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896970 No. 896970 ID: 2007b6

The Church of Orcus might have people we care about stuck in that jail, and definitely have a lot of shiny stuff in their vault.

Who's coming along, and what's our plan?
>>
No. 896972 ID: 2007b6

Our story so far: https://tgchan.org/wiki/Please_do_not_Take_these_Organs
This is picking up after thread 6, and may be happening simultaneously with threads 7 and 8.
If you think I deserve to be paid more than my current roughly dollar-a-day rate for juggling all that continuity, feel free to contribute here: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=4587981
>>
No. 897005 ID: 094652

Hore is eager to get into a fight.

As a primary assault, Azarthraine can fire a disintegration beam straight into the priests' rooms, and the party will breach in and attempt to kill whichever priests happen to be there. Follow up on the acolytes before they can get into position to sync cast. Without their support leaders to buff them, the remaining armies should be easily killed by long-range firepower and tactical positions.
>>
No. 897311 ID: 2007b6

>>897005
>Azarthraine can fire a disintegration beam straight into the priests' rooms
For the Temple of Final Sacrament, that sort of breaching strategy was made possible by precise, detailed maps, and the fact that it's so close to the surface. Goris's map is missing one very important piece - the goblin-held position at the top of the stairs - which makes the sort of trigonometry required for a precision breach from the surface effectively impossible. Assaulting the entrance would likely mean losing the element of surprise, and during the hours of measurement and calculation afterward, local forces would be preparing a counterattack.

It's not that this is a bad proposal, but more setup is required in order to effectively implement it.
>>
No. 897351 ID: 4f1cbc

>what's our plan?
Davina settles in to discus the company's options in detail with her peers, pouring over maps and notes. Oragami miniatures are conjured to be placed on maps at need, small glowing points of light are used to highlight details or mark points of interest, and she wields a small rod (appropriated from the surveyors) as a lecturer's pointer, punctuating her arguments with alacrity.

Objectives
1. Survival. Perhaps this should be obvious, but it bears repeating: we will not willful embark on a plan of action that would lead to our own destruction.
2. Profitability. Similarly, we should not embark on any plan that will financially ruin the company.
3. The Missing Fire Hawks. Any prisoners or remains on site need to be rescued or recovered.
4. Azarthraine's spellbook. We suspect it may be located in the high value artifact vault. This represents a potent force multiplier.
5. Information. If we fail to to locate items 3 and 4 (and perhaps, even if we are successful), the cultists present may still possess information that will point us in the correct direction.

The main takeaway of 1 and 2 is that Talon North is a formidable target, and we should not proceed with reckless haste or inadequate preparation.

Considerations
* Talon North has scrying capabilities. We do not want to face opposition that is forewarned and prepared. Therefore this scrying will need to be circumvented. We need to block it, or spoof it, or flood it with false positives, or avoid it. Or possible attack or perform a sudden insertion from beyond it's range.

* The vault will employ significant physical and magical defenses to prevent access. We will need a way to circumvent that. We will need a safe cracker, or to steal the "key" in advance, or to trick the cultists into opening it for us, or a means to compel someone with access to open it. We likely will not have the time to sit on a seized fortress and painstakingly disassemble the defenses.

* We similarly need to be prepared to circumvent the any defenses keeping the prisoners jailed. While these will likely be less significant than the vault, an additional complication is that we need to be prepared to move people who may be in poor condition and difficult to move safely or quickly. We need medevac capability, essentially.

* Those of us who escaped the Bloodmist Labyrinth via the Temple of Final Sacrament are currently bound by our agreement with Aaphia. To safely act against the church of Orcus in this manner, it will either be necessary to sever this agreement (which she will be aware of, and may inadvertently serve to warn Talon North), or we need to work around it. (Some possibilities here: >>/questarch/883632 ). One way to do this may be to exploit the break between Sister Goris and the cult holding Talon North: working with a true believer against apostates or heretics.

* Based off Goris' intelligence, Talon North has 1-3 priests who have access to the fifth circle, and more at the third circle. With the exception of Azarthraine and Esmeraude, this exceeds the capabilities of our casters. Opposition with magical superiority is a recipe for disaster- we need to bridge that gap. (Level up, additional magical support, disable / naturalize / weaken Talon North's casters somehow).

* Similarly, Talon North currently has numerical superiority.

* The golbin outpost. It will significantly improve our odds of success if we can arrange for the goblin outpost to stay out of this, or switch sides. We need to pass their outpost to get from the surface to Talon North, and it would be preferable if we did not have to force our way through, and if they did not (or could not) send warning to Talon North.
https://media.discordapp.net/attachments/452275937610825740/477672804154867723/Crude_Map.png

* Greznek. If the city decides to field a significant military force, it will likely be beyond our ability to counter. This sets a time limit on any operation. Once we go "loud", we have 8-12 hours before they might arrive. It doesn't even matter where their sympathies lies, strictly. The city reinforcing the cult would be bad, but even a benign intervention of a peacekeeping force could result in our losing access to the contents of the vault.

* Redundancies and contingencies are required, to some extent. For example, a plan that will fail without Viste's portals will be in trouble if she is disabled.

Possible Approaches
* Military Assault / "Going Loud". The most direct, and possibly the most dangerous option. We simply attack, cut down the opposition, and take what we can. This probably isn't the safest option while we lack magical and numerical superiority, and its possibility the hardest to combine with exploiting a loophole to work around Aaphia's oath. At the very least, we should be prepared for a straight fight if we try a different approach and it fails.

* Heist. We rely on stealth, guile, trickery, and planning to gain access and circumvent the defenses and/or gain access to the facility.

* Infiltration. With the possible exception of Prisoner, this likely isn't where our group would be strongest, but it is a possible way to gain access to the facility or gather information.

* Diplomacy or Trade. It's unlikely we're willing to pay what the church of Orcus would ask for what we want, or that we could trust them in a fair bargain.

Ways to Increase Our Odds
* Build up to this mission. Take other jobs. This gives us the chance to grow stronger (level up), gather funds to finance the effort, and collect specific resources we might need. (If we decided we need X to hit Talon North, we go on a job to get X. Repeat until we're ready).

* Hire or recruit additional manpower. We may need specialists with certain skill sets for specific parts of the plan, for redundancies, or simply so we're less outnumbered. If we're willing to offer them a share of the expected contents of the vault, we may not even need to pay full price up front.

* Reach out to the Pirate Captain Sister Goris works for. They've been to Talon North / the goblin outpost before and have relevant firsthand experience, and we can buy favor with her by capturing and delivering the Wheel of Bone. As a bonus, removing the Wheel of Bone from the local area will also improve our relations with the local spirit court.

* Gather more recent intelligence. Goris' information is several months old. The more we know about the defenses, the better we can plan around them. And if we learn more about the political situation or what's going on with the goblins, we will be better positioned to find a way to work around the potential obstacle they present.

That's all fairly general / high level, but we can work our way into specifics? This isn't something to rush into, and I don't think we're quiet prepared to raid this place just yet.

>Who's coming along
...I'll get into the mess of figuring out which PCs are still in the game and roleplaying or rolling to persuade NPCs (or PCs turned NPCs) into coming along later, I'm kind of burnt out.
>>
No. 897358 ID: de8c77

rolled 3, 6, 3 = 12

>>897351
Maru’s take away is that capturing the wheel of bone is gonna be the most useful thing they can do at the moment. On that note though, how does Goris think Talon North would react to “shock and awe” tactics and/or diplomacy? Are these the kinds of guys who will torch something useful just because they know someone else wants it, or do they land somewhere further away from death cult fanatics in terms of trade and stuff?

And thank you Magey, it looks like you put a lot of time and energy into that, and it’s well appreciated.
>>
No. 897370 ID: 2007b6

>>897351
>* Diplomacy or Trade. It's unlikely we're willing to pay what the church of Orcus would ask for what we want, or that we could trust them in a fair bargain.
Davina did manage to cut a simple cash-for-intel deal with them once before, despite significant complications. >>/questarch/768121 Or, at least, you sure thought those were agents of the Church of Orcus, and following their vague directions turned out mostly okay.

>>897358
>how does Goris think Talon North would react to “shock and awe” tactics
Vicious escalation. As a matter of both personal pride and formal institutional policy, they won't let anyone get away with openly intimidating them on their own home ground.
>and/or diplomacy?
She's not as sure, since that sort of decision wasn't something mere acolytes were expected to handle. Mesifin Styx, her old boss, didn't seem to have any problem with ritually murdering the same people he'd broken bread with a few hours before, when it would advance Church interests and/or his own career, so... exercise caution.
>>
No. 897371 ID: 094652

Suddenly Hore isn't as enthusiastic as before. Months-old stale intel has gotten entire regiments killed. Also, nobody has thought up a plan to deal with the supernatural ball of stabby-death in the middle of its home field advantage.

Hore votes they do more side-jobs until they're proper ready and can hire another mercenary company to tag along.
>>
No. 898584 ID: 4f1cbc

rolled 5, 2, 6 = 13

>>897370
>Davina did manage to cut a simple cash-for-intel deal with them once before
I suspect the exchange rate for the negotiated ransom of a valuable spellbook and prisoners and/or remains is going to be a lot steeper than we're willing to pay, especially with a bad history between our company and their church. And if the person in charge realizes they have us over a barrel. And of course we wouldn't be recouping losses by looting the vault in such a scenario.

Bribing individual cultists might be a more affordable option to gather intelligence, especially if they don't know the full scope of what they're getting into. Do they send out members on supply runs or similar where we might have opportunities to try and loosen tongues?

>>/questdis/125013
We can add that to our list of complications as well- as a temple, opposing divine powers (such as Vos' and the Agates') will be weakened.

>>897371
As I understand it, the priests at Talon North do not control the "ball of stabby death", it is currently independent. If it shows up in the raid at all, it might be on our side- provided we capture it for the pirate captain and convince their crew to aid us.

On that subject, what has prevented Goris from delivering the creature to her captain so far? She's demonstrated a means to transport it- what's missing?
>>
No. 899482 ID: 2007b6

Azarthraine raises the possibility that he might be able to shape the targeted volume of Supreme Disintegration into a six-inch-wide cylinder, which would theoretically end up just short of a mile long, assuming homogenous material. If such a vertical shaft were cut from the sandy soil of the beach near the goblins' back door into the roof of some underground chamber, said chamber would soon end up flooded with sand, at least in a cone from the entry point out to the angle of repose. That could be used to disrupt Orcusite operations in any number of ways as setup for a raid, assuming adequate targeting data was available.

>>898584
>what has prevented Goris from delivering the creature to her captain so far? She's demonstrated a means to transport it- what's missing?
Nothing, so far as she's aware. This was her first attempt.
>>
No. 899500 ID: 094652

rolled 3, 5, 6 = 14

>>899482
Genius! Still, Hore figures there's like five thousand different factors that have to be considered when implementing a disintegration drill followed by teleporting a desert of sand into the enemy base.

She'll get to work on that. Basic calculations for now, but she can analyze the spot where Azarthraine will drill his - ah, screw the innuendo - plus assistance from Gortis and Esmeraude on all the magical complications and wards.

Actually, as a further idea to compound this drill and suffocate plan, did Davina get that custom-ordered enchanted glass dohecahedron of feather fall back in Passholdt? You know, the one that keeps itself from hitting the ground and hovers mid-air so she can look into it from a telescope and pinpoint an exact location to create a portal? Because combine that with the lake, and we have a winning sand+water combo.

Rolling Int check on Engineering.
>>
No. 899508 ID: 2007b6

>>899500
>teleporting
No, no, likely as not they'd have some sort of ward against that. This would be a simple matter of kinematics, a hole in the bottom of a barrel.
>>
No. 899550 ID: 6785a6

rolled 5, 1, 5 = 11

>>899482
>Nothing, so far as she's aware. This was her first attempt.

Huh. Maru scratches her head, then turns to talk to davina away from the acolyte. "Didn't the fey say it kept popping up and disappearing? If our gal's only tried this once, what gives?"
>>
No. 899710 ID: 4f1cbc

>>899482
A good idea that could factor in as part of a larger plan.

>>899550
Indeed, that's what they said. >>/questarch/888580

Perhaps others intervened before? That would suggest someone or something coordinating interventions, which is interesting with Goris estranged from the church hierarchy.
>>
No. 900573 ID: 094652

Fifteen physics problems, two thaumaturgy search trees, and a fried cake with marshmallows later, Hore has concluded that the current plans, while feasible, will probably not go well. There's just too much well-oiled magic security to get in without getting spotted.

Hore votes they cash in their current intel mission, do more side jobs, and get something that can bypass medium-level scrying effects.
>>
No. 903111 ID: 2007b6

Agatha Spires shows up, running all-out toward your campsite at the Temple of Final Sacrament, carrying what's unmistakably Azarthraine's coded journal and research notes. She's being pursued (and sporadically attacked with lightning) by Bulgruf Many-Woman, who is honor-bound to retrieve the book in question at the request of a talking pig she met on the beach down south.
>>
No. 903130 ID: add037

rolled 3, 1, 3 = 7

>>903111
While running Agatha Spires will try to drop her lantern, coin purse, dried fruit, anything to slow down or distract her pursuer.

>lightning
Also rolling that phobia
>>
No. 903155 ID: afdebc

rolled 3, 2, 6 = 11

>>903111
Looking up from the table of spread out maps and plans at the duo (and hurled lightning) headed in their direction, Davina quickly issues orders: "Subdued but alive, preferably before the pursuer hits anything important." Underneath the table, her hand clenches.

Rolling for an out of sight Viste and definitely not Davina, nosiree, using her spacial snare on the running lightning thrower's feet to trip her up.
>>
No. 903209 ID: 094652

rolled 3, 4, 4 = 11

Hore cuts them off where they seem to be running and shouts for them to stand down before someone gets hurt, firing a warning shot at a nearby tree to get their attention. If neither one has the sense to surrender, she'll throw knives at Agatha's knees and then attempt a tackle.
>>
No. 903486 ID: d9acdc

rolled 3, 3, 3 = 9

Bulgruf Many-Woman is not about to let this opportunity slip away. If only the woman would simply listen- she doesn't need fruit, at least, she's not honor bound to retrieve it.

"We don't have to resort to violence! I only need the book, we can find a compromise. I am honor bound to retrieve it for someone, but perhaps there is a way we can both be satisfied!"

She then throws a lightning bolt in Agatha's path to try and block her flight.

"I don't intend to hurt you, only stop your escape so that I might force a conversation!"

Rolling to catch Agatha, or at least get closer to doing so.
>>
No. 904189 ID: 2007b6

>>903130
Agatha's discarded lantern arcs into the tent where Azarthraine is taking a nap.
>>903486
>She then throws a lightning bolt in Agatha's path
A moment later, when the tent is struck by lighting, kerosene-soaked canvas flashes into flame. There's an anguished squawk from inside.
>>903209
One of the trees near the camp, and some surrounding underbrush, also catch fire.
>>903155
Otherwise unmentioned fire hawks grab suitably nonlethal weapons and move to surround the intruder.
>>903486
Bulgruf's legs are entangled by some invisible immobilizing force, but she manages to remain standing, atop a low berm or ridge with an adequate view of the field. Her target is making a beeline for the only remaining gap in the encirclement, path predictable enough that it should be easy to incapacitate her with a direct lightning bolt - except for the fact that Agatha is holding the book in question overhead with one hand, perhaps preparing to throw it.
>>
No. 904248 ID: 094652

rolled 6, 1, 1 = 8

>>904189
... The book is really important. More important is the guy who's supposed to use it to turn his one-trick magic into poly-super magic.

Hore grabs Vos and runs for Azarthraine's tent to save his ass!
>>
No. 904303 ID: add037

rolled 4, 3, 5 = 12

>Hore grabs Vos and runs for Azarthraine's tent to save his ass!
Vos springs into action (still looking pretty bewildered) and rushes in to the tent to carry out Azarthraine's lizard ass and douse it in goo.
>>
No. 905013 ID: afdebc

rolled 4, 5, 5 = 14

Davina's going to continue hanging back. Can't leave Goris alone or she might take the opportunity to slip out, and it would take too long to disappear for Viste, who's lacking in less-than lethal options.

>One of the trees near the camp, and some surrounding underbrush, also catch fire.
>One of the trees near the camp, and some surrounding underbrush, also catch fire.
>carry out Azarthraine's lizard ass and douse it in goo
"Esmeraude dear, once Vos has pulled Azarthraine free, would you be so good as to stop the forest or the camp from burning down? If the interlopers are not in hand by the time you have finished you may douse the lightning-thrower, but avoid the spellbook."

Putting out the fire before that has a chance to snowball, visible magical support behind the people approaching Bulgruf hopefully encourage thinking about surrender / peaceful resolution, and in the worst case, if she tries to throw lighting from inside a sphere of water, she'll only be zapping herself.
>>
No. 905037 ID: 2007b6

>>904303
>>904248
Azarthraine's got some nasty-looking lightning burns on both his hands and forearms, and from somewhere around where his belly button would be (lizardfolk, of course, are not placental mammals and as such do not have navels) down his right leg to the heel-joint. Seems to be alert and functional, with only a minor limp and no impairment to manual dexterity after Vos applies healing goo, but stammering something about how there's a perfectly innocent reason why his trousers are missing which he'll gladly share just as soon as he thinks of it.

>>905013
>"Esmeraude dear, once Vos has pulled Azarthraine free, would you be so good as to stop the forest or the camp from burning down? If the interlopers are not in hand by the time you have finished you may douse the lightning-thrower,
Esmeraude conjures a 10' diameter ball of water and sends it crashing through the worst of the burning underbrush, scooping up Agatha and rolling on toward still-immobilized Bulgruf, who has time for perhaps one more directed lightning bolt OR an attempt to rip free of the spatial bondage (not both) before it reaches her. Being caught in the watery orb will sever her control over this artificial storm; it'll probably dissipate harmlessly over the course of an hour or less, but there's some risk of collateral damage, which is worse the more charges remain.

>but avoid the spellbook."
>rolled 4, 5, 5 = 14
"Wait, what was that about a book?"

Fortunately, Azarthraine's grimoire has a sealed slipcover, and many standard low-end protective enchantments. It could survive a brief dip in pretty much anything short of molten rock, or immersion in water less than a hundred feet deep (and not violently caustic) almost indefinitely.
>>
No. 905062 ID: 094652

rolled 4, 5, 1 = 10

>>905037
"[Warning, something crude, see >>/tg/res/11580 for uncensored phrase]. But more importantly, is that your spellbook buried in the arms of a drowning thief in a globe of water on her way to an angry battlemage who's charging something that may be lightning? I think we should do something about that.

Hore attempts to knock Bulgruf unconscious after the tidal globe hits her position.
>>
No. 905066 ID: 23b7bd

rolled 3, 4, 2 = 9

Bulgruf attempts to safely disapait the storm into the air, lightning bolt style, aiming away from the oncoming katamari/gnoll combo which is undoubtably meant to subdue her. Kneeling, arms outstretched, palms up would be the preferred stance, but as she cannot safely kneel, a relaxed t-pose, eyes lowered, lips pursed, will have to suffice.
>>
No. 905087 ID: 2007b6

>>905066
Storm dissipates safely.
>>905062
Agatha, Hore, and Bulgruf are flailing around inside a magically animated mass of turbulent water. Hore is trying to subdue Bulgruf, who is in turn compelled by geas to snatch the book from Agatha, who's mostly just trying to escape.

The water was crystal clear when first created, but has picked up a lot of ashes, dirt, leaf litter, a tent, and at least one large shrub or small tree was uprooted. Between that visibility issue, the spin cycle, and lack of experience at underwater fighting even in good conditions, the brawl is a confused tangle of limbs. It's nigh impossible to keep track of which way is up or down, much less who's friend or foe.

Agatha was short on breath to begin with, due to all that running, and the ball of water catching her by surprise. Accordingly, she has only a few seconds of useful consciousness left before she passes out and probably starts inhaling liquid.
>>
No. 905101 ID: add037

rolled 5, 6, 3 = 14

>minor limp and no impairment to manual dexterity after Vos applies healing goo
Anything I can do to restore him to perfect shape? Barring unsolicited mutations.

>there's a perfectly innocent reason why his trousers are missing
Vos points out that trousers are very uncomfortable and he's surprised that Azarthraine hasn't discarded them entirely. He'll be back to provide more thorough medical attention after he breaks up that underwater scuffle...

>Agatha, Hore, and Bulgruf are flailing around inside a magically animated mass of turbulent water.
Vos will dive in and try to help out whoever is treading the most water.
>>
No. 905102 ID: add037

rolled 5, 2, 6 = 13

Agatha will fight with all her might to keep hold of the book as she tries to get her head above water. What does her life matter if she can't fulfill her noble goal of returning this book to its rightful owner? If she survives, maybe she'll even get a candied apple as a reward.
>>
No. 905106 ID: 23b7bd

>>905087
Bound by geas yes, but not to the point of stupidity.

Push off of whatever surface she’s currently touching, exhale, and see which direction she starts sinking. From there, getting out of this mess should be a bit easier. As long as both parties get captured, there’s a chance she can make amends and still complete her quest.
>>
No. 905107 ID: 23b7bd

rolled 3, 5, 6 = 14

>>905106
Bound by geas yes, but not to the point of stupidity.

Push off of whatever surface she’s currently touching, exhale, and see which direction she starts sinking. From there, getting out of this mess should be a bit easier. As long as both parties get captured, there’s a chance she can make amends and still complete her quest.
>>
No. 905110 ID: 5f3f48

rolled 2, 1, 5 = 8

>there's a perfectly innocent reason why his trousers are missing which he'll gladly share just as soon as he thinks of it.
In this party it's perhaps less surprising that someone was caught with their pants down than that he was alone.

>"Wait, what was that about a book?"
"Hmm. It should be protected, worry not."

Not much to do but wait out the duration of the spell and get people into position to secure prisoners and provide first aid as necessary.

Anyone (or anything) else approaching the camp, possibly pursuing those two, or drawn by the commotion??
>>
No. 905202 ID: 094652

rolled 6, 4, 6 = 16

Hore wonders why her brain ordered her to jump INTO the water mud globe and not wait until it crashed into a tree or Bulgruf dodged the globe.

She'd fire haphazardly, except she might hit the book or one of her party members chasing this thing. Hore focuses on trying to find a mortal limb in this mess and grapples for dear life!
>>
No. 905246 ID: 2007b6

>>905110
"Esmeraude, on my signal and not before, dismiss the water. Viste, stand ready to secure prisoners." When Davina snaps her fingers and points, the orb vanishes, leaving Decaro Vos in a coiled heap on top of Hore and Bulgruf. Agatha floats three feet above them, like a bedraggled kitten suspended by the scruff of the neck.
>>
No. 905296 ID: add037

rolled 4, 4, 4 = 12

Vos immediately encircles Bulgruf in his coils. "It is good to meet you! Name is Vos. No more lightning or I must squeeze more tightly."
>>
No. 905345 ID: 9646f1

rolled 5, 3, 1 = 9

>>905296
“Do not fear, I have disipaited the energy of this storm now. It is sad circumstances are less favorable. Please ensure the book is secure and I will not struggle. I am oathbound to retrieve it. Long story, perhaps one that can be deliberated once I make amends for my actions.”

“Oh yes, before my rudeness overtakes me, I am Bulgruff, Many-Woman. What is customary greeting? I am far from home, unfamiliar with the culture and traditions that dominate these lands.”

Surrendering, but trying to keep an eye on the book.
>>
No. 905384 ID: 094652

rolled 4, 6, 4 = 14

Hore takes some time to check herself for damage and cough the mud out of her throat.

Bulgruf's quest gives her some pause. Who would need Azarthraine's journal, and why? Then she realizes that, as the original author is right here he has full permission to edit the book in any way he sees fit.

In short, copy everything and garble the original so it no longer has any useful information whatsoever.

Rolling for endurance to that tumbleweed. Still, the first few seconds were fun. They should try having sex in it sometime.
>>
No. 905391 ID: afdebc

>What is customary greeting?
Davina dryly replies, "Typically it doesn't involve setting tents on fire, but we'll make allowances."
>>
No. 905417 ID: 33113a

>>905391
Bulgruf addresses the comment with full sincerity, seeming unperturbed to be discussing things across the confines of Vos’ coils.
“I was incautious and my actions lacked proper forethought. I owe your people a debt. Regardless, I have been caught stuck in my stirrups so to speak, and wish to find an amiable hill to meet upon”
>>
No. 909067 ID: 2007b6

"I have an offer for you, Bulgruf Blitzenwerfer. That book you're trying to retrieve is rightfully mine; in fact, I personally inscribed every word and diagram within it. If you permit me an hour to meditate, and a quarter-hour to review my notes, I'll be able to provide something I think you might very much appreciate. I've only managed to develop two spells of the eighth circle so far, both of which involve manipulation of the borders between personal dreamscapes and the greater realm of void. One extracts a properly constructed daydream, manifesting it as a pocket dimension which people can physically visit; the other makes a living mind imperceptible and closes off various undesired back-channel influences. I have reason to believe that second spell might be capable of suppressing your geas, at least temporarily."
>>
No. 909099 ID: 3130aa

>>909067
Bulgruf nods as best she is able from within her friendly restraints.

“I was to suggest that perhaps you might help me circumvent my oath by doing away with the oath binder, but this would be satisfactory as well. In the interest of offering appropriate repayment, might I hear why you pitch your tents so close to this fallow place? Prior I was bound to hunt down a priest of Orcus, and have some knowledge useful to you..”
>>
No. 909108 ID: 094652

"We're planning a raid. Emphasis on the planning part, I feel like we've been talking for months. Thanks for coming along, that was fun!"
>>
No. 909150 ID: 8bd1e7

rolled 1, 4, 4 = 9

Agatha speaks up, interrupting negotiations. "Please let me down! There are many more lost belongings to track down and return."
>>
No. 909877 ID: add037

rolled 5, 4, 6 = 15

Any chance of Helen sneaking back onto the subterrene and piloting it out of here?
>>
No. 911788 ID: 2007b6

Reloading spells takes Azarthraine another hour of preparatory meditation, then fifteen minutes for the actual reading and ritual. He's got one 8th circle slot, which will have to go toward renewing the Mind Blank on Bulgruf every day until either some method for extending it's 24-hour duration becomes available, or you're willing to risk multiple loads of spells in unsustainably rapid succession. (With military discipline, two loads per day are permissible for up to a week, under exigent conditions, with close medical supervision and other duties kept to a minimum; three is possible at least in theory, but there's no credible record, anywhere in the lineage of Zelkor's predecessors and all their students, of anyone managing even as much as five full spell loads inside two days and then being actively useful for much of anything else within the next year or more.)

Two seventh-circle spell slots, each of which could hold Control Undead, Reorient Gravity (currently affects a bit more than 500 cubic yards per casting and lasts at least fifteen minutes, or longer duration across a smaller area; arbitrarily shapeable in theory, but edges flow like soap bubbles), Prismatic Spray (a very versatile technique, albeit unpredictable, and a key part of the combo he used to destroy Aaban Bonegnasher), or a 6th circle or lower spell with slack for enhancements - so far he's been using those for Supreme Disintegration.

Three 6th circle slots. Apart from Supreme Disintegration, notes include an analytical effect that should be able to puzzle out all the nuances of any enchanted item or magical trap (a dozen or more such targets per casting, though using it properly requires several hundred gold worth of occult lenses and other portable lab equipment). There's a bundled set of 'artificial haunting' techniques for rapidly locking down a building, mostly useful if there are inadequate troops available to defend it more conventionally; that one also requires some material support not immediately available, though there are better prospects for field-expedient improvisation. As for spells that could actually be used today, there's Greater Eldritch Conduit, which doesn't do much by itself but allows other spells to be cast through tenuous arcane links, and Whip of Ants which (apart from it's obvious combat uses) can be applied to earthworks, or retrieval of items from narrow crevices. The summoned ants can even chew through stone, though not in any sort of hurry. After his hand got stuck in that hole in the wall, Azarthraine had been planning to rest up and prepare that spell, but some slime-beast approached, he broke his arm struggling, and... well, you know how all that turned out.

Five 5th circle slots. In addition to Transmute Iron to Lead/Lead to Iron, there's a modular set of curse components, Dance of the Unicorn (produces a soft, cleansing mist over at least a twenty-yard radius, decontaminating exposed surfaces and removing smoke or noxious gas from the air), Lesser Planar Binding (could in principle be set up anywhere with a smooth dry floor, a bit of chalk, and ten minutes of sketching, but proper safety requires elaborate laboratory conditions), a trick for distorting space to effectively create a 75' deep pit on any flat surface even if it's nowhere near that thick, diagnostic/maintenance kit for golemetry (benefits from the same portable lab equipment as the more general 6th circle analytic spell, but high-level queries or crude overrides are possible barehanded), and the ever-popular Sending (25 words or a single image delivered to any reasonably familiar individual, reaches anywhere in the same realm of existence and sometimes beyond, telepathic packet includes capacity for a similar-sized reply).

Five 4th circle slots. Among the spells he fully memorized, the only 4th circle one is Illusory Wall (which is actually permanent). The finished spells in his research notes back that far are mostly brutally practical techniques prototyped during the Rhestmere Incursion: quick-summonable monsters, armor enchantment to keep moving when the wearer is incapacitated, a forty foot wide inferno that (mostly) spares any allies caught within, anchor to block teleportation (important supplement to a planar binding diagram).

Five third-circle spell slots. From the fully memorized stuff, there's Deep Slumber (doesn't work on elves, but knocks out a whole room full of almost anything else with a brain, so hard they can't be awoken by loud noises or shaking; sometimes even effective on intelligent undead), Locate Object, and Gemstone To Clothing Of Equivalent Or Lesser Value. From his notes, the overarching theme is early experiments on time manipulation: Haste for combat advantage, Pup Shape to temporarily revert animals or magical beasts to a cute and mostly harmless childhood form, Sundered Serpent Coil which was the failed product of a deeper inquiry into the origin of life (but turned out to be decently useful as an area-denial weapon, or temporary restraints), and the disappointingly literal Shifting Sands. Vengeful Comets and narrow-radius portable wards are available as defensive measures. An inverted ward must be included in any remotely serious attempt at Lesser Planar Binding, as the 'trap.'

Ten second-circle slots, thanks to a tattoo that somehow carried over when he reincarnated. In addition to the fully-memorized Knock (unfastens up to two locks per casting, including temporary suppression of magical locks) there's the very unpleasant Fleshcurdle (another crucial part of the combo used on Aaban Bonegnasher), Fox's Cunning, and Lesser Angelic Aspect. Azarthraine was somewhat distracted from proper study back at that point in his career by efforts at shorter-term self-perfection, and romantic aspirations which ended in tragedy. Don't ask.

Six 1st circle slots, though often he'd use those for a wider repertoire of minor effects. In addition to the fully-memorized Color Spray (harmless but intensely distracting, inspiration for that 7th circle Prismatic effect), there's an overnight camp-ward optimized for detecting invisible intruders, a technique for propping up inadequate tools at the expense of personal vitality (like Greater Eldritch Conduit, it's only useful in support of other spells), and Snapdragon Fireworks which is a civilian-grade Magic Missile variant (bright lights and loud noises, scatters very distinctive alchemical and aura traces all over, adequate for self-defense or signaling, mostly useful for entertainment).

Far too many minor spells to list. Any trivial effect he doesn't already have in complete form could probably be hacked together in a few hours from portions of other known-stable formulae.


Even with actual geas held in abeyance, though, that creature which asked Bulgruf to retrieve Azarthraine's spellbook might be planning to follow up somehow. It seemed quite a bit smarter than the average pig.
>>
No. 911790 ID: 2007b6

Another note about Illusory Wall: it blocks air currents, scents, trivial projectiles (rain, sand, maybe low-velocity pebbles, but nothing hard and fast enough to deal damage) and flying insects about as well as a taut sheet of paper, and can occasionally fool someone tapping and listening for echoes. In a pinch, a few properly angled castings could be almost as good as a proper tent for keeping warm and dry outdoors, but it avails nothing against strong winds or any significant pressure differential.

>>909877
Helen sidles over to the subterrene's hatch without attracting attention, but the hinge produces an ear-piercing squeal when she starts to open it. Also, air inside is still fairly stale, though a casting of Dance of the Unicorn might be able to fix that.
>>
No. 911930 ID: 094652

... Hore asks if the party is going to go adventuring now.
>>
No. 911999 ID: afdebc

>>911790
Helen's actions receive a pointed look before Davina moves on to discuss other options. She has no intentions of leading the mercenary team on a dangerous experiment to pilot a device we do not understand, and that could very well leave us stranded somewhere with no sure path back to familiar territory. Especially if we're not even being paid!


The obvious question to ask is if Agatha or Bulgruf are interested on signing on as Fire Hawks, having completed a job we set out to do, they're certainly eligible and welcome, should they wish to.

>He's got one 8th circle slot, which will have to go toward renewing the Mind Blank on Bulgruf every day until either some method for extending it's 24-hour duration becomes available
Something of a steep price to pay, but a reasonable trade for getting the book back at all.

What then, are our possible options for breaking the geas or extending the duration of min blank? A mission to free a new companion from mental compulsion, or to make 8th circle magic available, could be useful.

>>911930
A frontal assault on Talon North still feels premature, even with Azarthraine returned to form. In the short term, we might be best served to take another go at capturing the Wheel of Bone (perhaps Lesser Planar Binding or similar could be used to preempt it escaping again?). Trade it through Goris for payment or a future favor from her pirate Captain, and secure the goodwill of the local spirit court at the same time.
>>
No. 912177 ID: 9646f1

rolled 4, 5, 3 = 12

>>911999
Bulgruf asks how soon they would be moving against her binder. Depending on the answer she might be willing to take a more dangerous level of spell loads, but she'd prefer having her health to return to after dealing with this particular saddle bur. If they're offering a service position, she'd certainly be interested in that as a route to paying down her debt, trading one geas for another so to speak. What kind of contract would we be talking about? Length of time, nature of the risks involved, benefits and political ramifications are of import to her at this moment, among other things. She is of course in a rather poor bargaining position currently- you all have her restrained, outnumbered, and are significantly better trained than she is based on her understanding of that book and what your spellcaster is capable of. Current guesses as to why she's not dead involve heirarchical leadership, probably shared at least in part by the swordwoman doing the strategizing, and some level of usefulness as a living worker or captive that outweighs the risk of letting a potential hostile live. So, do you need her to be bait, or do you think she has useful information? Or are you hard pressed from soldiers and require any recruits you can get? Some sort of active conflict then, or one you're expecting, from a superior force?

Hm, seeking open council, small group, clear disorder and a lack of planned response indicate that whoever the former leader was has been indisposed,and this leadership is either temporary, unwilling, new, restructuring things, or some combination of those factors.

Bulgruf is stating her thoughts out loud, to no one in particular, although she would like at least some of those thoughts addresse.
>>
No. 916091 ID: 4c260f

rolled 1, 5, 4 = 10

>Helen's actions receive a pointed look
"Now, you can't keep me here against my will! Bunch of thieves and brigands, the lot of you! What do you aim to do with a vessel you can't pilot? I have considered ..." Helen vanishes with a pop and the subterrene hatch falls shut.
>>
No. 916133 ID: 4c260f

>Current guesses as to why she's not dead
"Do not kill without need, according to teachings of Tittivila. I can tell you more if you do not cause trouble."

>she'd prefer having her health to return to after dealing with this particular saddle bur.
"Are you injured? I can heal you. We are trying to destroy a monster in this area. It looks like giant wheel of bone. Have you seen it?"
>>
No. 916173 ID: d9acdc

>>916133
"Ah, religious code. As mentioned, learning about the political dynamic of your region and group would benefit me, so any information you choose to confer about your worship is useful. My health is satisfactory currently, but it can be dangerous to operate under the influence of too much magic. It sounds as if it might be in my best interest to accept dangerous levels of enchantment to pursue shared goals. The details of this can be negotiated later. Is the foe you all hunt down below? I have not heard of anything matching this description, but I am woefully underinformed.

Shall we re-make camp, discuss details of my binding to you, and dual to settle any differences? If one surrenders or suffers defeat they will accept the conditions placed upon them, contest decided the challenged?
>>
No. 916186 ID: 094652

rolled 4, 4, 5 = 13

>>916091
"... Yeah, no, if she wants to keep this machine, at the very least we're going to charge a transportation fee. Multiple times."

Hore does a quick check to make sure Helen didn't leave behind a bomb or something, is satisfied by the cleanliness of the floor, and her tail wags as she bounces back to the planning table.

Hore decides to chat with Agatha, trading old adventuring stories. Roll for making a good impression.
>>
No. 916193 ID: 4c260f

(Combining posts for multiple characters again)

Vos uncoils from Bulgruf and slithers off her.

>Is the foe you all hunt down below?
"It came from the nearby temple to Orcus, we think. But it is terrorizing innocents on the surface now. For your help, I would be grateful. The challenge is not in killing it, but preventing its escape."

>discuss details of my binding
"This you must discuss with Davina!"

>Hore decides to chat with Agatha, trading old adventuring stories. Roll for making a good impression.
>13
Agatha nods politely to Hore's tales and offers her own enthusiastically delivered stories of delivering lost belongings. Afterward she broaches the subject, "Actually there is the matter of that subterranean vessel. It belongs to one Nistamatsin, local demon who won it in some sort of cosmic lottery. I must make arrangements for its return."
>>
No. 916389 ID: afdebc

>Bulgruf asks how soon they would be moving against her binder.
That greatly depends on how quickly we can gather information on that individual, and what we learn, but rest assured, we are not inclined to ignore such an attack. We cannot tolerate anyone ensorcelling others to act against us.

>What kind of contract would we be talking about? Length of time, nature of the risks involved, benefits and political ramifications
Davina explains that the Fire Hawks are a mercenary company, with concomitant risks to life and limb, although the details can vary greatly from assignment to assignment. We do look after our own- our current concern is the location and recovery of members of the company who went missing in action.

Political ramifications follow of course. Reputations are built on performance and impressions, and even success can make enemies.

Length of time varies. There's no enlistment period- company members are free to cache out and retire between missions without malice. (Of course, deserting allies in the middle of an operation would be looked upon less favorably).

>Helen disappears into the air mid-rant
...perhaps our wizard would like to take a look into that? We appear to have another missing ally, and this is not the first time she has departed with little warning.
>>
No. 916412 ID: 70903e

>>916389
"So, I strike a member of your party, burn down your supplies, and all is forgiven provided I work with you to move against the people who have bound me against my will? I find this favorable, if a bit shocking. Would that the shoe was on the other hoof, and I had been assaulted by this wizard, who professed such was an act of negligence, what kind of response might I expect from the members of my company? It seems unfair to complain when I am in your debt, but I am having trouble understanding why I am being treated so well given how we've met.

Hm, another thought- Agatha might be pertinent to the matter of understanding who works against you, given her possession of the spell book. It seems she has a mission of her own- mayhaps if she is allowed to attempt to return whatever is below that hatch she would exchange something of value?"

Apropo of nothing, she comments to Davina, thinking out loud as she has been:

"Your features are quite striking. I suppose if do not need to hammer out details for a contract, there is no need for a duel, but I think I might enjoy sparring with you none the less, if you practice any martial discipline."

Turning to Vos she follows her statement
"You seem quite skilled as well, although I am more apprehensive to scuff with you- I imagine you would have the upper hand in most phsyically combat, given your large coils and comparatively greater appendages. Your friend with the Ax seems quite zealous as well. A good bunch to run into it seems. When might it be conviconve for me to bathe? I think there is a river nearby, if memory serves."
>>
No. 918567 ID: 2007b6

Court of the Fethine wants it gone from their lands. Ideally, captured alive so they can avenge themselves upon it and dispose of it's unnatural carcass under semi-controlled conditions. Disintegration or permanent banishment would be satisfactory, with reasonable proof; hacking it to pieces or otherwise allowing the blood to contaminate groundwater, or convincing it to stay inside the Temple of Final Sacrament more consistently, would be grudgingly acceptable compared to the current random rampages. They've got no notable precognitive assets, but the best ability to track the thing in real time.

Marijke and friends want it as a pet, and possible shock-trooper. They've got a ship docked in a secret cove within half a day's sail of the rivermouth, and a neogi. They might be able to transport the Wheel to some island off the coast or other remote location for safekeeping, if necessary, but would prefer not to commit to such a course of action until they've had time to study it's dietary and other life-support needs. The coven of sea hags with the Cauldron of Blood is providing them with precognitive support through Marty the Adorable Talking Fill-In-The-Blank.

The Church of Orcus wants it returned to their Temple of Final Sacrament, since it's a key part of the symbolism, but they're also big fans of collateral damage. They've got various clerics, specialty oracles, and sorcerers providing precognitive support - less focused and with more lag than the Cauldron, but quantity counts for something, particularly when you're mainly trying to wreck someone else's plan. They've got the highest-level special operators available, and more of a budget, but Marijke's crew keeps stealing their stuff. That scroll? Originally scribed by some Orcusite, destination reset to a cage in Marijke's cove.
>>
No. 918584 ID: 43a163

Before Bulgruf arrived and started hitting on people, Maru was busy being bored of planning- now that some action has failed to jumpstart things, she figures she either needs to pack a bowl or find something to do. Given she already tried option one, and it hasn't made things that much more interesting, she'll give option two a spin.

"If dere's gonna be any sparrin, I'll frow down wittcha lightnin lady, but only if you promise to get wasted wif me first. And since de best time to get wasted is after a job well done, I vote we get dis bone wheel sorted. De way I see it, we can try to chase dis fing back where it came from, 'ope it stays dere, or figure some way to get it to folks 'ho want it. If we frow down in de woods, dats bad news for de ground water, but before we even fink about dat we need to know where de bloody fing melted off to. Goris, right? You zap dat fing back to your 'ome base or what? I sorta spaced out, don't recall de last bits of de conversation."

Maru is asking Goris where the wheel of charred bone is, having forgetten if they already mentioned what happened after she uses that scroll.
>>
No. 918610 ID: 094652

"Agatha, if I wasn't permanently employed for the first time in my life (well technically not, what with Azure constantly hiring me-*ahem*), I'd gladly escort you and this weird moledrill car personally to the owner just to return it to him. Mostly because he's probably filthy rich and making friends who can support you during periods of poverty is far wiser than mooching or scamming a bunch of money and then wasting it all while ninja assassins hired by the people you hurt hunt you down. Plus friends.

But as it stands, we're preserving this property while it is currently in our possession, and we are currently busy protecting someone else's property - acres of natural forest - from being desecrated by a giant infested bone monster. And even then, this isn't my decision to make, it's Maru's and Azarthraine's."

Maru seems to be stepping up so she'll whisper her two cents:

"Maru, I got a reeeal good look at that scroll. If we compare notes with Margie's hacked version, I may be able to construct our own version that can transport Bone Wheel somewhere else. Like say, in a giant hole in the ground filled with kerosene where the Fethies can watch it burn from theater booths. Or you know, we could find a nice prison cell with no physical exits and have our own personal giant death machine summon. Find out if we need Goris for these scrolls."
>>
No. 918615 ID: e4aa95

>I think there is a river nearby, if memory serves.
"River is some miles south." Vos points east, "I can show you the way if you wish!"

>>918584
"The way forward is clear. My vow forbids me from working with this Orcusite and her kind. We must deliver the wheel of bone to Fethine Court."

>construct our own version that can transport Bone Wheel somewhere else.
"This may work! Perhaps with Azarthraine's help?"

>we're preserving this property while it is currently in our possession
Agatha says, "Of course. I only ask that you allow me to set up a line of communication between yourselves and the vessel's true owners."
>>
No. 918628 ID: d9acdc

>>918615
Bulgruf:
"Yes, I would appreciate the company. Who else will join us?"

Maru:
"We should all stick together in case of some sort of ambush, don't want to leave people out on their lonesome. Big A can ward the... sub thingy, aldough 'opefully dere aren't opportunists too close to de dungeon."

She snorts at herself after having said that, given the irony of the statement.

So, who's going for a swim? Anyone dead set on staying behind? Maru figures if we have a chance to wash, rest up, etc, we can use that time to prepare the right spells and tactics to incapacitate and deliver the bone wheel to the fairy court.
>>
No. 918716 ID: afdebc

>>916412
>"So, I strike a member of your party, burn down your supplies, and all is forgiven provided I work with you to move against the people who have bound me against my will? I find this favorable, if a bit shocking. Would that the shoe was on the other hoof, and I had been assaulted by this wizard, who professed such was an act of negligence, what kind of response might I expect from the members of my company? It seems unfair to complain when I am in your debt, but I am having trouble understanding why I am being treated so well given how we've met.
"We have been attacked today- we have no recourse but to respond to our attackers. And as you have been bound as a weapon against us, we have no recourse other that to prevent you from fulfilling that role until that task is complete."

"If the alternatives to alliance are to make you a prisoner or a corpse (and we are unwilling to take the later path needlessly), why spend resources detaining you when they could be spent making you useful?"

Simple cost-analysis with a bit of morality there. If we're not willing to kill Bulgraf, that means keeping her mind-blanked or imprisoned until we've dealt with the source of her curse, and prisoners are resource sinks, coworkers aren't.

"We also have a company policy to extend an invitation to those who complete our tasks in our stead- and you did (technically, and unintentionally) contribute to the return of Azarthraine's spellbook. If you are concerned with the damaged property, you are more than welcome to pay it back."

>>918567
Selling a guardian and/or weapon to the church of Orcus, which likely still considers our mercenary company an enemy, seems shortsighted. Perhaps if we had means to turn the Wheel of Bone into a Trojan Horse, but controlling and understanding this kind of monster is much more within the church's area of expertise than our own. (Even if we allowed Esemeraude's friend to posses it, warding schema and precognitive assets pose too great a risk).

Davina sees no reason not to honor their word to remove the threat to the local spirit court (as long as we plan operations near the dungeon, having friendly locals in our debt willing to share information is going to be useful) but is interested in the possibility of getting paid twice by also delivering the creature to Goris' crew.

>>918615
Wasn't the oath to not work with those responsible for the Wheel of Bone? >>/questarch/888678 The pirate crew did not create it, and Goris is no longer associated with the church that once held its leash (and in fact, gave us a great deal of information that could be used against them). If anything, we bear more respectability for displacing it.

>>918628
I'm not gonna object to a bathouse-less bathhouse sequence.
>>
No. 918727 ID: 24f571

>Goris is no longer associated with the church that once held its leash
"She claims to still be faithful. I prefer not to exploit technicalities when it comes to oaths made in name of Tittivila!"

>Goris explains that she considers herself a faithful priest of Orcus, but politically is an apostate
>>
No. 918731 ID: afdebc

>>918727
"By that logic, should you be held to account for every wrong any other Tittivilan schism has committed?"
>>
No. 918732 ID: 2007b6

>>918584
>Maru is asking Goris where the wheel of charred bone is, having forgetten if they already mentioned what happened after she uses that scroll.
Goris doesn't actually know what the scroll is meant to do, though she can speculate - viewing Hore Wutashi's reconstruction of the symbols actually helps quite a bit, since the usual procedure for activating a magic scroll safely involves passing the knowledge through your mind as quickly as possible without letting it touch anything, like juggling baked potatoes fresh out of the oven.

The reason for Goris's ignorance revolves around ancient and baffling philosophical concepts, "opsec" and "sop" and more which Azarthraine and Oldaric know well, but the other reconstructed Fire Hawks may be less casually familiar with.

The spell formerly on that scroll turns one or more targets (in a group, separated by no more than thirty feet) into mist, then propels the resultant cloud across the landscape for dozens or hundreds of miles toward a specified destination, where the fogbank coalesces back into the original creatures. A large, heavily reinforced cage was being constructed inside Marijke's pirate cove, with wind-inviting sigils on the walls and ceiling that aren't usually used underground, likely intended to compensate for the spell's intrinsic inaccuracy.

If the scroll had been stolen (from Orcusites, say) and the destination-related glyphs scrubbed out and replaced, that would tend to make an off-target result even more likely. Likewise, if their misty departure were interrupted by having the only individual among the spell's targets who was fully cooperative with the effects and familiar with the intended destination bound up in magical restraints, that'd be even worse.

So, chances are, the Wheel of Charred Bone ended up reasonably close to the containment system Marijke and friends rigged up to receive it, but not quite close enough to actually be inside. With an introduction from Goris you could contact one of them using Azarthraine's Sending spell... though offering to help with a problem you partly caused, without making it sound like a threat, might be tricky in 25 words or less.
>>
No. 918734 ID: d9acdc

>>918731
Bulgruf muses out loud, confused at the correlation:

"Perhaps I am mistaken, but I thought Vos here had sworn an oath not to work with members of the Church of Orcus. If Goris is faithful, why would the deeds of others be relevant? Is Goris being blamed for the actions others have perpetrated?
>>
No. 918735 ID: d9acdc

>>918732
Maru nods along sagely, feigning interest and comprehension.

"So... then it's not our problem anymore? If de bone isn't botherin dese folks, and we can't cart it around, we're in de clear right? Nofing to do but cash in and deal with this book thief problem right?
>>
No. 918819 ID: 58dc55

Name: Pangobeliel Rolodel
Race: elf
Class: townie
Higher Ambition: gather enough wealth and power to prove the conspiracy against me, and become the greatest masseuse in the world.
Lower Ambition: seduce or incapacitate more powerful people and creatures, especially large ones. There is just something amazing about having something that could effortlessly kill you reduced to putty in your hands.
Specialization: accupressure/healing
Phobia:
Parasite:
Vulnerability: sensitivity, both physical and empathic. More susceptible to pain, pleasure, and other distractions, as well as being affected by others emotional states.
Innate Power:

Left Hip: clean cloth, hooked needles, & thread 
Right Hip: drugged massage oils
Left Shoulder: The Ten Thousand Petals Path treatise by * Dipping-Star, a study on the chi of all living things, and the nervous systems that follow and map that chi.
Right Shoulder: big, leather clad hammer
Chest: dried fruit
Head: surgery/lockpicking kit
Somewhere uncomfortable: coin purse
>>
No. 918837 ID: 094652

Hore thinks there's a lot you can say in 25 words if both sides have copies of a stack of nonsense.

>>918735
"Maru, we just learned that a highly supplied band of pirates probably botched their jury-rigged giant monster capture plan and now there's a rampaging bone monster in a cove filled with pirate treasure and pirate supplies and screaming pirates begging to be saved.

We don't HAVE to go in and make a fortune with multiple tactical options."
>>
No. 919044 ID: d9acdc

>>918837
"'Ight, well you get a second scroll for us to fuck up and I'll be 'appy to back up Vos when 'e goes and plays 'ero for the monster catchers...'cept, not really, 'cause dey're probably a buncha tossers and I don't really care 'bout 'em. I spose treasure an all would be nice dough, so I feel like I could be convinced to swing back 'round if it ends up bein feasible.

Now dat you got me finkin about it, I can imagine de story already- A dark cave, filled wif smolderin wreckage and treasure, right?. The crew who survived are scramblin for some sort of weapon to use against de beast, and de captain, well, she's bloodied but still fightin. Her rapiers all flashy but of course its a big fuckin monster, it hardly cares about some prick, so she's gored pretty bad- but she bought 'er crew just enough time to cave a timber in on de beast. Flames and smoke all around, and she's drawin 'er last breath, ready to pin de fucker down so dey burn togefer, when all of a sudden a portal opens up and we step in- ax raised I smack de beast away before it delivers de killing blow! Fight fight fight, all a yous probably do somefin flashy and cool too, we loots de pirate treasure, save de captain who's ever so grateful, and bish bash bosh we got ourselves a play. Depending on where you play it you can eifer set it up as a proper play, romance hinted at an all dat, keep folks 'appy wif clever dick jokes, or you can go de raunchy route, keep folks 'appy with dirty dick jokes, and de whole back ends all about the lovin afterwards."

Maru somehow manages to work several innuendo into her description of the play before it's even properly written, so that's always a good sign. She tunes into to Bulgrufs comment to Vos and Davina right at the end of the play pitch.

>>918734
>"Perhaps I am mistaken, but I thought Vos here had sworn an oath not to work with members of the Church of Orcus. If Goris is faithful, why would the deeds of others be relevant? Is Goris being blamed for the actions others have perpetrated?"

"Careful mate, don't wanna go probin wif too many questions- any time we argue it seems liable to turn into a blood feud; since dese folks don't spend deir nights getting drunk under de table and punching eachofers lights out, dey actually remember all de petty shit dey're mad about. Best to only listen in on de important stuff, like when I'm tellin a story, or Big A over 'ere finds some new part of lizard dats fun to play wif. I swear, I didn't even know real folks could make sound like dat, and making a squall is kinda my job 'round 'ere."
>>
No. 919055 ID: 3d9f63

Vos seems unusually indifferent to Maru's merrymaking. "Since the wheel of bone was created by Church of Orcus, the Fethrine Court would likely consider her responsible for it. Best to ask them. Anything else would be dishonest. Furthermore, the tenants of the Church of Orcus are offensive to Tittivila. Any who claim to be faithful to this religion, I would not cooperate with. Finally, I am not comfortable with delivering a destructive creature to pirates, who are not often known for good deeds. Are you too blinded by offers of blood-purchased gold to see that these actions could lead to suffering of innocents? If you wish to deal with these pirates and this Orcusite, you must do so without me."
>>
No. 920325 ID: 094652

"Vos, we don't know these people. We don't know what they think about their own religions in private, we don't understand what caused them to make poor decisions and join up with the crazies, we don't know if they want a way out. Deciding what a person is before you even meet them is the quickest path to war.

But I understand that your reputation is on the line, so we won't make you work with groups you don't want to work with. And personally, I don't want to give our position away to the Orcusites.

Maru, I think we should assemble a scout party; we can see if the pirates are as bad as the rumors say they are. Or we can close the contract and plan our assault on the temple later. Your call."
>>
No. 921401 ID: 094652

rolled 3, 1, 1 = 5

"... Okay, I'm done waiting. Maru, we need a decision, I vote we scout the pirates, see if they got the bone wheel under control. If you keep ignoring us for the next five minutes, I'm going without you."
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No. 921424 ID: 2007b6

>>921401
The gnoll cyborg has made an extremely eloquent and persuasive case for why you should go check out the pirate cove first. She's also (after appropriate travel time) located the concealed land-side entrance without even needing any explicit directions from Goris.

Given that the pirates in question were (and now may be again) PCs themselves, it would be presumptuous of me to design a secret hideout without their players' input.
>>
No. 921436 ID: afdebc

>>>>918734
"Vos did not. He swore an oath against working with those responsible, and if we lay the responsibility at the feet of the Church of Orcus (or perhaps more narrowly, the local branch out of Talon North), Sister Goris is not a member of that organization. Neither is the pirate crew she is currently a member of a subsidiary."

>>919055
"I don't see that this is their decision to make. So long as the Wheel of Bone is removed (one way or another) they and theirs are safe. We drove this beast from it's lair, and we have set out to rectify the situation."

>Are you too blinded by offers of blood-purchased gold to see that these actions could lead to suffering of innocents?
"It merely seems a waste to me to destroy that which can be useful to anther, and to deny both ourselves and another group advantages needlessly. Not all outlaws are equally pernicious in any event. You may recall we had our own reasons to act against a lawful government in Overmire."

>>921401
Davina agrees, scouting is sensible either way- whether we deal with them or not. Perhaps opinions may change once we have seen these people.

>>918628
Unless we're in a rush though, still willing to go along with the river bath plan first and/or while we plan.
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No. 922359 ID: d9acdc

>>921436
Let me see if my understanding is correct, then.

There is a court Vos works with who is terrorized by the wheel of bone. Their gratitude may be helpful for any jobs we carry out here in the future. Davina, you have some authority over Vos, and you wish for him to favor your plan, which involves helping Goris and her allies obtain the beast, to potentially be rewarded; this however would go against Vos's wishes and his personal code.

Is there more I need consider? I am unsure if, given how recently I have joined, there are factors I have not yet had time to gather.
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No. 922512 ID: 5f3f48

>Davina, you have some authority over Vos
Davina huffs, and adopts a wry expression. "Ostensibly, perhaps."
>>
No. 922686 ID: a97c49

rolled 4, 1, 6 = 11

>Sister Goris is not a member of that organization.
"How could that be? She still goes by 'Sister' title."

>"deny both ourselves and another group advantages needlessly."
"They are Orcusite pirates! You cannot give advantage to those who would cause harm merely because you may benefit."

>Davina agrees, scouting is sensible either way- whether we deal with them or not.
"Yes we should learn what we can, but I think it is unlikely that my mind will change."

>Davina huffs, and adopts a wry expression. "Ostensibly, perhaps."
"I am sorry! Tittivila is highest authority!"

>Unless we're in a rush though, still willing to go along with the river bath plan first and/or while we plan.
Vos quickly goes back to his cheerful demeanor after the argument stops, slithering in and out of the water and swimming circles around people and generally being a frolicking goofball. He'll also challenge Bulgruf to that wrestling match.
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No. 922694 ID: afdebc

>"How could that be? She still goes by 'Sister' title."
"Because a church is not a faith. Organizations are distinct from belief."

>"They are Orcusite pirates!"
"From the accounts we have heard, the pirates are no more orcusites than I am tittivilan or agatian for all that I have associated with each."

Dav will also let the argument drop when we get to the river.
>>
No. 922697 ID: 094652

rolled 5, 2, 5 = 12

>Vos: "They are Orcusite pirates! You cannot give advantage to those who would cause harm merely because you may benefit."
"... Wait a minute. Vos, your mission as a priest is to spread the gospel of change and bring the hope of redemption to the rigid damned in the name of Tittivila. Sooo... does that not apply to mercenaries among the pirates who follow not for belief and glory, but for gold and companionship?

... I mean, you convinced me."

>Davina: "Because a church is not a faith. Organizations are distinct from belief."
"Um."
Hore's brain temporarily segfaults. For all her intellectual wanderings, this concept is almost alien to her. Sure, religion is not equivalent to faith but isn't it powered by faith?
"I... wait. This... what? I mean, as far as I understand, faith is what powers organizations. If nobody believed that any organization has a nonzero chance of bearing fruit of some kind, nobody would join anything ever. The main misconception is that you need a perfectly specific type of faith to join a specific organization - hence the cults, the corrupt, and those who have no faith in their fellow conspirators but have faith that the organization they joined can be bent to their schemes - but faith is still the main power source."
There's more Hore would like to say but it can wait.

Hore got a scrubbing from Vos~
Mostly so she doesn't itch when they get to the pirates.

Alright, rolling for perception. Just a quick look from cover; she's looking for anything that should be captured first, like fragile treasures or an unused mega-cannon.
>>
No. 941950 ID: d9acdc

rolled 4, 1, 4 = 9

>>919055
After the argument in the river, everyone is a bit wet and grumpy. Upon returning to the court, it comes up in discussion that a third party, presumably at least somewhat faithful to both Orcus and other employers, was attempting to spirit the Wheel of Bone away, and has managed to do so. Even though they consider themselves faithful, this "Goris" is politically unaligned with the Church as an organization, and was actually attempting to transport the creature to their current boss, an opportunistic Lucre Witch who's got a thing for capturing monsters as pets. This means that, if the court requires the Wheel of Bone on their lands for proper vengeance and disposal procedures, that the Firehawks would likely be unable to actually transport it back here to fulfill those requirements. Accordingly, the court settles upon disintegration as a satisfactory goal, and agrees to send a representative to observe the event.

>>918732
>>921424
The pirates are contacted via sending, and an agreement to come assist with disposal of the Wheel of Bone in return for the safe return of their prisoner Goris is made. It's certainly possible the pirates had other plans to backstab and/or otherwise profit off the arrival of the mercenary crew, but if that were the case, Supreme Disintegration probably convinced them otherwise. Davina and the Lucre Witch entered a back office, and spent several hours "negotiating" plans while the rest of their respective crews rested up and planned their next move. A nearby parrot preened its feathers as the newest recruit suggested they figure out who was behind this whole Geas/book thief scenario, which eventually lead the Firehawks to try and follow Agatha's trail and find out exactly how she became involved in all this mess.

We now find our company as they, having not quite successfully identified the dungeon from where the earth moving machine had most recently departed, heading towards Rook's Vineyard.
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No. 942034 ID: f57349

>>941950
Monster extermination and liaison between the crew of the Ardent Star and the Court of the Fethine goes reasonably smoothly, all things considered. Nobody's completely happy but at least the grinding skirmishes seem to be over.

Sister Goris was injured while in your custody, several deep puncture wounds cauterized by what look like chemical burns. Exact cause and timing are unclear. Nothing her own magic can't fix, given a day or three, but her crewmates are pushing for some sort of restitution, though they're not in a great position to force the issue. She herself is oddly quiet, and actually went to some trouble to conceal the injuries.

If the Fire Hawks are going to be practicing their teamwork in the relatively low-threat environment of the Mouth of Doom rather than Talon North, they should probably re-introduce themselves in thread 7. https://tgchan.org/kusaba/quest/res/829557.html


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