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File 163198472971.jpg - (967.32KB , 1053x562 , sojourn_titlecard.jpg )
1010895 No. 1010895 ID: 673fe6

|| SOJOURN || NOTE: This will be a NSFW / 18+ only quest!

It is the FOURTH AGE, and now is a time of dire peril and uncertainty; the GREAT KHAN, AZAD KHAZARAD,
has perished at the apex of his ascension ceremony — leaving prophecies in tatters. Once mighty empires
teeter on the precipice of destruction, and the greatest among them, the KHANATE OF KHOR, lies in ruin
beneath a dark and mysterious PALL.

From the heart of the KHANATE, a terrible CURSE has begun to sweep the land, the spreading PALL warping
the very landscape and changing those with the misfortune of its touch in strange and sometimes MONSTROUS
ways. Sages say this is a prelude to the END TIMES: if left unchecked, all may be lost.

Desperate to avert calamity, many have dispatched expeditions or even armies, hoping to quash and forestall
such great perils and open the way to the FATED CITY at the heart of the KHANATE, where it is said answers
may lie. Few have returned, and the realms of man have grown restless -- and those beyond watch with
a growing concern.
384 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
No. 1026786 ID: 96c896

Before releasing CC, go over and introduce yourself to the dog and its owner. Would be much more shocking for CC to run fully across the room.
No. 1026799 ID: 1c6255

Lets refrain from unleashing phantomatic pups.
No. 1026953 ID: f57349

Ask if the foreigner had a yellow cloak.
No. 1027405 ID: 94bb57
File 164836176431.jpg - (318.53KB , 750x450 , soj_088.jpg )

Despite the tension in the air, you decide to endeavor to introduce a bit of levity in the moment -- and make a friendlier impression on the holed-up folk of Hevelston. With a canny eye you spy another hound by the hearth, your thoughts going to visions of playful pooches with C.C.'s own presence; you do feel some hesitation at springing your spectral companion on the inhabitants sight unseen however, holding off on such manifesting just yet.

Intent on a bit of playful merriment, you ponder a measure of mischief. Looking nearby, you gingerly help yourself to a skullcap which had been left unattended -- donning the helmet with a lowering of your long ears with an amusing waggle before you try to strike up a conversation with a militiaman: a lean, younger looking man seemingly anxious by a window.

You express your puzzlement that the militia are here, rather than joining the mercenaries outside; he indicates that they are tasked with protecting the villagers from anything that might slip past the hired blades -- but that some militia are fighting alongside them. When asked of the mercenaries themselves, he speaks of a few familiar faces among former caravan guards and the like who have since lingered in Hevelston.

A man with a yellow cloak seems to prompt recognition -- though he is not certain if that traveler is among the mercenaries now or if they passed through beyond the hamlet earlier in the day; the 'foreigner' he purports to be 'demi-human' -- not unlike you, he says -- though tall and imposing with 'the head of a beast of burden' and clad in unfamiliar armor.

For a moment, you scoff to yourself at the notion of his comparison, quite certain that buune and other species are hardly 'half human' just because you're featherless bipeds -- but this young fellow is likely not the best suited for a philosophical debate of that nature. Instead, you decide to excuse yourself to instead have a word with Emra...
No. 1027406 ID: 94bb57
File 164836207376.jpg - (403.00KB , 750x450 , soj_089.jpg )

You manage to spot Emra off in a corner away from the broader crowd now that the doors have been secured and your blade stowed; the man has since lowered his hood and as you approach, you spy him with a long carved pipe he's packed with fragrant leaves. Seated at a small table near one of the broad windows, you watch as Emra carefully covers the bowl of his pipe with a hand to shield it from a breeze before lighting it with a snap of his fingers - a small flame conjured forth.

"May I join yew?" You chime with a bat of your lashes, lightly adjusting your skull cap. Emra gives you a nod, gesturing across from himself before taking an exceedingly long puff of his pipe for very nearly a full minute. "Yes." He says after finally releasing smoke, though you'd long-since seated yourself. Eccentric, perhaps.

"I must say, the wards yew have placed are quite good. Could you teach me thee technique?" Emra appears surprised by your assessment of the wards -- doubly so when you inquire after their creation. "It has been some time since I've met with another with a knack for these things; you were able to sense the construct without laying eyes on them?" You nod at that and he snorts, taking another long puff of his pipe and seeming to relish the experience.

"Can yew tell me of those beests?" You inquire during his pause; Emra nods slowly after a moment. "I suppose I could show you a thing or two about warding. What sort of training have you had, anyway?" He lets the question linger openly, while also wordlessly offering you his pipe, should you choose. "As for the beasts -- it's thanks to the curse, you know." He frowns. "It twists things: animals, men, the land itself. Warps them, sometimes in ways more predictable than others."

Gesturing, Emra casts a look out into the gloom beyond the hall. "This lot has been plaguing us nightly; horns, scales, fur, tooth and claw -- some on all fours, some upright. A few may have been cutthroats that made lairs in the swamp, for all I can wager." He shrugs. "I've done what I can to secure the hamlet's homes, but I have my limits." He shakes his head. "And with a damned invasion underway -- and no help from Volkregar, leveraging what coin we could for sell-swords seemed the surest bet to try to put an end to it."

You decide to...

> )_

Not quite the right time to turn C.C. loose, but the polter-pooch is prominent on Kaia's mind to the buune's delight. We're still fairly free-form here on what you'd like to say or inquire about, as well as whether or not you'd like to share details of yourself or partake in his offer. Emra does seem willing to exchange some magical know-how with you however!
No. 1027410 ID: 8483cf

I'd like to have Kaia tell stories about home and her family. Let's hear more about her!

Also, what the hell, it sounds like the real problem is about the beasts, not armed travelers- that's no reason to come after a BUUNE!
No. 1027414 ID: 96c896

Tell him about your training and your mission. Perhaps you can help with warding more buildings?
No. 1027428 ID: e51896

Maybe after we're done talking we can play our flute for anyone who wants to listen?
No. 1027467 ID: 34dfce

Is that what they meant by half human? You may want to make it clear that you are a Bunne from outside the Pall.
No. 1028036 ID: d3d7b6

I doubt he'd teach us anything for free. Or at least not without us gaining his trust/favor first. So I'd offer to go back out to fight those monsters. Can't be a lazy buune and just stay inside doing nothing!
No. 1028781 ID: 94bb57
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With the comfort of warm company helping you to relax, your thoughts turn to your home and the family and life left behind on your quest -- all the training you had done and the experiences of life as a young buune. Emra seems as receptive an audience as any, you reason -- and for the others whose attention you had gained, perhaps recounting your origins would help assuage any concerns that your appearance might be the result of the Pall (after all, most among the realms of man had never seen one of your kind before!)

Bellinea was the buune city in which you were born and raised, a bustling community nestled high among the peaks and valleys of the Ustellen mountains and near to the heart of your homeland. Far removed from the periphery of the bramble veil, it made for a more cloistered upbringing compared to the sights you've since come to know. Travelers of any sort who were not buune themselves were quite rare and denizens of the realms of man were nearly unheard of.

You do recall a visit of Retavii traders, long of snout and tail and round of ear -- though near as you know, such distant 'cousins' did not often leave the deeper crags. Emra puffs thoughtfully at his pipe at this mention before nodding somberly -- expressing some familiarity with 'rat folk' as he calls them. You catch a few more disparaging mutterings from others, but continue on nevertheless, reflecting on fond memories.

Among your four brothers and two sisters, you were the youngest of your kin -- and often enjoyed exploring the groves of the valley in the humid harvest season in particular. During your younger years, you were schooled like many of your brethren in the great communal burrow halls set within the hillside -- but remember a great deal of fun making your way to the rooftops of the taller homes in the exterior sprawl of Bellinea.

There was a bakery in Bellinea where you'd often pined over confections: walnut pastries, candied citrus peels, spiced almonds, apple tarts, jam-filled pastries and cinnamon cookies summoned in vivid memories which make your mouth water and nose wiggle in remembrance. Of course, you omit from your retelling that you'd had sticky fingers on several occasions, absconding with delicious sweets to enjoy while watching the sun set over the valley -- no need to worry these folk over thievery.

When you had begun to blossom into a young woman, it was decided by your family that you would depart from Bellinea to enter the tutelage of the Briar Spire owing in part to your burgeoning sensitivity to spiritual essence: an uncommon trait, but one found most often among buune women -- though your sisters had not shared in such. You were to become a Rhiannon, in part that you might assist the wardens in safeguarding your homeland; however, as things would unfold fate had more in store for you...
No. 1028783 ID: 94bb57
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Deciding against sharing the particulars of your esoteric training (and that it may be best not to speak of the Obsidian Sanctum in unfamiliar company,) you nevertheless find that a fair few of the men and women in the hall have turned their attention to you in your storytelling. Some see to sating their curiosities, asking you of your people, culture and customs. You speak of Khasma, goddess of the stars and fertile harvests (and really, other fertile interests as well) and some seem to consider a similarity with their own rites of harvest.

As well you reflect on courtship, for which trinkets fashioned of flowers were quite important, on craftsmanship and the talented artisans of woodworking and glass-blowing in Bellinea especially -- and even on love, which you swiftly gather is far more open among the buune than the folk of Hevelston. Your thoughts turn to the stack of love letters in your bag and a faint flush enters your cheeks, tail giving an unconscious twitch; fond memories indeed. Lastly, you talk of poetry and music, offering a demonstration with your flute which your small audience proves keen on.

Easing free from your cloak and hanging it aside, you rummage in your bag before retrieving your flute; after some brief consideration, you settle on the rather catchy tempo of Coupthlut si Othhwut -- part of a ballad about the buune bard Engelard and his cunning, passionate courtship of the Snow Queen. An exhilarating (and tricky to play!) piece, even if it's left somewhat wanting by the lack of a honeyed baritone providing the lyrical accompaniment.

Nevertheless, your talent as a flutist proves well-received and you are relieved that you're not too terribly out of practice; you even receive an applause afterward and find yourself relishing in the moment of remembrance however far from home you may be. Emra seems quite taken by the performance and deep in his pipe along the way.
No. 1028784 ID: 94bb57
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Upon the completion of your tale and performance, your thoughts go to the threats beyond the hall as you reflect on rendering aid for the mercenaries fending of the denizens of the dark. However, no sooner have you resolved to head out when a call comes from the militiamen at the fore of the hall. Two men move to lift and hoist aside the great timber barring the doors, opening the way then as light spills out onto the raised causeway beyond, bathing the faces and forms of some half dozen men and women bearing various arms and armor.

"It is done." Declares a tall, stout fellow clad in studded leather and resting a broad-axe across his shoulders; a few ragged tears can be seen in his garb. Another, slimmer fellow in low-hanging chainmail clutches at his arm where the links have been torn away, blood caked where it has oozed between his fingers; among the rest, several seem bruised and bloodied for the affair, but standing ably enough. "Three at the apothecary." Grunts the tall fellow. "And one dead."

A mixture of elation and more somber moods clash among the denizens within the hall -- but most appear palpably relieved that the bloody work is nevertheless concluded. You see the mercenaries welcomed into the front of the hall, each of them handing off their weapons to waiting militiamen; two who enter seem clad as militia themselves and are permitted to keep their spears at hand.

Once the rest have cleared the doorway, your eyes fall to a striking figure still standing beyond the hall: a head or more taller than yourself of braw build, a crimson cloak slung about their shoulders over armor of a strange style unfamiliar to you. Of most significant note, however, is their appearance -- boasting the equine head and tail of an onager. You watch as this last arrival silently surrenders a sword in its scabbard with a stoic expression before glancing over; your eyes meet, their nostrils flaring with a faint snort.

Around you, what empty spaces had remained among the tables are soon occupied by mercenaries returned from the battle beyond while a few of the men and women in the hall set out with some haste, seemingly to see to the aftermath outside.

Though the hour is now growing late, you decide to...

> )_

Whatever you might like to pursue next will like as not lead into wrapping up the day afterwards -- but tensions have eased now and things seem more safe for finding a place to stay for the evening.
No. 1028789 ID: e5709d

Invite someone to dance!
No. 1028809 ID: 8483cf

It might be a little late in the evening to RELEASE THE HOUND when everyone's so tired and the mercs are drained. Alas, maybe tomorrow.

Khasma would probably smile on congratulating the onager captain on a job well done!
No. 1029528 ID: 2f1c85

So the mustard cloak must be someone else. Still, this would be a good chance to find out what mission the equine fellow is on.

Act reserved for a while, in case the equine person has similar thoughts to your own, and decides to approach you first. But if he's shy, then you'll have to be the one to walk to him and strike a conversation.
Compliment him on defeating the beasts and then ask about who he is, why he's in this town, and what's his mission.

But also, flirt. Would be a shame to spend another night alone~
No. 1030401 ID: e51896

Congratulate him
No. 1030750 ID: dccdd0

flirt with him.
No. 1030801 ID: 894419

Invite this strapping lad for some celebratory dancing and revelry!
No. 1030856 ID: 94bb57
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Finding yourself feeling festive and friendly with present company, you decide to see to offering congratulations to the tall onager -- and see, perhaps, if they might fancy a dance or prove amenable to a more flirtatious approach. Initially, you take to a more reserved approach while you wait for the mercenaries to disperse and settle among the inhabitants of the hall -- catching a few glances your way from the equine and others alike.

After observation, you decide the onager must be shy and elect to go on the offensive, approaching the strapping mercenary with bright eyes and a friendly smile to introduce yourself and offer your regards. Up close, you feel a bit of a thrill run up your spine as you take in just how sizable the onager truly is -- easily standing over the men and women of this place and looming over you easily.

Cheery, you level praise for a job well done and offer companionship; the onager seems to tense and consider you with some measure of uncertainty, nostrils flaring with a chuffed breath much to your puzzlement.

"Easy there, don't just grumble at the pretty lady." Interjects another of the mercenaries as he inserts himself into your midst: he looks young and braw, with blue eyes and chestnut hair, a scar across his left cheek and a square jaw with the darkened remnants of a shorn beard. "Excuse my brawny friend here -- they're not very talkative." He offers to you wryly, reaching up to clap a hand on the onager's shoulder. "I'm Geoffrey and the big one's Zarin."

"Kaia." You offer back of your own name, smiling; Zarin's jaw tightens, but the onager dips a polite nod towards you while Geoffrey's smile broadens. "Excellent, a pleasure to meet you Kaia." He grins before gesturing to the hall beyond. "We've had ourselves a proper scrap and I'm apt to celebrate -- and if you don't mind me saying, I'd wager you're a lot more fun to drink with than this lot." He winks.

Keen to gather information and to avoid an evening spent alone, you acquiesce to join the pair and together claim a table. Geoffrey orders up wine and other libations, proving to be a rather gregarious sort (and rather flirtatious in his own right, as you soon discover.)

Gamely, you manage to dance with them both: Geoffrey is quite sure-footed, and while Zarin seems hesitant to participate Geoffrey goads the onager into joining you in kind. It is swiftly clear to you that the equine is unaccustomed to dancing, but through patience you guide them along the steps (and avoid getting stepped on in the process.)

Several bottles and a hearty meal later, most of the activity in the hall has slowed to a late-night lull as you find quiet conversation with Geoffrey -- Zarin going unspoken but still attentive to the exchange. "We happened to be here when the call to arms came about," Geoffrey explains, "so it was serendipity, you might say." You're not certain what that word means, but you nod anyways. "Not that a bit of coin hurts, but we were obliged to lend our blades."

"What do yew plan next?" You inquire. Geoffrey shrugs, finishing off the last of his drink and setting it aside. "Look for another good charge to put our talents to use. What about you, Kaia?" Folding his arms against the table, he leans forward and watches you intently -- and perhaps a bit earnestly as he smiles.

Sensing you have an opportunity to chart your course, you decide to...

> A) Trust these two with the truth of your task and entreat them to travel with you
> B) Be pleasant but vague about your destination, deciding you'd work best alone
> C) _

In addition to voting on the above, you can separately weigh-in on if you'd prefer to keep things just friendly, respond to Geoffrey's flirtatious interest or similar pursuits; Zarin seems reticent at the moment, but perhaps they might loosen up more.

Generally, this is a chance to potentially start a party if you are inclined to do so. Finally, independent from this vote Emra will also be sharing knowledge of warding magic with you as part of your downtime here.

No. 1030861 ID: e5709d

C) Immediately ravish Zarin and break out into a sexual dance number!

... Just kidding, look around for more potential teammates.
No. 1030873 ID: ea5947

>A) entreat them to travel with you
>B) but be vague about your destination
It's definitely safer to travel with companions, and these guys seem to be reliable as far as their battling skill goes. Since they're mercenaries, it would probably be difficult to convince them to travel with you for free, but you have plenty of coin, so that's not an issue. You shouldn't immediately tell them about your mission. Not before learning more about them, their history, their desires and what not. So for now, you should hire them, unless they already intend to travel in your direction, in which case you could try to join their party (or convince them join yours) for free.

A buune needs her carrot, so keep flirting, but don't push too much at Zarin. Maybe they'll open up once the party is formalized, or after traveling together for a while. For one, you don't even know what's in their pants...
No. 1030931 ID: 48c95d

I agree that she should hire these strapping lads to be bodyguards initially rather than immediately involving them in her plans. More details about the mission could be provided once a bond is forged and they prove trustworthy. Perhaps there is a question Kaia could ask to glean their opinions before opening up to them?
No. 1031282 ID: dccdd0

A) tell them about your quest and try to get them to join you.
Also, keep a flirtatious tone with them. Hopefully, you'll get lucky.
No. 1031888 ID: f57349

A) "So, this whole situation with the Pall... who's working on fixing the heart of that? Anybody? Well then maybe WE should."
C) Also check if you can do anything to help out those three at the apothecary, or whoever else has less serious injuries.
No. 1031951 ID: 8483cf

No. 1031952 ID: abaa91

Backing this.
No. 1032426 ID: 94bb57
File 165267672281.jpg - (352.93KB , 750x450 , soj_094.jpg )

With the perils which doubtless lay ahead, you decide to seek companionship for the road -- while not quite overtly playing your hand in the process. Aided in some part by the jubilant libations and affable airs you've managed with the pair (and a fair bit of flirting,) you broach the subject of the Pall broadly enough: was there anything to be done of the matter? Who might get to the heart of it?

Geoffrey posits that the Sarken and their Empress cite just such a charge with their march through the Khanate. "Zealots, the lot of them," he opines with a shake of his head, "but it was zealots who loosed it in the first place, I'd say." Zarin chuffs at the statement, but offers no remark beyond a thoughtful nod. "I wouldn't wager on their success." Geoffrey concludes.

Sensing an inroad, you suggest a more academic approach might prove fruitful yet if one might seek out scholars, or perhaps even magi among the Khanate. Geoffrey offers a chuckle and a smirk at that, but nods to you just the same before taking your bait: "Fancy you might be on to a proper solution, then?" Without putting too fine a point on it, you let slip that you'd heard of a wise and learned sort further east, albeit through what you understand to be a treacherous trek.

"So you're looking to hire some protection, are you?" Geoffrey casts a sidelong glance to Zarin before shooting you an appraising look. "Well, you're in luck -- we're available for such a jaunt, aren't we Zarin?" Another chuffed breath in response. "Normally our services come at something of a premium," he notes before leaning forward over the table and lowering his tone, "but call it ten gold a day and we're yours to see you safely through." He smiles.

Part of you senses that Geoffrey's interest (and apparent inclination to 'bargain') extends beyond your noble cause alone and into other fancies. Still, while you're not thoroughly versed in the cost of hirelings, it seems a reasonable rate while you grow more familiar with the pair; from Hevelston, it shouldn't be more than another day or two to reach Volkregar and even if you decided to return here afterward, you'd have coin to spare.

You agree, intent on setting out together early on the morrow having reached an accord -- before setting your sights on lending a hand at the apothecary...
No. 1032427 ID: 94bb57
File 165267681303.jpg - (434.41KB , 750x450 , soj_095.jpg )

Three lie among the injured at the apothecary, their wounds cleaned and bound as they drift in and out of uneasy slumber. Where Geoffrey and Zarin seem to have fared well among the other mercenaries at the hall, the trio here are markedly worse for wear. You introduce yourself, candidly sharing your talent as a hedge witch with the apothecary -- offering to help mend and soothe the wounded as best you're able.

Setting to work, you take the time to enact the more involved process that is your healing rites to provide more potent recovery and relief from their wounds; for this, the apothecary lends many of the necessary reagents in service of facilitating your work making for an easier undertaking. Deep gouges and rending injuries from substantial teeth, claws and quills fill your imagination with ferocious and twisted beasts lurking among the gloom.

Nevertheless, you are an able hand at such magics and your handiwork spares these three from a more severe recovery. It would seem that some word must have spread from the display, perhaps through one of the militiamen posted outside -- for onlookers eager to observe a buune with a healing touch arrive from elsewhere in the village. To your surprise, the apothecary shows thanks for your efforts by way of coin in payment before you depart for the evening...

...and find Emra, puffing at his pipe and looking pleased with himself and you alike. "Too right, too right, I've seen you've a proper hand for the art now. Let's show you about the warding, then." He leads and you follow, for want of expanding your repertoire despite the late hour; it proves quite enlightening, even if the man is a peculiar teacher.

By the time you have finished, you feel thoroughly exhausted; much as you might fancy sharing a bed this eve, you decide it best to get what rest you can before setting out with your companions. Still, you're rather confident by the looks you'd gotten that you've sparked an interest among them -- so who could say what might unfold in the nights ahead?

15 gold coins gained from helping the apothecary. You have also gained the WARD ritual for free as a result of your earlier pursuit - it has been added to your sheet!
No. 1032428 ID: 94bb57
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You awaken the following morning feeling reasonably well-rested, though some soreness and fatigue still cling to your form after the exertion of back to back rites late into the night. As promised, you meet up with Geoffrey and Zarin early with a spot of breakfast before paying the pair for the day's accompaniment -- which Geoffrey attends to, seeming to manage Zarin's coinage as well for safekeeping. Your blade is returned to you once you depart from the hall.

Briefly, you consider an effort to pawn the valuables you've collected thus far before you set out -- but decide to hold on to the trinkets and jewelry that you might find a more suitable merchant, or use in enchantment at another time. ( You can earmark valuables for later sale if you'd like; by default, Kaia is presumed to hold on to rings and things in case they might be useful later. )

Together, you set out from Hevelston down the easterly road despite its muddy state and soon put the village behind you as you venture into the wetlands beyond.

Though you are unaccustomed to traveling with others, having company proves comforting -- even simply having an armed and able-bodied escort, should a foe present itself. On the other hand, neither Geoffrey nor Zarin are buune: you underestimated just how much more light of foot and swift of pace you were compared to those of other kinship. Still, adjusting your gait and tempo proves easy enough and the pair are not wanting for endurance, at least. ( Kaia is actually quite a fast traveler -- having new companions makes for somewhat slower travel, though not without perks! )

Zarin brings up the rear as you and Geoffrey keep to the lead, the sizable onager quiet but keenly alert; you suspect they've senses comparable to your own, at least. Geoffrey is surprisingly light on his feet you find, and though he might be no match for your swiftness you wager others might underestimate the man's speed; he also proves quite curious about you. You decide to share what you had among the villagers of Hevelston at first, reasoning that there was little secrecy there, but reserve more pressing details for now.

By mid-day, you arrive at something of a fork in the road presenting two possible routes to Volkregar. To the right lies an old, well-traveled trail winds down a slope and into what seems to be the beginnings of a steep ravine and possible valley beyond. To the left, the trade road carries onward and upward into the wilderness rutted with the remnants of passing carts and wagons.

"I'd wager there's a chance of brigands up yonder." Geoffrey offers of the trade road after he sees you contemplating. "Terrain's not kind to merchants through the low trail. Might not be kind to us, either." He offers a wry look at that. "Easier travel on the high road, but may avoid trouble on the low. What do you say?"

Considering your options, you decide to..

> A) Follow the low road into the ravine, preferring to take your chances with treacherous terrain and other hazards
> B) Follow the high road into the wilderness, preferring to take the chance of brigands for an otherwise easier trek
> C) _

Whew! That was a lot to cover this update, but we're underway again and things should pick up a bit more now. Geoffrey's not an infallible opinion on the possible paths, but those choices are the broad strokes of what each might entail -- while there are also less obvious factors, such as what opportunities you might find for your different talents in the mix.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1GMZzD92D41H7SBRdr3Znag5X2oVB5aWmL0tPqlywi7M/edit?usp=sharing Reference sheet for current talents, magic and inventory. (Note: possible spoilers for anyone in the future catching up, as this document will be current to whatever the most recent update is!)
No. 1032430 ID: 8483cf

B. We've dealt with brigands before. Brigands also have useful information we might overhear!
No. 1032444 ID: e5709d

B) Tell your teammates to walk slowly in plain view while you scout ahead in stealth. You'll use magic to clamp their mouths shut if you spot an enemy.
No. 1032483 ID: 9748c8

On one hand, Pathfinder skill would make the low road's terrain not an issue. On the other, you have a powerful escorts and keen senses to counter any attack on the high road.

B) It's a dice roll, but I'd wager the high road has a higher chance of being interesting.
No. 1032682 ID: b6986d

Not only might brigands know something useful, they might have useful things or items we can use.
No. 1033508 ID: 94bb57
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Together, you decide to take the high road up and through the wilderness and to your surprise, find a certain eagerness in anticipating an encounter with your new traveling companions. Reasoning that brigands rather than beasts may prove a source of useful knowledge or equipment, you lay out your plan to Geoffrey and Zarin: both are to travel in plain view while you stalk ahead, traversing the terrain with canny senses and stealth that you might gain the upper hand on any would-be ambush.

Drawing your hood up and tucking your ears back, you take to the forest vanguard at a swift, light-footed pace as you navigate ahead of your 'escort'. For the better part of an hour you travel this way, cloak drawn about your figure as you weave a faint shroud over yourself -- just enough to render you more difficult to discern at a glance. Sweeping a wide circuitous route from the path, you take care to check on your companions from time to time lest you lose track of them, with a weather eye out for trouble.

Faint birdsong can be heard midst the creak of swaying boughs and rustling leaves, a breeze bustling through along the trade road; the scent of tall grasses, clay and sap greet you most prominently as you move, your sandals treading over mossy ground interspersed with thicker foliage and undergrowth. While these may be unfamiliar lands to the buune, you feel in your element as you carry yourself with dexterous grace -- a certain thrill stirred in your breast as you get your heart pumping.

Geoffrey's assertion proves true: as you maneuver your way back towards the path again from a broad sweep, you discover several men lying in wait -- having approached them from an unattended flank. At least five figures that you can discern paying overt attention to the pair of travelers arriving from a distance, exchanging glances and gestures as they no doubt ready for an ambush.

From what you can ascertain, the men are modestly armed and armored, but nevertheless strike you as rough individuals; nearest to you are two fellows with a sword and spear respectively, while you glimpse three others on the other side of the road -- unable to quite make out how they are armed, obscured by trees and foliage as they are.

You decide to...

> A) Lie in wait and see what happens when Geoffrey and Zarin encounter the men...
> B) Take action, by blade or sorcery, springing an ambush of your own...
> C) _
No. 1033509 ID: 8483cf

A. We're better equipped to do a surprise attack (if necessary) when they're certain they have the advantage.
No. 1033511 ID: 51c10d

A) But see if you can't use COMMUNE first to warn your comrades. Best none of you are taken unawares.
No. 1033515 ID: 48c95d

We should be sure to communicate the number of foes and their location as best as we can to provide an advantage. Our companions are professionals, and now is their time to prove it. Considering our strengths are in magic and stealth I do not think that Kaia should initiate the fight, but rather supply backup if needed for her companions. Perhaps at some pivotal moment, she could spring upon them from the rear, and perhaps make them think they have been flanked by a larger force (Maybe summoning CC could aid in this)? Fear and surprise should be utilized, as these men seem rough, and a prolonged fight to the death would be costly no matter the outcome.
No. 1033517 ID: e5709d

B) Summon Crystal Crumpsy and have them sow chaos to disorient the ambush.
No. 1033519 ID: 894419

No. 1034173 ID: 9748c8

Put one of them to sleep while staying hidden.
No. 1034379 ID: b6986d

Using stealth and magic, pick off one or two of them in secret before they can mount their ambush.
No. 1035035 ID: 94bb57
File 165527137675.jpg - (308.15KB , 750x450 , soj_098.jpg )

With deft utterance and practiced gesture, you alert Geoffrey and Zarin to the brigands lying in ambush -- taking stock of those rough sorts you spy in strength and number. With the element of surprise tipped in your favor, you then set about plying your subtler talents from the advantage of stealth: opening with the rite of SLUMBER on the brigand nearest to your position in the hopes that he might succumb unnoticed by the others. To weave slumber at range even in so close a proximity requires some of your reagents, but nevertheless you see his limbs sag and head dip as he slides down against his hiding place, slumping into the bushes.

By now, your companions draw nearer -- and from your vantage, you see one of the men readying a crossbow to aim at the pair; this proves impetus enough to slip your hand into your bag to loose your secret weapon upon the unsuspecting fellows. With an onerous <b>boof</b> Crystal Crumpsey materializes -- and thanks to your efforts at training, seems to quickly grasp your intent; swooping in a frightful display, the woof-o-the-wisp pounces at the crossbowman who turns towards her in startled alarm, reflexively loosing a shot!

With a heady twang folly ensues as the man discovers one cannot bolt a polter-pooch as the projectile sails harmlessly through C.C. and instead catches the man brandishing a spear in the chest. Staggering with a pained cry, the spearman sways unsteadily while your ethereal hound passes through the crossbowman in kind; gaping in dismay, the man hastens to plant his foot into the cocking stirrup of his weapon to begin readying it for another shot.

Meanwhile, your ears prick to the din of unfolding violence not far off...
No. 1035036 ID: 94bb57
File 165527141217.jpg - (305.54KB , 750x450 , soj_099.jpg )

More men than you'd expected seem to surface from hiding to engage Geoffrey and Zarin, but the pair are prepared to engage them. A tall, broad fellow with long blond hair makes for Zarin from a flank with a bold yawp only to be caught off guard by how swiftly the onager checks him bodily with that large shield -- a meaty crack audible as a few of the man's teeth dance out across its surface. With a curt chuff Zarin flexes and lifts, wholly foisting the tall fellow off his feet on the back of the shield as he splays out -- before Zarin delivers a decisive chop with a short, broad blade that hews the man's limb mid-forearm in a single blow.

Opposite the towering mercenary, Geoffrey is met by a brigand bearing a round shield and broadsword moving with a look of apparent confidence -- an expression swiftly dashed with your more talkative companion's expert footwork. Geoffrey deftly parries a swing from the brigand such that it crosses over the man's chest and throws his shield arm wide, creating enough of an opening to plunge his blade through the aged and tattered leather of the man as he croaks a breathless gurgle.

You've not been involved in such a melee as this before, pulse quickened and mind racing as adrenaline courses through you and you attempt to appraise the situation. Near as you can tell:

-One brigand slumbers near to you, and C.C. is harrying others.
-One brigand with a spear has been shot in the chest and seems badly wounded near you.
-The crossbowman is hastening to ready another shot.
-Zarin has thoroughly disarmed a brigand, and Geoffrey has surely slain another.
-Three more brigands are now closing on the pair to engage them.

You decide to...

> A) Maintain stealth for as long as possible, observing what else unfolds...
> B) Seek to join the melee and flank the brigands moving to engage your companions...
> C) _

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1GMZzD92D41H7SBRdr3Znag5X2oVB5aWmL0tPqlywi7M/edit?usp=sharing Reference sheet for current talents, magic and inventory. (Note: possible spoilers for anyone in the future catching up, as this document will be current to whatever the most recent update is!)
No. 1035038 ID: 8483cf

B! Get that crossbowman.
No. 1035039 ID: 51c10d

B) See if you can't take down the wounded spearman first from behind—should be easier, given the wound—before taking down the crossbowman. Your companions are capable enough to take on the three others.

If you can't close the distance, whip out one of your iron daggers and try throwing it at his arm! Harder to aim a crossbow with a knife in your elbow.
No. 1035043 ID: 7c0424

B. This crossbowman is the priority target.
No. 1035050 ID: 273c18

I think those are all C votes. There's three more bandits approaching, that we haven't seen yet.

I agree that taking out the crossbowman is a high priority, but we should at least get an eye on the three bandits, right? If there's another one that would pose a problem for our friends then a bit of an interception is in order.
No. 1035221 ID: f57349

Steal the wounded guy's spear so he's more fully neutralized, then use spear on crossbowman.
No. 1035521 ID: 9748c8

Focus on the crossbowman.
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