Wiki Gaming:Caves of Chaos/Archive

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Day 1[edit]

The Keep[edit]

DM. For many days, perhaps weeks, you have traveled along the many roads of your pasts to the eastern reaches of Gaelerion for reasons of your own. By pure happenstance, you have stumbled upon each other along the trek, still strangers to one another, yet having grown familiar with one another, for perhaps you may be stronger together than alone. As you enter these borderlands between law and chaos, farms and towns are infrequent, and travelers all the more rare. Into the valley, the well-worn yet well-maintained road climbs higher into the forested wilderlands.

At last, now around dusk, you see the Keep of Lord Dyson, standing above the few farms and homesteads surrounding the plateau atop which it sits. You climb up a narrow, rocky trail; a sheer wall of uncut stone to your left, and a steep cliff along your right side. At the end of this trail, atop a small plateau, stands the gated keep. All along the wall, you see curious blue-clad crossbowmen peering down at you, while two pikemen stand guard out front of the gate. As you approach, a woman shouts from above, "State your name, profession and intent!"

Decca raises her voice so the mysterious woman can hear, trying to be as cordial as possible. "I am Decca. Performer, porter, and novice spellcaster. I have followed these traveling companions for several days and it should be clarified we each have our own desires, with no leader or representative among us. I for one seek trade and employment, or at least a safer stay than another night in the wilderness." She turns to the others. A plant, a lizard, and and a bug—no wonder these people were suspicious of the group.

Wfoz. Wfoz peers up towards towards the battlements, and maneuvers in front of the pike-men. With the most booming voice he can manage, Wfoz shouts "Mmy nzame izz Wfoz. Mmy ttrzibe izz Herametz. I lozzt Herametz whenz we lefft tthe Undezrderkk. I wezz ttrzownz overzboeerd inz tthe sttorm. I eem a Pizzreete! Mmy frrienzdzz eerre powerzfull, zzo wez wanzt zto help Lord Dysonz. Wee seekk adveznture!"

In'Za. "My name is In'Za. I am a Paladin, a Keeper of the barriers between planes. I came in response to Lord Dyson's call for adventurers. I wish to help rid the land of the monsters and thieves who ravage it."

DM. The men stare blankly at you all for a minute, before she shouts again to open the gate. As the gate opens, you see a man walking towards you as he looks up at the woman above,"Corporal Sterling, what's all this noise? Do we have visit- By the gods!" he exclaims upon seeing you all. He appears to be in his late 40s, immaculately groomed and clad in ornate slightly shimmering full plate armor, with a bastard sword in his similarly decorated scabbard and a tower shield strapped to his back. Walking alongside him is a robed figure, short and shrouded by the loose-fitting garment, face obscured by a drooped hood. The former man walks with a steady, intentional pace, his back straight, head held high and hands clasped behind his back. A military man, maybe a high-ranking general or minor noble based on his appearance. His voice is booming and demanding, but never crude or slight with emotion. He's almost diplomatic, in a cold and formal way of his demeanor.

"I mean: welcome, doughty adventurers to My keep, ye who have heeded my call to arms for fame and fortune, and the Favor of Her Most Majestic Excellence Her Majesty Lady Empress Gaelerion-Concord VII. I am Lord Dyson, and all around you is My lands, and I should warn you to do no harm to My property or My people. As I have made myself clear, let it be known that you are welcome to My keep and Its services, within the fullest extent of the law of Her Most Majestic Excellence Her Majesty Lady Empress Gaelerion-Concord VII." He motions all around to indicate his keep and its environments, then indicates his companion, "This is the Magist Freeman, who is to be disturbed only in urgent matters of the arcane, and only then with due payment." He continues, "In all other respects, the inn, smithy, Church and all other services as appropriate per time of day, are open to you with full payment for services rendered. I might recommend first the inn — most would-be adventurers visit it first."

"Now, if you'll excuse me, I have other matters to attend. You're dismissed." He leads his shadowy companion back the way he come, towards the large fortress on the opposite side of the keep. You overhear him whispering to his friend, "What were those things? Adventuring parties are not what they used to be." The magist simply nods in agreement as he walks.

Player map of the keep.

In'Za. (we got high-key burned lol) In'Za bows to Lord Dyson before entering the keep and beckoning Decca and Wfoz to come with him.

Wfoz. Wfoz follows the party to the inn. Once there, he inquires about how adventurers are asked to help Lord Dyson, and what we can expect in return. What tume of day is it, and what is going on at the inn?

DM. Corporal Sterling climbs down the battlements. She is dressed in plate mail and carries a shield, with sword and dagger at her waist. Beside her is a scribe in robes who records the name of each person who enters or leaves, and flanking both is another man-at-arms in plate armor with pole arms. She addresses you grouchily, "I am Corporal Sterling. Rule 1: Your names have been logged so you may come and go as you please. Rule 2: Your weapons must remained sheathed and your mounts must remained stabled, for so long as you are within the keep. All possessions not on your person will be stored in the warehouse. Rule 3: You may not enter the Inner Bailey without explicit permission from Lord Dyson."

When dismounted, lackeys come from the stable to take the mounts or mules. Any goods which are not carried by you are stored in the warehouse. Another lackey shows you to the Traveler’s Inn.

It is now about 7 PM (1900) and the sun has set on the mountains to the east. The Traveller's Inn (formally the Traveller's Inn & Tavern) is a long, low structure with five small private rooms and a large common sleeping area with a capacity of around a dozen. A sign lists the prices as 1 gp per night for private rooms, but only 1 sp per night for sleeping the common area. A door to the upstairs has a sign indicating no trespassing.

A thick, sturdy wooden door is all that separates the inn from the tavern. Within the tavern is the inn/barkeep, a sleazy-looking bald-headed man of short height and average weight. Despite his looks, he seems well-liked, and can be seen chatting with one of the tavern's 8 patrons, an armed and armored dwarf, at the bar. Your attempts to gather information reveal an odd warning not to trust your party, as well as rumors of dog-headed humanoids in the caves to the east, which are also purported to be the location of a kidnapped princess.

Item Cost
Ale 5 sp
Small beer 1 sp
Wine 5 sp
Honey mead 1 gp
Bark tea 1 sp
Bread slice 1 cp
Bowl of pudding 1 sp
Bowl of soup 1 sp
Bowl of stew 5 sp
Roast fowl 1 gp
Roast joint 2 gp
Cheese wedge 5 sp
Fruit 1 sp

Wfoz. Wfoz walks over by the Dwarf, standing before the counter, the flasks of ale, and the stored bottles of wine. Waiting for an opening in their conversation, I quickly interpose. "I wazntt an Ale, zzirz. Whatt are yourr znammes?" After getting his ale, he informs the dwarf "Czheerz, Metz!" and takes a gulp from his tankard. "We mayz look differrezntt," as my antennae perks up and the last glimmers of sunlight shine through my spine to create deep shadows on the bar counter and the floors. "But, we arre powerzfull. We hearrdz tthee preencezz izz in ttrrouble. Do botth off zzou find adveznturerzz likzz mmy frrienzdzz aznd I ffitt tto rezcue herr?"

In'Za. In'Za purchases a bark tea and some roast fowl. "I assure you, none of us mean any harm. You don't look the kind to be intimidated by the likes of us."

DM. The dwarf nearly falls off his stool as Wfoz startles him, "By the gods, bug-man!" the says gruffly, "I thought you was some monster here to eat us all!" He composes himself and orders another ale, "My name is Banain." He drinks to your toast. The barkeep introduces himself after bringing your drinks and informing the cook of In'Za's order, "I'm Olaf Ginte, local Guildmaster and proprietor of the Traveler's Inn & Tavern," he speaks softly, "And strange as you may look, I've seen far more terrifying things in my travels." They both laugh heartily at In'Za, " you? Hahaha!" The barkeep continues, "They say no one has ever returned from the caves," he smiles roguishly, "But if you're really so intent, I do have a map that can take you right there. Just 1 gold piece." After he finishes laughing, the dwarf gives a piece of advice, "In return for the laugh, I'll give ye a piece advice from me adventuring, lad: altars are dangerous, 'specially if they be found far from the prying eyes of civilized folk."

Jack. The sound of laughter draws my attention to a odd-looking group speaking with Banain and Olaf. From my place in the corner of the tavern, I study them as I did to everyone when I was in town. I managed to catch one word from their conversation. Caves. I rise to my full height and begin making my way to the group, my clawed feet clicking on the floor. Only adventurers would be interested in the caves near here, since there was only one of interest. I could use some adventurers.

Wfoz. Wfoz waits until the rest of the party gathers around, making small talk with the dwarf and the barkeep. Then, he asks the rest of the party "Do we wzantt tto rezcue tthee preencezz, tto zzhow our inteznttionzz? We will zzkkip tthe altterz of courze." Depending on their answer, Wfoz will buy the map. Talking to Jack, Wfoz invites him into the group. "I zee zroomm ffor you iff you wanzt tto help Lord Dysonz likke uz."

Decca is quietly drinking from her bowl of soup (for which she, if there is no objection, will pay a silver piece). From behind In'Za and Wfos she rises to her feet to stand on her stool, required as such for her height at the table to meet that of some of these giants. A gold piece is slid across the table towards Wfoz to meet his palm, and thereby answer the question he just posed. Without a word Decca returns to sit at her soup. Should the dwarf or anyone else look her way, she will offer a respectful nod of greeting, but return to her soup lest words be exchanged in her direction. (I'll stay in for now. I'm perfectly willing to cede my spot and have Decca attend to other "urgent business" if newcomers considerably expand the party, however.)

DM. Olaf takes Wfoz's gold piece and pockets it, then reaches under the counter and pulls out a rolled scroll and sets it up the table, careful not to touch Wfoz. He also pockets Decca's silver piece. Olaf smiles, "You've made a smart choice, bug man. And remember: if you do find gold in those hills, be sure to bring it back and spend it at find establishments such as this one." The dwarf raises a mug of ale, "I'll drink to that!" and takes a swig of his ale.

Jack. As I draw near them, one of them turns and talks to me. It looks like an oversized bug, but it isn't its appearance that gets me. I take a step back as it talks to me. I recover after it buys some sort of scroll, "I am going to guess that I was asked to join ye. Why? I walked over here wearing nothing save me loincloth and backpack, and ye ask me to join. What makes ye think I want to join ye?"

Wfoz. "I jjuzt gott a map off whezre tthee preencezz izz. She izz in tthee cavves too tthee Eazt. My rresponze, Jjackk, izz iff you wanzt tto rezcue tthee preencezz, and iff you wanzt tto help Lord Dysonz likke uzz, ttheen jjoizn uzz. Whhatt are yyourr planz witthzoutt uzz, Jjackk?"

Wfoz also tries to get more concrete information about the map. "Banaizn, arre tthe cavves too tthee Eazt whhere tthee monzterz arre? Whezre arre most off tthee altterz?"

Decca catches the attention of that giant dragon-looking fellow with a motion of her hand, "Sir, we're a bunch of odd-looking misfits—and at least two of us are now trying to rescue a precious noblewoman who may not yet still live, by going into caverns the locals are wise enough to avoid. Capable as we are, we are not gods. Suffice to say any aid we can get on this quest is more than welcome... and suffice to say any role you play in successfully rescuing a princess will be rewarded with more than just coin."

That said, she turned towards In'Za, "I assume rescuing a princess appeals to you? You are coming with us, right?" The little deku was making every effort to make her invitation to this suicide mission seem as nonchalant as possible. Decca knew her days were numbered anyway; to her, these life-and-death situations were feeling less and less dire.

Jack. I sigh at the bug's response, "Ye got me. I was just a little surprised at how... open ye was. For all ye knew, I was just some traveler coming for a drink. As for Lord Dyson, I suppose helping him is something. In truth, me plans were to visit town as see if I couldn't find someone to help me clear those caves and if not, go alone." I nod towards the talking plant, "Aye, I will come with ye. M'name's Jack. Jack of the Forest. Ye can guess why that's me name. But it matters not. I can help guide ye to the caves, I've been there before. However, me reasons are me own."

Decca. "Well met, Jack. I am called Decca." She gestures to the others, "These are Wfoz Herametz—did I pronounce that right this time?—and In'Za. Travelers, adventurers, that sort of thing... You can probably tell from looking at us why we're together."

DM. "Caves?" asks Banain, "Oh right, the caves. Never been there myself, though I do believe they're to the east somewhere. Can't rightly say for sure of an altars. Just a piece of advice I give out from...personal experience." At that, the dwarf returns to drinking. Olaf looks at Jack doubtfully, "You went into the caves and lived?" he asks with an insinuation of disbelieving you, "I think I'd have heard of such, dragonborn." (I know you're not a dragonborn, but Olaf doesn't care to know the difference)

Jack. Despite my face being unable to display most emotions, it can do irratation pretty well. My eye ridges lower as I retort, "I am a scaled dracon. Remember it. As well, I've live in Fellgrim Forest for over 200 years, of course I've been to the caves. It is only recently that... things have been happening," I lean forward and lower my voice, "And therein lies me reasons. The forest around those caves isn't right. It feels strange and unnatural. The trees seem dark and menacing. Animals don't dare get near it. Even I feel out of place, an outsider, when I'm there. I can't stand it. That forest is me home. I want whatever is happening in those caves to stop, no matter the cost to me." I turn towards my newfound companions, "But I haven't been to those caves since this all started. I have no idea what waits there. Even so, will ye help me?" (If anything I wrote contradicts your plans, go ahead and cross it out.)

Wfoz. "All wee arree lookizng forr izz tthee dogg-headed humaznoidzz zwho havee tthee preencezz capttuzreed. Theen we can askk Lord Dyson morre aboutt tthee cavvez." Wfoz keeps talking with the patrons in the tavern until he is ready to fall asleep. He pays for a nights stay in the common sleeping area (how much does this cost?), and beds down near the rest of the party. Although his body keeps making buzzing noises as he enters his dreams, its no worse then the snoring from the many other patrons. When the morning comes, Wfoz gathers his weapons, straps his armor and backpack on "Herametz! Lettz rezcue tthee preencezz!" and leaves together for the caves.

In'Za. In'Za rises from meditation in the sleeping area and joins Wfoz at the keep gates. "You would call us part of your clan? I am honored." In'Za bows deeply to Wfoz.

Jack. I tilt my head as Wfoz speaks, "Presence? Some dog-headed humanoids captured a presence? Why are ye looking for pres- oh, I see. Princess. Very well. Forget I said anything, then. It likely won't be important." I turn to Olaf, "I suppose it doesn't really matter whether ye believe me or not. It happened and that's all." I give a mirthless, dry chuckle and say, "I think I need to rest and think. I'll see ye the morning. I'll wait for ye at the forest's edge east of the keep." I turn and head for the door, muttering under my breath as I go, "What was I thinking, sharing me life story? Did I honestly expect anyone to care? That is a weakness I cannot afford. Me life doesn't work that way, never has, never will. But just something about them..." I leave both the tavern and the keep, making my way the forest. I delve in a short way and curl up among the trees, falling to sleep after once more berating myself. In the morning, I return to the forest's edge, and wait for others to arrive.

DM. (I'll assume that Jack lives fairly close to the border of the woods. The map itself is rather small - maybe 5-10 miles on each side. Jack likely lives about 30 minutes away from the fort. He's reclusive and knows little of what goes on beyond that of normal animals which is why the existence of a Dracon in the forest is unheard of.)

Olaf offers Wfoz a stay in the common room for just 1 SP a night. (For simplicity, I'd like it if everyone could tell me what lifestyle they'll be supporting the next 7 days. Prices can be found in the PHB and maybe SRD, multiplied by 7. I'll assume Jack's is free unless he wants to pay to live in civilization. The keep doesn't allow people to live wretched or squalid inside its borders.)

(In'Za chooses to live a Poor lifestyle, costing 1 gold piece and 2 copper pieces in total. I assume this uses the standard Inn prices.)

Day 2[edit]

The Caves of Chaos[edit]

DM. The journey down the road takes you just over an hour and Jack meets with the party halfway down the road. Passing a large mound around the bend north, you continue up towards the rumored location of the Caves of Chaos, passing through the Fellgrim Forest off the beaten path, as it grows denser, tangled and gloomier. The thick, twisted tree trunks, unnaturally misshapen limbs, writhing roots, clutching and grasping thorns and briars all seem to warn and ward you off, but you have forced and hacked your way through regardless.

Now the strange grown as suddenly ended — you have stepped out of the thicket into a ravine. Its walls — dark, streaked rock mingled with earth — rise steeply to either side to a height of about 100 feet. Clumps of trees, some dead, stand even on the slopes. The opening you are in is about 200 feet wide, and the ravine runs at least 400 feet west. At varying heights on all sides of the ravine are the mouths of caves. The sunlight is dim and the air is dank, with the oppressive feeling of something evil watching. A flock of ravens rises croaking from the ground, the terrain magnifying the beat of their wings and their cries into a horrible sound. Among the litter of rubble, boulders, and dead wood on the ravine floor, you can see bones of humanoids, animals, and other creatures. You have discovered the Caves of Chaos.

Jack. Ever since they had stepped foot in this part of the forest, Jack couldn't stop looking around for... anything. His scales also slightly lifted, giving him a more jagged appearance. "There they are, but there was never that many bones here, only what ye would expect from hunting. It worries me..." I am going to look around to see if I notice anything.

Wfoz studies the bones. Are there any dog skulls here? "Metz, hhow will we kznow which cavve tthe preencezz iz in?" (Wfoz can scavage for food when we stay in the wilderness, and in towns he will be living a poor lifestyle for the time being).

In'Za. In'Za draws his weapons and peers into each of the caves in turn. (Is it dim light or darkness in there? His darkvison has a range of 120 feet btw) (Also, the Rumors tab is excellent)

DM. (BTW, what's the marching order in the dungeon?) Wfoz does not recognize any dog skulls, nor can he identify any species. Does he join In'Za and Jack or do something else while they search?

Jack and In'Za search the grounds (presumably together?) starting with the nearest visible opening (D). The area past the cave mouth features roughly worked stone tunnels that snake off into the darkness. The tunnel ends 60 feet down and you can make out two branching paths about 20-30 feet inside. West of this cave entrance, hidden under a copse of trees, Jack spots another cave entrance (will update map, but it's under the large tree just west of D). Peering in, In'Za spots on a pile of dried leaves the slumbering form of a bear. Up north (A), a thick clump of trees doesn’t quite hide the black mouth of an opening in the ravine wall. Approaching it, Jack notices small dog-headed men hidden in the trees above the mouth of the opening.

Jack. With dog men in the trees, I kneel, as if looking at something. In truth, I was using the action to trick them into thinking I hadn't seen them. It would work fairly well with other animals. After a moment, I call out, "I found something!" while waving my companions over with my claws bared, as if I was casually slashing the air.

Decca has been left behind in the village. Her stubby wooden legs can't keep up with these giants, apparently. (You might as well write her off at this point. Needless to say she isn't in the marching order.)

In'Za. In'Za walks over to Jack with weapons drawn. "We must be quiet. There is a bear in one of these caves. What have you found, Jack?"

Wfoz. Wfoz stops rummaging through the piles of bones, and goes to where Jack is standing, ready for anything. "Jackk, whhatt do you see?"

Jack. Speaking softer, both in answer to In'Za statement and so the dog men don't hear me, I begin pointing at and tracing something imaginary on the ground, "Act as if I am showing ye something. In the trees in front of me, there are dog-headed men hiding. They hide well, but unfortunately for them, I am well experienced at spotting hidden things. If ye must speak now, do so quitely and act like me."

Wfoz draws a diagram in the sand, and takes a ready action to attack the first dog-headed man that attacks someone in the party. He whispers, "we couzldd trz dipplomacz iff they dozntt wazntt tto fightt uzz."

Jack. I point at a spot in the middle of Wfoz's diagram, "I would prefer that, but directly acknowledging them could have dire consequences. In any case, if that entrance is guarded, then it is most likely where the princess or whatever is causing all this is."

In'Za. In'Za takes the Dodge action before suggesting in a whisper to Jack "Perhaps we should enter a cave. When they follow us in, we will be ready, and they will be the ones who are ambushed."

Jack. I raise my head and glance around, checking to ensure nothing is sneaking up on us. I pay special care to the cave In'Za had checked, but I don't look directly at where the dog men are hiding. "That may work, but they seem like they will not follow us. We have been searching around here and they have done nothing more than watch us." I pause, thinking, then shake my head and point at another spot, "This ruse cannot last much longer or they might grow suspicious. My plan if that we get up and decide that whatever we found seems to point to that entrance. We go to it while not looking like we know they are there. If they confront us, we can attempt diplomacy, but if they attack outright, they will not expect us to react like we knew they were there. We might even catch them with their guards down and turn and ambush into a rout.

In'Za. In'Za nods. "On your command."

DM. (Updated map. Which cave are you going into? You're outside A right now. D is the first you visited. E is the one you saw a bear in.)

Jack. (Yes, A is the target, since it has the dog-headed men filled trees near it.) I nod to In'Za, "Good. It will be clear," I turn to Wfoz, "Any questions from ye, Foz?" (For some reason, I see Jack as having difficulty saying Wfoz's name, so he calls him Foz.)

DM. As you approach the cave mouth, the 8 dog men jump out of the tree and attack. Since they're aware of you and you're aware of them, no one is surprised. Initiative order is posted under the combat tab. (I remind you to use the Rolz dice room linked above to roll relevant attacks or whatever. AC is 12 and you're all in melee range with all of the kobolds. Yes, kobolds have dog heads.)

Jack. (Two questions. One, the Initiative above is the current order, yes? That is, Wfoz, then Jack, then the various kobolds, then In'Za (the tenth In'Za, apparently ;) ). Second, what if we do not know have to use the dice room nor feel comfortable about it?)

DM. (Yes, initiative is the current order. Anyone can give their actions before their turn, I suppose, and I'll just run them in order. Ideally, you read the whole recruitment thread and knew you were supposed to use it, and know how to use it, and are comfortable using it. If not, I could run your dice myself, but it might slow the game down some. But being a PbP, slowing it down isn't a huge issue.)

Jack. (Okay. Just tried to use it on my phone and... I hate my phone. It won't even load the page. I'll use the Dice Room if I post from my computer and try to do these parts from my computer, otherwise, I'll let you know if it's my phone. Which this is.) I will use both my action and bonus action to make unarmed strikes to whichever kobold is closest. If they die on the first attack, I will attack the next nearest. 1d20+4 attack roll and does 1d4+2 slashing damage.

Wfoz. Wfoz bluntly states to everyone who can hear him, "We can fforgett dipplomacz, Metz." Wfoz begins dueling a nearby Kobold. 1d20, 15 + 5 = 20. Hit (1d8 & 1d6, 7 & 2 + 3 = 12) for 12 points of damage.

In'Za. In'Za slashes the nearest kobold with his longsword, dealing 2 Slashing damage.

DM. Jack barely understands as the kobolds scream strange warcries in their native tongue, shouting for death to the tall ones. Wfoz cuts a kobold down while Jack misses one completely. The other kobolds shout cries of anger at the death of their comrade and take out their rage on Wfoz. Kobold 5 hits Wfoz for 4 damage. Kobold 3 hits In'Za for 5 damage and Kobold 1 kits In'Za for 4 damage. Kobold 7 hits Wfoz for 4 damage. Kobold 4 hits Wfoz for 6 damage. In'Za hits kobold 4 for 2 damage.

In'Za is now at 5 HP and Wfoz is at -1. New initiative order has been rolled.

Kobold 5 hits In'Za, who is now at -1 HP as well. Jack is up.

(I feel like Decca's absence has left us a bit underpowered)

Jack. (I agree. Now I'm just going to do what I can to get Jack some space to get us out, but he may fall. I really can't do anything else, but fight, I'll likely die to opportunity attacks if I try to flee.) The fact that the kobold ignored me and felled my companions infuriated me, "Just who do you think I am!?" I roar in Draconic, both in anger and hoping I wake a certain something up (bear). I make two attacks, just like before (I would prefer to hit kobold 4 first, if I can reach him).

First attack: 1d20; 12+4=16 Hit. 1d4; 3+2=5 damage

Second attack: 1d20; 20+4=24 Crit! Hit. 2d4; 5+2=7 damage

In'Za. Death save 1d20: 11. Success.

DM. (Sorry I forgot to roll death saves and forgot that negative HP isn't a thing! I meant to roll the death saves, but I guess I forgot and got it into my mind that you should have negative HP instead >_>) Jack kills the two goblins flanking him (4 and 5). Three kobolds wail on Jack, knocking him to 0 HP. Automatic death save failure.

Remarkably, Wfoz wakes up (rolled a natural 20 on death save, +1 HP) just as kobold 3 leans down to rummage through the unconscious In'Za. In'Za and Jack both fail their death saves this round.

Wfoz. Wfoz makes a Stealth check to stay hidden (I doubt the Kobolds know the difference from a dead Rakshia and Wfoz faking to be dead) while he takes an action to help and stabilize Jack. Stealth: 1d20, 11 + 5 = 16. Medicine: 1d20, 6 + 1 = 7.

DM. (What was the help action for?)

GD. (his ability to survive? If you don't want to accept it, since there is not one of the abilities there then just go without it)

DM. (That makes sense. I'll allow it) The kobolds do not notice Wfoz as he subtly tries to assist Jack's recovery. Kobold 2 looks around for other dangers, kobold 6 pats down Jack, kobold 1 looks over the dead kobolds and kobold 7 pats down Wfoz but fails to notice that he's awake.

The kobolds take Jack's hunting trap and rations, In'Za's rations and incense, and Wfoz's 5 days of rations and ornate gold-trimmed pocket-sized trunk and leave you for dead for larger predators to pick at, or maybe serve as a warning for others. "Yak gro woof!" kobold 1 shouts at the others, proudly holding Jack's trap and leading the kobolds towards the cave mouth.

Jack makes his death save with Wfoz's help, while In'Za does not. (Wfoz can delay his initiative until the kobolds are gone, if you'd like.)

Wfoz. Ok, Wfoz delays his initiative until the kobolds are gone. Then, he will make help actions and medicine checks. Do the Kobolds go back to the trees, or can Wfoz get his party to become stable?

DM. The kobolds head into the cave, away from the party. Wfoz successfully stabilizes In'Za and Jack, though they are still at 0 HP and unconscious.

Decca arrives on the scene, riding her mule over to Wfoz. "I had to take care of some things, but—wait, where... what?" The deku takes in the nearby wounded, laying on the ground near the rakshia. Her tone darkens solemnly. "Do they yet live?" After dismounting, she moves towards In'Za and then Jack, rushing to cast cure wounds once on each of them—completely using up her spell slots for the day.

Cure wounds on In'Za: 1d8 + 3 = 7 hit points recovered
Cure wounds on Jack: 1d8 + 3 = 6 hit points recovered

Once the two seem to be back among the living, Decca lets out a sigh. It is a sigh of relief, followed by another one of disappointment. Just from looking at these three, she can tell how the battle went. Questions would have to come later. For now their survival was more important than her intel. Her voice is hushed, "Let's get out of here. If one of you can't walk, you're free to clamber onto the mule... I'm not sure the lass can carry two of you big folks."

Jack. My eyes open slowly to see a familiar wooden face above me. Though, smiling was impossible for me, I would be if I could, "Well, well... Better late than... never, eh?" I get to my feet and survey myself. Decca had done well, but many of my scales were broken or gone I curse and mutter, "Bastards. They just had to bash off most of me scales while I was down (His AC is 14 until he is fully healed). I nod as Decca spoke, "Aye. Never stay where danager is when ye are weak. I won't need the mule, I've lived through worse without one." I nod then address everyone, " Now we could go back to the fort or we could travel about a quater mile west. There we can find clearings (not the Old Watchtower clearing) and we'd be in the territory of a wolf pack. I happen to know this wolf pack and they shouldn't attack us if we leave them alone. We can rest and prepare there, if ye want."

Wfoz. Wfoz waits until the rest of the party has stood up, and gathered their senses together. He is not totally sure how he is feeling about the carnage, with one of his wings slashed apart and his thoarax dripping spots of a purple fluid. In his buzzing speech, Wfoz addresses the rest of the party "Therre may be lotz morre dog-humenz in the cavvez. Do you metz tthiznkk a rezt will be enouzgh?"

In'Za. "We should go back to the keep for now and regroup. There may be more heroes who have accepted Lord Dyson's quest."

Decca. "Guess my cures are getting better." Seeing as everyone is standing just fine, Decca climbs back aboard her mule. "I'm sure there will be many more in the caves, and that's what worries me. Not to be condescending, but it looks like the three strongest fighters in our group were nearly massacred by what might have just been a couple sentries. The element of surprise has already been lost..." Everyone seems to agree that staying here is a bad idea, so she begins to guide her steed away from the caves and the dangers therein.

"I agree with In'Za. We should return to the keep for the night. In the morning we can search for a potential fifth, and possibly gather intel otherwise. It would be ideal to know if we are facing five or fifty. After that," she laughs softly, "We can try killing ourselves again."

In'Za. In'Za casts Lay on Hands on Jack, restoring 3 hit points, and on himself, restoring 2 hit points.

Jack. I glance towards Wfoz, "They are not dogs. They are reptiles like In'Za and myself... They also spoke in a rough form of Draconic, making me think they are somehow related to dragons. Hmm, they seem familiar..." I give a sigh, "I'll see if I remember later, but I will not... oppose going to the fort." When In'Za suddenly lays his hands on me, I hiss and unsuccessfully try to shove his hands away, "Don't touch me! Keep your hands off!" I realize he healed me and gesture to Wfoz and say, "Heal someone who needs it," I stalk off towards the southwest and the road back to the fort and growl, "Let's go, we can't stay here." (Made mistake, meant southeast, not southwest)

Wfoz. I follow the party and our mule, making my way back to the fort.

The Keep[edit]

DM. You limp back to the Keep, beaten and defeated, but fortunately not dead. The journey back is uneventful, and the Corporal orders the bridge lifted for you once more as you approach. She chuckles as you enter, "Back so soon. What, did you trip and fall down a hill? Remember to stable your mule before continuing inside, shrub." She scowls at Decca from atop the battlements.

It's still early in the morning, so you've plenty of time to do things, unless you want to spend the day resting. I assume Decca at least has an agenda for the day (being she's not half-dead)?

Jack. (Thanks to In'Za, Jack's perfectly fine as well). On the road back to the fort, I keep to the back. When I was questioned, I claimed to be guarding their backs, however, I do not speak with anyone, save for short, barely sufficient answers when spoken to. When we grew near to the fort, I stop and watch my companions continue on. If they noticed and turned back, I merely pointed a claw at the fort, gave them a pointed stare, and turned to make my way to the forest. If they did not notice, I merely watched them go before making my way to the forest.

(Yes, a strange post, but when I write in my novel (I am an aspiring fantasy writer) or play D&D, I tend to really roleplay my characters and this is truly what Jack feels like he would do. If you want, I can explain in the talk page.)

I spend my time waiting for my companions foraging and hunting to replace the food I lost and to eat as well as pondering both the creatures we encountered and my own dismal situation.

Decca was a bit put off by Jack's behavior... Once he is behind them, she mutters to her remaining two compatriots, "So is he just like that, or...?"

Decca gives a slight nod to the Corporal and her remark. Her voice is jovial as she shouts back, "In our defense... it was a big hill!" If possible, she would attempt to discern if the woman's rude nature is due to anything other than run-of-the-mill racism. (Would that be a Wisdom (Insight) check?)

Of course, the scrub does stable her mule. A loop of hemp rope and the mule's own saddle stay with the animal, but Decca carries the rest on her person.

Seeing at it is still so early, Decca intends to spend several hours gathering various bits of information from anyone who would pay her heed. She invites both In'Za and Wofz to do the same, if they are willing, but suggests it would be better to do so separately. Some specific questions she seeks to answer are:

  • What do the citizens believe about the "dog-headed humanoids"?
  • Are there a dozen or a hundred of these dog-heads?
  • Have they lived in the caves long? Long enough to fortify them with traps and such?
  • What sorts of things have these dog-heads done in the past? What they might be doing with the princess? (R.i.p., princess.)
  • Would anyone know about an alternate entrance to the caves?
  • Is there any kind of adventurer, mercenary, cleric, or spellcaster who would be willing to aid them for glory and potential riches? Maybe someone who hates these creatures for a justifiable reason? Or someone who has even less to lose than Decca herself?
  • What sorts of things go on in the local Guild House?

As always, Decca would also look for any small odd jobs. Maybe someone needs an experienced performer for a show tonight, or would benefit from a servant of the unseen variety... anything to make a bit of coin before dawn tomorrow, really. After a week's expenses, she fears she will barely have two silver pieces to rub together.

In'Za. "I believe that is just his temperament." In'Za will also seek answers to the questions Decca suggests once inside the keep, although he will be careful to stay separate from Decca while doing so.

Wfoz. Wfoz will also ask the peasants, guards, and anyone who will listen to him about Decca's questions.

(will you make these rolls for us, or do you want us to make them?)

Day 4[edit]

The Keep[edit]

DM. (25 XP for Wfoz, In'Za and Jack) Decca senses that the Corporal's attitude is driven largely by common racism and distrust of strange races. Decca notices an engraving on Corporal Sterling's shoulder that signifies her as coming from the Broken Realms of the Janisary, a small province in south Gaelerion known for its vocal xenophobic tendencies and frequent attacks by humanoids. Considering their tendencies, it is surprising that the Corporal is as polite as she is about her racism. She scoffs at Decca's reply, but says nothing further.

You spend the rest of the day and the next gathering information in the keep and the surrounding homesteads.

  • The locals know little about the dog-headed beasts except that they occasionally work with larger creatures in raiding caravans and some outlying farms, but as they've only been seen at night, no one has gotten a good glimpse. Decca hears from one merchant that Lord Dyson once referred to them as "kobolds" when talking with his Magist. Rumors tell of a larger species of dog-men living very high in the caves, though you can find no one who has survived a direct encounter with them.
  • Local gossip suggests that dozens of kobolds live in the caves and are the largest population of humanoids therein.
  • The kobolds have inhabited the caves for at least a couple of years, as they were there prior to the establishment of the keep.
  • The people look away uneasily when asked to theorize as to what the kobolds might be doing to the princess. One frowns and shakes his head, while others reiterate that the kobolds have mainly raided farmsteads for livestock and caravans for food and water and the occasional hoard of shiny goods and arms and armor.
  • The locals are quite clear that there are multiple entrances to the caves, with most estimates being between 8 and 11. One hunter reports that, while in the area, he came across an opening not far from the valley where the caves are located. He says he walked down it some ways, before turning back when he heard strange sounds of moaning and shrill piping coming from deep within.
  • In'Za is able to attract Gerald, a cleric of Theokahrm, patron god of guilds/guildmasters. While normally devoted to the guild, he is willing to accompany you to keep the guild safe from incursions, as well as allow it to spread its influence. In exchange for 25% of the riches, of course. Do you agree to his terms?
  • The guild is primarily a den of opportunistic rogues, chartered by the taverner Olaf, who serves as its guildmaster. However, instead of operating as a thieves guild, it is more of a mercantile/artisans guild taking advantage of the trouble in the area — after all, who needs a protection racket when there's bandits out there to rough up caravans for you? As such, the guild houses and protects most merchants and craftsmen in exchange for a percentage of their goods.

Decca finds work as a performer at the tavern the night of the 13th at 8 PM until 2 AM the next day, making 4 GP.

In'Za. In'Za tells Gerald he will consult with the rest of his party (which he does), and return with an answer.

Wfoz. I rest for a good portion of the days, talking to people at the Inn, showing them the map, and inquiring about answers to our question. Once we have spent one night at the Inn, and the next is approaching, Wfoz gathers around the rest of the party at one of the many tables in the Inn. As we discuss our answers, and the sun sets over the bar counter and through Wfoz's spine, I voice my concern.

"Itt zeemzz likke thezre are lottz more kkoboldz thezn we inttended. Thezre couldd be whole cavve nettworkz thezre. I wizh we could get thhe informattiozn aboutt how the prinncezz is beinng held captivve, and how we can eezilyy gett to her. Meyybe, we could capturre a kkobold? If we gett the right one, it could givve us the informattiozn we need."

Wfoz is againt hiring help, since he is of the opinion that we need concrete information before making a rescue attempt again.

(In'Za is also against hiring him btw. 2 against, 0 for so far)

Decca. Decca is already playing at the tavern by the time In'Za and Wfoz come in. Between sets she makes quick conversation, "Good, sounds like we found some useful information. As for Gerald, of course we should hire him—I'm not sure why you two are opposed. Even if the fellow can barely swing a mace, any cleric would be helpful if we're fighting dozens of them, and those rates don't seem too bad."

"Capturing a kobold seems like a very good idea, Wfoz." She glances to the side, "I do have some experience with interrogation, so I could of help in that department. You might be surprised how persuasive a deku scrub can be."

Decca is sure to only briefly engage in conversation or planning between her sets. She doesn't want to make a bad impression—this is a pretty good gig, after all.

Wfoz mentions that 25% is more than our share, but agrees that it is urgent enough to enlist the help of a cleric. Wfoz approaches the cleric, and informs him of the party's choice to ask for his assistance in saving the princess. After dancing and singing into the night to Decca's performance, Wfoz falls asleep in the common quarters. As the morning comes, Wfoz puts his armor on and gathers his possessions, ready to rescue the princess again. He gathers the party and the cleric together, and leaves together to meet Jack.

Decca. Assuming In'Za has no need of Decca for the rest of the night and nothing else eventful happens, after the end of her work she'll get a quick dinner, finish a long rest in the common room, and get a light breakfast in the morning. Of course, she will fetch her mule from the stable. (While outside of a keep or other populated settlement, Decca can generally be expected to be riding her mule unless stated otherwise — lest these giants would outpace her again.)

As the four of them head off to find Jack, she introduces herself to acquaints herself with the human(?) cleric. She'd like to make an Wisdom (Insight) check to determine how this cleric feels about the party, especially if he shows any behavior suggesting nefarious intent.

Jack. (Am I right in assuming Jack found enough food while foraging/hunting to replace the lost rations?)

DM. Jack finds 5 pounds of food and 8 gallons of water, enough to last any member of the party 5 days and 8 days, respectively.

In'Za. After taking a long rest, In'Za gathers his equipment and heads to the keep gates to meet with Decca and Wfoz.

The Caves of Chaos[edit]

DM. Decca converses with Gerald, who seems more open to the idea of plant-people than others in the keep, and thanks In'Za for the opportunity to be here. He relates that him and his sister were born into a convent, though his mother died some years ago, and his great-great-grandfather died in the Battle of Castle Morningstar. He shows you his left hand, which is missing its ring finger, and he explains that its removal was a rite of passage in the convent. Decca cannot make out his intentions, but she has no reason to believe that he is dishonest in his loyalties. The trek takes just over an hour, as before, and you arrive some time after noon. There is a light wind blowing through the valley, and you can see dark clouds in the distance with several lightning bolts raining down. Jack intuits that the storm will not be here for at least a couple of hours.

(Note: Gerald is here at your behest, so he will generally only do what he is asked to do. I can control him in combat unless you have orders to give him, but he will otherwise follow you and do nothing unless otherwise asked.)

Jack. I watch as the group approaches before leaving the forest to greet them, "So ye found someone," I turn to Gerald and say, "A priest, ugh. Just don't touch me or talk to me about yer gods and I don't care what ye do." I then inquire about Wfoz's and In'Za's provisions (which I am aware of are none) and hand them both a 1 lb bundle each of meat and berries wrapped in curious leaves, "The leaf should keep them good for a while. Now let's go. Tell me anything new on the way." As I begin to start walking, I call over my shoulder, "I don't make fires, so the meat is raw." On the way, I tell them that I don't remember the names of the creatures we encountered, but I do know that I saw them serving a dragon.

(Just so you know, Jack's appearance is startling. He looks normal at a glance, but, while his face is expressionless as normal, his eyes sport a forlorn look. Despite towering over his companions, he seems to lack presence, like you'd miss him if you didn't look for him. Finally, his voice sounds weak and incomplete without the arrogant and proud ring it used to carry. Will explain in talk page.)

??? From an area not too far from where Jack emerged emerges several squirrels. It seems fairly evident they were drawn by the scent of food, as they seem to be carrying...well, something? It doesn't seem immediately apparent what exactly they're carrying. But the little animals do seem to be quite interested in where the scent led them to.

Decca. (Are we at the Caves of ChaosTM, or are we still near the keep?) "Oh, look!" Decca dismounts, her voice a tiny bit excited, "I love squirrels. I can talk to them, you know," she casually mentions to no one in particular, "With a bit of preparation, anyway. You might surprised what kind of information little rodents and birds have stored away in their brains." That said, she carefully slips towards the squirrel in an attempt to be non-threatening. She speaks softly, trying not to scare it away, "It looks like it's holding something... which.. you know... is weird for a squirrel... maybe it's an animal messenger meant for one of us?" (I'm not sure if it would be Animal Handling or Insight, but Decca would like to try to spend a moment to figure out the squirrel's intentions—or at least what it is holding.)

Jack. I turn to be greeted by a handful of squirrels chasing after me, "I knew something was following me, but squirrels? I can't even get a predator to follow me, instead I get squirrels... Great..." I mutter before watching Decca, "Animal messengers, eh? I think they just want food. Hmm," I gaze around before approaching and starting to climb a nearby tree, "Should be some nuts up here, give me a moment." I am going to climb the tree.

Wfoz. "Ohh, we arre beizng followed byy squirellz. Jackk, lett me clemb thhe ttzree! I agrree, theze squirellz wazntt tto ttell uz zometthizng." Wfoz uses his wings to flutter upwards, and arms to grapple the tree and make his way up to the nuts. Strength check with advantage, 2d20, 3, 6, is 6 + 1 = 7. Wfoz cannot manage to get his arms around the tree, and his thin wings do not seem to get him anywhere.

Jack. I watch Wfoz's attempt and call out, "Ye suffer from the same thing all creatures with wings do. Ye think that yer the master of high places. Me brother once found out the hard way that is far from true." Athletics check: 1d20; 19+4=23. I grab hold of the tree. My claws make for easy work of climbing it and in moments I am among its branches, picking out nuts, "Squirrels. I am a dracon, basically a dragon. Anything made of meat in these woods should at least be wary of me, if not fear me, but these squirrels just follow me as if nothing is wrong. Am I right? Am I really not but a bunch of lucky scales? I can climb a tree, but I cannot make even squirrels fear me..." I mutter. (Since it is October, aka Autumn, I assume that collecting nuts is easy). I then make my way back down the tree (I am not sure if this counts as one check, so I will make another just in case) Athletics check: 1d20; 6+4=10. (I'll leave this part to the DM, but regardless of how I get down, I kneel next to Decca and set the nuts down in a small pile near the squirrels and wait, whispering to Decca, "It's Autumn. They are likely collecting food for the winter. I would be, normally. Know what it is ye are dealing with and dealing with them is easy."

DM. While Wfoz cannot manage the climb, Jack does so with apparent ease and recovers some acorns from the brightly-colored orange trees by the roadside. Decca cannot discern the motivations of the squirrels, but as they run towards the pile of acorns to hoard them for the winter, they drop what looks to be an amulet comprised of a large arrowhead around fine cord. It looks to be of some value. After the squirrels scurry off into the forest, nothing else eventful happens along the path to the Caves of Chaos, and you arrive as described above, left to pursue whatever course of action you had intended.

Jack. I gaze at the clouds and state, "Storm's coming. Good one, too. Couple hours away."

Decca. "Bless you, furry things," Decca mutters before foolishly sliding the cursed amulet around her neck. Laughing softly, she looks to Jack, "Fetching, isn't it? Probably the only part of my outfit with more than a copper... I wonder why they had something like this, though?"

After riding her mule to keep up with the others, the deku scrub dismounts again shortly after arrival. "As I think was mentioned," she turns to Gerald, "The others have been here before, but I barely caught a glimpse before coming across what I at first thought were corpses..." She looks to the others, "We should prepare as much as possible. There's tons of entrances, right? So looking for a hidden one could catch them off-guard. As long as no one objects, however, I'm going to summon an unseen servant just in case we need it. I need to focus for about ten minutes to do so, but it lasts for an hour after that, and it could save our skin. The invisible servant can spring traps for us, among other little things like that. I'm not sure if any of you other folks--Gerald?--can cast rituals, but if you can feel free to join me." If no one else needs Decca for the moment, she and her mule will be a safe distance away from the apparent caves, and she will spend 10 minutes to ritual cast unseen servant.

Jack. (Are the dead kobolds still there?) I look away from Decca's amulet and point to entrance A, "The... kobolds were guarding that entrance, so that is likely either the main entrance or the entrance closest to something valuable." I take care speak softly. I walk past Wfoz and whisper, "That amulet looks nice, but keep an eye on Decca. Ye never know..." I begin to search to bones to see if I find anything and to see if I can identify any of them.

Wfoz. "Jackk, we dozntt need theirr boznez, we need to capttuzre and entterrogatte a Kkobold!", Wfoz stresed to Jack as he rolls around on the dirt and throws a few leaves over his head. Stealth, 1d20, 15 + 5 = 20. Wfoz jumps between the rocks along the cliffs, hiding and running between the stones, as he makes his way towards the cave entrance. Are there any Kobolds lurking around away from the others? Perception 1d20, 12 + 3 = 15.

Jack. I gaze after Wfoz and mutter, "Goes throough the effort of hiding himself and then runs... What happened to patience?" (Additional questions regarding the bones. How many are there and how many appear fresh? Anything interesting about them, like them being scorched, broken, melted, etc.?)

In'Za. (Sorry about not being very active, my conputer is being repaired and my phone is extremely temperamental.) May In'Za make a Arcana or Investigation check to inspect the amulet? "Decca, may I see that amulet?" If so, 1d20, 15 + 3 (Arcana) or 1 (Investigation), 18 or 16. After investigating, In'Za comments: "I agree with Wfoz. We should move onward." In'Za will follow Wfoz in a more ordered manner. Stealth (Disadvantage): 1d20 18, 18 + 0 = 18. Perception: 1d20 7 - 1 = 6.

DM. (I assume Jack is looking at the bones described in the first description of the Caves of Chaos valley?) Gerald participates in the casting of the ritual, informing Decca that as a cleric, he is more than suited for the task. The bones appear to be a mixture of humanoid and animal skills, femurs, rib cages, etc. None from a humanoid of medium size or larger. Jack cannot positively identify any of them, but does not find anything out of the ordinary about them, though he does notices some bite marks and possibly beak marks - it looks as though the bones were picked apart by animals.

In'Za does not believe the amulet to be magical, though the craftsmanship of the large arrowhead is as exquisite as the cord tied through it. The remains of the kobolds are gone, though their blood still stains the ground where they fell. They appear to have been dragged in the direction of cave E, the trail punctuated by large 4-toed footprints. Wfoz and In'Za do not notice any kobolds in the trees or around the entrance of cave A.

(Am I forgetting anything? I suggest the party wait until Decca finishes her spell before moving into a cave.)

Jack. (About how many bones are there and about how many of them are fresh?) I hiss at Wfoz and In'Za, "Get over here! Do you want to leave Decca behind? She said 10 minutes for her to do her ritual summoning that unseen servant." I turn back to the bones and continue to ponder them. (Jack is trying to determine if these are the remain of the kobold's meals, and if so, he will attempt to guess at the number of kobold from them.)

Decca is presumably too busy ritual casting to reply to In'Za, but doesn't stop him from inspecting the amulet. (If no one objects, let's just skip ahead ~9 minutes and have the unseen servant appear. I'm not really sure how ritual casting works in a PbP, but in live games it isn't a big deal.)

Wfoz. Wfoz will wait where he is, looking for Kobolds, until Decca is done.

In'Za. In'Za does the same.

DM. There is approximately 1-2 dozen bones varying 2 weeks to 2 months in age. Decca's spell goes off without a hitch. Nothing of note happens.

Decca. "Alright, hold this, Buddy." Decca directs her unseen servant to hold one of her four signal whistles. "I expect that is a simple enough object for you to manipulate. Carry it and follow me."

She does what she can to gather the others, "It doesn't seem like they've spotted us yet. Wfoz, you look like you're ready to ambush them alrready... We could try to draw them out again to fight them in the open, which would give us a terrain advantage—we could blow a whistle or make some kind of commotion they would want to inspect. We would likely lose our element of surprise in exchange for that, though. It would be the safer option for the moment, but perhaps the more difficult one in the long run." She glances towards Wfoz again, "Or we can continue searching for any alternative exits," then towards Jack, "Or any kobolds that are out foraging. I doubt creatures like that never leave their caves to hunt." (Intelligence check to see if she would know how often kobolds would leave their caves: 9 (no modifiers). If it would be an Insight check instead, a +3 bonus would instead make it 12.)

"Whatever we decide, I just want to be on the same page this time."

(At this point, assume Decca used the rope to tie her mule to a tree in a relatively secluded location she assumed to be a safe distance away from the caves.)

Jack. I nod at Decca, "Aye. Remember, I did say animals avoid here. However, they either leave the remains of past meals in the caves or elsewhere," I gesture at the bones, "There is not enough here to be from meals and I doubt creatures like them eat plants alone." I pause and shake my head, "But I also doubt that we will find any foraging. I may not have been to the caves for a few years, but I have been in this part of the forest and never found any." I then mutter, " Well, maybe I have and I'm just too pathetic to notice." I gaze off for a moment, then without looking at anyone, I speak once more, "When we enter the caves, I shall lead. The darkness does not bar me and if anything, trap or otherwise, waits hidden in our path, I will find it. Also, we will have to go without light, that could give us away, as such, if yer eyes can pierce the darkness, I'd like ye to watch our backs... As well, if we fight the kobolds again, try to kill them instantly or knock them unconscious if ye can. They fight as a pack, like wolves, each supporting the other... Now, make yer decision and let us go." (Woo. New phone and a lot less problems. Also, question for everyone. Do you feel as if I am causing problems or am just being annoying? Feel free to say whatever, I won't bite or flame anyone.)

Decca points to her faintly glowing orange eyes, "I too can see in the darkness, so I can do as suggested and keep up the rear. I walk slower then you all, anyway..." She gestures towards the signal whistle floating in mid-air, "Speaking of traps—that invisible force can press against the ground at my telepathic command, which could help us to trigger pressure plates hidden along the ground. Generally it can interact with any simple object, albeit only with a tiny bit of strength. When I've done, hm, similar endeavors before, I instruct it to press against the ground ahead of me every few steps. It's been an easy task to recast it ever hour or so."

She sighs slightly, "It's understandable if you all aren't that patient, though. That kind of progress might take a while. When you're someone like me you learn to be perhaps overly cautious."

(I think you've been fine, Agrith. I've generally enjoyed your posts so far.)

Wfoz. Wfoz leaves the cliffs where he was hiding to rejoin the rest of the party, with leaves still stuck in his spine and dirt on his thoarax. "Metz, cavvez arre wzherre I am really att home. I cann zee in the darrk and climb in cavvez. Haha, nott likke how I climbed tthatt ttree tthouugh." Wfoz will take the second position in the marching order.

In'Za. "You also lived underground?" In'Za takes last position.

Jack. I gaze at my companions before turning to Gerald, "Priest, ye will travel between Foz and whoever Decca and In'Za decide will not go last. If ye know the light spell, do not cast it unless we meet something to fight." I turn to Decca and say, "Ye cannot stalk a deer if yer in a hurry. (Modified quote from Christopher Paolini's book, Eldest.) Patience is a must here." Finally, I look to Wfoz and In'Za, "I once lived in a cave. But that was a long time ago. That is not important. What is important is whether we will seek a kobold in the caves or wait to ambush one." I let me companions decide while head over to investigate the drag marks and the odd footprints. I am going to see if I notice anything about the area before seeing what I learn from the marks and if I can identify the footprints.

Decca shrugs and files in second to last, instead of her original insinuation. "Seems like you're eager for it, In'Za." With that, it seems like the marching order will be from back to front: In'Za -> Decca -> Gerald -> Wfoz -> Jack. Unless someone stops her, Decca will be using her unseen servant to interact with the ground about five paces in front of Jack with every step he advances. (Specifically, the servant will be quietly but firmly pressing against the ground.)

DM. (The tunnel is actually 10 feet wide, so you could easily do something like In'Za/Decca -> Gerald -> Wfoz/Jack) Gerald looks at Jack, somewhat bewildered, "I cannot see in the dark as you demis can, but I suppose I can just hug the wall, dragonborn." Jack isn't proficient enough to make out anything about the footprints other than that they are large and four-toed, the foot and and toes both very round, and seem to follow the drag marks towards the cave on the other side of the valley, the sharp-heels of the kobolds making a clear cutting stroke through the soft and fertile dirt.

The interior of the cave is dark, and though that poses no issue to any of you, Gerald clings uneasily to the right side of the rough-hewn tunnel from which you hear intermittent high-pitched talk. Jack sees that the tunnel diverges ahead, offering two different paths, and sees several planks poke out of a pocket chamber to the northeast. However, he fails to notice the pit trap just ahead, only being alerted to its presence after Decca's unseen servant presses down on the lid and plummets downwards before the lid snaps back shut, trapping it within. From both directions, you hear excited chatter and movement from creatures preparing to attack. (PC map updated. Also, I'm thinking of setting up a Roll20 campaign or something mostly for my own use, to keep track of location on the map. If I do, I'll share it.)

Meanwhile, Stella and Remei, having met on the road awhile back and felt their similar worldviews would befit their journeying together, have just arrived at the valley of the Caves of Chaos to witness what looks like an armored figure enter cave A.

Jack. Outside caves I give a sigh. The track were unfamilar. That never boded well. I give a low laugh at Gerald's response, "If we use light, we will be obvious, especially with me green scales against gray rock." I approach the entrance and call out, "Cave's wider than we thought," before entering.

Inside caves I hiss when the pit fall trap is triggered, "Great... I miss a-" I cut myself off when I here the telltale sounds of creatures. I crouch and press myself against the right wall, whispering for my companions to do the same. As I do, I also slowly back away from the trap.

Decca was pleased her servant was of use, only to jolt suddenly at the sound of foreign beings. She follows Jack's lead and hugs the wall; her hand firmly but quietly guides Gerald to do the same. She will ready an action: If a kobold-like creature she can see comes within 20 feet of her, she will make a seed shot attack against it.

Stella "Oi me furry friend. Think e's up to sumtin? Cause i shur do." Stella says kicking her back legs. She then suggests that we should wait a moment to see if he comes right back out and if he doesn't that we should follow him in to see what he's up to. She also takes a moment to examine the surround to ensure they're not being watched (Perception roll 4+2= 6). If she doesnt see anyone she will remain adamant about her first plan and wait for 20 minutes or so for him.

Wfoz.. Wfoz follows his companions, hugging the wall and searching with his antennae for kobolds. He takes a ready action to attack the first kobold he sees with his crossbow, darkvision 60ft., blindsight 15ft.

Remei. "Hmmmmmm. Stay here and keep watch, I want to see what's happening". I dart silently roll 8+3=11 to the cave entrance and peer inside (Darkvison 60ft) perception check roll 12+1=13

In'Za. In'Za presses himself against a wall and readies an action to attack any approaching kobolds with a javelin (darkvison 120ft). He peers outside Roll: 3 - 1 = 2 he sees nothing.

Jack. Remembering our earlier conflict, I ready a dodge if anything attacks me. Stealth ckeck to avoid being spotted immediately: 1d20; 7+4=11

Stella "Good plan me freind! just holler if you need me to com' a rushin' in" Stella will then ready an action that if Remei yells for her she will take a Dash action into the cave. She is currently armed with her shield and battleaxe. Other than that she will continue to stand guard outside until her friend returns (Passive Perception= 12).

Remei. I turn my head briefly and nod once to Stella, whilst dipping my ear tips rapidly twice in acknowledgement. Whilst this is a common enough gesture of silent agreement in Stoatese, I don't expect my new friend to pick up on it yet without these unsubtle human gestures to reinforce them. My left paw is ready on the hilt of dagger, just in case of sudden attack.

DM. Remei spots the rest of the party press themselves up against the wall and hears the scurrying of little feet and shrill voices echo from within the cave. As soon as the kobolds leave their alcove to the northeast, Wfoz, In'Za and Decca attack. Wfoz and Decca hit, but In'Za's javelin flies over the heads of the kobolds. Wfoz strikes down one of the kobolds while Decca seriously injuries another one. Jack and Wfoz see a large rat leading some smaller rats down the western tunnel, coming in at about 15-20 feet away. (Round 1 of combat, initiative has been rolled and time has been set.)

DM. (Current battle map here. Battle map not required for play, but I'm sharing it for those who want it. I made it for my own use. Kobolds and rats are named. Frog is Jack, bugbear is Wfoz, green guy is In'Za, armored guy is Gerald, plant is Decca, goat is Remei, centaur is Stella. Sorry, but those were the most appropriate tokens I could find on such short notice. Line of sight is cut off from being around the corner.)

Jack. I am going to slam my foot on the space in front of me, in hopes of triggering the trap again (I am not trying to enter the space). (If that did not use my action, I am going to attack whatever kobold is in front of me (2 attacks with bonus action). Attack 1: 1d20; 2+4=6 Second attack: 1d20; 13+4=17

Stella Rolls a perception check (1+2=3) to see if she has noticed the sounds of battle yet considering she probably hasn't she calls out to her new friend impatiently to see if he has seen the man yet. "Oi! You see anything yet."

Remei I lean back out of line of sight of the cave, twisting to face my unsubtle friend and gesture wildly, miming frantic stabbing movements and chattering my teeth like rodents in a rather desperate attempt at mime...

Stella "I've got yer back friendo. Here I come!" Im going to use my Burst of Speed ability to take a Dash action as a bonus to run up next to Remei. I should also note that i do not have darkvision and therefore will only run up to my companion and not into the cave.

(It isn't your turn, you can't move or take actions. You can usually talk and stuff (if DM says so), but I don't think you can move except on your turn.)

Jack. (Stella is in the initiative list. I would assume she moves on her turn, after almost everything else. I mean, so far, anytime we've said we do some action, it is assumed we did it on our turn.)

Wfoz. I move 3 diagonal squares to the top left, and begin dueling kobold 3. 1d20, 9 + 5 = 14.. Hit. 1d8 + 1d6 + 3 = 3 + 2 + 3 = 8, for 8 points of damage. "Metz! Thezre arre otherr advveznturrez herre!" Wfoz yells back to the party, after looking down the tunnel.

Jack. (3 spaces diagonally to the top left puts you near the rats, but not close enough to attack one. Kobold 3 is far out of reach of melee attacks unless you head to the right onto the pit fall trap.)

In'Za. In'Za rushes to the front lines next to Jack and throws a javelin at one of the dire rats (keeping his shield drawn). Roll: 7 + 3 = 10. Damage: 2 + 1 = 3

Wfoz. (Wfoz is using his crossbow. Is the figure in the top left a monster or not? It does not have a HP bar on the grid.)

Jack. (If I am right, the figures in the top left are a rat and the dire rat and I forgot Wfoz had a crossbow.)

Decca moves 5 feet northwest and 5 feet north, putting her right behind In'Za and Jack. From this vantage point, she will make a seed shot attack if she can get a clear shot at a kobold; the most damaged one if there are several.

Seed shot attack: 1d20, 20 + 5 = 25. Critical hit! Bludgeoning damage: 2d4+3, 2 + 4 + 3 = 9.

She shouts towards the human, "Gerald, cast that chill touch!" Decca will use her bonus action to inspire Jack, saying something like, "Rip out its throat, Jack!" After saying that, though, she will retreat 15 feet due south.

Remei.As the passageway ahead is already filled with fighters, I stay at the cave entrance, updating Stella what's happening within: "rats and strange dog-dragon creatures are attacking them!" (I assume I don't necessarily recognise kobolds). I appraise the rocks around the cave entrance to see if I could quickly scramble above the entrance, to find a place where I could still see into the cave, and be ready to drop down onto any kobolds that get past the main party and out of the cave. To Stella: "think we could climb up there? Drop on any that escape?"

DM. (The figure in the top left is a rat, but the line of sight block is obscuring the health bar. If you pay close attention, I think you can see the bottom of the bar.) Wfoz jumps over the trapdoor and spins on his insectoid heel-equivalent to face the kobolds, letting off a crossbow bolt that pierces its flesh and sends it hitting the floor. Rat 12 comes up from behind Wfoz and bites through his leather armor for 1 damage, while Rat 11 is unable to chew through it. In'Za skewers the dire rat, and more rats move in from behind. Kobold 5 climbs over his companion's corpse and swings at Jack, but misses. Jack's strength is insufficient to smash open the trapdoor with his foot, but is more than sufficient to knock Kobold 5 dead in one punch, and piles on top of the first corpse. Decca moves in for the kill and blasts a small hole through the already-injured kobold 2 and he slumps to the ground. Gerald moves forward and closes his eyes, reaching outwards with his left hand to project a ghastly skeletal hand which snakes around the corner and grabs the neck of kobold 6, turning its skin a deathly grey before dropping it like a sack of stones. Kobold 4 runs off further down the tunnel, leading you to fend for yourselves against the rats.

Remei thinks the rocks around the cave mouth could be easily climbed, and makes out what looks like the marks of claws climbing it many times over.

Jack. "I can do more than that!" I sar, looking at Decca. I laugh and follow Wfoz, leaping over the trap. I then roar, intending on driving off the rats. Intimidation check: 1d20; 18+1=19.

In'Za. "Don't let the kobold get away!" In'Za runs to the retreating kobold and attempts to grapple it with his free hand. (he's still holding his shield). Roll: 1 + 3 = 4

Stella "A'course we can! Climin's a specialty of the Mitocabra. Lead the way friendo. Jus remember i don see to well in the dark!" When it comes to my turn I will follow Remei to climb the cave walls and will attack any enemy i stop within range of with my battleaxe (Attack Roll 16+4= 20) (Damage 2+2= 4 Slashing)

Decca follows the lead of In'Za and considers giving chase.

  • If her movement (25 feet) can put her within 30 feet of the kobold, Decca will chase the kobold with all her speed and attempt to cast minor illusion in front of it in an attempt to halt or at least slow its movement. The image she would select is a 5-foot wall layered with spikes, designed to look like some magic wall manifestation the kobold couldn't move through.
  • If this movement wouldn't put her within 30 feet of the kobold, Decca abandons the idea of chasing it, and instead casts vicious mockery on one of the rats (Wisdom saving throw DC 13).

Remei I quickly scale the wall, finding a position where I can see into the cave but am largely hidden from those within. (I'm assuming with the outside light dazzling anyone looking out I'd now be difficult to spot for a casual observer). I admire the "nifty hoof work!" of Stella as she joins me, and in a low voice narrate whatever I can see going on. I'm assuming over the sounds of battle we could carry out a low conversation without being too obvious? (DM, are we just curious travellers watching this strange party fighting or have we also been busy given the back information and accepted the quest?) If we came to these caves in the same quest as the others, I'll suggest to Stella we go and help them mop up the rats, but if not, I think I'd rather sit out this battle and discuss with Stella whether we join this motley crew.

Jack. (At the moment, the rats and Wfoz are around a corner. I don't think you can see them.)

DM. (I'm assuming Stella and Remei are above the mouth opening, staring upside-down until the mouth cave? They can't see the rats, but they can still hear fighting. And yes, Remei and Stella are also here to clear the caves :) But you spent this round climbing up a wall, so you can suggest helping, but can't help yet.) Remei successfully climbs above and looks through, observing as the battle rages on and Decca runs down the corridor out of sight. Decca chases after the kobold and casts an illusion of a wall in front of him. Jack leaps over to scare the rats, but they are unfazed by his display. Rat 12 bites through Wfoz's armor for 2 damage, but rat 11 misses Jack. In'Za hurries down the stone hallway, still out of reach of the kobold.

(Just waiting on Wfoz. And I noticed I forgot to roll kobold initiative this round, so he'll go last.)

In'Za (If In'Za is still out of reach of the kobold, can I take the Dash action to move ahead of it instead of the Attack action?)

DM. I will allow it.

Wfoz. I begin dueling the nearest rat with my rapier. 1d20, 5 + 5 = 10. I swing my rapier into the rat's flesh, dealing 1d8 + 1d6 + 3, 5 + 3 + 3 = 11 points of damage.

DM. Wfoz skewers rat 12 with his rapier, and rat 1 moves in to take its place, but it fails to damage Wfoz. The remaining kobold stops in front of In'Za and looks at him in the wall, then back at Decca, and drops his weapons and falls to his knees and starts whimpering. He points back down the tunnel, "Raks sab." he makes a stabbing motion and points at himself, "Raks sab?"

Rat 1 bites clean through Wfoz's armor, damaging him for 2 points.

Decca lets In'Za deal with that kobold. Standing her ground, she turns to the rats and casts vicious mockery on one of them (DC 13 Wisdom saving throw).

In'Za. In'Za steps out of the wall and readies an action to grab the kobold if it tries to escape.

Jack. I snarl at the rat in front of me. "That was a good roar!" I attempt to stomp on it, 1st attack: 1d20; 15+4=19 Hit. 1d4; 2+2=4 bludeoning damage. "And youe act as if nothing happened!" I slash at the next rat, 2nd attack: 1d20; 1+4=5, Critical Fail. (Jack is a litfle annoyed at the moment and he stepped on the first rat.)

Stella hollers into the cave. "If yer wantin help from me. Youll ave to gimme a light cause i cant see in the dark!" She then turns to Remei and explains that it goes against her moral code to not help those in need.

Remei. I tell Stella that two of them have disappeared down the right hand passage and the rest seem busy on the left..."Haven't got any light for you though. Better wait for some and watch your step, there's a trapdoor just before the corridor splits" I leap down and dash down the corridor and over the trapdoor and I will scoot to the right hand side and past Decca to join In'Za. (I'm not sure how far down the corridor In'Za now is but with dash I can cover 80ft climbing/running in one round I believe).

Decca whips out her rapier and nearly makes a stab at the weird lanky creature as it apparently sprints through the chamber, but in her confusion hesitates just long enough for the weirdo to pass by.

DM. Rat 11 bites Jack for 1 damage. Decca psychically slays rat 1, but rat 10 takes its place and hits Wfoz for 1 point of damage. Gerald casts light on his weapon and stands his ground, illuminating the passage in a 20-foot radius. Remei runs down the passage and stops behind the kobold. Jack smashes rat 11 to death. The kobold continues to kneel, holding his hands out in surrender and whining.

Decca unleashes another vicious mockery upon another rat in the hoard, wondering if the beast can even understand her insult of, "You hair-covered excrement, I can smell you from here!"

Stella "Now that's more like it!" I will move to the nearest enemy within my sight line and attack them with my battleaxe (4+4= 8) for ( 1+2= 3) slashing damage. If their is not an enemy that I can move to I will move up to Gerald.

In'Za. In'Za looks in surprise at the stoatlike creature sprinting towards him, but when he realises she isn't hostile, he springs into action. "Guard the kobold, I'll fight off the rats." Persuasion check 8 + 3 = 11 In'Za runs next to Jack and attacks the rat he missed. 6 + 3 = 9, 5 + 1 = 6 Slashing damage on hit.

Wfoz. I run to the kobold, provoking the rats to attack me, and wrestle it to the ground. Athletics, 1d20, 19 + 1 = 20.

In'Za. Seeing Wfoz sprint past and tackle the kobold, In'Za shouts to him "Don't kill it!" before attacking the rat.

Remei. I look down at the peculiar dog headed creature now writhing on the floor and am filled with a strange mix of pity and loathing. It's features remind me of the wolves that stalk my memories and yet I can see it's fear. Insight check to understand it's gestures. 17+1=18 (do I get a +2 as I'm proficient in animal handling?)

Jack. "Ah, ye little rat!" I curse as the rat successfully chews past my scales right before I smashed it. I'm surprised at In'Za's sudden intervention, but I only nod at him, before turning to have a little fun. 1st attack: 1d20; 20+4=24 Crit! 2d4; 6+2=8 bludgeoning damage I attack the first rat I can reach wth the intent to smash it to a bloody pulp, before slashing at the next one. 2nd attack: 1d20; 19+4=23 Hit. 1d4; 2+2=4 slashing damage Finally, I glance around to see what was happening, "A mitocabra, eh? Welcome to the fun!" (The kobold are reptiles, but at a glance or if seen poorly, they resemble dog-headed humanoids.)

DM. Rat 5 bites Jack for 1 damage. Wfoz pins the kobold to the ground and it whimpers as its face is shoved into the dirty rocky ground. Decca slays rat 10 with her mind magic, prompting many of the rats to turn tail back where they came from. Gerald moves to the corner to take a better look at the rat scene. Remei infers from its motions that the kobold was trying to communicate that it was willing to help kill the rats, presumably in return for its life. Stella moves in as far as Gerald at the intersection of the passage, to be greeted by a gruesome scene of piled corpses and smashed rat guts, with other adventurers moving, weaving and bobbing in the heat of battle. In'Za moves 35 feet down the passageway, trying to reach the rats. Jack smashes rat 5 into a bloody pulp, but cannot reach any other rats.

Wfoz. "Metz, I gott a kobold!" I yell over the fleeing rats and their skittering squeeks. I will take the hempen rope out of my backpack while the kobold is grappled, and tie the kobold up with it. "Gett ovrr herr anzd hellp me witth this kobold!" Once the kobold is tied up, Wfoz can stop breathing so heavily. As I get up off the hard ground, I see Stella and Remei for the first time. "Who azre you, and azre you tryizng to hellps the prinzezz? Arre you goizng to huzrt uz?" This makes Wfoz notice that his scratch marks hurt a little, and he asks about them. "Cazn aznyozne helps spattch me up? Itz not too bad, but itz not nicz drippzng fliudz!" Now, more directly to the party, Wfoz asks them. "Cazn anyozne spzek to the kobold?"

Decca readies an action to viciously mock another rat if it comes forward or attacks Jack. She won't attack if the remaining rats all flee in the other direction.

In'Za. In'Za runs back to Wfoz. "I can help with that." In'Za uses Lay on Hands to restore 4 HP to Wfoz.

Remei.To Wfoz, with a gracious incline of the head in greeting "I'm Remei, and my mitocabra friend there is Stella. We've also come to find the princess. I can't speak his language (motioning towards the bound kobold) but I think he was offering to help against the rats...." Peering closer at it "what IS he? He's scaly, like a snake.." I study the kobold with interest and crouch down alongside him, momentarily forgetting everything else. "He looks afraid, but his mates attacked you..Are they normally vicious or are they simply protecting something?" I mutter more to myself, now.

Jack. (I guess I didn't specify that Jack moved between attacks last round. Oops.) I will run and leap across the trap to join the others if rats are not still threatening me (if they are, I will continue to attack them). With a slight limp, I approach and say, "Those rats didn't even flinch at me roar. I haven't roared like that in years. If they didn"t care, then what has caused them to be like that?" If someone tries to heal me, I fend them off saying, "I don't need it. I can deal with this. I'm only limping because of pain. Me kind is a litte sensitive to that, but it is far from enough to stop me." I then turn to Remei, "I'm not familiar with yer kind, but yers," I turn to Stella, "I am. I used to live in some mountains far to the southwest. There was a mitocabra village on the edge. They were nice, but even back then I could have beaten two of their warriors alone. That didn't stop me helping out once in a while. They let me know when that king," my voice when I say 'king' is full of utter disdain and hatred, "decreed that all dragons were to die. He even offer rewards! I haven't seen them since. That was 274 years ago. I wonder how they are doing... Do ye know? But what am I saying? Even if ye were from that village, ye look too young to have met me and I doubt they still remember me." I shake my head before saying to the group, "The kobolds speak Draconic. It goes without saying that I do, too."

Stella "Well nice tmeet yall, and no me friend I aint have no hostilities fer yer kind. Mitocabra are fickle though. One of me pops bannerman stabeed him in the back fer a couple pieces of silver. I swear if I ever find em." She clenches her fist and takes a deep breath "But enough a all that. What are we doing with the snake kobold thingy?"

In'Za. In'Za steps forward. "We should let it live. It may have useful information."

Jack. "Aye, later. Perhaps I know yer father's bannerman... and maybe yer father, but enough of this," I move to stand over the kobold and say, in Draconic, "You. What is your name?" My tone brokers no argue. (Malcior, just so you know, I personally love link characters to other character's backstories or the adventures backstory (or both). It adds interesting elements into play. Just let me know if you don't want Jack knowing Stella's father.)

Stella (I'm fine with and encourage linking so go right ahead) Stella says to In'Za "Don't worry me and me friendo came to help ye so were not here to muk up your plans friend." She smiles warmly at the party. "And thanks for the light boyo" she says to Gerald

Wfoz. "Itz reelly nice to kznoww your not here to hurt uz. Kznowwing that your lookizng for the prinzezz too iz greatt. Want to workk togetther? Lazt time we tried alone, we got hurtt reallzy bad." Wfoz stands the kobold up, and makes sure he is not trying to fight or be unresponsive. "Jackk, can you enterrogatte the kobold here, or should we takke him outtzide the cavves? We need to learzn wwhere the prinzezz iz, why the koboldz capturred her and let her livve, and alzo the eaziest way to rezcue her."

Jack. "I can do so here, but leave it alone. Until I say otherwise, it only looks and speaks with me." I turn to the kobold and, in Draconic, "Ignore them. Unless I say so, you look and speak to me and me alone. Otherwise..." I pull back my lips into a cruel mockery of a smile, "Now, back to my earlier question."

DM. The kobold whimpers and speaks in draconic, "Nogi kriil hokoroni rakke. Hi komeyti Nog lahney? Sab sab rakke. (Nog help kill rats. You let Nog live? Stab stab rats.)"

Jack. (Are you using the draconic translator from online or making it up on the spot? If it is the online translator, I'll use it, too.) I shake my head and, in Draconic, say, "Rats are no threat for now. But I've met your kind and I've always wondered... how do you taste? Perhaps Nog could help with that." I give it that same cruel "smile," "Or maybe you could answer some questions. After all, I suppose I could find something else to eat..."

DM. (I'm using a fill-in-the-gaps Elder Scrolls draconic language. You can use it, another, or none at all. Your choice :) ) "Nog ofan him laani! Nog laan aaz. (Nog answer your questions! Please have mercy on Nog.)"

Jack. "Zi algbo. (Very well.)" I sigh, seeming as if I was disappointed, "Irral, tira dout cirau siteli vi upadoc munthrek vur tiric jaciv waph? (First, did your kind capture a female human and does she live?)"

Stella (To Wfoz) "I thinks its a great idea friend! We can get more accomplished if there be more of us." She chortles. "I'm Stella! I enjoy drinking and defendin the weak" She sticks out her hand abruptly.

DM. "Mu gahrotaak bronjuni kulaas fah sonaak. Nog ni mindok siivaak kulaas. (Tribe kidnapped princess of the mountain men for priest. Nog not know where princess found.)"

Jack. "Ui nomeno svitran loaw? Vur re astahii wer dril ihk wer thirkuic persvek wer caesin? (Is this priest alone? And are they the reason for the changes in the forest?)"

DM. "Nog ni sonaak. Nog ni kopund brojun. Nog ni gahrot kulaas. Nog ni minok. (Nog not priest. Nog not kobold king. Nog not kidnap princess. Nog not know.)" He points back towards the entrance of the cave, "Kulaas ni het. Kulaas siivaak sonaakke. (Princess not here. Princess with priests.)"

Remei. I've backed gradually away whilst Jack speaks to the Kobold. I offer my paw to each of the others in turn, speaking quietly: "I'm Remei. What is your name?"

In'Za. "My name is In'Za. Are you a warrior?" In'Za is confused by the lack of weaponry.

Decca exchanges only a brief greeting with the two newcomers, introducing herself only as Decca; she is clearly not comfortable with either of them. Seeing as the rats seem to have fled entirely, and Jack has begun interrogations already, Decca will retreat a short distance in the direction from which her group came. While keeping watch, she will take the time needed to ritual cast a new unseen servant.

Jack. "Wux vucot svabolen waere wer wanotreyxkaiv ui persvek? Kii jahus nomeno waere shivia vur svanoa throden di dout cirau waph tenpiswo? (You know which cave the princess is in? Why was this cave guarded and how many of your kind live here?)"

Remei. I smile at In'Za. "Not a warrior, no. A Runner. I rely on speed, stealth and agility, and prefer to avoid trouble wherever possible. But I can take care of myself." Leaning closely in I incline my head slightly towards Decca and speak very softly: "Your companion seems wary. Do you think it would help if I told her I was a carnivore? Maybe she's worried I'll nibble her foliage..." I suppress my smile and greet Wfoz, whose cheerful enthusiasm reminds me of my effusive travelling companion, Stella.

In'Za. In'Za suppresses a laugh. "I see. Well, I look forward to seeing you in battle." In'Za leans against the cave wall and begins pondering battle strategies.

DM. Gerald follows Decca outside to participate in the ritual, leaving Stella bathed in darkness. Nog counts on his fingers, then shrugs, "Nog ni mindok ka siivaakke ko. Nog ni mindok pogaanaan kopundde ko ka. Nog ni kopund mu pogaan alok. (Not not know cave priests in. Nog not know how many kobolds in cave. Not not kobold tribe counter.)"

Jack. "Hmm. Kobold aren't that intelligent." I nod and look at Nog, "Svaklar ui dout maekrix? Si geou ti ouith astahi sjek astahii tir ti ouith ve. (Where is your leader? I will not hurt them if they do not hurt me.)"

Stella "Hey! Who put out the light!" Stella will place her hand on the wall and try her best to head toward the entrance of the cave. "Pop always said i shoulda eaten me carrots sos i could see better" she chuckles as she walks.

In'Za. In'Za helps Stella out.

DM. Nog points in the direction of the illusion wall, "Kopundde brojunu nol qethsegol. Aaz, aaz! (Kobold king behind wall. Mercy, mercy!)"

Jack. "Stharl tenpiswo vur zexenuma halkvri si renthisj mrith wux tenamalo. (Sit here and stay until I speak with you again.)" I turn to my companions, "Nog, the kobold here, is an underling, but still useful. The kobolds capture the princess on orders from some unknown priests," Jack gave a low growl, "but knows nothing about them save that they are not in this cave, but another one. This cave leads to the kobold king on the other side of this wall. It is likely an illusion or has a secret door (Jack never saw In'Za cast the spell nor has anyone mentioned the wall to him). The king may have more information. I say we go and speak with this king, however, Nog does not know how many kobolds there are, so perhaps we can use him to get in."

DM.The kobold sits and quitely whimpers. (Decca actually cast the spell. And 35 xp for everyone.)

Stella "Thank you..errrrr Insa was it. I'm awful with foreign names" She gives out a big bellied laugh. "Id be happy to come with ye and help I jus hope I dont slow ye down to much since i cant see in the dark. However me new friend can see in the dark and hes a mighty quick fella."

(Remei is female, also yay exp)

In'Za. "I'm also rather bad at Common pronunciations. I'm sure you'll be a useful asset to our unit as well. The cleric Gerald should be keeping that light going if he knows what he's doing."

Wfoz. I ponder what Jack tells me. "Jackk, tthaznkz for talkizng to that kobold. Zinze we kznow know the kizng is here, I agree with you. Lets go find him, and try diplomazcy if we cazn."

Jack. I nod and turn to Remei, "I am Jack. Jack of the Forest. The forest ye traveled through me home to get here. Do anything too it beyond what is needed and there will be reckoning. Yer called Remei? And yer a Runner? Hmm. If ye have any skill in stealth, I want ye to check out the other caves. Take anyone ye think ye need, but I wouldn't bring Foz, he has a poor idea of stealth." I turn to Wfoz, "Nog spoke of a tribe counter. They might be one of the smarter kobolds. But if so, then the king is likely to be one of the stronger kobolds, meaning we might be able to win the kobolds' respect if we prove our strength and preferably not kill the king as he has information we need."

In'Za. In'Za returns to the caves after helping Stella out and tells Gerald to guide her back in when he's done.

Remei. I nod to Jack. "I shall do as you ask". I briefly explain to In'Za and Decca that I'm going to scout out the other caves and will catch the party up later.

Stella "Oh yes don't involve me with non a yer sneaking about. I can sneak if I has to but im not all that good at it. Im more of a smashing faces girl meself." She laughs loudly

(I am terribly sorry I missed that companion lol)

Decca just continues casting, presumably with the aid of Gerald. "Scout as you will, but considering what happened to a party of three the other day, I will stay here—within earshot of the majority of the group."

Jack. "Ye, Stella, can come with Foz, "I glance at the overgrown bug, "And meself in confronting the kobold king if we can get ye some light. The priest might help with that... Heh. I was much like ye. Before i lived the Fellgrim Forest, me answer to anything was to rip it apart if it was even slightly hostile. Living in a forest for well over 200 years has vastly changed that."

Stella "Sounds like a plan, just tell me when and ill come along wit ya! Also im not all brawn, its just me favorite part of me. Me father thought to much and now hes dead just like his friends. I intend ta make sure no one else goes through it like he did. Ill be like a weapon for ye. Just unsheathe me and swing!." She says as she holds her battleaxe high kicking her back legs all the while.

Wfoz. With Jack, In'za, Stella, and myself left in the kobold cave with the bound kobold, I let the rest of the party know that I am not really good at finding hidden doors, so I will help a party member investigate the wall.

In'Za. (Do you mean the illusory wall? If so): In'Za turns to Wfoz. "That wall was created by Decca when we were chasing Nog. It's an illusion, we should be safe to walk straight through it."

Remei. I pause at Decca's comment. "What happened? What did you encounter?"

Decca gives pause, looking up into Remei's eyes. (I imagine at this point Remei, Gerald, and Decca are near the entrance to the south of the map. Meanwhile Wfoz, Jack, Inz'a, and Stella still around a corner or two where the kobold was initially captured, to the east of the map. I assume from this distance we can hear each other conversing, but not make out specific words without shouting.)

"I believe I already told Gerald a bit of this story. Wfoz, In'Za, Jack and I first ventured here the other day. For reasons related in part to the fact I was the only one with a mount that needed stabling, I was left behind. By the time I caught up with the others, they were... injured, to say the least. I didn't pry, but it seemed remarkable they survived against the kobolds they fought." Her eyes narrow towards Remei. "If anything, that is a painful lesson in caution." With that said, Decca returns to the components of her spell.

Jack. "When Decca and the priest get back, we will decide what we are all doing. But for now... Stella, I heard ye say someyhing about yer father telling ye to eat carrots, aye? The village I lived near often asked me to come check out an area bevause I could see in the dark. One even asked about how this was and I remember joking about eating lota of carrots. Hmm, what was yer father's name?" While I talks, I will start checking to see if the kobolds are dead and if they have anything on them and, for Nog's "benefit," will occasionally tear off a small chunk of meat from the kobolds' bodies and eat it. (Also, Jack seems more confident, his voice regaining its arrogant and proud ring.)

In'Za. "It's bad manners to eat your enemies, Jack." In'Za jokes with a sharp-toothed grin.

Remei.I nod thoughtfully. "I take your point. I had hoped I could merely outrun any trouble but I think you speak wisely". I return to Jack, and glancing at the Kobold he is intimidating, say quietly- "can I speak to you away from our captive please?"

Jack. I chuckle at In'Za's words, "Unfortunately, wolves do not teach manners very well." When Remei approaches and askes her question, I reply, "In a moment, but he won't understand anyway," I finish up looting the kobolds, then follow her, "What is it?"

Stella "Me fathers name was Gordus Argnon. Now don get me wrong, i loved me old man but he was not the brightest candle in the winda." Stella looks a little sad for a moment follow by a face of anger "The betrayers name was Dorod and i swear if i ever find that little hobgoblin ill wring em so dry you could grind em up as flour"

Jack. I pause in looting the kobolds, "I knew mitocabra by both names. Gordus saved me life and Dorod condemned it. Ironically, they were friends. Shared similar views in nigh anything 'til that day. Tell me, do ye know the name Lumenosk?" (Say whatever you please, I use it to build more. This is happening before Remei asked to speak with Jack, yes?)

Decca manages to re-manifest her previous unseen servant in less time that would be needed to completely recast the spell (as per our DM's ruling in the chatroom). Before returning to the others, she advises Gerald, "If we get into another skirmish, be ready to cast light if you need it. At that point our position would be given up, anyway... And it seems like at least one of those newcomers can't see in darkness, either." She pauses for a moment, before switching the topic slightly, "The others seem to trust those newcomers, but, suffice to say I am suspicious. Be wary, friend." With her task complete, Decca gives one last look outside—to make sure nothing is watching her—before returning to the others.

To her, the party seems involved in interpersonal conversations. While they converse, she investigates the dead kobolds to see if there's anything of value. (She loots either after Jack already has, or does so with him—whatever is appropriate).

Remei.To Jack "As you wish" I pause. "I'm fast but not especially stealthy, and after hearing of your earlier experiences with Kobolds, I think I'll stay here with you all. If I am ambushed alone I may not be able to just run away, which is my main defence". I smile broadly at him. "A little bad mannered perhaps? To go into a meeting with the Kobold leader with your breath reeking of their flesh?" I tip my head slightly and twinkle my eyes at him. I'm rather intrigued by this grumpy forest dweller, and wonder how he'll react.

Jack. (Fixing time problems) I hold up a finger to forestall Stella's reply as Remei approaches, "I will continue this, Just let me speak with Remei." I listen to Remei, "Very well. Tis yer choice," Afterwards, I just stand and watch her for several long moments before saying, "Does the wolf care that the deer can smell the blood of other deer on its breath? If they notice, which I doubt, they can do whatever they please about it. Is that all?" (If Remei has nothing more to say, I return to my conversation with Stella).

RemeiI nod slightly to Jack and step back, and decide to look around the cave and entrance using my tracking ability to see what I can ascertain.(Roll 16+3=19)

Stella She ponders for a moment. "Aye the name does sound familiar but i cant seem to remember from where." She paces and puzzles the name, muttering to herself and waiting for the party to call her to go

Jack. I nod, "Good. I gave that name to Gordus nigh 300 years ago with instructions that if he ever met my family, he was to say he knew Lumenosk. My family would not hurt him if he did. Did yer father tell ye this?"

Stella "No he never told me much about his adventurin before he had me. He always said that me wander lust was much like he used to be. I know why he didnt want me to practice me weaponry but i always felt like i needed to be ready. Im glad when that count showed up that I was or Id be in the dirt just like he is." She smiles a bittersweet smile. "But no more of that we got work to do. we gotta find this princess and save her!"

DM. By now, the wall has disappeared, revealing a hewn corridor extending about 30 feet before sharply turning 45 degrees to the east. Remei searches outside the cave and finds a few tracks leading in and around the cave, but none of which seem to lead to creatures. Inside the cave, there are many tracks and markings from frequent passage through the halls. Gerald follows Decca back inside, "I'll watch your back if you watch mine." (Gerald was initially supposed to be In'Za's companion, but now he's more of Decca's, it seems.) When the party continues further into the cave, Gerald will sheath his mace to cover its light. Jack finds a total of 17 silver pieces on the kobolds and Decca finds a silver chain set with semiprecious gems around the neck of the dire rat.

Jack. "Very well. But if yer father is the Gordus I knew, then there is much I know of him. Much more than ye may think," I nod and leave it at that. "Ah, look!" I display a small pile of coins, "Silver. Not bad for a handful of kobolds." I slip them into my pouch, saying, "I hold onto these for now."

Wfoz. "Okay, we heve everytthizng we need for now. Zhould we go through the wall alreedy and ttalk to the king? We can leave the kobold here for now, unless we are worried about the ratts."

Wfoz walks up to the wall, looking like he is worried about rats again. His hands are right on his weapons, quivering slightly. My weak wings are hardly moving, and with my blindsense I try to decipher what is on the other side of the wall.

In'Za. "We could bring Nog with us. It might help the negotiation if we demonstrate we showed mercy."

Remei. "I agree. There is little point stirring the entire nest to fight us." I offer my paw to Stella "Shall I be your eyes in the dark?"

Decca slips the gems and silver into her pack, before turning to the others. "Wfoz, what wall are you talking about? The wall I created should be gone by now." Decca glances eastward towards the space, seeing clearly that her minor illusion has indeed vanished. "Did that kobold say the king was down that direction—east, I think? Even if he's lying, it seems better than going west and finding more of those rats..."

She looks towards In'Za. "'Demonstrate mercy'? We slaughtered all of its comrades and looted their corpses while it watched. If the princess is somehow still in their possession and still alive, we could use—Nog you said?—Nog's life as one of several things to trade for her in negotiations. That is, assuming, they are even willing to negotiate for the princess' safe release. At least we can agree he is more useful to us alive than dead." She sighs, "Although, clearly, Jack should be the one talking to them in any case."

Jack. I turn to Nog, "Nog. Sjek si huvena ekess renthisj mrith dout daar, ornla jaci renthisj mrith ve usv relekihl ve ekess vargach? (Nog. If I wished to speak with your king, would he speak with me or challenge me to battle?)"

DM. The captured kobold speaks, "Kopundde brojuni junu kopund. Aaz Nog fah brojun, tinvaak do drem. (King is smartest kobold. Give Nog to king, negotiate for peace.)"

Stella "Sounds like a plan ta me. Better ta have em an not need em then the other way round. Although we did kill his little companions and i hope that don' come back and bite our behinds. Im with you whatever you decide to do with Noggin or whatever its name was."

Wfoz. Wfoz agrees to take Nog with us, and will start down the tunnel once everyone is ready.

In'Za. In'Za waits with Wfoz.

Decca and Gerald take the middle point of the marching party, as before. She assumes Wfoz and Jack will lead the way again, dragging Nog along with them. Presumably In'Za will watch everyone's back as before. She imagines Stella would be best in the middle since she can't see, and that Remei will probably stay with her there.

( Whenever we depart, this seems like the marching order that will be used unless anyone objects. )
( In'Za -> Remei = Stella -> Gerald = Decca -> Wfoz -> Nog -> Jack -> an unseen servant groping the floor )

Jack. "Zi algbo. Wux geou wiilirk ve. Shar visp ve, svaust vur svabol ptauaic dout daar? (Very well. You will follow me. But tell me, who and what attends your king?)" I say to my compsnions, "Nog claims their king is the smartest in the tribe. Negotiations may indeed be possible." (GamerAim, did you see the edit on the talk page? I tend to be on infrequently, so I don't use the Tavern Chatroom.)

Stella will wait for the party with Gerald

DM. You make your way down the roughly cut corridor until you reach a fork in the tunnel. At the eastern end of the tunnel, Jack can barely make out a rocky opening into a chamber he knows not how large, though you can make out the distinctly loud babble of many squeaking voices coming from within. In'Za, however, sees much further — in about 50 feet inside he sees 9 kobolds, though he knows not how many lie outside his range of vision, and some of them even appear to be children! They appear to be too busy to have noticed you yet. Surprisingly, there seems to be a dim light coming from within, likely from a fire, though the source lies beyond your vision. To the north, Jack sees another fork in the tunnel, again leading in both the western and eastern directions, though he cannot see far into either direction.

Jack. "Nurtiricin sia annyo visidark, svabolen idol ekess dout daar? (Nevermind my last question, which way to your king?)" I whisper to Nog.

In'Za. In'Za moves forward to Jack and says to him. "There are kobolds down the east tunnel. Some of them seem to be children. There's light as well, but I can't see that far in."

Stella moves out of In'Za's way assuming she had too and says quietly. "I can't see a blasted thing in all this dark. But it seems like they've found sumtim up there. Hey Remei can you see anything up there that I can't."

DM. Nog struggles to point roughly up the north, "Drom wah kopundi brojunu. (North to king.)" (Sorry for taking so long to respond. I forgot or missed Jack's question until someone brought it up today!)

Remei. To Stella "I can see less than In'Za, it seems. There are some young kobolds playing in that chamber. Stick to my side and I'll warn you of any danger".

Decca, having no clue what the kobold is talking about, quietly directs her spell to feel the floor and walls in the direction it is pointing.

Jack. I nod, "Bensvelk. Wux geou zexenuma mrith ve. Vur... si geou cotui wux nomeno huena. Sjek wux re riyitir ve persvek tikil idol... si geou ocuir wux loex. (Good. You will stay with me. And... I will warn you this once. If you are tricking me in any way... I will see you dead.)" I turn, obviously dismissing Nog, and speak to In'Za, "Yer eyesight is that good? Why have ye not said so? I cannot see the kobolds ye speak of. If yer eyes are that good, ye should be here up here with me. I can spot hidden traps and secrets, but I cannot see that far." After that, I speak to the rest of my companions, "Nog says the king is to the north." I gesture to Nog, "Confn. Sjek yth confn ekess tikil montuic svaklar wer donoap oplin, wux visp ve svaklar yth zklaen gethrisj. Vur vucot nomeno... si agantal nakta sia inglatai. (Come. If we come to any points where the path split, you tell me where we must go. And know this... I always keep my promises.)"

In'Za. "As you wish. Perhaps someone should make record of our path?" In'Za moves to the front with Jack.

DM. Nog does what he is ordered to do and guides you up north, where you see a poorly-crafted wooden door to the left, and a long rocky path to the right. He leads down the right past, twisting underneath the valley towards intermittent high-pitched talk, until you come across a small, simply furnished chamber with a recessed wooden door in the east wall. Four well-equipped kobolds jump out of their chairs and draw their weapons, but as soon as they see Nog, they hesitate. "Ofan kopund ahrk mu aal lost aaz! (Give kopund and we may have mercy!)" one of them snarls at you.

In'Za. In'Za is ready to attack if the negotiations fail.

Decca looks towards Jack to see how he handles this. She is ready to shoot a seed the moment one of the kobolds attacks someone in the party. Her eyes dart towards Gerald—it is assumed he has his light revealed already.

Remei. As Stella and I are now at the rear of the party I keep a careful eye and ear on the passage behind us whilst events in the chamber unfold.

Stella grips her axe tighter but won't move past the party to attack until someone else does considering she can't understand their language. She readies an action to attack the kobolds if another member of the party does.

Jack. For moment, I do nothing save look at the kobold. Then I glare at it while slowly taking Nog's dagger (he no doubt had one and no one did anything about it, so I assume we let him keep it) and draw it acriss the scales of my left arm. I return the dagger and display the intact scale before saying, "Xoa coi, vur wux geou shio loreat. Yth confna ekess renthisj mrith dout daar, ti slathalin jacida shiviri. Lae ihk wer petisse, jaci confnic mrith udoka. (Attempt it, and you will all die. We came to speak with your king, not fight his guards. As for the kobold, he comes with us.)" I display a level of self-assured confidence that is the property of creatures who see the world as theirs, such a cats and dragons. (I would assume I need a Persuasion check here) 1d20; 4+1=5 (Wow, and I did all the above, but get that.)

Wfoz. I ready an action to attack the first kobold who attacks us, asking Jack "Can you perzuade them that we meazn no harm? We waznt to dizcuzz the prieztz, and cazn you convence them that we need to trade an amulett for someozne they have? Decce, zhow them the amulett pleaze."

Decca waits to see how the kobolds react to Jack before going through with Wfoz' plan.

DM. The kobolds squeezes their grip around their sword hilts, and the apparent leader grimaces, "Mu sivvi mora hi fenu, nikriin. (We really think you should, coward.)"

In'Za. In'Za steps forward and growls at the kobold leader. Intimidation 12 + 3 = 15

Jack. For several moments, I don't move. Then I start roaring in laughter, "Faessi? Batobot ui dout nadot? Ekess relgr ve vi faessi vur dronilnr ve ekess lowd? Svanoa molmonsore wux re. Zyak visp ve, svanoa algbo geou wux vrrar tir seanf supri? Sjek wux tuor ekess lowd ve zyak kiarf, hak si geou majak wux irral nar. (Coward? That is your plan? To call me a coward and bring me to attack? How sad you are. So tell me, how well will you four do against eight? If you want to attack me so much, then I will give you first strike.)" I spread my arms and stand there. (I take a ready action, if one of the kobolds attack, I make a grapple check to cstch the kobold's hand.)

DM. The kobold's hand twitches ever so slightly, though he does his best to maintain (what passes for) composure at Jack's and In'Za's threats, "Hi laan voth kopundi brojunu, metaalo dov jul? (What you want with king, metallic dragon man?)" he demands. (In this context, metallic means they believe you to be a relative of the "lesser" metallic dragons, and say it with disdain.)

Jack. "Wux jikahshi batobot si mi creol ferrod scaled seian? Sia ternocki re achuak vur si mi thric sthyr. Throdenilt... darastrix. shar thric selgtarn. Si ergriff huven ekess renthisj mrith dout daar. Si jatil jacion thric levnim, sjek jaci means thric levnim ekess ve. (You believe that I am some golden scaled hero? My scales are green and I am no man. More... dragon. But no matter. I only wish to speak with your king. I mean him no harm, if he means no harm to me.)"

DM. The kobold thinks it over for a few seconds, then releases his grip on his sword. He points at the ground, "Sar het! (Wait here!)" and exits the eastern door. He returns less than a minute later and leaves the door open, "Brojun jun, rok koraav hi nu! Ofan krosis. (King smart, he see you now! Pay respects.)"

Stella "I can't tell if this is going well or not. What the blazes are they talkin bout!" Stella stares on in confusion at her new teammate as he converses with the Kobolds.

Jack. I nod and turn to my companions, "Their king will see us now. Apparently we should show our respects."

Stella "As long as they don take me axe an bow ill be 'spectful. Boy am I glad to be travelin with someone who speaks the same language as these little fellers cause ida just come in here swingin."

Wfoz. I release the grip on my sword, and I bow to the kobolds. My sturdy antennae brushes the top of them. As I wait for the kobolds to lead the way, I mention "Metz, if it helpz, letz zay the amulet belongz to the prenzezz. We need to give it back to her at all koztz, zinze it iz what makez her the prenzezz."

In'Za. "A clever plan. It is quite a plain amulet, though. Decca, could you make it look more regal using an illusion?"

Decca. "I wish. Unfortunately I can't effectively disguise small, moving objects like this. I could for instance make a beautiful regal amulet sitting on a table, but the second someone tried to touch it let alone wear it, the deception would be over." She takes the amulet off anyway, and begins gently rubbing it, "I can at least try to polish it a little bit... Don't suppose any of you know prestidigitation?"

Jack. "We don't have the time for it. These guards have already seen the amulet as it is. Using magic would cause more problems, they are already suspicious of us. Let us go and we will deal with what comes," if my companions agreement, I lead them through the door.

In'Za. "I am ready to proceed."

Decca shrugs and slips the amulet back on, happy to keep it anyway. "Well. Hopefully things turn out better than the other day," Decca muses, keeping one hand on her rapier as she follows Jack forward.

DM. You enter the eastern door, after which the four kobolds in the room behind you group up to block the exit. All manner of savage trophies hang on the walls of this stifling cave, including furs, tapestries, and old blankets. Heaps of cloth and bits of battered furniture litter the floor. A lantern on a plank table burns dimly, and you hear the sounds of piping arguments. A wiry kobold sits atop a fur-linked throne, surrounded by five aides, all of whom go quiet as soon as he raises his hand. In a shrill mockery of common, he speaks, "Kor say you have gift. Say whats yous wants and I consider letting yous live, hee hee hee."

In'Za. In'Za bows deeply, then kneels.

Decca remains standing; she's still shorter than In'Za kneeling, anyway. She turns to Jack and gives a firm, inspiring nod. (Just to be clear this time, Decca is giving Jack a use of Bardic Inspiration. Don't let it go to waste.)

Jack. "Fekiikiri, Daar di wer Petissei. Si mi vucat lae wer Fip di wer Caesin. Si renthisj ihk sia kiabili. Yth sweekmon vi wanotreyxkaiv batobot yth jikahshi dout cirau sitelia ihk vi svih di svitrani. Yth offer ir di dout xiekivi, (Greetings, King of the Kobolds. I am known as the Ghost of the Forest. I speak for my companions. We seek a princess that we believe your kind captured for a group of priests. We offer one of your people,)" I gesture at Nog, but save for that, make no other movements.

Wfoz. "Greetingz, Keng. My name iz Wfoz Herametz, from the underdarkk. Jackk knowz your languege, and it iz really nice to be zo warmly greeted." Wfoz makes his way to some goat furs, and sits down on them. I can hardly feel the floor through the thick fur, and tell the king "thiz iz a really nice plece you have here. Do you have any thing for uz to chew, or drink perchance? A beer? Iz there anything on the grill?"

In'Za. In'Za is shaking with indignation at Wfoz's conduct, but says nothing.

DM. The king looks at In'Za, then Decca, then Jack, then Wfoz. (I rolled for Jack and Wfoz. Was Jack intending to use the inspiration die?) He replies in his broken common, "Me know of pretty princess, we take her many moons ago." He counts on his fingers, "Five or six moons ago, me thinks. Me not have princess, we give to priest outside town. You have knowledge, you give Nog back now." He looks at Wfoz, then to one of his aides, "Well?! Get bug man drink. Bug man knows how to woo king, with fun and drinking." He looks at the necklace around Decca's neck, "Plant have pretty jewel, look like jewel for king rat. Me have jewel and give for king rat." The aide returns with a mug of an unknown red liquid for Wfoz and the king.

Remei.Not knowing what to make of all this, I merely bow briefly to the King but remain standing at the back of the party, all senses on high alert.

Wfoz. I stand up, drink a good portion of the liquid after it's handed over to me, "beezzzrrpzpz". I casually begin to mingle, and as I get closer to the king I speak. "Dontt mind the lizerd, In'Za. He iz not uzed to royaltty, your highnezz. I heard you say you know about the amulett thatt Decce, the 'plantt', haz. We need to give it to the princezz, for all the zame reazons that you want it. We juzt need more informattiozn aboutt how to find her. What priezt can we talk to, and can we get a guide to help uz? Your highnezz, my friendz, thiz drink iz really good. Anyone for zeconds?"

In'Za. In'Za stands, looking slightly annoyed.

Stella Does a deep bow but stands at the back with Remei and keeps an eye out.

Decca chuckles softly. In'Za was flustered. Stella was confused. Wfoz was getting drunk with the enemy. The enemy still believed this 'king rat' was still alive. Indeed, she was quite certain this royal rodent was one of the rats they slaughtered earlier. How would the kobolds react if she pulled out that silver chain—the silver chain that king rat wore? Oh dear she wanted to know—she craved to know. Ever so reluctantly she decided against it. "The bugman is right. If we returned without this amulet, I fear my head would end up in a salad. As long as we're downing beverages together, though, how about a drinking song?"

With one hand she slips her horn from her backpack, and backs away slightly from the others. Her wooden snout is brought to the instrument's mouthpiece. "If you have a request, I'm all ears..."

Jack. I gaze around at the rather sudden scene. I turn to In'Za and say, "Relax. This is a kobold king. How they go about their business is different from human royalty," I shrug and say, "I can dance, sing, and play the pan flute, somewhat. Me sister loved music and I always seemed to be her partner. The songs I know are over 300 years old, though."

Decca rolls her eyes before putting the horn away.

In'Za. "You're right, Jack." In'Za calms himself. "It would be logical for his majesty to decide the entertainer, would it not?"

DM. The king looks around and settles his gaze on Decca, "Plant play the horn? Well, play!" He sits up and dances (whether Decca plays or not). Speaking more seriously, he says, "Priests dangerous; more dangerous than yous. I lets yous live because yous are fun, but me thinks yous killed me guards outside home. Yous tough and scary, sos yous push around little kobolds to comes in here and question me, while yous hold little Nog behind yous. Me want pretty jewels for favorite rat, then want Nog. Nog will show yous back out to cave of priests, but too dangerous for likes of Nog to enter, understands? Unless yous have better offer, this is all me will do for yous."

He putters around and sits back on his throne, "Maybe yous didn't kill guards, maybe yous did. Me have deal to make. Ogre lives in cave across outside, comes and eats outside kobolds and steals our things. Yous kill ogre, maybe gives us some of its things, maybe we helps you take princess." He smiles mischievously, "Whats can me say? We like taking princess."

In'Za. (To the party) "It sounds like a reasonable deal." In'Za turns to Stella and Remei. "What do you think?"

Decca. With a slight smile, she pulls out her horn once more and finds a jovial tune that more or less matches the king's rhythm. The request for her amulet is tactfully overlooked for the moment. (Decca will make an Intelligence check to determine the approximate value of the amulet, which she probably should have done earlier. Result: 18.)

Remei. Finds herself instinctively tapping her back paws as the music starts, aand judging the capering king to be little threat, she suddenly throws herself into the sinuous, graceful leaps and airborne twists typical of her species at play. When the King begins to speak, she comes to a halt and watches him closely. As he finishes she takes a step towards him and says "if we kill the ogre and bring you some pretty gems, you will tell Nog to guide us to these priests?"

Stella Stella's grin spreads wide across her face. "Now yer talkin! Lets go and smash us an ogre and save the princess as well. Im all in and ready to work." Stella laughs joyously. (Although she didnt imagine doing this for kobolds, this is what she hoped to do when she left home)

In'Za. "We should have a majority vote before we decide for sure, as there is no one leader. I myself am in favour of accepting the offer."

Jack. "I think I know of this ogre. He wanders the forest every once in a while and generally makes nuisance of himself. Scares away all the prey. I would love to... remove him," I pause and turn to the king, "Speaking of prey, I have a question for you. Your hunters. How far must they go to find beasts to hunt? I would guess they don't find much prey nearby." While I speak, I gesture for Nog to return to his king.

In'Za. "I wouldn't be surprised if you did know it. There can't be that many ogres this near to the keep."

Wfoz. I nod my head to the party in agreement. In a pleasant chuckle I reply to the king "You reallzy have a good zenze of humor! In the town everyone is saying that koboldz have been killing adventurerz! People say they have killed a whole party. We have no needz for a jezter here, your highnezz. Another drink pleaze!" After finishing my drink, and toasting our cooperation with the next, Wfoz agrees to go kill the ogre, but he asks if they can first see which cave the priests are within and hopefully the other adventurers.

Decca. (If possible, Decca would also like to make a Wisdom (Insight) check to guess at how full of lies the king here really is. Result: 12.)

Stella "I am obviously in favor. Whether it suits the king er not, I cant just let this beast terrorize the countryside!"

In'Za. "Perhaps you should stop drinking so much, Wfoz. There are still battles ahead, after all."

DM. "There 'nuff prey around to keep kobold bellies full. Sometimes rob caravan or two. Guards took foods from dead adventurers outside home other day. Ogre probly got 'em 'cuz they weren'ts there when guards wents to check. Priest cave at end of valley — Nog show you when ogre dead!" The king laughs and has an aid hand Wfoz a drink, "Now finish drinks and go! Me not wait longer and give aways all food!"

Decca doesn't sense that the king is lying, though his exact motives seem unclear. She appraises the amulet at approximately 15 gold pieces in value.

Jack. "Very well. When Foz is finished, then let us go." I nod before gazing off and muttering, "Mi si xuut? Nomagqe mobi ui ehis xuut. Nomagqe si mi filki pragrayl. Caesinic thirku, ghent shio. (Am I wrong? Perhaps there is nothing wrong. Maybe I am just paranoid. Forests change, after all.)"

Wfoz. I finish my drink, with a loud "bzzzrrpzz. Okay, letz kill the ogre metz!."

In'Za. "Indeed. Wfoz, do try not to fall over."

Decca brings her tune to a close, and joins the others on the way out.

Stella Waits for Remei to make sure they have nothing left to say and then proceeds out with the party

Remei. Shakes her head slightly, uncertain what to make of this whole situation, but brings up the rear with Stella as before.

DM. You make it out of the kobold's cave unmolested and cross the valley, following the bloodsoaked trail of kobold blood to the tree-hidden cave mouth Jack last spotted a bear in — indeed, even now you see the slumbering form of a bear atop a pile of dried leaves. Wfoz and Decca hear the occasional bass grumble from within, and a strong, sour odor pervades even outside of the cave.

In'Za. "The bear... Can anyone sneak up to it and make a surprise attack?"

Jack. Whispering, I say, "I could try or we could attempt to sneak by. If I do try, be ready in the case me strike fails to kill."

Decca whispers, "Why strike? Let sleeping bears lie..." Being perhaps a bit reckless, Decca draws her rapier to keep it at the ready and tries to quietly slip past the beast unnoticed. She is sure to keep her eyes sharp for any dry leaves in her path.

In'Za. "It won't be easy for me to sneak past in this armour. Decca, could your magic help me?"

Remei. "Why don't I 'accidentally' wake it? It might lumber after me, but I'm sure I'm fast enough to lead it into the woods a fair way then double back and join you....

Decca halts her approach at In'Za's remark. She gives a silent shake of her head, "No... I could cast speak with animals to try and talk with it, though I'm not sure what good that would do." She tilts her head, thinking for a moment, "I could cast a minor illusion around or in front of it, but I'm not sure what illusion would help there either. I still think sneaking ahead would be the best approach." (According to the 5e SRD (page 79, "Working Together") as long as at least half of us succeeded the Stealth check we would all be fine.)

Stella "I think it's a fine plan to sneak around an there be enough of us that if we do wake em we can take em" Stella says quietly to the group as she begins to try and sneak by (Stealth check/ Sticking true to her rowdy nature Stella gets a 5 (3+2) for her Stealth check)

Decca follows suit, after hesitating to converse with In'Za. She gets a 6 for her Stealth check (natural 1 + 5).

Wfoz. I get a 15 + 5 = 20. "You guyz are pretty loud... wantt me to get pastt the beazr and see if it has cubz or zometthing? We could bring the cubz outtzide so it will follow them?"

Jack. Stealth check. 1d20; 20+4=24 Crit! I shake my head, "That is a terrible idea. Bears hate when ye get near their cubs. As on, they don't care how strong ye are, they will kill ye hate." When I go to slip by the bear, I am like a ghost, passing by with ease.

In'Za. In'Za sighs and walks past the bear, unable to sneak in his armour. Roll: 8 + 0 = 8

Remei. I follow In'Za, somewhat more stealthily, but ready to run out of the cave, taunting the Bear to draw him away from the main party if necessary. Roll 1d20+3=12

DM. Those of you deft of step help those lacking, and you sneak into the cave. However, upon moving closer to the slumbering bear, you notice that the "bear" is nothing but hide, set atop a pile of dried leaves! In fact, the low grumble you heard isn't coming from the bear, but from the east cave, where those of you with darkvision can see a lumbering ogre lounging atop a giant leather bag — unfortunately, even those without darkvision can smell his pungent odor. The ogre's eyes are closed, and he does not seem to have heard you yet.

In'Za. "The ogre! It has not seen us yet, so we have the chance to strike first." In'Za whispers.

Decca asks in hushed tone, "Shall we all strike at once? Gerald, get ready to cast chill touch." Decca herself readies her action to cast vicious mockery on the foul behemoth the moment someone attacks.

In'Za. "Ready yourselves! I will lead the attack." Whispering, In'Za readies the attack action to be enacted when everyone else has readied their attacks.

Jack. I crouch and also ready an attack for when everyone is ready, "Be wary. Ogres are strong, perhaps strong enough to send our smaller or lighter members flying."

Stella Stella digs her hooves into the ground and knocks an arrow in her longbow "I could probably get a few good shots in and try to keep his attention, and no worries us mitocabra are masters of digging in." She lines up her shot waiting for the signal.

Wfoz. I ready my crossbow until Remei gives the signal. "Remei, on your markk!" I whisper.

Remei. I ready the action to move forward to the ogre with the others and attack his eye with my dagger. I nod to he others and move forward at their usual speed so I don't arrive much earlier and spoil the surprise attack.

In'Za. Now that everyone is ready, In'Za gives a hand signal and runs forward, using his reaction to use his ready action and run to, and attack the ogre, and his action to make a second attack against the ogre using his longsword. Roll: 2 + 3 = 5, Roll 2: 11 + 3 = 14, Damage 7 + 1 = 8.

Remei. I stab at the ogre's eyes, 1 reaction (1 attack)and use my unarmed strike action against his other eye (2 attacks). "Rolls were 16, 14 and 17, damage 7, 4 and 4"

DM. The ogre barely has time to open his eyes before Remei is upon him, slashing and punching at his face to deal not-inconsiderable damage. On her mark, Decca and Gerald fire off their spells and the ogre winces at the mental mockery. Wfoz narrowly hits as his arrow flies into the ogre's fat arms, but Stella misses the mark. In'Za slashes his longsword into the ogre's shoulder. (I rolled for Wfoz (+5) and Stella (+4), but I'm not sure how Jack is attacking, so I will wait a bit for him. The total damage is 40 points so far.)

Jack. (Sorry, with his claws. Meant to say something, but wifi gave out and I was not able to.) I act very similarly to Remei. Reaction attack: 1d20; 13+4=17 Hit. 1d4; 3+2=5 slashing damage. 2nd attack: 1d20; 6+4=10 Hit? 1d4; 4+2=6 slashing damage. 3rd attack: 1d20; 20+4=24 Crit! 2d4; 7+2=9 slashing damage.

DM. Jack delivers two good unarmed strikes to the Ogre — one in the face and one in the gut. His face is pained, but it seems far more angry. (Initiative rolled. Wfoz, Decca, Remei and Stella go. Though unless they all miss, I doubt the Ogre will have a chance to fight back :P )

Stella On my turn im going to loose another arrow from my longbow if the ogre is still alive (attack roll 1d20+4= 10, damage roll 1d8+2=3 -_-)

Decca follows up her spell with a seed shot at high speed (Attack: 6 (natural 1 + 5), Damage: 6).

Remei. I stay where I am and continue to attack the ogres head. My two attacks are 10 and 13 doing 7 points if damage each, if they hit

Wfoz. I attack the ogre with my bow, choosing to duel it. 12 + 5 = 17 to hit, for 8 + 2 + 3 = 13 points of damage.

DM. After being stabbed and pierced by Remei and Wfoz, the ogre grunts his last breath and slides off his large leather sack. In this cave’s midst, along with the huge leather sack, is a small keg that stands nearby and old bones piled against the south wall.

In'Za. "We should take a trophy of some kind to prove we have killed it."

Jack. "Cut of its head," I say before approachinh to open the leather sack, "Now, let me see what is in this."

In'Za. "How traditional. Wfoz, you landed the final blow. It is only fair that you should be the one to have the honour of taking the trophy."

Remei. walks stiffly away from the ogre, covered in its blood and eye-juice. "I'll leave the decapitation to you. I'm going to wash". Then I leave the cave and sniff the air, trying to fathom the nearest source of water above the stench of ogre blood.

Jack. I pause and say to In'Za, "But of course. Need I remind ye of me age?" I chuckle before giving directions to Remei, "Should be a stream a short way north of the ravine... I might join ye after I see what is in here. The blood is obscuring me scales."

Wfoz. "Thankkz for the hoznor metz!" I put my crossbow back over my backpack, and walk over to the ogre. Taking out my blade, I say "everyozne who needz to get cleen, juzt be safe out there." I pull the ogre's head along the cave floor, and then sever it. Letting Nog know that I have the ogre's head, I tell him "Nog, we have itz head. Can you zhow me the cave now, like your king wented you to do?"

Stella Puts her bow back "Goodness me it's been a long time. I must be mighty outa practice. Now we should be able to get the details of where the princess is."

Remei. Turning to the North as Jack advised, I set off at my usual rapid pace, Stoaty senses on high alert for any movement, noises or smells in the wood. (Perception check 1d20+1=10)

Decca quietly investigates the leather sack with Jack, and searches the massive corpse for anything of use or value.

DM. Remei finds a small creek a couple minutes away and makes the trip there and back uneventfully. The ogre’s leather bag holds 2,287 cp, 51 ep, 70 gp, a hard cheese, and 658 "gp" (actually copper coins with a wash of gold). The ogre himself has only ruined leather armor and a battered club. Nog crawls out from behind a rock and stares intelligently, but ignorantly, at Wfoz.

In'Za. "We should divide the spoils equally. Also, electrum pieces? Interesting, I didn't realise surface-dwellers still used them."

Remei. Ignoring the counting of spoils, and still occasionally shaking droplets of water from my ears, I approach Nog, smile and look questioningly at him.

Jack. I chuckle and say, "This reminds me of the old days, when I could actually build a hoard and not fear someone hearing about it." I raise an eye ridge and say to In'Za, "Haven't they always? Electrum was not very rare before." Finally, I sogh and say, "I am still here and I believe I can still speak Draconic. Either way, we should prove our success first. It will likely help us. If the king can be trusted."

In'Za. "I had thought it was rarely used. But you're right, we should return to the king."

Stella " I agree the sooner we return to the king the sooner we can save this poor young woman, and if the kings alyin ill tear him to bits."

Decca. While everyone makes their plans, Decca sorts out the coin with the aid of Gerald. In the end there are seven stacks of coins:

18 gp, 13 ep, 736 cp for Gerald
9 gp, 7 ep, 369 cp for Decca
9 gp, 7 ep, 368 cp for In'Za
9 gp, 6 ep, 368 cp for Wfoz
9 gp, 6 ep, 368 cp for Jack
8 gp, 6 ep, 368 cp for Stella
8 gp, 6 ep, 368 cp for Remei

"The original agreement gives Gerald 25%. The rest is pretty much as even as I can make it." With that, the scrub slips her reward into her pack.

"If anyone doesn't want their cut, "I'll be happy to take it off your hands." With that said, Decca's eyes quietly burn a hole into Remei's back, anticipating a response or a lack thereof.

Jack. I nod and take my share, "Now this is nice," I toy with a coin for a few moments before tucking the coins (except the copper) in my pouch and the coppers in my pack.

In'Za. In'Za takes his pile of coins. "I thank you, Decca. Now then, as nobody seems to have suffered injury, shall we prepare to return to the kobold king?"

Stella "Thank ye friend, there always is a bright side to adventuring."

Remei. I smile quietly at Decca and take my share, squirreling it inside my pack.

Decca gives a slight grin towards Remei, then glances away. "Hm. Hoped you were one of those 'too good for money' types, but it was a long shot. Ah well. The job is done, and time is hopefully still of the essence, so we might as well head back, right? Or was there something else we needed to do first?"

Decca slips the last stack of coins unto Wfoz, presumably into the hand not holding a severed ogre head.

Wfoz. "Thankkz metz!" I take my treasure, and pack it safely in my pack. With the rest of the party and the ogre's lifeless head, I make my way back to the kobolds, and the king.

DM. The trip back to the cave is uneventful, but kobolds glare at you while they clean up the mess you made at the entrance, carrying corpses into the large room In'Za spotted. The king's guards let you back into his chamber and he frowns at you, seemingly ignoring the ogre head Wfoz is holding, "As yous saw, I knows the mess you made. Me rat, me guards, alls dead. Yous better have good news or I have yous killed!"

In'Za. "We have vanquished the ogre. Now, would you kindly order Nog to show the way to the cave?"

Jack. "I don't like this," I mutter, gazing around to look for anyone or anything in the area. Perception check 1d20; 13+1=14 (No advantage since Jack is looking for objects/people in the area, not looking for things about the area.)

DM. Jack sees nothing that appears to be hidden. The kobold king smiles as he sees Wfoz holding the head, "Yes, yes... Very wells, Nog will shows you to the cave yous seek, but yous will have no helps from us, yous hear?" He relays his orders to Nog in draconic.

Wfoz. Feeling a little put off by the king, Wfoz drops the ogre's skull. As it's rolling on the ground, Wfoz joins Nog and the party on our way out.

Jack. I nod and say, "I am good with that. But let us go, I'm feeling a little eager to meet these priests," my voice carries a faint, malicious undertone.

In'Za. "As am I. That ogre was hardly any entertainment at all."

Remei.fidgets uncomfortably and wiggles her ears in an impatient gesture, keen to get going. She catches Stella's eye...

DM. (90 XP for returning the ogre's head.) Nog leads you to the other end of the valley, down a worn path switching back and forth up the steep slope to a cave mouth, near which the trees are bloated and twisted. The cave opens into a deathly still corridor with high, vaulted ceilings. Red strata interlaced with black veins run through the hewn rock walls. You hear sporadic groaning and shrill piping from within. Nog himself remains a safe distance from the mouth, but points inside to affirm that you've arrived at the proper location.

Jack. I sighed, "Priests. They'd do anything for their god and just irrate me," I look over at Nog and, in a tone that seems less menacing that before, even kind, say, "Vinxa. Yth kashor dout letoclo .(Thank you. We appreciate your help.)"

In'Za. In'Za draws his sword. "Perhaps we should send in a scout? Remei seems like a good option."

Remei. "Happy to. The entrance is not guarded, no reason a weary traveller might not enter out of sheer curiosity". I take off my scale mail and dagger and hand them to Stella for safekeeping "can you look after these for me, my friend?" I cast an eye around the group, checking all are happy with the plan. "Anything in particular you think I need to be looking out for, apart from obvious hostage Princesses?"

Wfoz. Looking at the corridor, and what the priests have built in this dangerous environment, Wfoz's spine becomes jittery. "Thiz will be dazngerouz. They capttured the prenzezz, so why not you too, Remei? I guezz we have to try it, zince we do not have an altterznateve plan... I wanzted to say we were workkeng with the koboldz, but that will not work without the kking. Try to get more enformattiozn about their relattionz with the koboldz if you can."

Jack. "I would go with you, if you'll have me. I have something I wish to know and it is safer. I am not known as the Forest Phantom for no reason, after all. I can keep an eye out for any... situations and stay out of sight."

In'Za. "Decca, perhaps you should go with them. Having a spellcaster along would be useful."

Remei. "My main advantage as a scout is that I am as good a fighter unarmed as not, and able to outrun or out-climb opponents rather than fight, as few can match my speed. If I go unarmed, alone, then I can gather what information I may and leave quickly if things go wrong. Jack, your stealth probably outstrips mine, but if cornered I expect you would fight... Would you want me to make good my escape and fetch the others to our aid? The same would go for Decca. Alone I know my responsibility: to save my own hide. In a group I think our strategies will diverge and had best be thought through beforehand." Having finished this uncharacteristically long speech, Remei folks her paws neatly under her chin in a contemplative way, and looks enquiringly at her fellow adventurers.

Stella "I couldn't agree more! Remei's a perfect scout to send in, no loud hooves to give ya away. Also Remei we've known each other for some time now so if there's anything ya need ta say to me just say so" She laughs to herself

Jack. I nod slowly, considering Remei's words, "True... Hmm. Very well, what say ye to me leading? If we are discovered, I could intervene while ye flee and get help. Me stature would likely draw any attacks and it is possible that these priests are capable of magic. If I have learned anything about magic from me brother and sister, as well as me own kind, its that magic is far reaching. Be best if they have something to focus on," I consider my eords before, "But run quick if we do this, even dragons can be overwhelmed, as yesterday reminded me."

Wfoz. "Bee safe, Remei and Jackk. We will wait a little ways backk, away from the corridor." After wishing the scouts success, Wfoz turns back around with the rest of the party the way we came. After a good number of yards, Wfoz begins to setup a small campsite among the trees and boulders.

Remei. Smiles broadly and wiggles her ears at Stella, and nods acknowledgement to Wfoz and Jack, and follows Jack into the cave.

In'Za. In'Za follows Wfoz and helps him set up camp.

Jack. I tuck my pouch into by backpack, then set it to the side of the entrance. Pointing to it, I say, "Move it if ye want, but do not touch anything inside," With that, I enter the cave, followed by Remei.

DM. Gerald glares at Jack, but remains quiet. While Decca, Gerald, Wfoz, Stella and In'Za stand guard outside and build a campfire, Jack and Remei scout the inside of the cave. However, roughly 20 feet inside the well-hewn cave (notably better-carved than the primitive kobold cave), the path intersects a long corridor 20 feet wide. 60 feet to the north, you barely make out a couple of doors to the north and east, with a 90 degree turn to the west. Approximately 60 feet to the south, the corridor turns diagonally to the southwest. The faint stench of death seems to emanate from the south.

Remei. I nod slightly down the north corridor and raise my eyes questioningly at Jack...

Jack. I narrow my eyes and glare down the south corridor, but glance at Remei and nod, slowly heading north. Stealth check?: 1d20; 7+4=11

Remei. I follow Jack. Stealth check 1d20+3=14. When we get to the doors I will take time to listen and smell outside each one, before cautiously looking around the corner down the corridor to the SW.

DM. From the north door, Remei hears conversations discussing demons, but nothing from the east door. (I'm assuming you mean the west passage, because Jack and the doors are to the north.) The western passage slopes noticeable upwards before splitting north and south again, but Remei can make out a distant, faint groaning from around the southern bend. She also smells a faint whiff of...rotting flesh?

Jack. I kneel close to the north door to see what I can hear, while gesturing for Remei to keep watch.

DM. Jack can make out the sounds of 5 or so people talking on the other side of the door, but can only discern a couple intermittent, the most notable of which are "demons," "sacrifice" and "altar," but can't understand any particular phrases or sentences.

Jack. I glance at Remei and hold up 5 finger, but held up my other hand, constantly changing the number of finger on that hand. After that, I pantomime stabbing someone laying down and gesture to the south with a questioning look.

Remei. I shrug and nod and set off to the south to investigate. Stealth check 1d20+3=14

Jack. I make what passes for a frown, but take the lead. Stealth check. 1d20; 9+4=13

DM. Jack and Remei sneak down the corridor some 130 feet until they reach a stretch of corridor some 60 feet long, boulders, rocks, sand, and sandbags blocking the south end. To the west, Jack sees red-streaked stone that contains black veins forming the walls of a chamber, from which he and Remei can hear an occasional groaning. To the southeast is a hall which appears to be an audience chamber, but it is deathly still, though Remei can make out some armor-clad statues against the southeastern wall.

Remei. I glance at Jack and raise my eyebrows questioningly, whilst moving slightly toward the sound of groaning. (Stealth check 1d20+3=7) My attention on Jack, I stumble slightly on a loose stone beneath my feet...

Jack. I freeze and began listening, my eyes sweeping the area to see if we were detected. Perception check. 1d20; 15+1=16 If I don't find anything, I move to the wall and begin studying the wall, trying to find snything about it (Not sureif this is Investgation or Perception, so here are rolls for both) Investigation check. 1d20; 14 Perception check. 1d20 (advantage); 10+1=11

Remei. I whisper to Jack "this seems too easy, too unguarded..."

DM. Remei and Jack attempt to sneak into the western chamber with its walls of red-streaked, black-veined walls. However, as they enter the room, they immediately see the source of the groaning — to the north and south walls are lined 4 zombies each, all clad in filthy red-and-black striped uniforms and several of them carrying cleaver-like battleaxes. Jack doesn't have much time to investigate the walls before the begin to shamble before Remei. (They're still far enough away that even if you lost initiative, you could outrun them. So unless you plan to fight 8 zombies alone, I won't make you roll for initiative.)

Remei. "Time to go" I say quietly to Jack. I sprint at my full speed (take dash action 80ft/round running or climbing) back the way we came towards the cave entrance, assessing the cave walls as I go, ready to switch to climbing if it will get me out without fighting. (Stealth roll if allowed 1d20+3=11)

Jack. I follow Remei's example and begin sprinting for the cave entrance (60ft as a dash). I keep watching straight ahead, just in case somethings there.

DM. Though Jack and Remei's escape to the cave mouth is quick, the sound of their running audibly echos through the hall, the increasingly agitated moaning of zombies trailing behind them. The rest of the group, having spent just a few minutes working on building a campfire, sees the rushing Jack and Remei exit the cave. (At last, the party is reunited!)

Remei. "Eight zombies behind us, likely another five priests alerted, maybe more" I gasp as I reach the others a little way ahead of Jack. (What is the terrain like around the cave mouth? Do we have a better option than everyone just picking up weapons and fighting at the cave entrance? Any high ground, cover for those with ranged attacks, places we could draw zombies out to (perhaps by leaving only Jack and I to draw them on, as if alone?) How far behind us are they now- surely our speed has gained us a few heartbeats of thinking time?)

DM. The valley slopes roughly 25 feet above the mouth of the cave before leveling off. Though there are no trees right around the cave, there are a few decently-sized rocks that could be used for cover. Remei estimates that the zombies could be here in a minute or so, assuming they didn't lose track of you.

In'Za. In'Za stands and draws his weapons, moving close to the cave and readying the Dodge action for when the zombies emerge. "I'll take the first wave of the zombies' attacks. Everyone else, get behind me and be ready to attack."

Jack. I move to position myself next to In'Za, readying to Attack with my claws at the first enemy in reach, "I knew something was happening. Zombies and demons, those priests will taste my claws, each and every one," I vow, glaring at the cave.

Wfoz. I jump up from the campfire at the sight of the returning scouts. After hearing Jack and Remei mentioning the zombies, I hide behind one of the big boulders and ready my crossbow bolt to fire at the first sight of a zombie. Shakily I say, "I guezz thiz meanz that you did not find anytthing. Maybe the koboldz have the princezz after all?"

Remei. I'll scramble above the mouth of the cave so I'm out of sight but in position to drop down on anyone emerging/ fighting In'Za and Jack in the cave entrance.

Jack. I give a rueful laugh at W'foz's words, "Sure, unless the words altar, sacrifice, and demon means nothing."

DM. Not too long afterwards, you all begin to hear the groans of shambling undead stumbling towards the mouth of the cave. The size of the entrance is such that only two may emerge at a time. As two of them approach, Jack slashes at one with his claws for 9 damage. Wfoz shoots the same zombie as Jack hit, dealing 8 damage. Remei tackles the same zombie for 7 damage, killing it and placing herself at the forefront of the melee as well.

In retaliation, the zombies attack with their axes, scoring two critical strikes against Remei for 22 total damage, bringing her to within an inch of death. The zombie besides Remei slashes at Jack for 3 damage.

In'Za. In'Za puts a healing hand on Remei's shoulder, restoring 5 hit points. "Remei, get back!"

Jack. (Remei's unconscious, she has 8 hit points at max) I grunt as the axe hits, causing me to lose scales. I grab Remei and attempt to pull her out of the cluster (if I cab't actually do that, I will make two attacks on the zombie between me and Remei. 1st attack. 1d20; 4+4=8 Second attack. 1d20; 15+4=19. Hit. 1d4; 2+2=4 slashing damage.

(She's not Ko'd anymore, I just healed her)

Remei. Coming round, I disengage and crawl to the nearest cover.

DM. In'Za helps Remei disengage the zombies, while Jack slashes the zombie. Another one moves in, but neither hits Jack or In'Za.--GamerAim Chatmod.png (talk) 09:07, 31 October 2017 (MDT)

Jack. I, none too happy about my lost scales, make two attacks to disarm the zombies (can I use my bonus action that way?) 1st attack. 1d20; 16+4=20 2nd attack. 1d20; 14+4=18

Wfoz. I strike at a zombie, keeping behind the large boulder, choosing to duel it. 4 + 5 = 9. My arrow flies off the crossbow, aiming right for a tree.

In'Za. In'Za discards his shield and makes a two-handed strike against the zombie closest to Remei. Attack: 18 Damage: 6

DM. Jack disarms two zombies whom Wfoz and In'Za both hit. The zombies attempt to slam against In'Za and Jack, but miss.

(What is the initiative order?)

DM. (It's basically zombies then everyone else. The zombies are stuck at the entrance to the tunnel, so it doesn't really matter.)

In'Za. In'Za slashes at the zombie again. Attack: 10 Damage: 3

Wfoz. I align my crossbow to another zombie, choosing to duel it. 1d20, 9 + 5 = 14. The bolt flies into it for 1d8 + 1d6 + 3 = 1 + 5 + 3 = 9 damage.

Jack. I attack the zombie Wfoz hit (if it is dead, I go for the one In'Za is fighting) 1st attack: 1d20; 8+4=12 Hit. 1d4; 2+2=4 slashing damage. Second attack: 1d20; 7+4=11 Hit. 1d4; 3+2=5 slashing damage.

Remei.Shaking a little, I stand to test my strength, and then attack the closest zombie (attack 7, damage 5)

DM. Two more zombies are downed and two more line up to the slaughter, missing both of their attacks.

Wfoz. I notch my crossbow. The bolt flies at the zombie I am duelling 1d20, 4 + 5 = 9, for 1d8 + 1d6 + 3 = 3 + 6 + 3 = 12 points of damage.

Remei. Retreating a few steps as I'm still weaker than I would like, I fling my dagger at the nearest zombie 1d20+5=12, damage 1d4+3=7

DM. Remei and Wfoz down another zombie, bringing the total down to 4 as another one lines up and both miss.--GamerAim Chatmod.png (talk) 08:22, 20 November 2017 (MST)

In'Za. In'Za slashes at a zombie. Attack: 14 Damage: 11

Jack. I attempt to grapple with one of the zombies. 1d20; 2+4=6 (I think I failed). "I hate zombies!" I growl at one.

DM. In'Za kills another zombie, but the other one rebukes Jack's advances. Another zombie lines up and slashes In'Za for 8 points of damage.

In'Za. In'Za roars in anger and attacks the zombie. Attack: 8 Damage: 11

Remei.I attack the closest zombie with my bare paws double attack:9,18 Damage: 7,7)

DM. In'Za and Remei kill two more zombies, but the last one moves in and hits In'Za for 8 damage, knocking him unconscious.

Jack. I make two attacks on the zombie using my claws. 1st attack 1d20; 3+4=7 2nd attack 1d20; 17+4=21 Hit. 1d4; 4+2=6 slashing damage

Remei. Seeing In'Za fall, I'm suddenly really angry and focussed. I attack the remaining zombie with my double bare-paw attack 1d20+5=25 critical hit!!! 1d20+5=19 (for 4 and 7 damage respectively)

Wfoz. I lower my crossbow, and run over to In'Za. "In'Zza! Can anyone heal In'Zza? In'Zza iz our healezr, but not likke thiz!"

In'za. Death Save 1 Success, 19. Although In'Za is unconscious and bleeding, he seems to be breathing strongly.

Wfoz. Not getting a response from the party, I try to stabilize In'za. My attempts to stop his bleading do nothing. Medicine, 1d20, 1 + 1 = 2.

DM. Remei kills the last zombie. Wfoz fails to heal In'Za, who seems close to stabilizing on his own.

In'Za. Death Save 2 Success, 17. In'Za doesn't seem to have suffered any life-threatening injury, but he's still in danger of bleeding out.

Remei. I rush over to In'Za and, tearing strips off my cloak, bind his wounds firmly. medicine roll 10+3=13

Jack. I approach and choose to Help Remei, "If we can make sure he doesn't bleed to death and get him to wake up, I can make a... poultice that can help him recover, given rest." (The poultice is Jack's explanation on how his injuries can heal and scales regrow without any sort of real medical attention during a short or long rest. It is made of local plants.)

DM. In'Za is successfully stabilized, though still unconscious. Rotting corpses have begun to stack at the entrance to the cave, but the party seems to be out of danger for the time being.

Remei. Wiping my paws carefully on some nearby grass, I look around me and something sinks in for the first time. "Where are the others? Decca, Stella and Gerald?"

((In'Za will wake up in 5 hours.))

DM. At that, the party hears pained screams from inside the cave that sound unfortunately similar to Gerald and Decca. (Is the party going to wait for In'Za to heal, or what?)

Remei. "Let me find a safe place to hide him from hostile eyes. I can catch you up" I say to Wfoz and Jack. I grab In'Za under the arms and start dragging him back into the cover of nearby rocks. When I've done that I'll use a branch or my cloak to brush some dirt over my tracks before dashing to catch-up with the others.

Jack. "Smart, but someone has to keep an eye on him, in case he wakes up or something finds him," as I say this, I collect my bag and check to ensure everything's there.

Remei. momentarily paralysed by indecision, I look between Jack and Wfoz. "You're staying here?" I ask Jack. "I won't last two minutes in there alone!"

Jack. I chuckle, then grimace, "Neither would I when me scales look like this," I pluck a bit of broken scale as emphasis, "We need to rescue Decca and Gerald before they're sacrificed to whatever demon those priests worship, but I'm not stupid. I know when I'm pushing it." I nod at In'Za, "I also know well enough that nothing hidden stays that way in a forest like this and I don't trust the denizens of this part of the forest. Ye two, and perhaps Stella if we can figure out where she's at, go do what ye can. Unless ye really want me to come."

Wfoz.. "We reellzy got ourzelvez into ttrouble... I don'zt thinkk that Decca and Gerald will be huzrt right awazy, zo why don'zt we rezt at our campsite? We needd our ztrenthh rightt now, not speed."

Since we are all in agreement, Wfoz helps carry In'Za back to the campsite we had setup earlier. We set In'Za down on a flat surface, and I make a small fire. I find a nice place where I feel the warmth of the small fire, and where I can keep a good eye on over our campsite. I let the party know that they can rest now, and that I will keep my eyes open for danger.

Jack. (Not sure about that in agreement part) "Those weren't cries for help, Foz. They were screams of pain. I would guess someone has very much been hurt."

Remei. I look at what remains of my party, and assess my bruised and bloodied self. I sigh heavily. Then settling myself down next to In'Za so my body heat can aid his rest, I cover us both with my cloak. "Thanks for taking first watch Wfoz. Wake me when it's my turn." Then I curl myself into a tight ball, paws tucked neatly in, and fall asleep immediately.

Jack. I watch Remei, then sigh, "Suppose I can't argue now," I glance at the cave, then at the sky, "That storm should be here soon. Unless this whole business is just messing me up..." shrugging, I extract a folded leaf from my bag and open it to reveal a paste, which I lightly apply to my injuries. After covering said injuried with leaves, I sit down with my back to the wall and start watching.

DM. Just as Jack predicted, the storm soon arrives, though Wfoz' fire is adequately protected enough to last the night. Aided by the warmth of cloak and fire, In'Za awakes about 14 hours later, around 5 AM. The party was left surprisingly dry and unmolested overnight, leaving them well-rested. Though the Autumn sun will not fully rise from behind the hilly landscape for another few hours, there is enough light for even those without darkvision to see.

Jack. I peel off the leaves and nod at the new-grown scales in satisfaction, "That's much better. Now, are ye all feeing well? If ye are, we have companions to rescue."

Remei. I wander around the campsite whilst chewing on some provisions. When Jack speaks I nod, but continue scouring the area looking for any useful healing herbs (I am proficient in medicine and survival) until Wfoz and In'Za wake and ready themselves.

Wfoz. I wake up near the fireplace coals, rolling over and standing up. I flutter my bug wings, shaking the dirt off. "Good mozrning matez" I yawn as I begin to gather together with my party members. When everyone is together, I ask everyone how they are doing, and what we should do first. "We can eithezr go talkk to the kobboldz king and tell him that he liedd to us about where the cultiztz are, and led uz into a demonicc undead cavve, or look around for our party. Of courze, maybbe the kobboldz have seen our missing party memberz."

Jack. I scowl at the cave, "I do not believe he lied. There are people in there that worship a demon of some sort. If that princess of yers was captured, it's by them."

In'za. In'Za wakes up and walks over to Jack and Wfoz. "What happened? Where is Remei?"

Remei. Seeing everyone congregate, I hurry over to join them.

Wfoz. Learning how certain Jack sounds, I agree to his plan to go into the cave together. I gather all my supplies from around our campsite, kick some dirt over the coals, and try to make our campsite look as least conspicuous as possible. I lead the remaining party members to the cave entrance, and the pile of dismembered zombies. "Evverzyone readzy?" I ask the party.

In'Za. "Yes." In'Za picks up his shield from where he dropped it before.

Jack. I nod, then glare at the zombies, "We should expect more of these."

Remei. Fastening my cloak around my shoulders and unconsciously checking each dagger, I nod at Wfoz. "South to the chamber? Or shall we go kick down some of those doors?" I raise an eyebrow at Jack. "I wish I still had my scale mail, I think the time for running and hiding is past" I mutter to myself, as an afterthought.

Wfoz. "Let'z go kickk down the doorz, since I hope that there are prizonerz behind the doorz." I check all the equipment strapped over my shoulders, tightening the straps and making sure my weapons are easily accessible. "I thinkk that thiz will get really loud, matez", and I lead the party down the passage towards the doors.

Jack. "This should be fun," I give a faint grin.

DM. At the north end of the main passage is the aforementioned doors — one to the north, one to the east, and a sloped passage leading west. Through the north door, the party hears muffled conversation about "a priest and a shrub" and a "stay of execution." You discern no noise coming from the east or the west.

Jack. I whisper to my companions, "The north door. We need one alive, to... inform us."

In'Za. "I agree. And be on guard for spellcasters."

Wfoz. I walk up to the north door, and try to silently open it. Stealth, 1d20, 20 + 5 = 25. Critical success. I silently make my way into the room, taking a ready action to attack the first monster that comes at me with my rapier.

Remei. Stealth 1d20+3= 21 Slipping noiselessly into the room behind Wfoz, I ready an unarmed strike...

In'Za. In'Za steps inside the room with Remei and Wfoz, readying a longsword attack. Stealth: 1d20 (disadvantage) = 9

DM. Wfoz and Remei sneak quietly into the grand chamber. It's funished with hard pallets, a glowing brazier, a wardrobe, a water pail, a waste bucket, stools, and a table, on which stands a flagon of win and several cups. Surrounding the table are the voices heard outside: five acolytes dressed in red robes with black cowls. Unfortunately, In'Za bumps into the door on his way in, alerting the acolytes. Wfoz and Remei seize the moment and strike at one of the acolytes, killing him. In'Za's sword pierces the stomach of another acolyte, dropping him to the ground as well. The remaining three ready themselves for combat, though their expressions and body language suggest that they'd prefer not to fight.

Jack. Seeing an opportunity, I stroll through the door in a I-can-beat-everything-here-and-I-know-it way. I feign anger as I roar at my companions, "I said, 'Let's see if anyone is here!' By that, I meant knock on the door, not creep in like thieves and then stab people when they notice us!" I sigh heavily, "I knew I should have hired the soldiers, not blasted adventurers," after a moment I look over at the acolytes, "Sorry about all that. Me name is Jack. I've been hearing about funny things happening around here, so I thought I'd take a look. No one was supposed to draw weapons, but these three have been antsy since we were ambushed by zombies. So, again, I'm sorry about that." (Deception check 1d20; 13+1=14) (Worth a try)

DM. One of the acolytes speaks up, warily, "What is thy purpose here, reptilian stranger? Why wouldst thou hire merciless bands to infiltrate our Unholy chambers in thy first place? Do thou not know this is a place of worship, protected by our Covenant with the wretched hives of scum and villainy surrounding? Thou wouldn't be associated with the recently captured shrub-woman and traitorous priest, wouldst thou? I beseech thee to lay down thy weapons and follow me whenceforth unto my Master, that He may cast judgement."

Jack. I give a faint smile before sinking comfortable into a similar speech, "Ah, it hast been long since the olden tongue graced mine ear," nodding, I continue, "Southward, there art tales of murderous beasts with the heads of dogs. I come to seek truth or falsehood to such tales. But here alone, amongst the creatures the tales spoketh of, I heard tell of those of faith unholy whom maketh home in these caves. Thus, here I am. I didst indeed hire these fools, which doth includes the plant and priest of whomst thou speakth," I glare at my companions, "Thou weren't to draw blade, but there be not a thing to be done for it," I return my attention to the acolyte, "I hear thy plea and accept, and do command those whom serveth me to do also."

Wfoz. I slowly lower my rapier, saying "if you zay zo Jackk..." I sheath my rapier, keeping my weapons with me. "Lead the way, and zorry about kkilling your frienzd."

In'Za. In'Za plays along, speaking to Jack once in an unknown language, then saying again in Common. "Will I still get paid?" Deception: 17 + 3 = 20

Jack. "Yes, you will get paid," I sigh.

Remei. Tightens her lips and narrows her eyes at Jack to signal her misgivings, but relaxes her fighting stance slightly. If possible she is going to remain at the back of the party as they are led wherever they are going.

DM. The acolytes lead the party through the rocky tunnels into what appears to be an evil chapel. The floor of this imposing chapel is a checkerboard of ebony and scarlet. A tapestry on the south wall depicts a desolate landscape of dead trees and barren rock. Demonic silhouettes hold aloft a struggling child in the foreground. The dark sky is torn by wisps of purple clouds, and red dots in the form of skulls and burning eyes leer over all. Four black pillars support the domed ceiling. Between them, just in front of the tapestry, is a stone altar of red-veined black rock, rough-hewn and crusted with dried blood. Upon it are four ancient bronze vessels — a shallow bowl, a pair of goblets, and a vase-like pitcher. All glow an ugly purple.

Standing before the altar, his back to you, is a dark priest clad in a black cape and red cowl over red robes, raising a glowing staff as he chants in some unknown tongue. He is surrounded by four dark adepts dressed in red robes with black cowls. The backs of their robes are adorned by the symbol of a blood-red star. Behind the dark priest, you can roughly make out a man being held down against the altar — it's Gerald! In the corner sits a woman, tied-up and helpless. Though her skin and purple gown are covered in soot and dirt, there's a high-born nobility to her clothes, and her skin is otherwise fair and unblemished. Just to her left is the still, lifeless corpse of Decca, sporting numerous recognizable bite marks.

Just a few feet into the room, the dark priest stops chanting and turns around abruptly, and as he does so you note that a dagger is but inches away from Gerald's heart. Disrupted by your appearance, he raises a hand to delay Gerald's death and shouts at the acolytes you entered with in a cold, horrid voice. "For what reason doth thou disturb the sacrifice, lowly filth?! Canst thou see it is nearly finished whilst thou art supposed to be in thy quarters awaiting mine instructions?" The head of the acolytes speaks up, softly, "Y-yes, High Priest, b-but these intruders killed thy fellow acolytes in cold blood, so we thought thou might wish to punish thine transgression." The high priest looks you over, "Hmmmm, thou art clearly not natives of this remote land. State thy purpose in slaughtering mine subservient stooges."

Jack. I nodded, but take a moment to smell the air, "Ah... the smell of blood. How it invigorates!" I smile, then begin speaking to the High Priest, "Thou hast mine apologies for the deaths of thy minions. Amongst the kobolds, there was word of priests of dark faith whom walked amongst these caves. I was curious and sought those priests out. Thou art the priests I speakth of, of course. It wast unfortunate that we were attacked by the undead. Several of our number vanished and the rest left injured. After we hadst recovered, we ventured here to seek out the fates of our missing companions" I gesture to Decca's corpse, then to Gerald, "There lies one. I see that thou art about to sacrifice the other. Please, do so. He hast served his purpose and hired hands require no payment if they have not life. But, as I was saying, the undead hadst made anxious those servants still with me. So much so that mine command went ignored and blades were drawn, to the death of two of thy minions." I take another moment to gaze around the room, "Wouldst thou grant me a question? I know of a number of dark gods whose priests hide in remote sanctuaries, but none whose sigil is a star of crimson. To whom doth thou give these sacrifices?" Deception check? 1d20; 2+1=3 (I really hope that I didn't need that deception check...)

Wfoz. I blurt out, practically yelling at the cultist "Why are you zacrafizing these people? We waznt you to tell uz why, and give uz thoze who are not with you pleaze!!" My eyes end up on the princess, hudled together, her royalty nothing more than a facade now.

Jack. I sigh, then roar at Wfoz, "Ye brain-dead, rotten-scaled IDIOT! Did it occur to ye that we could have learned what we were dealing with AND surprised the high priest while he attempted to sacrifice, what's his name... Gerald? The priest might have even survived!" I just shake my head, "Nevermind. Let's just kill them and get this over with." I begin stalking forward, pointing at the high priest, "And ye! I'm going to make good on me promise. Ye dare to threaten me forest, me home, with ye magic and rituals? Yer mine!" (No offense. Just roleplaying there.)

DM. The high priest's face turns from caution to confusion to anger and he draws his mace, shouting "FOR THE STARS!" The acolytes behind him stab Gerald through the heart, and the rest prepare themselves for battle. The high priest swings his mace at Jack, smashing into his scales for 7 damage. One of the priests that led you into the chamber strikes Wfoz from behind for 4 damage.

Jack. I grunt in pain as my scales essentially shattered, "Ye know what yer doing, filth!" I attempt to grapple the high priest. Athletics check. 1d20; 15+4=19 If I succeed, I am going to essentially use him as a shield and prevent him from attacking.

Wfoz. I recoil from the back strike, turning around and drawing my rapier. I say "You won'tt havve all of uz you zcum!", as I choose to duel the acolyte that attacked me. 1d20, 8 + 5 = 13. If the acolyte attacks me again I will use my reaction to get +2 AC.

Remei. I leap at the accolyte closest to the Princess, doing my double unarmed attack 1d20+5=21, damage 1d4+3=5, and attack 1d20+5=6 (that's got to be a miss, surely!)

In'Za. In'Za rushes over to Jack and levels his weapons at the acolytes, readying an action to attack if any of them tries to interfere with Jack's grapple, or attacking the high priest if the grapple fails.

DM. Jack grapples the high priest, forcing him to drop his weapon. Wfoz misses his target, but Remei knocks hers clean out. With In'Za and Jack holding their leader hostage, the acolytes hesitate to attack (they don't attack this round).

In'Za. In'Za shouts to the acolytes. "Surrender your weapons or your priest dies." ((Intimidation Roll 16 + 3 = 19))

Wfoz. I take a ready action to attack a cultist if they do not surrender.

Jack. I growl, but say nothing. If I can, I place a claw on the high priest's neck.

Remei. I flex my paws and size up whichever accolyte is closest to me, readying my double unarmed strike...

DM. Though the claw is pressed against his neck, the priest shouts, "Drop them, now!" After the acolytes drop their weapons, the high priest asks of you, "What do you want? Our lives, our treasure?"

Remei. I walk quickly across to the Princess and cut her bonds, saying softly but firmly to her "stay with me, I will protect you", and pressing my dagger into her hand. Then keeping her behind me, I turn and flash my eyes and sharp canine teeth at the priest and accolytes, readying to unarmed strike at anyone that dares oppose me.

Wfoz. I gather up the dropped weapons (what weapons are they exactly?), and cut off the bonds on the other prisoners. I let Jack know that he can let the high priest go, as soon as the princess is on her feet and out the door. To the princess I say, "It'z time to go, your heghnezz, everyone iz worried to death for you. I hope that you arre well enough to gett moving." As she gets up, I hurriedly open the chamber door for her. Perception to see what's out there. 1d20, 20 + 3. Success.

In'Za. Is the room being lit by braziers? If so, In'Za takes a torch from a brazier and ignites the tapestry, then he throws the items on the altar across the room.

Jack. Whether or not In'Za lights the place, I refuse to release the priest, "Ye are coming with me. I assure ye that no harm shall come to ye while ye... escorts us out of these caves. But if something happened to happen, well, I can't assure yer safety if that happens. But trust me. I always honor me vows."

DM. Wfoz gathers the steel maces and peers out of the chamber, but sees no dangers outside, and the princess leads the other prisoners out of the chamber. The high priest winces as In'Za lights the tapestry, but as soon as In'Za starts to throw items, the high priest mutters to himself, "Master Crowley, forgive me," and attempts to escape Jack's grapple by elbowing him, but Jack is able to retain a firm hold on the priest. At that sign, four acolytes run to surround In'Za, three of them making connecting punches for a total of 3 damage.

In'Za. In'Za raises his sword grimly and slashes one of the acolytes lightly as a sort of warning. Roll: 1d20+3 = 21, Damage: 1d8+1 = 2 ((Intimidation roll?))

Jack. I growl threateningly at the priest, "Is this how it is? Fine. Let me be clear. I want to rip out yer throat. I want to rip out yer throat very badly. Unfortunately for me, ye might be useful for me companions. I could care less... but for their sakes, I restrain meself. But know this. If ye attempt to flee again, me claws will be painted red. Do I need to explain this more simply, Priest?" my voice is filled with scorn, clearly displaying how much I despise him.

Wfoz. From the doorway, with the princess safely in the hall, I draw my crossbow and take a ready action to attack a cultist if they strike In'Za again. "Trzy that agaizn, and you will be in a lott of problemz" I say to the cultists. "Mayzbe you are uzed to killingz your prizonerz, but unlike you we arre not. Don'tt make the wrrong choice here, if you kznow whatt I meanz."

Remei. Hesitating near the doorway (I was following the Princess and the prisoners) I instinctively signal my anger with a series of piercing, high pitched shrieking barks...

DM. The acolytes hesitate as the high priest submits once again, this time directing himself at Wfoz, "Please, bug man, you- you look sensible. Please get this snarling dragonborn away from me, and I'll do whatever you ask! Just don't let this man-beast kill me!"

Wfoz. I respond, without changing my pose, "High priezt, I am zenzible aznd a bug mann, but we need the prencezz zafe. You wherze aboutt to zacrafice her, zo I am tottallzy worreed. And, you treed to ezcape. I will leave youzr fate to Jackk. Lett uz all go rightt now, and we will leazve, rightt Jackk??"

Jack. "Oh, I'm usually quite reasonable. Except that ye are a priest, worshipping a demon, with zombie, in me home. Being human (I assume he's human) doesn't help," I glance at Wfoz and sigh, "Very well, but let's add to that. Priest, ye and yers, zombies included, will not interfere with our leaving this place. In return, yer... unholy implements and artwork will not be harmed anymore than they already are, though we keep the maces," I then lean closer to him, "In addition, ye and yers will be gone by the next time I come back and will never return. If any of yer dark faith steps foot in this forest or if ye have not left by me return... well, I get to indulge in a little death and feasting, if ye understand. But... if ye heed me words, ye live, ye can take all ye can carry, and I will not harm ye as ye leave. If ye don't believe me... well, not all of the tale of the Forest Phantom are false..."

In'Za. In'Za starts talking as soon as Jack stops. "I will, however, be taking one of these items for investigation." In'Za picks up one of the items he threw. "If I deem it necessary to confiscate the rest of these items for the safety of this area, the terms of our agreement as stated by Jack and myself are considered void until further notice."

Remei. I look back and forth between Princess and my companions, feeling divided loyalties. (what's happening with the Princess and other prisoners in the corridor?)

Jack. I sigh and say, "Ye can take one. The rest stay with the priests. When they leave, they can take as much as they want. What they don't take, I will, and I don't care if these things are "sacred" or whatever. That should suffice," without waiting for In'Za's response, I sigh again and mutter, "Why do I, a gods-despising dracon, always get entangled with religion? A priest mentions their gods around me, we get into an argument. I have been banned from setting so much as a claw on the ground of the chapel for fear that the inevitable argument will erupt into bloodshed. And then I get into this mess of paladins and priests and dark worship. Next thing I know, I'll be clawing a holy monk to death while he babels about some unknown god no one cares about," I shake my head, then ssay to the priest that I am holding, "Me favorite way to pass time, it seems. Ramble about my problems. In any case, I hope that gave ye enough time, priest. Because I will have ye answer. Now."

DM. The captives, now freed, are standing on watch in the corridor, awaiting their rescuers to guide them out. The princess has easily taken lead of the group of captives, and beckons Remei and the rest over to her. The high priest lets loose a begrudging sigh, "Fine! Just leave us alone and we'll leave shortly. But tell your patron he's not heard the last of the Cult of the Dark Star." If Jack lets the priest go, he kicks all the maces back to Jack, then sets about gathering up the trashed artifacts. In'Za picks up a purple glowing goblet; it's remarkably well-preserved despite being thrown across the room. He's actually quite fond of it, and thinks he will use it drink with every day. In fact, he'd better just hold on to it, rather than place it in his backpack where someone else might take it from him.

(Wisdom save at all?)

(It was charisma and I rolled it.)

Jack. I release the priest, "I'm sure they will. As for me, well, you can either threaten me to me face, or go outside and threaten the forest and see if it cares?" As I say this, I frown at the glowing goblet In'ZA picked up (I'm making a Perception check to see if I notice anything odd about him) 1d20; 18+1=19

Wfoz. I lower my crossbow, and make my way over to the rescued prisoners. I stay alert as we gather together, beginning to make our way down the tunnel. I take the lead of the party, and start to make my way back the way we got here.

Remei.Feeling deeply suspicious about the goblet in In'Za's hands, I go to him and try to catch his eye as I say "Leave this cursed goblet here, In'Za. Nothing good can come from this evil place."

DM. Jack notices In'Za gripping the goblet fiercely and staring intensely at its runes. After Remei tries speaking to him, In'Za snaps out of his intense staring, but continues to grip the goblet with as much strength as he can without risking damage to it. In'Za has the gut feeling that Remei is hiding her desire for the goblet and wishes to steal it from him, should he leave it behind. And it'd be a shame for him to lose such a nice goblet.

In'Za. "Don't trouble yourself, Remei, I will check the goblet for dark magic when we get back to somewhere safe."

Jack. I nodded, "Indeed. In'Za is likely experience with such matters, Remei. Leave the glowing magic goblet to him. Speaking of leaving, Foz, In'Za. How about you two lead the prisoners out. Make sure you arm some of them with these maces, but let them know that they must not harm anyone that does not attack first. If they do, I won't help them any longer. Remei, you and I will follow behind to watch their backs and ensure they don't try anything. I then continue my previous chain of thought, "Though that is a nice goblet. And, with it glowing like that, it has to be enchanted. I might just let ye all keep some of me coin in return for letting me keep the goblet. If it's not cursed. I don't want a cursed cup," if anyone looks at me, I shrug and add, "I'm a dragon and I like treasure. Is that strange? Speaking of treasure..." Before we all leave, I'm going to check Gerald and Decca to see if they have anything of interest on them, then pick up their bodies, "Not leaving them behind. Let's go." (Not sure if a roll is needed here, since my intent is to make it so that, if In'Za suspects anyone of trying to take the goblet, he's most likely to think of Jack over the others.)

Wfoz. Agreeing, I hand out the maces to the prisoners, telling each of them to not use the mace unless they are put into danger. "Pleaze, yourz highnezz, only uze thiz mace when you are in danger of dying." We then begin making our way down the tunnel, going cautiously and slow enough that everyone can catch up with us. --Green Dragon (talk) 02:54, 30 March 2018 (MDT)

Remei. I follow along at the back of the group with Jack, as he suggested. If I can manage to privately catch his eye, I raise my eyebrows and give him a hard stare, then shake my head and look away, chattering slightly under my breath as I do so.

Jack. I look towards Remei and, upon seeing her stare, return it with my own, silently daring her to question me. I look away after she does and murmur, just loud enough for her to hear, "I know that look on In'Za. Me brother had it once, though for a jeweled dagger. He once tried to hurt me for attempting to take it, though was able to handle him. Just as I can In'Za, though I doubt In'Za has the greed of a dragon... Foz will have to know not to seem too interested in the goblet... or too ignorant of it, either. Same for you."

Remei. I "humph" quietly but keep walking, eyes and ears attuned for anything untoward behind or ahead of us.

DM. The acolytes make no attempt to stop the party as you lead the kidnapped back through the cave. Exiting the tunnel, the cold rain pours over you — a refreshing change from the damp heat of blood and sweat within the cave, and one the dirty captives appreciate for washing away the dirt and grime. After a minute of washing her face and hands in the rain, the princess attempts to compose herself and addresses you, albeit still shaking from the fear instilled in her ordeal. "I apologize for not thanking you before, but my first desire was to leave my captors and to gauge your character, but I suspect now from your brave rescue that you are all pure of heart. I heed not the thought of what would happened had you not intervened. My greatest regret is that I could not protect my entourage, as a future queen should do. I am heir to my father's kingdom west of here, so if there is any way I could repay you, I'd be much obliged."

Jack. I shake my head, "I am hardly pure of heart. I do what must to keep me oath... But I understand yer regret..." I turn away and wait for everyone to finish.

Wfoz. "Yourz highznezz, the honor iz all ourz. We arre mozt glad to zee you alive!" I congratulate the rest of the party, saying how pleased I am that everything worked out in the end, and how worried I was that we would not be getting out. "I think that itz time to get back to the fortt, matez!! We have reazon to be happy, and zad about the people we could not zave."

Jack. I glanced back at everyone, "If ye don't mind, we need to move. The cultists will come through here soon... To the southwest, there's a large clearing with an old watchtower in it. We can rest there for the night... In addition, keep those maces down unless something attacks ye. Hitting something unprovoked is a sure way to get yerself mobbed by wolves or the like."

Remei. As we continue on our way, I am looking out for any signs of a struggle, or mitocabra hoof prints. I'm concerned about my friend Stella who disappeared (and to a lesser extent the whereabouts of my scale mail!)

DM. Remei finds footprints leading out of the valley, back the way to the keep. Jack leads the way to the watchtower, which is surprisingly clear of hostile life. There, the princess and the captives huddle in the shelter of the decrepit structure, finally taking a breather. Though cold and wet, those that do not pass out from exhaustion find reason to joke and laugh, as the princess tells humorous tales the likes of which she'd never have opportunity to tell around other members of nobility. Within the watchtower, Jack finds some old wood, dry enough to build a campfire with. You suspect that the rain will not let up until morning, and night will fall before you can make it back to the keep.

Jack. Upon setting up the campfire, I head off to a position where I can keep an eye on anything that approaches. Aside from applying the paste from earlier to my injuries, I rest and keep watch, saying nothing more than, "I'll keep watch."

Wfoz. Weary from the fighting, I arrange a place to sleep on, and as my eyes close in exhaustion I manage to still say, "Jackk, wakke me upz for the zecond watczh,..." as I drift off into slumber.

Remei. I'm pleased to see evidence of my friend moving alone and unimpeded by serious injury from what I can tell. Wrapping myself in my cloak, I mutter "third" and instantly fall asleep.

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