Midnight RPG - Chapter 22.411
- 1 PRIOR TO THE BLUFF
- 2 NOTE
- 3 A time for Decisions
- 4 Q&A
PRIOR TO THE BLUFF
None of you like to hear the old beast weave his words. Even his master Zal'Kazzir can barely stand hearing him talk now and then. But this story... this tale of "the Bluff" was one that no one seemed to yell "SHUT UP!" at him for... The little outsider has been to the Bluff. At least that's what it seems like from his words. Along the trip across the southern Plains of Ash and Blood - nearing the plains of grass where the thousands of Orcs camp the old beast began a story...
"Let me tell you young masters, the tale of the times that come about in the city on the lower coast of the Pellurian. It's a tale telling of the troubled town.
The harbor bell rang with grim solemnity in the Stone Docks. The early morning mist swirled inquisitively about the last of the fishing boats heading for the open sea. A group of burly men stood in glowering silence on the pier, awaiting the arrival of the Carrion Wind out of Highwall. The creaking of ropes and rhythmic slapping of water on timber were the first signs of its approach, followed shortly by the appearance of the hulking black mass of the three-masted troop carrier. As the ship passed the seawall, the men on the docks erupted into a flurry of activity, preparing to bring the ship into berth. At the seawall, the cloud of gulls that had been following the ship wheeled suddenly and dispersed into the mist-shrouded horizon. Their strange behavior served only to highlight the absence of birds on the dockside.
As soon as the laborers tied off the ship, the planks were thrown roughly down and the dark shapes crowding the gangway resolved themselves into the brutish forms of orcs clad in black chain and carrying the large jagged blades of their kind. With a roar, the towering beasts charged down the boards and onto the quayside, snarling and howling at the terrified onlookers. There was a hollow ring to this fearsome bluster, and as the orcs moved swiftly away from the waterÃ¢ÂÂs edge, several cast nervous glances at it and the creaking vessel that had carried them for a week across the wide Pelluria. Following after his troops, a much larger member of the species stopped in the gangway, sneering at the sprawling human city rising above him. There was no trace of fear in the orukÃ¢ÂÂs manner, but his temper was as foul as his troopsÃ¢ÂÂ. When a young lad stumbled under the weight of his load, dropping a crate that promptly fell into the water and sunk quickly from sight, the commander found an object on which to vent his irritation. The sickening sound of metal parting flesh and shattering bone reverberated around the dock. Silence rushed into the frozen tableau that followed, but the oruk merely grinned at the grim-faced humans and spat on his victimÃ¢ÂÂs body."
Move on, ya laggards, before I start givinÃ¢ÂÂ you some! The oruk bellowed to his orcs as he kicked the headless corpse into the water lapping at the quayside.
"Legate Idis sipped from a gem-encrusted chalice wrought of gold. The fine wine was a piquant accompaniment to the screams of the oruk dangling in chains before him. This last had been particularly shrill and drawn out; the cold smile of the mistress of mercies told him that the show had at last come to an end. Idis was impressed with his endurance. The savage had survived a week under the mistressÃ¢ÂÂs tender ministrations. Ah! Fine wine and such sweet entertainment, he thought. Of course, he hadnÃ¢ÂÂt needed to torture the oruk; the populace would have been appeased by a simple execution. But then, one must take oneÃ¢ÂÂs pleasures as one can."
Orf, take thisÃ¢ÂÂ¦
Idis idly waved his hand towards the mass of raw, bleeding flesh that had been Commander Turrz,
...thing away. Hang it from the Weirhold Gate. Let his carcass serve as warning to the others that the status quo will not be threatened.
Yawning, the legate left the subterranean room, his black robes dragging in the pooling blood upon the floor, leaving a glistening streak in his wake.
Balal looked up to see how the group took his story, his skin chapped and burned from the ashen wind. Personally, he couldn't wait to get there - it sounds like fun!
I'd like to start any conversations during travel. I'll start posting in descriptions of the travel. However, I believe Bill noted that you might reconsider going back through the Plains of Ash and Blood. Can we go back INTO character to discuss and finalize HOW you're getting North? Feel free to talk to any NPCs here as well. Thanks.
A time for Decisions
- *Ash-covered and haggard looking, Zal'Kazzir turns to Belal and begins to speak*
"No matter how fun Baden's Bluff may or may not be, our task at present is to survive the journey, and to arrive fit enough to be effective when we get there."
- *Turning back to the group, Zal begins to draw a crude map in the ash with his stick as he continues
"Personally, I am of two minds; the part of me that is a father wants to head straight for the road, and press on with all haste."
- *Zal'Kazzir points to the road, then makes a quick motion north
"However, I realize that the arrows render such a plan risky at best, and likely much worse. If the road is denied to us,"
- *Zal'Kazzir scratches a slash across the road of ruin*
"then my interest in is the fastest possible route, and that seems to be the difficult journey through the plains. Even if our overall movement is slower, and the journey harder than navigating the grasslands, there is a good chance we can pass most of the way to the Bluff completely unmolested by shadow forces. Also, if we choose the plains, we can make a direct line toward our destination,
- *Zal makes a steady furrow through the plains, towards Baden's Bluff*
rather that being forced to constantly detour around patrols, camps and other elf-hostile areas that we cannot safely cross."
- *Zal traces a swerving, evasive path through the grasslands, much longer than the one he drew throught he plains*
"However my friends, my understanding of these things is limited. I do not know the endurance of the elf-steeds, nor am I aware of what awaits us in the deep plains. What are your opnions?"
"I agree. The plains do not make for pleasant travel, but it is precisely that which makes it the safest choice. No patrols will needlessly veer into this place. With these plants, we will have food and shelter, and the only danger the wastes pose to us will be the heat and ash itself, both of which we can prepare for. I think this is our best option.
"We might be able to travel all the way along the Road of Ruin and encounter no dangers at all, or send Nisse ahead to scout such that we might leave the road long before encountering them. That might take a few days off our traveling time. It is a risk, though, and I don't like risks. My vote is still for the Plains of Ash and Blood."
Kevin: That might be a Knowledge: Shadow or Profession: Soldier check to find out exactly what sort of things we'd be most likely to encounter on the Road of Ruin. Goblins? Uruk? Trolls?
"I agree, with these plants that we have found, I think we will be much better served to move through the Plains. I cannot speak much to our speed, but I think it will be the safer route. We have already experienced some of what the plains have for us. I think if we were to prepare for our journey, we would be alright. This may involve venturing onto the grasslands for a day to hunt, gather water, and guard ourselves against the ash and heat."
Kevin: Can I get a Survival check to see what precautions might be necessary, assuming that the conditions will be similar to what we have experienced, but worse?
"Mi'Shun, what do you think we may be able to do to protect ourselves?"
"Aditionally, we have two other issues to deal with. First, we must cross another large river, and we cannot count on encountering another giant. There is a trick hidden in that staff we have that will allow us to coax Aryth into helping us, but would require great energy from Kuyad, Zal'Kazzir and myself as well as several days. We also may be able to cut over to that large road, but it makes me very nervous."
"Also, we need to discuss weather we Should cut to the East or the West of that road once we are clear of the plains. Mi'Shun, what rumors do you know of the Darkening wood?"
Kyuad listens patiently and appears to consider the lines on the maps. He gasps a breath then continues, "It is agreed then, we should proceed through these ashen fields. I think that now we are together and we understand the dangers better, we can move much more quickly than I and the elves have been."
- What follows depends on the Lorebook information he's been researching.
- Kyuad has been doing some research concerning the surrounding area. This includes asking the elves for some information, consulting the maps he carries, and Lorebook checks. First he is going to ask the elves what they know (or think they know). As a part of all of this, a Knowledge check is called-for, but because he has no ranks in the appropriate skill for the area (unless it pertains to spirits and magic stuff) he's limited to a result of 10 no matter the roll. From the SRD: Concerning the Knowledge skill: Untrained: An untrained Knowledge check is simply an Intelligence check. Without actual training, you know only common knowledge (DC 10 or lower). Next he will make Lorebook checks if the others are fruitless.
- The areas he specifically was looking for more information concerns the Road of Ruin, what to expect in the Plains of Ash and Blood concerning dangers and foes especially.
- Kyuad is also looking into what lies beyond. Lorebook checks for Fraag Longtusk, the Green March, Dern's Hold, the Giant's Face, Lord Eoatin and the Elemic Knot. I know this is a LOT. I suggest just giving me some basic info that would be pertinent to our plans.
- Also, we just passed through the Darkening Wood - it is south of the river.
Q: Kevin: That might be a Knowledge: Shadow or Profession: Soldier check to find out exactly what sort of things we'd be most likely to encounter on the Road of Ruin. Goblins? Uruk? Trolls?
A: ROLL: Durgaz (Profession Soldier +6) ROLLED: 13+6 = 19.
On the Road of Ruin you would likely encounter any movements of troops to/from Baden's Bluff to Al Kadil. Most troop movements however will travel cross-country. WHY is this? Because their "food" is cross-country. The area of hilly plains between the Bluff and Al Kadil are the area of "farms" or rather small villages and make-shift camps all encompassing the various herds of boro, wild horse, sheep, etc... and the various "supply train" needs for the quarter million Orc commanded by Grial the Feykiller's four armies. This harkens back to the massive herds you all KNOW are coming across those plains in the south. Those herds were spread out and a large portion of the ones in the south were being herded toward Three Oaks (you have guess the reasons prior). As for what else would be on the Road of Ruin: the many many many supply trains for the various men of the south and other non-aligned folks...
As for how much "traffic"... consider it like something might pass you once every 4-6 hours on average.
Durgaz (with that roll, below DC20) has likely never been North on the Road of Ruin beyond Al Kadil and if he has it was probably when he was brought south as "freight" when he originally came from the North. So the memory of what the road would be is sparse. I'll give you more info Saturday if you want it.
Q: Kevin: Can I get a Survival check to see what precautions might be necessary, assuming that the conditions will be similar to what we have experienced, but worse?
A: ROLL: Eranon (Survival +??) ROLLED: 9+?? = ??.
I couldn't download Eranon's CS for some reason, Steve you might wanna check it before game time. So I don't know what your modifier is. But I know it's relatively high and I didn't roll incredibly bad for you... It would be reasonable to assume that the conditions would be worse by some measure simply because of the extended amount of time in the Plains of Ash & Blood as you travel some 200-300 miles through them North. Good precautions I'd consider:
- remove any armors or metals from body
- cover up all skin
- make "filtration" masks for eyes and nose/mouth
- have plenty of water (drinking and to coat body) and protected food
- have potions of healing and magic healing ready
- have digging tools ready to dig out ground for the Embave Aranthi Seed planting
- watch for any shelter to make us of (burned/hollowed out trees)
- track for "Firefalls" so you and the mounts won't fall in them
- watch out for "Cinder Storms"
- Consider that: seeing in the Plains of Ash and Blood will be difficult, while flat the raining ash and ash from footfalls kicked up make visibility very very poor.
- Consider that: Fell may be a problem at points... prepare and watch for them
- Consider: other "things" might survive and thrive in the wastes... prepare and watch for them
We'll roll for any "issues" on Saturday. With all these preparations (and I'll ask again which you take and any others) it shouldn't be as much a problem for "casualties" this time. The animals (not being bred for this) may have additional problems, but we'll see. We'll also have to figure out the distance and stop/rest times to note consumption of food/water and the Seed "shelters".
BONUS XP for anyone making a timeline chart for this before game!!
Q: Also, we just passed through the Darkening Wood - it is south of the river.
A: The Darkening Wood IS south of the Felthera. It's also south of Three Oaks. I didnot assume you passed through the Darkening Wood. Mi'shun and the Arrows would have suggested NOT doing so. Noting that it would possibly slow you down a great deal due to the inherent dangers of the wood to Orc and Elf-kind alike. To be honest - THAT is something we really should have detailed had you wanted to go through it, the Darkening Wood "deserves" it's own time/description. Hence I just assumed you DID NOT go through it. Or as Mi'shun would have told you:
- oh no Master Kyuad, none go there. The wood of the realm speaks angrily there, the Whispers turn to screams, the very roots of the great maudrials will tear the best of us apart on the whims of the winds if it be not our day. May I suggest an indirect route out of the Druid Swamp to the fields beyond the eastern breech of the Erethor. Then moving at sharp angle north skirting that hateful place...
Q: Kyuad has been doing some research concerning the surrounding area.
A: Great. If it's cool, I'll just make it simple and give you modifiers to your LOREBOOK check for these various resources: asking the elves, consulting the maps, and Lorebook checks. For some reason I cannot download your CS, it's also your 9th level sheet anyway... So I'll use the last number I have for it +1 for 10th level.
ROLL: Kyuad (Lorebook +14) ROLLED: 17+14 +2 (Elves) + 2 (Maps) = 35.
BAM!! Killer roll!! I'll be adding to this today and tonight (Friday) when I get time. THIS is an *EYES ONLY* link for KYUAD - DONOT READ IF YOU ARE NOT BILL!!
Kyuad's Lorebook information on the Erethor's Eastern Front MORE COMING SOON
NOTE: Durgaz get's a roll on "Fraag Longtusk"
ROLL: Durgaz (Profession Soldier +6) ROLLED: 10+6 = 16. Info : THIS is an *EYES ONLY* link for DURGAZ - DONOT READ IF YOU ARE NOT ANDREW!!
- Fraag Longtusk MORE COMING SOON
NOTE: Eranon get's a roll on "Lord Eoatin & other Elven Commanders" & the forests beyond the Felthera
ROLL: Eranon (Intelligence +??) ROLLED: 18+?? = 18+. Info : THIS is an *EYES ONLY* link for ERANON - DONOT READ IF YOU ARE NOT STEVE!!
- Eranon's knowledge of Forests beyond the Felthera.
- Elven Commanders MORE COMING SOON
- NOTE: Steve - we really didn't cover this much but here's a fun bit for you... a Gift found
NOTE: Zal'Kazzir get's a roll on "Baden's Bluff Social Structure"
ROLL: Zal'Kazzir (Know: Nobility +8) ROLLED: 16+8 = 24. Info : THIS is an *EYES ONLY* link for ZAL'KAZZIR - DONOT READ IF YOU ARE NOT ADAM!!
- Baden's Bluff region MORE COMING SOON