Vale reaches into his bandolier and removes one of his scrolls allowing communication with the dead. He motions for Sylvar to hold just a moment, "This should go quickly." He grabs the top of the giant leader's earlobe and jerks it up to allow Vale and the rest of the party to eyeball the giant's face. The giant's dead chin drops, tongue wagging out of it.
Vale closes his eyes for a moments and mumbles a prayer in Dwarven. The giant's head twitches, as Vale continues to pray. After another few moments, the giant's head jerks back, eyes swirling into face forward and then up toward Vale, eyelids blinking a moment as the giant's tongue retracts back into his mouth as drool slides down the side of his face. Disgusted, Vale sneers.
Speaking to the dead giant,
"Što je vaš glavni zadatak?"
What is your main mission?
"Što su upute za svoju bazu u ovoj regiji?"
What are the directions to your base in this region?
"Što je točnu veličinu i sastav vaše sile?"
What is the exact size and composition of your force?
Vale releases the dead giant's earlobe as the giant's face freezes for a moment, eyes rolling back into its head, and tongue wagging again. The questioning is over.
"Alrighty gents, let's be about getting to that overlook. Dewydd, too bad we don't any of your old comrades. A mercenary force might be most useful against these cretins."
Heading back to the wagon after the questioning of the deceased giant, a slight hitch - a subtle stumble, almost - occurs in my gait. My normally stoic demeanor momentarily rolls back as my breath is caught in my throat as my stance stiffens. Sweat beading my brow in spite of the current weather. Just as quickly as it occurs, it all disappears again when understanding dons upon me. With a slight sigh of relief I reply, "Yes, it would be nice if The Iron Marauders were in the area. They were a dependable lot and sturdy to boot. Worry not though, there is safety in numbers and I am two or three at least." Smiling, I stride confidently forward once again, toward our destination. As we travel, I try to keep an eye out for any potential threats, but my mind wanders and I appear to be largely preoccupied with thoughts unrelated to my self-assigned task.
Sense Motive 21. Spot 8. Listen 21. 2nd Sense Motive 12.
I will resolve these rolls via Private Facebook Message.
In response to Vale's first question, the giant corpse says, [sblock=A Bunch of Gibberish Unless You Speak Giant]"Our main mission was to pretend to be escorting these merchants safely through Nosnra's territory. They came to Nosnra and paid him for safe passage, but when he saw how rich they were, he decided he wanted all of their treasure. We were under orders to ambush them when we found a good, out-of-the-way spot."[/sblock]
In response to the second question, the corpse says, [sblock=More Giant Gibberish]"Our fort is at the Northern end of the Canyon, about two miles past the Overlook Cut-Off."[/sblock]
In response to the third question, the corpse says, [sblock=More Blubbering In The Giant Tongue]"There are over 50 giants, and 30 Ogres in Nosnra's tribe, along with some other giants that he hired to help him in the mines. The Great Orc Mak has also sent over 100 of his troops to aid us; Nosnra also has many Orc slaves, a gift from The Mak. The slaves are followers of Marek who would not join the True Cause. Nosnra has an alliance with the Skullseeker Bugbear Tribe, which is over 50 warriors strong. The Trolls of the Armbreaker Tribe also swear allegiance to Nosnra, and there are at least 20 of them. Their leader, Brunk, is the strongest Troll I have ever seen. Nosnra is also allied with a Dark Elf Wizard, named Quinnlan, whom he seems to trust. He recently gave Quinnlan his own giantess harem, although I am not sure what that little, scrawny Elf plans to do with such fine, large women. He's the size of a baby compared to them."[/sblock]
NOTE: Since I am assuming that either Vale or Dewydd (both of whom speak Giant) will translate, it's OK to look at the hidden text. It's hidden mainly for roleplay purposes, to remind the players who don't speak Giant that they are relying on their comrades to translate for them.
After questioning the corpse, the party heads North, looking for the switchback that leads to the overlook; by the time the party can find the switchback, it's pitch dark; the trail is discovered by one of the party members who possesses Darkvision.
It doesn't really matter who; at random, I will say that Vale makes the discovery.
It takes about another hour to navigate safely to the top of the ravine, along the narrow switchback. The top of the ravine is heavily forested, and hilly. Around what the party estimates to be 10:00 pm, after steadily ascending a low-grade incline, you all reach the edge of the overlook. The tree cover extends right to the edge of the cliff. The overlook is a cliff that is about 90 feet above the canyon floor. The fortress is below the overlook, about 100 yards distant. Forested hills surround the fort on all sides, which is not strategically the best location, although a siege of this place would require a massive army, especially considering the size of the palisade which surrounds it. You estimate that without the wagon, you could make it down the incline, down the switchback, back to the ravine floor, in about 20 minutes. Then you'd have two miles of straight travel until you came to the fort. The other alternative, of course, is to use Dewydd's ring to drop down the edge of the cliff. Doing so during the morning hours just after sunrise would put the party in the shadow of the palisade, providing an adequately safe avenue of approach.
Val says,"Well, I don't see any spiders. You should probably get some rest, my boy. You'll need it, come morning. This looks like a good spot to make a camp."
Seeing his question fall on deaf ears since Lathir is settling down to rest and meditate. Sylvar decides to do the same. He finds a spot on a tree branch and dozes off with a smile. Respen's Raiders may be outnumbered but he has a few tricks up his sleeve.
Lathir looks over at the bard.
"I thought you might have simply been thinking aloud. I will need the night's rest and the morning's meditation to be able to conjure such a possibility, but personally I would prefer not to risk such wonton destruction to the countryside, but if it becomes necessary against this adversary, I would consider it."
According to the RAW (Rules as Written) under Listen skill (PHB, pp. 78-79):
DC To Hear People Talking: 0(Easy) DC To Hear The Sounds of a Battle: -10(Extremely Easy)
Penalty for being asleep: -10
The sound of the Axe shouting would NOT be as loud as the din of battle, but it WOULD be louder than people talking.
OTTER RULE: DC To Hear Someone "Raising The Alarm Cry": -5 (Very Easy)
Thus, in order for the axe's yelling to wake up a given party member, they need to roll a listen check, Adjusted DC 5.
So, if your Wisdom score is 10 or 11 (no bonus) and you don't have ranks in the Listen skill, the axe's yelling wakes you up on 5-20 on 1d20. (80% of the time.) Thus, you have a 20% chance to fail.
If you have the Listen skill, and your total check is +4 or better, YOU CANNOT FAIL TO WAKE UP when the axe starts yelling.
Keep in mind that you would still need to roll initiative at that point, and that you would still need to spend a move action (on your turn) to stand up.
Some things to consider:
Things that foil normal vision (such as Invisibility) will foil Val's Darkvision.
Things that foil Blindsense (such as Etherealness) will foil Val's Blindsense.
Things that foil Hearing (such as Silence) will foil Val's Hearing. Most things that are ethereal (such as Ghosts) are also silent and invisible. (Of course, since the Axe detects ALL undead as its special power, Ghosts would still be detected. But a Wizard using Ethereal Jaunt would NOT be.)
Since ALL of Val's detection abilities are magical in nature, the Nondetection spell will foil all of them.
In conclusion, Val should be able to detect most threats using Blindsense, because very few creatures have the ability to become ethereal, or enjoy the protection of a Nondetection spell.
However, the biggest two threats to Val's ability to detect are Etherealness and Nondetection. Creatures employing either of these methods will get the jump on Val every time.
"Friend Sylvar, if you'd like, I could wrap some oil soaked strips of cloth about my arrows and shoot at the palisades and roofs. If successful, I think it would cause the confusion you desire to defeat these monstrous creatures."
[MENTION=74522]tam[/MENTION] Tam Thats a good idea, if we can somehow sneak in and tie up the entrances to keep everyone in the buildings then set fire to them we could possible kill or hurt many of the enemy.
Kleborn lays down, but can't help but chuckle at the thought of those abominations burning in their mighty fortress. He says, "These are good thoughts, perhaps we should rest first and discuss more when we are fully rested."
Thallok Looks down around the fortress attempting looking for any sign of movement below.
It's hard to see over the palisade, the walls are simply too close in height to the roofs of the various structures. But after several moments of careful observation, Thallok can see that at the West end of the entryway structure, which is on the South side of the fortress (away from him, since Thallok is on the overlook, which is to the North) there is a watch-tower that rises above the rest of the fortress, and there is a single, Hill Giant guard, who appears to be leaning on his longbow, asleep!
Here is how the fortress is situated within the canyon; the red line traces the trail of the switchback. Brown areas are muddy clay, sparsely populated with pine and oak trees. Green areas are damp, heavily forested, mostly with pine trees, and littered with pine needles, which is easier traveling than the muddy clay. Take note of the scale of this map. The "F" represents the Giant Fortress, and the area marked "Orcs" is where this visiting Orc army is camped, their tents spread out all over the ravine floor. The red "X" represents the party's position on the overlook.
On the second map, the "T" shows the angle from which Thallok is viewing. The party notices that the muddy road which ran along the ravine floor runs right up through the Orc encampment, up to the fortress gates themselves. There are no guards visible OUTSIDE the gates, but you can't be certain about the INSIDE.
Confident that Val is keeping a tight watch on the night, the party lays down to a fitful and well deserved slumber. Resting away the days tension, and allowing the magic that permeates their bones to replenish itself. They all sleep with happy visions of their mothers knitting in front of a homey fire, while Trolls, Ogres and Orcs burn to a cinder outside in the darkness.
Lathir, also comfortable with the overly-talkative, narcissistic axe keeping first, last, and all watches, lays down to rest. He dreams that he is a mighty lion who has found itself in a wooded area. Smelling the stench of a giant-kin oaf, he stalks his prey through the wood. He launches himself at the terrified ogre, crushing its ugly mug with his mighty maw.
In the morning, Lathir wakes, feeling refreshed and in good spirits. He walks away from the campsite some and removes his hat, placing it gently upon the ground as he faces northward. Taking his halfspear in hand, he moves in a slow dance-like pattern that seem something of ritual and something of kata, before placing it, too, upon the ground, facing the head toward the East.
Lathir then kneels in a servile warrior position, facing north. He stays in this position for some time communing with nature. Once this is complete, he stands, retrieves his spear and his hat, placing the hat back upon his head. The lean muscular image of the young druid is replaced with a slightly softer less imposing visage.
The party will rest for 8 hours.
Chance for encounters during the night has been rolled.
11 PM - 2 AM = None 2 AM - 3 AM = None
3 AM - 5 AM = None 5 AM - 6 AM = None
6 AM - 8 AM = None
8 AM - 10 AM = None
There are no encounters.
Please note that 2-3 AM and 5-6 AM are "Prime Time" for morning forest encounters. At these times, nocturnal creatures are MOST active.
[sblock=Explanation of Resting / Regaining Spells for All Classes.]
The party sleeps soundly, from about 11:45 PM (after everyone has settled in, and drifted off to sleep) to a wake-up time of 7:45 AM. (A full 8 hours of sleep.)
By the time 8:45 AM rolls around, everyone has studied and prayed, and has their full spell list.
By the time 9:30 AM rolls around, the party has finished eating breakfast, having "bathroom" breaks, washing up, etc.
At 9:40 AM, On Patchwall 17, CY 963, the party notices a patrol of 10 Ogres and 6 Orcs leave the fort, headed South, toward the direction that the ambush occurred, probably because the other patrol was due back to the fort by now.
~ Hopefully the weather will assist the trees in providing cover. And no spiders. Grrr. Hate spiders. ~
Vale wakes, and takes a swig of wine from his wineskin and a drink of water from his water skin. He fishes some iron rations and eats his morning meal. He rubs his foot, and proceeds to pray, quietly asking for guidance, drinking deeply of newfound spellcasting abilities.
replenishes abilities and spells
He spends a few moments with a soft rag polishing Val, careful to avoid the mithral blade's nearly preternatural sharpness.
"Val, thank you for granting us the cover you did. Hopefully, our good fortune will hold out, no?"
He greets his comrades warmly in the crisp Patchwall air. He puts his chain shirt back on instead of the elven chainmail, opting to roll it up again and place into his haversack, and he checks his gear, especially his newly appropriated elven composite bow. "Elf, your people make excellent weapons. The workmanship of this splendid bit brings tears to my eyes."
Upon seeing the patrol leave the garrison, Vale quietly nudges Lathir, "You want to try a similar approach as yesterday? We are going to lose our surprise when they come back. It will take some three or four hours before they find them, and the same on the return trip. Either way, we are going to have to deal with them. This is the urgent before the important. I think instead of burning, at least at first (he winks at Tam Tam & Sylvar), we should do some additional observation. I'm itching to try out a new spell to burrow down this hill and then all the way to and under the fort. After all, a dwarf understands that which is underground. Might as well take some of their stuff and listen in to their plans."
Vale quickly gathers his armor, backpack, and weapons, picking up a giant's javelin, and begins moving down the trail toward the switchback.
"We'll be behind them a ways. All the better. Lathir, let's create a trap or two."
Tam-Tam is eager to get these baddies and burn 'em up, if need be. He is probably very irritating in his inquiries about a plan of action. "Friend Sylvar, surely you can make me invisible long enough for me to set the accelerants. Then I can shoot off some flaming arrows and sit back and watch the show." Tam-Tam's suggestion seems too eager; but, when his rashness kicks in, he can rarely be stopped.