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  #106  
Old Mar 27th, 2020, 03:31 PM
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Arquiztex was intently focused on Mercy’s pocket at the moment the urbane cleric recoiled in disgust and cast the cockroach away from herself and into the air. Following the arc of the bug’s trajectory and intuitively calculating adjustments from gravity’s pull toward the desk table as well as the cockroach’s naďve spreading of its wings to chart its own fate, Dex check=22Arquiztex flicked out her tongue, intercepted the cockroach and coiled it back into her maws.

Delicious! After an eye-closing swallow (a true, satisfying reaction—no badly feigned wink this time), Arquiztex regarded Mercy’s pocket with hope.

No, no promising wiggles yet … but if Smelly can create illuminations and trail snacks, well there might be even more treats and pleasant surprises to come! She is definitely someone worth protecting. I might even share some moisturizing muds with her when we next make camp!

Savoring the lingering taste of the roach, Arquiztex began to reflect on the task at claw and on three crucial elements: lairs, bowels and defecation.

Initially, Arquiztex thought this monster hunt would be an enjoyable romp. If the small humans weren’t evil, then perhaps a snake or a small goblin had scared them off, and the party could easily vanquish this “monster.” It couldn’t be too big of a monster if the larger humans who lived in the house hadn’t taken the sword and shield from the entryway in order to combat it. Plus … if it was a big monster, one large enough to eat a baby and kill two large humans, then surely it would be turning one of the areas of this above-ground cave into a lair. All predators that Arquiztex knew had lairs or nests, and all lairs and nests gave off strong smells when you approached them. But there wasn’t a strong smell, or there was, but it was of some sickly sweet, disgusting city smell—nothing that suggested life, death and the hunt. At first, Arquiztex thought it was possible that these magic doors were blocking smells, but those nauseating smells carried through the doors, so why wouldn’t a creature’s smells carry through as well?

Then there were the wolves-not-wolves, the ones downstairs and up here. Arquiztex knew they were not creatures of flesh and bone, but when she disassembled the one upstairs she was instinctively struck by the absence of flesh, bone and bowels. All of these were important to the Rak’ta—the flesh and bone to assemble, and the bowels to cut away and study for clues of a creature’s habits and the locations of its lair and kin. And for the first time, Arquiztex began realizing the implications of facing off against a monster more formidable than she anticipated, a monster not of flesh and bone and bowels.

And then, to bolster that thought, there was the evidence of defecation (or, more precisely, the lack of it). Like most Rak’ta, Arquiztex was a scholar of scat. The animal droppings floating in the marsh waters or scattered around the marshlands were a vital census of the numbers and the health levels of the living prey populations around the Rak’ta. Scat was also a way for the Rak’ta to track the populations of humanoids who had passed through their lands. Before she had even saw a halfing or a half-orc, Arquiztex could identify these creatures by the piles (sometimes covered, sometimes not) of poo they left behind. You could assess not only a party’s composition, but also a party’s numbers and even their fighting condition if you sifted through their poo. This is something known to all Rak’ta, even to the young. Like many interesting things in life, it was easily learned and never fully mastered. Arquiztex had continued studying defecation throughout her life. Looking through the privies had, it was true, probably been the reason that she was exiled from Daggerford (though when it came to lizardfolk entering and lowering their head into a Daggerford privy, it was probably also a case of the wrong race, wrong place and never a right time), but Arquiztex was overjoyed during the first night of joining up with this party that she would finally have extended opportunity to study the differences between human and half-elf poo (this was always a tricky distinction; human and half-orc differences were easier to spot, but depending on the half-elf, there could be only subtle differences between their poo and a human’s poo, particularly if they were traveling together and eating many of the same items. Arquiztex was also interested in how the heavily armored humans allowed themselves to defecate, because surely the armor was a bulky encumbrance to this? So far, she had been very impressed (and slightly concerned) by the ability of her fellow members to refrain from defecating. (Arquiztex, wise hunter that she was, had relieved herself outside while standing with the children—but she was fairly sure she was the only one to take advantage of that moment.) There was so much to learn! Truly, this was a golden opportunity in Rak’ta scatology). But … back to how defecation affected this hunt. It was simple, really. Monsters were creatures and creatures usually had a flight and fight response to danger. And both responses usually involved preliminary defecation … a defecation that Arquiztex, for all her heightened senses, could not detect.

If there is a monster … then it is truly an interesting and unusual one, Arquiztex thinks as she pulls out her silver dagger and creeps toward the stairs in the wake of Thane. The hunt had changed. Even though she was surrounded by capable comrades, Arcana check = 14Arquiztex foresaw danger.



 


 

Last edited by bananabadger; Mar 27th, 2020 at 06:58 PM. Reason: had incorrectly placed Rolen on stairs
  #107  
Old Mar 27th, 2020, 06:27 PM
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Rolen
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It was the yelp that caught the wood elf's immediate attention upon breaching the rather large room. At first glance, He didn't see much besides some nice furnishings and stained glass along with a large harp and a harpsichord. Motion near the ceiling alerted the ranger but it was only the chandelier swaying from the rude intrusion on it's lonesome vigil over the stately room.

But that yelp and then a whine, something living made those noises. Not a monster, at least not one to be feared. The wood elf quickly but carefully circled the room perception check: 7 investigation: 19 or nature:15looking for any signs of whatever made the frightened noises making sure to check in the fireplace as well. That definitely was no monster, this whole place is looking too neat to be harboring a foul beast. No broken doors or windows, no claw marked floors or walls and the eerie stillness about everything. Just what is going on here? Rolen tightened his grip on the spear as he searched. when finished he will join the other hunters on the staircase.


Actions
  • search the conservatory for whatever yelped and whined
  • ready spear for possible attack of opportunity


 
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  #108  
Old Mar 27th, 2020, 08:44 PM
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Liiare
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Also, hearing the yelp, Liiare Nature 4 and Religion 4did not recognize the sound but got to work Perception 18 and Investigation 10looking about the room for its possible source.


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  #109  
Old Mar 28th, 2020, 09:21 AM
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Action
Move: Enter the music room
Action: Investigation vs source of sound (12), Nature vs identify creature (13)
Extra Attack:
Bonus:
Free Action:
Reaction: Ready Action: if something lunges out Sylvi will make an opportunity attack should it move within 10ft of her (Pole Arm Mastery).
Current Effect:

 
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Last edited by DaniLore; Jan 13th, 2021 at 11:57 PM.
  #110  
Old Mar 28th, 2020, 12:20 PM
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As the cockroach does its doomed flight, you notice that it is crusted with powdered sugar--this is the true form of the crystallized violet Mercy put in her pocket. And while the illusion is gone, the charm is not; Arquiztex please make a Wisdom save.

The key is simply a large key such as might fit the locks on the interior doors of this house.

When Mercy pulls on the red book, the one with no markings, it doesn't slide out all the way. Apparently the book is actually a lever that activates a secret door, which has just popped open, and is now popping back toward the shut position. It looks like there are more bookshelves in there, and a chest, and somebody on the floor.

So it's not the red book she aims at the roach, but the one her other hand was balancing against. In any case, the roach never made it to the desk, but her compact spins a bit and settles on its surface.

Meanwhile, in the conservatory, the searchers note that the alabaster dancers on the mantelpiece are actually skeletons. Underneath the harpsichord they find an almost-skeleton: a starving black and white border collie with a red collar. The terrified dog cowers at the back of the instrument, staying as far as it can from these intruders in its unlikely refuge.
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Last edited by Exfilia; Mar 28th, 2020 at 12:22 PM.
  #111  
Old Mar 28th, 2020, 01:11 PM
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Mercy Petreva, Human Light Cleric
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When the bookshelf opens, Mercy is completely delighted. She takes a quick gander in the room behind the wall, not fully realizing the mechanism she was operating. Before the door can shut again, she does put it together that she wasn't able to get the book out of the shelf, and connects it to the secret. So she gives it another tug, and in doing so operates the book lever again.

"Dr. Wens, Dr. Wens!" she calls excitedly. "Check out this room I found. I think there is someone in there, on the floor! "

If she's able to see what we see on the map, and it looks like the someone in there is totally long dead and maybe a disgusting rotted skeleton, she will not rush in, but will hold the book lever as if that is a really important job, and gesture that the Dr. should go first. If he does go, she will follow him in, and use her action to help his investigation.

"My friend," she calls to the hungry lizard. "Don't let this door shut behind us! Please!"

ActionMove into the secret room behind Wens and assist him by using the help action.

Last edited by lostcheerio; Mar 28th, 2020 at 01:12 PM.
  #112  
Old Mar 28th, 2020, 02:18 PM
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Herr Doctor Johanne Peoter Wens
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Having determined that the key had no special essence itself, Herr Doctor Wens was just slipping the key and chain into his pocket for later use when Mercy found the secret room and called out to him.

"Ser gut!," he said, "Well, well, well..." If anyone were looking at him, they might have seen devious lust in his face as he spied the secret books. "Come, let us investigate!," he said.

Noting Mercy's sensible concern for being locked in, especially considering the skeleton therein, he selected a large collection of courtly romance, or some such drivel, and leaned it against the doorjamb that the bookshelf-door might not close fully behind them. Entering the room, he quickly scanned the books to see what sort in general they might be – he was guessing magic! – and began to Medicine 8 -- With Advantage! Universe payback for those Nat 20s on the way ...carefully investigate the skeleton with Mercy's help as to cause of death.

"Be cautious of the chest, Novice Petreva," he said, "Practitioners will sometimes boobytrap their most precious assets. That may be how this one perished."


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Last edited by Oakie; Mar 28th, 2020 at 06:51 PM.
  #113  
Old Mar 28th, 2020, 05:20 PM
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Rolen
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When the group passed the fireplace Rolen noticed the dancing figures were skeletons and found the macabre scene an apt representation of the delicate cycle of life and death, an ever-turning dance from birth to death and over again changing partners but never pattern. Well almost never, undead pervert the beautiful circle by lingering in their unlife. He was ruminating over the fine intricacies of the natural order when they found the dog. A poor frightened creature shivering on the cusp between worlds.

The wood elf felt great sympathy for this intelligent beast, and a burning anger that it was locked away and starving. Surely it would've been better off on it's own than sealed up in this sparse room. Maybe the real monsters are the ones who did this... the ranger thought as he slowly doffed his backpack and removed his mess kit. He then poured some water into a bowl, squatted down and tried to Animal handling: 16coax the terrified dog out from under the harpsichord. "It's OK little one, we mean you no harm. Come out and have a drink and some food." Rolen pinched off a small bit from a trail ration to offer the starving dog.

Rolen turned to his companions "There is more wrong here than an alleged monster, who could do such a thing to a noble creature like this." He shook his head and looked back at the poor animal "Maybe after we slay the monster we liberate this one as well."


Actions
  • stoops down to offer food and water top the starving dog


 
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  #114  
Old Mar 28th, 2020, 06:48 PM
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Sixteen is more than enough, especially with food. The dog gobbles the trail ration, slurps up the water and fawns all over Rolen. On the collar is a brass plate that says "Lancelot."
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  #115  
Old Mar 28th, 2020, 06:55 PM
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Liiare looked at the dog with some level of suspicion, it seemed strange that her companions were so quick to trust the creature. She studied the creature, trying to Insight 18sense it’s motives or if it perhaps was of a more Religion 8sinister nature than it appeared.


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  #116  
Old Mar 28th, 2020, 07:01 PM
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zilgim
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zilgim walks up to the now appeased dog and begins to slowly bring his hand to the dog's head slowly coming closer sharing his scent with the puppy. "I am... a friend... my pack.... is here to help. I have... heard of... dangers bellow... Do you know how to get down there?" He continues to rub and share his scent with the puppy.
actionsspeak with small beasts.


  #117  
Old Mar 29th, 2020, 09:19 AM
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Thane, Wood Elf Rogue
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Thane heard commotions from each of the rooms behind him. Still so far, the Wood Elf had not been witness to the more questionable elements of this house, though there were several of them. Perhaps the lizard was attacking inanimate objects again. Maybe people were letting their imaginations get the better of them. Maybe Thane was taking all these signs for granted.]

Arquiztex was called back by Mercy, and Thane decided to follow now. It was as important to know what was behind them as what was in front. He stood in the doorway of a seemingly normal library. With the slight curiosity of a hidden passage. He looked to Mercy and Doctor Wens.

Thane spoke without judgement, seeking only mere understanding as to how the group was approaching the matter. "Do we consider ourselves entitled to any treasure we might find?" As far as he knew, this house still belonged to somebody.

 
  #118  
Old Mar 29th, 2020, 11:16 AM
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Mercy Petreva, Human Cleric
Mercy turned to Thane before slipping into the secret room. Bless his sweet, quizzical face, was he low-key accusing her of stealing?

"Your troubled heart is beautiful. I treasure your reminder. But you should find peace in the reminder that we are not looters, but investigators. We act on behalf of the children, but beyond even that, remember we are here against our will. This house, this mist, this time and place, it was not our choice to come here. And if we pick up clues here and there--" She gestured to the books, the letter kit. "--we gather them only for the purpose of divining answers to the questions:" Her face got vague, her eyes unfocused, and she appeared to stare at something maybe on the ceiling. Why are we here? What is with this windmill all over everything? Why did a perfect violet turn into a disgusting cockroach? Why is this room so clean, when the yard is so unkempt?"

She gave him a wink and a knowing nod, paused, added a thumbs up, and retreated to help Wens loot the secret room.
  #119  
Old Mar 29th, 2020, 03:05 PM
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Arquiztex leaves the library, pushing past Thane, and starts back down the stairs.

Herr Doktor Wens notices that the person is actually only a skeleton sticking part way out of the half-closed chest.



Wens and Mercy see that the books are in fact of a rather unpleasant cult having something to do with the Priests of Osybus, at least from the names on the spines.





And this is no puppy, but a 30 lb/14 kilo sheepdog.

What would you like to do next?
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Last edited by Exfilia; Mar 29th, 2020 at 03:06 PM.
  #120  
Old Mar 29th, 2020, 03:18 PM
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zilgim
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with a sign of good faith, he pulls out his waterskin and offers more water.
actionsspeak with small beasts.


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