5E Al-Qadim Moving Through the Flame

tglassy

Explorer
Once Turin turns to water the camels, Harun says "I will help you water your camels, my friend. I have ridden all over the deserts, and have a way with creatures of burden."

Despite any objections from either party, Harun moves to Turin's side and begins talking to him like Turin is the most interesting man in the world, a wide, disarming smile on his face. He moves and speaks like one of them, though he has only had a few minutes to study them.

While the others talk, Harun tries to convince Turin to give him the Decanter, but does so in such a way that Turin thinks it was his idea to give the Magic Decanter as a gift.

OOC: I'm getting that decanter, either by persuasion, or sleight of hand.

To get him to give it as if it were his own idea, I'm thinking Performance.
Performance: [roll0] (If roll was less than 9, treat it as a 10)

If that doesn't work, he will try to barter for it, convincing Turin that Harun needs it more than Turin does.
Persuasion: [roll1] (If roll was less than 9, treat it as a 10)

I don't think he's going to try to just swipe it, but in case he does, he replaces it with his own water skin while Turin is otherwise occupied.
Sleight of Hand: [roll2] (If roll was less than 9, treat it as a 10)

I'm getting that Decanter.



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Lal lets out a hearty laugh

"Ah, an honest merchant! Wonders of wonders. It takes a wise man to realize that his information is incomplete, and a humble one to admit so. Besides... you've informed us that the raiders are *not* bandits of the House of Dhi'b, and already that is something

I thank you for your salt, oh Khafaz ibn Dahz, you are a credit to your master. May the fates bless your every step". Lal concluded the exchange with a beatific smile.
[SECTION]Nodding courteously to Lal Qalandar, Khafaz appears uncomfortable receiving such glowing praise, "No, no, if I was a wise man I would have established a trading company of my own. If there is any worth or merit it lies with my master, Fahad al-Zakir." His response has the ring of a man well-practiced at deflecting attention, and as his eyes lower uncomfortably, he manages to notice that Akilah and her handmaiden wear the vestments of Hakiyah, goddess of truth. Clerics did not travel with bandits and these travelers were far more heavily armed than pilgrims. Whatever their purpose, it was likely to turn out violently, and that was trouble Khafaz couldn't risk the caravan with. "Peace unto you, traveler of the Purple Lands and to your expedition. Now, Turin, we should press on to Tajar... Turin? Where has that half-wit gone off to?"[/SECTION]

Once Turin turns to water the camels, Harun says "I will help you water your camels, my friend. I have ridden all over the deserts, and have a way with creatures of burden."

Despite any objections from either party, Harun moves to Turin's side and begins talking to him like Turin is the most interesting man in the world, a wide, disarming smile on his face. He moves and speaks like one of them, though he has only had a few minutes to study them.

While the others talk, Harun tries to convince Turin to give him the Decanter, but does so in such a way that Turin thinks it was his idea to give the Magic Decanter as a gift.

OOC: I'm getting that decanter, either by persuasion, or sleight of hand.

To get him to give it as if it were his own idea, I'm thinking Performance.
Performance: 26 (If roll was less than 9, treat it as a 10)

If that doesn't work, he will try to barter for it, convincing Turin that Harun needs it more than Turin does.
Persuasion: 22 (If roll was less than 9, treat it as a 10)

I don't think he's going to try to just swipe it, but in case he does, he replaces it with his own water skin while Turin is otherwise occupied.
Sleight of Hand: 28 (If roll was less than 9, treat it as a 10)

I'm getting that Decanter.
[SECTION]There was a saying in the desert: Though your companion be honey, do not eat him completely. Turin is oblivious to this saying. While at first he is surprised to be addressed instead of Khafaz, he quickly smiles broadly, revealing two buck teeth. Cheerfully exchanging information about the camels, he poetically extolls their praises. "Never was born a more steadfast mount than the noble one-hump camel. Though surly they toil and by all accounts are the most perseverant of mammals. That one is Chaiya. Yes, see how she licks the salt from your hand? She likes you! Here, try this..."

Handing Harun a worn leather jug with brass cap and a hint of frosted glass as strong as steel underneath the leather covering, Turin smiles, showing him how to unstop it carefully. The leather is embossed with arabesques depicting a battle between efreet and marid genies, with the marid emerging the victors. Turin reveals that the wondrous decanter has three command words, which must be spoken in Aquan. The first, meaning "stream", produces enough fresh water for one camel. The second, meaning "fountain", produces enough to water five camels. The third, which he does not demonstrate, and cautions that the janni merchant who sold the decanter said should only be used in emergencies is "geyser." Though sorely tempted to try out the third command word, Turin resisted, not wanting to displease Khafaz.

"Yes, it is a wondrous decanter," he agrees, but grows distinctly uncomfortable at Harun's insinuations that it would make a wonderful gift. Clearly, the oaf would like to please Harun, but he places his duty above this. "Ah, alas, Khafaz saved my life and I could not give away such a token, which will surely elevate Khafaz in the eyes of our master, Fahad al-Zakir. But, I am certain when you travel to Qaybar, you shall find a decanter of your own, my friend! Good things come to they who wait!"

Cheerfully receiving the jug back from Harun, Turin does not realize that it has been swapped out for a fake.[/SECTION]
 
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tglassy

Explorer
OOC: I'd like to leave a few hundred gp in Turin's saddlebag if I have it. I don't think we determined how much gold Harun would have on his person, though.

If not, then I don't think he'd steal it. He doesn't typically steal from those who are as innocent as Turin.



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GM: @tglassy We could say you slip all the monies on your person - amounting to a couple hundred gp - into Turin's saddlebag, if you want. Whether you steal it is up to you.
 

tglassy

Explorer
OOC: Bah. I'm getting my own instincts mixed up with Harun's. I feel for the simple camel man. Harun feels for him too, but he and that waterskin were made for each other. It's activated by Aquan, for crying out loud.

He takes the waterskin, leaving money in the saddlebag.



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Bidding one another safe travels, you part ways with the caravan driver Khafaz and his manservant Turin. Every time you glance over your shoulders ascending the pass, you can make out the fading silhouettes of their caravan below you, wending their way across the desert toward Tajar. Night has just fallen by the time you reach the old qalat (tower) on the other side of Al-Yabki Pass, offering a quiet view of the stars, moon, and the expanse of western desert. Ajan takes the time to point out the route he has planned toward Hakim Oasis, following a wadi (dried riverbed of an intermittent stream) to speed your travels.

The nomads of House Bakr accompanying you trade stories about what they heard befell Hakim Oasis in the wake of the raiders-in-black – no caravans have passed through it in weeks, only charred structures visible from those few outriders who've ventured close. What befell the few families and soldiers managing the caravanserai at Hakim Oasis remains a mystery.

Even the usually sullen rogues serving Nimar al-Solak chime in, their tongues loosed by palm wine, sharing how they used to pass through Hakim Oasis years ago. They extol its swimming hole which rivals all others in the High Desert, so it would seem. Eventually, however, the palm wine does its trick at altitude and the rogues drift off into a snoring slumber.

GM: This counts as a long rest.

I think the only one who prepares spells is Akilah, [MENTION=6814006]Thateous[/MENTION]? What spells are you preparing? You prepare a total number of spells equal to your cleric level + your Wisdom modifier, which I believe is 16.

I'll advance the scene to Hakim Oasis as I mentioned once I know your prepared spells & any other preparations the party wishes to make.


 
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tglassy

Explorer
Harun takes a swig from his new waterskin. It tasted wonderful. Like it was made for him. He wondered if the waters came from the Plane of Water, where he got his own otherworldly heritage.

While camping, he joins the others at dinner, bringing a hunk of scrap metal with him and begins constructing another mechanical infull view of everyone, this one in the shape of a Pseudodragon. He sends Ahzeem out to take watch, with instructions to alert him if anyone approaches in the night.


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Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Lal helps set up the camp and takes parts in watches - insist that one should be set.

He will also inquire to the nomads how much time the travel to the oasis will take - the time of day the group gets there could affects things.

He feeds a date to Sweets and meditates on the upper parts of the tower under the stars, looking towards the oasis, hoping for insight.

OOC: Lal has no "serious" preparation to make.
 

Thateous

Explorer
Akilah watched the exchange between the men from the comforts of her rogue, her interest peaked as the merchant mentioned Fahad al-Zakir, the merchant they outbid for the journal. "So Jena the Bold was right, Fahad is quite the merchant to have already made trades with the Qaybar. It seems he had little trouble finding the place." she bounced around a dozen scenarios in her head as she prepared her mat and entered her trance. When she awoke a few hours later she prepared her spells for the travel ahead before heading out to accompany whoever was up at so early an hour.

OOC:
1: Cure Wounds, Bless
2: Hold Person, Silence, Zone of Truth
3: Mass Healing Word, Revivify, Remove Curse
4: Banishment, Locate Creature, Divination
5: Greater Restoration, Scrying, Mass Cure Wounds
6: Word of Recall, Heal
 

Thateous

Explorer
OOC: Her room in Tajar. It's what I used to jaunt Amina and I back to the palace after talking with the cursed ones.
 

Matthan

Explorer
Husam quietly listens to the idle talk of the oasis. A part of him wants to see the swimming hole that Nimar's men so wistfully speak of. He had never had much opportunity to swim except when his work took him through the muck of the sewers below which might help his technique but certainly never provided fond memories.

However, Husam was not ignorant.

He knew there would be no time for frivolities. Hakim Oasis was said to be burned and its inhabitants presumed dead. Each passing day brings the criminals who flaunt their disregard for the sheik's wisdom and rule closer to judgment. Once justice's debt had been filled, he would find time to swim.

Later that evening, Husam sits tending the fire and watches the prince begin to construct his mechanical toy. "May the evening winds bring you favor, noble prince. Your work is fascinating. I have seen carved baubles in the bazaar, but I've never seen something so finely detailed made of metal. Where did you learn your craft?"
 
Lal helps set up the camp and takes parts in watches - insist that one should be set.

He will also inquire to the nomads how much time the travel to the oasis will take - the time of day the group gets there could affects things.

He feeds a date to Sweets and meditates on the upper parts of the tower under the stars, looking towards the oasis, hoping for insight.

OOC: Lal has no "serious" preparation to make.
The nomads of House Bakr explain that you will reach Hakim Oasis by nightfall of the fourth day since leaving Tajar.

GM: Was about to post, but saw [MENTION=20005]Matthan[/MENTION] and [MENTION=6855204]tglassy[/MENTION] are role-playing, so I'll hold off until you all give me the go ahead.
 

Shayuri

Villager
Husam is not the only one to take note of the prince's tinkering.

Amina, filling her gourd from the water carried on one of the pack camels, notices the activity from a little ways away and steps closer to get a better look. Her hand goes to a small object she keeps in a pocket; a lump amidst the layers of cloth that enfold her.

You see how he dances, jewel? I have put my love for you into him, and all he can do now is dance.

The earth opens up beneath her feet and she falls... Down into a darkness deeper than any shadow or secret, beyond the reach of any god or goddess. There she cannot breathe or move or make a sound. The only feeling is the towering absence, like a devouring void inside her.

hakiya, i beg; shine a light on my path

There was no magic moment though, no cathartic epiphany. By inches she clawed her way to the surface of her grief, then on top of it. It had been a long time now since some little thing had reminded her of who she'd lost. Long enough she'd forgotten how it made her skin ache, and her hands shake a little. Finally though, she opened her eyes.

The little toy man was farther along now, and the differences were clearer. Her father had made his tiny figurines move with magic. This looked like a thing of springs and gears. That made it easier.

She drifted forward, noting Husam's question, but not adding any of her own. She was content to watch the work for now.
 

tglassy

Explorer
Harun looked up, grinning, "I was riding out in the desert, lost and alone for all but my horse. Nearly dead, I was found by an old wise man who took me in to his cave. It was full of wonderful creatures such as this one, and I begged him to teach me. He made me work for him, as a slave, for a year and a day before teaching me the secrets of how to make metal move with a life of its own."

To any listening, or searching for the truth of his words, he seems utterly truthful. Even magic wouldn't be able to catch the lie, if there were any. Indeed, some, or even all, of this story may be true.


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Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Lal sits down at the fire for a moment, and watches Harun work on his mechanical wonder. After a moment, he chimes in

"Back in the Purple Lands, the slugmen of the Yellow City ever thirst for knowledge, and cleverly devised clockwork servants so that they would have to work less and not have to feed their slaves anymore. But the clockwork servants were fragile things with little wits. So they built better ones of stronger metals, and bound souls to them to power their magic. These were enormous - twice the height of a man and 10 times the strength, wondrous and terrible. But they were far too precious, too costly and too... potent... to use as mere servants. So in the end, nothing changed- the slugmen are still served by slaves they have to feed. Such are things in the Purple Lands".

"You seem to have surpassed them"
 
[SBLOCK=Travel Map]
[/SBLOCK]



Day 4 - Hakim Oasis

Ajan bin Najon al-Yaqud – nephew to the Sheikh, cousin to Akilah, man with the mismatched eyes – leads you from the old qalat (fortified tower) come daybreak. He is wise to follow the wadi (dry river bed of an intermittent stream). It provides you some degree of cover, however sparse, from the hot winds frequent on this side of the Al-Yabki mountains. The camels also find it easier going along the silt than the rocks, making good time.

Sinjin, Salahuddin’s ever-present towering genie valet, chuckles when the clockwork Ahseem gets tangled with a flock of songbirds which don't know what to do with the little scout. The songbirds are sign that you draw close to the oasis. Ahseem returns to Harun’s side a bit frazzled, twittering nervously in a mechanical sing-song…however it is not immediately soothed, continuing to twitter in a high-pitched tone.

The sun is setting as you approach Hakim Oasis, with its pond reflecting the amber sunlight, and creating a momentary mirroring reflection in its glassy waters. Partially buried in the sands and scattered amidst the rocks are scraps of burnt leather and charred bones. A flock of songbirds circles above the water, while the grackling cry of vultures is audible deeper in the oasis, the only sound piercing the silence of sunset…
 
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tglassy

Explorer
Harun nods his head at Lal in acknowledgement of the compliment and continued his work.

"They have often been my truest companions. I have no fear they will harm me...or betray me." For a moment, his ever present facade slips as his eyes unfocus, seeming to remember some lost past pain.

Or he could be faking, for a moment later, he was smiling again.

Later....

The hot sun beats down, but Harun is used to this. Harun smiles as his clockwork hawk returns to him. "What is wrong, little Ahseem?" He says to his Hawk, the clockwork Pseudodragon in his pack not yet done. "Surely you can handle a few songbirds."


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Ajan’s men lead the camels to the watering hole, while the rogues merilly splash their faces and each other with water, their multitonal laughter echoing across the oasis. However, Husam and Harun – accustomed to desert travel as they are – find it odd that the songbirds keep a safe distance from the pond, and that there is precious little sign of animal life save for a few beetles. Water is life. Something is amiss.

Akilah and her loyal handmaiden only have a second forewarning as a massive amorphous shadow shifts under the pond’s surface.

The pond’s surface roils, sending one of Nimar’s rogues stumbling backward in terror, falling into a camel, which takes off in a panic, trampling over one of Ajan’s men. Seven serpentine heads arise from the pond, baleful yellow-green eyes staring down as they loom 15 feet overhead, water cascading onto your party from the hungry heads above. They are mauve colored, like the sunset stretching across Hakim Oasis, and boast scales as thick as lamellar (scale armor). Two of the heads reflexively snap at the prone rogue, one tearing his boot off, and the other sending him sliding across the muddy bank of the pond.

Steam roils off its hideous contorted form as the monstrosity attacks!



GM:
Hydra stealth check w/ advantage: 2d20k1+1 20

Husam and Harun are not surprised due to Survival proficiency tipping them off.

Akilah and “Amina” are not surprised due to passive Perceptions >20.

Salahuddin and Lal Qalandar are surprised, however, along with all allied NPCs.

Rolling for “clumped” initiative!

To save time in play-by-post, I use static initiative for PCs (10+initiative modifier). Advantage is interpreted as +5. To minimize extremes, I then begin with static initiative for monsters/NPCs, but modifiy it with a d12 roll interpreted as follows. PCs *always* win ties.
1=-5, 2=-4, 3=-3, 4=-2, 5=-1
6 or 7 = no change
8=+1, 9=+2, 10=+3, 11=+4, 12=+5

Hydra, base initiative 11, modified initiative: 1d12 11 +4 = 15

Ajan’s men, base initiative 10, modified initiative: 1d12 7 no change = 10

Nimar’s rogues, base initiative 12, modified initiative: 1d12 2 -4 = 8


GM: INITIATIVE
[MENTION=4936]Shayuri[/MENTION] and [MENTION=6855204]tglassy[/MENTION] take your turns in whatever order you want.
[MENTION=23]Ancalagon[/MENTION], because Lal begins surprised he doesn’t get an action, however because he’s faster than the hydra, he is no longer surprised by the time the hydra is acting (which is of benefit for taking reactions and against certain monster traits like Assassinate & Surprise Attack).

Player Group #1
Lal Qalandar 17 (surprised)
Harun 15
“Amina” 15

Monsters
Hydra 15

Player Group #2
Salahuddin & Sinjin 13 (surprised)
Husam 12
Akilah 12

NPCs
Ajan’s men 10 (surprised)
Nimar’s rogues 8 (surprised)


GM: MONSTER STATS

Hydra AC 15, HP 230
 
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