A Candlekeep Mystery (IC)

Steve Gorak

Ethian studies the gap in the road and ponders his companion’s ideas. He considers Croc Jon’s proposal and says. “I have a knack with ropes and knots. I can make a solid harness we can don as each one of us crosses. I should go first, to make sure the rope is properly secured on the other side. If we have enough rope, I can bring two leads and do as you proposed Ruz. Whoever crosses should be secured on this side. I’ll go, and I’ll come back to check our makeshift bridge works. I also can endow each one of you, one by one, with divine guidance as you cross. This is why I need to come back. What say you all?”

OOC: trying to use Ethian’s navigation background for the knots and athletics + guidance. Hoping the cross can be an athletics check rather than acrobatics Athletics check with guidance: 17
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As the group begins putting together the rope and harnesses to assure a safer crossing, Hawthorne takes a bit of time following Argenti's moving of the earth to view the area that results. With his Eye for Detail he sees how the snow-covered path has found itself now and he tries his best to pick out what he suspects the safest route would be. Once everyone was ready to attempt the crossing, he points out a few things along the way for each person to watch out for to maintain their best footing.

OOC: Eye For Detail - Investigation: [19] + 7 = 26

Kaliban listens to the planning. He nods at Crock Jon's suggestion of using the rope as an anchor. With talks of Archemedes carrying the rope across Kaliban produces a much lighter silk rope.

"Here use this it is much lighter then that hemp rope. It will also give us the extra distance we need to span the crossing."

Once the ropes are joined together and secure Kaliban ties the other end around himself.

"I will go first. I am the lightest if there are problems. I can also assist others once I am across."

OOC: Acrobatics check: 1d20+5 12 to cross the gap.
Once across I will catch anyone who falls with Telekinetic Movement. This lets Kaliban move any one willing creature of Large or smaller within 30' of him up to 30'.


Using their various gifts, the group concocted a solid plan for crossing the washed-out road. Once the ropes were worked out, crossed, and tied, only Shedrick had any trouble crossing. The unfortunate lad stumbled, and yanked the guide-rope, which caused one of the pitons to eject itself, giving him more slack than intended. This, in turn, caused him to scramble his feet, which caused a part of the remaining road to collapse into the hole. If it weren't for Kaliban taking that opportunity to use his psychic powers to lift the young man to safety, he would surely have fallen.

In the end, everyone made it across unscathed, and after gathering the rope (the ejected piton was even scooped up, at the end, from where it lay down the cliffside, by Archemedes) the group continued on to their next rough campsite.

OOC: Everyone did very well (other than Shedrick). No injuries. I will return soon to move us along again.
Shedrick's Athletics:Check: 1D20+3 = [3]+3 = 6


Later, while the agents were making camp (expecting to find the town on the following day), a dirty but friendly-looking woodsman suddenly appeared from behind a rocky ridge and called, "Ho, travellers! What brings you to this gods-forsaken place? I am Dolman. May I share your fire?"

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Crock Jon drops the firewood he's been carrying so the others can stay warm. His instinct is to interpose himself between his employers and the stranger, but it's not his place. He stands nearby, hands empty, ready to help. He looks for obvious weapons. If he sees none, that'd be suspicious for a lone traveller.


Dolmen held an axe, in an experienced but casual and non-threatening manner. He didn't seem to recognize Crock Jon, nor consider him anything other than an unarmed porter.


As the voice echoed from around the ridge and Crock Jon dropped the firewood, Hawthorne stood up from the rock he had been sitting on in front of the blazing campfire.

"Uh... hello... uh... Mister Dolman, was it? Sorry... you have taken us all a bit by surprise I'm afraid."

He takes a few steps towards the woodsman but remains at a far enough distance from the potential swing of the axe should Dolman try and get frisky. "My name is Hawthorne Grandview, out of Baldur's Gate on the coast... and these are my associates. We were not expecting to see someone such as yourself up here in the mountains, but from the looks of you, you seem to be quite at home."

Hawthorne looks up and down at the friendly and dirty man to get a better sense of the gentleman (WIS Insight: [18] + 5 = 23) and his shrewd business sense makes him believe his instinct is probably spot on, whatever that instinct may be.
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Possibly a Idiot.
Argenti calls up a few rocks to serve as chairs around the fire pit, then takes a moment to focus a bit of magic into herself while adjusting her cold weather gear. After all, first impressions were important.
"Oh, a flesh and blood local?" The genasi enthusiastically inquires. "And here we were told to expect ghosts! I am Argenti, pleased to meet you! We had heard this place was abandoned long ago, so we came to survey the area. Do you have any information about it you would care to spare? I'm sure we would all love to hear a story or two over some of this stew."

OOC: Re-arranging the area a bit for more comfortable seating. Then casting Guidance on herself.
Persuasion check, with Guidance: 1D20+4+1D4 = [16]+4+[1] = 21


Ruznami Warmaker
Mountain Road
Day 23/Late Afternoon
Round 0

Ruznami blinked owlishly at the woodsman as Dolmen emerged around the ridge and asked after their fire. He looked at it, stroking his beard. Well, they did have room. And maybe they could get some local information out of him.

Ruz puffed on his pipe and pulled out a flask. “Care for a drink?” he offered. “Food should be ready soon.” He indicated whatever they had roasting on the fire.


Free Object Interaction:

Bonus Action:
Reaction: Opportunity Attack, Absorb Elements, Shield
  • Opportunity Attack:


Initiative: +2
Perception: +0
Speed: 25
AC: 15
HP: 26/26 HD: 4/4d6+2

Archimedes (Owl familiar)
Initiative: +1
Perception: +3 Advantage, Darkvision 120
Speed: 60 (fly); 5 (walk)
AC: 11
HP: 1

Prepared Spells
Blade Ward, Booming Blade, Fire Bolt, Lightning Lure
1) 4/4 Absorb Elements, Magic Missile, Protection from Evil and Good, Shield
2) 3/3 Arcane Lock, Mirror Image, Scorching Ray
Alarm, Comprehend Languages, Detect Magic, Find Familiar, Identify
Absorb Elements, Alarm, Comprehend Languages, Detect Magic, Find Familiar, Identify, Magic Missile, Protection from Evil and Good, Shield
(2) Arcane Lock, Mirror Image, Scorching Ray

Leave flowers on the grave of Lukas Grosvenor’s wife Lorna.
Look for Lorna’s necklace in the hollow tree.

Hawthorne Grandview - male Human rogue inquisitive
Kaliban - male deep gnome psi-warrior

Steve Gorak

Ethian is busy undoing the harness knots when the stranger arrives. Seeing his non threatening demeanour, he continues with his task, letting the other deal with him.
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Hawthorne watched Dolman with an eye expert in spotting subtle shifts in body-language that would betray a negotiator's true intentions. The man seemed friendly enough, replying, "I know these mountains well enough. I fell trees for lumber and firewood and sell 'em to the towns below. Simple living that suits me."

He scratched his greying, dirty beard. It was an absent gesture, but Hawthorne saw it for what it was - a signal to someone nearby that instructed them to wait. Perhaps if they were intending to ambush the group, Dolman had reconsidered.

The woodsman gratefully took Ruznami's offer of a drink, and sat down on a rock next to the fire, placing his axe on the ground next to him.

"Ghosts?" he said to Argenti, "Perhaps. We're not far from that old abandoned village. I'd stay away from there, if you don't want to find ghosts."


"Not myself, no." said Dolman, "But I have had nightmares, like something was trying to get into my head, once when I camped too close."

He indicated that here might count as 'too close' for camp, with a gesture.

(Hawthorne felt that the gesture seemed to hide a signal that told an observer nearby that there was danger here. He hoped that it meant that Dolman felt that his group of agents were too formidable to ambush.)
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As the woodsman sits down and takes the proffered drink from Argenti, Hawthorne nods with his lips pursed a little tightly. His read of the man gave him the hint that perhaps the woodsman wasn't truly alone out here, and Hawthorne felt that the sooner both sides could get their cards on the table the safer both sides would be. "So there might be ghosts in the area, eh? Huh. You know, since we arrived here I have had the odd feeling like we were being watched."

He turns his eyesight away from the campfire to allow his eyes to adjust a bit more to the darkness, and takes a few steps outside the fire's radius while placing his hands on his hips to look out into the treeline to see whomever it was that Dolman seemed to be indicating to.
OOC: WIS Perception to spot others in trees: [20] + 7 = 27
If at Disadvantage due to Dim Light: [7] + 7 = 14

"I hope your nightmares have not caused you too much anguish, my good man. I admit that the attack of the massive ankheg we received on the Uldoon Trail heading to get here might have caused me a bit of mental strain as well, but thankfully we were able to dispose of that wretched creature quite easily. I have hired a very competent band of agents I must say."

While he did not mention the ankheg attack and their successful defense against it to intimidate Dolman directly... Hawthorne did hope that his confident revelation and slight doublespeak would convince the woodsman and whomever it was he thought was out there in the trees to think twice about engaging with them. He turned back to Dolman with a smile and patted the crossbow in the holster on his hip. "Strong weapons at your side make for much easier sleeping. We shall see if that is true if the sounds I hear out there..." (he motions into the trees) "try to come to us during the night. The spirits can be strong, but I'm fairly sure we can break a spirit easily enough."


Hawthorne counted at least three humanoids lurking in the shadows and underbrush at various places about a hundred yards from the camp.

"I think you will find that animal nor man would brave to bother you here tonight." said Dolman, a little loudly for how close he was to Hawthorne. "My thanks for the drink and food. I think I will be on my way. I sleep more soundly lower down. I hope you fare better than I."

He got up, stretched, and picked up his axe in a careful, non-threatening way.

OOC: And if he's allowed, he will head off down the trail.


"It was a pleasure to meet you, Mister Dolman. I pray that your sleep this evening is relaxing and free from worry."

Hawthorne smiles at the woodsman and gives a small wave as the man walks off. He listens carefully to the sounds of the trees and underbrush to make sure the other three scallywags also follow Dolman further down the trail, holding his hand slightly up to the others around the campfire to hold their speech and actions for a few minutes.

After several minutes, and his confidence that Dolman and his associates have left the area, Hawthorne immediately goes into action mode. "Okay, so that's one potential issue disarmed for the night, but let's not let any stones go unturned. Kaliban... Crock Jon... you're our warriors and can see in the dark, yes? Go do a circle or two around the camp just to make sure there are no one else out there skulking about. I counted at least three out there when our... friend... was here eating our food and drinking our drink. Pretty sure they have all thought better of engaging us, but I'd prefer to be sure."

He looks to Shedrick-- who is sitting by the fire with his mouth to his flask-- and motions to the young man. "Shedrick, I want extra eyes on the camp tonight. There's what... seven of us? Eight if we count Archimedes? Let's do four on, four off and split the night in half. Talk with everyone and figure out our watch for tonight. I don't mind getting a later start tomorrow morning so we all can get at least five solid hours each, plus have four sets of eyes looking out there, ghosts or not." He motions out into the woods, then nods to the half-orc and the deep gnome to get started hopefully.
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Kaliban stayed seated near the fire as the man approached and began talking to the others. He stayed silent and waited, ready for trouble in case that was the strangers intent. He smiles at the man as he sits at the fire and shares in their food and drink. As the man is ushered off he stands. He nods to Hawthorne.

"I was going to suggest something very similar. Crock Jon you coming."

OOC: Kaliban has really bad perception. I will use the help action to give Crock Jon advantage.

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Crock Jon is pleased that he could stay in the shadows while the visitor was with them, stacking firewood. He breathes easier when Dolman leaves, and when Hawthorne gives him his instructions, he nods, giving a slight bow. "Yess'r," he says, as Kaliban invites him to join.

The two head into the woods, and start to make a perimeter, 60 feet out. That's far enough that they can still use the light from the fire, but not be easily seen.

They make two slow circles around the campsite, looking to see if there remain figures in the woods. As they do, they are also looking for places to watch from.

Assuming the perimeter seems secure, Crock Jon will squat down somewhere along the way, possibly further out, where he thinks he might have the best view. He's prepared to wait, keeping an eye on the trail, for at least an hour after their initial perimeter is secure.

If he sees a sexcond viewpoint, he'll point it out to Kaliban. "There might be a nice place to rest tonight," he suggests casually.

OOC: Perception, with advantage from Kaliban: 1d20+2=21.
Survival (for the stakeout after the perimeter?) 1d20+2=20.


Crock Jon and Kaliban disappeared off into the night. They circled the campsite once, and then, not finding anyone, they headed a little further than Kaliban would have preferred, along a ridge above a trail that seemed a likely place for Dolman and his group to have left the main road. The instinct proved right; down among the trees, by then about a half a mile off, Crock Jon and Kaliban spotted a secluded campfire. Watching for awhile from a distance, they counted four figures in the firelight.

OOC: You'd have to get closer to hear voices, or you can return to camp satisfied that they moved on.

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