Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Great Cavern

Upon moving through the portal, there's a short tunnel about four feet long, that was evident from inside the cage chamber; thereafter, you find yourselves near the roof of a natural cavern that plunges on your left into an unknown depth.  The cavern is about 60 feet wide, and reflective enough that your lantern illuminates dimly the far wall.  The floor, however, you cannot see.

Along the left wall of this cavern, which seems to continue for a great distance, curving very slowly to right, is an 8 foot wide ledge, following the curve like a 'road.'  The ceiling above this ledge ranges from six to seven feet, and is worked but uneven.  The ledge road itself is smooth and in places mortared with stones and occasionally bricks.  The edge is crumbling, but was clearly at one point carefully shaped to be 90 degrees.  Thus, a cross-section would look something like this:

Not strictly to scale
Ahead, around the bend, you can hear a steady slapping, which the dwarves quickly agree is the sound of water falling on rock.  Warth gives directions that Palt should follow far behind, but keep the forward party in sight; that Vala should keep Palt in sight; and that the back party should keep Vala in sight.

UPDATED:

What Batath drew

170 comments:

Ahmet said...

Ahmet resists the temptation to cast something over the side to hear how long it takes to hit the bottom ("fool of a took!") and instead follows the ledge, trying to stick close to the wall and away from the abyss.

Andrej said...

Andrej will follow the others along the ledge, keeping to the back of the party and keeping Vala in sight as best he can.

Lukas said...

Lukas will proceed along, keeping himself as far from the ledge as naturally possible. (Not fear of heights far, just a tendency towards the wall.)

Furthermore Alexis, given my latest changes is there anything I can divine from the architecture I'm experiencing?

Ahmet said...

Also, just a reminder that Ahmet's mining background gives him an 80% chance to detect unsafe construction... although I'm sure we're all very, very safe. (nervous laugh)

Lukas said...

I'm more worried about something knocking us below or coming up from below via wall climbing.

Alexis said...

Andrej cannot see Vala, but Palt is visible at the point where the turn in the path would obscure him.

The architecture is reminiscent of Germanic-Roman influences of the mid-5th century, Lukas. Its likely that the original construction of this passage is about 1200 years old.

The floor is undeniably safe, Ahmet; solid as a rock, one might say. The dwarves, too, have your unsafe contruction knowledge also.

Alexis said...

You find yourself moving past some places where drains have been built into the stone floor, two or three inches wide, to allow a steady rivulet of water escaping from the wall to pass and run down from the edge of the ledge. There are three of these that you pass by. Lukas confirms their long-time existence; there's no danger these will herald any collapse.

Erdina and Batath will take a moment to watch their hands in the bit of water. You are all still stained with dried feces, remember.

Ahmet said...

I thought Andrej's shower took care of that?

Lukas said...

Lukas washes off his shoes. As I don't remember him having to wade through much feces. Furthermore, he will try not to wax on about construction of that period and how well built this passage is. Especially given that the dwarves probably can guess on the construction quality.

Is this construction very different from what I know of the castle construction from the distance we were at?

Alexis said...

Andrej's shower lasted about as long as it takes that much water to fall from above your head to the floor: less than a second. Hardly makes you clean.

Lukas would have had to go up to his calves to get from one side of the pond to the other.

The construction is very different. The castle above you would have been built 10th-11th century, post dark ages, using different materials and construction methods.

Ahmet said...

I think we should either bark out orders to keep moving, or stop and all wash up after stationing a few lookouts ahead and behind. Don't like doing this piecemeal. Andrej?

Alexis said...

"They're my soldiers," says Warth, somewhat quietly. "They've got a right to be clean; I'm watching out for them and they'll be battle ready when we need it. Moreover, I'm not separating this party further - I'll let you move forward on your own, Turk, if you like, but the water falling somewhere ahead disguises our approach and we can see 40 feet in front of us. That's plenty of looking out by my books."

Lukas said...

"The last thing we need is a small cut turning into a fatal infection." Lukas says, "It may be nothing today, but this might not be over in one day. And there's plenty more enemies to be felling than at this battlefield."

Ahmet said...

Very well. Ahmet joins the others in getting scrubbed up, then takes his place at the front of line again.

Andrej said...

Andrej shoots his friend Ahmet a commiserating look, as if to say he shares his caution, but nods to the dwarf. "Let us all get clean, then."

Andrej will wash last, as he's at the rear of the party anyway.

Alexis said...

Unfortunately, there isn't enough water to get scrubed up or clean. The rivulet is maybe a half inch wide, and merely seeping from the wall. The promise is the water falling at some point unsee ahead.

Lukas said...

Lukas has nothing left to do in this area but proceed when the dwarves are ready.

Andrej said...

I'm ready to proceed as well.

Ahmet said...

OK. Let's just move on then.

Alexis said...

(OOC: Grin. Such happy campers)

The falling water is deceptively far. It astounds you to realize that you've probably travelled at least 800 yards since the cave with the cages, and no sign yet of the great cavern's end.

A rushing stream, about a foot across and expelling about three gallons a second, is pouring out of a limestone tube above the ledge (in the cleft where the ceiling meets the wall). The ledge has been widened, and covered with flat slate tiles, clearly in an effort to waterproof the passage. The result is a wide semicircle around the place where the stream about 15 feet in diameter. Much of this is covered in white lime-and-clay soil, like mud, which seems to have collected over perhaps centuries from the water's fall. A trough has been built through the center of the semi-circle, but the water does not emerge in a smooth flow, but rather as an inconsistent deluge.

Almost immediately upon approaching the main semi-circle, you see wheel tracks in the mud, as if from a cart, and scores child-like footprints. The wheels are quite close together - much more close than any cart you've ever known. The cart might carry 200 lbs. at most. There are a half dozen cart tracks, and many foot tracks besides. Some foot tracks are clearly pulling the carts. Others are merely walking along.

Ahmet said...

Bath time? :)

Andrej said...

Sure, let's do this smartly and systematically, keeping a close eye out while we stop.

Aside from being child-like, can you tell us anything further about the foot prints. Are they human shaped? Wider or narrower or somehow out of typical human proportion? Toe nails/ claws?

Alexis said...

More like Andrej's feet than human; definite claws.

Ahmet said...

Are these similar to the tracks that Ahmet saw his first time through the cave?

The tunnel is narrow, but six feet wide, but with a roughed out flattened surface, somewhat muddy. It is evident to Ahmet's eyes (upon taking the torch himself, so he can see his own feet) that there has been a great deal of traffic through here lately. The mud (mixed with clay) shows things have been dragged through it; it shows the footsteps of armed men (humans), and of someone with small, bare feet (too small to be human, but wide and with nubby toes).

and also

The route through the tunnel, where there are many tracks, and signs of things being dragged through the mud (perhaps the butts of spears, wheels and the like) carries on between stones for about twenty feet, until the mud gives out onto bare rock.

Alexis said...

(OOC: Ha! Forgot I'd written that)

Yes, these are the same small tracks. You don't see any human tracks, but then those could have been deliberately concealed. These tracks, I had failed to mention, could not be more than 12 hours old.

Lukas said...

Hrm... goblins... then cave troll? I don't want to meet a cave troll. Do dwarves get a bonus against them in this edition?

Lukas scratches his chin considering the difficulty in getting a wagon down and up the slope. He then considers the animal cages and what he knows of his previous visit. Shrugging, he ends his consideration for now.

We have signs of small humanoid enemies, I wonder if they're undead?

Ahmet said...

After consulting with Lukas about the tracks they'd seen the first time through the caverns, Ahmet relays the information (such as it is) to Warth and Andrej.

Then he scrubs up and then takes his place at the head of the line once everyone is prepared to move out.

Andrej said...

Nice catch Ahmet.

"I'd say goblins or some such small humanoid... kobolds perhaps? Warth, what do you make of it?"

Alexis said...

The dwarves can confirm - they are too small for goblin tracks.

Andrej said...

"I'll put a gold piece on kobolds, if any are interested in some action."

Once cleaned up some more Andrej is ready to proceed. He'll look back and see that one of the runners is still within sight before we leave, however.

Ahmet said...

"Bugbear children being used as slave labor," Ahmet mutters.

Once everyone seems ready to proceed... Ahmet moves out.

Lukas said...

"Children with funny shoes." Lukas replies with a wink. "Though I wouldn't put a gold on it."

Lukas said...

Oh yes, and Lucas proceeds onwards.

Andrej said...

(OOC: guys, I've got about another 30 minutes or so and then I'm calling it a day today. I'll be pretty scarce tomorrow as well, but will try to check in when I can).

Alexis said...

For my records, can I confirm that everyone washed? The dwarves all did.

Alexis said...

Andrej can still see Palt; the dwarf waves as Andrej looks at him.

Lukas said...

I did wash off my shoes.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet washed. This is probably the cleanest he's been since Cuxhaven.

Alexis said...

Before you can continue, I will need a d20 roll from each of you.

Lukas said...

D20: 7

Ahmet said...

Ah, I was wondering if we were going to pick up the parasite by washing, or by not washing. ;)

D20: 11

Alexis said...

(OOC: Where's the trust?)

Lukas said...

Shhh, we're saving on eternal life. We found the fountain of youth.

Ahmet said...

I trust you, Alexis. It's the parasites that worry me. ;)

Andrej said...

D20: 7

Why do I get the feeling that was a saving throw and not an ability check?

Ahmet said...

Oh, I thought it was a "to hit" roll for where our entrails land.

Lukas said...

On a more practial note, perhaps cleaning up gives us an additional save against desease. Later if this didn't work we could be saving again or getting sick...

Alexis said...

(OOC: The reason you don't tell people what the d20 roll is for is so that they all get concerned and worried, thus building tension and retaining momentum. I'm glad its working.

On the down side; fellas. The word of GOD has come down from on high that there shall be a reorganization of our database, which I manage, and that this reorganization shall begin forthwith. I have been expecting this for some time, but the day is magically here and alas, I'm screwed for today, and probably multiple days over the next three weeks. Damn the spring season, damn the lack of meaningful company growth, and damn the middle manager mentality that something special must happen to fill the gap. As such, shovel in hand to move great piles of dirt, I leave you gentlemen to a long and relaxing day.

I shall try to squeeze in a point here or two about what's happening. I shall look to see what other people might say. I may even get half an hour at some point today - when the technies inevitably tell us the system has collapsed due to the changes - to write a blog post. I am not dead. I'm just diligently moving piles of dirt, is all)

Andrej said...

(OOC: I feel your pain, Alexis. Hang in there. Today was bad for me anyway.)

Ahmet said...

Good luck and happy compiling. :)

Lukas said...

(OOC: I'm dreading our database transfer as well. We've got to review each of 9000 issues and then re-enter them in an updated database manually soon... In other words, good luck!)

Alexis said...

I have come up for air. Too late, obviously.

The party continues along the corridor, and all seems very well and fine. I'll pick this up as Palt reaches the font, which will be about the time when the party perceives the ledge/road entering a tunnel mouth about a hundred feet away.

Andrej said...

Proceed to the tunnel mouth, do not enter until we can examine more closely?

Lukas said...

There's only two ways to go, and until the parasites start eating my brain, I think forwards is the best one. So yes, onwards!

Andrej said...

You have the lead, Ahmet, we move on your say-so.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet signals to those behind him the end of the ledge and beginning of the tunnel. He whispers to Warth that a dwarf should check it out with infravision, before the column and its torches comes into view from someone standing in the tunnel.

Alexis said...

(OOC: Sorry I'm late, friends)

As you continue up the passage, a number of unimportant incidents and events conspire, while the party unfortunately remains in the dark. Checks having been made, with modifiers, the party has no reason to think anything odd.

You see, if as a DM I say, "Andrej feels a nagging discomfort in his side," the tendency is to think something is odd, since the DM is mentioning it. However, Andrej just went through a combat, as did everyone. Andrej has a large bruise on his thigh, Andrej's right shoulder is pulled a bit, there's a cut across his thumb that's a bit annoying, his joints hurt, he's a bit chilled from the temperature, his back hasn't quite been right since the last long journey he took by horse, etc., etc. Having a stitch in his side is hardly a matter of great import that his character would necessarily investigate - unless he made his check. Which he didn't, and neither did anyone else.

So the party lumbers along, just far enough that Palt keeping you in sight has reached the pouring stream, and Odval - who has been nursing a cold - suddenly gives a cry, and reaches for his lower back. A shiver goes through him. He doesn't fall unconscious, or anything. When asked what's wrong, he says, "It just felt as though something stabbed me in the back. But it doesn't hurt as much now."

At that point, Palt at the falling stream claps his hands hard, twice, getting Warth's attention. Palt is waving and pointing down at the slot in the floor.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet stops the column and waits for further news from Palt.

Lukas said...

Lukas peers curiously backwards.

Alexis said...

Warth and Batath strip Odval of his pack and weapons, and Erdina uses a small knife to cut open his tunic. There, clamped to his back, is a brown-black leech about the size of Ahmet's fist.

Andrej said...

Andrej begins to strip off his armor and equipment and urges the others to do likewise.

"Leeches. They must be from the otygh's pool, yes? They cannot be from the stream..."

Alexis said...

Vala appears next to Palt, and there's an exchange of words between them. Meanwhile, Lukas, Ahmet and the dwarves all seem free of leeches, but there is one attached to Andrej's side, inside his robe. It seems large and bloated with blood.

Warth calls for salt or some means to kill or or get rid of it.

(Not sure if Lukas has an extermination cantrip, but it would work as well)

Andrej said...

"I have no salt save that which sits on the cart back at the camp. Could we burn it off?"

Lukas said...

"I have a spell to salt things!" Lukas offers his spell to aid. It is usually used on very large areas though, so perhaps we can find a way to use it?

He casts it to assist. However, he does not have exterminate.

Lukas said...

Can't we also burn/smoke them off?

Alexis said...

I'll rule that Lukas can concentrate enough salt in a small enough area to force the leech to let go - a tablespoon or to where the leech attaches to the skin.

But who does Lukas choose to use it on?

Ahmet said...

What is the leech attached to? Is a part of Andrej's body that a celibate priest doesn't need? For I have a scimitar.

Lukas said...

I cast it on Andrej's, he has the magics should we need them. And they might be useful for Odval. Also dwarves are tough right? That is unless Andrej objects.

We might need to smoke/dry the other one off... or cut it... If I remember correctly leeches breathe out of their butts, or is that ticks?

Ahmet said...

While all this is going on, Ahmet will watch the tunnel entrance (but not move closer to it), and advise Warth to have someone watching their rear.

Alexis said...

Lukas gets Andrej's off, and in the process does not receive very much goodwill from Warth. Burning will probably work, smoke probably not; you can always pull it off, but it might leave its head in the wound left behind. Andrej's drops off, and Andrej suffers 6 damage from blood loss. Ouch.

Ahmet, you're meant to watch the tunnel; Palt and Vala are in sight, watching your rear. Vala is now hotfooting her way towards the forward party.

Andrej said...

Andrej eyes Ahmet's scimitar and rubs the wound while he thanks Lukas quietly for the spell. He also offers to heal Odval himself once his leech is removed.

(OOC: damned either way, Lukas, thanks for the spell)

Ahmet said...

Ahmet is warily watching the tunnel mouth, so he doesn't see Vala approaching, but I can't wait to hear what she has to say...

Alexis said...

Erdina exclaims, "Aha!" and finds a packet of salt inside her pack. She applies it to Odval's leech, and it drops off.

Like Andrej's, it leaves behind a bright red spot and two tooth marks.

Warth pushes a leech against the wall, and sweeps the other off the cliff. "Is there anything this tells you, casters?" he asks, pointing at the leech.

Andrej said...

Is there? Either from our experience or fields of study?

Andrej casts CLW and lays hands on Odval: 6 hit points returned

Lukas said...

Unless the DM believes it tells me anything Lukas shakes his head, "Nothing more than ghouls, an Otyugh, small little clawed feet and giant weasels do. That this is a very dangerous place, and we should not get in the water."

Lukas looks to Andrej, hoping perhaps a more intimate understanding of clerical magics might help them learn something.

"Although, I don't think normal leeches would live where flowing water like this would occur. I doubt there are enough to survive in a constant stream like that."

Alexis said...

Andrej, give some to yourself; Odval needs only 3.

Andrej said...

I can spread it out? Nice. I'll take the other three.

Alexis said...

A close look at the big leech suggests it is a freshwater variety.

Vala will hurry up at this time and report that Palt saw two leeches clinging to the bottom of the trough below the stream, and that apparently there are leeches infesting the water - "There's a danger anyone bathing might get a leech attached to them," Vala says.

Andrej said...

"I suppose that's it for bathing, then. Shall we see to the tunnel?"

Andrej begins re-donning his armor

(OOC: Alexis, it looks like as a cleric I get another weapon proficiency at 4th level based on the class description you sent me. If so, I take hammer.)

Ahmet said...

Ahmet also will be sure he's re-armored before they enter the tunnel.

Alexis said...

I haven't got the book, Andrej, but I believe its every four levels above first ... so I don't think you get another proficiency until 5th. Monks get a new one a 3rd, fighters/paladins/rangers at 4th, thieves/assassins at 6th and mages at 7th. For some reason, I can't be certain of clerics/druids ... but I'll bet it's 5th.

Alexis said...

You're armored up again. Vala drops back, with word that the water used for washing will be collected first before being used. The way to the tunnel mouth is clear, and we can keep going forward.

The tunnel mouth appears to be about 5 feet wide, and about five feet high.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet urges Warth to send a Dwarf forward to check it out using infravision, before the entire column and its torches come into sight for anyone inside or on the other end of the tunnel.

Andrej said...

Andrej moves to front of our formation to confer with Warth and Ahemt. He will go to scout ahead with his infravision if necessary.

(OOC: re/ cleric proficiencies, that was my understanding from the PHBK (1 every 4) but your write-up differed. I'm good with two for 4th level if that's the call, just noticed the difference today)

Alexis said...

(OOC: In this case, it has to be a mistyped rewrite; I never meant to change the PH)

Warth agrees regarding sending someone forward; but he will ask Erdina to get something out of his pack first. Erdina does, hands a bundled cloth to Warth; it is about a foot in diameter.

Warth invites the party to look to look - he unwraps a corner, and shows that inside the cloth is a fire beetle gland.

Ahmet said...

"This is no time to discuss lunch," Ahmet mutters.

Andrej said...

Very nice... how much light will it give off?"

Lukas said...

Lukas nods emphatically at this wonderful item. "Very nice indeed."

Alexis said...

It will give off a 25' circle of light, and hardly distracts from infravision. Warth suggests Ahmet accompany him to the cave, to at least where it gets too dark to see, with the gland wrapped and in his hands; then, if something happens (Warth will be able to see), Ahmet can quickly unwrap the gland and see.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet agrees.

Alexis said...

(OOC: I want to be completely forthcoming when I say that Warth is not a member of the party, and that the party should not do things just because Warth suggests them. It always worries me if the party thinks that I'm giving them the direction or the way to do something - and I want it perfectly clear that my NPCs are flexible enough to let the party choose their own methods - if they so wish)

Lukas said...

As far as I can tell, our general strategy is to head forwards. Right now we're working on the information we have. There is a direction forwards, there are a few nondescript features. Investigate to get descript features. If the dwarves have some better ideas, it can't hurt.

Andrej said...

(OOC: Lukas sums it up nicely for me. I haven't done anything yet I didn't want to do. If you're concerned that things should go wrong at some point while we have followed the advice of the dwarves and we blame it on you, don't be. at least not from me. I've been in favor of with everything decided so far.)

Ahmet said...

You don't have to worry about Ahmet letting people know if he disagrees. :)

Alexis said...

Very well.

Ahmet and Andrej reach the tunnel mouth. There is a slight wind eminating from it; Warth declares the tunnel empty, and describes it to be some sixty feet of well-worked, straight construction.

About 80 feet away, past Warth's infravision - and not bright enough to mess with it - is the gentle glow of light. Ahmet fancies he can see it flicker, but that may be his imagination. Ahmet cannot see anything between himself and the far light - but that would change once his eyes adjusted to the more complete darkness.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet enters the tunnel, keeping the beetle gland covered for now.

Lukas said...

Lukas follows when the rest of the group catches up.

(OOC: I'm out sick today folks, so there might be erratic gaps in my posting, but I should be able to keep up.)

Andrej said...

Andrej will direct the rest of the group to proceed after Warth and Ahmet, assuming that we are collectively making our way toward the light in the ostensibly empty tunnel.

Alexis said...

Warth is not sure. There might be some sort of intelligence related to this light, as opposed to the other. Moving forward in armor could be a bad idea.

He suggests sending Batath, stripped down, to scout ahead.

Ahmet said...

As we lack a scout -- and since Ahmet can't see in the dark as well as the Dwarves can -- this seems like a reasonably suggestion.

Alexis said...

Batath will quickly strip out of his armor, remove all his weapons except his hand axe and will even take off his boots. He then scampers down the hallway; Warth declares him out of range after a few rounds.

There's no sign of Batath silhouetted against the light.

"His father was a master at arms," says Warth. "Didn't like that his son became a thief; but they sorted that out last year."

Andrej said...

Andrej awaits Batath's return.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet eagerly awaits the Dwarf's return, ready to rush in should something alarming befall him.

(OOC: "Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train...")

Alexis said...

(OOC: I hate it when blogger changes everything)

It takes ten minutes for Batath to return. He cannot say too much. He got a few glimpses of what's ahead, but did not wish to expose himself.

The tunnel snakes to the left after 80 feet, then makes a 120 degree turn. From his best vantage point, there is a room about 30 feet by 20 just beyond; on the left side of the room, in the far corner, he could see a steep ramp rising to a short stone battlement, just two feet high, behind which was a kobald with a bow. Behind the battlement was the wall of the chamber, which continued up into the ceiling. Batath could not see the near left corner of the room without exposing himself.

On the right was another ramp - about seventy degrees (he shows the slope with his hand), twelve feet high. Some sort of platform was on top of it, and beside the platform a stone and brick hut. He did not see a kobald up there.

The slope on the right extended five feet into the room, and he could not see what was on the other side of it, or anything beyond the hut.

Alexis said...

Effectively, says Batath, the room is a hole between a raised platform on the right and some kind of small fortification on the left - so he thinks.

Andrej said...

"Were there any sounds to indicate more creatures might be out of sight? Was the kobold with the bow watching your tunnel or something else? How attentive was it?"

Ahmet said...

Ahmet quietly instructs Klaas to three-quarter load the heavy crossbow.

Alexis said...

Then Ahmet notices Klaas isn't there, or anywhere near there. He's way far away with the back party.

The one kobald Batath could see was VERY attentive. He suspects it is due to the castle being under seige.

Regarding sounds, the baffling in the cavern did not allow him much; he failed to hear any significant sounds, though he knows from experience and from probable ambient noise that the kobald is probably with others. If there is more than one archer, however, they are definitely not talking to one another.

Andrej said...

"We should take counsel with Frith."

Provided Ahemt, Lukas and Warth agree, let us post a guard on the tunnel entrance and make for the midpoint between the main and advance parties. From there we then send word via runner to Frith that we have found the kobolds and need to make plans.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet sighs and asks Lukas to bring up Klaas. If Lukas isn't here either, Ahmet trudges to the back to get Klaas AND Lukas.

Ahmet said...

Or that, OK.

Andrej said...

"Batath should join Warth and our party in the counsel, as Frith may want to question him directly... the remaining dwarves of the forward party can guard the tunnel. Warth?"

Alexis said...

Said meeting between all persons involved occurs about 40 yards from the tunnel entrance, with most of the dwarves just sitting and resting.

Klaas is NOT taking part in this combat. He's rattled, he's wondering what the hell he's doing here - he never wanted to die and he just wants to get out alive at this point. Frith has had him carry extra equipment, lightening the loads on the other dwarves.

Andrej said...

Andrej begins,

"Now is as good a time as any to address some questions that have popped up in my mind, Frith. Please do not take offense if I speak plainly.

Hornung had asked the party what role we wanted in the coming conflict and we requested a company of sappers to make this way clear. I had assumed, in error, that our group would your dwarves in the coming battle. That this is not the case is plain to me now, but before we commit to any further action I would know your orders from Hornung and what you therefore aim to do here. I will tell you plainly my desire: to strike as savage a blow against the archbishop as I can manage given my current circumstances and to see his castle fall down around his ears if God wills it."

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Missing a key word in there: "Our group would your dwarves"... I'm guessing the missing word is command?)

Andrej said...

whoops... "lead" was the word I missed, but command works as well.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet ponders going all Patton on Klaas but that probably wouldn't accomplish anything.

Might make Ahmet feel better, though.

Andrej said...

Alexis, what would the effects of a Bless spell be on morale after a failed check? I'm afraid that's the best I can offer, Ahmet.

Ahmet said...

Don't waste it... he's fine as a pack mule.

Alexis said...

(GCI: a bless spell would have no effect. Remove fear might force another morale check, but a failure of morale can be due to "good sense" as much as it can be due to fear)

Frith will not take offense. "I am not under orders to obey you or your party," he says. "We are to accompany you and, as you say, clear your way. I'm to do what I can to leave you free to take action and thus I won't restrain your activity - and where it doesn't overly threaten the lives of my men, I'll support you.

"Seems to me," he continues, "There's enemy up ahead. I don't know what it will do to make the Bishop's castle fall down, but if there's enemy in reach it only follows that we should be rid of the wretches. The less that's free to climb to the surface and aid the Bishop, the better service we do."

He mulls over it a bit. "Seems to me we've got two choices; move into the rooms ahead now and possibly raise the alarms above us, or wait 'til Hornung's schedule. I'm open to suggestions."

Andrej said...

"If we move forward at this point and engage the enemy, we must assume the kobolds will successfully send word to the castle's defenders and therefore raise alarms. I would prefer to wait for Hornung's timetable, keep a watch on the tunnel and if necessary kill anything that emerges from it while we wait."

Alexis, if I recall we left sometime after 6 am and noon was to be the time of striking. Is this correct and what is the party's best estimate on what time it is currently?

Lukas said...

What would my knowledge of the ahead construction tell me? Platform and fortification? It sounds to me like the fortification is old and is going to be used for the normal stuff, and the kobolds built the platform and intend to either drop something terrible on anyone going through, or use it for the same purpose as the fortifications.

As for timing, I think it would be best to wait for the time as it were. Maybe give us a chance at an easier push. Keep in mind, that was Hornung's plan originally, to keep defenders off of us. So we can basically defy greater orders by engaging the fortified defenders, or wait, then engage fortified defenders. At least my interpretation of the thing.

Alexis said...

Andrej,

I don't want to fiddle with time, so let's assume a two hour wait for Hornung's schedule. It's easier than quibbling.

Lukas, you can't judge the platform or fortification because you haven't seen it. Batath will describe it as solid as a mountainside, though he could not tell how thick the bastion was that the kobald stood behind.

Andrej said...

"Good point Lukas. If Ahmet agrees on waiting the two hours (thanks Alexis) then we should spend that time planning and resting. Which takes me back to a more pointed version of my first question... Firth, are you willing to march your men into the kobald fortifications and if so, would you suffer a plan devised by a half-orc friar, a pick-wielding turkish misanthrope and a Dutch spell-thrower with a penchant for fancy hats?" Andrej smiles with genuine mirth, a familiar gleam in his eye."

Alexis said...

"I'll take any plan that saves lives," says Frith. "I haven't any bowmen, so I'm reduced to throwing men as quickly into the room as possible and doing what damage I can with axes. I do not like that, as I've no proof there's any way up short of scaling the 12 foot walls Batath describes - and I don't like the prospect."

Ahmet said...

"A hail of sling stones would likely keep the archers heads down and give us a chance to move into close combat... or so I hope."

Andrej said...

I think at this point having at least a partial map of what Batath saw is a necessity... perhaps he could scratch one into the stone? ;)

Alexis said...

"If they're barricaded, and we 20 are in a tight room at the bottom, there may not be the space we need to use slings," says Frith. "the entrance way is the size of the tunnel - 5' wide. We'll be cut down as we rush in one at a time."

Ahmet said...

Ahmet could strip off his armor (control yourselves, female readers) and attempt to sneak close enough to get a good look... or Lukas. Both have construction knowledge which could help in drawing an accurate map and seeing any potential access points.

Ahmet said...

Andrej, do you still have your Pebble of Silence(tm)?

Andrej said...

I have my silence spell, yes.

Ahmet said...

What do you think -- Ahmet and/or Lukas creep up with the help of the Silence spell to get a look?

Andrej said...

It's definitely an option Ahmet. I was hoping to see a map before we committed, though. I've only got one Silence spell and I want to make sure we get the most of it.

Ahmet said...

Save the spell. Ahmet (unarmored) and Batath could sneak up to the 120 degree turn and see what they can see from there. Hopefully it's distant enough they won't be able to hear us anyway.

Ahmet said...

(OOC: In my next life, I'm coming back as a thief!)

Alexis said...

Before doing anything, I have added a drawing of what Batath saw to the post.

I'd like to point out that while Ahmet and Lukas do have mining experience that would be helpful, neither would be good at concealing their ODOR along with keeping silent or hiding in shadows. You're not theives, and you're not going to see more than Batath saw without almost certainly drawing attention to yourselves and destroying any conceivable element of surprise.

Andrej said...

(OOC: You may not have to wait that long if one of us hits 5th level soon... )

Andrej said...

The map is top-down or side view?

Andrej said...

I think top-down...

Andrej said...

Perhaps it is wisest to try to take the kobald out with slings from the tunel, then rush his position with a squad of dwarves, taking cover behind the wall. From this vanatge one could better see and therefore direct the next group's actions, be it storming the 70 degree slope or taking care of some response or attack from the hidden areas.

Andrej said...

For the sake of managing the battle we could divide the dwarves up into 4 squads of 5, with one or more of Firth, Warth, Ahmet, Andrej and Lukas spread out amongst them.

Ahmet said...

(What odor? I just bathed in a leech-infested underground stream! I must smell delightful!)

Frith said the slingers may not have enough room. Ahmet has his crossbow, but at this point he's the only one who can fire it -- and he's not proficient in it anyway, so it would take a lucky shot. He could take one shot, drop it and charge.

Ahmet said...

Or I suppose a dwarf could fire it. That's probably a better idea, since Ahmet is better at hand to hand.

Andrej said...

I would put our best dwarf forward and let them use slings, as this is the weapon with which they have proficiency... the melee rush to to the kobald and the battlements to happen right after the sling stone hits the air...

Alexis said...

The map is top-down.

The problem with attacking with slings from the tunnel is that the tunnel is only wide enough for one slinger to stand there and sling. If there's more than one kobald with a bow, the front slinger is going to get stitched.

Frith does not want to move his weaker fighters in front; "The strongest go in first; we battle for the ground, take the hits as we may, and hopefully we can pyramid our way up the slopes if necessary." 12 feet, six dwarves ought to enable those at the bottom to climb.

A dwarf can fire the crossbow, he just can't load it (its too long)

Andrej said...

"Firth, I agree on principal, but think the first shot fired should be a sling stone aimed at the kobold's head. Our first goal to get one or two squads onto and controlling the low-wall fortification on the far wall to take cover and get a fuller view of the slope and the hidden areas."

Ahmet said...

"Perhaps we can heave some flaming oil onto the battlement. That ought to keep the bastards busy."

Lukas said...

Well, if we rush them enveloped by a silence spell it might buy us some time assuming we can squish the watch quick enough... Though I anticipate a good deal of fire from behind...

What if at the start we chucked the stone at the watchman? Then he cant call out and maybe we can get more in quickly... I mean, it only has to land close.

Though then it wouldn't disguise OUR approach much...

Andrej said...

"We'd be quiet, Lukas, but we'd be within sight and smell and there's no telling who has eyes on the single kobald. The silence could be of limited use.

If we face spell-throwers this day the silence spell may find some significant use as a defense against their casting... I sure would like to keep it handy."

Alexis said...

Frith will answer, "I'll be the first dwarf through the door, friend cleric, and when I go, it will be an axe I throw; I won't stand still in one place to hurl a sling, I'll throw an axe while running forward."

Alexis said...

(GCI: magic is not cast using somatic or verbal components. Clerical magic is gathered from the gods and released. Druidical and other magics are caught from the environment, shaped and released; there may be some detritus in the spell description for silence I gave you, Andrej, but it won't stop a caster from casting a spell)

Andrej said...

Andrej nods his agreement at the dwarven leader.

"What say you to 4 squads of five dwarves each? We could send two squads forward to take the low wall the kobald occupies. From there, you or another could direct the actions of the remaining two squads. I would separate Zoft and I into separate waves but otherwise rely on your preferred distribution of your soldiers."

Andrej said...

(OOC: Dang! No detritus, I just made a bad assumption.)

Given Firth's preferred method of attack and my assent, I'd still like to keep the silence spell handy for now unless Ahmet and Lukas feel strongly otherwise, in which case I'm open to discussion.

Ahmet said...

"And you'll be behind me, Frith," Ahmet replies, then pats his shield. "And this."

How about Ahmet, Andrej, Lukas, and a handful of Dwarves rush the low wall, while the others head to the slope?

I'm assuming the "hidden" areas contain a horde of kobolds -- or worse -- and the behind the wall might be the most defensible area.

Alternately, we could leave Lukas with Klaas and the wounded Dwarves in the tunnel as a reserve.

Andrej said...

"It might be better to send the taller ones like yourself and me to the slope, Ahmet, for boosting dwarves up and onto the ledge."

Ahmet said...

"OK. But what about Lukas, Klaas, and the injured Dwarves?"

Andrej said...

Klass will be carrying our bags, perhaps with the injured dwarves... Frith will decide which dwarves go where. Lukas should remain in the tunnel at least until we figure out how strenuous the kobald defense will be, but he should decide.

If Frith and 10 dwarves can take the low wall with ease, Ahmet, Andrej, Warth and the remaining dwarves should be working on getting up the slope is my preferred plan.

Ahmet said...

Sounds good.

Lukas said...

Alright, but keep in mind, I have a 40ft sleep spell that can disable a big chunk of kobolds for a short period of time. I have to get somewhat close, but I can create a pretty big effect on a bunch of low HD.

James Clark said...

We may need to use it, Lukas, so be ready. I think you can cast in the tunnel and step out to release it... yes, Alexis?

How would Frith like to divide the dwarves?

Alexis said...

We'll have to end this thread soon; getting near the 200 comment mark. Please limit your number of comments until we move to the next post. For the moment, I'd like to keep the discussion here.

Frith will dress his men in order. Frith and those he chooses will rush the battlement and the hidden area on the left; Warth will investigate the hidden area behind the right. The dwarves will go in as a single unit, in as close an order as possible, and separate out to the right and left as they've been trained to do.

I made a very, very important ruling on the weekend which will apply here - this is NEW, and describes movement.

You can now have TWO characters/persons in one hex at the same time - but they cannot fight FROM the hex, and ALL attacks (including missile fire) on a hex containing two persons are done at +2. So you can move together in tighter formation, or pause in someone else's hex, but don't do it when on the front line.

You should also know that creatures smaller than 40 pounds (rats, kobalds, etc.) can fight and defend two-to-a-hex, and the attack bonus against that does not apply. Thus, you can't attack from a hex with two medium sized creatures in it, but kobalds CAN.

So, the Dwarves and the party can enter the room in tight formation, but you should plan to break apart once inside.

Ahmet said...

Got it.

A little worried about Warth going by himself to check out the unknown area. Andrej, should we stick with him, or do you still want to try to climb up the slope? I'm concerned, with just our 3 MP, that we're going to be stuck scaling the slope for three or four rounds while everyone else is having all the fun.

Andrej said...

Is Warth going alone or is Frith splitting his band in two, one half with Warth and the other with Frith? Frith has no plan for the slope based solely on the above... I'm not sure I understand the overall plan.

Ahmet, I was hoping to rush the slope with a few dwarves, helping the latter up before we tried ourselves but I'm not sure there will be any dwarves rushing the slope at this point.

Alexis said...

Frith's plan is for ALL the dwarves to go in, then to split apart like a zipper. Each pair will be made of both Frith's group and Warth's group, and will know how they're expected to split. They're dwarves. They know how to move through tunnels and break apart this way.

Andrej said...

OK, that clears up that issue with whether Warth goes alone... sounds like he has 50% of the dwarves swinging to the right. Is Frith's plan to take the low wall, see what is in each of the hidden areas and then focus attention on the slope and hut based on what happens once we get this far?

Alexis said...

That is Frith's plan - remembering that the low wall is atop a slope also - both sides, according to Batath, require climbing up a steep slope.

Ahmet said...

OK.

So the question remains... what do we three want to do.

Ahmet said...

I realize Andrej, you had earlier said sticking with Warth -- which is fine with me -- but I didn't know if knowledge that EACH group will encounter a slope changes anything.

If we're OK with all three of us sticking with Warth... I'm ready.

Andrej said...

I see, it was not registering that the side with low wall also had a slope. Is that a 70-degree slope as well?

Two more questions, one comment

1) do we have ropes and grapples? how many?

2) Ahmet & Lukas, we could alternately let the dwarves do the zipper-blitz and act as the reserves. That is, wait in the tunnel and if all hell breaks loose plug whatever gaps need plugging.

If no hell breaks loose and all goes well, make for the slope leading to the hut and be the first ones over, Lukas possibly hanging back to hurl that sleep spell if and when needed.

Alexis said...

Yes, it is also a 70 degree slope.

The dwarves have ropes and grapples, but according to Batath, they're no good for the situation on the right; there's nothing to throw a grapple over. They could and will be used on the left, for the battlement, but Frith likes Ahmet's idea of using oil to hurl at those defenders - he would like to know how much oil you have.

Frith also wants to make use of Andrej's stone of silence, whatever the party decides; he wants Ahmet up front, because he's seen Ahmet fight.

Before I forget, one of the dwarves has posted a notice next to the falling stream that there are large leeches in the water.

I'm going to create a new post for further discussion; so let's leave this one be. I'll post it in the next five minutes.