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  #121  
Old 11-12-2019, 03:26 PM
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Maja
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Maja Tallstag (click to enlarge)
Maja blushed as Gareth addressed her.

He said something nice to me!

"Um, well," she said and brushed through her soft hair, "you speak of the deeds and the last will of Gustav and Elisabeth Durst that you had found, Gareth, don't you?"

She shrugged. "I'm not sure how common windmills are in Barovia, but when I look at the condition of that windwill," she said and pointed at the dilapidated structure thirty minutes ahead, "I would agree that it matches one whose last owners had died a few centuries ago."

"But I have an idea how we can find out," she said joyfully and increased the pace of her steps. "We know how the coat-of-arms of the Dursts looks! Do you remember the shield that hung at a wall in the foyer? It was emblazoned with a stylized golden windmill on a red field. Let's find out whether we can find the same family crest at that windmill!"

Maja seemed to have recovered and was again full of zest for action.

"What are we going to do with our windmill, Gareth?" she asked him light-heartedly. "Will you switch from wineskins to flour? Or shall we convert it into a exquisit hotel? I could draw hiking maps from the region for our guests!"
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  #122  
Old 11-12-2019, 09:24 PM
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Gareth Blackcroft
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Impressed, Gareth gives Maja a genuine smile before turning to Gauth, hooking a thumb towards the young woman.

"She's not much for killing, but she's very clever. She'll find your kid or whoever it is, if they're here."

As the group strolls onward, their destination clear, the rogue puts on a show of musing about the possible uses for the windmill.

"Wineskins aren't very lucrative, but neither is flour. A hotel is closer to the mark, but maybe something more...exotic? Definitely with drinks. Possibly with gambling? What do you think, Renata?"

Gareth waggles his eyebrows at the paladin in a suggestive manner, grinning his creepiest grin.

OOC


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Last edited by OldSchool; 11-12-2019 at 09:25 PM.
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  #123  
Old 11-12-2019, 09:28 PM
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Tser Falls, 12:15AM, rain
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As the group starts towards the windmill, they notice the onion-domed edifice leans forward and to one side, as though trying to turn away from the stormy gray sky. You see gray brick walls and dirt-covered windows on the upper floors. A decrepit wooden platform encircles the windmill above a flimsy doorway leading to the building's interior. Perched on a wooden beam above the door is a soaked raven. It hops about and squawks at you, seemingly agitated.

Beyond the windmill you can see sprawling forest and atop the windmill's hill, the party can see a ring of four squat megaliths at the forest's edge. Ravens can be seen circling in the air above the stones.

As the raven above the door caws away, obviously disturbed by your presence, you hear a lilting voice, not unpleasant, carry from inside the windmill, amongst the sound of clattering and banging metal. “and pat a cake Bakers man, so I will master as I can, and prick it, and prick it, and prick it, and prick it, and prick it, and throw't into the oven.”



 
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  #124  
Old 11-13-2019, 10:55 AM
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Renata Tyrfille
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"You are welcome to squat here when we move on," Renata answers Gareth. An optimist might consider the fact that she now answers his banter at all a sign of increased warmth.

The paladin looks to her companions to confirm that all heard the voice, then steps up to enter the structure. "Stay close," she directs Gauth in a whisper. "If the youth is inside, he should see you first."

OOCIf someone asks to sneak in first, Renata will comply.

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Last edited by secretID; 11-13-2019 at 10:56 AM.
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  #125  
Old 11-13-2019, 11:34 AM
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Gareth Blackcroft
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Gareth chuckles at Renata's dry wit, but his laughter quickly fades as he hears the ethereal singing drifting out from the windmill. The rogue goes pale and grimaces, clearly recalling the horrors of the Durst manor but as Renata moves towards the door the thief holds up a hand to stop her.

Creeping forward as quietly as possible, Gareth examines the door without touching it before gently placing his ear against the wood.

OOC
Gareth will inspect the door for traps and locks, and will try to discern if the voice is directly beyond the door.

Rolls if needed...
Dice Stealth:
1d20+9 (19)+9 Total = 28

Dice Investigation:
1d20+4 (15)+4 Total = 19

Dice Perception:
1d20+1 (15)+1 Total = 16


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  #126  
Old 11-13-2019, 04:51 PM
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Gauth-Touri of the Auranthanati
On challenges
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”Thank you.” Gauth gave a brief nod to Renata certainly not for the young … her comment echoed the concern that grew inside him. The goblins had not troubled him, but this land, no plane, was alien and it seemed this Strahd was warping the minds of these lost souls.


Tarton the hairless dwarf caught up with the two of them ”Those silly lowlanders don’t even know how to challenge each other! Not like us barebacks … or those disgusting dwarves …” he said in response to Gauth’s comment. Gauth thought for a moment – he’d seen the dwarf challenge before

”Yes. The hairy-dwarves certainly do like to challenge. Though I find their ritual confusing. They drink copiously before issuing their challenge. Surely they are not at their best after all that ale?” he seemed to think a while, then added ”Perhaps the ale is some kind of handicap? If you can win after drinking ale, then you are truly a mighty warrior?” he shook his head ”No. It still feels strange to me”


”As for us, our system is simple. If I want to challenge you, I simply say ‘I challenge you’.” He let that sink in before adding ”I’ll say what I would challenge in and why. Usually it will be a test of skill. Show I can best them. For example, none can best me with the staff” for the first time pride came through his voice ”Nor weaving … well none but Helbran-Kha, but his little fingers are made for the intricate work” Then he added ”But if one challenged for Chieftain, that would be more serious. The loser would be exiled from the tribe and the tribe would be obligated to follow the Chieftain. Those challenges are rare.”

the windmill
The building looked broken and deserted. Gauth walked silently, dwelling on Aran-Tho as he felt his rain-soaked cloak clinging to his side. If the boy sought shelter, then surely he would be here. The goliath walked tall, ensuing the boy’s keen eyes would see him as he approached. Gauth’s eyes searched the building and surrounds for signs of the boy.


And then some nonsense song sprung from the building, something about cakes and pricking. Gauth tensed and let adrenaline begin to flow.


”Stay close. If the youth is inside, he should see you first” Renata whispered.


But Gareth had moved ahead already. He was examining the door.


OOC

 


 
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  #127  
Old 11-14-2019, 11:03 AM
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Maja
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With half an ear, Maja had listened to the goliath's description of challenges in his culture. Display behavior, she had thought at first but had had to correct herself as soon as Gauth-Touri had talked about challenges to replace a chieftain.

Hadn't she explained Strahd to Gauth-Touri by equating him with a chieftain of these lands? In truth, she was, they were challenging the vampire as the goliath chieftains were challenged in Gauth's story. And as much as she wanted to push it back to her mind, it was equally clear, that there would be a loser whose exile would be death or undeath.

Maja's cheerfulness, with which she had schemed about the windmill with Gareth, came to a sudden end when the lilting voice could be heard from inside the warped building. She exchanged a look with the rogue. It was clear that both of them were reminded of the Durst mansion and the horrors inside.

The girl turned her into the direction of Strahd's dark castle. Was he observing them? Was this windmill part of his schemings? Had he already given up on Ireena?

She remained behind Lady Renata and the goliath as they approached the windmill, looking for signs of the family crest of the Dursts while trying to discern where the voice might originate from.
OOCInvestigation: +7.
Perception: +3.
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  #128  
Old 11-15-2019, 10:00 AM
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Windmill, 12:20 PM, rain
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As the thief knocks, the sounds of falling metal intensifies and you all hear a series of curses and groans, accompanied by the sound of shuffling footsteps approaching the door. The door flies open and standing in the doorway is a woman, past her prime, wearing a white baker’s apron, covered in flour. Her eyes are wide in surprise at seeing her doorway filled with an exotic array of strangers… including a giant and she stands speechless for a moment, a frying pan clutched in her frail hands. The older woman blinks a few times slowly and then a grin breaks out on her face.

“Did ya plan on giving an old woman a heart attack today… was that the plan you bunch of rascals?” She giggles as she looks at the giant and then back at the frying pan in her hand. “Guess this wouldn’t of done much good now would it have. Probably have to drop a house on you.” The woman shakes her head and chuckles, “Glad I wasn’t your mom. So… have ya come to rob an old woman… the whole pack of you?”

As you stand there, a familiar, delectable scent seeps from inside the windmill, causing an immediate salivary response.



 
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  #129  
Old 11-15-2019, 10:36 AM
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Maja
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Maja's tension eased when instead of a malevolent ghost, a living woman made from flesh opened the door for Gareth and the group.

The girl dared step out of Lady Renata's and the goliath's shadow. She hinted at a bow before she began to speak to the woman in a baker's apron.

"My name is Maja Tallstag. Please excuse that we gave you a scare," Maja said as friendly as defensively-minded in spite of the unfriendliness of the old woman. She gestured at the assembled group. "We come a long way from Barovia," she explained. "On our way here, we were attacked. I'm sorry that we are in no better shape. The rain gave our appearance the rest."

She smiled. "So, no, we didn't come to rob you. We are actually looking for a little runaway from Gauth-Touri's tribe," she said and nodded at the goliath, "and were wondering whether he had sought shelter in your windmill."

Maja inhaled the promisingly smelling air. "Maybe we can also buy a few of your specialities to stock up our provisions for the journey?"
OOCPersuasion: +6.
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  #130  
Old 11-17-2019, 04:44 AM
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Gauth-Touri of the Auranthanati
What a nice old lady …
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The old lady who opened the door looked harmless enough … pleasant even when she smiled.

Maja spoke for them, stepping in front of Gauth to introduce them at to allay the old lady’s fears.

”I am Gauth-Touri of the Auranthanati” said Gauth, stepping alongside Maja and bowing his head slightly ”It is my charge, Aran-Tho, who is lost in this storm. We are not from here, but he is strong. He will survive. But perhaps he sought shelter with you? He is a child in our tribe, but may look like a man to your eyes.” he drew back his rain-soaked hood to show his face ”He would be marked like me.”


He then thought a moment, before adding ”But Aran-Tho is a crafty one, and can be not seen if he chooses to do so. He may have slipped into your building or somewhere around it without you being aware. With your permission I should like to have a look around. Reassure him it is safe to come out.”

He stepped forward again holding his arms out in a gesture of peace.


OOC

 


 
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  #131  
Old 11-17-2019, 10:22 AM
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Windmill, 12:20 PM, rain
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The older woman looks at the wet and miserable group with more than a bit of suspicion as Maja tells her brief tale of woe. "Hmph... the roads around here are certainly dangerous... not sure what would be foolish enough to attack you folk." She looks you all over, obviously looking for signs of injury. "I can see you came out of it okay... I'll bet the other side can't say the same," she says in a slight chuckle, again looking towards the goliath.

The women's face softens at the mention of the lost child and she shakes her head, even as Gauth describes his missing charge. "I'm sorry... I truly am. He certainly has not come this way... at least not to my door." The woman steps aside and shows the cramped kitchen that takes up most of the small first floor. "I've been baking all morning... haven't left this room." She looks at Maja and the woman's face blushes slightly. "This is how I support my family... my Mum and sister. We bake various pies and then sell them door to door."

"I'm sorry I don't have information about your missing friend... you're more than welcome to come in for a spell... it's a bit cramped for space but we can make do." The woman moves about the small room moving chairs, rearranging pans while wiping flour off of everything. "I'll fix you all a slice of pie... wash it down with some fresh wine?"



 
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  #132  
Old 11-17-2019, 04:08 PM
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“Three aged women,” Renata observes bluntly, “living out here alone. Do Strahd’s minions not molest you?”

OOCRenata - +3 Insight - will be paying close attention to the answer.

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  #133  
Old 11-18-2019, 12:42 PM
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Maja felt her heart beating in her chest when the old woman reminded her of the fate of the small band of goblins that had never stood a single chance. But the baker couldn't know about the heated quarrel between the party members and Maja didn't want to think about it anymore. Fortunately, the tempting smell coming from the little bakery on the first floor, which stood in such stark contrast to the decaying state of the windmill from the outside, helped her to distract herself.

"Thank you very much," Maja replied to the old woman, who had invited them inside. For a moment, the girl was reminded of the Horror House of the Dursts. But she pushed that thought away; after all, their torture in the Durst mansion hadn't counted for nothing. They had freed the souls of the three children, Rose, Thorn, and little Walter.

"A slice of pie would be wonderful," the telepath said. "And, if you have, a tea or just some water for me."

She looked around, saw all the baker's utensils. Suddenly, it felt as if long-forgotten hidden knowledge flashed through her mind. Within a second, the girl had learned how to put all these tools to use, had long lists of recipes for pies, cakes, biscuits in her mind. Maja didn't understand where her sudden proficiency had come from. Of course, being a brave girl, she had often helped her mother in the kitchen but her appreciating of cooking and baking had always been on a very basic level.

For a moment, she felt dizzy but regained her composure. "If you need a helping hand while we rest here, I will be at your command," Maja offered quickly to cover up her puzzlement.

Do you think we can rest here for an hour or so? Maja relayed telepathically to her friends, I would need as much time to seek out Gauth-Touri's boy.
OOCBonus Action: Nomadic Mind (Baker's Tools).
Insight: +3.
Persuasion: +6.
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  #134  
Old 11-18-2019, 01:44 PM
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Gareth Blackcroft
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Gareth watches with predatory glee as Maja and Gauth step forward to make the introductions and ask the questions. While they waste their breath on the old woman, Gareth scans the inside of the windmill for anything valuable. He was still desperately short of coin and had a strong urge to get very drunk when they saw Ireena safely to Vallaki.

Renata's question grabs the rogue's attention, though, and the wheels in Gareth's head begin to turn. The thief's eyes scan the room, searching for anything out of place before he steps forward and offers a half bow to the owner.

"I'm Darrell Swillwater, and as a craftsman myself I can appreciate the skill and passion that is evident in your wares! I do not believe we had the pleasure of hearing your name, though, ma'am. And if you don't mind my asking, we have met another purveyor of pies just a few days ago. How far afield do you travel with your goods?"

The rogue positions himself next to Renata and gives her a beaming smile.

"You're so thoughtful, Renata. Always looking out for others!"

Gareth locks eyes with the paladin for a moment and holds her gaze, nodding in approval at her question.

OOC
Dice Investigation Check:
1d20+4 (12)+4 Total = 16
for anything out of the ordinary in the room for three peasant women.

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  #135  
Old 11-18-2019, 04:59 PM
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Gauth-Touri of the Auranthanati
Rain gets in the eyes …
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I’m sorry … I truly am. He certainly has not come this way … least not to my door” the old lady had said, but Gauth missed her talk of baked goods and wine. Instead he was trying to look through the driving rain for signs that Aran-Tho may have left.


Maja’s voice shook his concentration … he jerked his head back to look at her she’s talking in my head again … have to get used to that

”You go on in” he said to the group ”I shall be in presently. I’d like first to look around the building to see if there is sign the Aran-Tho may have passed by even if the old lady has not seen him."


Gauth pulled his hood back over his head and begun a circuit of the building. He felt the rain drive hard on his back as he stepped out of the lee of the windmill. The water welled on his hood, dripping down into his eyes and nose. It was tough to see anything clearly in this rain, so the goliath made do with prodding the undergrowth with his staff.


OOC
Guess who fluffed his perception roll!


 


 
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