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    Cave City Introductory Adventure

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    Cave City Introductory Adventure

    Post  Kieyotie McDermott on Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:57 pm

    This was an attempt at running an D&D Module in a forum based format.

    I am sharing it here in case there are others that would like to attempt this and see how it goes.

    Anyone that would like to restart this adventure, or continue where it was left off, please let us know!


    Last edited by Kieyotie McDermott on Mon Dec 05, 2016 6:08 pm; edited 1 time in total


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    Re: Cave City Introductory Adventure

    Post  Kieyotie McDermott on Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:59 pm

    The bar seemed busy tonight. A cacophony of dwarven cheer rattled the poorly hung decorations as the treasure hunters flaunted their new found wealth. Flickering candles and the loose bar door banging signaled a coming wind from the street. The weather at Cave-City had been getting increasingly worse over the past few weeks, but it hadn't deterred the influx of visitors and adventurers that had blown in to the near-by port before seeking their own fortunes in the legendary Underdark.

    Taking little notice of these fortune seekers, a young half-elf sat in the shadows close to the rear door studying an incredibly intricate map. Her eyes seemed almost to glow as they darted from place to place, only pausing to take healthy sips from her canteen, her eyes still fixed on the detailed illustration ahead of her as she drank.

    The light in the tavern was dim, but if one concentrated, they could make out that the young woman seemed to favor dark, belt-tightened clothing and a raised hood that almost absorbed light to block out all the detail from her face, apart from her eyes.
    Deep silver iris's shone like diamonds in a sea of darkness, never focused, but always watching.

    This nameless wanderer had been in town for two days now, and those who referenced her had given her several nicknames, including Shade, Eclipse, Silver, Widow, Lorn, Frost and Secret. However she cared little for these labels and the supernatural nature that accompanied them, instead her focus was locked on the map she held close to her chest, studying it with almost a feverish excitement but still yielding no answers.

    A final swig of the canteen signaled the need for another refill. Without hesitation, the young half-elf folded her prized possession up before sliding it back into a delicately artful box for protection.
    She then sat for a moment more, watching as the dwarves continued to enjoy their good fortune. Little by little, thoughts began to form in her young mind as she observed several of the other adventure-seekers introducing themselves to a single dwarf who didn't look to be having the fun of his fellows.

    For a few moments the conversations between them went back and forth, it seemed as though the dwarf was sad, or maybe angry about something. In her studies, she had been too deep in thought to hear his earlier announcement of wanted help, however enough chunks of conversation and raised voices made it clear to her that there was a job available, and it looked as though these littles could pay four times over.

    With renewed hope that a source of funding could be secured, the nameless wanderer took a deep steadying breath to calm her excitement before collecting her archery and survival equipment and heading to speak to the young dwarf. She had spent the last few days stocking up on various supplies around town, and trading items from the low-lands for better equipment.

    As she approached the forlorn dwarf, he finished his dealings with another of the patrons before turning to face her. He looked unsure of the woman, as if she were about to throw some kind of magic at him without a seconds notice.
    Instead, she coldly whispered, "What's the job?"






    OOC: Hope I did this right, am I supposed to be posting in 1st or 3rd person? Nameless Wanderer is Chaotic Neutral, can wield low-level shadow and frost magics and is highly skilled in the use of bows and short blades. Cannot wear anything above light armor without severe discomfort and massive loss to stealth ability. She seems nomadic in nature but also clearly has an end-goal. She also has an anxiety issue, if she remains in certain places for too long, she begins to panic and simply leaves the area without planning her route, sometimes leading to back-tracking or simply getting completely lost.



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    Re: Cave City Introductory Adventure

    Post  Kieyotie McDermott on Mon Dec 05, 2016 6:00 pm

    The Dwarf’s Tale

    {Everyone that sits to talk with the Young Dwarf get pretty much the same reaction.}

    The young Dwarf, Rockbiter, is dark typically short and stout. His hair and beard are glossy black and finely braided. As you talk with him you kinda wonder how he can with his moustache braided into his beard and sideburns. He wears damaged and stained studded leather and has a couple knives on him. His main weapons are a maul and a heavy pick leaned against the wall behind him with his shield. He has a few bits of jewelry about him and heavy gloves tucked into his belt. He still seems angry and upset with his companions, but is not being hostile to anyone. He offers a drink to anyone that sits down to hear his offer.

    When you sit down with the Dwarf he looks you over and frowns as if he has assessed your abilities and found you lacking. He sighs and sits a little straighter and asks, “Are you wanting to help me go retrieve me brother and friends, or are you lookin to get in after the treasures we left behind?”
    He doesn’t give you a chance to answer. Instead he shakes his head and grumbles, “Doesn’t matter. You all are after the same thing, but I need your help anyway.”
    He points to the map on the table that is held down with a plate and a couple of empty mugs. It’s a sketchy map, but better than nothing. He shows you Cave City and explains that they went out past the Keep at Guson. He plans to stay there to rest before returning to the caves. It’s about a 5 day ride to the keep and another day and a half to the caves where they had gone.
    He explains that there are other caves along the way and all kinds of strange things in the woods, but if you have a decent camp they night creatures will leave you be.
    The people at the keep are okay, but a bit rude. They seem to see adventurers as trouble makers that they might have to go out and rescue, or that might stir up the creatures hiding out and inspire them to attack the good people trying to live out here.
    He flips the map over and shows the caves. “We only went into a few of them. There seems to be an entire community of goblinoids creatures here and some of the cave systems interconnected.”
    The map is crude and simple, but gives you an idea of how massive the cave system is. He marked the caves they had cleared and noted some of the things they had found, mostly items taken on raids. He said they might have been reclaimed in the last week, but he wasn’t worried about it. He pointed to one set of caves that he said had been worked into some kind of extensive redoubt once you got past the initial caves. He described the creatures they had found and how they had started coming upon Undead- skeletons, zombies, life-draining apparitions and such. The treasures were better, but the creatures hurt them pretty bad. He showed where they had built the cairns for his brother and the others.
    He wanted to get in and get them out. He had used a great deal of his coins to buy a magical pouch that should allow him to bundle their bodies and carry them out without damaging them. He wanted to get his friends then would help clear the evil from the place before taking his kin home.
    He said that a few others were willing to help and that they would all meet up here in the morning. A couple of his friends from the previous expedition were wanting to go back for more treasure and held enough honor that they would help bring their friends home.
    He was offering to cover anyone’s bill at one of the dwarven shops- when they returned with him and pay an additional 500 gold to anyone that helped bring his friends back. He had wanted to pay some up front, but had already been robbed twice. He would settle up when they got back, but he would cover up to 500 gold worth of equipment needed to start. They would have to make the deal with the shop owner, but he would cover the costs when they got back. He explained that the Dwarven Shop Master had some sort of spell on his ‘Loan Book’ that all but forced someone to repay a contractual debt. So even if people took the gear, they would eventually come back to pay if they cheated the young dwarf looking for help.
    Anyone helping could also keep anything of value they found inside the caves except what was left on the bodies of the dead dwarves, of course.

    He tells you that if this is agreeable he will meet you in the morning and tells you where in town to find the shop where he has the credit.


    {OOC: 3rd person will probably be best, as this will probably be compiled later.
    This is a test run to see if we can do a turn based game this way.
    We will have some issues, and may have to actually play on FB once in awhile with all of us together in a group chat, but we'll give this a try.
    I only ask that as I know what's laying around the next corner, that I get to reserve the right to edit posts so no one gets too far ahead of the story. There will no doubt be traps, ambushes, immediate effects, and surprises.
    I am looking forward to trying to make this work.}

    *****

    As the dwarf begrudgingly gave the nameless wanderer the details, she remained silent, listening intensely. Her eyes seemed to widen slightly at the mention of the Keep at Guson, clearly a way-point on her longer journey, but besides that one reaction, there was little else that piqued her interest.

    Rockbiter soon finished his objectives and gave the meeting location and time. The wanderer clearly held little regard for the debt based shopping trip and had remained silent for the entire conversation until the end, at which point she simply took a final, long look at the maps before standing,
    "Now that I know of your goal, I will assist you in reclaiming the bodies of your fallen, I have no interest in trinkets or gems. Should we be successful in our mission however, I would prefer a fixed fee."
    She reached for her canteen before placing it tightly in one of the many belts that weaved across her dark clothing.
    "Goodnight."

    Moments later, and the bar door swung shut behind the wanderer as she headed into the late night darkness.

    The air was crisp tonight, and with an almost un-nerving silence. She preferred it this way, easier to stay hidden, and while Cave-City was a friendly enough place, the wanderer always kept her skills sharp when she could.

    Instead of heading straight for the next building over, she decided to do a quick recon of the settlement, dodging the late night revelers and homeless that dotted the place.
    Finally, once she was satisfied that she had been successful, her return to the hotel was swift and before long, the mysterious traveler had checked in to her room for the night.

    Morning came quickly, a little too quickly. The one the towns folk referred to as Shade was still tired as she splashed water on her face and began to prepare for the long journey ahead. It was good that she was on the move again, Cave-city was beginning to grate on her nerves.

    With a final check of her gear, Shade stepped out into the oddly bright sun-light. It hurt her eyes as she pulled her hood further over her face, and, after leaving the room-key with the owner, headed out to find Rockbiter.

    *****

    The next morning there was a group of about a dozen people standing around the front of the Misplaced Treant. You recognize the Tinker and see that he has a large and strange wagon that he is fussing with. His wagon is almost obscene in its gaudiness, yet the man working around it quickly fades from interest as you spot others you have seen from the bar the last few days. The Druidess is there on a solid- looking horse. Its bridle and riding gear all seem to be made of woven vines and its saddle blanket looks to be a large sheet of moss-sod. The Tiefling drives a small two-wheeled cart with the Minotaur sitting in the back, surrounded with packs. A few of the dwarves, including Rockbiter are readying their stout little war ponies. There are a couple elves, humans and others that seem to be ready to assist this young dwarf and explore the caves at his expense.
    Rockbiter figures that everyone brought their own mode of transportation, but if not there is space in one of the two wagons the dwarves are taking with them. Rockbiter explains that while he has the bag to get his brother and friends out of the caves, he wishes to give them a proper procession back home.
    (One of the other dwarves mutters something to your hearing about their needing the wagons to haul off the rest of the loot.)

    A marching order is formed and Rockbiter explains that if anyone has any questions, concerns or complaints to come talk with him. He looks over the crew and guesses that it will be about 5 days to Guson Keep where they can make their final preparations. He lets everyone know that his camp will be preparing meals at the end of each days ride, but that if you want to eat, you have to provide something for everyone. He figures that they are a large enough group that they should not encounter anyone wanting to cause them grief, but he expects everyone to protect the group if they do. He says that the marching order may change up if anyone lags or there are issues, but since their lives will soon be dependent on each other, he wants everyone to try and get along. Without much ceremony Rockbiter heads towards the city gates after seeing everyone he’s expected has arrived.
    {Anyone that wants to join up after this point can meet the group along the road or at Guson Keep.}

    The first day everyone pretty much sticks to themselves, watching the others, trying to feel each other out. The typical groups stick together along racial lines. That evening everyone brings some little something to the table set by the Dwarves and the small talk mostly revolves around the caves. A few ask the see the maps, wanting to make their own copies. Others question the dwarves on the types of creatures they encountered and how they were able to deal with them. Some asked about traps and what they expected to find when they returned after nearly a month away.
    The creature encounters were mainly Goblinoids- Goblins, Orcs, Ogres, Kobolds, and gnolls with a couple trolls; and Undead- Skeletons, Zombies, Wrights and Wraiths, ghosts, and some vampire spawn.
    The traps were mostly mundane- cave ins, pits, arrows/ darts, poison needles and gas, fungi and alarms, and a few magical- teleportation, Elemental (fire, electricity, acid), and gases.
    There were a few secret doors hidden with stone work or imagery spells.
    The treasures were mostly items looted from raids, but as they delved deeper they came upon items left behind in the ruins of what looked to be some cult hideout of another. Nothing truly powerful, but of value to collectors.
    They explained that they had come across the bodies of adventurers that had poorly prepared and had fallen to the denizens of the caves.
    The dwarves are standoffish, but polite. They don’t seem to be out to make friends, but they answer questions and try to be useful as they do not want to make any enemies either.
    Rockbiter seems more nervous, frustrated and excited as they travel. He is eager to retrieve his brother’s body and doesn’t seem to enjoy talking about the treasure left behind.

    The first night the Satyr makes friends with the Minotaur and the Tiefling. They seem to share many of the same issues when dealing with the other races and have stories with a common background. The Druid Priestess also joins this group as she is more comfortable with their nature than with the forced civilities of the humans and Dwarves.

    The Human males join with the Elven females, joking and swapping stories. The men have never seen a Drow and have the typical interest guys take when two women find love in each other. They are polite, but you can see that these men are going to become over protective of the women, which may cause problems later.

    The Dwarves mingle with everyone as hosts, but group back up amongst themselves towards the end of the evening. As the Dwarves mingle, you get the sense that they are trying to feel everyone out to see how each will benefit the group. Their questions are leading. They aren’t prying, but they try to get everyone to talk about their previous exploits a little to gauge how everyone will work together as a team. The first night the Dwarves stand watch for everyone despite the well-used campsite and lack of encounters. Another caravan camps at the opposite end of the clearing and a couple single groups are bundled up at the edges of things. The road is well traveled with decent waypoints to the Keep.

    As you start to settle in for the night you spot the Tinker near his wagon. You haven’t actually noticed him all night, but have the sense that he has been around. When you really think about it, you can picture him eating with the others, sharing words with you, and trading out of his wagon with the others, but just can’t quite place details. The guy is quiet and friendly, but just seems to blend into the background.


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    Re: Cave City Introductory Adventure

    Post  Kieyotie McDermott on Mon Dec 05, 2016 6:01 pm

    The next couple of days of the ride continue on the same. The marching order changes a little as the new friendships from the previous night can be seen developing as the days pass. At night as they camp the group gets friendlier. The group gathers closer and starts to look like a camp in the evenings and the food gets better and they share more.

    The Elven females seem to bind the group as they enjoy singing and are good at encouraging the others to talk. They demonstrate their skills against the others with archery and knife throwing.
    The Elven Warrior wears beautifully intricate Elven Chain Mail and carries a jeweled long sword and fine bow with a variety of arrows. In the evenings, she strips down and usually wears a thick robe with her sword and dagger belted over it. You can see that she is somewhat possessive of her companion and has been through quite a bit in their relationship.

    The Drow and the Tiefling show off a few simple spells to enhance the mood- changing the color of the fire, adding sparkles and noises to the air to go with the stories.
    The Drow maiden wears green studded leather and has an arsenal of daggers and a very fine folding crossbow. Her mind seems to be her greatest weapon, but one she is not ready to fully reveal. She is proud of her relationship and her ability to make it ‘up top’. He is almost confrontational with anyone who seems to have any issue with whom or what she is.

    The dwarves talk of their home in the Appalachian Mountains to the East and how they all wished they did not have to make this journey. You can see that there will be rivalries between them and the others that took the treasure and headed home already. They always seem to be trying to see how everyone fits together and how to best use them in the caves. They are often seen with their maps motioning to various members of the group, occasionally calling someone over to see how they would have handled some situation the dwarves had encountered. By listening you are able to gain better details of the individual spaces and can make notes on your own maps. You won’t know how accurate they’ll be until you get in there and then you might not have time to pull out the map to say, “Hey, you said there was a table there and didn’t say anything about those 20 ogre zombies!”
    They are pretty stereo-typical with a variety of armor, heavy weapons, and bearded gruffness.

    The Satyr seems to be a braggart and a liar, but an entertaining one. His stories of his past are varied and rarely cohesive. He is quick with his hands and carries two maces and a bow. He wears a vest and short pants but does not seem to have any armor. He is very friendly once he opens up and spends the day traveling running alongside just about everyone, taking time on the wagons to rest, talking. He and the Minotaur get along great, much to the annoyance of the Tiefling. There is rarely a moment of silence between the two talking to the others in the group or each other.

    The Minotaur talks of his days in the Gladiatorial arenas in the north. He is large and well built, but is missing and eye which was a defect that got him sold from the arenas before he could win his freedom and sent to be sold to the mines. He moves like an athlete, but one past his prime. Since you ARE paying attention, you notice that he sips on a leather covered crystalline canteen-like decanter much like an alcoholic with his bottle. He is a talker. He’s not the most intelligent of the group, but he likes being a part of it often coming up with the strangest things trying to start a conversation with someone.
    He wears engraved plate mail of a ‘Roman’ style with the armored kilt. He is a master of the Minotaurian Greataxe. It has an axe and maul at one end and a spike at the end of the handle. He carries boarding axes at his belt. These short hand axes are typical of his sea-faring race to use in hand to hand fighting aboard ships. They are as much tools as weapons. He mostly black with dark brown brindling.
    His companion, the tiefling is a little more flamboyant. She dresses in bright colors with strange styles. You can tell she likes the fashions of the areas she passes through, but cannot decide on which one to stick with, instead blending them to interesting effect. She carries a rapier and daggers and apparently relies on her magic and her companion more than her fighting abilities. From the way she tossed daggers and spells with the Drow, she probably does not rely on the Minotaur as much as she would like others to think. She has arrogance about her and seems to know a little about whatever someone is talking about. She puts on airs as if she came from money and power, but has little to show for it besides what she has accomplished for herself.

    When directly questioned, the Tinker talks of strange, faraway places. Rituals and cultures so different from what the people he knows that they credit him as being a fine story teller. He is always working on something, even as he talks- braiding rope, carving and shaping decorations into a box, sharpening and polishing some mundane tool. He is never the center of attention, but is always helping someone- replacing a broken strap here, making a wagon repair there, and trading small items with the others.
    He dresses in loose fitting clothing more akin to silk pajamas of various dark colors with quality boots. He wears several pieces of jewelry with fine stones but nothing flashy, including several ear rings and studs in each ear. When you look closely, you can see a wide range of tattoos under the hems and cuffs of his clothing. He carries an engraved rod on one hip and two plain sticks tucked into a sheath on the other. He has several small pouches on a belt and bandolier, but they seem to contain the various tools and items that he uses to do his Tinker trade. He moves slowly and carefully with the grace you see in professional dancers or master swordsmen. From the way he speaks, you figure it’s more likely dancing as he has the feel of a court bard about him.

    The three humans are best friends from some small village near a larger town to the south. They are nothing extra ordinary, but work well as a group. Each has strengths that shore up another’s weaknesses and they have been out in ruins before and have spent a few years together out on the roads. The lack the discipline of young men with any real training and most of their coin goes to taverns and brothels, but they have a fierce loyalty to each other and the makings of a strong brotherhood between them. They are enamored with the Elven women’s exotic beauty, and specialized skills. They each take time practicing with the ladies trying to become better fighters. They are god-fearing young men, one with Roguish talents, another PSI, and the third some natural magical talent. None are anything exceptional, but together they make a strong force to have with the group. They dress utilitarian as most of their equipment has been salvaged and scavenged from their previous exploits. They are mis-matched, but pretty well equipped.

    The priestess does not seem to want to talk about herself, but gets some night blooming jasmine, honeysuckle and a few luminescent flowers to grow around the camp to brighten everyone’s mood.
    She dresses in muted colors of the forests, not just greens and browns, the yellows of daffodils, the reds and blues of tulips, and various other colors of wildflowers. Most of her clothing is embroidered and has small jewels stitched into them. He has large stone ear plugs usually covered by mousy brown hair. Her blue-grey eyes show a hint of fey most of the time and she has a ready smile. She is a sturdy woman but well-made and beautiful. In the wilderness she has a grace unlike even the elves, but around people she seems awkward and almost clumsy. She carries an engraved staff with several gems grown into it, a couple of silvered throwing sickles, and a very nice dagger that looks to be more special purpose than something used to chop vegetables. She carried a Dark Ironwood Shield and has several talismans, pendants, charms, and baubles about her persons along with an interesting array of jewelry. She carries a single, simple wand usually tucked in her waistband. She uses this to stir food, tap recalcitrant animals on the nose, zap pesky insects and sometimes to write with. She carries a couple large satchels and many small pouches full of herbs, remedies, medicines, and healer’s trade tools. She is often pausing to collect some little flower of plant, often ranging ahead or behind the group, never worried about what he might encounter out alone, always turning up about the time Rockbiter has given up on her. Usually bringing fresh fruits and vegetables to the table. In camp at night she is often found sitting aside from the group reading one of her varied tomes from her saddle bags. She is the one that seems to get along best with the Tinker and about half the time you take notice of him, he is talking over a book with her.


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    Re: Cave City Introductory Adventure

    Post  Kieyotie McDermott on Mon Dec 05, 2016 6:03 pm

    After five days on the road you see the Keep up on the ridge where it overlooks the river to one side, and the mountains beyond, and the river valley and forest along the trade road from Cave City to points west.

    The dwarves inform you that they are going to camp outside the keep at the waypoint set aside for groups too large to fit easily in the keep. They allow anyone who wants to go to the Keep, but ask that you keep your destination to yourselves as they do not want the Garrison commander to try and interfere with their going back after their dead. Rockbiter explains that the group here has a fear of undead and is afraid that going back and retrieving corpses could spread some ancient contagion that would destroy the realm. He explains that they had come here first looking for help and had been turned away. Hey are still well provisioned, but want to let the group pick up anything last minute they might feel they need.

    {OOC: IF you wish to talk to any of the group directly, let me know so we can get into that. If you wish to enter and explore the keep, there are several small encounters that can occur here, but are mainly meet and greet, nothing that would affect the course of the adventure much.
    I know I sped through the trip, but there were no random encounters scheduled and until we get more players there is not much need for player to player talk at this time. However, it gives me a chance to describe the group you’ll be working with a little better. This is mostly the group I am playing with here and I will include some of their encounters as we play as I know what their reactions are going to be.
    The next stage will be getting to the Caves and setting up for entering them. }

    *****

    The journey took the group the best part of five days, it had been a long trek, but thanks to their large numbers and well equipped nature, they had been spared the raiders and wild animals that tended to strike at smaller groups.

    Shade had stuck with the group closely, but had kept quiet, almost as if she wasn't there. Of a night, she had been the one to set traps at the camp before emptying them of fresh meat in the morning. It had kept moral high, and had provided several of the group with furs that would need cleaning and tanning at the fort. Unusually, the wanderer hadn't wanted anything in exchange for the furs, instead seeming more focused on ensuring the group was well-fed for their journey.

    In reality however, she had little wish to 'carry' this team, several of them stuck out to her as wise or powerful allies, while others were becoming more like dead weight by the day.
    Out of the entire group, Shade tended to drift towards trusting the Priestess and the Dwarves over the humans or elves. The Satyr is her biggest concern, a charismatic deception weaver with more weapons than sense.

    Upon the approach to the keep, the Dwarves inform the adventurers of their plans to camp for the night before making travel to their destination over the next few days. After learning of the camp's location, Shade took herself down to the near-by river and spent a few hours bathing and sorting her equipment properly after the trek.

    She found a discreet, secluded pond with fresh water and an abundance of wild-life. She felt calm here, relaxed.
    She dropped her hood before un-fastening the inner buttons and belts all the way down. As Shade dropped her cloak away, it quickly became obvious that she was an incredibly beautiful young half-elf, her large silver eyes reflected the evening light while braided, dark brown hair ran down her back to her waist.

    Without her cloak on, it seemed as though Shade stood out a little more than usual. It also revealed her choice in armor, a thick leather corset with thin metal weave running across it in a hexagon pattern, further criss-crossed by yet more belt looking straps and bindings. The corset had clearly been created by someone with both blacksmithing and magical talents but was by no means an elegant piece. As that too fell away with her trousers and shoes, Shade submerged herself in the pond.

    She took the time to relax and absorb the nature around her, making sure to keep a lazy eye on her equipment at all times.

    Thanks to her experience of a nomad lifestyle, and living hand to mouth on a daily basis, Shade was able to catch several large fish with her hands before re-equipping and returning to the camp. Instead of par-taking in the meal however, Shade told Rock-Biter that she was heading in to the fort but didn't give a reason.

    After a brief encounter with the gate watchers, Shade had made it inside the town. And quickly sought out the Book store, upon entering she was greeted by the shopkeeper.

    (I'll let you play out this exchange if you like, but she's after any books relating to shadow-ware artifacts, And a place called The City of Ezable. Shade has several books to trade for the ones she's after, and a small amount of coin. She will also offer to tune up any of the book-keepers archery based weapons if they have any.)


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    Re: Cave City Introductory Adventure

    Post  Kieyotie McDermott on Mon Dec 05, 2016 6:04 pm

    Here are two sites that have the layout of the keep. If it looks familiar, or you think you can get an idea of what’s ahead, don’t bother. I just like this keep because it’s simple and familiar.

    Keep 3D = [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
    Keep Labeled = [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

    As you come up to the Main Gate, you see 2 towers 30’ high with battlements. They flank a 20’ high gatehouse. All have holes for bow and crossbow fire. A deep crevice in front of the place is spanned by a drawbridge allowing traffic into the keep. There is a sign on the raised
    Portcullis that the gate closes at dark and the drawbridge raises an hour later.
    The passage between the portcullis and inner gates (now open) is about 10’ wide and high and 20’ deep, the ceiling above pierced with murder holes, and feels cramped and claustrophobic as you pass through.
    The walls to either side slitted for archery. It is obvious that the fortress is constructed of great blocks of granite, undoubtedly cut from the very hilltop it sits on.
    Two men-at-arms stand in the shade just inside where the portcullis would close and stand up from stools as anyone approaches. Each is clad in half chain/ half plate mail and carries a pole arm. They require that persons entering the KEEP put their weapons away, and secure them with a waxed peace knot. (This is a heavy twine tied around the weapon to its scabbard and then sealed with wax to show if someone draws said weapon. They ask that you reveal all weapons and will search anyone entering if they sense anything odd.) You can feel eyes and arrows on you from behind the arrow slits as you comply with the rules of the keep.
    While they bind your weapons, another officious-looking man comes out to get your name and business in the keep, collecting any taxes he may feel are needed (Wagons, horses, or anything else if you look to have the coin to spare.) He explains that the keep is too small to have a book store, but the Quartermaster might have something, as he tends to keep a few books to trade with those passing through and to loan to the soldiers stationed here. The little man also lets you know that the Temple might have something, but to be careful because ‘those religious nuts take just about anything as blasphemy.’ He adds that the lord has a small private library and some of those who live here have a few books, but none are likely to open their homes to strangers. He collects a few coins for a tax that seems made up on the spot and motions you on into the Keep.

    The Entry Yard is a narrow place is paved. All entrants, save those of the garrison, will be required to stable their animals. There are large armored doors that lead into the stable area, and another et that lead into the warehouse area where wagons and goods not coming into the keep are stored. The corporal of the watch is here. He is dressed in studded leather under a tunic with the Keep’s crest emblazoned on it. He carries a shield, with sword and dagger at his waist.
    The corporal is rather grouchy, a little arrogant, and does not seem to be in the mood to deal with anyone. He is a low level manager who hates his job, positions, and life, but is not good enough to get anywhere else… and knows it. But, like most of his kind, he admires outspoken, brave fighters and is easily taken in by a pretty girl.
    Beside him is a man in robes who, with permission, casts a couple spells to make sure you are not entering with evil intents, that you are not some kind of monster in disguise, and ensures that if something does break out and you feel the need to fight, that you will try to take it outside the keep.
    Anyone who does not want to participate in this ritual is asked to leave. If they still cause trouble they are presumed dangerous and are handled with the small mindedness of governmental officials with the power to kill on the spot.
    Flanking each gate (stables, warehouse and interior) is another pair of men-at-arms in half plate with pole arms as noted at the portcullis.
    When this is done, stable boys will come from
    the stable to take the mounts or mules and tuck them away. The stables do not go through into the keep. They are backed by a high wall that divides gueast stables and warehouses from those of the keep. (If you are thinking of tunneling through the wall, and have a way to do it without alerting the entire keep and the guards that patrol the rooftops of these buildings, let me know.)
    Any goods which are not carried by the adventurers will be
    stored in the warehouse. This is to prevent contamination of the Keep by bugs, rodents, or Quidnunc carried in on the wagons.
    If you are not mounted, and/ or when you have completed paying for the stabling and storage, you are directed to continue along the wall to the Taverinn (if you need refreshment, a meal or a bed), the mage’s shop (money changer’s shop- I do not bother with money changers, all coins are pretty standard by weight. If it is a special coin, it is only special to a collector, otherwise, they all spend the same), or the Temple (for any religious needs).

    The Stable and warehouse are combined to create a long building is about 15’ high, with a 3’ parapet atop its flat roof, so that it can be used in defense of the gate. The gate side wall is pierced for archery. You notice the guards atop the wall, the stable and even a couple stable hands watching you from the dim interior of the building with pitchforks in their hand, paused in their work to make sure you’re not trouble.
    The corporal explains if asked that the Common Warehouse is for visiting merchants and other travelers who have quantities of goods are required to keep their materials here until they are either sold to the persons at the Keep or taken elsewhere. The building

    When you get done with the entry processes you are allowed to pass into the outer bailey. You turn at the corner or the fort and pass the homes of the citizens and staff that live and work here, but cannot afford their own buildings. Most are front room shops with living quarters behind and/or above them.
    There is: A Jeweler -non-magical, but can make masterwork items that can be enspelled. He will also buy quality items. Sadly, he does not add the proper values to magical items.
    A Tailor/ dressmaker husband and wife team-their fashions are about a year out of date and a little off as they can only copy what they see pass through. They might take interest in anyone nicely or uniquely dressed.
    A schoolteacher/ tutor- -She teaches all the kids (and some adults) the basics of reading, writing, maths, history, and simple sciences. Her books are mundane and well read. She is pretty provincial in her teachings and will take offense to anyone contradicting her teachings.
    A Cobbler – he makes decent work boots and can repair armored foot wear. Anything special he has to custom make and is mainly set up for repairs.
    A traveling priest –He does not practice in the Keep, but is allowed to have his own space in the smallest suite. The Temple only allows him because they feel that his teaching allow them to reinforce the rightness of their teachings.
    There is a troop of bards - renting the largest space of six rooms with common living areas, these people give a free performance for the lord once a week in hopes of earning his patronage. If he doesn’t buck up soon, they will be moving on.
    There is a 2 room and a 4 room suite that are empty and available for rent.
    The end of this row of stone and wood apartments is the ‘Magic Shop’. If you go that far, you can see where the sign has been repainted and has had dragons, lions, and other mythical creatures in the layers of the renamings of the place. Apparently magi do not last long here. This large home is better made than the apartments and you can see the smoke from the three chimneys are different shades of grey, white and black. The inside of the shop is clean and well lit, but the shelves are cluttered with a wide array of seemingly mundane items. (This thrift/ salvage shop, you never know what you might find, or what it might do.) Things are oddly arranged. There is a shelf of cups that heat or cool your drink, then there is a shelf of various items that do not match in any way that are used for food preparation. There is a case of fine magical wands in their own cases, and there is a box of bejeweled sticks on one counter. The scrolls, books, weapons and armor are all in the safe shape. The store seems to have no real order, but when you take a second look, each shelf or display makes sense. Any item up to about 5k gpv (gold piece value) can be found here at twice the cost. This guy will buy any magic item he can afford (up to 100k total) at 10% of book value or will trade- at 25% of book value (better deal, but his is over priced and yours is under priced.)
    The Quarter master has a large double shop/ warehouse. He will buy large and bulk items at half book prices (mundane items) and sells them at 15% above book. One side is the Keep’s items that he issues to the garrisoned troops (half of book if you decide you want to work for the Lord of the Keep) and a general store with the rates previously listed. There is a definite difference in quality of goods between the two. The best gear stays with the keep. When you go in the Quartermaster’s three sons are in the middle of sorting a wagon and arguing over where a few items are to go.

    If you continue past the Quarter master’s and the Magic Shop, you come around the corner of the residences of the local specialty baker, the wainwright (his shop is part of the smithy and part of the warehouse), and a local historian who is working on a book of the area at the Lord’s request. He is mainly recopying the best parts of other books that the Lord has taken interest in. He is repainting the Lord’s family in a more positive light, actually adding in more deeds and a longer lineage in the area. There is a decent one bedroom apartment here for rent.
    The end of this path is the large Taverinn with the well in the middle of the courtyard. The Mallard’s Lady is a pretty good sized Inn with 20 single bunk rooms, 10 double bunk rooms and two large dorm-like rooms that sleep 10 each in bunk beds. There is a large common room with a bar and tables and a common fare. There is also a nice dining room with a menu for those who want better (and more expensive food and drink. There are six private areas with a table and seating for 8 where local deals are often hashed out. The inn keeper in 4th generation and his extended family lives in and works for the Mallard’s Lady as cooks, servers, hosts, maids, etc. The men seem prone to having girls, but there is always one male heir to run the show. (Some rumors claim magic or worse is involved in that.) The rooms are small, but clean. There are hot, used and warm, cold, twice used and cold. The specialty baker has a magical talent she lends the Taverinn once in awhile in trade for her evening meal each day. (Her desserts can influence the mood of those around the table, often swaying the decisions made to one side or the other- or to that of the Lord as desired.)

    The interior of the place is clean and smells of dark beer and good food mixed with various tobaccos.
    Some sample prices are as follows:
    ALE 3 s.p. SOUP 1 s.p.
    SMALL BEER 1 s.p. STEW 3 s.p.
    WINE 3 s.p. ROAST FOWL 1 g.p.
    HONEY MEAD 1 g.p. BARK TEA 1 s.p.
    ROAST JOINT 3 g.p. MEATLOAF 3 s.p.
    BREAD 1 c.p./ 2 slices CHEESE 1 s.p./wedge
    PUDDING 1 s.p./bowl FRUIT 1 s.p.
    Daily Special- Full meal with tea- 2 g.p.
    Yesterday’s Special- Self Explainatory 1 g.p.
    The servers are all clearly family, but are attractive if well guarded by the few men that work here.

    If you instead turn at the Quartermaster’, you pass the Keep’s side of the stables and warehouse where animals and supplies are stored until they can be distributed about the keep. It is one section deeper, but still keeps interlopers out of the inner bailey.
    The guild house is a large shared building where the tradesmen that come through can be put up for the night. The various guilds that hold apartments here give the Keep discounts on supplies in order to have a safe place to board their merchants, wagon masters, and friends. They have their own staff and concierge that stay in the building to keep everything in order.

    For many, the most important building in the outer bailey is the Temple. The spiritual center of the Keep is opposite the Guild House. This building has a peaked roof two stories tall; the interior is mainly one large room. The altar is located at the eastern end, with a large colored glass window above it. An offering box is fastened securely atop a heavy pedestal in one corner of the room. A small stairway in the northwest corner, behind the bare wooden pews, leads to the cellar, where the Curate and his three assistants have their quarters.
    The Curate is the most influential person in the Keep except for the Castellan Lord. He rarely wears his armor (unless the Keep is threatened), but wears a ring with a his holy symbol engraved on a ruby set in gold and a staff that looks like a cobra with flared hood and emerald eyes.

    His three Acolytes are normally clothed in robes (AC 9) but will arm for battle on command of the Curate.

    The Curate will listen to any requests for books, but he is very prejudicial against anyone not of his ‘flock’. He also seems to believe that anyone not under in influence harbors evil thoughts. He listens and tries to be helpful, but if anything triggers his alarms (and he has many), he will set his ‘flock’ up as spies and possibly send his Acolytes out the deal with the threat. He has the Lord of the Keep in his pocket as the Lord is elderly and trying to get back into God’s good graces for things he did as a much younger man.

    The last structure in the Outer Bailey is the Inner Gatehouse. This stone structure is itself like a small fort. The southern portion is only about 15’ high, plus battlement; the rear part is some 30’ tall, plus battlement.
    There are arrow slits in the southern section of course, and along the walls of the 20’ wide, 10’ high passage through to the north. This passage slopes upwards towards the inner courtyard. The heavy gates are double bound with iron and spiked. There are six guards on duty at all times (two inside the gateway, two on the lower battlement, two on the upper), plus one officer on call. No visitor is allowed beyond this point except by invitation or unless he or she has special permits which have to be verified by the Lord of the Keep.

    The Captain of the Inner Guard is very friendly, but does not budge on the rules of the keep. He can sometimes be seen about the various shops and in the Taverinn checking on things and talking with anyone who takes the time, but he is very honor bound to his duties.

    {OOC: This should help you move about the areas you are allowed in and interact a little. If you wish to do anything one on one, let me know, so I can. If you have any specific questions of anyone, I will handle those, too. The attitude you get is friendly, but as they all expect you to either die horribly or come back through showing off treasure you don’t plan to spend here, they’d all rather you just moved along.}

    *****

    The few others that go into the keep when you go divide up to take care of what they need to and you see them about the keep, but none of the others do anything remarkable at this time. The Dwarves all stay out at the camp site.


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    Re: Cave City Introductory Adventure

    Post  Kieyotie McDermott on Mon Dec 05, 2016 6:05 pm

    In the Keep:

    As you come around to the inner Bailey you see the Tinker coming through the gate with the guard captain. They seem to be talking as friends, shake hands and part ways. The Tinker then goes to the temple then disappears inside.

    The Keep is a rather small place out here on the edge of nowhere and your group seems to fill it. If you wanted to come here to get a moment away, you failed. You keep spotting your group, all except the Dwarves in and out of the shops. As the day passes, the others seem to get bored and head back to camp with their gathered goods.
    Some seem a bit more wary as they settle back into camp and cast the Dwarves glances that seem worried and not altogether trusting. No one says anything outright, but the group dynamic seems to have a new under current to it.

    *****

    From the forest edge, a figure appeared and moved towards the group. From beneath a ragged cloak came a pair of clawed hands became exposed and were raised in a submissive pose to display he was of no threat. The Razorclaw Shapeshifter named Maethor had been tracking the group for a few days and wanted to offer his services.

    What the group didn't know before he was within ear shot was that he had taken a vow of silence. He was disowned from his clan and he had to regain his honour before he was permitted to speak. He had talked back to the Chief when a decision that could have saved dozens of lives was ignored. The result still ended in victory for his clan, but he was not pleased by the choice in tactics. He was banished and condemned not to speak until he had proven himself a better clanmate. His wife was taken from him, his family barely survived based on their continued dedication to the clan Chief and yes he was even hunted by his brother. The memory was still fresh for Maethor as he came before the group. It was an odd mixture of folk but those always made for the best tactics and each unique aspect to a challenge would be best to aid him along.

    He removed the cloak with care honed by years of being outside his clan and set it beside him. He was from a northern tribe indicated by his fur being a mixture primarily of white with black streaks giving him a distinguished look for his species. Intelligent sapphire eyes looked amongst the travellers before he tapped his chest with his left arm and swept it wide to encompass those in the group. With curious looks he touched his throat and with both hands together pressed into fists he snapped an invisible branch to show it was broken. He then touched his heart and made the same motion. His heart was also broken.

    For a Razorclaw who was apparently broken he was well equiped. With the cloak no longer concealing his person those of the group could see he was well armoured with hardened plates that looked almost like dragon scale bound to leather beneath. It was sectional and allowed for ease of movement. A belt around his hips held rigid pouches shaped into boxes that looked to hold tools and supplies while his forearms were contained in a pair of diamond shaped shields. The sharpened edges extended just after the claws of his hands and a seam line along the middle looked to open to reveal something within them. Down to his legs the sectional armour continued, protecting his thighs, shins and ankles. His feet were bare against the dirt and were brown from the soil from hiking through the forest. Across his back was a short length pike with a three pointed head and holes at different points. It looked like an instrument but still a dangerous weapon.

    Maethor was a built warrior. Broad shoulders had been weathered by the fierce cold of the Northern mountains and strong hands were at his side relaxed while he waited for an answer. Whether they understood his desire to help or not would make little difference. He felt through some higher power that he belonged here and he would follow the group where they were heading.

    He touched the clan sigil upon his right breast plate to represent which clan he was from if any knew of his species to show they were a hardy clan and loyal. He furrowed his eyebrows as he looked for the leader of the group to see if he would be accepted into this new clan and fight.

    *****

    The group has all returned by the time Maethor steps from the woods. The Dwarven wagons are pulled up forming a wall to one side, with their heavy ponies staked out in a line adding to their perimeter. The Minotaur and Tiefling's wagon in next around the circle with their campfire about 50 paces from that of the Dwarves, shared by the Satyr. The Humans and Elves are next in line with their horses ranging behind their campfire and tents. The Priestess has turned her horse loose to graze and is laying on a couple blankets and pillows against a tree reading by a lamp that looks filled with fireflies. The Tinker's wagon is set apart with his horse in a simple stake fence. He seems to be trading with some of the other people not of this group that have set up camp outside the keep's walls. A few soldiers are in this group, and couple more walk a lazy guard out from their small lean-to barracks/ office out here. There is a tax collector in a fine tent that makes sure the various small fees are paid for use of the campsite and the protection the keep offers. It is not much, but everyone pays.

    The group gathers when the new comer approaches, some taking defensive positions around the camp. While this does not seem like an attack, you can never be too careful. Nerves are on edge a little after the trip to town anyway.

    When the beast-like creature shows he is not a threat, Rockbiter and a couple other dwarves come forward to greet him. After the new comer's strange greeting they told the others to keep an eye on him and stepped aside to discuss things.

    The humans mumbled something about having another animal to deal with and returned to their campfire, followed by the Elven ladies.
    The Tinker and Druidess stepped forward. She asks if she can do anything to help regain his voice, smiling as she adds that unless he has a physical injury, his heart is out of even her healing abilities.
    The Tinker hands over a flat piece of slate and a bit of chalk, asking if the newcomer has a name and the ability to cipher in the common language. While he hands over the items, he uses his body to block the others and uses his free hand to sign a quick series of gestures.
    {OOC: If you have taken up a sign language as one of the various skills available to certain classes, pm me.}

    {OOC: Language can be an issue as much like Europe and the different accents of the US, when people are divided their dialects often become altered. There is a common language (think English), a trader's language that is common with the more specifics of trade (numbers, weights and measurements that hold true between areas; feet/ inches/ pounds, etc instead of bushels, baskets, pinch, millis, decas, etc.) And the different creature types, races, and areas have their own dialects of common. Some can be understood (similar to how spanish, french, and italian can be figured out if you speak one), and others are as different as German and Greek even though they are geographically close (compared to American distances, anyway). Reading and writing abilities are more common than a typical D&D setting, but even here in the US, there are many adults without the ability to do this, so it is still a skill that must be taken. It can be taken multiple times for various languages and writing styles.}

    The rest of the group watches a moment until Rockbiter returns. He notices the writing utensils and says, "We are going into the caves north of here to retrieve some fallen comrades. You are welcome to join us, but you must assist the group in protecting the group. We will have some questions for you, but first we need to see how best to communicate with you if you cannot speak. If you are fit in other ways, we would welcome your assistance." He points to the clan mark, "We would also like to know why you are away from your clan. If you have suffered loss or if you are an outcast."
    The other dwarves of Rockbiter's clan nod at this last.

    You notice that two of the guards from the barracks have also walked over with the fat, perfumed tax collector. Some of the others from the other campsites stand farther back waiting to see who this wild-looking person from the woods may be.

    *****

    After spending more than she would have liked and trading off some of her heavier tomes, Shade had begun her walk back to the encampment while fumbling with her equipment to settle the new works she had gathered.

    Upon approaching the gate, the young half-elf noted an almost over-powering smell of cologne that prompted her to raise her hood and scarf. Upon doing so, Shade almost became unnoticeable, as though she were blending into the surroundings around her with little effort. She quickly fell in behind the overly scented fat-man and his guards as they made their way out of the fort, but quickly broke off and took her own route into the forest and quickly found a tree to watch the events unfold from.

    Masked by leaves and the dense foliage, Shade made herself comfortable and brought her bow around to her lap so it wouldn't get caught on the upper-branches. Being a Half-elf, she was clearly in tune with nature, and was soon swaying and reacting to the wind as if she was part of the tree itself.

    Her view of the camp was only disrupted by the taller sided caravans, apart from that, she could see everything that was taking place, including the arrival of a new creature to the group and his apparent welcome. Shade noted that she would get to know this unusual creature who seemed mute by choice, before the tax collector finally tried making contact.

    Being nomadic, and spending most of her time away from towns and cities, the young girl believed that taxes were a man-made levy simply to increase the wealth of those in power, and no-where had this been more apparent then at the fort. This pompous, over-sized, over-groomed fat-cat and his lap-dogs wouldn't be receiving a spec of dust from her, let alone anything that could be considered currency. She watched cautiously, and made sure to remain hidden in the overgrowth.


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    Re: Cave City Introductory Adventure

    Post  Kieyotie McDermott on Mon Dec 05, 2016 6:06 pm

    ((Maethor rolls history. Success! 21))

    Maethor looked and signed back in understanding. He was relieved that he could communicate through sign to at least one person in the group who had known the patterns. There were slight variations that he had to think about when it came to questions posed to him. At one point thinking that he was being asked if he liked iced babies but it was an offer of drink. He explained as best he could his past and how he had come to be here. Some looked satisfied with his responses and others gave him wary looks. He was far from his clan and the ears of any who would tell his chief he spoke but it wasn't a choice to choose one way or another. He had a profound sense of discipline and also knew when he needed humility and when to break rules.

    When asked the question of how the rest of the party would communicate with him he pulled out a small bag filled with opal gems. He had discovered them in a small shop outside of a town claiming they were meant for loved ones who travelled far away from each other. Simply touch the gem to your body and speak or think what you wish and it would be sent to the other. The problem was if you thought, anything could slip through. Fantasies, past memories, future plots. It was a very emotional bond that could be formed through the gems.

    Maethor translated as best he could to the Tinkerer so he could explain it simply. He pulled back his collar to reveal a gem had been stitched into a choker necklace. Being forbidden to speak wasn't an order not to think. He had found a way to communicate without his voice but he interpreted the rules as he saw wouldn't damage his honour any further.

    The rest of the group remained wary of the newcomer but he wouldn't have done anything less. The dwarves were always merry for such a stout folk and he accepted their generosity with a bowed head and drank. Their fire ale always took time to get used too as it filled him with a steady contentment of a group devote in their loyalty, stubborness and tenacity. He recalled a word from his clan. Atin. It was a word some children took as their names because it meant stubborn in a good way. It would have been easier to call themselves dwarves.

    As the group thought over the gems and how they would work he settled down onto his field cot and pulled out a root of ginger and popped it into his mouth and chewed. The flavour cleared his sinuses with each crunch as he worked the bittersweet sensation in his mouth and let the saliva mixed juice go down into his stomach. He spat the fiberous root out when he was done and picked it up. He placed it into a small vial from another pouch and closed it down. He would wait for orders on what the part would do next.

    A cool wind blew across his fur and he took in the night air. It was going to be a new start to reclaiming his honour and his right to speak. He wanted to talk again. He wanted that connection and most of all, he wanted his wife back.

    *****

    Rockbiter covers all the necessary fees as quickly as possible, but refuses one of the gems. He seems unhappy to have Maethor along, but the others seem to like him and note that he would be a good addition to the party when it comes to dealing with some of the creatures likely to still be in the caves.

    The camp settles in as everyone returns from the keep. Something seems to be bothering some of those who had gone into the keep, and everyone seems to be keeping to themselves a little more tonight.

    The dwarves set their own watch, as usual, even with the keep's few soldiers patrolling the camp grounds.

    The next morning they get everyone up and around just before dawn and back on the road. It is only a couple days to the caves, but moving farther away from the keep and civilization means more chance for trouble and they want to get as far as possible and make camp before sunset.

    As you get on the road, you notice that one of the dwarves is missing and Rockbiter grumbles that his cousin got ill in the night and went to town. He will not be joining you. He seems aggravated by the question and the loss of one of his clansmen to the group.

    That night things seem to be back to how they were before the stop, but there are whispers that the reason the dwarves did not go into town is that they had caused trouble last time they were there. Details were lacking, but they either killed somebody, or were involved in a disappearance, or some situation where people had come through looking for a companion that had gone with the dwarves and not returned from the caves.
    Around the dinner fire, Rockbiter blows up at the humans who are again whispering about it, stating that part of why the Keep had not gone to help them recover their dead is that one of the farming boys had been determined to go with them and did not make it back. There had been hard feeling when the kids left with them and it was worse when they could not bring the boys body back.
    After that he storms off to his tent and the other dwarves move to where they set up around their own campfire.

    As you move away from the Keep, the road quickly deteriorates from a decent wagon road to not much more than a horse trail by the start of the third day. The trees and underbush is thicker and everyone starts to get the feeling that they might be watched from the edges of things.

    The dwarves have taken you on several side trails, each one less worn than the last until you are pretty sure you are off any actual trail.

    The forest you have been passing through has been getting more dense, tangled, and quieter.
    The thick, tree trunks and clutching and grasping thorns and briars all seem to warn and ward you off, but the dwarves guide you through regardless. As you start thinking about digging into your pack for your noon meal, the group enters a ravine-like area.
    The walls rise rather steeply to either side to a height of about 200’ or so - dark,
    streaked rock mingled with earth. Clumps of trees grow here and there, both on the floor of the ravine and up the sloping walls of the canyon. The open end you stand in is about 200’ wide. The ravine runs at least 150 yards to where the western end rises in a steep slope. Here and there, at varying heights on all sides of the ravine, you can see the black mouths of cave-like openings in the rock walls.
    The sunlight is dim, as a storm seems to be moving in overhead. The air is still. A dank, fetid, mouldering smell lingers in the area. There is an oppressive feeling here - as if something evil is watching and waiting to pounce upon you. Those with the ability can tell that this is an ancient spell cast on the place to warn folk away from this area and the creatures that tend to make it home.
    A single Raven sits in the upper branches of a great oak that has been lightning stuck and has bare limbs. It watches your group, cawing angrily before flying off out of site.
    Amongst the litter of rubble, boulders, and dead wood scattered about on the ravine floor, you can see bits of gleaming ivory and white. Closer inspection reveals that these are bones and broken skulls of men, animals, and other things mingled with trash and feces.

    The Dwarves lead you to an area that looks to have been many things over the years. A half collapsed, small wooden fort sits on a large stone patio surrounded and built into a stone temple with columns and half wall. Trees grow through the stones and fort itself and you can see where it all has been burned with fire and spell many times.
    As the dwarves begin to set camp, it is obvious that this is going to be your base while you're here.

    There are enough rooms for everyone, but all leak and are of bugs, reptiles, spiders, and various plant growth. There are no secret doors, spaces, or underground areas here. The fort/ temple is pretty much an open patio surrounded by rooms. The horses are staked to the patio where there is plenty of grass growing through the pavers and they can be watched. A couple large oaks and several small trees grow in the center area and in some of the rooms. The dwarves begin to work on reinforcing the area they are staying in and build a quick palisade wall to use as a gate.
    They let everyone know that they plan to head out early in the morning instead of right away, so they can get an idea of what has moved in from what comes visiting in the night. Rockbiter states that it gives everyone a last chance to back out before they have to depend on each other in the caves.

    The area around the 'fort' has been cleared back about 50 feet, but beyond that the small groves and copses are thick growths, tangled with thorny vines and deadfall.
    You get the feeling that you might have to deal with creatures out of the caves if you get too far from camp alone. Movement through the wooded areas is slow and difficult and anyone doing so must move in single file.

    {OOC: If you plan to go off on your own, or want to talk to anyone before heading into the caves, let me know. I will try to be back on tomorrow night to see who's done what and to updates the other characters' actions as they prepare. Encounters may be difficult to play out with the sever time delay between our posts, so I might just divide everyone up into small groups for a bit until we can get a set time to get on with everyone and play a bit. Until then, good luck.}

    *****

    Using his sense of nature, Maethor checks over the debris for useful items or anything that may lend some aid to the group. Whether it be tools, packs with useful material or coin. Satisfied he had done a thorough enough job along the route he took in a breath through his nose. Scents flowed over his olfactory membranes and he could distinguish the various creatures that had passed this way. Most weren't of the variety one would wish to cross paths with yet they were hard to distinguish. This led him to believe that the area had been sealed for some time.

    Once at the fort Maethor took in the area and assessed the best possible defensive position for himself. He was a close ranged Striker with a few special talents when it came to single combat against enemies. His shields on his arms contained blades inscribed with runes from his ancestors and infused with magic. They were capable of heating up to a point of igniting fires and causing distractions. The blades could also be fired out for an accurate range of 25 meters. He had other knives on him that could be thrown and his pike. He found a suitable corner of a damaged room that gave him ample view of a near 140 degrees with a half wall that gave him cover. He leaned against the wall and looked up to the sky. It was always beautiful to look at and he didn't mind staying outdoors.

    He opened one of his pouches by his hip and pulled out small token and closed his hands around it. It was a carving of a woman. His wife if anyone could see it and he whispered silently a small prayer to keep her safe back at his clan home. He placed it back in the pouch as he pulled his pike from his back and rested his fingers on various holes. It was not only a pike with a vicious end but also an instrument. Wind instruments were difficult to build into weapons and his clan had worked for generations on perfecting the beautiful art.

    It was a song of lament he played. It was something he played each night to remind himself of the lady he loved. As he drew out the final note he saw a few other adventurers looking at him in a confused manner. He rested the pike on his lap and sighed. It was always hard to join a group and not have them look at you awkwardly because of what you did before. He would do his best to be more discreet about his evening ritual.

    He scanned the distance looking for threats but saw nothing. He opened another pouch and popped another ginger root into his mouth and chewed thoughtfully as the evening went on.


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    Re: Cave City Introductory Adventure

    Post  Kieyotie McDermott on Mon Dec 05, 2016 6:06 pm

    The small wooden fort seemed to be defensible enough, even in it's state of ruin. After stowing her gear away, the young half-elf made a small loop around the camp, marking out a trap trail and setting various snares. Trapping had been a constant source of food for the group, and the traps were so that people could easily free themselves. It had been a problem in the first few days, but as the group came to learn Shades signs, they soon realized what they should be avoiding.
    She kept within a close range of the camp, and made sure to check her surroundings thoroughly before placing her traps along areas that seemed full of life. Larger tracks meant larger traps, and some even involved a little bit of nature magic to fully work properly, but the young half-elf continued on, tirelessly, until she was happy with her line, and back at it's starting point.

    With a possible source of food located, her attention shifted back to the camp and the sound of a somber tune emanating from the fort. Shade quickly collecting her things before heading back in.

    The young girl decided against taking a room, instead she collected her pack that she had earlier stowed, and found herself a nice corner opposite the strange creature and his wind instrument on the porch. After laying out some furs, it almost looked like a comfortable seat as she pulled out one of the heavier tomes she'd traded for back at the original settlement and began reading.

    The song carried on for some time, and Shade found it to be beautiful. She had been unsure of the new-comer to the group, but his self-imposed silence almost felt like he spoke through his melody.
    It told a tale of great loss, sacrifice and regret, although there was no way to tell for sure. And as the tune came to an end, Maethor had gathered the attention of several of the group. Shade sensed their judgmental auras, and made sure to show solidarity with the creature by starring a few down. As they went back to their work, she threw Maethor a sly smile before returning to her book.

    *****

    {ooc: I shared a map. If I need to label the spaces, I can, but I’d rather just describe the space. The actual contents are different, but it gives you an idea of what you have. If I took the time to do this 100% I wouldn’t get any writing done tonight!}

    The Dwarves set up in the wooded area in the bottom right corner of the fort placing their gear in the storeroom looking area under guard. Their horses are staked in the grassy area on both sides of the path here next to their wagons. They each take a room along the wall at the bottom of the map. (The wall here has arches to the rooms. They set a watch schedule and try to keep an ear and eye to what the others are doing. They help clean up and clear out debris and throw together barricades and shore up the fort’s defenses. They try to get someone from each little group to stand watch together. They explain that the caves are full of goblinoids races, undead, and dungeon dwelling beasties. They remind everyone that their presence is likely to draw a crowd and that while everyone needs to get some rest, they also must remain alert.

    The Tiefling, Minotaur, Satyr, and Druidess made camp in a trio of rooms with a connecting archway between them. The Satyr and the Druidess worked together with pipes and quiet song to weave a leafy bower from the trees and thorny vines growing in and around the place to give them cover and protection to the rooms. They encouraged the woody trees to grow into simple doors and furniture that would continue to grow after they had headed home. Looking into their space the moss covered chairs and beds look pretty comfortable.
    Despite the relaxed atmosphere in this corner of the fort, the occupants seem ready for action and wary of the danger around them. The Tiefling parks her wagon in the area just across the hall and to the left (with the wagon tracks and well) and ties here 2 horses to graze in the shaggy grass here. The druidess leaves her horse in the brushier room to the right just across from her room in the upper right hand corner. (The Satyr is in the middle room.)
    {ooc: The three bedrooms in upper right corner. Single bed, table, a couple shairs, and many flowering/ fruiting vines in the Druidess’s room.}
    As the evening progresses, they join the others around the fireplace in the center of the fort to join in the evening meal and joke and play a bit of music. The Satyr and the Druidess use their skills to improve the natural fortifications. The minotaur, Brando lends his hand and a woodsman’s axe from the wagon to help with the more laborious tasks. The Tiefling sets several spells and various warning traps about the Temple Fortress to help let them all know if they get visitors.

    The Tinker pulls his wagon into the temple in the upper right hand corner. As everyone is also getting their spaces ready, no one sees where he releases his pulling team and riding mount (7 horses total), but they are gone if anyone goes to see how he is doing. His wagon is set on leveling jacks (much like current motor homes have) and has been expanded with sliding walls taking up most of the rectangular paved area between the columns. The braziers in this space have been filled with different elements (fire, dirt, water, and one is seemingly empty) and anyone entering this part of the temple feels a bit of a magical tingle as they pass through a doorway or window. This part of the temple is open air and shaded by the large trees along the outside wall.
    He goes unnoticed for much of the night, but usually seems to be there. No one is sure what if any preparations he makes. He stands his watch patrolling the broken roof of the fort. He seems just another shadow as he moves through the broken rafters, tree limbs, and shingles.

    The Humans and elves pitch tents in the middle section, staking their horses close to crop grass and built a fire in the fireplace and gather at the table to discuss the maps of the caves the dwarves have allowed them to copy. They are talking quietly, going silent when the others come close, but remain friendly. They take their turns at watch mostly wandering the building’s perimeter together in pairs despite the dwarves trying to break them up.


    Much of the Temple part of the fortress remains empty, but the various members of the group have taken a portion to set traps and alarms in and the early evening is quiet except for the normal noises that come from a ‘monster’ infested forest around the fort.

    The first bit of action comes after dinner as everyone is thinking about getting some sleep. On her last trip through her snares, Shade finds a small, rancid smelling Goblin caught in one of her larger catches. While not the only thing she has caught this evening it is the noisiest.
    Most of the snares have been tripped, but for a few bits of fur, and one half eaten rabbit, there is nothing left. This goblin has a sack with a few of the catches, but is cursing in its own language as it tries to figure how to get itself loose.
    Shade is easing along her trap line when she sees the tree with the snare moving ahead. She is upset that her traps have been picked of their catch. The smell of the little beast hits her first. It smells much like the grease trap of a restaurant that has been plugged up by a backed up sewer. As she gets closer, she can hear the thing cursing, grunting, and whimpering. It seems almost as afraid of being eaten by something out here as you finding it. It has the large wilted ears, and watery red rimmed eyes of its race and a large mouth full of sharp teeth in a double row. It’s yellowy-green hide is covered in filth-sores and wears only a rusted chain shirt and mismatched shoes (both lefts). It appears to have only a stone tipped spear and a stone knife that it is trying to use to cut loose without cutting itself.
    At the moment, it does not sense you and is near panic.
    {If you have a way to understand/ speak it’s language- goblinoids will at least let you communicate although it speaks a localized mix of goblinoids with the orcish of its masters. You get to act first as the creature is distracted.}

    Maethor, sitting out in a more open area can see the cliffs against the cloudy night sky as a little bit of lightning plays in the clouds. You can also see lights in some of the caves farther away. It looks like a group is working with torches for a little while then they all go out. You can smell the goblinoids (goblins, orcs, trolls, ogres) amid the other stenches in this canyon. The stench of death and undeath is also strong along with the various smells that come from butchery of other creatures. The priestess has worked on her part of the fort, but the more pleasant smells to not cover the gore lingering here for you.

    The Dwarves have asked that no one leave the encampment alone. (Even the patrols are to stay within sight of the walls.) However, what you actually do is up to you.

    At this point you are not sure who is still up and around. Most everyone has gone to their separate camps, but you can hear the dwarves talking, and quiet music from the human/ elven camp with bits of hushed laughter.

    *****

    Maethor's sensitive nose had finally gotten used to the stench of the land but a fresh breeze brought the scent of danger to his olfactory processor. The gems he had handed out to his new colleagues would glow a dim red to signal danger. They not only communicated thought but expressed the feelings through the vivid array of colour.

    ~ Stay alert friends ~ he thought as he held the gem tightly. ~ There may be danger close at hand ~

    He gathered his weapons and opened a pouch of crystals on his belt. He placed one on his gear that he left by his resting spot and started to follow his nose into the shadows.

    Being a Shapeshifter he was more adept at climbing and moving through the forests edge. He comes upon Shade moving along her trap line. He raps a finger on the tree trunk to signal to her he was close by and in a supportive role to her if she discovered anything. He heard the goblin and he curled his lips to reveal sharpened teeth in disgust for the creatures.

    He was no fan of goblins or any of the race of Orc or noids. They stole, burned, pillaged as they saw fit. Taking from others who had built great things only to be turned to evil. He had witnessed villages and towns be ransacked by the hordes and he had killed many in retaliation. Their weapons were crude but effective at killing someone and they weren't to be taken lightly. He attuned himself to the world around him listening and sniffing to see if there were more in wait. It could be an ambush for the traveling band and he was going to make sure that if it was, the others would know. He held a crystal in his left hand. It was a signal crystal that when sparked with create a bright flash of light high in the sky should he squeeze it hard enough. It only had one charge in it and they were rare to find. He would be cautious on when to use it.

    *****

    Maethor can smell this stinky little rogue, and a few others in the distance moving closer as they work their patrols. They seem to have been alerted to the noise.
    You also smell something else. Something with fur and the stink of a bloody, fearful death.

    As Maethor and shade get closer and are deciding how to deal with this creature, it freezes. It eases its head up, sensing or seeing something you don't. The blood-death smell is closer and you notice that the bird and incest song that persisted even with the Goblin's struggles have ceased.
    The Goblin drops the crude knife and quickly raises it's stone tipped spear to meet the charge of a black and grey stripped jungle cat that erupts from the brush in a flurry of claws and teeth. The spear breaks off as it hits the cat's bony chest plate and the goblin all but explodes in a bloody spray of gore.
    The jungle cats seems to have more appendages than it should as it rends meat from bone, taking the extra half-second the shred the goblin's bag holding Shade's trappings. The creature moves quickly, but you spot two sets of powerful forelegs, a pair of over-sized hind legs, and two flailing, whip-like appendages that rip flesh from every thing they grab onto. The creature is dark grey with black stripes and has a furrowed ridge of bone on it's head and another covering its chest and lower ribs.
    From nose to rump, the creature is nearly 10ft long and weighs close to 500lbs. It's tail and whip-like appendages are also nearly 10ft long.
    The creature seems to be in a mindless rage, until it stops and slowly looks up to where Meathor and Shade are watching. It seems to fade away and reappear a few feet to the left of where it was standing and lowers itself into a crouch. When it lowers, the whip-like appendages coil down along the creature's sides. You can see the ends of these opening in closing and look to be filled with hooked barbs. The creature's dark grey eyes seems to be backlit with a silver fire as it watches you.
    The jungle around you is still and quiet and you realize that the cat struck in near silence. You can actually hear the drops of sprayed blood falling from the leaves.

    *****

    Shade remained perfectly still, almost unable to breathe through pure terror, but something was nagging in her mind, this creature had killed something that was perceived as an enemy, could it be that this incredible and unusual beast was in some way assisting the pair?
    She didn't blink, her eyes maintaining perfect contact with the jungle cat, everything around them was still, and perfectly quiet, 'somewhat unnerving' she thought to herself. It was unlikely that any of her available weapons would have even made a dent, had it attacked however, she would have needed to find something, and fast.

    She continued to stare, waiting for someone else to make the first move, it was possible that this strategy would be her downfall.

    *****

    Fear was the killer on the battlefield and Maethor felt fear when he watched the creature strike. Cold waves of adrenaline prickled over his body and his hands started to shake as his muscles became fueled to run or fight.

    This creature attacked with such ease and silence that even the goblin had no time to scream its last breath. It was both beautiful and dangerous.

    He checked his armour and felt the reassuring tug of the shields upon his forearms. If this beast was of evil creation and wanted to harm his compatriots, then he would be the first to fend and alert the others to the cause. His animal instinct screamed at him to run, but the warrior side demanded that he fight if only for the honour of dying in battle against a stronger opponent. He took a breath and fell.

    He landed in a readied crouch, shields spaced out in front of him with his teeth tucked behind lips in a firm grimace and eyes contracted to focus only on what was important. His unsteady hands were now firm fists as he readied for both the worst and best. He was raised in nature on the isle of Kasia and had a good understanding of beasts mainly because he was a splice of them.

    He let his feelings flow as he stretched one hand out towards the creature. With his curse of not being able to speak he decided body language would be the next best thing.

    Fear was the killer on the battlefield but one only had to understand the fear before he could use it to his advantage.

    *****

    When Maethor fell the creature disappeared and reappeared several feet away, still crouched, waiting to strike. It licked its muzzle and its tail slowed its twitching.

    Shade saw the cat move and knew that if it struck, she would have little chance on her own. She also noticed that the beast was more focused on her companion.

    Maethor's animalistic instincts told him something was wrong here. Maybe it was a smell, maybe it was something peripheral, but he lay himself flat on the ground and rolled, covering himself with his shields as the cat launched from the side...
    One instant it was in front of him, the next it was leaping from the right, claws extended and tentacles whipping in.

    Shade turned to see the large cat monster coming at Maethor and knew she would have an instant while the cat attacked to do something, otherwise the creature would be able to attack either or both of them upon completing its leap.

    ******

    In the sheer moment of pure terror, it almost seemed as though Shade's body was not her own. She didn't feel it as her hands raised, neither did she feel her tongue quickly lash sharp, but mostly unintelligible, words.

    It was almost as if everything had gone into slow motion, in reality however, adrenaline was now flowing through Shade like blood. Her fingers began to tingle before suddenly a small blue orb appeared in the palms of her hands. Without hesitation, the young half-elf launched the relatively weak ice-energy spell towards the cat monster with the hopes of delaying it's advance. Whether it had or not, Shade pulled her hands back and began charging another spell. The ruckus had also seemingly caught the attention of some of the others at camp.

    "Zee-na, Aluk muun ta enemor Ek fa..." Shade started in an almost trance-like state.

    Maethor's reaction time was the reason he avoided getting hit by the whips that snapped out from the body of the beast. His roll brought him to stand beside Shade and he bared his teeth aggressively at the creature.

    It wasn't friendly and certainly wasn't within reason to calm down. It wanted blood and so Maethor settled into the course of giving the creature what it wanted. He raised his right arm to point the shield in the direction of the creature. The diamond edges slid back to reveal a blade that brimmed with blue light and in a shhnkkk sound, the blade launched bound by a thin cable in an attack that would cause lightning and kinetic damage should it make contact with flesh.

    *****

    {OOC unless you specify a target for your attacks, I'll go with what makes the best story and figure you are aiming for center mass, esp when reacting like this encounter. That said...}

    The ball of icy magic struck the large cat-like beast in the face. The icy blue orb enveloped the cat's face, freezing it's whiskers and glazing the creature's eyes, leaving a frost on the fur as the magic dissapated into the creature's skull.
    Before the beast could react to this sudden unusual pain, unlike anything it had ppreviously encountered, Maethor's blade struck it's side, partially separating a tentacle. The lightning hit the wounded, blinded cat, sending it into a cunvulsive frenzy that pulled Maethor from his feet before his blade came loose.
    The cat thrashed to its feet then started 'blinking'. It was in front of them, then to one side, then back and to another side, and back and then in yet another direction. The creature was terribly woulded, blind, yet was regaining control as it sniffed out its attackers.


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    Re: Cave City Introductory Adventure

    Post  Kieyotie McDermott on Mon Dec 05, 2016 6:07 pm

    "Zee-na, Aluk muun ta enemor Ek fa et zum Kali-FAH!"

    Shades' trance-like state suddenly subsided as her eyes opened widely and instantly focused on the creature. It had moved, but her mind had known where to seek him out. Maethor had managed to injure it, even severing a tentacle like appendage before shocking it with some-kind of enchanted weapon. It's convulsions had made it difficult to target, but as the energy finally reached her fingertips, several sharp shards of ice formed in her palms before she threw them towards her target.
    It seemed as though she was aiming for the body, but didn't see the effect of her spell as the convulsing creatures tendrils lashed around. Upon receiving a sharp flick to the ankle, Shade rolled backwards on her arms behind Maethor.
    "Sure would be nice if we had a fuckin' healer!" She called out to the camp angrily as blood began to seep from her wound.
    "Ah, great..." She muttered woozily, "Poison."
    Suddenly, Shade passed out behind Maethor as he continued to fight the creature.

    *****

    {OOC: Sorry, no poison on this creature. Maybe allergic reaction, or just an excuse to faint?
    [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] for Player knowledge, not Char. use as no one directly involved recognizes the creature.}

    Shade's call for help arouses those left in the camp. It also alerts others in the woods to the situation.

    The large cat pauses, looks around into the trees and vanishes again. Maethor can sense where the beast is even though it appears somewhere else a moment before bounding off into the trees, fleeing the area.


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