Children of Sorrow


Escape to Juniper House L2, C1 Skill Challenge successfully completed.


125/4 PCs= 31.25 = 30 XP/PC.

Loot: delicate venated birch leaf pendant rendered in gold (60 gp), a gift of Berylis

The dawn journey back to Juniper House is comparatively easy. The raised alarm seems confined to Ravenswood--for now.

Juniper is already at work in her garden, harvesting the last autumn herbs in the frosty morning. "You must be chilled to the bone! Come in. There's warmth by the fire." She has a special smile for Nemo, the younger friend of her youngest child, and welcomes Berylis with a returned bow at his greeting oath. "Here you will have safety, honesty, and nourishment."

The fire is, indeed, warm, and Juniper prepares a quick meal of tea and goat-buttered boiled potatoes, making generous use of those fresh herbs. The visiting Elf devours his food like a starving animal.

Berylis tells his tale in clipped sentences, occasionally lapsing into an elven word or phrase when the common tongue otherwise fails him. His people have hunted the Great Pine Expanse for millenia, ever since they drove out a great evil from that place. Then, a few years ago, Humans and Halforcs from Ravenswood began to dispute that claim. Their logging grew ever closer to the old hunting grounds even though there are so many trees in the forest, more than any people could use in a thousand lifetimes, trees that are much closer and more convenient to the town.

The situation escalated in the past year, when gangs of armed loggers began to burn down Elven camps, take prisoners back to Ravenswood for "justice" (usually the removal of the "offender's" ears; on some occasions, a hanging).

Two weeks ago, Berylis witnessed something strange: the loggers were accompanied by great metal engines that walked on hind legs, were fueled by magic, and could do in an hour the work of a dozen loggers over the course of a day. Loggerjacks, he thinks they were called. Berylis was surprised from behind before he could tell anyone about this, knocked unconscious, and awoke imprisoned in Ravenswood as you found him.

He can lead you back easily enough to where he was taken. And from there depart to rejoin his people.

In gratitude for your aid, Berylis gifts Jendi (the closest to his own people by blood) a gold pendant in the form of a venated birch leaf, a sign of friendship to his people, the Resilient Birch Elves.

In your follow up post, indicate how you would like to proceed. If you wish Berylis to lead you back to the place of his abduction, we can frame right into that as your choice of (a) combat encounter (L+2, 700 XP) or (b) Skill Challenge (L5 C3, 600 XP). That might be the best way of heading off completion of the logging road. But that will also tick off your next milestone, registering two moves from me amidst your pending Dangers (I will check off two Grim Portents).

Or perhaps you have something else in mind?

Please also include details about whether Mylistra retains her disguise (as a Human) in Berylis's presence, and what you think the relationship between Elves and Dusk Elves (Drow) is in our world (regardless of how Mylistra appears to Berylis). Could be the same Corellon-Sehanine-Lolth lore of standard fare; could be something else.

Does the Raven Queen visit Jendi in a vision or dream to guide her servant in some way?

I presume you will take some rest at Juniper House, fictionally speaking. You have the option of taking a mechanical Extended Rest here, but doing so will come at the cost of an extra Grim Portent (ie, I will check one at the end of the Extended Rest + two at the next Milestone).
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Here are the Surge/Hit Point/Action Point situations for our fair heroes, both now and after the scene I will describe below (which includes a use of Mylistra's ritual, Comrades' Succor):
  • Jendi: 4/8 Surges, 27/31 HPs, 2 APs (no change after ritual)
  • Mylistra: 5/8 Surges, 25/29 HPs, 1 AP --> 4/8 Surges after paying the cost of 1 Surge to perform the ritual
  • Nemo: 2/7 Surges, 25/29 HPs, 1 AP --> 4/7 Surges after receiving 2 Surges from Toriq
  • Toriq: 7/10 Surges, 34/37 HPs, 1 AP --> 5/10 Surges after giving 2 Surges to Nemo
Also noted in the scene is a frayed rope (merely color) and a replaced sunrod (for which 1 gp has been deducted from each character).

In your follow up post, indicate how you would like to proceed. If you wish Berylis to lead you back to the place of his abduction, we can frame right into that as your choice of (a) combat encounter (L+2, 700 XP) or (b) Skill Challenge (L5 C3, 600 XP). That might be the best way of heading off completion of the logging road. But that will also tick off your next milestone, registering two moves from me amidst your pending Dangers (I will check off two Grim Portents).
  • We would like to proceed by having Berylis lead us back to the place of his abduction, and we choose TO DO BATTLE!!! (e.g. combat encounter)
  • In addition to the Grim Portents being ticked off, +2 should be added to the concordance of Nemo's little trinket, The Amulet of Passage, bringing its score to 7 (5/starting score +2/3 milestones in one day)

Please also include details about whether Mylistra retains her disguise (as a Human) in Berylis's presence, and what you think the relationship between Elves and Dusk Elves (Drow) is in our world (regardless of how Mylistra appears to Berylis). Could be the same Corellon-Sehanine-Lolth lore of standard fare; could be something else.
  • I think the relationship between Elves and Dusk Elves (also called Stygian Elves) is much like the historical relationship, before they became enemies. In fact, perhaps in this world, this madness besetting them will create the antagonistic relationship (unless our heroes are able to stop that plague of madness somehow!). They are aware of each other's existence but--due to circumstance--do not interact that often. In fact, perhaps, very few Elves have had any interactions with a Dusk Elf within the last hundred years. Nevertheless, I believe that there is (at this point, at least) an understanding of underlying kinship.
  • That evening at Juniper House, Mylistra will make the act of trusting in a sense of kinship with Berylis and reveal her secret and removing her disguise, explaining her need (which I'd imagine Berylis will easily recognize, given his own circumstances).

After their evening meal, Nemo works with Juniper and Toriq to go through the foodstuffs in their various packs, removing older collection of dried fruits and nuts on the verge of going stale, and replacing them with fresher ones, supplementing with some of the dried squirrel that Toriq made a short while ago. They already went through their essential equipment replacing a frayed rope and a used sunrod. They are hoping to be able to leave at daybreak, should the weather remain fair, in order to get a good distance away, thereby removing the dangerous presence of an escaped fugitive from the witch's house.

While her friends are concerned with the packs, Mylistra makes her way over to Berylis and--after making an appropriately formal Elven bow to him--asks to speak with him, for she has something to tell and to show him. When they are both seated on stools to one side of the huge open fireplace dominating the space, the witch opens a small wooden box resting on the table in front of her. She sits staring inside it for a moment: Berylis peers in and sees various pieces of equipment that appear to quite obviously be intended to disguise someone's appearance. Meeting his silent gaze of inquiry, she reaches up to begin her nightly--well, ritual isn't quite the right word, even if it feels as if it were, so--she reaches up to begin her nightly mundane ritual: the removal of her ears, along with makeup making her face to appear fuller, less elven. The other elf's eyes widen is surprise and alarm, and she smiles sadly.

"You know how we are seen, whether we are Stygian or of the Woods. In order to live freely here--of course fighting other prejudices against women living without men, practicing hedgemagic--I must disguise my origins, not only for my own protection but that of my mentor" - here, she nods over at Juniper - "as well."

After a moment, the wood elf nods his head before folding his arms over his breast and bowing, thanking her for trusting him with this secret. She smiles her thanks, and the two continue their conversation, Berylis obviously curious about this member of a distant and little-known branch of the broader Elven family.

The halfling repacks his extra clothes into his satchel, but his mind is elsewhere. Around his own neck, to be precise. The pendant he now wears does not seem to actively pull him one way or another (although after Jendi examined it, he did imply that it may in the future), but several times during their adventure last night (early this morning) Nemo felt a small surge of satisfaction, as if it approved of his more heroic actions. The amulet felt positively warm when he led everyone into the hidey-hole. So, while his friend may be correct that it is not actively trying to influence, those moments of approval are proving to be a bit ... intoxicating. Nemo looks down at it, gently rubbing a thumb over its surface. Something to think on.

At that moment, Mylistra calls Nemo over, along with Toriq. Leaving Juniper working and chatting with Berylis and filling his pack with some of her tastier dried fruit and tisanes, the two join her, sitting on the earthen floor in front of the large open fireplace. Nemo recognizes the equipment gathered together on the floor before her: the stone bowl holding crushed dried herbs mixed with the precious yellow powder, her ritual knife--all necessary in this ritual to empower those who have need of a loan of some of their companion's power. He knows that this time it is he that is in need.

The halfling sits facing Toriq, their hands clasped, eyes almost closed, and the witch now loosely ties a string around their wrists. Then she turns to face the stone bowl and picks up her knife, for--as always--the price must be paid. Blood drips from the cut in the palm of her hand into the bowl. Laying the knife down across the bowl, Mylistra begins to murmur the incantations to Sehanine that Nemo remembers from before. The halfling is almost hypnotized by the appearance of that silvery blue chain circling their hands, reflected in Mylistra's palm as it heals the wound. As he stares, he feels a warmth within him that reminds him of the earlier glow from the amulet. Strange but somehow heartwarming.

While this ritual is being performed, Jendi is deep in the dark woods, walking slowly and deep in thought. As is frequently his custom when in his mother's home, he slipped outside as soon as the evening meal was finished, needing solitude and ... less light, if he's honest.

He feels a sense of relief as he approaches his favorite lonely spot in these woods, a small glade surrounded by trees growing so closely together that--during the day--they almost omit the sunlight and, at all times, they barely admit entrance. As he draws closer to the center of the glade, he senses the shadows growing thicker, heavier, and casting a familiar darkness that feels bright to his eyes. Reaching into his pocket, he removes a handkerchief and opens it, uncovering a small talisman held within: a raven carved from onyx.

He gazes at it for a moment, lips pursed, then surveys the shadows growing ever darker, more than is warranted, even at night. The warlock waits expectantly, even if the visitation he is hoping for has never occurred with any great frequency, but he senses that--tonight--he will not be disappointed. And he isn't.

There is a density forming in one particular locus, accompanied by the faint sound of wings. The silhouette of a hooded figure--feminine, it seems--appears, shadows dripping into a dress flowing into and out of the darkness. Two eyes glowing with an onyx blackness seem to watch him, intently, for several long, silent moments. Then, Jendi hears a voice softly whispering and strains to catch the words dropping from her dark, almost indiscernible lips, yearning for each one.

"My knight" ... a wry chuckle ... "my brave knight! Still moping that you are seen as a child within your family? What should you care for that, when such dire tidings abound here and downriver.

"Do you understand that your small friend was found to be of stouter heart than you, and thus earned My gift? You must do more to prove yourself to me, to be worthy of the other gifts you have already received from me ... gifts that can be revoked, if you do not live up to my expectations."

After a moment of silence, the whispering words resume: "but I will have more patience, for--after all--you are still young and capable of change. The power you receive from Me, you must use in defending Mine from the cult of the Demon of Undeath: here and in Blackstone. Be brave, be daring, learn from that small friend and leap into darkness. Protect yourself not: you belong to Me, after all. You would do well to remember that.

"Unless you wish to return My ... gift? And pay the price? Remember?"

Terrified but filled with adoration for his Queen, Jendi throws himself prostrate on the leaves and pine needles, at the feet of the Duskmaiden. "Never," he gasps out.
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Before dawn on the following day, all who stay at Juniper House rise and break their fast with a hearty bowl of porridge and goat's milk, slices of toasted bread and fried goose eggs as accompaniment.

Juniper sees you off, and Berylis leads you into the forest west and north of Ravenswood, territory rarely traversed by Toriq, lying outside the sphere of the Guardians of the Ruby Spire. You travel for several hours. The day is cold but bright, dried leaves shed by hickories and maples with every gust of wind high in the trees.

Just after midday, you crest a small promontory that overlooks a blight on the scene leading due south, back in the direction of Ravenswood: It is as if a scar has been cut from the land, a wide swath dozens of yards wide denuded of trees and reaching back on the horizon with unnatural regularity. The loggers have been brutal in their efficiency, dragging off larger specimens back to Ravenswood, no doubt, but hacking, burning, and blasting anything else in their way.

Berylis identifies the location of the loggers' camp before extending his thanks once again and taking his leave north, to rejoin the Resilient Birch Clan for their great autumn hunt.

Blasted Logging Camp (EL4, L+2, XP 717)

Place your PCs anywhere in squares T-V/10-13. Roll initiative, and make any monster knowledge checks you deem appropriate (arcana for the Logger Jacks, nature for the Wicked Loggers).

Dimensions The logging camp sits at the eastern edge of the road, nestled within a hollow. The surrounding rocky escarpment rises 15 feet (3 squares, Athletics DC 15 to climb), but there is a gradual slope threading between two parts of the rise, as well.

Illumination Bright daylight.

Trees Despite the graphic, assume any trees on the map are conifers and thus have low, spreading branches their full length. Thus, each square within a tree’s area is difficult terrain; additionally, creatures within a tree’s area have cover. Trees can be climbed with an DC 9 Athletics check (Easy for level).

Stumps These are cut low to the ground, three feet high or so. They count as difficult terrain and can provide cover to adjacent creatures (total cover for Small creatures, for whom they are also blocking terrain unless surmounted by a DC 12 Athletics check (Moderate for level; Easy DC 9 for Medium creatures)).

Camp Building This basic timber-framed construction is one storey, 10 feet high (DC 12 Athletics check to climb), and on rollers. With a Standard Action for a DC 20 Strength check, it can be moved 2 squares north (to the top of the map). It is blocking terrain and can be stunted with.

Fallen Timber These downed trees have had their limbs mostly sheared, but they still protrude sharp, dangerous branch stubs. They are hindering terrain; thus, any creature willingly entering one of its squares or any adjacent creature subjected to forced movement suffers 5 points of damage. Additionally, they provide cover.

Lashed Timber Four stacks of timber are lashed together with thick hempen ropes, one south and one east of the camp building, two others further afield. These stacks are blocking terrain and can be Stunted with.

Creatures: 2 Logger Jacks HP 92 AC14 F15 R14 W12 (L2 Elite Brute), 7 Wicked Loggers HP 1 AC16 F14 R15 W12 (L2 Minion Artillery)

Jendi makes a Monster Knowledge Arcana check for the Logger Jacks, r15+9=24. Exceeds Hard DC. Jendi knows that constructs like these are sometimes constructed by the mages of the Order of the Ebony Tower for wealthy and powerful clientele.

Logger Jack Level 2 Elite Brute
Medium natural animate (construct) XP 250
92; Bloodied 46 Initiative +3
AC 14, Fortitude 15, Reflex 14, Will 12 Perception+2
Speed 6 (cannot shift) Darkvision
Saving Throws +2; Action Points 1

Anthracite Core HeatAura 1
Any enemy that enters the aura takes 2 fire damage.

Iron Retaliation
A creature that makes an opportunity attack against the logger jack takes 1d6 damage.

Standard Actions

(⚔) Caliper Arm GripAt-Will
Attack: Melee 2 (one creature); +7 vs. AC
Hit: 1d8 + 5 damage, and the target is grabbed (escape DC 13).

Buzzsaw ArmAt-Will
Attack: Melee 2 (one creature); +7 vs. AC
Hit: 1d6 + 5 damage, or 2d6 + 5 to a target grabbed by the logger jack.

Double Arm ActionAt-Will
Effect: The logger jack uses caliper arm grip and buzzsaw arm, making each attack against different targets. If both attacks hit, the targets are dazed until the end of the logger jack's next turn.

Buzzing Sweep ✦ Recharge ⚅
Attack: Close burst 3 (enemies in the burst); +5 vs. Reflex
Hit: 2d8 + 3 damage, and the target is pushed 2 squares and knocked prone.

Triggered Actions

Sweeping ThroesAt-Will
Trigger: The logger jack is first bloodied or drops to 0 hit points.
Effect (Free Action): The logger jack uses buzzing sweep if the power is available; otherwise, it uses buzzsaw arm.

Str 17 (+4) Dex 15 (+3) Wis 12 (+2)
Con 16 (+4) Int 0 (+1) Cha 0 (+1)
Alignment Unaligned Languages -

Toriq makes a Monster Knowledge Nature check for the Wicked Loggers, r6+10=15. Meets Moderate DC. She knows many of the loggers have turned against nature and to evil practices in its stead, but her order eschews contact with Humans and Halforcs except in cases of egregious offense against nature or encroachment towards the Ruby Spire.

Wicked Loggers Level 2 Minion Artillery; Medium natural humanoid, human and halforc XP 31;
1; a missed attack never damages a minion. AC 16, Fortitude 14, Reflex 15, Will 12; Weapon; Greataxe, handaxe, leather armor; Evil

Standard Actions
(⚔) Greataxe (weapon) ✦ At-Will
Attack: Melee 1 (one creature); +7 vs. AC
Hit: 4 damage, and the target is slid 1 square.

(➶) Handaxe (weapon) ✦ At-Will
Attack: Ranged 5/10 (one creature); +7 vs. AC
Hit: 4 damage, or 6 damage if the target has no cover.


r12+6=18 (green, in square T10)
Wicked Loggers (W, gray & white), r8+4=12
Logger Jacks (LJ, black), r8+3=11
Toriq r9+2=11 (red, in square T13)
Mylistra r5+4=9 (purple, in square V10)
Jendi r2+2=4 (light blue, in square V12)


NEMO takes barely a moment to register the battlefield before his instincts--and possibly other forces--kick in. His focus quickly narrows in on the closer of the two mechanical constructs, and his gesture throws the Duskmaiden's shroud on its ... err ... shoulders.

Shrugging casually, he cracks his neck, lifts his two hands--each holding a dagger-- and prepares to rush down the slope. Instead, as he goes to move his feet, one of his hands, almost without his knowledge and definitely without his conscious choice, reaches up and touches his pendant, still clasping a dagger.

His eyes close, and he immediately feels a sensation similar to what happened when he'd "marked" Gulthias. But that was action he chose deliberately. This feels as if his mind has registered where he wants to go, researched how best he can do so, chosen this manner of travel (via the amulet), and is now sending him directly there, through a wrinkle in space.

Opening his eyes, he finds himself near the cabin and well within throwing range of the monstrous machine. Shaken by what just occurred, he nevertheless shores up his courage and mettle by throwing one of the daggers clasped in his hands.

Minor (Enc): Raven Queen's Shroud (within 10): mark LJ (K13) with RQS
Minor (Daily): enter Duelist's Stance
Move (Daily): Amulet of Passage Teleportation: teleport up to your speed: from T10 to N16
AP: Sly Flourish (Ranged 5) vs LJ (K13): ATK: r7+11+2 CA =20 vs AC 14/Hit; Damage: r1+8+ r4,1=14 --> RQS: reroll 1 Damage die: r2 = 15 Damage to LJ (K13)

DAMAGE: 15 to LJ (K13)
CONDITIONS INFLICTED: Raven Queen's Shroud to LJ (K13)
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: Duelist's Stance
CURRENT SURGES/ACTION POINTS: 4/7 Surges; 0 APs available (1 remaining)

As the heroes top the embankment and one of their number disappears in an implosion of feathery black tendrils only to reappear in their midst, the WICKED LOGGERS leap into a flurry of action. The two at the top of the bluff draw handaxes from their belts, advance several paces, and toss their weapons at Jendi.

The logger closest to Nemo, a corpulent Halforc in a tanned leather apron, retrieves a handaxe, throws it at the Halfling, and then retreats behind the cover of a protruding stump.

With a mighty bellow, a bear of a Human man with a great, ruddy beard launches himself at Toriq, striking at her with his sharp-bladed felling axe, but the Halforc is too nimble and dodges his rush easily.

The three remaining loggers pull throwing axes from their belts, take up advantageous positions in the field, and loose their weapons upon the heroes, but none strike home.

W P16 Minor: Draw handaxe; Standard: Handaxe R5/10 vs N, r16+7=23 vs 18 AC. Hit. 6 damage (no cover); Move: 2 squares P16 to Q18 (possible cover)

W V21 Minor: Draw handaxe; Move: 4 squares V21 to W17; Standard: Handaxe vs J, r5+7=12 vs 17 AC. Miss.

W S22 Minor: Draw handaxe; Move: 5 squares S2 to U17; Standard: Handaxe vs J, r18+7=25 vs 17 AC. Hit. 6 damage (no cover).

W P12 Standard: Charge 3 squares P12 to S12, Greataxe vs T, r6+7+1=14 vs 19 AC. Miss.

W P6 Minor: Draw handaxe; Move: 4 squares P6 to R10; Standard: Handaxe vs J, r3+7=10 vs 17 AC. Miss.

W I11 Minor: Draw handaxe; Standard: Handaxe vs N, r5+7=12 vs 18 AC. Miss. Move: 1 square I11 to H12 (possible cover).

W M8 Minor: Draw handaxe; Move: 4 squares M8 to J12; Standard: Handaxe vs N, r1=Automiss.

LOCATIONS: Q18, W17, U17, S12, R10, H12, J12
DAMAGE: 6 damage to J, 6 damage to N
CURRENT HP: 1 all (Minions)
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: Q18 and H12 may have cover

The LOGGER JACKS are massive constructs of steel in the rough shape of a humanoid over seven feet tall. But that's where the resemblance to a living creature ends. Each has a foreward set "head"--else it would loom even taller!--where whatever magic and anthracite combine together to give it life erupts in burning orange flames from a visor-like face. Thick plumes of black smoke and dust are exhausted through an apparatus of pipes and tubes on its back torso. One arm is a a rotating chain-blade the length of a tall Human or Halforc, and the other is a mighty pincer that must be used for grasping and hauling large lumber.

The closer of the two takes several thundering steps towards the warlock and then rushes him with a full-steam charge!

"Jendi!," cries his sister, and she yanks him out of the way, receiving the full force of the construct's charge. She has the wind knocked out of her, made doubly bad by the constricting calipers of the jack's metal pincers about her waist. In retaliation, she strikes the automaton a mighty jab with her longsword, channeling the full fury of her race into the blow and hoping to disrupt whatever magic animates the creature.

This elicits a rather unwelcome response: it extends its sawblade arm, swiping it in a wide arc that forces Mylistra diving out of the way into the cover of a nearby tree. The caliper arm squeezes ever tighter, and Toriq can feel her vision fading to black, but then she gathers her reserves of energy and struggles for her very life in the jack's grasp.

Meanwhile, the other jack zones in on Nemo, charging around the stumps and camp building to grasp at the rogue with its caliper arm, not once but twice! The nimble Halfling dodges the first grasp, but it looks as if the second will grab him to crush his still-nascent life from him; however, in a move reminiscent of the backflips practiced with Mazzee on the decks of the Firefly, the docks, anywhere the two could tumble and play as children, Nemo launches himself out of way in the nick of time!

LJ1 K13
Move: 6 squares K13 to Q11

Standard: Charge 4 squares Q11 to T11, Caliper Arm Grip M2 vs J, TRIGGERS GUARDIAN'S COUNTER from T (Immediate Interrupt), Effect: You and the ally shift up to 2 squares as a free action, swapping positions. You become the target of the triggering attack, in place of the ally. After the attack is resolved, you can make a basic attack against the attacker. J to T13, T to V12. ATK vs T, r18+7+1=26 vs 19 AC. Hit. r7+5=12 damage to T and T is grabbed (Escape DC 13). T BLOODIED, TRIGGERS HALF-ORC RESILIENCE (Free Action), Trigger: You are bloodied for the first time during an encounter. Effect: Gain 5 temporary hp. T's MBA vs LJ1, r13+9=22 vs 14 AC. Hit. r3+5=8 damage + FREE ACTION Furious Assault, r8=16 damage to LJ1.

AP: Buzzing Sweep CBU 3 (enemies in the burst), ATK vs J, r5+5=10 vs 15 Reflex. Miss. ATK vs M, r10+5=15 vs 14 Reflex. Hit. ATK vs T, r17+5=22 vs 14 Reflex. Hit. Damage r4,1+3=8 + M pushed 2 squares V10 to V8 (in DT), forgoes push on T (still grabbed).

LJ2 F17
Move: 4 squares F17 to J17 (2 squares DT)

Standard: Charge 3 squares J17 to M17, Caliper Arm Grip M2 vs N, r3+7+1=11 vs 18 AC. Miss.

AP: Caliper Arm Grip M2 vs N, r15+7+1=22 vs 18 AC. Hit. TRIGGERS SECOND CHANCE from N (Immediate Interrupt), Trigger: You are hit by an attack. Effect: The attacker must reroll the attack and use the second roll, even if it is lower. Reroll=1, Automiss.

LOCATIONS: LJ1 in T11, J in T13, T in V12, LJ2 in M17, M in V8
DAMAGE: 20 damage to T (T gains 5 THP), 16 damage to LJ1, 8 damage to M
CURRENT HP: LJ1 61, LJ2 92

With a show of the great strength of her arms, TORIQ is quickly able to escape the grasp of the construct's mechanical arm. Hoping to buy her brother some time and space to maneuver and perform his magicks (the thought lingers for a moment that--at times--they are suspiciously dark, then just as quickly vanishes), she grasps that arm and drags it further away with her.

The fire on her hand ignites the fire in her blood, and she screams in a frenzy, attacking it in a fury of frustration and protective energy. She is so deep in this fury that she ignores the sweeping throes of the thing as it struggles to protect itself to continue its mandate by striking back at her, hard.

When--at last--Toriq stops for a breath, she can see that it is in considerably worse shape than before. She nods in satisfaction: maybe they can stop these things, after all.

Begins her turn Grabbed and Bloodied (14 HPs w/5 THP).

Move: Escape Grasp (DC 13): Athletics check: r19+9-2 Shield = 26 vs DC 13/Success; T can shift 1 square: from V12 to V11

Standard: Thorn Strike M2 vs. LJ1: ATK: r5+9=14 vs AC 14/Hit; D: 5+5= 10 Damage, & LJ1 is pulled 1 sq to U10; Toriq takes 2 Fire Damage for being in LJ1's Aura 1

Free Action: Mark LJ1 UEoTNT

AP: Wildblood Frenzy (Enc) Melee: 1st ATK vs LJ1: r7+9=16 vs. AC 14/Hit; D: r5+8=13 Damage to LJ1, & LJ1 is BLOODIED. TRIGGERED ACTION: Sweeping Throes: Trigger: The logger jack is first bloodied or drops to 0 hit points. Effect (Free Action): uses buzzing sweep if the power is available; otherwise, it uses buzzsaw arm: ATK vs T: r16+7=23 vs. T's AC 19/Hit; D: r1+5=6

2nd ATK vs LJ1: r11+9=20 vs. AC 14/Hit; D: r8+8=16 Damage to LJ1

DAMAGE: 39 Damage to LJ1; 2 Fire +6 Damage to Toriq
CURRENT HPs: 11/37 & 0 THP
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: no longer Grabbed
CURRENT SURGES/APs: 5/10 Surges; 0 of 1 APs available

Seeing both hope and potential disaster from her hiding place beneath the old pine, MYLISTRA first begs Sehanine to aid them in their conflict on her behalf and heal their strongest combatant, Toriq clearly being in dire straits. Then, feeling the gentle caress of her Goddess lending her courage, the witch casts a Defiant glare at the monstrous and destructive creation, marking it for her comrades-at-arms.

Eager for some sight of their fierce and tiny warrior, who had just sent himself into battle--Mylistra's thoughts stutter for a moment, for she does not remember how he disappeared from view--she steps forward, to the edge of the cliff to search. There! Over by the log cabin! But how?

Saddened that he is too far at the moment to benefit from Sehanine's Glorious protection, Mylistra resolutely pulls into herself more of her Goddess's fiercely protective energy and sends it out over the closest of her friends. The force of the Maiden's pure energy sends the nearest of their combattants reeling backward--including the construct--and the two humans fall over onto their backs, the thing tipping on its side.

Mylistra strains to see where Nemo is and calls out, "Come to us, little one, we're stronger together!"

Minor: Healing Word CBU5 on Toriq: r2+9=11 HPs, & Toriq gains +2 ATKs UEoMNT

Standard: Gaze of Defiance R5 vs. LJ1: r6+7=13 vs. Will 12/Hit; D: r6+5+1 Ki focus (vs. Bloodied) = 12 Damage to LJ1, & allies gain +1 bonus to ATKs vs. LJ1 (+3 if it attacks M) UEoMNT

Move: 3 squares from V8 to S8

AP Moment of Glory CBL 5 Q-V/9-13: ATKs: vs. LJ1: r11+7=18 vs. W12/Hit: pushed 3 sq to R10 & Prone; vs. W S12: r6+7=13 vs W12/Hit: pushed to P12 & Prone; vs. W R10: r9+7=16 vs W12/Hit: pushed to O10 & Prone; Effect: M & allies in blast (T & J) gain Resist 5 All UEoMNT (Sustain Minor)

LOCATION: M: S8; LJ1: R10; Ws: S12->P12 & R10->O10
DAMAGE: 12 Damage to LJ1
CONDITIONS: LJ1, Ws P12 & O10 Prone; allies +1 ATKs vs LJ1 UEoMNT
CURRENT HPs: 17/29
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: M, T, & J: Resist 5 ALL UEoMNT (Sustain Minor) (MoG)
CURRENT SURGES/APs: 4/8 Surges; 0 of 1 APs available

Shaken and a little angry at Toriq "saving" him from being heroic for his Maiden, JENDI assuages his chagrin by cursing the blasted construct. But his concentration is still a little unfocused by the incident, for his only victim to be beguiled by his scintillating strands is one of the humans who accompanied mechanical horror.

As he backs strategically to a more effective (and safer) distance, his mind is torn between wondering who of the Order created these things (and could he use that information against them somehow) and a satisfaction at watching that victim pushed back into the stump and audibly breaking his neck. He hopes it is the one that struck him.

Returning his attention to the cursed construct (in every sense of that word!), the Raven Queen's warlock attempts to focus again, throwing the crackling sphere at it. Sadly, the ball of energy fizzles out prematurely and the thing remains standing, barely.

<I have to get myself under control!> Jendi thinks furiously to himself, eyes blazing. Taking deep breaths and thinking of his Lady, he works to transform the furnace of anger and embarrassment into the steel of icy control.

Minor: Warlock's Curse on LJ1

Standard: Beguiling Strands (Enc) CBL5 O-S/9-13: each enemy in blast: LJ1; r1 = Automiss; W P12: r9+5+1 GoD =15 vs. W12/Hit; W O10: r5+5+1 GoD = 11 vs. W12/Miss; Damage & target pushed 3 squares: W P12 = Minion/KILLED

Move: 3 squares from T13 to Q15; Triggers Shadow Walk Concealment

AP: Hand of Blight R10: ATK vs. LJ1: r6+6+1 GoD =13 vs. F15/Miss

CONDITIONS: LJ1: allies +1 ATKs GoD UEoMNT, Cursed by J
CURRENT HPs: 21/31
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: Concealment SW; Resist 5 ALL UEoMNT MoG
CURRENT SURGES/APs: 4/8 Surges; 0 of 2 APs Available


NEMO can hear Beppa's voice--<bit off a bit more than you can chew, didn't you, son?>--as he quickly considers his options, none of them great. While he works well alone within the group, totally alone means no allies close enough to aid, step in, give a hand, etc.--a fact only emphasized by his witnessing of Mylistra's most powerful (and protective) magicks. Their eyes meet, his wry, hers apologetic, and he hears her voice calling him to safety.

Seeing his Shrouded enemy near his comrades, he decides that discretion will not be the better part of valor, but that valor can hold its own in his apparent retreat to the others. With a thought of the Duskmaiden and her shrouded victim, a shimmering portal lined with black feathers appears before the stalwart young halfling, and he steps through. The sensation is very similar to the earlier one, given by his amulet, except that this has a directness all its own.

He steps out next to the much damaged construct and instantly feels the heat of its inner furnace. Feeling a courage within and without--are those hands holding and supporting his shoulders?--our hero smiles and slashes his dagger this way and that, ripping off the arm and tearing into the casing, causing pieces to begin to fumble apart as the magicks begin to fail to hold it all together.

Unfortunately, intent on demolishing the thing utterly, Nemo fails to notice neither the still buzzing arm nor the ominous rumble of that inner furnace. Suddenly the debris of the exploding shrapnel hits him in the face, while the arm collides with his body. Deciding that now discretion (and retreat) are the better part of valor, he slips past Mylistra and makes his way under the branches of her former hiding place and begins to climb up and around the trunk, hoping to hide from sight for the moment because (as his uncle Miles always says) unseen means not on guard against. He will be more effective from here ... for now.

Minor: Raven Queen's Shroud Teleportation Power: next to LJ1: S10; Nemo takes 2 Fire Damage

Standard: Sly Flourish Melee: ATK vs. LJ1: r3+11+2 CA +1 GoD = 17 vs. AC 14/Hit; D: r4+8+8,6 = 26 Damage to LJ1, KILLED/TRIGGERED ACTION: Buzzsaw Arm: r18+7=25 vs. N's AC 18/Hit; D: r6+5=11 Damage to Nemo

Move: 6 squares (2 Climbing): from S10 to U8: Athletics to Climb Tree (DC 9): r17+8=25/Success; Stealth Check to Hide (per @darkbard, trunk of tree between PC & enemy = total concealment with Stealth check): r5+11=16.

LOCATION: U6 (2 sq up)
DAMAGE: 26 Damage to LJ1, KILLED; 11 Damage to Nemo
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: Total Concealment, Hidden (DC 16); Resist ALL UEoMNT MoG; Duelist's Stance

The collective mood of the WICKED LOGGERS shifts from outrage and aggression in the face of assault to trepidation and hesitance as they watch the smallest of their assailants blink about the campground and fell one of the mighty Logger Jacks with a blur of wicked jabs that disrupt whatever magic animates the mechanica.

The two atop the bluff step forward, unhitch their last handaxes from their belts, and fling them at Toriq, but the Halforc executes a series of balletic twists and ducks, avoiding both missiles. A Halforc matching her in height and breadth of shoulders gives a feral roar and launches himself across the clearing, swinging his greataxe in pendulum motion as he charges. His blow strikes true, but Sehanine's protection works as a shield to protect her servant's ally from harm.

The corpulent logger in the apron behind the tree stump draws her axe and whips it in Jendi's direction, but the Warlock remains elusive, wrapped in the Raven Queen's shadows.

The remaining loggers, one needing to first push herself up from her rump, retrieve handaxes and hurl them at Mylistra above on the bluff. Both miss, thank Sehanine, but one came too close for comfort, unnerving even with the Goddess's protection.

W17: Minor: retrieve handaxe; Move: 1 sq to V16; Standard: Handaxe vs T, r6+7=13 vs 19 AC. Miss.

U17: Minor: retrieve handaxe; Move: 1 sq to U16; Standard: Handaxe vs T, r2+7=9 vs 19 AC. Miss.

Q18: Minor: retrieve handaxe; Standard: Handaxe vs J, r5+7-2 cover -2 concealment=8 vs 17 AC. Miss.

O8: Move: stand from prone; Minor: retrieve handaxe; Standard: Handaxe vs M, r1=automiss.

J12: Move: 6 sq to P13; Standard: Charge 5 sq to U11, Greataxe vs T, r19+7+1=27 vs 19 AC. Hit. 4 damage = 5 Moment of Glory = 0 damage.

H12: Move: 6 sq to N12; Minor: retrieve handaxe; Standard: Handaxe vs M, r18+7=25 vs 18 AC. 6 damage (no cover) -5 Moment of Glory = 1 damage.

LOCATION: V16, U16, Q18, O8, U11, N12
DAMAGE: 1 to M
CURRENT HP: 1 all Minions
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: Q18 possible cover

Thought is probably too generous a term for the animating force that powers the remaining LOGGER JACK, and certainly if feels no emotion. But that probably is all of very little solace to Jendi as the construct turns its glowing. visored head in his direction, takes several steps, and then extends its cutting arm in a wicked sweep, high-pitched whirring and grinding sounds trying the young Warlock's mettle every bit as much as the advancing blade near his head. Be it his own growing skill in such matters, his patron's blessing, or sheer luck, the result is the same: he ducks beneath the sweeping arm and holds his ground.

Move: 2 sq M17 to O15

Standard: Buzzing Sweep CBu3 (enemies), ATK vs J, r8+5=2 concealment=11 vs 15 Reflex. Miss.

CURRENT DE/BUFFS: Buzzing Sweep on cooldown

TORIQ instinctively maneuvers to evade being hit by missiles, and her defensive block with her shield not only stops the axe of the Halforc but also slams him in the face, his body sliding heavily to the ground, unconscious. But this goes almost unnoticed as the warden's mind lingers on the look on her brother's face when she'd just defended him.

It was angry, not grateful. Perhaps her mother is right, and she is still babying her little brother, despite him having grown into his powerful magicks. Fine: she needs to let him be him and only defend as she would her other companions, as needed. After all, she even allows that little one to showcase his strength without mothering him.

Focus back on the field, she quickly considers her tactical options and moves forward to block the two loggers still on the higher slope. Staring the two human males down with challenge in her eyes and a sneer on her lips, she allows her nature-given gifts to manifest in ice surrounding her, forewarning her foes of the ferocity of Nature's Winter on its way. Just let them try to get past her now!

Standard: Weight of Earth Melee vs M U11: r7+9+2 BCL = 18 vs. AC 16/Hit; M U11 = UNCONSCIOUS.

Move: 4 squares from V11 to U15

Free: Nature's Wrath: mark adjacent enemies UEoTNT: Ms V16 & U16

Minor: Form of Winter's Herald (daily): effect: T assumes the guardian form of winter's herald UEotE; T gains +1 AC & Resist 5 Cold; each sq w/in 2 sq of T = difficult terrain for enemies (moves w/T).

CONDITIONS: Ms V16 & U16: Marked by T UEoTNT; w/in 2sq of T = Difficult Terrain for enemies
CURRENT HPs: 22/37
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: +2 ATKs UEoMNT (BCL); Resist 5 ALL (MoG); +1 AC & Resist 5 COLD (UEotE) (FoWH)

MYLISTRA's eyes widen as she witnesses Nemo's flight past her and hears him climbing the tree where she had been hidden. His gravely wounded state worries her, and she quickly throws up a prayer to her Goddess to send him some of Her healing energies. Any other healing to be done --and, please, Goddess, do not make it necessary--would come at her expense, so hopefully they can stop these thugs and final machine quickly!

Drawing in breath to focus, she first sustains the Goddess's protective shield (and again sends a mental apology to her small, tree-hidden friend). Then, ignoring the logger closest to her as the crow flies, she glares defiantly at the one whose aim tore her favorite cloak and, without that protection, could have done far more damage to her body.

She knows the Goddess's mark that she is placing on his forehead will kill him, but--since his intent is to end her--if the mark sticks, so be it. It will be a judgement by her Goddess.

It does hit. The witch watches, stony-faced, as the human drops the additional handaxe he was preparing to throw at her--again!--and grabs his head with both hands, mouth in a rictus of psychic pain. Her expression does not stop at his collapse.

Minor: Healing Word (Enc., 2/2): CBU5 on Nemo: r2+7=9 HPs, & N gains +2 ATKs UEoMNT

Minor: sustain Moment of Glory on M, T, & J UEoMNT (sustain minor)

Standard: Gaze of Defiance R5 on M N12: r13+7=20 vs. Will 12/Hit: M N12 KILLED

CURRENT HPs: 16/29
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: M, T, & J: Resist 5 ALL (MoG) (UEoMNT); N: +2 ATK UEoMNT (BCL)

JENDI defiantly stares at the construct, thinking to himself <if my Queen wants me in the thick of danger, well, here I am>. Swallowing down the bile of fear he will not acknowledge, he throws his warlock's curse on the cursed monstrosity. Then--keeping his watchful eye on it--the warlock shifts a step closer to the equally monstrous logger who just attacked him.

Then, calling out to the Raven Queen to show these heretics her great and powerful retribution, Jendi throws out his hands and sweeps his arms wide open. The logger--heavy though she may be--is lifted and crushed in an invisible grip, her limp body falling heavily to the ground. The construct, unfortunately, barely moves, apparently still heavy for the warlock's still nacient use of his Goddess's power.

Jendi, recognizing that this move sacrificed his protective use of shadows, grimly awaits the construct's retort and to see if his new armor will act as he hopes.

Minor: place Warlock's Curse on LJ2; Armor of Dark Majesty property: gain +2 All Defenses against cursed enemies

Move: Shift 1 square from Q15 to Q16

Standard: Star Shackles (Daily): CBU2 vs. Fort: Atk vs LJ2: r7+6=13 vs Fort 15/Miss; vs. M Q18: r8+6=14 vs Fort 14/Hit: M Q18 KILLED

CURRENT HPs: 21/31
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: Concealment SW Ends; Resist 5 ALL UEoMNT (MoG); +2 All Defenses vs LJ2 (AoDM)



Shaken but still standing ... albeit in a tree, NEMO carefully takes out the potion he'd purchased a few days ago and eagerly quaffs it. As its healing takes hold within his body, he feels a similar warmth and sends a quick though of gratitude to the witch.

Peering out of the tree's branches covered with sticky pine needles, he considers his options. Watching the two loggers collapse to the ground--one of them dangerously close to his friend--makes him dare to attempt to hit the farthest but most dangerous target: the construct next to Jendi. Promising to himself that he will climb back out of the tree if he hits, he holds his dagger by its point and takes careful aim.

He remembers this trick taught him by one of his uncles (at the moment he can't remember which one--maybe all of them?): tumbling the hilt forward in the throw will give it the impetus to go just ... a little ... farther, and distance is what he needs now. The construct is almost out of his range. <Careful now, son,> he can hear the voices of each uncle saying.

His throw is true, and his dagger now resides deeply sunk into the casing of the monstrosity. Nemo nods in satisfaction and prepares to descend.

Minor: take out potion of healing

Minor: quaff potion of healing: spend 1 surge & gain 10 HPs

Standard: Sly Flourish R5/10 vs. LJ2: r9+11+2 BCL +2 CA (Nemo Hidden) -2 Range = 22 vs 14 AC/Hit; D: r2+8+ r4,5= 19 Damage to LJ2

LOCATION: U6 (2 sq up)
DAMAGE: 19 Damage to LJ2
CURRENT HPs: 23/27
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: Concealment (no longer Hidden/Total Concealment); Duelists Prowess; +2 ATKs (BCL)

The two WICKED LOGGERS atop the bluff consider trying to flank the Halforc Warden menacing them with her sword, but the crust of ice encasing the nearby ground prevents such movement without retribution. Regardless, they swing their greataxes--for they have tossed their full supply of throwing weapons--but once again Toriq's remarkable agility allows her to avoid being struck by either of their blows.

Meanwhile, the third remaining logger, also bereft of a ranged weapon, ambles up the slope between the bluffs and then charges at Mylistra, striking with all the force of his beefy arms. His eyes widen with shock as a silver nimbus glimmers about the Stygian Elf, protecting her from harm.

U16 Move: Standard: Greataxe vs T, r5+7=12 vs 19 AC. Miss.

V16 Move: Standard: Greataxe vs T, r5+7=12 vs 19 AC. Miss.

O8 Move: 4 sq to S11; Standard Charge 2 sq to S9, Greataxe vs M, r17+7+1=25 vs 18 AC. Hit. 4 - Resist 5 All = 0 damage.

LOCATION: U16, V16, S9
CURRENT HP: 1 all Minions
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: U16, V16 Marked by T

As the magicks Jendi attempts against it are foiled by the protective charms of its makers, the LOGGER JACK settles back down the few inches from where it was raised onto firm earth again. With seeming deliberation, it strides towards the Warlock and grasps him in its caliper appendage, raising Jendi a few inches off the ground, in turn. Jendi feels the heat of its anthracite core burn in such proximity.

Starts turn: Rolls to Recharge Buzzing Sweep, r4. Fails to recharge.

Move: 1 sq to P16; J enters Aura & takes 2 fire damage - 5 Resist All= 0 damage

Standard: Caliper Arm Grip vs J, r18+7=25 vs 19 AC (buffed by Armor). Hit. r1+5=6-5 Resist All=1 damage & J is Grabbed (Escape DC 13). J.

DAMAGE: 1 damage to J

A glance down the slope alerts TORIQ to her brother's plight. It's one thing to be an overprotective older sister, quite another to be a comrade-at-arms, alert to each other's strengths and weaknesses. Her presence there will allow Jendi to try out that power he claims they all have access to, through Nemo's pendant made from a piece of the Ruby Spire. That in turn will allow her brother to do what he does best: attack from afar with great ferocity. She will make it possible!

Slapping aside attacks from the two loggers presently besetting her, she quickly strides down to where her brother is grabbed. Their eyes meet, and she says to him, "Why don't you give it a try now? We can switch places." She is relieved to see a sly grin creep over his face, and with a <bampf> sound and a puff of crimson smoke his figure disappears. She can hear another <bampf> behind her and assumes the trial is a success as she faces the visor of the faceless monstrosity. "It's you and me now, thing. Come and get it," she taunts, raising her sword to the ready.

Standard: Weight of Earth M1 vs. W U16: r3+9=12 vs 16 AC/Miss.

Move: 5 squares to P15: TRIGGERS: OAs from Ws U16 & V16: from W U16: r9+7=16 vs. AC 20/Miss; from WV16: r19+7=26 vs 20 AC/Hit, D: 4-5 Resist All = 0 Damage

Free Action: Nature's Wrath: Mark LJ2 UEoTNT

CONDITIONS: LJ2 Marked UEoTNT, w/in 2 sqs of T = Difficult Terrain for enemies; Ws U16 & V16 Marks end
CURRENT HPs: 22/37
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: Resist 5 ALL (MoG); +1 AC & Resist 5 Cold (UEotE) (FoWH)

MYLISTRA delays.

Riqqi's reminder of the teleportation power he "read" while analyzing Nemo's new pendant is very timely. In the stress of fighting off this mad mechanism JENDI seems to have forgotten about that. He gives a sly (and rueful) grin to his sister and disappears into the ether. When he returns to the real word, he witnesses the vestiges of crimson smoke evaporating around him. <Interesting> he thinks for a brief moment.

Then he turns, wicked smile on his lips, and eyes the two loggers still looking after Riqqi's departure in befuddlement. "Gentlemen!" the warlock calls out, and they both turn towards him, greatly startled. <Where did he come from?> is clearly written on their expressions.

"Sadly, that is something you will never learn," Jendi commiserates.

With that, he clasps his hands together, then quickly flings them apart with a flourish, as if throwing something as light as fairy dust in the loggers' direction. From above them, an argent rain begins to fall, the drops hissing as they land on the ground and turning into a strange silver fire. The two attempt to jump out of the line of ... fire ... but are unsuccessful. As Jendi watches them collapse in their death throes, his expression takes on a grim but satisfied look.

Move: Escapes Grab by using Amulet of Passage Teleportation Power (daily): teleport up to J's speed: 6 squares to U10

Standard: Ardent Rain ABU1 w/in 10 (U15) (Enc.): each creature in burst: ATKs: vs W U16: r17+6=23 vs 15 Reflex/Hit; vs W V16: r15+6=21 vs 15 Reflex/Hit; both Ws U16 & V16 KILLED.

CURRENT HPs: 20/31
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: SW Concealment; Resist 5 ALL UEoMNT (MoG), +2 All Defenses vs LJ2 (AoDM)

MYLISTRA stares into the eyes of the Halforc and murmurs in quiet fury, "do you not know that Sehanine protects her own?" With that reminder, she stabs her Lady's reprisal into his gut.

As his body slides off of the dagger still held in the witch's hand, she turns slightly, surveying the field. She notes Toriq now threatening the construct, witnesses Jendi arriving nearby with a puff of crimson smoke, and glances up at Nemo. Closing her eyes, she reveals her plan to her Goddess while simultaneously asking for Her continued protection to blunt the damage from their enemies. Thinking her strategy through, Mylistra murmurs a prayer for Sehanine's shield to protect her faithful and those who fight with them.

Sensing the additional buffer falling into place and satisfied that each are at least protected somewhat, Sehanine's cleric prepares to wade further into battle with Her enemies. Meeting Jendi's stare and enjoying the silver fire reflecting in his eyes, she smiles and nods, knowing he will join.

Standard: Sehanine's Reprisal M1 vs. W S9: r 17+10=27 vs 16 AC/Hit. W S9 KILLED

Minor: sustain Moment of Glory on herself, Jendi, & Toriq

Minor: Shield of Faith CBU5 (daily) on herself, Jendi, & Nemo: +2 bonus to AC UEotE

CURRENT HPs: 16/29
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: M, T, & J: Resist 5 ALL (MoG) UEoMNT; M, N, & J: +2 bonus to AC (SoF) UEotE



From high in his tree, NEMO witness Jendi's reappearance near them. <Huh,> he thinks to himself, <is that what I looked like? Nifty!>

Much refreshed by his sojourn up here (and Mylistra's healing as well as his own), the halfling hops down out of his refuge, ready and eager to return to battle. Third and last dagger in hand, he ducks down and moves swiftly across the yard of the logging camp, rushing past Toriq, and ending behind one of the tall stumps scattered throughout the yard.

He hopes he is well-hidden but suspects that his tripping over one of the pieces of wood lying about may have given away his position. The stump should at least shield him a bit, though.

Move: 6 squares, including Hop Down (Acrobatics check: r11+13=25 vs 15 DC/Success), to R12

Move: 6 squares to Q18, behind Stump=total cover for small creature, Stealth check to Hide: r1+11=12 vs. 12 Passive Perception of LJ2/not Hidden; in LJ2's Aura 1: Nemo takes 2 Fire Damage

DAMAGE: 2 fire damage to N
CURRENT HPs: 21/27
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: Total Concealment from Stump, Duelists Prowess; +2 bonus to AC (SoF) UEotE

The LOGGER JACK recognizes the threat posed to it in the muscular form of the Halforc and grabs her with its caliper arm, squeezing for all its worth.

Starts turn: Rolls to Recharge Buzzing Sweep, r5. Fails.

Standard: Caliper Arm Grip M2 vs T, r15+7=22 vs 20 AC (buffed). Hit. r8+5=13-5 Moment of Glory damage & T grabbed (Escape DC 13). T BLOODIED.

DAMAGE: 8 damage to T, T BLOODIED
CONDITIONS TO ENEMIES: T grabbed (Escape DC 13)
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: Cursed by J, Marked by T, Buzzing Sweep on cooldown.

"Well, I guess you "came and got it," TORIQ murmurs, mostly to herself, feeling the heat of the thing's core blow over her. She is not too worried ... yet. She plans on following Jendi's lead after making an attack on this monstrosity. Not too far: just enough to be released from its grasp, so that she can attack again, on her own terms. For now?

Leaning into her form of Winter Herald, Nature's warden explodes into action, however immobilized she may be by the grip of the logger jack. She batters its arm with the ice-cold blade of her sword. Not as much damage as she likes, but it looks incapacitated for the moment.

And now, Toriq, one of the Wardens of the Ruby Spire, allows the power of one piece of that powerful entity to remove her from this reality for a moment, and instantly return her ... a little further away and out of the automaton's deadly grip. As she witnessed before with Jendi's departure, she sees upon her return the vanishing cloud of crimson smoke. She frowns a little, not sure what to think of this power in their midst, from an unknowable source.

Starts turn Grabbed by LJ2 and in LJ2's Aura: takes 2 Fire Damage - 5 Resist All = 0 Damage.

Free: Nature's Wrath: marks LJ2 UEoTNT

Minor: designates LJ2 as Hunter's Quarry (enc) UEoTNT

Standard: Form of Winter's Herald's attack (enc) CBU1 (all enemies): vs LJ2: r12+9=21 vs 15 AC/Hit; r2+5+ r4 HQ = 11 Damage to LJ2, and LJ2 is Immobilized (SE)

Move: Escapes Grab by using Amulet of Passage Teleportation Power (Daily): teleport up to T's speed: 4 squares to L17

DAMAGE: 11 Damage to LJ2
CONDITIONS: LJ2 Marked & HQ UEoTNT, Immobilized (SE)
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: Resist 5 ALL (MoG); +1 AC & Resist 5 Cold (UEotE)(FoWH)

"And now, my work up here is done," JENDI murmurs, pleased at how quickly it was accomplished. Turning toward the Logger Jack once more, his hand collecting dark energies at his side, he points at the machine with his other. Then, as if he were lobbing a ball in a game of catch which he has yet to ever play, he lobs the crackling black sphere at the thing, enjoying the much louder crackle of the sound landing against the side of the mechanical monster.

As he takes a few steps in the general direction of the monstrosity and his friends combatting it, Jendi savors the sight of his necrotic attack visibly eating into the surface of the machine. It looks like they will succeed, after all. At least, they will here.

Standard: Hand of Blight R10 vs LJ2: r9+6=15 vs 15 Fort/Hit; D: r7+5+ r3 WC + r8 FM = 23 Damage to LJ2, and LJ2 grants CA UEoJNT

No Action: expends Fell Might (see above's damage)

Move: 4 squares to R14; TRIGGERS: Shadow Walk Concealment

DAMAGE: 23 Damage to LJ2
CONDITIONS: LJ2 Marked & HQ UEoTNT; Immobilized (SE); grants CA UEoJNT
CURRENT HPs: 20/31
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: SW Concealment UEoJNT; Resist 5 ALL UEoMNT (MoG); +2 All Defenses vs LJ2 (AoDM); Fell Might expended

MYLISTRA takes a breath, murmurs a brief prayer for guidance, and then steps into the unknown. And then steps out of it again, accompanied by a light dusting of crimson smoke. The darkness in that unknown was darker than she has ever known. Almost always before, she could at least make out shadows. But there was nothing there, no light, no sound, nothing at all.

Seeing that she has arrived--as planned--atop the lashed stack of timber closest to the combatants, she takes a moment for a prayer for sustaining protection. Then she gives a piercing whistle, somehow getting the attention of the monstrous thing below here.

When it looks up at her--at least she thinks it's looking: its visor makes it seem to be doing so--she takes her hand and places Sehanine's mark upon its forehead. <There,> she thinks, <we can finally get this done!> She glances back and is relieved to see Jendi is indeed making his way down to them.

Move: Amulet of Passage Teleportation Power (Daily): teleport up to M's speed: 6 squares to N14, atop lashed stack of lumber

Minor: Sustain Moment of Glory

Standard: Gaze of Defiance R5 vs LJ2: r5+7+2 CA =14 vs 12 Will/Hit; D: r7+5+1 KFE = 13 Damage to LJ2, and allies gain +1 ATKs vs LJ2 UEoMNT

DAMAGE: 13 Damage to LJ2
CONDITIONS: allies gain +1 ATKs vs LJ2 UEoMNT
CURRENT HPs: 16/29
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: M, T, & J: Resist 5 ALL (MoG) UEoMNT; M, N, & J: +2 bonus to AC (SoF) UEotE



NEMO carefully takes a few steps toward the mechanical logger thing, not wanting to distract any of his friends from their elegant attacks. Once in place, though, the young rogue lets his years of street-fighting experience take hold of his instincts, putting them into action.

He deftly uses his dagger to cut into the structure of this monstrosity, jamming here, denting there. When he finds the handle of his second favorite dagger directly in front of him and pulls it out of the metal hide, Nemo is happy (and somewhat terrified) to hear an ominous creaking sound: the jack's demise is surely near!

A judicious cut to the vulnerable "knee" joint can only help Toriq's immobilization of the Logger Jack. There! Hopefully that will be enough.

Move: 3 squares to Q15, enter LJ2's Aura1: takes 2 Fire Damage

Minor: retrieve dagger from body of LJ2

Standard: Sly Flourish M1 vs LJ2: r13+11+2 CS +1 GoD = 27 vs 15 AC/Hit; D: r2+8+ r6,5 SA = 21 Damage to LJ2

No Action: Low Blow (enc): Trigger: N's melee attack hits creature granting CA. Effect: creature is Dazed UEoNNT

DAMAGE: 21 Damage to LJ2
CONDITIONS: LJ Dazed UEoNNT; allies gain +1 ATKs vs LJ2 UEoMNT; LJ2 Marked & HQ UEoTNT; Immobilized (SE); grants CA UEoJNT; Cursed by J
CURRENT HPs: 19/27
CURRENT DE/BUFFS: Duelists Prowess; +2 bonus to AC (SoF) UEotE

THE LOGGER JACK tries to move its articulated and hinged legs but finds them encrusted in ice, locked in place. So it follows whatever rudimentary ratiocination of which it is capable, extends its buzzing saw of an armblade, and sweeps it in a wide circle low to the ground. Mylistra is too high to be menaced truly. But Jendi is sent scampering to avoid decapitation, diving onto the ground to escape worse.

When the Logger Jack sweeps its arm towards Nemo, however, the Halfling catches the blade with one dagger, jamming up the works. He thrusts his other dagger into the magical core animating the construct, and the flames visible through the visored "face" flicker out as it collapses.

Starts turn: Rolls to Recharge Buzzing Sweep, r6. Recharges.

Standard: Buzzing Sweep CBU3 (enemies), ATK vs J, r19+5=24 vs 21 Reflex (Concealment, Armor of Dark Majesty). Hit. ATK vs M, r8+5=13 vs 14 Reflex. Miss. ATK vs N, TRIGGERS Duelist's Prowess Attack (Immediate Interrupt), ATK N vs LJ2, r10+11+2+1=24 vs 14 Reflex. Hit. r3+6 +r5,5 SA=19 damage. LJ2 DESTROYED. TRIGGERS Sweeping Throes, LJ2 ATK vs N, Buzzsaw Arm, r12+7=19 vs 20 AC (Shield of Faith). Miss. Buzzing Sweep damage, r1,2+3=6-5 Moment of Glory=1 damage to J & J knocked prone & pushed 2 to T12.

DAMAGE: 1 damage to J

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Blasted Logging Camp, L4 Combat encounter successfully completed.

Milestone achieved.
(Note this is your third Milestone since your last Extended Rest, which has implications for the Amulet of Passage's Concordance Score, which you should note in your followup post.)

Take a Short Rest.

XP: 717
/4 PCs= 179.25 = 180 XP/PC.

Loot: statue with two inset garnets for eyes (100 gp gems each) (see below) + 90 gp (Parcel 2.5)

As the last logger jack grinds to a halt with fading whirrs and flickering flames from Nemo's opportunistic dagger thrust, a peace settles over the blasted camp. Breaths are caught, fatigued muscles are rested, and stock is taken of your surroundings.

Crows begin to assemble and circle the camp, perching in nearby trees and cawing their raucous kraas as they come, drawn by the carrion ... or something greater.

Aside from the lumber and logging equipment (sledges, axes, saws, and the like), there is the obvious: the 20 x 25 foot camp building set on rollers. Inside is what one might expect, an iron stove, provisions, bedrolls, field notes, and the like. The less obvious includes a small iron box with 90 gold coins. And then the horrifying, a small altar set up with a roughly-hewn wooden idol of sorts, a bipedal creature with a ram's head and great horns, with two glittering inset garnets for eyes.

You have indicated your desire for an Extended Rest at this point, again, well-earned! However, to do so in dangerous territory requires, as always, an at-level C1 SC (DCs 9/13; 1 Secondary Skill), featuring the same 4 stock obstacles (and any twists if failures):
  • Ensure low danger.
  • Locate/create shelter/concealment.
  • Locate/create amenities (food/water/fire supply via hunting/foraging/survivalism etc).
  • Quartermaster/stewardship of supplies/setup.
So, we will begin with that first itemized obstacle: how do you go about ensuring low danger, considering the action that has transpired thus far and the new fictional details above? Obvious points of interaction are the bodies of the slain or the gruesome altar. Or perhaps that single logger to whom Toriq dealt a nonlethal blow survived the battle? (This last should be settled either way, either to remove that as a possible obstacle or keep it in play.)

Please also update the post with current HP, Surges, APs, etc following the Short Rest. All of that will shortly become moot as you enjoy an Extended Rest, but should you accrue a microfailure, Surges and HPs are likely targets, mechanically-speaking.

Finally, while you have succeeded in halting completion of the logging road, I am ticking the following Grim Portents:
  1. All Halfling-crewed ships are berthed until further notice
  2. A mad Raven Queen devotee kills a fellow student in a duel
EDIT: Note that I changed which Grim Portent I ticked above for #2. I think, for now, since you are actively engaging The Cult of Orcus Front, it makes sense not to tick that Front at this time. We'll see how this goes and remain open to revision and rejiggering.
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THE LOGGER JACK tries to move its articulated and hinged legs but finds them encrusted in ice, locked in place. So it follows whatever rudimentary ratiocination of which it is capable, extends its buzzing saw of an armblade, and sweeps it in a wide circle low to the ground. Mylistra is too high to be menaced truly. But Jendi is sent scampering to avoid decapitation, diving onto the ground to escape worse.

When the Logger Jack sweeps its arm towards Nemo, however, the Halfling catches the blade with one dagger, jamming up the works. He thrusts his other dagger into the magical core animating the construct, and the flames visible through the visored "face" flicker out as it collapses.
... As the last logger jack grinds to a halt with fading whirrs and flickering flames from Nemo's opportunistic dagger thrust, a peace settles over the blasted camp. Breaths are caught, fatigued muscles are rested, and stock is taken of your surroundings.

Crows begin to assemble and circle the camp, perching in nearby trees and cawing their raucous kraas as they come, drawn by the carrion ... or something greater.
For a long moment, no one moves, beyond the panting breaths they all take. Then, slowly, they turn and look at one another, assessing each others' condition. Mylistra moves immediately to Toriq, having her sit, tending to her wounds, murmuring yet another of Sehanine's healing words to give her aid. The others plop down onto the ground to recover their stamina, Nemo passing out some of Juniper's delicious jerky.

After a short rest and one use of Healing Word on Toriq (r4), here are the heroes' HPs and Surges, as well as an update of the concordance of the Amulet of Passage:
  • Jendi: uses 2 surges, regaining 14 HPs: 31/31 HPs and 2/8 Surges remaining
  • Mylistra: uses 2 surges, regaining 14 HPs: 29/29 HPs and 2/8 Surges remaining
  • Nemo: uses 1 surge, regaining 7 HPs: 26/27 HPs and 1/7 Surges remaining
  • Toriq: uses 2 surges, regaining 18 HPs, plus 4 from HW: 36/37 HPs and 2/10 Surges remaining
  • Concordance: 5 + 2 (Owner reaches 3 milestones in one day) = 7/Normal (5-11)

"What next?" the halfling asks of Toriq, recognizing her as their expert for survival out here, deep in the dangerous wood.

"First catch our breath. Then, seeing as we will need to make camp here, do something with all of this." Toriq gestures to the seven bodies lying about. "See if there are any survivors and wrangle them, deal with the bodies, check out the cabin to see if that will do as shelter for the night."

Nemo turns to Jendi and--with a jerk of his head in the cabin's general direction--the two of them head over to check out its viability as such.

Aside from the lumber and logging equipment (sledges, axes, saws, and the like), there is the obvious: the 20 x 25 foot camp building set on rollers. Inside is what one might expect, an iron stove, provisions, bedrolls, field notes, and the like. The less obvious includes a small iron box with 90 gold coins. And then the horrifying, a small altar set up with a roughly-hewn wooden idol of sorts, a bipedal creature with a ram's head and great horns, with two glittering inset garnets for eyes.

Mylistra, bandaging one of the more severe of her friend's wounds, looks up with surprise as the rogue and warlock return very soon after. "What's in there?" she asks, greatly curious.

Nemo looks uncomfortable and a bit squeamish, but Jendi replies, "that is not where we're sleeping tonight. We'll have nightmares."

He quickly explains what they found and proposes that they remove what is salvageable and/or sellable, destroy the cabin, and put the bodies onto the subsequent burning fire. Toriq glances uneasily at the rather large murder of crows beginning to settle on branches throughout the clearing and readily agrees, suggesting that such action will hopefully get rid of them as well.

"Will burning take care of the altar you describe?" the witch asks Jendi, who nods affirmatively.

"And burning the bodies should take care of any subsequent reviving of worshippers of the Goat-Horned," he asserts.

Thus, they spend time dismantling the cabin, Jendi directing them to be sure to carefully put all pieces of the altar near the top of the soon-to-be bonfire to ensure that they do indeed burn. The warlock himself is carefully removing the eyes from the statue and puts them into a pouch. The statue itself he intends to act as kindling.

Once the cabin has been turned into so much firewood, it is Toriq who carefully stacks the wood and prepares the bonfire. The others are dragging the bodies (once they have ascertained that they are indeed bodies and not hostages) closer to the site of said bonfire. Jendi peers down at one body with some puzzlement, for he only remembers two loggers succumbing to his argent fire. But here is an additional victim, one who looks to have burned while lying on the ground. Then the young warlock shrugs, grabs both arms of this additional burnt logger and drags it--along with the other two-- to the fire that Toriq is just getting lit.

"Do we really need to burn those, too?" asks Nemo, gesturing to the three Jendi has dragged down the slope. "They already look crispy!"

Jendi answers emphatically, "Yes." The others stare at him, somewhat shocked by the firm voice in the young elfling. After a moment, he continues, "Even though they are--partially--burned now, their bodies are still intact and useable, for necromantic purposes. We need to burn them all to ash, absolutely. There needs to be nothing left to be harvested, or else they can be used against us. Believe me."

Looking at his determined visage, they do believe him.

* Jendi makes a Primary Skill Religion check to realize how to destroy the altar and remove the danger of undead bodies from their former combatants: r5+9=14 vs 13 Moderate DC. Success
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Skill Challenge, Make Camp in the Perilous Wilds, L2 C1 (4 Successes before 3 Failures) (1 Success/0 Failures; 1 Secondary Skill available).

The cabin, its furnishings and rollers, the altar, and the gruesome statue all go up easily in a great conflagration. At first, all seems normal enough: a great pile of lumber and wooden furniture burning in a pyre. But once the bodies of the loggers are added to the conflagration, something ... unusual transpires. The yellow flames turn a ruby red. The thick gray smoke transforms to mulberry in hue and doesn't rise to the sky so much as linger, as if with ill intent, a roiling serpentine cloud.

The murder of crows disperses one by one and then is gone completely. There are no other natural sounds of the surrounding forest, only the crackling of the fire. You cough uncontrollably as the smoke assaults your lungs with every breath. No matter how far you back away from the pyre, the smoke seems to follow your every move. And even as the fire grows hotter, its fuel charring to ash, the smoke does not disperse. It lingers. And lingers.

Okay, low danger has been assured, but it is clear this place cannot serve as your encampment. What will you do to locate or create shelter/gain concealment from the clinging smoke?


As MYLISTRA begins to follow the others up the slope in their attempt to escape the strange, noxious smoke, something within her seems to decide. In answer to a question that seems to echo in her bones ... possibly as consistently as her heartbeat ...<Why am I always running away?> ... the response springs up ... <This is where I stop. This is where I take a stand. This is where the Moonlight wins.>

The witch sets down her satchel and--squatting down--removes several items from it--including a scarf with which she now covers the lower part of her face. Standing once again, she turns to face the smoke and raises both of her hands before her, each holding several clippings of dried herbs. To the astonishment of her friends, Mylistra then returns to the remaining coals, coughing slightly as she moves forward, finally stopping before the dying fire and staring down into the glowing embers, then up to the Moon, barely visible through the thick cloud of smoke.

In her ancient and strange Stygian elvish, she begins to intone the following words, all while crumbling the appropriate herb onto the embers:

I give you juniper to remove harmful energies and sage to banish ghosts and ward off evil, both for cleansing this place sacred to the Moon and to Living Nature. I give you cedar to disperse and drive out negative energies and to bring in good influences and rosemary for protection, clarity, and calm. Lavender and sweet holygrass I give you for peace of mind, relaxation, and an invitation to benevolent spirits. May we rest and sleep in calm.

Mylistra then takes out her stone bowl and places into it burning branches of mugwort and holy basil, crushing the ashes with her pestle. Lifting her bowl, she turns to the others who have followed her, fearful for her sanity and her safety. She smiles wryly, then walks up to each, placing her fingers into her bowl and--with the ashes--making the mark of a crescent moon on the forehead of each, finally putting one on her own forehead.

"With these marks, may Sehanine protect and ward us from all dangers this night."

* Mylistra makes a Primary Skill Heal check to ward off the dangers of the noxious and toxic smoke so that they can locate/create a safe shelter in this clearing: r9+10=19 vs 13 Moderate DC. Success.


Skill Challenge, Make Camp in the Perilous Wilds, L2 C1 (4 Successes before 3 Failures) (2 Successes/0 Failures; 1 Secondary Skill available).

At Mylistra's prayer and ritual, the supernatural smoke dissipates and the glowing of the pyre lies on the ashes of its youth.

Now it is time for sustenance. You begin to unpack your prepared rations from Juniper House. That's when you notice that you are not alone. Mylistra's dispelling of the foul taint of the fire must have cleared the way for their return: crows, scores of them, hundreds, perhaps. They flock in nearby branches and croak their guttural appeal. Some alight on the encampment floor and waddle their way towards you, pleading.

It is clear they desire to share in your meal. Perhaps the supernatural forces of the cultists have spoiled or chased away their typical fare? Regardless, they will not be easily shooed away.

How do you address this unusual instantiation of the locate/create amenities phase of your Making Camp? DCs 9/13.


TORIQ carries over some of the remaining embers of the now cleansed bonfire to light their own cooking fire a safe distance away. As she nears the site where Mylistra kneels, getting their foodstuffs ready for an evening meal, the warden notices that the witch has paused in her endeavor and is staring upward, at the branches of the surrounding trees--few though they may be. Toriq looks up as well, to see what is causing her friend such grave concern.

Crows, hundreds of crows. In every tree along the edge of the clearing. Matching them stare for stare. A daunting circumstance, if one does not understand it. The halforc smiles reassuringly.

"They're hungry, just like we are," she explains. "The loggers must have been chasing them off, for one thing. Or at least those machines frightened them off. For another, they--the loggers--have just about killed whatever food the crows might eat here: the berry shrubs, trees with nuts, other vegetation. And with that, the small animals and other birds (and their eggs) that also serve as nourishment."

Toriq looks around for a moment, assessing the area. The crows have as much right to eat as her companions and she, but what remains? Their rations will only slightly satisfy, and surely the amount will not suffice for such a large crowd. She scans the area another moment before hitting upon a solution: those piles of cut lumber!

"Keep getting our food together, but not too quickly," she murmurs to Mylistra. "Give us a little time to find something more delicious--to them, at least! That should not only occupy them enough to let us eat in peace but also--if I am correct about what I will find--make the birds view us favorably."

She then gestures for her brother and their little friend to follow her, before walking over to one of the piles. Toriq then explains what she wants them to help her do. Nemo will help her push over the piles, leaving the soft earth under them easily accessible. Then, Jendi will take one of the machine arms and further loosen up the earth, thus exposing the worms, beetles, and other insects and creatures living beneath. This should not only attract the crows but satisfy them far more than anything else they can offer.

When they have accomplished their tasks--leaving many creepy crawlies wriggling in the soil to entice the birds, they return to enjoy their own meal.

* Toriq makes a Primary Skill Nature check to find nourishment that will satisfy the crows enough so that they will not need to steal or beg food from the party: r5+10=16 vs 13 Moderate DC. Success.


Skill Challenge, Make Camp in the Perilous Wilds, L2 C1 (4 Successes before 3 Failures) (3 Successes/0 Failures; 1 Secondary Skill available; DCs 9/13).

The crows seem well and truly delighted and satisfied by the proffered grubby meal. They croak and kraa and devour and peck and circle and alight and kraa some more. Hundreds of them. Now ... a thousand? More? They seem to fill the darkening sky overhead, swooping and croaking and landing and clearly stirred up in a manner that would not seem unusual in starlings or blackbirds but is confusing--and downright terrifying--in these larger avians!

And they don't seem likely to stop anytime soon. Though bone tired from your recent travails, your travel, the combat, sleep will be impossible with this racket! You must do something to get the rest your aching bodies require!

How will you control this situation (Quartermaster/stewardship of supplies/setup) and achieve your Extended Rest?

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