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A Candlekeep Mystery (IC)

DEFCON 1

Legend
Hawthorne looks around at the carnage surrounding them, the bloodied bodies of the gnolls and hyenas strewn about the camp.

"This is no place to spend an evening... bedding down amongst the carcasses. The stench is enough to be a clarion call to every corpse predator in the wood. I would much rather hike back to the road and set up camp by the wagon for the eve. At least next to the road there is the chance of other peoples or guardsman moving by to keep things clear."

He glances at the others in the group with a questioning eye, trying his best to ignore the blood and pus pooling around the bodies at their feet. "Any disagreement on that? I'm willing to discuss it if anyone really prefer to remain here. Not that sleeping in these tents would be any better than out under the stars."
 

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Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
"If you are sure, Broun. Though I would personally sleep better if you at least stayed this night with us."

After listening to Hawthorns evaluation, Argenti gives consideration to the camp. "This encampment is fortified." She notes the wooden stakes formed into a crude barricade. "But I don't know if I could call that a point in it's favor. The gnolls clearly expected undesirable company here, and I would shudder to think of what they could possibly find undesirable."
 

KahlessNestor

Adventurer
Ruznami Warmaker
Gnoll camp
Day 1/Afternoon
Round 0

“This is filthy,” Ruznami had to agree, looking around the gnoll camp. He wasn’t used to roughing it outside of his chambers at Candlekeep. “The bodies are easy enough to take care of.” He cupped some fire in his hand. “But I am fine with whatever those more experienced than I wish,” the dwarf admitted, giving Archimedes a scratch on his head and rewarding him with a field mouse he had caught.

***

Arcane Ward: 11/11 hp
Comprehend Languages (484r)

Save:
Move:
Free Object Interaction:
Action:
Bonus Action:
Reaction: Opportunity Attack, Absorb Elements, Shield
Concentration: Detect Magic
Conditions:
Inspiration:

Ruznami
Initiative: +2
Perception: +0
Speed: 25
AC: 15
HP: 26+7thp/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
Cantrips:
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
Rituals
(1)
Alarm, Comprehend Languages, Detect Magic, Find Familiar, Identify
Spellbook
(1)
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



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

Steve Gorak

Explorer
"As much as I dislike using the accommodations of the demon worshipers, it is perhaps the wisest think to do until tomorrow morning. Let us dig some graves for the poor souls that perished at the hands of these terrible creatures."
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
The discussion went back-and-forth for a while until a consensus was reached with a plan to return to the road. After burying the bones - humanoid and others - which the gnolls had used in grizzly fashion to furnish their tents, the company gathered anything of possible value (including nearly everything that the gnolls had looted from the coach - Shedrick lamented that the big gnoll had drunk his bottle of rum). Then they secured the loot, in sacks, to the horses and they left the gnoll camp behind them.

Leading the three horses, they followed Archimedes along a return path as the sun lowered in the west. By the dim light of dusk they upturned the coach. Though he was in no shape to help with the task, Broun instructed Shedrick on how to use the horses to accomplish it, and with the some assistance from the others, the job was done without much fuss. Unfortunately, there was some damage to one of the wheels.

"There's a decent regular-use camp about four miles up the road" said Broun, who was familar with the route, "If I were in better shape, and could find my tools, which should be in with the loot, I could get her road-ready in ten minutes and we could be there in ninety. With the growing dark and the shape I'm in, I dunno how long it'll take."

He shrugged an looked around. It was not a great place to make camp. Not far from the sea, the wind was cold and damp. The ground was rocky, overgrown, and wet. The only place to bed down was pretty much on the road itself. There was not a lot of regular traffic, and certainly not at night, but it was terribly exposed.
 
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Steve Gorak

Explorer
After contributing to burying the bones, Ethian prays out loud “May resting with your gods bring you peace”.

He then responds to Broun, but addresses the others too “Let me see what I can do, I need all your help. Can you hold the wheel, and this part here,…” he continues asking for support as he magically repairs some components

OOC: multiple castings of mending as needed
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
While magic was certainly common enough in the world that Broun understood that it existed and that it could do many things, still it was rare enough in his profession that Broun nodded appreciatively at Ethian's spell, saying, "Wish I knew how to do it like that. Sure is a whole lot faster than doing it by hand."

They were able to hitch the three horses, and though they were short by one (this coach was best pulled by a full team of four horses) Broun was able to instruct Shedrick on adjustments that would need to be made for three. The coachman's box could sit two (Shedrick suggested that he could drive, having handled the team on a few occasions) and the interior seating was meant for four, but the cushioned benches could theoretically accommodate all five of the company - Kaliban did not take up too much space.

Broun was stoic and used to the life of a servant. He fully expected to ride up front, but he would be exposed to rain (which had begun) and would have to use his own strength (which was not at its best) to hold himself in his seat.

OOC: Anyone want to volunteer to ride with Shedrick? Someone with darkvision would be good to keep an eye on the road, especially if we don't have a good light. Speaking of which, the coach's lantern was smashed, and the gnolls didn't have one. I don't know if anyone in the party has a lantern or a light spell. Shedrick will be in danger of losing the road without it.
 

Kaliban slides up next to Shedrick. He nods to the man. He lays his bow across his knee and places his quiver in easy reach.

”My eyes are the best in the dark. I’ll keep watch.”
 

KahlessNestor

Adventurer
Ruznami Warmaker
Gnoll camp
Day 1/Evening
Round 0

Ruznami didn’t know anything about coaches or repairing them, but he was strong. He did what he was told to help right the carriage. He instructed Archimedes to fly ahead of the horses to scan the road for any danger while they traveled.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
As the repairs on the carriage were completed by the elf and after the horses finally were hooked up... Hawthorne opened the door to the carriage and held it open for all the compatriots who were going to be riding inside. "All right, welcome everyone. Let's enjoy a little comfort as we make are way to the rest camp. Broun? First choice of seat is yours."
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
Broun opened his mouth as if he would argue, and then shook his head and climbed into the cabin. Even the short step up was clearly difficult for him and he gratefully took a seat on the front bench where he could speak to Shedrick through a small window under the driver's perch. He was joined on that bench by Ruznami, while Hawthorne, Ethan, and Argenti shared the rear bench, huddled close.

By the time they were under way, with Kaliban and Archimedes keeping an eye on the road while Shedrick held the reins, Broun was fast asleep and snoring through his small orc-like tusks.
 

Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
"The carriage is a bit more cramped than on the ride to Candlekeep, I hope you don't mind too much if I do something to help that problem." Argenti touches the green gemstone necklace on her neck as it begins to glow. "Hawthorn, I trust you can watch over this, it's quite precious to me. Just ask for me by name if you need me to come back"

Argenti gently hands the necklace to Hawthorn, and disappears in the same motion as it leaves her grasp.

OOC: Argenti is using Bottled Respite to ride in the luxury of her necklace for up to 4 hours of this trip. While inside she can see and hear everything as if she was in the same space as the necklace.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
As he takes the necklace, Hawthorne opens his mouth to say something to the young woman... but before he can she disappears into it. He takes a moment to overcome his short bolt of shock... but then looks sheepishly at the others in the carriage while the necklace dangles from his hand.

"She, uh... she's... yes. Well." He glances down to his right at the space now left between him and Ethan, and then slides himself a little more over. "Let's... all, uh, enjoy the ride, eh? Yes? Yes."
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
With the growing darkness (and missing horse), the coach moved slowly along the road. Nearly two hours later, Kaliban spotted a man crouched behind a low rock wall on the side of the road, holding a crossbow at the ready. He nudged Shedrick, who brought the coach to a stop as the man called out, "Who goes there, an' so late t'travel?"

"Black Dragon Gate coach out of the Keep and bound for the Gate!"
called Shedrick in response, "We were set upon by gnolls, and are looking for safe camp. Group of seven; one injured."

"Gnolls, an' only one of ya hurt?"
asked the guard, "Y'done well fer yerselves."

"He was alone at the time,"
admitted Shedrick as he clicked the horses forward, "And we lost a horse."

"Not bad at all,"
the guard replied, "We've four wagons. Regular from the Gate t'Amn an' back. We like this camp fer its rock-walls an' sight-lines."

He said the last as he patted the wall. They were off the Coast Way (down the Way of the Lion) by several miles. Using this camp would make their trip perhaps as much as half a day longer than it needed to be. But some camps were safer than others, it was true.

They were welcomed into the camp, and even offered food from the stew-pot, already on the go. Someone was playing a fiddle (a fact that Ethian had been aware of for some time, but hadn't thought to mention). The company was good, and after hearing their story, the caravan master offered his protection (so that they could rest, without taking a turn at watch, which was the usual tradition on the Sword Coast when sharing a camp).

In the morning, Hawthorne spoke with the caravan master, an Amnish man whose name was Aadrut, about their destination and the best way to get there. Aadrut told him, "That is quite the journey for you to take. As I see it, you have two routes from which to chose: Baldur's Gate and take a riverboat to Scornubel. Once, I would have called that way 'good business', but today? Devils plague the land where Elturel once stood. Perhaps it would be better for you to join us as we travel to Beregost. There you can buy a new horse! You can cross the Greenfields by coach. It is slightly longer, but picturesque. The days will blend into one."
 

KahlessNestor

Adventurer
Ruznami Warmaker
Caravan camp
Day 2/Morning
Round 0

Ruznami’s rest was okay, considering it was his first time sleeping on a bedroll. It was good to be out of the crowded coach and stretch his legs, though. This adventuring thing was going to take some getting used to. He groaned a little as he stretched. He’d done his part to protect the group by putting an alarm spell up around their campsite, despite being under the caravan’s protection. He figured one couldn’t be too safe.

Ruz ate his bowl of porridge and listened to the conversation with the caravan master. “Devils?” he asked. Word had come back to the Keep of the fate of Elturel. “That sounds dangerous.” He mused on the proposed plans. “Seems to me we would need to go through Beregost regardless. Then we can decide if we cross the Greenfields or we go north to Baldur’s Gate to get a riverboat. Are the Greenfields safe again?” he asked. “They recently had trouble with dragons and cultists, did they not?” Devils or dragons; the dwarf wasn’t sure which was worse.

***

Arcane Ward: 0/11 hp

Save:
Move:
Free Object Interaction:
Action:
Bonus Action:
Reaction: Opportunity Attack, Absorb Elements, Shield
Concentration: Detect Magic
Conditions:
Inspiration:

Ruznami
Initiative: +2
Perception: +0
Speed: 25
AC: 15
HP: 26+7thp/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
Cantrips:
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
Rituals
(1)
Alarm, Comprehend Languages, Detect Magic, Find Familiar, Identify
Spellbook
(1)
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



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

FitzTheRuke

Legend
Aadrut smiled bright teeth (one golden with a mark of Waukeen) and replied to Ruznami, "That was years ago now, and Tiamat still rests on a pile of golden skulls at the gates of Hell. If not, it would all be fire and thunder. Very bad business. The fields are safe as they ever were; safe as anywhere else."

At the end he shrugged and put some tobacco from a pouch and loaded a colourful pipe.
 

KahlessNestor

Adventurer
Ruznami Warmaker
Caravan camp
Day 2/Morning
Round 0

Ruznami pulled at his white beard and nodded. “Though it is not so easy to kill a god,” he pointed out. “But it is good to hear that the Greenfields are peaceful.” He sipped his morning ale and bit into a sausage.

***

Arcane Ward: 0/11 hp

Save:
Move:
Free Object Interaction:
Action:
Bonus Action:
Reaction: Opportunity Attack, Absorb Elements, Shield
Concentration: Detect Magic
Conditions:
Inspiration:

Ruznami
Initiative: +2
Perception: +0
Speed: 25
AC: 15
HP: 26+7thp/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
Cantrips:
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
Rituals
(1)
Alarm, Comprehend Languages, Detect Magic, Find Familiar, Identify
Spellbook
(1)
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



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

DEFCON 1

Legend
Hawthorne nodded at Aadrut's comments regarding the two possible paths to where they were going. He considered them both before making his voice heard. "Accompanying you to Beregost seems like the sensible action, as it is the hub of both paths. Once there though, our decision is harder. Because this wagon of our is returning to Baldur's Gate regardless... we actually were walking the trail from Candlekeep when we came upon it broken on the side of the road. Our man Broun still needs to return it to the Gate." He nods to the halfork in recognition of the carriage driver's continued duty.

"So I guess the real quandary is whether travel on foot across Greenfields would be better and safer than travelling back to Baldur's Gate and then taking a boat upriver past Elturel? It certainly wouldn't be faster... as you said, Aadrut, the journey would have been longer even by coach, so hiking the way will be three to four times as long... but I wouldn't mind the additional time if it meant avoiding whatever infernal mess awaits us on the waters of the Chionthar."

OOC: Incidentally... I just checked back at the post made regarding the quest itself, and while it mentions the platinum mine and the villages nearby of Vermeillon and Maerin... it doesn't actually mention which mountain range we are headed to? If crossing Greenfields is a pathway, I assume it's either in the Troll Mountains or the Sunset Mountains? Which range are we headed to?
 
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Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
Argenti nods her head and softly states "What is left of Elturgard is in a very bad state." Finishing the sentence with a prayer gesture.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
Hawthorne took out the map he had sketched of their coming journey, cobbled together from various sources. He had intended to travel by the River Chionthar from Baldur's Gate to Scornubel (the logistics of which were familiar to him) but the caravan master may have a point. The Greenfields were vast, but easily crossed. Their destination was in the southern Sunset Mountains, just over fifty leagues north-east of Easting, by his calculation. In addition, it occurred to him that it may be possible to take the coach on the journey. It was a reach on his authority, but he had been granted broad discretion to "get the job done". Still, the consequences of failure could mean the ruin of his reputation in the Consortium. The more resources he expended, the more dire the consequences should he fail.

He had yet to make a firm decision either way by morning, when the caravan struck camp and made its way up a steady switchback as the Way of the Lion rose with the land away from the sea. The caravan of four laden wagons did not move as quickly as the coach could go (in particular up hill), but Broun was still recovering, and Shedrick was not a professional driver, so the slow pace was seen as a comfortable compromise.

Four hours later, the caravan reached the Coast Way crossroads and turned south, and the Black Dragon Gate coach went with it. Now they travelled down hill, and they crossed a sturdy stone bridge over a swift-moving creek in the early afternoon. The bridge was guarded by members of the Flaming Fist, and they collected a toll that seemed high to Hawthorne. The delays in crossing each wagon and negotiating the toll (no rate ever seemed fixed when the Flaming Fist were involved) allowed everyone to exit the coach and to stretch their legs.

When that was done, they were off again, and they reached Beregost a little late for suppertime. By then, the Red Sheaf (the merchant's inn) was busy, the meat was overcooked, and the best rooms were taken.
 

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