Reset Era Players Present: Reign of Fear -- A D&D 5e Play-By-Post Campaign

ThLunarian

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Oct 26, 2017
1,098
Keranos scratches his head thoughtfully. "You want to do this right now? I suppose we are short on time. I'd like to at least spend an hour or two observing the door of the room, to try and get a sense of guard rotations and patrols. That is, assuming we can find a place that's safe for me to appear to be sleeping in within a hundred feet of the room. The quarters where one of us are assigned to sleep for the night would be ideal."

Keranos tries to find a room that wouldn't arouse suspicion for those purposes. If he can find one, he spends two hours watching the outside of the target room.
 
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MoonlitBow

Member
Oct 25, 2017
750
Fhiess nods at Keranos' suggestion, "Perhaps now is a good time to find some dinner while on watch." Something sparks in his mind, "Do you think there is someone that regularly brings food and drink to the room? That might be something to consider."
 
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Mike

Mike

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Oct 25, 2017
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((I'm too lazy to come up with something in Dungeon Painter, so I totally stole this map and called it good. Ludwig is outside and can stick his head in through the window right by the guard. Everyone else, I'll let you pick your starting positions.

If you want to cause a distraction by causing a commotion without the aid of something like smoke bombs, that's a Performance roll. If you're going to use smoke bombs, I guess you don't need a roll, but the added attention will raise the DC of any other rolls. If you want to try to talk your way past the guard by pretending to be food service or something, that's Deception or Persuasion, I'll allow whichever is higher for you. Any attempt to open the door is going to require a Stealth roll.

Keranos would be able hide in any of the closet-looking spaces with relative ease. In the interest of getting things moving along, we can assume that the room was staked out long enough to determine the following:
  • There is sporadic traffic through the floor, but none of them would be considered any sort of patrol. Crullus may not feel the need to police the interior of the fort, perhaps?
  • No one comes to relieve the Shining Guard stationed in front of the door, and no one brings him food or drink, either.
  • Maybe it's the fact that no one brings him food or drink that he never seems to need the privy, because he is rooted to that spot.
  • The Shining Guard seem incredibly disciplined. He strikes an imposing figure in his full battle armor regalia, never so much as clearing his throat as he stands vigil over the door.
  • Wait, is it possible that Crullus has just set up an empty suit of armor in front of the chambers to discourage unwanted visitors?
  • No, that's dumb.
Think that about covers it.))
 

ThLunarian

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Oct 26, 2017
1,098
((The rest of the party can assume that Keranos relays all of this information to them, including the possibility that it's just an empty suit of armor))
 
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Mike

Mike

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Oct 25, 2017
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((Hm, not even sure what a critical failure looks like for smelling. Doesn't matter anyway, because my d100 grants you mercy and nothing bad happens))

Sagishi's fox form grants him any number of advantages, not the least of which being that he is small and easy to hide and has an impeccable sense of smell. With that in mind he lifts his muzzle to the air and attempts to get a good whiff of the Shining Guard standing sentry outside their target.

The results are stunning. Impossible.

The Shining Guard bears the unmistakable scent of the J'Raffa! Perhaps he is some sort of bipedal relative? Could this person be related to the mysterious assailant in the red armor that Ludwig seeks to deliver his vengeance upon? Ludwig is right there outside the open window through which a steady breeze flows, Sagishi could just ask him if... Oh.

Well, that explains that.
 

Eternal Song

Member
Oct 31, 2017
611
((Galen has an action he needs to take before Thosar makes people invisible.

But first, Primeval Awareness will tell us if this guard is human.))
 

ThLunarian

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,098
Sagishi's inconclusive report gives Keranos an idea. He attempts to scan the surface thoughts of the person inside the armor, if there is anyone at all.

Whatever he finds, he will telepathically relay to Sagishi and Galen.

((Cast Detect Thoughts on the person in the armor. Not going to try to pry deeper just yet))
 

Eternal Song

Member
Oct 31, 2017
611
((Given the range on Primeval Awareness exceeds the size of the map, would it appear there might be any humanoids in the general area of that room?
Not necessarily specifically in the room, as Primeval Awareness wouldn't be so precise.))
 

ThLunarian

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,098
Telepathically, Keranos transmits:

There is something off about whatever is in that armor. Possibly even inhuman. Perhaps it would be prudent to confront the Governor about the company he keeps in his employ, rather than continue on with this subterfuge. For something tells me that we shan't enter the room without causing a messy conflict with whatever is standing guard here.
 

Eternal Song

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Oct 31, 2017
611
((I really want to know what has drawn this reaction from Keranos, and the curiosity is, well, driven by intrigue. I can't even take clever responses about Vecna as inspiration for Creative Writing Challenge entries!

l also, very much in trepidation, bring Greater Favored Enemy to bear and ask if Primeval Awareness finds something that does not belong, something that should not be on our plane; does Galen find the presence of aberrations within this slice of the world.

And if this thing turns out to be a construct, we will all laugh at Galen's favored enemy choices, I am sure.

As for Keranos' message, Mike , was it ruled that the recipients could respond?

ThLunarian , I've got a couple different possible readings of "Whatever he finds, he will telepathically relay to Sagishi and Galen." Could you clarify that for me, please? Is he relaying something before your latest post, or, as I think is the likely case, is this fulfilled with the latest post?

PS:
MoonlitBow , thanks for the Vecna inspiration for the last CWC.))
 

MoonlitBow

Member
Oct 25, 2017
750
While Sagishi sniffs around seeking a trail, a paw suddenly pushes on the back of his head while Fawks tries to gnaw at his head.

When receiving the message, Fhiess nods, "I agree with the idea. We might have learned much with so little info just now." He turns to Ludwig, "Something tells me we don't have much of an audience for a fun distraction."
 

Nezumi

Member
Oct 25, 2017
824
Bad Soden am Taunus
Keranos' s revelation of the suit not being occupied by a human, is good enough of an explanation for Sagishi as to why he can't smell the thing properly and why Ludwig seems to be the only thing... he flinches and his fur bristles when suddenly something gnaws his ear. Only his dedication to the task at hand stops him from letting out a suprised yip.
He turns his head to find Fhiess's pet awfully close to him. For a moment he considers shushing her away, but it would probably just hurt his friend's feeling. So instead he just carefully lifts a paw and tries to gently yet firmly push her aside. A venture that only seems to encourage the creature in her playfulness, leaving Sagishi only with the option of ignoring her antics as he shares his thoughts on the situation with the rest.

"What? Surely we can deal with this thing. If anything whatever is in that room might be even more relevant now What good would it be to sit down Crullus without having all possible information?"
 
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ThLunarian

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,098
((Sorry, I didn't mean to keep the spoilered bit a secret. Keranos found that the thing in the armor literally wasn't thinking any thoughts at all, which is why he thinks it may not be a real humanoid creature. I would have said it in character, but I think the moment has passed))
 
Nov 2, 2017
140
Ludwig looks taken aback for a moment at Sagishi's remark, almost reflexively sniffs himself. "Oh. Uh... huh. Hm."

When the psychic communication is opened, Ludwig replies Are you sure we aren't freaking out over an empty suit of armor? Because it sounds like we're freaking out over an empty suit of armor.

With that, he begins gearing up to distract... a scarecrow?
 

Eternal Song

Member
Oct 31, 2017
611
((
Per Sage Advice, the Awakened Mind Warlock feature is strictly one-way. But if I have ruled otherwise previously, it'd be only fair to keep it consistent.
I don’t recall for sure, and will try to check when I have a good time (unless someone else does), but I think the ruling was in Forgerun?

Do we have aberrations?
l also, very much in trepidation, bring Greater Favored Enemy to bear and ask if Primeval Awareness finds something that does not belong, something that should not be on our plane; does Galen find the presence of aberrations within this slice of the world.

And if this thing turns out to be a construct, we will all laugh at Galen's favored enemy choices, I am sure.

And if we get to everything going into action, Galen’s casting Pass Without Trace before invisibility hits.))
 

Eternal Song

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Oct 31, 2017
611
((Yeah, the question is more for those who cannot use spells like Message.

Even if it was ruled as doable, I’m not sure anyone actually responded at that time.))
 

MoonlitBow

Member
Oct 25, 2017
750
Fhiess taps his chin. Sagishi's right as well, they could also potentially do this now. "I.. have an idea to help us find out what is within that armor but.. it is somewhat risky."
 

MoonlitBow

Member
Oct 25, 2017
750
The arctic fox that had been sniffing around Sagishi's feet after he had transformed back, confusing the creature, jumps back when the person that took the bright red fox's place suddenly spoke loudly.

Fhiess recoils when suddenly scolded for being too hesitant. "Ah, ah okay.. If you insist."

He casts Message to relay to Keranos, I'm not sure this is such a good idea, but please observe how the armor will react.

In his mind he thinks of what would best invoke a very human reaction.


<Unless he is stopped, he will move to where he can see the armor and cast Phantasmal Force to try to force the armor to think the mirror with the boy King is in front of it, and for it to shatter with the King trapped inside.
DC 14 Int save to disbelieve>
 
Nov 2, 2017
140
From his position near the building, Ludwig has no way of knowing that Fheiss has cast a spell. All he sees is a party losing their patience, and a suit of armor up front. Unless the armor reacts to the spell, he takes that as indication that he should get distracting. Ludwig keeps the smoke sticks on hand and approaches the armor, pretending to be a confused and angry tourist.

"Excuses from me, excuses from me sir guardian! I am make having complaint! These stick-shapes here, they are of being defect! I need to speak to better business bureau, can you direct me to where better business bureau? Sir? Better business bureau?"

If the armor still has no reaction, Ludwig lifts up its helmet to look inside and go "Hello?"

(( 9 + 2 for 11 on performance check))
 

Eternal Song

Member
Oct 31, 2017
611
As things begin to explode into motion, Galen nods at Sagishi and Thosar, and, reaching into the pouch at his side, whispers a single word in the Sylvan tongue.

"Ready?"
 
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Mike

Mike

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Oct 25, 2017
2,054
Greater Seattle Area
The Shining Guard stirs as Fhiess casts his spell, though it is perhaps a bit more muted reaction than one would expect. The figure cocks its helmeted head to one side in an expression of confusion, but takes no other action.

Ludwig seizes on this apparent confusion to create even more confusion, jutting his head in through the window and complaining about defective smoke sticks. The Shining Guard turns to face this newest intrusion, just in time for Ludwig use one of the smoke sticks to lever up the visor of the helmet and take a look in side.

The Shining Guard's face stares at you with empty eye sockets, his desicated skin stretched tight over his skull like tanned leather pulling his mouth into a rictus grin. The space between the shriveled form of the corpse and the armor is filled with cobwebs teeming with fat spiders with abdomens like enormous drops of blood

The Shining Guard draws his sword with a well-oiled hiss of metal sliding across metal.
 
Nov 2, 2017
140
"Sir? Better business bureau? Better bus- AWW FUCK!"

Ludwig jerks his head out of the window as quickly as he put it in, and begins going for his sword. "Guys, it's fucking spiders! The suit's a corpse full of FUCKING SPIDERS!"

((7 on initiative since it looks like a fight's coming))
 

MoonlitBow

Member
Oct 25, 2017
750
Fhiess' face wrinkles at the non-reaction the armor gives. His test worked as intended, something is not right.

When it turns around, Fhiess exclaims to himself, "Ah! He reacted more to Ludwig's distraction?" His eyes widen when Ludwig begins screaming his findings. "And they've taken the body as a host!?" Knowing now that there is immediate danger, he begins to reach for his crossbow.

<I rolled 12 on initiative earlier because I expected phantasmal force to start a fight>
 
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Nezumi

Member
Oct 25, 2017
824
Bad Soden am Taunus
If Sagishi had hoped to escape the affections of Fhiess's pet by turning back into a human he could not have been more wrong. Even though the vixen may have been taken aback for a moment it now seems to find the sturdy leather of his boots to be an even more suiting cheewing toy then his ears.
"Shush!", he whispers to the animal, while trying to shake her off, causing her to jump back only to attack again with even more enthusiasm.
"You're not a cat, damn it, stop acting like one!"
Distracted as he is, he doesn't even realize that things have gotten into motion around him.

((Initiative roll: 7))
 
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MoonlitBow

Member
Oct 25, 2017
750
<BTW, did the guard save on the spell? If not can I keep concentration and describe an event that it would perceive as actually damaging it?>
 

Eternal Song

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Oct 31, 2017
611
((And I'm going to need to know for sure if our stealth-aiding spells are active...

Initiative (It's been a while, so "Advantage for Revised Ranger's Natural Explorer feature"): 5 , 10

If this monstrosity does not beat Galen's Initiative, does it count as having acted on account of drawing its sword?))
 

ThLunarian

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,098
"...a corpse full of FUCKING SPIDERS!"

With a psychic jerk, Keranos's essence snaps back to his body. His skin feels cold and clammy; beads of sweat dot his forehead.

"FUCKING SPIDERS!"

"Steady..." He says shakily, closing his eyes to clear his mind. This was an urgent situation, and there was no time to waste on irrational nonsense.

The battle against a lone knight was not the real danger here, no matter how undead or...

"Full of FUCKING SPIDERS!"

...it was.

No. The real danger here was what the true nature of the Shining Guard said about Good Governor Crullus and his intentions.

They were in a hornet's nest. Or perhaps more accurately a

"SPIDERS!"

nest.

He tries, and fails, to suppress a shudder.

If they expect to survive this, they'll need help. A group of four humanoids, a depowered godling, and a sapient quadroped are no match for an entire government, no matter how 'endowed' they might be.

He leaves the closet and speed-walks, just slowly enough to avoid suspicion (he hopes), in the direction opposite the ensuing melee.

There is only one person in close proximity who might be able to help here.

He only hopes she is still in her quarters.

When he arrives at what he believes is the correct guest room, he knocks on the door. "Lady Stonecipher," he says, feigning calm. "Are you in?"
 
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Mike

Mike

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Oct 25, 2017
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It doesn't take Keranos too much time to find Hulna's chambers. Stonegate is not host to many guests, and she has been afforded the largest accomodations the fort has to provide. One of her loyalists from Remdormo opens the door to Keranos, and behind him Keranos can see that Hulna is busy conducting some sort of adminstrative business in her quarters with another three or four men. She raises her hand to halt the current conversation as she spies the godling standing in the doorway.

"Master Keranos," she says, "this is a pleasant surprise. What can I do for you?"
 

ThLunarian

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Oct 26, 2017
1,098
Keranos puts on a casual smile. Out loud, he says, "Forgive me for intruding. I was stopping by to check after you and see whether there is anything I can do to help you carry out the interests of the people of Remdormo, but now that I see you're already engaged, if you wish I can return at another time."

Telepathically, he transmits to her and her loyalists. Stonegate, and almost certainly Governor Crullus, have been compromised. Beneath the armors of the Shining Guard lie unspeakable horrors, one of which my traveling companions are engaging in combat at this very moment. While I do not fear for their chances in dispatching it, the bigger issue is that we now find ourselves in a den of vipers. Crullus will no doubt have my people arrested or worse. You, Lady Hulna, are the only one within these walls that I trust, and so I come to you pleading for your advice and help.
 
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Mike

Mike

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Oct 25, 2017
2,054
Greater Seattle Area
Hulna's expression falls as Keranos relays the situation to her and her cadre of Remdormo city guards. She gestures for him to enter and in a few quick hand signals instructs that the door be shut behind him and someone posted outside to keep watch.

"Where is Lord Crullus at this moment?" she asks of one of her associates.

"I believe he is in the courtyard at the moment," her man replies.

"Escorted?"

"Of course. He had six of the Shining Guard with him last I was aware."

Hulna mutters something dwarven under her breath, and while the words may not hold meaning for Keranos, the sentiment behind them is clear. "Where do we stand with the rank and file?" she asks. "Anyone we can trust?"

"Most of the guards are little more than villagers with swords pressed into their hands and uniforms pulled over their heads," her advisor sighs. "But there is a hierarchy of those with actual military command experience acting as the skeleton of the whole lot. Those I've spoken to are a reasonable lot; if we can demonstrate the veracity of young Master Keranos's claims, I've no doubt they will hold no loyalty for Crullus."

Hulna drums her fingers on the table as she considers the situation. "We need to move quickly," she says. "If we fetch the guards and show them what lies beneath the armor of the Shining Guard, then Crullus's authority will be broken. If we can marshall the guards to our cause, maybe there is a chance that we can leverage the overwhelming force of numbers to convince Crullus to surrender. But we have no assurances that he is still a rational actor..."
 

ThLunarian

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Oct 26, 2017
1,098
Keranos frowns. "We don't even have assurances that Crullus is acting under his own free will," says Keranos. "On at least two occasions that we've witnessed, the enemy has dominated the minds of Innocents in powerful positions. Which could mean that if he is being controlled, his controller cares nothing for preserving Crullus's life, or anyone else's. We must face the possibility that we are dealing with a foe who will fight to the death."

He sighs. "That said, I'm not sure that changes anything for us at the moment. It seems that our best shot is to expose the Shining Guard for what they are, publicly and dramatically. The current battle may be a good opportunity to do so. I shall send word to my people to do all they can do unmask the creature, before it's too late and they're apprehended."

((Not sure if the distance has become too great, but if not, then...))

Keranos returns his consciousness to his familiar and transmits to his allies: YOU MUST UNMASK THAT THING IN PUBLIC! It is our only chance to expose Crullus before it's too late!

((...but only if I'm still in range))
 
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Mike

Mike

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Oct 25, 2017
2,054
Greater Seattle Area
((What's the range? 30 feet? Because everyone is well outside that at this point, we'll say 100 feet if you were to draw a straight line through walls and floors and whatever.))
 
Nov 2, 2017
140
((Ludwig was just going to attack the thing when it comes out to a spot where he can swing on it. He'll still be attacking, just probably trying to drag it to a visible space for exposing))