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  #1  
Old Oct 10th, 2022, 12:48 AM
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Chapter 1: Zul-Bazzir

Day 1 - Day - The Al-Khazi Desert
The line of camels stretched across the desert, the dunes illuminated in a silvery hue by the moon and the field of stars above. Late into the evening they traveled, only stopping once the ambient light of dawn began to cast its glow from below the horizon, snuffing out much of the stars.

Sefu called for camp to be made, and the pair of mercenaries began to take supplies off one of the camels and began erecting sun shades over which the entire caravan would take shelter during the day's harsh sun.

"Woman", Sefu said to Gertrude in Susrahnite after camp had been made, I can see a rage in your eyes that I am not unfamiliar with. If you would let me, I would show you how to channel it.


One of the mercenaries nodded to Ibn Bin Ganif and offered him his flask. "Wanted to say thanks for coming to our aid yesterday," he said in Khazistani. "Name's Laith. From what I could see, you stayed pretty cool under pressure. Ever consider taking up the sword as a mercenary?"


Once camp had been made, Daniya opened her howdah. Sefu was beside her camel within moments and helped the woman down from her saddle. After a few minutes passed, she found her way over to Felden Thas, placing her hand upon his shoulder. A shudder ran through the man from her touch and as her dark eyes met his through her short silvered veil. "I was watching you, when the raiders attacked, and after," she said in Susrahnite, correctly guessing his lineage. "Your actions were thoughtful, calculated, always weighing how best to move forward. If you would allow me, I have much that I could show you," she said, never taking her eyes off the man.

"Is everything alright here", Sefu asked as he came upon Felden Thas and Daniya.

"Yes, Sefu. I am just talking with one of our new friends," she replied.

Sefu gave a dissatisfied grunt, but walked away.

Not long after camp had been made, Shenda came upon the other of the two remaining mercenaries rolling dice from a small cup into a small tray, both of which were made of hardened leather. Sit, girl, he said in Susrahnite without looking up. Throw some bones with me. Don't worry, no coin, just for fun. Unless you have some coin, that is, he said and looked up at her with a sly grin. Assuming she took him up on his request, he handed her the cup as she sat down across from him. I'm Azad, he added. It was only then that she noticed a myriad of knives protruding from his belt, boots, and various other locations.

Mara stood among the camp that had been erected quickly as the morning sun was beginning to rise above eastern dunes, its light causing the sands to sparkle. A voice could be heard, carried along the hot desert wind, but when she turned in its direction, its source remained unclear. It was the shadow of a voice she had heard before, taunting her, beckoning her, but ever just out her reach. It was louder now, clearer, and compelled her onward until she found herself among the few camels that carried some of the items brought with Sefu and the others.

"Girl, put the statue down," came a voice that broke through the haze she had found herself. She look up and saw the man in grey robes standing nearby. In her hands, she inexplicably help a small statue cast in a strange black material depicting a grotesque and deformed creature.


"Fool girl, what have you done," asked the man in grey robes.

After confronting Mara, Yetara noticed Niobe walk by and the man in grey robes motioned for her to come closer. "I notice you wear a feather from one of the devil-birds of Azimba. Do you know the significance of such a thing?"

Niobe explained that she did, and she had intended to travel to the Azimba, in search of a priest of the cult of Jul-Juggah.

"Follow me," Yetara said, and led her to his camel.



OOC Players are up


Battlemap | Guide |
Level Effect
1 Disadvantage on ability checks
2 Speed halved
3 Disadvantage on attack rolls and saving throws
4 Hit point maximum halved
5 Speed reduced to 0
6 Death.
exhaustion

The Slaves of Xoth
Player Name Class Status
Onward Gertrude Barbarian -
FatherDondo Niobe Cultist -
penbeast0 Ibn Bin Ganif Fighter -
The Dark Star Jaw Bone ?? -
Dyerdon Felden Thas Courtier -
BattleFries Mara Telamir Warlock -
Drachenspirit Shenda Finevalor Rogue -

NPCs
Character AC Status
Yetara 13 HP:23/23, mounted
Daniya 12 HP:23/23, mounted
Sefu 16 HP: 30/30, mounted
Laith (merc 1) 14 HP 18/18, mounted
Azad (merc 2) 14 HP 18/18, mounted
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Applications open: Desert Moon of Karth

Last edited by Silent Rain; Oct 11th, 2022 at 02:10 PM.
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Old Oct 11th, 2022, 03:17 PM
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Power! Unlimited Power!At last! Mara thought as they began to make camp with the rising sun. It wasn't the camp that Mara was thankful for, not really, but just the surety of being a free woman with a chance to make her own name again, at least for the time being. She would have to play things very carefully to make sure that she wasn't sold off the moment they reached a Khazistani settlement. The fact that Khazistan was a rising power ready to rival her home in Taraam was no small concern. Barbarian horselords shouldn't be so powerful, by all normal logic. Some abnormal logic must be behind their rise to power, Mara reasoned silently.

As she began to make ready to rest her head during the scorching light of day, the faintest trace of the softest whisper caught Mara's ear, and it was so achingly familiar. It had been at least a good few months, maybe years, since Mara had last heard that voice. For so long, she had done as the whispers bade her for the promise of power, all right under the noses of the priests of Ahyada. She was so far from that reflecting pool that showed her the stars, and yet the voice still called to her, growing ever closer.

Mara knew that she had to be cautious so as to avoid suspicion, but something prevented her from caring. An overwhelming desire to find the voice overcame her, and Mara found herself stumbling through the camp, following the whispers until she was among the camels carrying the goods that her employers undoubtedly meant to sell. Reaching blindly into a saddlebag, Mara's right hand came away holding a small statue, cast in a foreign black material, that looked, aesthetically, quite hideous. Some unseen sense told Mara that it wasn't ugliness, she saw, but rather power.

At the thought of that last word, Mara's senses betrayed her. The world contorted in around itself. Up was down and left and right and every other direction plus a good many that simply did not exist in Xoth. She had barely registered the robed man trying to stop her, and he was still next to her. Or was her so far away that he was but an insect from her perch in the space above the sky and beneath the ground? Or perhaps it was all of them, all at once.

And now the voice was booming and echoing and whispering and hissing and everything and nothing in her mind's eye, ear, nose, mouth, hands, and every other sense that she didn't know she could possess, and Mara knew that she was small and weak and insignificant next to this tremendous, overwhelming, alien force. Whatever it was - god, demon, something else entirely - it was so far beyond Mara that she knew she could never be its equal, could never approach such incredible and unknowable power.

And it knew this. It knew her weakness, and seemed to find her pitiful self amusing, or at least that's the term that Mara would use with her limited, mortal mind. The alien presence promised her power, though she would have to belong to it, and Mara knew that this would permanent, beyond all limits of time and space and even life and death themselves. 'Agree, and you will be mine,' it told her, promising a taste of its unimaginable power.

Mara didn't know if she'd ever be able to comprehend the enormity of the presence making itself known to her, but she knew that she had its eye on her. (Eye? Eyes? Sensory organs? Sensory energy? Did it sense at all in the way that mortals did?) She could never run from it, never be free of it, Mara was convinced. And yet, even as Mara felt it look on her in mockery, she understood that she could be its tool in the mortal world. She would be forever changed, destined to become merely an extension of this Great Power, for there was really no other way to describe it.

In the end, the choice was easy. Mara agreed. She would belong to this Power, and in return, she would be granted and become a power of her own. Minor and laughable compared to this massive presence, but in the world of mortals, she would finally have what she had glimpsed in that reflecting pool so many years ago.

With the pact signed, so to speak, Mara found herself standing before the Great Power, unable to perceive or comprehend its scope save for a single, massive claw at the end of a long and enormous finger as it touched her in the center of her forehead. And Mara Telamir awakened at long last.

The desert with its rising sun and the sand beneath her feet returned in an instant. The whiplash was so great that Mara couldn't help but fall to her knees and vomit from the recoil of it all. Faster than she thought possible, Mara came to her senses as the man in grey robes demanded to know what she had done. He called her a fool, but she could feel the power coursing through her now, and she knew that she could easily blast him away with the power she now possessed, but that would be foolish and short-sighted.

Mara didn't know what would happen if she told the truth, but she wanted to keep that to herself, regardless. All the same, part of the truth could still be useful here. Lies came easier when there was truth in them, after all. "I'm so sorry," Mara said through panting breaths, and she did not have to fake her exhaustion. "I fear I may still be weak from the exertion of the past several days. Weeks? Months? I was so thirsty, I didn't think to ask and went looking on my own. I reached into the saddlebag and came away with... Where did it go? Whatever it was I picked up, I don't know if it did something to me, or if I'm just unaccustomed to this heat, but I was suddenly sick, as you see," Mara said, gesturing to her vomit upon the sand. "Whatever it was, please deduct its value from my wages. I can at least repay you for my carelessness. But as long as I have you here, where might I find some water? If I was thirsty before, I'm absolutely parched now."

That would hopefully be a believable enough story for the time being. Whatever the statue had been, the man had been wary enough of it for it to be recognizable as something to be wary of. Whether or not anyone could
Dice Deception:
2d20+5kh1 (16, 19 (keeping 19) )+5 Total = 24
see through her lies would remain to be seen. Meanwhile, Mara sensed a tendril of a thought in the back of her mind, and when she was sure that nobody was looking, she chanced a glance skyward, raising her hand as if to shield her eyes from the rising sun, and she beheld a raven circling overhead. Immediately, Mara knew this to be a messenger from the Great Power. "Greetings, Emissary," she thought-spoke with due respect to the messenger. "If you are who and what I believe you to be, then we have much to discuss. For now, I humbly ask that you make yourself unseen from those I am traveling with. It would not do to draw unwarranted attention to ourselves until we can afford to do so."

Mara felt the bird respond not so much to her words as her unspoken intentions, and it flew away from the campsite, low to the ground, keeping out of general view. It didn't stray far enough for its mental presence to leave Mara's mind, and she was grateful for this. Even if it was just a beast - Familiar, the word came to her - it was something other than Mara. It was a reassurance that she wouldn't ever be alone. Even if it was a harbinger of the Great Power, it was a reassuring presence. "You need a name, don't you. How about 'Ebony.' I could be self-projecting, but you have a vaguely feminine presence about you, and it's a simple name for a black-colored bird, but I find it pretty to the ear. It will help you to blend in all the better."


Mara Telamir
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STR 10 (0) | DEX 15 (+2) | CON 15 (+2) | INT 16 (+3) | WIS 12 (+1) | CHA 15 + 2 (Decadent)17 (+3)
Neutral Evil | HP: 10/10 | AC: 10 (Base) + 1 (Leather Armor) + 2 (DEX)13 | Passive Perception: 11 | Speed: 30 ft. | Status: Mounted (camel)
DECADENT INSPIRATION:
~Spending money on alcohol/drugs, using it to gain benefits of rest
~Avoiding labor, keeping slaves/servants to do my dirty work
~Inventing new and novel ways of entertainment to escape the boredom of mundane existence
~Overcoming enemies with trickery and lies
~Using cults as a tool for personal power
~Entering pacts with demons and other alien beings for personal benefits
Inspiration: 0 | DECADENT CULTURE
Ability Score Adjustment: +2 CHA
Insidious: Advantage on Deception and Stealth skill checks; +1d6 sneak attack damage if Mara has Sneak Attack
Jaded: Advantage on saving throws against poison
Corrupt: Disadvantage on WIS saving throws
Passive Abilities | Trait ~ My blood doesn't make me who I am. It is by my words and deeds that you will know me as someone to look upon with wonder, awe, and fear.
Ideal ~ I have tasted true power. I want more. I need more. It is mine by right, and I will have it no matter what!
Bond ~ There is an unknowable power behind the blurred faces and the hushed whispers that call to me from the stars in the night sky. I will heed this power and pay whatever price it demands.
Flaw ~ I understand and can feel empathy, but only so far as to satisfy my own goals. My bonds with others are only a means to my ends, including my family and its name. I live for myself, and no one else.
Noblewoman
Taraamite
Susrahnite (racial bonus)
Nabastissean (INT bonus)
Lamuran (INT bonus)
Yar-Ammonite (INT bonus)
Languages | Deception
History
Persuasion
Religion
Proficiencies | Deception
Stealth
Advantages | Scimitar: 2 lbs, melee, finesse, light, add DEX(+2) to attack and damage, 1d6 slashing, 2 lbs.
Shortbow: 2 lbs, range 80/320, two handed, add DEX and PROFICIENCY (+4) to attack and damage; 1d6 piercing
Dagger: 1 lb, finesse, light, thrown (range 20/60), add DEX and PROFICIENCY (+4) to attack and damage, 1d4 piercing
Leather Armor: 10 lbs, light armor, AC = 11 + DEX (2)
Camel: Mount
Inventory

 

 


 

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~ ~ ~
By my solemn vow, I have taken the Oath of Sangus.

Last edited by BattleFries; Oct 12th, 2022 at 11:45 AM.
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Old Oct 11th, 2022, 03:46 PM
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#10 Ibn Bin Ganif: "The Adder"
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The Adder looked up as one of Sefu's guards approached him. Training seemed harmless enough though he did not want to make any promises or take any contracts without knowing much more. He vowed to himself to keep his ears open and his wits sharp to learn more about these chance met strangers.

"I am Ibn Bin Ganif, more commonly known as the Adder. I thank you for your words of praise and would be honored to train with you.
My skills are more with bow and knife than the heavier weapons; I know I have not the raw power of many others so I prefer to plan and use my quickness to fight from a distance. But I indeed have much to learn if that is still something you wish. After what we have been through, the life of a mercenary, though certainly hard and dangerous, indeed sounds tempting. "





 




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Old Oct 11th, 2022, 07:07 PM
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Shenda
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Shenda was glad Mara went to another camel, just because of the heat, though she would miss having an archer behind her.
Sliding off herself and leading the camel over to the raider with the Studded leather armor, she took it and if anyone didn't like it she'd offer to wrestle them for it - first to achieve a take down would win.

She'd also get some better suited clothes from a raider that hadn't bled on theirs too much, also adding two daggers to her weapon count. She didn't mind fighting so much if it meant she had to survive and if she had to do it to possibly improve her means, but she didn't want to "have" to do it all the time. In short, she didn't live for it.

As the day wore on, and she got food and water, she became more anxious than tired as the sun went down and camp was made.

Bored, she moved around and looked to what everyone was up to and declined offers to join in whatever was going on. She shook her head no at the dice game, but the sly look she got and the body language indicated to her that more was going on here.
Intrigued, she sat down to watch the dice being thrown. She had no coin and wasn't about to risk what little she did have by way of weapons, so she offered up a Scimitar and then a dagger and lost both.
Then, she noticed what was going on.
Azad was cheating. Instead of getting angry, she played into it and soon won her sword and dagger back. It was then that Azad caught on that she had caught on.
Then began some small talk that wasn't talk at all really, and some slang she knew she'd heard before, but didn't make much sense. She caught on quickly and Azad was a good teacher, though she did have to let go of the day's wage to get it. She soon learned that he saw in her what was in him and that was a love of the game more than a love of the coin. The coin was just a means to live better and arm and adorn oneself better, the pay off WAS the game. In that one night and the many following she learned how to distract where people were looking so the hand not seen could do amazing things. None of this mattered if one couldn't move with little to no noise and she picked that up as well. But it all came back to the con, the deception, persuading people to think how you wanted them to so you could be even bolder with what you could get away with.
Now, where had Azad been some time back?, she wondered. One evening an old woman was at Azad's fire, and said Azad would be back soon. She began to wonder where this woman had been hiding, when Azad's chuckle came from under the woman's shawl.

He had gotten her again. He then showed her that he was the son of a Duke and could get away with whatever he wanted, the paper with the seal, a legal seal, said as much. She began to ask why he would be out here if he... he was smiling again. The parchment seemed so real, yet she knew by his sly smile it was not. He showed her other tools of deception, the Forger's kit, and a beginner's tool set that could pick locks and lift hinge pins from doors with no sound.
Whilst all of this was going on, he mentioned he'd seen and heard she could fight well. She shrugged it off and then he asked her how she fought and what she took aim it. He showed her how to move in someone's blindspot, and once there not just strike, but strike in between ribs, up into vital organs, across veins and arteries, and most importantly... that it took less than a pound of pressure with a blade to pierce flesh. She was strong, no denying that, but it was the finesse with a blade that would always wound more than brute force.
Now, the very thing that had her curiosity prompt her to leave the inlands and seek out the cities of lawlessness where she thought she'd thrived, she had found. Her purpose, her... way. Despite the heat of the desert, she wasn't wanting to leave the nightly learning of skill and subterfuge she picked up from Azad. When they got to the city, she knew he'd be gone and asking to stay with him to learn more just wouldn't happen. For reasons of his own, he was stuck here doing this and all that would change when they hit a city. Those who moved in such ways with such things and such desires didn't have squires, or acolytes. Sure, she could tag along and give him coin, but she was certain she'd learn more on her own or with another rogue she came across.

 
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Last edited by Drachenspirit; Oct 11th, 2022 at 07:09 PM.
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Old Oct 11th, 2022, 09:07 PM
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Niobe
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Niobe (1)
HP: 6/8 | AC 13 | PP: 12 | Prof: +2 | Status: Normal, Mounted
HD: 1/1d8 | STR 15(+2), DEX 16(+3), CON 11(+0), INT 10(+0), WIS 15(+2), CHA 7(-2)Stats | Your healing spells (cure wounds, mass cure wounds, prayer of healing, heal, mass heal) must be powered by sacrifice, either your own blood or the death of another creature (see Blood Ritual). If you sacrifice your own blood, you suffer damage equal to half the amount healed. If a single spell heals multiple creatures (such as a mass cure wounds), you only take the damage once.Blood Healing | You can cast healing spells as rituals, but this requires the sacrifice of a helpless living creature as part of the ritual. The creature must be at least medium size or have a challenge rating above zero. Constructs, elementals, oozes, plants, swarms, and undead cannot be used as sacrifice.Blood Ritual | The spells healing word and mass healing word can only be cast whenever you have slain a creature in combat and you triumphantly shout out the word (as a bonus action). This does not expend the spell slot.Triumphant Sacrifice
Culture: The last survivors of decadent civilizations start to feud over dwindling resources, or are driven away by stronger cultures. Fleeing into the wilderness, or deep underground beneath their ruins, they start to inbreed and devolve into something no longer entirely human. Degenerates may outwardly resemble savages, but they carry the evil taint of fallen empires. When the last such taint disappears, the culture has become savage, and thus the cycle of history repeats itself.

ASI: +2 to Constitution.
Nocturnal: You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Ferocious: When you score a critical hit with a melee weapon attack, you can roll one of the weapon’s damage dice one additional time and add it to the extra damage of the critical hit.
Unwholesome: Degenerates always have a physical deformity or a mental illness, caused by inbreeding, that sets them apart from other humans. This unwholesomeness can never be fully concealed. You, and anyone you associate with, suffer disadvantage on Deception and Persuasion checks (except when interacting with other degenerates), and the initial attitude of persons from other cultures will always start at Hostile.
Degenerate | Defeating a superior foe via stealth or ambush
Gaining followers through strength and intimidation
Getting a larger share of loot than your companions
Destroying the remains of high civilizations (including treasure and relics)
Inspiration | Race: The men of Lamu are regarded as a degenerate and evil people by other nations, a belief that mainly springs from ignorance, but is strengthened by the fact that some Lamurans have unnaturally keen eyesight in the dark, and that they worship many weird and loathsome gods in the isolation of their remote hill kingdom.

Appearance: Gaunt of build and pale-skinned, with long flowing hair, although the priests are often shaven-headed. Decadent Lamurans dress in flowing robes and wear distinctive tall caps, often wound around with turbans, while the more wholesome Civilized men prefer simpler clothing and sturdy armor.
Religion: The cult of Yot-Kamoth is best-known, but a multitude of other deities is worshipped.
Culture: The Lamurans, corrupted by their worship of sinister Yot-Kamoth, are mostly Decadent, but retain both a significant Civilized stratum in and around their cities and of Degenerates in the more remote parts of their realm.
Language: Lamuran, plus Susrahnite as a bonus language.
Lamuran | Background: Skill Proficiencies: Sleight of Hand, Stealth
Tool Proficiencies: Disguise kit, thieves’ tools
Urchin | Background Feature: You know the secret patterns and flow to cities and can find passages through the urban sprawl that others would miss. When you are not in combat, you (and companions you lead) can travel between any two locations in the city twice as fast as your speed would normally allow.City Streets | Lamuran, SusrahniteLanguages


After some judgment from the old man (The great devil-bird is unworthy of my worship, he says. Bah!), Niobe took a large reptile's egg from his care; her first thought was to hide it, but how could she hide something the size of a man's head? The best she could do was hold it and try to drape her oversized sleeves across it as she walked. It was tan, leathery, but somehow soft and squishy in her hands.

It would probably be best to be out of the way. Why would anyone else understand better than he? At least he understood enough to let her go about her business. It was the way of her clan. Her people had few roads to the strength they needed, and this was hers. She went out into the desert, back to the camp, until she found a rock big enough to hide behind. Hopefully they'd think she was taking care of basic needs and not bother her.

Sitting behind the rock, cross-legged in the sand, Niobe took a feather from behind her ear. It was one of the few they had still, a feather of Jul-Juggah. It was a miracle it had stayed with her throughout the slave-taking, the sailing, the trudging through the desert. Hopefully, it meant the devil-bird's approval. She felt a brief surge of euphoria as she stabbed the feather into the egg. The madwoman licked the end of the feather before holding the egg high and drinking deep.

It was something of a challenge, certainly. Its volume rivaled that of her own stomach, though it was lucky that she had yet to make her supper, leaving her belly nearly empty. The flying lizard's egg was thick, slimey, and at first was bland but off, somehow. It had the taste of age; that was probably the kindest way to put it. Who knows how long the old man had unknowingly carried it for her. However, it became more palatable as she drank, becoming almost like liquid butter.

Having choked down as much as she could from holding the egg aloft, she tore it open to get at the last few drops and dregs. Having finished as she had to, Niobe let the shell down gently in her lap. Next was the easy part. Pulling her knife from her belt, she considered. She'd originally intended to giver herself a brand, but that seemed impractical in these circumstances, and she didn't have all night. Instead, she focused on something attainable. It wouldn't do to disappoint Jul-Juggah with sloppy work. Taking the knife to her arm, she cut line after painstaking line to carve a red, sunken relief of the devil-bird into herself. It was difficult to work without wincing or sucking air through gritted teeth. When she'd finished, she drew a circle around the wound and some symbols. She didn't understand the symbols, or knew them before she'd started cutting; they simply came to her. As the last symbol was drawn the last of her flowing blood absorbed into her skin, leaving behind a vivid, raised scar.

Now the ritual was finished. It seemed a shame to waste the shell, though. Over the course of an hour or three, she slowly stripped membrane, shaped shell, and pulled at the thread of her clothes until she had a halfway serviceable leather bracelet wide enough to cover the symbol of Jul-Juggah. She'd have to save the rest for when she had the tools to make it better. Fully exhausted, Niobe slept where she sat, digesting.

 

 

 
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Old Oct 13th, 2022, 12:32 AM
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Dyerdon Dyerdon is offline
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Felden Thas - HP: 8/8 - AC: 14
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What a turn of events this was. From a burning ship to the mercy of the sea, from the sea to the burning sands of the desert, and the threat from a group of raiders that could still pose a threat in the future... to potentially landing in the lap of luxury. Fel may not have enjoyed riding by camel.. the Adder had the right idea, however Fel lacked the power to throw a punch like that! It was, at the very least, a step in the right direction. He didn't find much kinship with the rest of the group, though Shenda and Mara intrigued him. His mind was on other thing when the woman approached him. She had spoken of his tactical nature... and to be honest, he wasn't hating the attention. He still viewed her cautiously. She offered to help him learn. He'd take it. If it also meant, perhaps, a night or two with her, he'd not balk at that idea.

"I'm sure we could teach each other a lot..." he said with a wry grin. He would settle into the role he had arranged within the caravan. A guard. He kept himself just as guarded, though he would trade flirtatious remarks with the young woman. That was until Sefu appeared. He noted his distaste. He was silent during the exchange, watching him walk away. Once he was out of earshot, he finally brought up what had been on his mind when he had first seen her after the fight...

"You seem rather comfortable as a slave," he said after a moment, looking toward Daniya. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but when we met on the coast, there were a lot of assumptions, I'm sure..." the exchange of words was helpful for what she was teaching him... the real goal was to get more information from her than what he willingly gave. Camp was soon set... perhaps he could talk to her in greater length. The banter wasn't going to be enough for him... but ideas were begininng to form.

"If my assumptions are wrong, my apologies, but if they're not... then who do you belong to, Sefu?" he asked.


 

 
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Old Oct 13th, 2022, 02:23 AM
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Gertrude
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Gertrude took a deep breath at the fresh air as she finish mending the wounds of the company. Though she looked up to the man of the hour. Sefu himself approached her. When he said he would like to channel the secret rage she keeps within, she was impressed that he could tell, he was more perceptive then she thought. Yet, he was a stranger to her, someone she has never met until this one situation they find themselves in.

"Hello, I am Gertrude, as of now I follow the moon and will do so forevermore. Take that what you will. However, you are very perceptive for a sellsword, it is strange.... I would like you to know that I'm not much of a fighter, I have always been the weakest among my tribe, so do not expect high results. But I am willing to learn from you, if you can channel this rage, this wrath. I would prefer that, it is troublesome for me." she says in Sushranite.
 



[Fieldset="OOC"]
Gertrude
HP: 11/11 AC: 11
Str: 15 | Dex: 12 | Con: 8 | Int: 13 | Wis: 15 | Cha: 14
Proficiency: Medicine, Religion, Herbalism Kit, Perception, Survival
Language: Tharag Thulan, Lamuran, Susrahnite, Taraamite
Inventory: Scimitar
Features:
*Life of Seclusion: I was searching for spiritual guidance
*Discovery: I can hear the Moon-God's voice, guiding me.
*Sturdy: Add a +1 natural bonus to Armor Class.
*Feral: Gain advantage on Perception skill checks.
*Superstitious: Suffer disadvantage on attack rolls against aberrations, fiends and undead.
*Rage 2/2 +2 dmg
*Unarmored Defense
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Old Oct 16th, 2022, 08:59 AM
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Day 3 - Night - The Al-Khazi Desert
Yetara frowned at the story Mara told, feigning ignorance of the statue she had held.

"Next time, keep your hands out places they do not belong. And you would be wise to keep water close at hand while traveling across the desert. "

Laith nodded as Ibn Bin Ganif expressed his interest to learn what skills the mercenary might have to offer. The Adder's only reservation was his concern that Laith might be inclined to try and improve his skills with heavier weapons, which he had never been fond of.

Laith gave a half smile. "I see you assessing my kit. Perhaps wondering what type of blade I prefer. The answer is simple: all of them, and none of them. They are merely tools, with each one having its usefulness. A well placed dagger and oftentimes be more effective than a chop of a mighty great axe. Sometimes not. Either way, I am indebted to you, and will aspire to help you in whatever manner you prefer. "

Shenda had found a kindred spirit in Azad, or perhaps the other way around. As the days wore on, the two began to spend more and more time together, whether throwing dice or dagger, or simply talking until the sun was nearly set, the pair of rogues found an unlikely companion in one another as they made their trek across the desert.

Niobe kept to herself the day she had received the egg of the devil-bird of Azimba. She had done as she had been told, and consumed its contents, even going so far as to carve into her flesh its own image. Later that day, after having fallen asleep, anyone that saw her would have noticed her thrashing in her sleep.


Daniya returned Felden Thas's smile at his barely concealed meaning over what they might teach each other.

"Perhpaps", she replied in Susrahnite. "We'll have to see how quick of a study you are." Whether simply teasing or not, the girl exuded confidence.

Felden directed the conversation to Daniya's apparent status as a slave.

"No, you are not wrong," she replied. "I belong to Yetara. But come, let us talk of more intersting this," she added, leading Felden to her tent.

"Who ever said I was a sellsword," Sefu responded to Gertrude. "No, I am not here for coin, though my reasons are my own. All you need know is that I would sooner die than let harm come to either Yetara or Daniya. As for you, I have seen that same look I saw in your eyes during the battle, before. I know it all too well. There is great power to be found there, if you let it flow freely. But enough talk," he said and suddenly kicked Gertrude in the chest and sent her sprawling backward into the sand. As she looked back at Sefu, he motioned for her to approach, a grin on his face.




The caravan traveled over the sands of the Al-Khazi Desert for three days without incident. On the night of the third day, something appeared in the distance, rising from the desert. As the caravan drew closer, it was revealed that the object was that of a long abandoned fortress, having already begun to be consumed by the blowing sands.

The moon and starlight provided enough light (dim) to see within its broken and crumbling walls, appearing like the teeth of some giant creature that was rising from the dunes.

Sefu called for a halt as you drew near. "We have a choice," he said. "Ruins such as this can offer protection while we camp during the day, but might also hold any number of threats. What do you think," he asked, looking at his newest additions to the caravan guard.


OOC Players are up


Battlemap | Guide |
Level Effect
1 Disadvantage on ability checks
2 Speed halved
3 Disadvantage on attack rolls and saving throws
4 Hit point maximum halved
5 Speed reduced to 0
6 Death.
exhaustion

The Slaves of Xoth
Player Name Class Status
Onward Gertrude Barbarian -
FatherDondo Niobe Cultist -
penbeast0 Ibn Bin Ganif Fighter -
The Dark Star Jaw Bone ?? -
Dyerdon Felden Thas Courtier -
BattleFries Mara Telamir Warlock -
Drachenspirit Shenda Finevalor Rogue -

NPCs
Character AC Status
Yetara 13 HP:23/23, mounted
Daniya 12 HP:23/23, mounted
Sefu 16 HP: 30/30, mounted
Laith (merc 1) 14 HP 18/18, mounted
Azad (merc 2) 14 HP 18/18, mounted
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Old Oct 16th, 2022, 03:11 PM
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#10 Ibn Bin Ganif: "The Adder"
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The Adder knew that they had to brave this danger to gain Sefu's respect; their welcome was very tenuous in the caravan.

"We will investigate these ruins, Lord Sefu. Danger could sally forth at night even if we do not camp within."

"Come guards," he called to the other former slaves. "Let us explore these ruins that the night might be the safer for it."


 




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Old Oct 16th, 2022, 04:38 PM
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Objection!Mara was unsure if the robed man - Yetara - had fully believed her or not. Whether or not he knew exactly what the statuette had done to her was not clear. He had treated the object with caution, but Mara herself couldn't say whether the statue would have brought anyone into contact with the Great Power or just one such as herself who had heard its call before. Would it have offered anyone the same as it had offered her? What would befall someone who did not accept its offer of personal power?

Those thoughts were quickly left behind as Mara asked around to find water and then did her best not to draw attention for the next few days. Well, she tried not to draw too much attention. Mara did still try to flirt as shamelessly as she could with Shenda whenever possible, but the problem with traveling by night was that they rested during the heat of the desert sun, and all manner of fun with a woman like Shenda would have to be put off until they didn't end up dehydrating themselves from such enjoyment. Mara sometimes tried to join Shenda when she was playing cards or dice with some of the other hired help, but she got the impression that there was something else going on that Mara wasn't privy to.

The Great Power had given her access to actual, real magic, and she knew that she could coerce someone with words of power to make them ever so friendly, enough to tell her all manner of secrets. Alas, something told her that such power would be only temporary, and it would leave a negative impression when the magic - the 'spell,' some unknown imagination told her - expired. So for now, she would settle for mundane flirtations and charming banter. Mara had also noticed the sex slave - perhaps it would be more generous to call her a courtesan - was clearly working her wiles on the man named Felden Thas. Mara recalled him being of actual use during their escape, and while he didn't stand out as a leader, he was a solid contributor to their collective efforts. What was the courtesan doing with him, and to what end? What would Mara herself do with someone like Felden Thas? Try to seduce him into staying with her and her masters if she was similarly enslaved? If so, then under whose orders and why was she playing with him so?

Mara kept her eye on the courtesan, as well as on the robed man and, well, on everyone else. Employment didn't mean safety, and letting one's guard down would lead to a quick and likely painful death. It was almost a relief when after three relatively uneventful days and nights, a very tempting shelter was waiting for them. Resting anywhere at all in all the lands of Xoth promised danger for the unwary, and these ruins promised even more. All the same, they also promised some shelter and concealment from any desert wanderers who might be looking for trouble. Then again, these ruins could draw some foolhardy treasure hunter who might seek out whatever ancient secrets that could be buried underneath.

For her part, Mara had already achieved a great deal of power very recently, and she would only reveal it if she was forced to do so. She had even let her new familiar, Ebony, out of hiding and tried to pass her off as a mundane raven that had come from further inland and that had taken a liking to Mara during one of her shifts standing guard over the past few days. That was another advantage she had gained, and she did not want to press her luck by aiming too high and for too much. If this ruined buidling was anything like the temples of Ahyada, or any number of other places in the great cities of Taraam, there would likely be much that waited underground. Best not to tempt fate, but it might be prudent to clear the surface of any possible traps or threats. And there would be dangers, Mara was sure. This was Xoth, and safety was a lie to appease the gullible masses.

And then Mara couldn't help but let out a groan as Ibn Adder Whatever went and tried to speak for the lot of them. That just would not do. "I'm sorry, Good Sir Ganif," Mara said from her seat in the sands. "It sounded like you were volunteering myself and a number of others for a task without doing us the courtesy of asking whether we were comfortable with such a thing, let alone our thoughts on the situation before we decide on a course of action. I'm sure you didn't mean to be so thoughtless and rude, naturally," she said in SUSRAHNITE, her voice dripping with venomous sweetness.

"Now, if you were to ask me what I think," Mara said with a certain amount of emphasis, "then I would say that I would not want to risk being attacked by unknown dangers within with the possibility of unknown dangers without. I'd also agree to help to secure the immediate area only, without venturing to any upper or lower levels that may or may not exist, and I'd ask our good employers that if we take on this task, that any treasures this ruin may have claimed would be ours to keep should we find anything of worth. And then I would ask if anyone else would be willing to freely give their aid. After all, we're not slaves to be ordered about, are we?" she said with a sneer directed at the Adder.

Turning to Sefu, Mara adopted a calmer expression and bowed her head gently, but not too subserviently. "Would you agree to such terms, my good man? That if we secure this shelter, that we limit our activities to ground level, and that any possible treasures we come across are ours to keep as payment for this additional risk? If such is not suitable, then I'm sure we can come to an agreement that meets with your approval," Mara said as politely as possible, trying to be deferential without being obsequious or disingenuous.

Mara Telamir
left-aligned image

STR 10 (0) | DEX 15 (+2) | CON 15 (+2) | INT 16 (+3) | WIS 12 (+1) | CHA 15 + 2 (Decadent)17 (+3)
Neutral Evil | HP: 10/10 | AC: 10 (Base) + 1 (Leather Armor) + 2 (DEX)13 | Passive Perception: 11 | Speed: 30 ft. | Status: Mounted (camel)
DECADENT INSPIRATION:
~Spending money on alcohol/drugs, using it to gain benefits of rest
~Avoiding labor, keeping slaves/servants to do my dirty work
~Inventing new and novel ways of entertainment to escape the boredom of mundane existence
~Overcoming enemies with trickery and lies
~Using cults as a tool for personal power
~Entering pacts with demons and other alien beings for personal benefits
Inspiration (1) | DECADENT CULTURE
Ability Score Adjustment: +2 CHA
Insidious: Advantage on Deception and Stealth skill checks; +1d6 sneak attack damage if Mara has Sneak Attack
Jaded: Advantage on saving throws against poison
Corrupt: Disadvantage on WIS saving throws
Passive Abilities | Trait ~ My blood doesn't make me who I am. It is by my words and deeds that you will know me as someone to look upon with wonder, awe, and fear.
Ideal ~ I have tasted true power. I want more. I need more. It is mine by right, and I will have it no matter what!
Bond ~ There is an unknowable power behind the blurred faces and the hushed whispers that call to me from the stars in the night sky. I will heed this power and pay whatever price it demands.
Flaw ~ I understand and can feel empathy, but only so far as to satisfy my own goals. My bonds with others are only a means to my ends, including my family and its name. I live for myself, and no one else.
Noblewoman
Taraamite
Susrahnite (racial bonus)
Nabastissean (INT bonus)
Lamuran (INT bonus)
Yar-Ammonite (INT bonus)
Languages | Deception
History
Persuasion
Religion
Proficiencies | Deception
Stealth
Advantages | Scimitar: 2 lbs, melee, finesse, light, add DEX(+2) to attack and damage, 1d6 slashing, 2 lbs.
Shortbow: 2 lbs, range 80/320, two handed, add DEX and PROFICIENCY (+4) to attack and damage; 1d6 piercing
Dagger: 1 lb, finesse, light, thrown (range 20/60), add DEX and PROFICIENCY (+4) to attack and damage, 1d4 piercing
Leather Armor: 10 lbs, light armor, AC = 11 + DEX (2)
Camel: Mount
Inventory

 

 


 

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Last edited by BattleFries; Oct 17th, 2022 at 01:36 PM.
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Old Oct 16th, 2022, 06:29 PM
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Felden Thas - HP: 8/8 - AC: 14
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Fel would have been lying if he said he wasn't enjoying the attention. The banter alone was fun, he hadn't had such a good duel with words alone in a very, very long time. Though at the confirmation that she was a slave, his gaze turned toward the man who had whispered into Sefu's ear before. He couldn't get a read on him, but he already didn't like him. Perhaps it had to do with owning slaves, having nearly been one, himself... he wasn't pleased at the concept. He readily followed her into the tent for some more conversation... his eyes moving about the room for a moment. Did her "Master" come in here often? Had he left something useful... his mind already plotting. He would always be there to help out and lend a hand... if only to get closer to Yetara. Or at the very least, observe him from a distance.

It was during the third evening that things really started to get interesting. He listened quietly as they discussed their plans... he rolled his eyes as the so-called Adder tried to take charge. Moving up next to Mara as he sided with her in this argument, to some extent. Glancing toward the ruins he considered their options.

"The ruins do offer a great deal of cover, however as Sefu stated, there can be dangers within... a scouting party can go in and take a look around, take out threats if feasible, or retreat back to the group to let everyone know what they could face... A handful of us stealthier lots can check it out, I'm game," he Susrahniteoffered. "Be back in a jiff, you guys can hammer out the details," and with that, he pulled two daggers from his belt and went low toward the ruins, using the darkness of night and the dunes for cover. Once he got close enough he'd stick to the shadows of the ruin walls. Time to see if he had honed his skills with Daniya's inspiration.


 

 
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Last edited by Dyerdon; Oct 16th, 2022 at 06:30 PM.
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Old Oct 17th, 2022, 04:55 AM
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Gertrude
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Gertrude stared at Sefu, then gives him a nod of respect,"You have your own reasons for being here, I won't pry. Also, I thank you for acknowledging my capabilities, even though I don't have-- Gah." she says as she finds herself flat on her arse, chest feeling bruised though she gives a smirk to Sefu,"Heh, you got me... But I won't let you get the next one. Prepare yourself!" she says and goes back a tackle.

The next three days, Gertrude is currently placing a healing mix on her bruised eye. She's been doing that a lot lately since her training, while more like beatings, kept proceeding non-stop. She admits she can feel a little bit stronger, yet Sefu was a harsh teacher in the ways of channeling her rage,"I certainly feel a sort of anger. But definitely not one he'd expect." she says with a sigh as she stares at the others who are currently discussing about something her teacher said to them,".... It looks like Felden Thas has already made a decision. If you'll excuse me, I'll gladly wait and take care of this headache." she says, adding some more balm on her eye, it may sting for a while but it's better then getting a migraine for the next few hours.
 



[Fieldset="OOC"]
Gertrude
HP: 11/11 AC: 11
Str: 15 | Dex: 12 | Con: 8 | Int: 13 | Wis: 15 | Cha: 14
Proficiency: Medicine, Religion, Herbalism Kit, Perception, Survival
Language: Tharag Thulan, Lamuran, Susrahnite, Taraamite
Inventory: Scimitar
Features:
*Life of Seclusion: I was searching for spiritual guidance
*Discovery: I can hear the Moon-God's voice, guiding me.
*Sturdy: Add a +1 natural bonus to Armor Class.
*Feral: Gain advantage on Perception skill checks.
*Superstitious: Suffer disadvantage on attack rolls against aberrations, fiends and undead.
*Rage 2/2 +2 dmg
*Unarmored Defense

Last edited by Onward; Oct 17th, 2022 at 06:33 AM.
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Old Oct 17th, 2022, 06:23 AM
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Niobe
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Niobe (1)
HP: 6/8 | AC 13 | PP: 12 | Prof: +2 | Status: Normal, Mounted
HD: 1/1d8 | STR 15(+2), DEX 16(+3), CON 11(+0), INT 10(+0), WIS 15(+2), CHA 7(-2)Stats | Your healing spells (cure wounds, mass cure wounds, prayer of healing, heal, mass heal) must be powered by sacrifice, either your own blood or the death of another creature (see Blood Ritual). If you sacrifice your own blood, you suffer damage equal to half the amount healed. If a single spell heals multiple creatures (such as a mass cure wounds), you only take the damage once.Blood Healing | You can cast healing spells as rituals, but this requires the sacrifice of a helpless living creature as part of the ritual. The creature must be at least medium size or have a challenge rating above zero. Constructs, elementals, oozes, plants, swarms, and undead cannot be used as sacrifice.Blood Ritual | The spells healing word and mass healing word can only be cast whenever you have slain a creature in combat and you triumphantly shout out the word (as a bonus action). This does not expend the spell slot.Triumphant Sacrifice
Culture: The last survivors of decadent civilizations start to feud over dwindling resources, or are driven away by stronger cultures. Fleeing into the wilderness, or deep underground beneath their ruins, they start to inbreed and devolve into something no longer entirely human. Degenerates may outwardly resemble savages, but they carry the evil taint of fallen empires. When the last such taint disappears, the culture has become savage, and thus the cycle of history repeats itself.

ASI: +2 to Constitution.
Nocturnal: You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You canít discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Ferocious: When you score a critical hit with a melee weapon attack, you can roll one of the weaponís damage dice one additional time and add it to the extra damage of the critical hit.
Unwholesome: Degenerates always have a physical deformity or a mental illness, caused by inbreeding, that sets them apart from other humans. This unwholesomeness can never be fully concealed. You, and anyone you associate with, suffer disadvantage on Deception and Persuasion checks (except when interacting with other degenerates), and the initial attitude of persons from other cultures will always start at Hostile.
Degenerate | Defeating a superior foe via stealth or ambush
Gaining followers through strength and intimidation
Getting a larger share of loot than your companions
Destroying the remains of high civilizations (including treasure and relics)
Inspiration | Race: The men of Lamu are regarded as a degenerate and evil people by other nations, a belief that mainly springs from ignorance, but is strengthened by the fact that some Lamurans have unnaturally keen eyesight in the dark, and that they worship many weird and loathsome gods in the isolation of their remote hill kingdom.

Appearance: Gaunt of build and pale-skinned, with long flowing hair, although the priests are often shaven-headed. Decadent Lamurans dress in flowing robes and wear distinctive tall caps, often wound around with turbans, while the more wholesome Civilized men prefer simpler clothing and sturdy armor.
Religion: The cult of Yot-Kamoth is best-known, but a multitude of other deities is worshipped.
Culture: The Lamurans, corrupted by their worship of sinister Yot-Kamoth, are mostly Decadent, but retain both a significant Civilized stratum in and around their cities and of Degenerates in the more remote parts of their realm.
Language: Lamuran, plus Susrahnite as a bonus language.
Lamuran | Background: Skill Proficiencies: Sleight of Hand, Stealth
Tool Proficiencies: Disguise kit, thievesí tools
Urchin | Background Feature: You know the secret patterns and flow to cities and can find passages through the urban sprawl that others would miss. When you are not in combat, you (and companions you lead) can travel between any two locations in the city twice as fast as your speed would normally allow.City Streets | Lamuran, SusrahniteLanguages


As she was carried forward by her camel, Niobe had the luxury of being able to clutch her stomach more effectively. Ever since she'd had that nightmare (it had to have been a nightmare, right?) the pain in her guts had been relentless. No, it was too vivid to be a nightmare; she just didn't want to believe it. The god she'd grown up worshiping had chained her spread-eagled in the desert and accused her of usurping what wasn't given before pecking out her innards. Wasn't it Jul-Juggah who'd brought the egg to her in the first place?!

Even as her body remembered the pain, it also ached. It was as if she was being punished for consuming the holy egg with a curse of consumption. Her water dried and disappeared. Drinking was as effective as splashing water on the dunes, and it disappeared just as quickly. She'd tried the trick of sucking on a pebble, but it seemed as likely that it would break her teeth as anything else.

"We will see if you are worthy to bare my image," that's what the devil-bird said. Maybe it was a test. It had to be a test! But what was the test? Was she just supposed to endure, see how long she could make it? Or did she need to do something to make it stop? As the caravan progressed, Niobe prayed for an answer. But if it was the latter, maybe she had to be clever and figure it out for herself. Then again, if it was the former, would it seem like she was trying to worm out of her test? She grunted to herself in frustration; she had to be worthy in the eyes of the devil-bird.

Wait, what? Oh, they were bickering about something. "Why for are we arguing? Shade isn't water," she had to lick her lips at the thought of water, "But it at least is coolness. Why fear something so bottom basic as a dead building?" With that, she spurred her camel on. She'd always been good at sneaking around, it had helped her stay alive many times by now, but a good chunk of it was that for the first time, she showed a callous disregard for safety. She would stay in shadows, but if something happened, it happened. What could possibly scare her more than her god's displeasure?

 

 

 
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Old Oct 17th, 2022, 09:33 PM
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Shenda
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Shenda got down from her camel leading it and went to hear Sefu out and had already made up her mind.
But then the others started talking and she gave pause.

Finally, she smiled slightly and walked past Adder, pausing to say in Susrahnite, "Come guards? Really? I'm Shenda, and that fellow there who I am following into that place is Felden. That woman over there is Niobe. Niobe. And that is... well, they might not be going in, so you can pick that up later. Ready?" She nodded at him and moved away.

She smiled and moved past Mara and said, "Man said what do you think, not what is your political leanings." She chuckled.
"And we already made the deal when we joined up. Of course we keep what we find. If you're coming, keep up."

She then moved to Gertrude and dropped the reins to her camel by her and said, "Watch Lumpy for me would ya? I mean, since you're staying out here."

She passed Niobe and gave her a nod indicating it was "game on" and fell in behind Felden
Dice Stealth:
2d20+6kh1 (9, 12 (keeping 12) )+6 Total = 18
trying to be as quiet as she could. She softly said, "Right behind you", as she held a shortsword in one hand and a dagger in the other.

 
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Old Oct 17th, 2022, 10:07 PM
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Great Wyrm
 
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#10 Ibn Bin Ganif: "The Adder"
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The Adder had been hoping that the bickering and infighting over every statement had passed with their emancipation and job as guards but clearly that was not the case. He shrugged and without saying another word, followed the other 3 into the ruins . . .
Dice Stealth:
1d20+6 (8)+6 Total = 14
quietly.


 




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