such that you can spy what's on the other side of the rocks without fear of being seen.
Each of you takes your turn at the front, spying ahead. Fifty feet away, you see a large tree standing next to two massive metal doors. The doors have a bluish tint to them and are shut, set flush against the mountain.
But it's what's sitting in the tree that gets your attention. This odd creature sits in the fork of two branches, playing this tune.
The wizards, Khloemar and Malutassial, have fully recovered their ST.
Zagnar, Khloemar, and Random step from behind the rocks near the top of the stairs and, in their own way, hail the flute-playing satyr.
He stops playing mid-note, and casts an accusatory eye at Random McBride. "You ruined my song," his accent is refined, dignified. "I didn't ask you to sing along." Even though he seems to scold the bard, he grins, his expression impish, mischevious...but on closer look, is it a demented grin of pure evil and malevolence? It's tough to say.
He blows into the flute. A loud, shrill note is produced. He looks winningly to his right. There's nothing there. He blows into the flute a second time, producing the same discordant note. He smiles, looking again to his right. There's nothing there.
He frowns, inspects the flute and then shakes it. Sighing, he says, "Nothing works the way it's supposed to anymore."
Looking over the group, he states, "A vital, selfless mission you say? Interesting, interesting, indeed. No one comes here unless their motives are entirely greedy and self-serving. Tell me about this mission of yours."
* * * * *
OOC: Yes, missile fire SRs are by the 5th edition rulebook, which is to say they'll be difficult. The PCs have the boon of their level number being added to the roll, which isn't in the 5th rules, so you're getting a break there. Had the dryad been standing only 6 yards away, that's still a L4SR on DEX. Knowing thus, plan and strategize accordingly ye who wish to use missiles, or better yet, this is T&T, do something outside the box and I'll consider lessening the SR.
Khloemar smiles and says as winningly as possible (CHR time), "We really don't have time. We are selfish very often, I am sure, but now we come to save a great and good lady. Step aside and we will give you a portion of any treasure we may find within as we seek what we need to bring succour to the lady. Our wish to aid her carries such an imperative that we must remove any who stand in our path. This we would do as lightly as may be done but do it we would and there are enough of us to make good our progress and our intent. Put simply, move aside and assist us in entering and you stand to gain, do otherwise and it may well be the worse for you."
Zagnar takes a look first at the doors, noting their massive size. They're double-doors, about twenty-five feet tall, forty-feet wide, set flush against the mountainside. Besides having a bluish tint to them, there's no visible means of opening them--no knob, handle, slot, nothing. Next, Zagnar takes a longer look at the satyr, noting nothing remarkable about him, other than him being a satyr.
Runkild requests the satyr's name and reason for him being here. At this, the satyr tilts his head, and says in his polished Common accent, "Picture this, my friend. You're standing outside your home, perhaps sweeping the walk by your front door, when a stranger comes up to you, interrupts your pleasant thoughts, and asks you your name, and your reason for being there." He smiles. Again, is it impish, wicked, angelic, demonic? It's tough to say. "Now you know how I feel right now."
Khloemar steps up, and makes his request. "Who's barring your way?" He holds his hands out. "I won't offer any resistance if you wish to open the doors. If you wish to go through the doors, have at it, my friend." He laughs. "Of course, you won't make much progress. As for the threat you imply, or rather state plainly, well, if I had one-hundred gold for every adventurer who came up here threatening me---wait, let me think, oh, I do have one-hundred gold for every adventurer that's come up here." He laughs so hard now he rocks back and forth in the fork of his tree, kicking his cloven hoofs in the air. "That's your entry fee, my friends, one hundred gold per head to enter Darksmoke's realm. Just put it in the bole of my tree here, and don't cheat me, I'll know how much you put in."
He starts to put the flute back to his lips, then stops and says, "Oh, and before you get any ideas about bringing violence upon me, know two things: one, you can't hurt me--I've been at this job a long time after I replaced some stupid gnome; and two, you'll win back your gold--your entry fee--in the mountain ahead, should you survive your experience, so think of it merely as a temporary loss, an investment, if you will." He laughs again and resumes playing his flute.
Post by marionarsis on Feb 4, 2016 11:53:41 GMT -5
Random choked back a laugh at the satyr's comment, "I do have one-hundred gold..." It was funny, even if it was to the group's detriment. Well, it was up to him, the self-annointed group spokesman, to pull this out. He stepped forward.
"Random McBride here, a simple bard who studied under Horatio---" no, he wouldn't mention this, it wasn't relevant...was it? No, not at all. He also didn't warm up his voice by practicing the scales. Instead, he told the simple truth as straight-forward, and simply as he could deliver, lacking verbosity and various and sundry excesses.
"I wish to explain our situation to you, its virtue, as you requested earlier. You see, Sir Satyr, there's a close friend of ours who's deathly ill. She's a super person, hip, cool, has crazy hair, dances funky, all of that. You would love her. I see her and you, and well...me, too, of course, as kindred spirits, lovers of wine, laughter, parties, song, skinny-dipping at midnight, and all the other fun things in life.
"The remedy to her disease is a concoction whose principle ingredient is a poison called mupriozin. Now, I'm a bard, not an alchemist, but we've been told this poison can only be found here, within Darksmoke's halls, inside the mountain there that sits behind you and your tree. Yes, his halls. I believe this story to be true. And that's why we've come. Well, most of us. You might see one rather large human in glowing armor behind those rocks where a couple of others are hiding. He's a mercenary. He's in the this for gold, but not your gold. Our gold.
"You see? That's the simple truth of the matter, Sir Satyr." He glances around, not knowing what to expect. "So, may we enter, uhm, free of charge? And if you would, could you tell us exactly where on the second level of this domicile we could find said mupriozin. That would help our adventure herein tremendously. Thank you."
The lack of verbosity is still a work in progress, Random thought.