Kulan: Knightfall's Aerie of the Crow God Game [IC]

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
After introducing himself to the stranger, Caerth mostly ignores him. Instead, he takes his horse and those of the others and secures their reigns to a tree so that they can feast on the grass and leaves nearby.
It takes a bit of time for the horses to settle. They are uncomfortable being back where the battle took place.

Once everyone is seated around, he distributes what little food he has.
"I am sent here to investigate rumors of instability in this area. Looking for clues, you might say. Maybe get to know people of the region, to feel what they're thinking of life, universe and everything."
"To say that there has been instability is a bit of an understatement," Aureus notes as she takes a seat around the fire. "We've faced a lot of evil in the last few months."

Maur focuses his attention at their host, lenses on his eyes flashing behind the goggles for barest of moments.
"My apologies, Litrix Maekrix." grumbles Maur sliding from his horse in a clatter of armor
"We had a bad experience here, I was...unneccessarily hostile. Maur Deepdelver." He takes the offered seat, considering the man in front of him.
"You might have trouble gong further east. There were hard times for the folk there. Suspicious of strangers. Cultists caused some trouble, which we resolved. Except one or two of them. You might consider that an instability. If you meet duergar wizard posing as a smith named Xander, feel free to kill it with extreme prejudice. He is a wanted murderer and semi-willing servant of death-cult I mentioned."
Aureus looks at Maur quizzically when the dwarf mentions Xander. Does her new friend think that the duergar has survived somehow? Or that Xander will return from the dead? She ponders the idea and shudders. "Let's hope Xander is no longer a threat," she mumbles towards the fire, as she pulls out some of their own food that Ivoron gave to them. She passes around some crusty bread and a bag of sweet nuts.

Angus nods and says, "Aye, and in my experience, the best way to get to know someone is to figure out what they believe (or profess to believe) in, and what they are willing to die for. So perhaps, if my compatriots agree, you'd like to join us on our manhunt for Eike...? "
"I have no objections to adding another blade for when we face Eike," Phar agrees. "Now, he could be as dangerous as Tarrak was, if he has truly been corrupted by his goddess."

JustinCase said:
Confident in his group's ability to take Litrix out in a fight if it would come to that, the half-orc druid does not take any overt precautions. Instead, he gathers some berries, roots and the rare mushroom from the surroundings and places them all on a plate near the fire, free for all to eat.

He himself merely takes a small branch holding a few berries, and sits himself down to chew on them while listening to the others' conversations.
Aureus looks to Caerth to see what the half-orc druid thinks.

The host looks at Angus, focusing the eyes and tilting the head like a bird of prey.
"And what...or who...is this Eike? Why would I join your manhunt if I have my own mission? I admit, I was brought here by a prophetic dream, but you weren't in it. Just a big bad god-demon."
"What did your demon look like in your dream?" Aureus asks. "Did it look like a crow? If so, that would be Malotoch. That's is Eike's demon goddess. Or, maybe even..."

Aureus hesitates to say Vok's name in the place where the demon lord manifested.

MetaVoid said:
He nods at the rest of the group as the introduction are made. And to Maur specifically
"I am used to suspicion, it's not like I'm inconspicuous. You mentioned demons here, just as in my dream. Can I hear the story?"
He sits down after at least someone took his invitation, leaving the shield next to him on the ground and revealing ornate sword pommel at his hip. As he moves, strange scale he wears doesn't ring like metal, but produces dry, rustling sound, a susurrus like sliding dry wood panels.
"I'll do my best," Aureus replies. "I'm still learning to spin tales..."

MetaVoid said:
"Please, help yourself with what I have. It is not much, but it will keep the energy up."
Aureus waits until everyone is seated around the fire and has had a bit to eat. Quinn is the last to take a seat. Cruel Justice and Qi have remained silent all this time. The divine bard starts at the beginning of her own journey to Carnell alongside Phar. She tells Litrix of the village, its people, and the quest for Lord Pendour's body and the key alongside Caerth, Lorien and Phar. She delves into the cultists' lair and the fight through Gurnard's Head on the Sea Isle and meeting both Maur and Angus.

She mentions the star Arms but doesn't give away their powers or Cruel Justice and Qi's intelligence or their ability to speak.

She gives a rousing account of the battle in the cave against Tarrak and his undead army and of the tragic tale of Galzadar the Fallen and his return from corruption through the ritual that saved his soul. She also goes into the tragic loss of Lady Pendour's nephew, Brutus Wruck, at the hands of Eike, and the group's current mission to retrieve the dead half-ogre lad's signet ring, so it can be buried with him.

She pauses for effect before telling the ambush planned by a corrupted Xander and the manifestations of both Vok and Druaga. "Here, under the Pillar of Songs, we fought against a great evil and it could have overwhelmed us. Almost all of the villagers were consumed by Druaga. Those few we were able to save, we took with us to an inn west of here."

She ends with telling of the inn and meeting both Ivoron and Old Mazz. She doesn't mention Caerth's newly discovered 'blood' father or the details of Maur's commune with the dwarf gods. She leaves that up to them to share, if they so choose.

"And now, we are hunting Eike again. To bring him to justice and retrieve Brutus's ring for Lady Pendour."
 

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Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
"Well, Xander, duergar in general, is like a cockroach, hard to get rid of."
Maur smiles
"But yes, we're hunting one of the cultists that got enhanced by a demon and maybe a divinity. This is more of a prevention thing, we're actually talking about informing various rulers and the dragons about this new development. But this side-trip will resolve immediate threat and bring justice to a murderer."
 

MetaVoid

Adventurer
"I did not see the demon itself," Litrix says after he heard the stories.
"it was simply the knowledge that a demon is present. But something dark and dangerous beside it. Meeting you here with more details about the event...I think...I think we're meant to meet. I can help you with this murderer and I'm more than willing to hear more about this story. Instability indeed with dark gods, dark cults, and demons. What is going on in this region?"
He thinks for a moment
"I am trained as a military commander, I am used to shouting orders on the battlefield. Please, don't take it personally, I'm not trying to run you as a military unit. But respect my experience of small unit tactics and think when you hear my commands. More often than not, you'll feel it is right. I can push you hard, but the rewards of proper positioning are significant. I also have basic arcane training and I can help with things that usually resist spells...so if you have casters, let me know when something resists your spells and I'll try to interfere with their resistance."

OOC:
In other words:
you get +6 bonus to damage when flanking (DEFAULT) OR you get +6 bonus to overcome spell resistance
you get +1 circumstance bonus to attack rolls at all times
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Caerth studies Litrix as he responds to Aureus' tale, and his eyes narrow as he sees the strange scale-like pattern on the man's skin. The druid searches his memories for afflictions on animals known to cause these scales on otherwise non-scaled creatures, but he cannot think of any. An uncomfortable feeling that it may be the result of demonic influence darkens the half-orc's features for a moment, but no, his gut does not warn him of unnatural evil like it did with their recent encounters.

Still, Caerth is wary.

"Where'd you get those?" he asks quietly, his eyes flicking from the dragonblooded human's scaly skin back to his eyes.
 

MetaVoid

Adventurer
Still, Caerth is wary.

"Where'd you get those?" he asks quietly, his eyes flicking from the dragonblooded human's scaly skin back to his eyes.

Litrix nods at the druid
"Fair question." Litrix stands up, leaving the shield on the ground and spreading his hands turning around for all to see the scales clearly.
"The scales are my legacy, both my pride and my sorrow. The first comes from the lineage that is the source of it. The second from close-mindedness of people that see these as some kind of evil influence. Blue Majestic can be found in my ancestral tree and these manifested early in my life. Not the armor part, that came later, but minor stuff. At some point in my career the scales were used to oust me from the ranks of the military and nobility in my area. And yet, that same trouble helped me embrace my heritage fully. As I said, I am on a mission. That mission, my organization, serves the dragons. The fact that they don't personally interfere, doesn't mean they are unaware of the events nor they want them to escalate to the point where they even need to consider getting involved. Thus, lesser servants, humanoids, kobolds, even animals are used to handle every day things. This...this requires a bit less indirect touch. So, one of The Blood is sent to check things." He gestures vaguely around the area.
That last part carries also unmistakable pride. Even if he just counted himself among 'lessers' just a sentence ago.

He focuses his cats (dragons?) eyes back onto Caerth.
"Hopefully, that answers your questions. This armor...it is my skin. And it provides me with resistances of my draconic forebears. But my strength is my conviction and tactical, military knowledge, I am stronger with the group than I am alone and the group is stronger with me."
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Caerth nods, appreciating the honesty.

"Thank you," he says sincerely, his companions knowing how much the half-orc despises dishonesty and lies.

"So you have ties to the Majestic dragons? One of our goals is to approach one or several of them, to seek their help against the evils of demons. Sounds like they found us first."

A very rare smile crosses the druid's face, and he offers the plate of food to Litrix as a symbolic gesture of companionship.
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
"Well, Xander, duergar in general, is like a cockroach, hard to get rid of."
Maur smiles
Aureus nods. "Let's hope he doesn't come back as something even worst than what Malotoch turned him into at the end."

Neurotic said:
"But yes, we're hunting one of the cultists that got enhanced by a demon and maybe a divinity. This is more of a prevention thing, we're actually talking about informing various rulers and the dragons about this new development. But this side-trip will resolve immediate threat and bring justice to a murderer."
"And we need to get going soon," Aureus notes. "We don't want to lose the day."

"I did not see the demon itself," Litrix says after he heard the stories.
"it was simply the knowledge that a demon is present. But something dark and dangerous beside it. Meeting you here with more details about the event...I think...I think we're meant to meet. I can help you with this murderer and I'm more than willing to hear more about this story. Instability indeed with dark gods, dark cults, and demons. What is going on in this region?"
"We are glad to have you join us," Phar says while nibbling on some berries. "be warned that the danger we're going to face is likely unknown. Even if Eike is alone, we were able to discover that he has been transformed into a demonic creature."

Aureus seems lost in thought for a moment as Qi talks to her telepathically. She looks skyward and nods. "We shouldn't assume he is alone."

Phar looks at Aureus quizzically. "If she has-"

"Let's not worry about that right now."

MetaVoid said:
He thinks for a moment
"I am trained as a military commander, I am used to shouting orders on the battlefield. Please, don't take it personally, I'm not trying to run you as a military unit. But respect my experience of small unit tactics and think when you hear my commands. More often than not, you'll feel it is right. I can push you hard, but the rewards of proper positioning are significant. I also have basic arcane training and I can help with things that usually resist spells...so if you have casters, let me know when something resists your spells and I'll try to interfere with their resistance."
"A little bit of structure might be good," Aureus replies. "During our battle in the cave against Tarrak, things got very... chaotic."

Quinn nods as he chews a piece of bread.

"The villagers did the best they could with the guidance we provided. Most of them were not trained soldiers," Phar reminds his friend. The paragon elf wizard looks to Litrix. "We welcome you into our group, Litrix Maekrix." Phar says to the warrior with a smile. He manages to speak Litrix's name perfectly, as a student of magic and Draconic, with the right inflections.

Caerth studies Litrix as he responds to Aureus' tale, and his eyes narrow as he sees the strange scale-like pattern on the man's skin. The druid searches his memories for afflictions on animals known to cause these scales on otherwise non-scaled creatures, but he cannot think of any. An uncomfortable feeling that it may be the result of demonic influence darkens the half-orc's features for a moment, but no, his gut does not warn him of unnatural evil like it did with their recent encounters.
Caerth feels that Litrix's heritage is likely a complex one. He is obviously dragonblooded, although he's probably closer to human than to a true dragonborn. The merging of bloodlines is hardly a rare thing, as the half-orc druid well knows. Still, it is unusual for a dragonblooded to walk so openly in the Strandlands. It's not that the people are intolerant. It's more that people in the Strandlands can be too curious and pester newcomers or visitors with questions that can sometimes be emotionally painful to answer.

Litrix's honesty about his lineage is quite refreshing. Perhaps it is a trait of the blues. Caerth knows that most blue dragons, well, those that follow the Balance, tend towards lawfulness as well as neutrality

 

MetaVoid

Adventurer
"Thank you, I will accompany you for at least that mission. You can tell me more about demons and dark cults and their gods on the way."
Litrix finishes his meal
"I was here only because of a dream. Now I have something definite to go on even if I don't see how it relates to the original task. And besides, we may yet return to Carnel at some point, right?"
He waits until other finish before standing up and readying his horse.
"Let's move out then. What is the plan for catching this Eike?"
 

Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.
"Welcome then. Let's go, we still have a way to go."
Maur gets up and starts readying the monster used for transportation in these open lands.
"Caerth, let me know when we're close enough that a flyer can get to that demonic temple and back in an hour or so."
He slaps (lightly) the horse that bit his metal glove. "Why does this thing try to eat me? I'm not edible encased in metal?!"
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
"Thank you, I will accompany you for at least that mission. You can tell me more about demons and dark cults and their gods on the way."
Litrix finishes his meal
"I was here only because of a dream. Now I have something definite to go on even if I don't see how it relates to the original task. And besides, we may yet return to Carnel at some point, right?"
"If we find Brutus's ring... if Eike has it, we will be taking it back to Lady Pendour," Aureus replies. "We made her that promise. Plus, we have to find out what has happened to Lord Pendour's body."

Quinn nods in agreement.

Phar looks at Litrix. "His body was stolen from the family's crypt. We originally thought that Eike and Xander stole the body, but I believe that Caerth has ruled that out. The initial tracks we followed didn't have the right... weight to them." The paragon elf looks to Caerth.

"It could be that the demons have other agents in the region who might have stolen the body," Aureus adds. "But, we'll figure it out once we get back to Carnell." The hutaakan gathers up her gear and mounts her horse.

"Welcome then. Let's go, we still have a way to go."
Maur gets up and starts readying the monster used for transportation in these open lands.
MetaVoid said:
He waits until other finish before standing up and readying his horse.
"Let's move out then. What is the plan for catching this Eike?"
The group, now including Litrix, mounts up and is soon heading down the northeastern trail through the hilly heath to the lowland plains to the spot where he had initially tracked both Eike and Xander too before their trails split. Caerth goes over the ground once again. Finding the trail is more difficult due to time some light rain, but he soon picks up the trail in some tall grasses where the horse Eike stole churned up the earth.

The group is soon moving southeast into harsh rocky desert that is treacherous to lead the horses through. This slows the pace and the day soon grows long. There is an eeriness to the desert. A sense of menace. You feel as if eyes are on you from the moment that the sun begins to dip in the sky.

"I don't like this at all," Aureus whispers.

Caerth motions for the group to stop. He gets off his horse and searches the ground once again. It takes him ten minutes to be sure, then he point south towards some distant hills rising out of the desert. The group is soon moving again as dusk approaches.

"It might be best to wait until morning," Phar suggest. "I don't think we want to be traveling here at night."

"There is wickedness in these lands," Qi whispers. "Be careful."

The magical weapon's sudden speech surprises Litrix... slightly.

Looking towards the hills, you can tell that there is something quite unnatural about them. A shimmering haze seems to rise from them and nature quickly becomes distorted. The ground becomes dark and pockmarked with sinkholes and deep cracks. The way becomes increasingly slow and soon the group is forced to dismount and leads the horses through the growing darkness.

An old dried up oasis comes into view. The trees round it are husks that look like they've had the life sucked out of them. The oasis has no clean water. Instead, the ground is dried and cracked. There is the smell of brimstone.

Caerth can tell that the group is only an hour away from where the hills rise up from the desert. The ground becomes hard to track through, as nature falls away into death and decay. The unnatural nature of these lands makes his skin crawl. Yet, he's fairly certain the group must head up into those hills.

The temperature quickly dips as the sun sets and a cold breeze begins to chill your bones. Then, something howls in the night. While it isn't close, it is unnerving.

The lack of light blinds Quinn in the darkness, as Kulan's twin moons are obscured by heavy clouds.

Qi is soon in Aureus's hand and she holds it up. Light breaks through the darkness at the intelligent baton glows like a blue torch. Quinn follows suit with Cruel Justice and the intelligent scimitar's pale white light adds to the glow as it mixes with Qi's own magical radiance.

"We need to be careful," Aureus suggests. She looks at the expression on Litrix's face and grins. "Don't worry. Qi's nice. And she already likes you."

The thing in the night howls again and this time it sounds closer.

"If that's Eike, then he's coming to us." Phar says as he clutches at his spell component pouch.

OOC:
@JustinCase, at this point, make both a Knowledge (Nature) check, to get a sense of the environment, and a Survival check (to continue tracking Eike).

If anyone else want to roll some checks at this point, go ahead.
- - -
Aureus - Listen and Spot checks:
1D20+11 = [15]+11 = 26 (Listen)
1D20+11 = [20]+11 = 31 (Spot)

With a natural 20 on her Spot check, Aureus's check becomes a 41. I will post results for her checks later (likely tomorrow).
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
While everyone hears the howling, it is Aureus who sees the figures in the darkness before anyone else. Her keen eyes pick up half a dozen shapes moving across the broken desert. The creatures are large and resemble wolves but with fur that is torn away along their deformed bodies. The creatures' flesh is sickly gray where the fur is torn away. Their eyes glow starkly white in the darkness.

"It's not Eike. There are six of them," Aureus shouts as she readies her bow. "Some sort of undead wolves!"

The howling become guttural snarling, as the undead wolves move quickly in the darkness to try to surround the group.

OOC: Roll initiative. I'll whip up a quick battle map later on today.
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
"Undead dire wolves," Caerth corrects, as he calmly grabs his dark longbow and an arrow.

For only a moment, the half-orc holds still to aim his shot, then he lets go of the string. The handcrafted arrow flies straight at the creature, burying itself in its flank.

"Don't get yourself alone and surrounded," he warns the others who may not know about dire wolves, and the druid moves closer to his allies to give the right example.

OOC: Attacking the wolf furthest to the right on the map (AC7-AD8), adding a +1 morale bonus to attack from Litrix:
1D20+12+1 = [17]+12+1 = 30
for 1D8+5 = [5]+5 = 10 piercing damage

Then move one square to the south (T17), like below.

Desert ambush.png
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
"Undead dire wolves," Caerth corrects, as he calmly grabs his dark longbow and an arrow.

For only a moment, the half-orc holds still to aim his shot, then he lets go of the string. The handcrafted arrow flies straight at the creature, burying itself in its flank.
The undead creature barely seems to flinch from the arrow, but it does lock its glowing eyes onto the half-orc druid. It lets out a guttural wolf howl and the other undead dire wolves respond.

JustinCase said:
"Don't get yourself alone and surrounded," he warns the others who may not know about dire wolves, and the druid moves closer to his allies to give the right example.
"Right, Be right there," Aureus says as fires an arrow the dire ghoul wolf closest to her. The arrow easily finds its mark. The hutaakan woman moves, back towards Litrix and Angus, carefully across the dry mud, which crunches under her feet.

Phar steps quickly back towards Angus and begins to cast . "Let's try to even the odds," the paragon elf says, as he begins a summoning.

OOC:
Aureus: 1D20+15+1 = [10]+15+1 = 26 (hit)
Aureus - Damage: 1D8+3 = [4]+3 = 7
- - -
Phar: 5 ft. step, begins casting summon monster III: celestial black bear. Full-round action. Bear will appear next to Phar and Quinn next round.
 

Knightfall

World of Kulan DM
While the undead creatures quickly move in to try to surround you all, the terrain slows their movements enough to keep them from being able to attack. Two of the dire ghoul wolves manage to reach both Caerth and Maur, as they move unnatural quick across the rocky desert. Two others nearly reach Litrix and Aureus.

"These things move fast!" Aureus shouts, as the undead dire wolf closest to her growls with slavering jaws and dead cold eyes.

OOC: Dire ghoul wolves all double move.

See the OOC thread for the updated map.
 

Neurotic

I plan on living forever. Or die trying.

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