Shilsen's Eberron SH (Die Hard 7 - Just DIE Dammit : 11/11/12) - Page 17




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    Quote Originally Posted by ajanders
    I can't help but be jealous your plans work out so much better than mine...
    So jealous that you're repeating yourself, I see

    Admittedly it's a lot easier to have one's plans work out as a DM than a player, but here's a not-so-well-kept secret about my game - I really don't have much in the way of plans.

    I don't plan things more than a session or two ahead, and even when it comes to things that might turn into a plot arc, I generally just have certain NPCs in place doing certain things, and what happens with them (or if they even become relevant or feature in the campaign) effectively depends on what the PCs/players do. I've had NPCs I thought were making a single appearance (Bodo & Killian being two examples) become longer-term presences due to PC choice, and I've had others who might have been more serious long-term NPCs just show up once and disappear (though some remain important through actions off-camera).

    So the PCs/players can't really screw up my plans, especially where it comes to directions they want to take the campaign, since I don't really have any. Saves me a lot of work and aggravation as a DM, and also keeps things interesting for me, since I often find out the next move in the campaign only a step or two before the players do.
    shilsen is broken - Crothian (and this is why)

    My Eberron Story Hour. Updated (Finally!) November 11. The Grand Finale!

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    Quote Originally Posted by shilsen
    Apparently you're more appreciative of suspense than Luna's player is. I just got an email from her saying that she'd never be able to survive till the 16th (the likely date of our next session) without knowing, and saying that I couldn't be mean enough to make her wait. Being the kind, gentle soul that I am, I said I'd tell her tomorrow, since I have to make her suffer for at least a day.
    Ooh! The 16th is my birthday. Will there be anything special waiting for me that evening?

    Quote Originally Posted by shilsen
    Of course, it goes without saying that all I'll be telling her is what Luna is aware of, as opposed to anything else that might be occuring. I wouldn't want to burden her with any metagame knowledge, after all
    I imagine she is less than appreciative of the mystery, considering that her character is the one about to undergo a padagrim shift. But hey, one of the joys of being a RBDM is watching your players writhe in agony while not really (in technical terms) doing anything to them. And being generous by insisting you could do worse with less, but out of your kind heart you go easy on them! Give with one hand, take with the other. The bait and switch never fails to work.

    You can tell her that this particular plot twist is a gift from me. Consider it my contribution to the RBDM's club of scheming evil laughs (not to be confused with triumphant evil laughs, or hurbis-induced triumphant seeming evil laughs). Every little bit matters when you want to petition for admission into it's hallowed halls.
    Game balance is a myth that I wholeheartedly subscribe to. ~ Sepulchrave II

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    Quote Originally Posted by Solarious
    Ooh! The 16th is my birthday. Will there be anything special waiting for me that evening?
    The assurance that while your enjoyment of the day will be offset by the suffering the Angels go through, so as to balance the happiness-sadness ratio in the world?

    Actually, the Eberron game got pushed back to the 23rd, since the one-off game wasn't quite wrapped up last Saturday. But we're actually going to do some IC roleplaying over email/online in between, so I'll try to remember to post that in between. I'm also considering putting up the characters in the Rogues Gallery here on ENWorld.

    I imagine she is less than appreciative of the mystery, considering that her character is the one about to undergo a padagrim shift.
    True, especially since the player has significant similarities to Luna when it comes to the subject of patience. Since I told her something of what's happening on Saturday (and it was a positive thing), she's happier now, though she's also been warned that I'm just letting her know what Luna's aware of, and will only discover all the other stuff going on when her character does.

    But hey, one of the joys of being a RBDM is watching your players writhe in agony while not really (in technical terms) doing anything to them. And being generous by insisting you could do worse with less, but out of your kind heart you go easy on them! Give with one hand, take with the other. The bait and switch never fails to work.

    You can tell her that this particular plot twist is a gift from me. Consider it my contribution to the RBDM's club of scheming evil laughs (not to be confused with triumphant evil laughs, or hurbis-induced triumphant seeming evil laughs). Every little bit matters when you want to petition for admission into it's hallowed halls.
    Certainly. One of the minor rules of RBDMing is to always give credit where due. It sets one up for the moments when one gets to reveal to the PCs/players all the various ways that they screwed themselves
    shilsen is broken - Crothian (and this is why)

    My Eberron Story Hour. Updated (Finally!) November 11. The Grand Finale!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Solarious
    Ooh! The 16th is my birthday. Will there be anything special waiting for me that evening?
    As promised, here is what we've handled so far between sessions:

    ************************************************** *******************
    Six emerges from the water, carrying the very unconscious and barely alive bard who was leading the enemy.

    Luna, meanwhile, is still staring at her arm. She, and anybody else who cares to look, can see her wounds gradually healing, at approximately the same rate as it does when she uses a lesser vigor spell. What the others can’t see, however, is the gentle warmth Luna feels emanating from the snakelike band around her forearm.

    The healing begins at the arm, the nearest wound (a deep cut on the shoulder) closing gradually, and then the next wound beginning to seal itself, and so on. At the current speed and with the extent of her injuries, it will take over ten minutes for them to close, but the healing shows no signs of abating.

    Gurr’khan looks at the healing wounds, with eyebrows raised, and then grunts, “Nice work. Did you just use some magic I didn’t notice, or is this something else I should be concerned about?”

    Then he turns to look at Six and the bard, and heads over. “Good work. I should make sure he doesn’t die. I have a few questions for the fool.”

    "Well, Gurr’khan,” says Nameless, walking beside him, “I am getting mighty tired of people taking whacks at us. Do you have any problems with us smashing this tribe? I want to impress upon these tribes that we are trifled with at their peril.”

    Nameless goes on to suggest that Six have his ears blocked and have his chain wrapped around the bard’s neck while they interrogate the bard to find out what was behind the attack.

    Gurr’khan grins, but there’s little mirth in it. “From what Surr’kal told me, you folks have been having that happen a lot.” He throws the unconscious bard a look and says, “But I’d rather we not go off and start dropping fireballs and flame strikes on a village full of women and children. It’s not like the River Snakes, or most of the clans or tribes, whatever their beliefs, to just attack travelers. Let’s talk to this one first.”

    Gareth nods. “While some in this village may be violent, to destroy the entire village would be evil. To destroy the warriors of this village, which are also the hunters, would also be evil.” [I]We either find a way to speak with them, or we find another way.

    Nameless grins. “Who are you and what have you done with Gareth?” The paladin just stares at him unamusedly.

    Luna uses a charge of lesser vigor to revive the bard. He opens his eyes with a pained groan and tries to sit up, before hitting the limits of the chain. His eyes flicker back and forth, panic evident in them for a moment, as well as more than a little surprise as he sees Korm, Luna and Nameless all still alive. Then he quickly seems to grow calmer.

    ”What do you fools want?” he asks, his voice containing a trace of the melody it’s capable of, but drowned out by the pain of his wounds.

    “Well,” says Nameless, “I was just going to wipe out your village and tribe, but he (pointing at Gurr’khan) wanted to find out if there was some reason for your attacking us first. Considering that we took a risk to find out what happened to some of your missing hunters, I’m happy to oblige you if you’d rather just die.”

    An expression of surprise flits across the captive’s face and he begins, “Find out what happened to our hunters ...?” Then he stops, and the expression quickly changes to a scowl.

    “You lie. The Khyber Serpent spoke to my people last night, warning that you had come to defile our sacred sites. I saw and heard it myself. Some of the fools were not sure, since it was not the shamans who saw it, but my people and I knew that the Serpent speaking to us was a sign of the importance of the situation. So we came, and here you are. We would have returned in triumph with your heads, if not for your damned luck.” By the time he’s done, he’s almost shouting, though evidently possessing enough of a sense of self-preservation not to try an escape.

    Gurr’khan, listening intently, says, “He’s an idiot. The Khyber Serpent, I believe, is their clan totem. The totems only speak through the tribe’s shamans.” He grunts and adds, “Mainly because that’s a bloody good way for the shamans to retain significant power in the tribes. Which is easier with idiots like this one.”

    The captive just glares at Gurr’khan, but doesn’t add anything.

    Korm, with his knowledge of the Marches, corroborates what Gurr’khan says, and adds that there are some daelkyr ruins within the swamp. While the Gatekeepers, and the clans/tribes that lean towards them, try to keep people away from such sites, the Cults of the Dragon Below venerate these locations.

    Nameless walks over and pulls out the blade that they found. He shows it to the bard, telling him how they recovered them from the lair of the chuul that attacked them, and where it was.

    “Unfortunately, we killed all the chuul, but I’m sure we can find something unpleasant enough to feed you to. Defiling holy sites wasn’t originally on our itinerary for this trip, but I’m sure we can spare enough time to oblige you. I’d hate for you to have gone through all this trouble to attack us and then not defile them like you were expecting us to. That would be rude.”

    The bard looks at the blade and then back up at Nameless. “Why should I believe you?” His brow furrows slightly, and then he continues, “You are a very fine liar, but the Serpent has told me of you and your people, and that is all I need to know.”

    With more vehemence, he adds, “And your threats mean nothing. My people will come searching for me, and if they find you here they will kill you. And if you visit the sacred sites, then they will certainly follow and kill you. There were only ten of us here and we almost bested you.” He pauses to glare at Luna, Korm and Gurr’khan. “Even the aid of the Gatekeepers will not save you from the hundreds of my clan. You can kill me now, but your deaths will follow. Swiftly.”

    Once he’s done, Gurr’khan grunts, “Like I said, he’s an idiot. Fanatical one, which is always an entertaining sort. The one thing he’s right about is the clan thing. They take it very seriously here, as Korm’akhan can tell you, and they’re sure to have more looking for this bunch, though how soon, is the question.”

    ”Actually, another question is this whole snake totem thing.” Gurr’khan walks over to the captive and says, “Whether you believe it or not, we had no intention of violating any of your sites. Your totem, or whatever it was, lied to you. How’d you know it was your totem, anyway? Maybe you just had too much to drink.”

    The bard glares up at him and snarls, “You blaspheme what you do not know. I saw it with my own eyes, and others did too. It appeared an hour before dawn, near the edge of the village, a giant green serpent wreathed in flame, floating in mid-air. It was the Khyber Serpent, exactly as the shamans describe it. It said that intruders had come to violate its sacred site, and that the clan should rise to crush them.

    There were six of us there, and four ran to call one of the shamans, but we,” he pauses to glance at his dead compatriot in the heavy armor, “Waited and listened. The serpent told us exactly where you would be and that there were six of you. It described you perfectly. It said to slay you all and to take your possessions to the sacred site, and then it disappeared, right before the others returned with two of our shamans.”

    ”The shamans questioned us and did not believe, saying that the Khyber Serpent speaks only to them, but I know that the appearance was a sign of its favor. And so we came here with our warriors. If the others had listened, you would be dead by now.”

    Nameless favors the bard with a contemptuous sneer. “Obviously he’s a dupe for whoever was poking around here last night. I doubt his Flaming Serpents are hairy, wet and leave bootmarks. Offhand I’d guess that it was Desro’s acquaintances. They’re easily good enough with disguises and illusions to fool a sucker like this joker. Plus they’d likely know about the dragonshard we got off Desro and how to use it to track us. Finally, the ‘claws on the stone’ fit in too well with the wet hair for it to be a coincidence.

    Let’s get going. I’ve no desire to waste my time fighting with a bunch of duped proxies. We can always come back and wipe them out later if they keep bothering us.”

    Gurr’khan chuckles a little grimly. “I’d bet a fair amount that you’re right on most, if not all, of those counts. And moving on is a good idea. Saala will be expecting us.”

    He jerks a thumb at the bard, who’s listening with a slightly confused expression. “What do you want to do with this? Could send him back with a warning not to bother us again, but I don’t know how well that would work. Anyway, he attacked your group and almost killed some of you, so it’s up to you to decide what to do. I really don’t care.”

    Nameless says, “We’ll leave him here tied up with a note, nailed to his forehead, explaining how he got used, by whom, and how his stupidity got his comrades killed for their foolishness in believing him. If you can send a copy via an animal to his village as well, that would be good. I want them to know where to find this idiot so they can mock and humiliate him as he deserves. Death is too easy for someone like him. Make sure they listen to their shamans next time.

    We’ll leave the hunter’s blade and include the location of the hunters’ bodies in the note as well. The rest of the stuff we’ll take; they forfeited them when they attacked us. Now how to get him to wait here peacefully? Gurr’khan, could you persuade an animal to sit here and eat his face if he tried to get out of the ropes?”

    Gurr’khan is grinning so widely by the end of Nameless’s speech that his head threatens to come off. “You’re a strange man, Nameless, but I like the way you deal with problems.”

    He looks around the area. “I can find an animal to keep an eye on him. Sending a message will be more complicated, and I don’t think we need to bother. Somebody or other will come looking for this bunch.”

    Gurr’khan points at a couple of low, but sturdy trees. “How about tying the idiot to one of those, but put him a little off the ground? I want to make sure he’s alive when found, and however friendly I make an animal, it might get peckish. Stick the corpses under the trees and stake them to the ground. And back up a little distance when I get back with an animal.”

    With that, he walks down to a more watery, swampy area, casts a couple of spells, turns into a crocodile and slithers into the water. About half an hour later, he returns, accompanied by two more crocodiles. Gurr’khan leads them out of the water and to the corpses. The two crocodiles promptly grab a corpse and try to drag it away, but the stakes hold it in place. Gurr’khan growls something at them and they stop trying to pull away the corpse. They rip off some pieces instead, evidently having trouble because it’s still fresh meat.

    Gurr’khan walks over to join the rest of the Angels and changes back into his normal form. “Those two will stay around for a while. Now let’s move before anyone gets here.”

    The bard is left trussed up tightly to the tree, out of reach of the crocodiles. He persists in making dire (and fairly amusing) threats about the vengeance that his clan, the Khyber Serpent, the denizens of the swamp, etc. will extract from them. Finally, exasperated, Gurr’khan sticks a temporary gag in his mouth. “He’ll be able to work it loose soon enough,” he grunts, “But at least we don’t have to listen to his blithering.”

    His judgement is correct, since by the time the bard manages to get rid of the gag, the Angels have wrapped up their camp and are preparing to leave, this time on one phantom steed and three phantom stags. The mounts canter down the hill and into the swamp, the angry shouts of the bard fading quickly behind them.

    The area they are heading into seems to have slightly more large vegetation than the previous sections of the swamp that they have seen, but it is not enough to really slow down the magical mounts. One of the reasons for the increase in vegetation is that there is relatively more solid ground (or rather, more mud than water) to travel across or through, and since the mounts treat it like a paved highway, they set a very good pace.

    Gurr’khan estimates they are about an hour’s travel from Saala, and his judgement is accurate. Just over an hour later, they ride into the largest collection of trees they have seen in these parts, forming a large wood. As they enter and move through the trees, they note that it seems darker in there than it should be, the sunlight not penetrating between the trees as would be expected. Small wisps of smoke or mist drift through the air. It also seems quieter somehow, sound not traveling as well as it should.

    A few minutes later, the group emerges suddenly onto the bank of a large, still pool, stretching over a thousand feet in length and perhaps half that in width. The waters are an inky black and mist-shrouded, making the opposite shore difficult to see. The sky seems very cloudy and much darker than it was when they rode into the trees only minutes ago. The trees come right down to the edge of the water, except for the long shallow bank the mounts emerged onto and a large low hill, bare of trees, which can be seen through the mist, looming over the water on the far shore.

    About a hundred feet away is a small tent pitched near the water. Sitting outside the tent, facing each other, are two women. One is an old half-orc, short and stout, her long white hair tied in a braid. The other is an even older human, much thinner, with a surprisingly skeletal face, the skin pulled tight across her skull, which is covered with thinning hair. She has a ragged cloak wrapped around her, and the Angels feel there is something unusual about her posture, though they can’t say yet what it is. Both turn to look as the riders emerge from the forest, and then the half-orc rises to her feet.

    She walks towards them, and Gurr’khan rides forward. “Saala,” he says, with a nod, and then dismounts.

    She nods back and then looks up at the rest. “I am Saala Torrn. You are welcome.”
    shilsen is broken - Crothian (and this is why)

    My Eberron Story Hour. Updated (Finally!) November 11. The Grand Finale!

    My world's worst paladin thread. Vote and throw rocks!

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    So... you taunted her with the realization that her symbiont works? Genius!

    I'm still waiting for Luna to royally screw with the Gatekeepers before she turns into a giant, morbidly obese, masochistic shifter though.
    Game balance is a myth that I wholeheartedly subscribe to. ~ Sepulchrave II

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    Quote Originally Posted by Solarious
    So... you taunted her with the realization that her symbiont works? Genius!
    Pretty much

    All I said at the end of the session was that she felt something strange and then realized what it was. Never said it was anything bad. She (and everyone else) just assumed it was.

    Mechanically, she has Fast Healing 1 from it under certain circumstances, primarily having the crap beat out of her. Of course, there might be some teensy-weensy other things going on in there, at least one of which should be noticed over the course of the next session.

    I'm still waiting for Luna to royally screw with the Gatekeepers before she turns into a giant, morbidly obese, masochistic shifter though.
    We'll see what happens. I took a look at the Impure Prince PrC and she definitely does not want to actually take the PrC due to the wildshape loss and the slowed spellcasting. So I'm just going to add in some elements (mechaincal and/or flavor) from there and other places, and mostly just make up stuff as needed.

    The meeting with Saala can potentially take the situation with the Shard in a lot of different, and very divergent, directions. I'm looking forward to next session, since until it happens I really have no clue where the campaign is going next.
    shilsen is broken - Crothian (and this is why)

    My Eberron Story Hour. Updated (Finally!) November 11. The Grand Finale!

    My world's worst paladin thread. Vote and throw rocks!

    My Sexism in D&D and on ENWorld (now with SOLUTIONS!) thread. Pop in and tell me what you think.

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    Feed my hunger for more Shil!!!

    What do we want MORE when do we want it?

    MORE!!!!

    again bumping for Justice (and furry shifter chicks)
    Avatar courtesy of Sialia!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by delericho
    Sadly, the reality is that many people don't realise that "no, you can't" doesn't always reduce fun, and "yes, you can" doesn't always increase it. So, very often, they find themselves working against their own fun.
    My idea of faith: The All Black's WILL win the World Cup - it's gonna happen people!!! (so long as we don't get France or Oz in our semi-final).

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    Ask and ye shall receive.

    Here's the next bit that we've handled between sessions. Which, sadly, will continue for a bit, since we're not playing this weekend due to scheduling issues. So chances are that I'll have another update or two before the next actual game session to tide you over. Until then...

    ************************************************** **************

    Six dismounts and says quickly, “Hello, Saala, and your friend. I will be abrupt, as we have an active stalker following us using means we can’t identify. And we have dragonshard problems. The ones we have may have abilities we don’t know of and abilities we don’t want. Information about the key is why we were originally coming here, but other problems seem to be following us. Time is urgent, as our stalker is still about.”

    Saala looks a little startled at the hurried speech from Six. Before she can respond, Nameless adds, “We should hold off discussing anything potentially ‘interesting’ until tomorrow morning. I have spells that can secure the area from scrying and other such spells, but I do not have them prepared now.”

    Saala looks up at the cloudy sky and says, “It’s not even noon. I’d rather not waste time sitting around and waiting till tomorrow, especially in view of what you,” she nods at Six, “Just said. Considering how many of us there are here, hopefully we’d detect it if we were being spied on. Follow me.”

    She leads the group to the tent, where the other woman looks up at you, though she continues to sit where she is. Saala says to you, “This is Thlie. Thlie, these are the people I told you about.” Now that you are closer, you can see that one side of Thlie’s face is permanently twisted downwards, and a thin line of spittle leaks out as she nods in your direction. The hands that hold the blanket wrapped around her seem gnarled and twisted. And there’s definitely something very strange about her eyes. Though she looks at you, they seem unfocused somehow.

    Saala enters the tent and returns with a couple more mats, which she unrolls and says, “Sit.” She does so too, and says, “Tell me about this stalker.”

    Gurr’khan explains what has transpired, including the details of the River Snake attack. Saala listens intently. Thlie does so at times, at others staring off into the distance or muttering under her breath to herself. More drool drips onto her legs, but she doesn’t seem to notice or care, though Saala stops once to wipe it away with a cloth.

    After Gurr’khan covers the subject of the stalker(s), Saala says, “And now, what of this Key that I have heard so much of? More precisely, how can I help you with it? Do you come purely for knowledge, or do you wish me to try and rid you of it? I believe it has been somewhat of a burden to you.”

    Nameless nods. “I wish to keep it safe. Unfortunately, it is not safe with us, since we seem to attract trouble, like a corpse attracts maggots. Since we are tied to it, we also can not simply leave it somewhere it would be safe either. Given the feelings of some of my companions, retaining that attachment is not a long term option either. So, yes – we would be rid of it and the Gatekeepers are the only ones we can all agree to trust with it.”

    Saala says, “As you can guess, I appreciate your choice. From what I have heard of the Key, it is far too dangerous to risk. Gurr’khan has related to me all that you have told him, but I will have more questions about it for you. Before that, however, may I see this Key?”

    When Nameless hands Saala the Key, she takes it silently, and a trifle reverently. She looks at it for a long time, turning it back and forth in her hands, and then finally turns to Thlie. The older woman has been staring off across the pool, and it takes a little prodding to gain her attention. Once Saala has it, she hands Thlie the Key, and asks, “Is this one of them?”

    Thlie’s somewhat vacant eyes focus on the item, and she strokes it softly. Then she lifts it to her face and closes her eyes, before sniffing it from end to end. The impression the watchers get is of a cat trying to recognize a long unfamiliar scent. Then she opens her eyes and speaks.

    “Yes. It is one of them. To open the gate that cannot be opened. To seal the portal that cannot be sealed.” Thlie seems about to say something else, but then breaks off into inaudible mumbles.

    Saala carefully takes back the Key from her, places it on her own lap, and covers it with a fold of her blanket. Looking at the quizzical expressions on the Angels’s faces as well as Gurr’khan’s, she says, “Thlie knows about certain things that many don’t. I will tell you more about that – and her – later. But before that, I would like to hear everything that you can tell me about this.”

    While Saala is speaking, Gareth sits silently, watching and listening. Then he focuses on his Flame-granted abilities and attempts to detect thoughts.

    As Gareth concentrates, though there is no external manifestation, he first senses the stream of Saala’s and Thlie’s thoughts, and then the strength of their flow. He quickly realizes that both of them are very intelligent, more so than any of the people in his group except, of course, for Nameless.

    Gareth focuses further, concentrating on Saala. He senses the surface of her thoughts, but as his consciousness attempts to enter into them, he finds himself blocked by the barrier of her will. Realizing that Saala will feel the attempt as soon as she successfully resists it, he instantly drops his focus.

    Sure enough, Saala sits up a little straighter and looks around the area. Then she says, “One moment,” and closes her eyes. After a few seconds, she opens them and looks keenly around the group. “Somebody just attempted to use a spell or magical effect on me.”

    Saala has to stop and gesture for Gurr’khan, who grunts and begins to rise, to keep his seat, and then she continues. “It was one not used by druids, called detect thoughts. There is nobody else within range of us. Hence, I am presuming it was one of you. I would appreciate it if whoever used it admitted to doing so and explained why he did so.” Her tone remains as calm as it has been ever since she began speaking to the group, but there’s the lightest sense of steel in it.

    Speaking up for the first time since they have met, Gareth says, “I was the one who performed it. I am wary about new people, and I am especially wary about new people when concerning myself with powerful magic. If you are offended, then please realize none was meant, and I do this for the safety of the group as well as the world.”

    Nameless says dryly, “Well, at least we can be sure we have the real Gareth now.”

    Then he addresses Saala and Thlie. “Please forgive him. For some reason he thinks nobody will notice when he’s doing that sort of thing. Or that it will give him some sort of useful information, despite his experiences to the contrary.”

    He then launches into a ribald version of the time Gareth was using detect evil in the Daask bar, tossing out a couple of innuendoes about Gareth scoping out the barmaids.

    Gareth looks at Nameless calmly. “I do not need your excuses, or apologies for my actions. I stand by them, and would do them again. And I would expect more from a wizard who is attempting to make a valid comparison of detect evil and detect thoughts. Not to forget, a lot of people don't notice when I am doing that sort of thing.”

    Six says, “Well, the ones that don’t notice tend to be harmless. The ones that do generally can cause you a world of hurt.”

    Saala watches the exchange between the Angels and then looks at Gurr’khan with an eloquently raised eyebrow. Gurr’khan just grunts and says succinctly, “Adventurers!”

    Saala grins widely at the comment and then turns back to Gareth. “I understand your caution, though it seems a little late, considering you’ve traveled all this way to speak to me about this,” she taps the shard in her lap. “But I’m not offended – for now. Don’t do it again.”

    “That, however,” she continues, “Gives me a little excuse for some rudeness of my own. If you will bear with me…”

    She turns back to Gurr’khan and says, “You have had some time with my guests. What do you think of them?”

    Gurr’khan grunts again, as seems to be his custom when about to speak, and says, “First, the good stuff. Surr’kal, whom I trust, says they’re quite reliable. I’ve been in two fights with them so far, and they’re very effective. Perhaps the most powerful group of their size I’ve fought beside, and I’ve seen some fairly strong druids in their element, as you know. Apparently, though this is mostly hearsay, they’ve taken some serious risks to protect the Key. In the time I’ve been with them, unless everyone here is faking really well, and I don’t think some of them could act worth a damn,” (his eyes flicker to Korm and Luna as he says this, and then back to Saala) “They did seem quite genuinely concerned about keeping it safe.”

    Gurr’khan takes a deep breath and continues. “Now the bad. They’re kinda mental. They fight with each other all the time, and again, hearsay tells me they get into fights all the time. From some things I’ve heard and a little I saw with the River Snakes, they should be dead by rights, but somehow manage to survive.” He grunts again. “Which, I guess is a good thing. Surr’kal, in fact, said that they got some stupid prophecy telling them they’re special and that they’re meant to do great things and that they were meant to find the Key. You know I don’t give a damn about prophecies, but even if it’s right, I’m not sure a group fated for great things should be guarding that.”

    He indicates the Key and then pauses, as if thinking of something, and then says quickly, “Also, Luna here’s the most mental. She’s got a symbiont attached to her arm and her tongue, if you didn’t notice. That guy,” (he indicates Six) “Is carrying a bloody floating eye in his bag too, but Luna apparently thinks daelkyr creations are fashion accessories. Just that’s a good enough reason to make sure the Key is some distance from them.”

    Gurr’khan ends and gazes around the group with no trace of embarrassment. “She asked what I thought.”

    The Angels notice that Saala’s lips twitch with apparent amusement, but she hides it masterfully when Gurr’khan looks back at her. She looks at Luna and asks, “Symbionts? That is a little unusual for a druid.” Her eyes roam over the group. “What do you think of her choice?”

    Luna breaks in before any of the others can reply, wearing what some of the Angels now call the ‘flame strike expression.’ “You might not have to worry about me wearing symbionts. I had no idea that they could make me fat! Now, frankly, I have to rethink the whole thing!
    I was just trying to fight fire with fire!”

    “And anyone who has been fighting these disgusting mutant creatures for as long as Gurr’khan should know that sometimes one must sometimes attempt more creative means to fight them and emerge victorious! And defeating them is... well ... actually rather important! So whatever modes you employ to do so must in the end be more than justified!”

    So far, she has been ostensibly addressing Saala, but now she turns to face Gurr’khan. “And frankly, I am not mental in the least! I am a very keen and observant strategist! And at some point, it must be plain to any thinking person that there is no point chatting up the enemy any more, and you just need to do what you came to do! And while I am not chatty, I am focused and results oriented. And while we may not always enjoy working as a team ... we never leave anyone behind! Even the two most antagonistic of our group have gone to hell and back to pull the other out of the fire. I don’t know many others who can actually say that and mean it.”

    “As for the shard ... by all means take the bloody thing! I can’t be tied to some stupid hunk of rock that gives me a headache if I leave it alone for 20 minutes, for goodness sake! I’d rather destroy it than live like this for another minute!!”

    “So ... there! Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Gurr’khan.” Luna points at Gurr’khan’s abdomen, where she knows the strange tentacular growths are. “And you would be a much happier fellow if you made your tragedy a weapon against those who inflicted it! Just a thought!”

    With that, Luna winds down abruptly. There’s complete silence, for a moment. Even Thlie, who had been murmuring to herself when Luna started, is looking at her intently now.

    Gurr’khan, whose mouth is sagging slightly open, shuts it with a snap and glares at Luna for a moment. He grunts loudly in preparation for an angry response, but is cut off by a loud peal of laughter. Thlie rocks back and forth, giggling with amusement. She points at Luna and chortles, “She’s funny! I like her!” before breaking into another fit of giggles.

    Gurr’khan now turns to glare at her, and his mood evidently isn’t helped when Saala too adds a loud chuckle, accompanied by a broad grin. “A woman of strong opinions, I see. I like that. I’d warn you about your choices, but you know what you are getting into, and each of us must choose our own path. Even if,” she adds with another chuckle, “It apparently leads to weight issues. That is not a risk I normally think of when I think of dangers associated with symbionts.”

    She turns to address the entire group and then pauses, as if she just thought of something. Turning back to Luna, Saala says, “In the interests of honesty, I should tell you that you are not the first to take that road. Over the centuries, some of those who study and battle the daelkyr and their minions have attempted to use their tools, such as symbionts, against them. That, of course, is a risky road, and it takes people of strong will and constitution to do it.” Saala’s eyes flicker sideways at Gurr’khan for a split second, and she adds, “There have even been a very few Gatekeepers who have walked that path.”

    “By the moons!” breaks in Gurr’khan, with an irritated growl, “Do you have to encourage her, Saala? Why not just slap a stormstalk on her head and be done with it?”

    Another chortle from Thlie interrupts. “He’s funny too!”

    Korm interjects with a laugh, “Luna's definitely mental. I warned her about the symbionts’ dangers and tried to talk her out of it, but it was like trying to wrestle a mountain. Or debate philosophy with a bear. An impatient, hungry bear. An impatient, hungry bear with the ability to call fire from the sky and shoot angry bees from its mouth.”

    “But Luna is a strong warrior and a druid of good character. I don't fault her motivations.” Korm motions with his head to the rest of the Angels. “Besides, they're all barmy too. We work well together.”

    Saala chuckles and says, “Thank you, Korm’akhan. I respect your opinions, not just as a Gatekeeper, but because I know something of your reputation.”

    She waves a hand dismissively at a still irritated Gurr’khan. “If needed, Luna and I can discuss the subject further later. But back to the question of the Key. Despite Gurr’khan’s reservations, at least he vouches for the efforts you have made to keep it safe, which I appreciate.” She pauses and then turns to Nameless.

    “I do have a question for you. I believe you were the one person able to use the Key at various times. Why is that? Please, be honest. I need to know everything that I can about this matter.”
    shilsen is broken - Crothian (and this is why)

    My Eberron Story Hour. Updated (Finally!) November 11. The Grand Finale!

    My world's worst paladin thread. Vote and throw rocks!

    My Sexism in D&D and on ENWorld (now with SOLUTIONS!) thread. Pop in and tell me what you think.

  • #169
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    Cutpurse (Lvl 5)

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    ř Ignore shilsen
    We played yesterday and a few interesting developments occurred. I'll have an update up in a day or two.

    And Luna, by the way, is now shedding. Life's tough when you're messing with symbionts
    shilsen is broken - Crothian (and this is why)

    My Eberron Story Hour. Updated (Finally!) November 11. The Grand Finale!

    My world's worst paladin thread. Vote and throw rocks!

    My Sexism in D&D and on ENWorld (now with SOLUTIONS!) thread. Pop in and tell me what you think.

  • #170
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    Acolyte (Lvl 2)

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    ř Ignore Solarious
    .....

    HAVE MY BABIES!!!

    .....

    I'm sorry, did I say something? Why are you all looking at me like that? Ah! Why is Luna shedding all over me? GET OFF ME WOMAN! *phwaps the blubberbutt with a rolled up Khoranberg Chronicle* YOUR SIDEBURNS ITCH!!!
    Game balance is a myth that I wholeheartedly subscribe to. ~ Sepulchrave II

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