The satyr's eyes brighten with excitement seeing Random holding the key that contains the possession he so prizes. He accepts the gift greedily and turns it over in his hirsute hands, fawning over it. Hearing Random's request he gazes at the bard and dwarf mischievously.
Stroking his beard, he says, "Why, of course, that's fair isn't it? You've done something for me, now I will do something for you. I can direct you to a clear patch of land, and to the staircase." The smile on his face is wicked ... or is he being helpful? It's tough to tell with satyrs.
He points to the two tallest trees a short distance away. "Walk between those pine trees, and you'll find a worn path. Stay on that path and do not stray off it. To stray is to die. Follow it for a quarter-mile, and you'll see the top of the staircase." He laughs strangely, for reasons unknown, and bounds away, like a gazelle. In a matter of seconds he's lost amongst the surrounding trees.
<Zagnar>: "I guess we do what he says, follow the path and hope he is telling us the truth. It's not like we have a choice." I lead the way as directed by the satyr and keep a steady pace, so as not to linger around here very long.
Last Edit: Sept 20, 2016 9:17:44 GMT -5 by colbite
Post by marionarsis on Sept 20, 2016 17:21:55 GMT -5
Random looks around at the surrounding area. He's not convinced the satyr is telling the truth. If he sees no other paths leading into the trees, then he'll follow the suggestion of the satyr, but not before he unsheathes his sword and keeps it ready, with a spell on his lips.
Seeing no other paths or obvious routes to take to get back to the staircase, the trio heeds the satyr's advice, and heads for the two tall pine trees. There, they do see a path... of sorts. A narrow trail, no more than a couple of feet in width, marked-off by rocks, winds deeper into the blanket of trees covering this part of the mountain.
You walk for the prescribed quarter-mile when you do see, thirty yards to your right, the top of the staircase. The path, however, continues to the left, disappearing among the trees farther down the slope.
Post by marionarsis on Sept 21, 2016 15:44:38 GMT -5
Random looked at Rochin, then at the stairway that was tantalizingly close, then at the path that wandered around. "The roguish bard in me wants to dash off in a full-sprint for the staircase, however...
...I do think this is Darksmoke's last-ditch effort to kill us. If we follow the trail and stay on the path and it turns out to not take us to the stairs, the only thing we've lost is time. If we leave the path and head for the stairs, and it isn't the right choice, and the satyr is correct, we lose our lives."
He pointed to the path that seemingly took them away from the stairs. "So, this is the only sensible thing to do. Follow the path. If we're right, great. If not, we've only lost a little time."
The bard continues marching down the path, following it wherever it may lead.
<Zagnar>: "Okay, they path it is." Heads down the path with Rochin and Random, walking and talking. "Say, I have a question Random? Both Winip and Khloemar had 'Born Again' spells cast on them. Does that mean they are not dead forever?"
Last Edit: Sept 21, 2016 22:12:58 GMT -5 by colbite
The group decides to stay on the path, following the trail until it becomes lost in a thick of trees. There, the route is tougher to see and follow--leafy branches are brushed aside and weeds overrun the trail--but the group manages stays on the path, walking for another hundred yards before the route swerves, and heads in a straight line to the side of the staircase, about fifty feet from the top.
Only twenty yards separate the group from the end of the journey, but straight ahead, wedged between two branches is a huge hornet's nest overhanging the path. Hundreds of the little horrors swarm around and begin to fly toward the trio. To the party's left, about fifteen feet away is a clear blue pool of water.
<Zagnar>: "Yikes! We need some kind of fire to keep those evil flying buggers at bay!" Gulp! Looks at water, looks at hornet's, then at Random, who probably isn't looking at me. "Not good! Not good at all! I hate taking a bath as much as I hate fighting hornet's! Dwarves in armor swim like rocks."
Follows Random's lead, since he was leading us down the path, which makes him first.
Last Edit: Sept 22, 2016 10:49:49 GMT -5 by colbite
Post by marionarsis on Sept 22, 2016 16:28:13 GMT -5
Walking down the path, Zagnar posed an interesting question, to which Random expressed genuine surprise. "Really? That's a high level spell, the domain of arch-wizards. I don't know much about it, but I'd be surprised if they had it cast on them, it costs a lifetime of savings and more. Usually, kings, queens, the rich and powerful have that cast on them. Anyway, if they did, the wizard that cast it should be told so he could resurrect them... I guess, if that's how it works."
Later, the hornets came flying toward the group. "We can't leave the trail, stay on the path Rochin and Zagnar." The bard wondered what to do. He only had a sword. That would be of little use against the swarm. What would his mentors, Horatio Windpipes and Melvyn Melodies do? Of course, sing!
And so this is what Random did, he sang. Sang for all he was worth. Sang to the trees and to the breeze, and to the pool of water. Sing, he did. Sing, sing sing.
Random sings and the hornets come, stingers dripping with venom. But as the party raises their arms or weapons to defend themselves or ward-off the little terrors, they simply vanish, and are seen no more. Vanishing, too, is the pool of water and the nest in the tree up ahead. His attempt to move the party off the path and to their doom having failed, Darksmoke bothers them no more.
Walking to the staircase, you climb over the rail and make the long, tiring descent to the bottom. There, Random signals the coachman, Broadaxe, with the green-baubled necklace, and within a few minutes you hear your conveyance bumping and grinding along the path, coming to a rickety stop in front of you.
Broadaxe says something you may find surprising. "You weren't gone that long, maybe ten hours. Fast trip." He has some provisions of food and water for you to eat on your return journey. You discover you're famished and begin to eat as Broadaxe takes you back through the Swirling Forest without incident, and eventually, you come to the Nameless Village, and the end of your journey.
Hired sword Rochin del Graz is the first to dismount. With a slight bow, he says, "It was my pleasure, gentlemen. I thank you for your prompt payment. Should you ever find yourselves back here, look me up. I'll buy you ... more of those 'good luck' charms." He smiles and walks off.
* * * * *
This concludes this chapter, and for the most part, the game. An Epilogue will follow tomorrow, finding you back at your employer's residence to collect payment--it will be one post only. I'm not going to roleplay the group selling any items to the merchants (do know, the merchants need to make a profit off anything you wish to sell them, so at best you'll get roughly half its value), but if there's anything you wish to sell simply list it here, and I'll tell you what you get for it.
For successfully completing this chapter, Zagnar and Random receive 400 adventure points. For responding to every GM post, each gets an additional 300 points, for a total of 700 APs. We'll wrap up the game tomorrow.
<Zagnar>: Sits back and enjoys the ride and the food. Waves a goodbye to Rochin when he departs and offers him good luck.
Looks at Random.
"That song was the bomb! You are the hornet whisperer. I guess its just you and me Random. I certainly never even expected to survive this adventure. I thought I might do something dumb and get myself killed. I guess I fooled everyone, when your dumb you gotta be tough, but I do miss our friends we lost along the way (Malutassial, Runkild, Winip and my BFF Khloemar). No I'm not getting all teary-eyed, its allergies!" Sniffles a few times.
"We still have the treasure to split and or sell off. Not to mention that long ship ride home."
Last Edit: Sept 23, 2016 10:01:44 GMT -5 by colbite
Post by marionarsis on Sept 23, 2016 13:56:20 GMT -5
Random braced himself for the hornets' stings, but when nothing happened and they disappeared, relief. His relief increased exponentially when Broadaxe arrived after the summons.
Heading back to the Nameless Village, he couldn't believe it. He'd survived the excursion into Darksmoke's death halls, and had the vase--the object of their quest--in tow.
His parting words to Rochin were: "Good show, Mr. del Graz. I know I gave you the business at times, but just think of it as a small bard's way of relieving stress." He watched the mercenary walk away, not entirely sure the sword-for-hire wasn't what he'd thought all along.
Turning to his cohort, the other survivor. "Well, Zagnar, we did it. I'm going to sell this scabbard--it's a death trap and a lifesaver at the same time, and I pushed my luck with it enough. I'm also selling this green-baubled necklace. No use for it now."
And this Random went off to do. Walking toward the merchants' stalls, he glanced down at his feet. My gosh! His sandals were a mess, his toes caked in dirt, mud, and filth. He would have to buy some boots. He had a few coins to his name now, and could afford something a little more fancy. Maybe some dragonhide boots. Hmm.
<Zagnar>: "We still need to split up the magic items I have and the gold. I'll stay with you Random, I wouldn't want you to get robbed."
<OOC:> Items to sell off or split (I will mention all of them to Random):
1 Boomerang (2d6 in hand-to-hand; 4d6 if thrown. STR-4; DEX-22)
Equipment: -- Leather Armour (6 hits, x2 for Warrior = 12 hits) -- Ruby Necklace, worth approx. 150 gold pieces. --Fire Opal=100 gold pieces --The Eye of the Savant (see in the dark, notice secret doors, as well as see invisible creatures and through illusions); --Blood Spoon: Restores CON, if dipped into the blood of a vanquished foe and consumed --Mask of ESP: can be used twice per day. Treat as the spell, ESP. --Good Luck Charm (weight 5)
Last Edit: Sept 24, 2016 9:40:30 GMT -5 by colbite
Random, you receive 100 gold for the jewelled scabbard and 50 gold for the necklace. You find some nice, sturdy boots--dragonhide, or is it faux dragonhide? --in any event, it's the best this tiny village can do. You buy them for 20 gold.
Zagnar receives: --Boomerang = 15 gold --Damaged, worn leather armor, dwarf-sized. Maybe they can patch it up and re-sell it, maybe they can't. Anyway, they only give you 10 gold pieces for it. --Ruby Necklace = 75 gold pieces --Fire Opal = 50 gold pieces --The Eye of the Savant = 120 gold pieces --Blood Spoon: It takes some explaining to get them to understand what this grisly magical device does. Their in-house mage tests it out, giving you 30 gold pieces for it. --Mask of ESP = 40 gold pieces --Good Luck Charm = this was bought in the Nameless Village itself. Every merchant here knows this item is useless junk. They make no offer for it.