Chapter 13: The Worm of Hatred (OOC)

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Fixxxer
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Wasted for the PCs, maybe. Seeds planted for the DM to harvest in the future. Plus, maybe we get a bit of roleplaying XP for the encounter, who knows?

Talanall
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We'll see about the roleplaying XP. I'm trying to think of a rationale that would allow me to consider the encounter a victory for the PCs, other than in the sense that they are still alive. If the fey had really been interested in killing any of you (other than maybe Chuul, if he could be lured far enough outdoors to make it practical to try to kill one last orc for the evening), then "survived" counts as victory. But mostly they were interested in accomplishing things that actually happened, at the PCs' expense. So this was a defeat, although I doubt that it will ever lead to a catastrophic problem, even for Avar.

I don't think what Avar did was stupid, either, so much as extremely dangerous and uncertain. If there's anything stupid about it, it is that he attempted it in ignorance of all the things that could go wrong, and without adequately explaining his intentions to the rest of the party. Given that several of them have the knowledge base to have warned him of the pitfalls that lurked down his chosen path, that was a profound tactical error.

The fundamental idea was sound, although I suspect that Muticus would have charged a dear price for his help regardless of whether he concluded a bargain with Chuul, Avar, or both of them. If Cole is still alive, Muticus may have been able to find out his whereabouts and arrange for you to get there more or less in one piece. Despite his asshole tactics in bargaining with Chuul, his willingness to entertain such a promise suggests that he believed himself capable of delivering on it. He is one of the more powerful fey that you've encountered so far, as I think is demonstrated by his ability to cow a pack of darkhounds into obedience.

Mostly, the outcome of this encounter is likely to be that the Seelie and Unseelie Courts will show an interest in the Bastards that I had planned from the earliest stages of this campaign, but which never came to fruition because the party decided to pursue other interests. This incident has opened up opportunities for me to present adventure hooks that hitherto have not been prominent because you have tended to focus on purely mortal concerns.

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mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

It was a victory for Alannah, as she was trying to prevent anyone from being (in her estimate) a dumbass and making a bargain with a fey.

Talanall
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Avar is an unperson?

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deadDMwalking
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In point of fact, yes. Avar isn't affected by hold person or charm person . But he is affected by hold monster.

Yep. Avar is a monster.

Talanall
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Technically.

Now that I think of it, Alannah also seemed to be on the point of trying to bargain with Muticus.

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mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

Alannah wanted to bargain to play the game with the fey... it would have been great to try to beat the fey at his own game. However, during the process, she realized just how good he was and knew that it was only a matter of time before he stuck something into the deal that she didn't catch.

She also has confidence in her own ability to find Cole... she doesn't find the bargain to be worth much when she is close to getting what she considers to be the right tools to do the job herself. She was going to provide a description for Avar of Cole, but she wasn't about to put her own soul (or anything else) up on the auction block. If she even has one.

Talanall
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I don't buy the "no soul" hypothesis. She threw herself on a grenade for Chuul, just now, when she interjected herself into his negotiation. Instead of whatever was going to happen, she's ensured that Muticus now feels that he has a score to settle with her personally.

If that's not love, I don't know what is.

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mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Board Rider
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I don't think it was a victory.

For this encounter I played Avar how I think a paladin, confident in himself, would handle the situation. He has only been a part of the group for a few days and doesn't yet know each members capabilities. You throw in the fact that he is truly ignorant of what was waiting outside for him and you have an adventurer looking to see if an idea can become a solution as it involves potentially finding the killer of his friend. If anything, Tal could have unleashed the hounds to eat Avar or simply wrote that he only heard horns all night long.

To me that is what makes up an adventure. How would there be D&D if a DM put out warnings and stories of danger only to have the players sit back and say, "You know what? That does sound dangerous! I think I will sit around the inn and let someone else deal with that problem!"

Anyway, the encounter was what it was. I thought it was going to go differently, and certainly hoped for something different once negotiations went under way, but it is what it is.

Talanall
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Board Rider wrote:

You throw in the fact that he is truly ignorant of what was waiting outside for him and you have an adventurer looking to see if an idea can become a solution as it involves potentially finding the killer of his friend.

It wasn't a crazy idea, for what it's worth.

Quote:

If anything, Tal could have unleashed the hounds to eat Avar or simply wrote that he only heard horns all night long.

I flipped a coin to decide whether Avar was going to hear horns all night, or actually have an encounter. If Chuul had been out there with him instead of remaining either under shelter or within easy retreat, this would have led into a combat encounter instead. The Fifalls' neighbor was foolish to bring the fey into this at all, but he wasn't such an idiot as to let them completely off the leash. He told them to hunt down orcs. I'll leave you to speculate on whether he saw Chuul and just didn't care, or whether he was sanguine about possibly killing Vluba, the Fifalls' half-orc servant.

Quote:

To me that is what makes up an adventure. How would there be D&D if a DM put out warnings and stories of danger only to have the players sit back and say, "You know what? That does sound dangerous! I think I will sit around the inn and let someone else deal with that problem!"

This is a reasonable stance to take.

As a philosophical matter, when I have NPCs give out reports of danger, they usually are talking about danger from their perspective. The Fifalls family is tough, smart, and self-reliant, and one of them has had some dealings with fairies. He wasn't speaking from a position of ignorance, and he's more than a bog-standard commoner. But he's not a PC; he's a relatively low-level elite NPC, and would be summarily killed by things that you guys are going to handle without a problem. If Temple-Warden Burke in Port Hope says something is "very dangerous," he's speaking as a veteran warrior-priest who is powerful enough to raise the dead. His perspective is entirely different.

Also, sometimes the 1st-level commoner will tell you about a thing that is very dangerous, and you will be included in the group that is threatened. It was much more possible when the party was significantly lower in level, but there still are things in the valley that pose an existential threat to your group if you get onto their bad side. And those of you playing in the Cataclysm campaign will be aware, by now, that there are parts of Tolrea that make the Mereflow Valley look like an idyllic paradise.

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mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Talanall
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I'm traveling starting Thursday 10/5/2017, around noon-ish. Will be back on the evening of Sunday, 10/8/2017. I don't expect to be updating this campaign during the time I'm gone.

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mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Fixxxer
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Talanall wrote:

I flipped a coin to decide whether Avar was going to hear horns all night, or actually have an encounter. If Chuul had been out there with him instead of remaining either under shelter or within easy retreat, this would have led into a combat encounter instead.

There wasn't a moment when Chuul considered staying outdoors. He knows damn well that he's not Billy Badass enough to stand up to a fey hunt. But Avar both surprised him and opened a door for him when he suggested bribing the fey -who are stronger than himself- to take out Cole. He's not dumb enough to believe he would come out of such a bargain unscathed, but to him, so soon after Ryster's death and everything else he's seen, Cole's erasure would be worth quite a bit of toil and discomfort on his part.

Fixxxer
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Alannah's discomfort over this subject amuses me greatly.

Talanall
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She's probably nervous about the giant orc dick and its possible impact on her daily activities. Walking, breathing, riding horses, etc.

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mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Fixxxer
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deadDMwalking
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Alannah wanna handle negotiations and payment? I think everyone that's staying on should have a war-trained mount. Even if they have other modes of travel it'd be worth it.

Darker

After her help being misunderstood (maybe) the previous night you'd need to appropriately fluff her ego to get her to jump in... also appraise the animals, as she has little idea what they are worth. She can ride, but not particularly well. Though noble born, she never rode growing up and was never trained in anything to do with horses.

Darker

Churlish.... I learned a new word today.

deadDMwalking
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That's my nicer way of describing Alannah. It's also a gender neutral term so that's a plus.

Talanall
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deadDMwalking wrote:

I think everyone that's staying on should have a war-trained mount. Even if they have other modes of travel it'd be worth it.

Currently, the party members without a war-trained mount are Chuul, Alannah, and Oskav. Everyone else is appropriately mounted.

Getting hold of an appropriate mount for Chuul is going to be the challenge, because he and his gear tip the scales at 284 lbs. Nothing but a heavy warhorse will do for him; even the heavy horse that he currently uses is weighed down by his bulk. The only reason riding his current mount is better than walking is that his riding speed is 40 ft., and his breastplate makes his walk speed 30 ft.

I think that a light horse or a light warhorse would work out to be slightly faster, but his weight only leaves him about 15 pounds of leeway before he becomes a heavy load for them. A heavy horse is at medium load up to 400 pounds, which leaves him a comfortable margin for emergencies.

A standard heavy warhorse would consider Chuul a light load, although just barely.

This said, these observations are pertinent to an "average" horse of the types discussed. A horse that is stronger/faster/tougher may be available, although probably not from a convenient roadside ranch, and certainly for a higher overall price. If you wait until you are in Port Hope before you make a purchase for Chuul, the market there is large enough to support the kind of shopping you would need to do.

Depending on how crazy you want to go with this, there's also the possibility that you could score some kind of exotic mount. Port Hope is, again, a large enough market to support this kind of activity.

The horses that Harder Fifalls has on offer today are light warhorses. Appraise checks would be pertinent to assess how good they are and how much they are worth. If you have at least 5 ranks in Heal, Knowledge (nature), Handle Animal, or Ride, you can apply synergy bonuses as applicable.

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mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

Could Chuul start using a pack animal? Or an additional light war horse to keep his gear (it wouldn't be an awful idea to have a spare horse).

Talanall
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I'm not sure how much help that would be. A large chunk of his gear already stays inside a handy haversack. What isn't in there is stuff he's wearing, or weaponry that he likes to keep where he can get to it at an instant's notice (guisarme, falchion, dagger, composite longbow, arrows, etc.).

Plus there's still the weight of his saddle, bridle, etc. to consider. That comes to about 30 additional pounds, which is why he's on a heavy horse. The saddle would tip a light horse over to a heavy load.

A light warhorse could take Chuul as a medium load, even with the saddle, but would not really offer a meaningful upgrade in speed.

I don't think a pack animal would help him unless he started riding in the leather armor he keeps around to use as pajamas. But then he'd take a sizable hit to his Armor Class, which already is only modest for his class and level.

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mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Talanall
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As a follow-up to this, I should add that if you guys are planning to go looking for Fafrilla's mother (which is what you seem to intend after you get the refugees squared away), you'll want to think carefully about things like pack animals, fodder, food and water supplies. She's somewhere on the opposite side of the Desertwall mountains, which are the eastern boundary of the Mereflow Valley region. The name pretty well tells you what's on the other side.

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Darker

In addition to taking rations on pack horses/mules, I think we should consider stashing away some scrolls of Purify Food and Drink, Create Food and Drink, and Create Water. This could save us if it comes down to it as long as Garren or Alannah remains alive. Garren could even scribe them.

Of course with 4 characters with ranger levels in the party, we might have enough skill to survive even in a dessert environment with just the create water spell.

deadDMwalking
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I'd consider allowing Chuul to ride my Heavy Warhorse and I could ride a Light Warhorse - at least temporarily.

Appraise (No Synergy)
I rolled 1d20+1, the result is 17, 1 = 18.
Darker

Also, how far are we from Port Hope anyway?

Talanall
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Darker wrote:

In addition to taking rations on pack horses/mules, I think we should consider stashing away some scrolls of Purify Food and Drink, Create Food and Drink, and Create Water. This could save us if it comes down to it as long as Garren or Alannah remains alive. Garren could even scribe them.

Of course with 4 characters with ranger levels in the party, we might have enough skill to survive even in a dessert environment with just the create water spell.

Jalen's stepping back to NPC status. Arkenian's work life dropped a ton of bricks on him, which is why he's gone silent. I think drumandfight is coming back soon.

In any case, relying on Survival would keep you alive, but it would cut your movement speed in half, and I don't know if you'd be able to count on having enough left over to keep all your mounts alive. Horses are Large creatures, so they take three times the standard amount of food and water.

Once Jalen departs, Chuul can take 10 to feed and water five Medium creatures, Garren can do the same, and so can Georgie. That works out to fifteen Medium creatures, or five Large ones.

However, Chuul has a replenishing skin, which produces a gallon of water once every 1d4 hours (figure 9.5 gallons per day). A desert environment requires as many as three gallons per day for a Medium creature, so you will USUALLY have enough for half the party from that. And Avar has a magical ration pouch that creates enough food for one person each day.

Together, this means you are really only feeding and watering five party members, and with just your mounts that's five more Large creatures (Avar's mount lives in hammerspace when he's not riding, and he eats and drinks there). That works out to the equivalent of 20 Medium creatures--five in people, and 15 in mounts. That's still more than your capacity.

There definitely are ways to handle this, but Survival isn't going to be one of them all by itself, especially if you don't want to slow your travel to a crawl.

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mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Talanall
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Darker wrote:

Also, how far are we from Port Hope anyway?

You should make it late in the afternoon of the current In Character day, if you don't suffer any substantial delay.

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Talanall
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deadDMwalking wrote:

I'd consider allowing Chuul to ride my Heavy Warhorse and I could ride a Light Warhorse - at least temporarily.

This would shave a couple of hours off your arrival in Port Hope.

The animals Master Fifalls has to show Garren look ordinary to him. They seem reasonably healthy, obedient enough not to be a behavioral problem, and so forth.

He thinks that in Port Hope or some other large, healthy market they would sell for about 150 gp each, presuming that they are trained as the rancher claims.

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deadDMwalking
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Any cultural things I should do with horse trading? Should I shed blood for a contract now before we agree? Wait until after? Let his name a price or offer one? Garren isn't particularly interested in haggling - if the farmer names a good price Garren is likely willing to pay it (assuming that the PCs in question will lighten their purse - we all made enough on the goblins to cover the cost).

Darker

Let's not forget that there's a ring of substance to be had that Chuul has been wearing... It'll likely be ready to work by the time we get to the desert. Given the upcoming expedition, I think we shouldn't sell it off as it can give us one medium creature free food/drink. Could I guess we could even let one of the mounts use it? Can a horse use a magic ring?

Talanall
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deadDMwalking wrote:

Any cultural things I should do with horse trading?

In Aureshan culture, the following obtains:

For livestock outside of an auction situation, the buyer almost always proposes, and haggling usually is part of the process unless the offer is more than the vendor actually expects to get.

In an open-air retail market, or in a shop that displays ready goods, it usually would be considered appropriate to ask for a price, and to haggle. But haggling is in poor taste in a tavern or other business that serves food and drink. Haggling over the cost of a room is acceptable.

If you're purchasing tailored clothing, custom weaponry, or something else that is made to order, then haggling is expected but not required, and ordinarily it is expected that the vendor will elicit the buyer's requirements as far as style, quality, material, delivery time and place, etc. and then offer a price. Many times, this leads to a lengthy process of changing requirements and price as the buyer and craftsman work out a deal.

Shedding blood usually is not done except for large or complex purchases where there is some degree of opportunity for misunderstanding or bad feeling. You won't see anyone pricking fingers in a marketplace over fresh veggies; in general it would be a unusual for most "as is" purchases where you pay money and get the goods immediately.

If there's a deposit involved with some kind of schedule for an item to be made to order and delivered within a certain timespan, or if there's a certain level of service required, or you're buying a large amount of commodity goods that must be delivered in good condition to a certain place at a certain time, that's when you'll tend to see a propitiatory blood offering. Normally that offering would be made when you both agree to the contract, whether it's written or verbal. You would definitely see it, often with great solemnity, if you're ordering a custom magic item or something else of that nature, or if you're placing an order for your winter wardrobe ahead of the start of Port Hope's social season.

I think that for something like the purchase of a couple of horses, you'd have leeway depending on how formal you want to be. Fifalls has shown a tendency to be formal.

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Talanall
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Darker wrote:

Let's not forget that there's a ring of substance to be had that Chuul has been wearing... It'll likely be ready to work by the time we get to the desert. Given the upcoming expedition, I think we shouldn't sell it off as it can give us one medium creature free food/drink. Could I guess we could even let one of the mounts use it? Can a horse use a magic ring?

I had forgotten about the ring. So yeah, that brings you down to effectively four PCs to feed and water, which helps a bit, but not enough to solve the problem for mounts.

And no, a horse can't wear a magic ring.

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Board Rider
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No XP for Avar on the update to the XP and Award thread? Typo?

Talanall
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*shifty eyes*

I don't know what you're talking about. He gained like 225 XP.

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Fixxxer
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deadDMwalking wrote:

I'd consider allowing Chuul to ride my Heavy Warhorse and I could ride a Light Warhorse - at least temporarily.

Chuul would be fine with this, as he doesn't really feel any sort of fondness toward his mount. Primarily, he's good with anything that shortens travel time considerably. Ultimately, he'll want to get a mount that can more easily carry him, but that won't give him trouble when elves pop out of the grass. Once we hit Port Hope, he'd appreciate any help he can get with appraisal of such a mount (he knows what makes a good horse, but not as well as Garren or Jalen) and potentially with haggling a price (he's got a good vocabulary for an orc, but he's not at all charming like.......um......okay, well he's not good at pretending to be charming, like Alannah or Avar).

MinusInnocence
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Hope these yokels don't mind me paying in platinum. Marking off 85gp now.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Darker

Belay that marking... I *think* this was a party expense given our recent windfall that was going to be deducted from what we had recently acquired. Perhaps we could even negotiate some of the payment in the form of goods, such as the wine we just recently let them a sample.

deadDMwalking
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I think I made an error there - I 'gifted' two bottles of wine, but I think we converted those 'mundane goods' to coin with the caravan - at least, that's how it's listed (with either a 7 or 8 person split). I haven't written any coins down on my sheet, so we probably should make sure everyone does update their sheet to represent coin they're carrying (and I'll deduct the cost of the 2 bottles of wine I apparently kept)... Then the three people buying horses can deduct the cost from their share. Considering we're losing half the party probably best to do '7 shares' so we don't have to later divide the party treasure when they split on their own. Those of us sticking around can just split the costs of Identify and such evenly.

Board Rider
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deadDMwalking wrote:

I think I made an error there - I 'gifted' two bottles of wine, but I think we converted those 'mundane goods' to coin with the caravan - at least, that's how it's listed (with either a 7 or 8 person split). I haven't written any coins down on my sheet, so we probably should make sure everyone does update their sheet to represent coin they're carrying (and I'll deduct the cost of the 2 bottles of wine I apparently kept)... Then the three people buying horses can deduct the cost from their share. Considering we're losing half the party probably best to do '7 shares' so we don't have to later divide the party treasure when they split on their own. Those of us sticking around can just split the costs of Identify and such evenly.


I haven't made any changes yet. I was thinking most of it would be figured out when we reached Port Hope. I will review and update when I level up Avar.
Talanall
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MinusInnocence wrote:
Hope these yokels don't mind me paying in platinum. Marking off 85gp now.

They have no problem with that at all.

deadDMwalking wrote:
I think I made an error there - I 'gifted' two bottles of wine, but I think we converted those 'mundane goods' to coin with the caravan - at least, that's how it's listed (with either a 7 or 8 person split). I haven't written any coins down on my sheet, so we probably should make sure everyone does update their sheet to represent coin they're carrying (and I'll deduct the cost of the 2 bottles of wine I apparently kept)... Then the three people buying horses can deduct the cost from their share. Considering we're losing half the party probably best to do '7 shares' so we don't have to later divide the party treasure when they split on their own. Those of us sticking around can just split the costs of Identify and such evenly.

The wine was worth 14 gp per bottle. If Garren wanted to scoop up two bottles of it for personal use, then that's no problem; take 28 gp off of his share of the post-liquidation take from when you sold the rest to Bufft, and we're good.

You probably are correct that splitting as seven shares would be better, although you aren't losing half the party. For bookkeeping purposes, you're losing Jalen.

Gallielle is already an NPC, and isn't taking shares of loot. Same goes for Rennit, Jonas, and the refugees. Some of these NPCs are accruing XP, but that's largely invisible to you.

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MinusInnocence
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So I take from this that we're paying for this out of pocket (the characters who are trading in their horses for an upgrade) and we'll split the loot when we get all of it appraised, right?

Also, I love how not even NPCs want paladins in their party.

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Talanall
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I think that's how you're doing it, yeah.

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Fixxxer
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Board Rider wrote:
I haven't made any changes yet. I was thinking most of it would be figured out when we reached Port Hope.

This was my thought as well.

Darker

Much like a few days ago when Alannah didn't have the liquid assets to purchase a horse, she still doesn't have it today. Anyone spot her 85G or approve a party fund loan?

deadDMwalking
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I thought we were dividing up the luquid assets. But sure, Garren can give her the vpin.

Fixxxer
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Chuul's got her, as needed.

Board Rider
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Updated Avar. I still have not updated the carried money. Are we using the seven way split or waiting for a final tally at Port Hope when we sell the stuff from the elves?

Also, I cannot recall, but did the 4 potions get identified? What of the 5 magic items?

Talanall
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You're using the 7-way split, it sounds like.

The items were all identified. The potions were all bull's strength (300 gp each).

Items were a hammersphere (see Magic Item Compendium 161, sale value 750 gp), an anklet of translocation (MIC 71, sale value 700 gp), an amber amulet of vermin (scorpion variant) (MIC 68, but sale value 3,000 gp), a ring of sustenance, and an ioun stone (scarlet and blue sphere).

There's an everburning torch that the party kept. I don't know if you're selling it.

The elf druid had a wand on him. Thus far it is unidentified. There's also some masterwork stuff from that fight that still needs to be liquidated, and some other little bits and pieces. All unclaimed.

Georgie claimed the anklet, and tipped in with his acrobat boots (liquidation value 450 gp); he owes another 250 gp which can just be debited from his share of the liquidation. Chuul currently is wearing the ring of sustenance, but I don't know if he's actually claiming it. Alannah has the hammersphere in her possession, and has used it at least once that I can recall, but again I don't know if she's claiming it. The other magical stuff has not been claimed.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

Alannah also has the amber amulet of vermin in her possession as well, figuring to use it if the party ran into trouble on the way down. She is planning on hanging onto the Hammersphere -- I think her next level would bring multiple attacks when using it, making it pretty useful. However, she's not making that call until Port Hope and shopping around.

Also, the party will be deducted the cost of the scrying mirror for tracking down Cole, so there's that cost as well. She still wants the ring or to get Chuul to take it.

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