Tuesday, October 9, 2012

High Alpen Above Innsbruck

October 25, 1650, Friday late afternoon
Weather: with cool temperatures and clear conditions, with a light breeze

The party has set their tents near a full hayshed, which someone had nailed hides - old and worthless, now - over the front.  The hayshed is on the edge of a meadow when slopes towards Innsbruck, and the party can see the town in the distance, and the river Inn at the bottom of the valley.

Behind them, the mountain rises some four thousand feet.  Those across the valley are rocky and magnificent, the high ice glistening, and the stone slopes below shining golden in the late afternoon sun.

The question arises, what does the party wish to do with the girls' body, having brought it up here?

115 comments:

Ahmet said...

I suppose we have to wait for Andrej, but Ahmet and his pick ax are available for grave digging duty.

In the meantime, Ahmet quizzes Sofia on Bulgarian mining operations.

Alexis said...

(OOC: lol, the Turk is like a dog with a bone)

Hichem will also lend a hand digging a grave. This is something no one has to tell him to do, so Ahmet can join him or not as he starts doing so.

The ground is hard with rooted grass and stones, but there are no roots at least.

Lukas said...

(OOC: Hey, if the man with the books knows about mining techniques...)

Lukas will take over if anyone needs a break.

Ahmet said...

(OOC: I like the temperature scale, although I'd find 70s to be pleasant and 60s to be cool. I suppose it has to be adjusted for Canadian purposes.)

Ahmet might as well help dig too. If the hole turns out not to be needed, we can always fill it in again.

Alexis said...

(OOC: I have worked on ideas for 'relevant' temperature, based upon the climate of your origin; that a higher temperature could be endured for tropical persons vs. nordic persons, and a lower temperature vice-versa. The problem with it has been, from the beginning, simplicity ... in that it is hard to measure the sliding scale against a large number of players on a regular ongoing basis inside a campaign.

My offline campaign, for example, is presently featuring ALL the players/henchmen from that campaign, plus the 8th ranger's followers, making for a total of 42 combatants/travellers. Any system that covers that must be workable)

Andrej said...

Let us dig the grave, well away from the hay shed. The burial will take place in the morning. We can post double guards through the night.

Morning, because I want to take one more stab at a detect malevolence and ensure the presence I felt was indeed from the girl and is still with her.

Agreed?

(OOC: busy, busy, busy, week)

Lukas said...

Um, so my concern is that that wont actually change anything... I mean unless we discover what said malevolence is there doesn't seem to be any real solution.

Furthermore, I personally don't see the benefit of pursuing this much further. We would be combating the word of a RESIDENT priest, a soldier in the duke's guard and who knows what else if we started stirring up trouble. We could just be blamed for bringing a demon here.

Andrej said...

The detect malevolence is only as a last check to ensure that it is the girl who emanated the original evil. If it is not the girl, and she now appears normal, I'll give her an actual burial ceremony. If it is the girl still, I'm contemplating a bonfire or we can simply drop her in the ditch. I have no intention of going back to town at this point if that's your concern, Lukas.

Lukas said...

My point is that the assumption fire will 'burn it out' is a bit of a fallacy. A fallacy I support under most circumstances, but a fallacy none the less.

Furthermore, I see no problem with following up with normal rites in the case she IS the cause, however if she isn't then burning her is bad, AND normal rites are good.

Anyhow, I just was trying to streamline the process which is pretty much shot at this point.

Let us do your malevolence check again. More information never hurts.

Andrej said...

It's true, burning the body could be even worse than burying, better or the same... we have no way of knowing. However it turns out, though, after tomorrow morning we'll be done with it. Unless whatever we do or don't do triggers some event... in which case, that's the sort of thing we adventurers sort of enjoy anyway, eh?

I think we're in agreement on the main points. Post a double watch (Andrej-Janos; Ahmet-Hichem; Lukas-Sofia) over the camp and body, cast the spell in the morning; bury burn or whatever and then head south for Italy.

Ahmet said...

Sounds like a plan.

Ahmet said...

While grave digging with Hichem, Ahmet cheerfully observes: "Ah, this reminds me of my cousin Selim."

He keeps digging for a few moments.

"Although of course, for Selim, the hole did not need to be quite so big."

Dig dig dig.

"Until we found the rest of him."

Andrej said...

Sofia, participating in the dig, rolls her eyes, "Do you have any relatives which have not met a grisly end, turk?"

Ahmet said...

Ahmet, leans on his pick ax for a moment and hmms thoughtfully.

"My Uncle, Fat Abdul," he pronounces at last. "He died happily in his bed, riding to glory atop his second wife. She died soon after... not as happily."

Andrej said...

(OOC: ba-dum, crash)

Lukas said...

(OOC: Yes that's exactly the sound the bed made. And the last sound either of them heard...)

Alexis said...

(OOC: the last sound the poor couple on the main floor heard too)

Once the hole is dug - and clearly this hole is getting big enough that Ahmet might decide to open a second shaft and start prospecting - what do you intend to do?

Andrej said...

Sleep. Post the guards as indicated above. In the morning Andrej will cast detect malevolence then conduct a burial ceremony and bury the body regardless of the outcome.

Alexis said...

As night falls - the new moon, please take note - temperatures turn brisk and the sky clears of clouds. There is naught but a light air, just the very touch of movement, so that all is quiet.

Could I ask after the party's light sources, since there is no moon at all.

Andrej said...

During the first watch Hichem lights the bullseye lantern he carries, and opens to the widest arc facing out from from the shelter. Andrej uses his infravision to keep an eye on the dark areas not covered. We'll keep the lantern lit throughout the night, each watch can adjust the arc of the bullseye as they see fit.

Lukas said...

Lukas will advise we keep the corpse in the light.

Alexis said...

Lukas can see Arcturus above the horizon in the east; high above, Orion and Taurus suggest that it is halfway through the first part of the night. Watches?

Andrej said...

Three shifts as follows:

Andrej-Janos; Ahmet-Hichem; Lukas-Sofia

Alexis said...

Could I have Ahmet roll a d20?

Ahmet said...

I randbetween'd a 19, which is either very good or very bad.

Lukas said...

I've got a bad feeling about this. I think Ahmet is not going to notice the body has suddenly gone missing.

Ahmet said...

Nah, I think someone came along and attacked the rest of you while Ahmet was talking to the dead girl about Austrian mining principles.

Alexis said...

Nothing quite that remote.

It's only that Ahmet will not see the large, shambling creature until it is 8 hexes away. He failed his wisdom check.

It emerges from the other end of the hayshed; it is seven feet tall, black and featureless in the darkness ... and moving towards Ahmet and the others.

I will set up a map on a new post - but for the moment ...

1) Ahmet must roll a d6.
2) Ahmet must then roll a second d6.

Please indicate the rolls in order.

Ahmet said...

Roll 1: 4
Roll 2: 3

Alexis said...

(OOC: I had time, but I spent it not being patriotic. Sorry about that, fellas)

Ahmet, you are not 'surprised' ... which is not to say you were ready for something shambling towards you, but rather that you are just that ready to manage the problem upon observation.

Moreover, you have initiative over the creature.

My first instinct is to create a map and play it out that way; but I will let you decide. It is eight hexes in front of you, along the open side of the hay shed. If you want to try and fight this out without a map, I'm willing. If you want a map, give me a couple hours, I'll set one up and we can go from there.

The two tents with the party members are at your back, side-by-side, at a ninety degree angle to the corner of the hay shed, to make the best shelter for the fire. Hichem is capable of rushing into either tent; Andrej is sleeping with Sonya, and Lukas is sleeping with Janos.

(OOC: I haven't heard from Janos for two weeks now - I presume he's still out there)

Lukas said...

You have a choice, have him walk in on who knows what with Andrej and get two warriors, or have them walk in on who knows what with Lukas and get one scholar...

Andrej said...

If I may declare Hichem's action, he begins shouting out so those in both tents may hear, but runs toward Andrej's & Sofia's.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet draws Dilmek and readies his shield.

Alexis said...

It comes forward two hexes, better into the firelight.

Whatever it is, it is certainly not 'alive.' It appears to be the corpse of something big - bigger than human - in a state of perhaps a week's decay; there are maggots climbing on its surface as big as Ahmet's thumb ... green maggots. Otherwise, it is dressed in what may have once been the clothes of a shepherd; robe, cloak, knotted rope for a belt, sandles. The 'eyes' do not see ... and yet it shambles directly at Ahmet, clearly with the intent of doing something awful ...

Ahmet said...

Ahmet stands his ground but calls out over his shoulder, "Priest! Someone is here to see you!"

Andrej said...

Has anybody woken up yet? Has Hichem reached the tent with Andrej and Sofia?

Alexis said...

Leaving the waking up for Ahmet to take some kind of action.

One round at a time.

At this point, Andrej and Sofia are roused - not active, but awake; it may be assumed that both are sitting up, kicking off their blankets, but not in a position to help Ahmet quite yet.

Lukas is awake if he can make a wisdom check.

Lukas said...

D20: 15

Ahmet said...

At a distance of 6 hexes, Ahmet waits for the creature to come closer to him.

Ahmet said...

Actually, let me withdraw that for a moment, as there is one feature of the terrain we haven't discussed yet -- where is the hole we dug, relative to me and the creature?

Is the corpse already down in the hole?

Alexis said...

The hole is likely fifty feet down the mountain slope, so far from the camp. The corpse would likely be kept near there, but not in the hole (its not appropriate to put it in the hole until the burial, and Andrej is typically very traditional).

Lukas is awake, but a bit groggy and not leaping to his feet as Andrej and Sofia have.

Alexis said...

(OOC: All right, fellows, I am probably not going to be on much today, either; I had a bit of an unprofessional moment at work yesterday, probably a ptsd thing, and I am picking up the pieces on stuff. I'm definitely feeling like Bilbo, too little butter, too much bread, and while I love you guys I have to keep squeezing you out to make room for other things. I hate this. I don't know when it will end, and I'll be able to be at ease in the campaign. You guys have been great and patient, but we both know this is going more slowly than ever.

This waiting three weeks for the funeral to happen is ridiculous; but it still isn't coming around until next Friday. Sigh.

Anyway, hang tough. I'll get myself sorted out)

Ahmet said...

(OOC: No problem. I'd much rather wait for a rested, focused, and happy Alexis!)

OK, so the hole isn't an issue.

Ahmet holds his action.

Alexis said...

Moving forward then, without a map - let me know if this gets confusing, we can map it out if we have to.

For the moment, there is only one hideous beast. It continues to approach and Ahmet gets a good clear look at it - it's face is crawling, as I said, with large green worms; it is completely decayed, but the dead flesh is remarkably juicy. It moves closer to 4 hexes away.

At this point, Ahmet may again take an action. Lukas rises groggily in his bed. Janos - if he's here - is the same. Andrej and Sofia burst from the front of their tent.

Before Andrej reacts ... I'm going to write a comment in a moment here addressing the subject of turning undead. Wait for it please.

Alexis said...

Okay, regarding turning undead. I've been thinking about this through the weekend. I think that we can all agree the ordinary system sucks. I think it does for two basic reasons:

1) It either works or it doesn't work. There's no drama beyond one die roll and if that roll fails, the turning ability is useless.

2) When it works, it works TOO MUCH. It completely drives the undead away, making them ridiculously easy to manage and kill, especially with regards to the lower undead such as zombies and skeletons. By the time the cleric is 4th level, you might just as well not even throw either at the party ... and the same is true for many undead once the cleric is 7th.

(... more)

Alexis said...

So,

I shall try this. Part of the reason for the online party was experimentation, and this will hopefully work and set the precedent for all my undead in the future.

1) The die is rolled exactly like before, only if it isn't successful, the cleric and STILL roll again the following round. Failure this round does not mean failure next round.

2) Turning undead is an action that takes virtually the whole round; it will let the cleric move one hex while doing so.

3) When the cleric is successful, the cleric's turning will literally pick up and move the undead back 10 feet, or two hexes - during which time the undead may drop to a knee or be temporarily non-corporeal (with respect to shadows, wraiths, etc); and for the following round the undead is treated as 'stunned' and cannot move or take action.

4) The number of undead that can be so affect is up to 2 HD per level of the cleric - the cleric determines which undead are so thrust back.

Let me know anything you'd like to tweak - obviously, I appreciate everyone's input. We can settle this out and then create a new post if the comments field gets too full.

So ... comments on the undead, and then an action for Ahmet, Andrej and Sofia this round (Lukas will emerge from the tent next round, and can take action at that time).

Ahmet said...

How many hexes behind me are the tents?

Lukas said...

Note to self: Get a sleeping cap. This way I will never go hatless.

Andrej said...

Interesting, and I'm certainly willing to give it a try.


The "stunned" status takes effect immediately and lasts through the round after the turning, yes?

Given that the effects of turning under the original rule were variable based on level and relative power, I wonder if perhaps the duration of the stun should likewise be variable. That is, a powerful cleric could keep a group of lesser undead "stunned" longer than a lower level one. Your thoughts?

Finally, what is the significance of a wraith being temporarily non-corporeal?

Alexis said...

Ahmet: call the distance between you and the tent 2 hexes.

Andrej:

You would turn, they would be stunned, the party would then take whatever action wished before they could do anything.

Regarding the variable strength of the turn, let me think on it; I'd like to see how effectively this works first. As I said, part of the problem with the last system is it made things too easy. A 6th level cleric turning 1-12 skeletons for 3-12 rounds each had the power to keep at bay as many as 144 skeletons. I think that's ridiculous. If you multiply the number of rounds the things are affected, you double or triple the turning power.

Some creatures cannot be "stunned" ... certain things without wiring, like jellies, or things that are effectively non-physical' in nature, like an air elemental or a wraith. So 'non-corporeal would mean it could still be struck and damage caused by magic or magical weapons, but the creature would not be able to cohesively continue attacking.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet continues to wait.

Alexis said...

I await then an action from Andrej and Sofia.

Andrej said...

Andrej sees the creature and attempts to turn it: 2d6 = 8

Sofia moves out 4 hexes to the right flank and draws and flings a dagger:

to hit: 16
dmg: 2

Alexis said...

Turning Undead requires a d20.

Sofia's dagger strikes into the creature's soft flesh, but has no effect upon its slow, steady movement.

Andrej said...

Andrej's d20: 19

Alexis said...

The 19 works brilliantly. The creature is hurtled back, as expected; it takes no action and the party is free to do as it will.

Lukas emerges from the tent.

Alexis said...

I should say - it is 6 hexes in front of Ahmet, 7 in front of Sofia and Andrej, 8 in front of Lukas

Ahmet said...

Ahmet holds his ground, warily looking about for any more creatures on the approach.

Alexis said...

You do not hear or see anything else moving.

Lukas said...

Lukas, aside from being disgusted by the approaching form (I hate maggots) will immediately see that such a creature must be destroyed.

Lukas begins casting magic missile.

Andrej said...

Andrej: "What are you waiting for, turk, a formal invitation!" Andrej dons shield and mace if not already at hand. I'm assuming his armor is off for sleeping.

Sofia: draws and flings another dagger (should I mention these are silver daggers?)

to hit: 14
dmg: 3

Hichem: mans the bullseye lantern, widening the light arc to cover as much of the combat as he can, back facing the hay shed.

Ahmet said...

The problem is you pushed him too far away. By the time I get there (two rounds), he's unstunned.

I think we're better off making him walk to us and hitting him as a unit. Either we should advance together, or wait here for him to come to us.

Andrej said...

Andrej accepts the logic of the turk's choice with a thoughtful grunt.

Alexis said...

(OOC: I should make it perfectly clear that Andrej was in his rights to attempt to turn it again and again, driving it further and further back, if so desired, upon successful tries)

It appears that Sofia's daggers are having no effect.

It also appears that the creature possibly was unaware of Ahmet, prior. Upon regaining its power to act, it rushes towards Andrej and Ahmet. It moves only four hexes, however, and though it waves its fists, it is somewhat short in striking.

I conceive that Andrej is standing next to Ahmet, 2 hexes from the creature; Sofia still by the tent (7 hexes) and Lukas with the spell cast and ready to throw, it is the party's move.

By this point, also, Andrej will recognize the creature - it is one of the kyussites, a mummy-like creature that suffers from an undead disease, carried by the maggots that feed upon its head.

Andrej said...

I suspect magic scimitars and missiles might prevail where silver daggers have not.

If Andrej takes the full round to turn, will Ahmet be able to get a swing in before the creature is pushed back, should the turn prove effective? If so, Andrej takes a step back and begins turning.

Sofia curses, then crosses herself and offers a quick prayer of contrition. She uses all of her movement to return to the tent and fetch Andrej's backpack.

Lukas said...

Not being able to physically damage the creature might mean that you are still able to perform maneuvers... Though getting that close might be less than desirable.

Lukas said...

Oh yes, I complete the magic missile and target the shambling creature.

4 Damage

Andrej said...

I'll roll the d20 for turning once Ahmet has made his move, if that's acceptable.

Alexis said...

I had it in my head that the turn would take a full round, so yes, Ahmet can swing at it and potentially hit before Andrej pushes it away.

Damage so noted, Lukas.

Ahmet said...

I believe it's now 2 hexes away from us, so Ahmet (3 MP with plate and shield) won't have enough MP to attack it this round.

If that's not correct... please advise.

If that is correct, Ahmet remains at Andrej's side (also taking a step backward -- not sure if you moved a full hex or literally a step.)

Andrej said...

full hex.

Turning roll: 10

Andrej said...

hmmm, I suspect Lukas's 4 points hurt the creature but won't be nearly enough. Andrej can switch from turning to using holy water once Sofia locates them in his pack, but that's only 6 vials. I'm guessing we'll still need Ahmet to engage in melee. Should I just let the thing come, then, and save the turning for when Ahmet needs a breather?

Alexis said...

Sorry, its from not using a map, which confuses things.

The creature is 2 hexes away.
Ahmet only has to step into the adjacent hex to the creature ... or one hex forward.

That will still leave him the two moves he needs to attack.

Andrej said...

Ah, good. Take a swing Ahmet? Andrej will be ready with a turn and healing as required, but I think this might be your show at this point...

Ahmet said...

Ah, OK... then, have at you, mummy!

To hit: 14
Damage: 8

Lukas said...

I hope you don't get brain maggots.

Ahmet said...

(OOC: They'd starve...)

Alexis said...

That definitely hits, and the creature is stunned. Andrej's turn fails (but he can still try again the following round if he wishes).

As Ahmet is close enough to hit, as he does so one of the maggots on the creature's head leaps and lands near the crook of Ahmet's eye. It is ghastly in feel, about three inches long and wet. Ahmet is so repulsed his only action now can be to scrape at the worm before it has a chance to do anything, then stagger a hex in disgust and near vomiting.

I need a d20 from Ahmet.

The other members of the party can do as they will.

Ahmet said...

Ahh! Maggot!

D20: 1

I have a bad feeling about this.

Alexis said...

Yes, that was a saving throw.

Andrej said...

Andrej attempts another turn: 16

Sofia flings a vial of holy water at the creature retrieved from Andrej's pack:

to hit: 6
(I forget what the to-break roll is)

Hichem continues to hold the lantern aloft and forward, but draws his dagger also and glances back over each shoulder to guard against a surprise from the rear.

Alexis said...

There would be nothing for the vial to break against, so Sofia will have to unplug it and then move close enough to fling it on the creature.

Of course, Sofia is a monk and moves six hexes per round; so she can easily move close enough (normal combat distance) to spray it over the creature.

She only has to hit AC 10, but she misses. She does 1 damage from splash, however.

Alexis said...

Andrej's attempt to turn fails again.

Andrej said...

Ah, got it.

Lukas said...

Lukas notices Ahmet begin staggering away and begins to get the feeling he should not get close to the creature.

If the creature is further than four hexes, Lukas will begin casting acid arrow...

Alexis said...

Though Sofia missed, the creature is miraculously weak enough that 1 hit point of damage was enough to stun it.

Lukas can release his spell, Andrej and Sofia can do as they will.

However, Ahmet is screaming.

Andrej said...

Sofia splashes another vial onto the creature:

to hit: 17

Andrej attempts another turn: 19 (yay!)

Hichem sets the lantern onto the ground and approaches Ahmet, dagger still in hand.

Lukas said...

I guess in the interest of thoroughness...

Lukas will release his spell on the creature. Unless there's any way he can preserve the spell at this point.

D20+1:14 (Hit as per fighter)
Damage: 9

Alexis said...

Sofia will need a round to ready another vial. In that time, Lukas' spell will destroy the creature, even as Sofia lifts the vial to take the stopper off.

Hichem shouts that there's no worm that he can find, but there's some kind of acide that burning Ahmet's face!

Alexis said...

Experience:

Andrej, 277
Lukas, 343
Sonya, 136

Ahmet's experience is suspended for the moment, as he does not have the state of mind to be able to "experience" anything except pain at this time.

Ahmet said...

Whimper...

Alexis said...

What does the party do?

Lukas said...

Well, I think this is a good thing for Andrej and his priestly training to understand better than myself.

Personally I'm going to go retrieve water for rinsing his face... Because I'm sure THAT will solve everything.

Lukas said...

Now that I think of it, I wonder what a holy water rinse would do?

(Ahmet, this would be a great time to earn an eye patch.)

Andrej said...

Andrej examines Ahmet's wounds as Hichem moves away to fetch the lantern and bring it closer.

Sofia keeps the unstoppered flask at the ready and lights a torch from what remains of the party camp fire. She intends to investigate the grave.

Lukas said...

You know, the creature was probably attracted to our corpse. To infect it. Alexis did say it wasn't aware of us till it was interacted with.

Ahmet said...

I've already picked out my new profile pic!

Lukas said...

Needs more wiggling parts.

Alexis said...

The grave is unchanged. The girl's body is unchanged.

There seems to be a steady burning/consuming outwards of Ahmet's flesh, very slowly but very painfully; he has passed out now from the pain. The flesh is dark red, and covers half his nose and a two inch circle from his right eye across his cheek. Apparently the worm left behind some sort of infection which is now consuming Ahmet.

Ahmet said...

I'm starting to think this isn't good.

Lukas said...

For the record, if you survive, I bet you are going to have taken a TON of damage. In addition to that sword strike, you'd be looking at some healthy XP...

Lukas doesn't know what to do, therefore, he looks up at Andrej expectantly.

Andrej said...

(OOC: It looks like Blogger at my post, so apologize in advance if this is a dupe)

Is there any sign of the worm?

Andrej casts cure light wounds on Ahmet.

Maybe its a long shot but its all I've got.

Lukas said...

When in doubt pour holy water on it?

Andrej said...

Sofia returns to the group after seeing to the grave, still with the vial of holy water in hand.

(OOC: let's see how the spell works first)

Lukas said...

*I* will pay for replacement holy water. Pour that shit on ASAP for all we know this disease will consume him in like 4 rounds.

Ahmet said...

The holy water might burn Ahmet more than the acid! :)

Lukas said...

It would be a good burn. As opposed to a bad burn. We would only be burning your undead bits.

Andrej said...

Sofia shrugs and pours the water on Ahmet.

Alexis said...

Catching up.

Cure light wounds seems to have no effect.

There is no sign of the worm.

Ahmet cannot propose what if statements ... :)

The holy water definitely slows the progression of the spread, but does not counteract it nor end it (doesn't hurt Ahmet, either).

The spread seems to be about a quarter-inch outward per minute now.

Andrej said...

hmmm, holy water had an effect, so...

Andrej attempts to turn the spread

Alexis said...

No, its not undead.

But Andrej does get the sense that Ahmet's soul may be under seige from something that could make him undead.

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Damn that worm! In my next life, I'm coming back as an archer...)

Andrej said...

"Of course, an exorcism! It is what the girl likely needed all along, but I'm afraid it is beyond my abilities. We need a more powerful priest... and quickly."

Alexis said...

This is continued on the next post.

Andrej said...

Andrej uses another vial of holy water upon Ahmet's wound (leaving three).

Sofia and Hichem begin preparing two horses for a hast departure.

"Good, good Sofia. Our thoughts are one. I will ride back or forward to the closest town with both Ahmet and the girl upon the spare horse. Sofia and Hichem will finish breaking camp and catch up as they can. Lukas and Janos, I might require some help if riding ahead."