@deadDMwalking I can see why that's not clear. Sorry about that.
You guys came from The Outpost, a fort that was destroyed a while ago and is partially rebuilt. After journeying out here to the Druid Hatepshon, he's offering to send you on your choice of side quests.
1) Quest One is to go to a "new cave," as in a cave that didn't exist previously. This cave was brought to the druid's attention by an acquaintance of his, which is a totally shifty thing to say to prospective mercenaries (you guys).
2) Quest Two is to go to a watchtower. The watchtower is currently garrisoned by Elector Gladestrider's forces and is not The Outpost. Eryndir would know that this area is periodically dotted with watchtowers to keep banditry at bay. Caleb would know that watchtowers tend to be autonomous and that some martial orders are organized by former watchtower veterans who served together and joined in common purpose.
The druid also mentioned that you can think of his choice of quests as representing your relative relationships with society. With his minor probing, Able, Charn, and Eryndir have all indicated they're working at The Outpost because they're separated from society. The druid has indicated that if you're looking to re-integrate with society, taking his side-quest to the watchtower would be a good idea. Alternately, if you're looking to further your separation from society, taking his side-quest to the "new cave" would be a good idea.
I like the cave.
Totally reasonable. I have both adventures ready to go. Once you guys decide IC I'll move the action along.
Any more thoughts here?
Able summarizes your conundrum correctly. You could press on. Eryndir believes, if you press on, you could make the Watchtower by midnight, although the terrain is obviously going from difficult to dangerous. If you try to camp out for the evening you will have the benefit of light before traversing the last stretch of land. Of course, you risk running afoul of whomever placed the trap or who/whatever the traps were placed for.
Well, that was unexpected.
Dragon's Breath Attack
Eryndir is doing a cursory investigation. His main questions are:
- Is there anything that would identify the halfing?
- Does it look like there was anything in the broken jug, other than salt fish? (Was he smuggling?)
- Does it look like the scene has been undisturbed? Are we the first to find it? Or does it look like someone else has been here first?
Is there a roll other than Investigation you'd like, or will that do the trick? For three questions, would you like one roll or multiples?
The halfling doesn't carry identification papers. That's extremely unusual in larger cities but not at all uncommon in the rural areas. Given that you're as close to the frontier as it gets, it may even be purposeful. The last thing a lone traveler would want to do is be accosted and notify his assailant where to go to loot the traveler's unprotected valuables.
The broken jug was full of garum. The jug looks identical to the unbroken jug, so it would not be unreasonable to surmise that the unbroken jug is also full of garum.
You can roll investigation for further details.
As Able is looting, he discovers the following:
1 gallon of garum, two servings of hardtack, one Everburning Torch, a small golden pendant around the neck representing a devotion to The Feudal Order, and some thoroughly bloodstained clothing.
Investigation for more details.
Man, it's like this website knows what my PC is supposed to be good at and what he's not.
Eryndir doesn't see any signs of violence, aside from the gruesome thrashing about as the halfling died in agony.
- How much daylight is currently left?
- How far to the Watchtower? How does that change if we're laden by halfling remains?
- How much decay has set in? How gross will it be to carry this corpse?
Should I make any rolls to answer these questions?
It's still early - you've encountered the halfling only around 9 AM or so.
The Watchtower is probably two hours of hiking left. You'll make it before lunch if you're still hungry.
The halfling probably died within the past few days. The most severe damage to the body was done by the ants. There wasn't much evidence that scavengers had otherwise picked at the carrion. That's either a really good sign or a really bad one.
You can make a survival roll to find out if it's a good sign or a bad one.
Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Eryndir would guess that's a bad thing. There is more than enough here to entice predators and scavengers. You haven't seen evidence that other traps have depopulated the local fauna. Something, whatever it is, is bad enough that a few days did not attract even a couple of nibbles on the corpse.
I know I flubbed the last investigation roll, but I can try again, based on this new information, to see if I can figure out what it is? My first instinct would be that the trap's mandibles were somehow poisoned, in which case we need to re-check Charn's leg. Either that, or there's something wrong with the garum...
Negative. You can guess all you like, but I'll neither confirm nor deny your supposition.
There's a super-predator. Scavengers fear to tread. Anything bigger than an ant, anyway.
Hurrying is a good idea.
A couple of notes on the scene playing out at the watchtower.
Young recruits into the military are frequently assigned tasks as light infantry. They're supposed to be mobile and fill roles that older veterans typically are less interested in. They scout, they serve as sentries, and they also avoid the worst of combat. They're skirmishers who harry the enemy rather than engage. It isn't uncommon to see skirmishers tasked with construction tasks, as here. It is fairly uncommon to see physical abuse outside of punishment. The sergeant's assault on the halfling is either an unwarranted and illegal attack or part of a larger punitive measure. Extrapolating from Commander Highleaf's monologue, it may be that the halfling was culpable for the greenskin raid.
The treatment of the orc is inhumane and would not be tolerated if the orc were a citizen of The Empire. Highleaf's story indicates that he is not.
It is entirely probable that the watchtower uses griffons as mounts for their patrols. It isn't uncommon among Elector Gladestrider's forces to have aerial cavalry. It would be unusual for the skirmishers to have access to griffon mounts, however, as they are typically not afforded much equipment of value.
Can we sense motive on her story? Does it ring true?
You absolutely can roll Insight. From the SRD:
Insight. Your Wisdom (Insight) check decides whether you can determine the true intentions of a creature, such as when searching out a lie or predicting someone’s next move. Doing so involves gleaning clues from body language, speech habits, and changes in mannerisms.
I think Able has the garum, is that correct? I thought he grabbed it as we passed. Eryndir's not going to say anything to sell his compatriot out, I just want to make sure we've correctly accounted fr the location of the intact pot as the skirmishers go out to find it.
No, I searched the body for valuables, but fermented fish didn't seem worth taking. I guess I didn't specify what I would take. Just the 'one Everburning Torch'. The gold holy symbol is potentially valuable, but Able is nervous about carrying around objects that are likely to get him accused of murder (again).
It is not Able's intention to stay for any reason short of pain of death. Everything about this place up to this point is antithetical to his value system. Torture is wrong - even if the orc 'deserves it' most people abuse others because they can get away with it, and Able has been on the receiving end. He doesn't care for the petty abuse of power the dwarf displayed, even if the halfling made mistakes. Further, their careless disregard for trap placements resulted in the death of an innocent. If there reaction had been anything other than 'sucks to be him', there might be reason to stick around. Able isn't going to throw in with literal Nazis just because the Commies are at war with him, too. If he's lucky, they'll wipe each other out.
That's a pretty reasonable response. These guys at the Watchtower are total dicks.
Able's Insight isn't particularly trained, but I don't think his skill at being empathetic should have any bearing on his feelings or his moral decisions. Despite being a Tiefling, right and wrong do matter to him. I'll point out that Able does have one potential interest in the scene playing out at the Watchtower. The skirmishers are clearly not super pumped about the situation either.
If Able wanted to be particularly insidiously good (not a phrase I would have conjured before thinking about this situation), Able could try to devise a plan to get the skirmishers out of the Watchtower.
The DM beat me to it, but I was going to offer something similar. Agree to "train the troops" by taking them out into the field on a scouting mission. To help train them to spot enemies. Then either help them escape or convince them to/aid them in a mutiny.
Or, we sell our wares to the quartermaster, get a day's rest, and screw off to the caves.
I agree with the DM that those are perfectly valid and good character motivations and I'm on board with having them guide our decision on how to proceed.
Just checking in here. Are you guys thinking about a way to evacuate the skirmishers, or are you going to head out?
To reiterate, if the decision is that Able wants absolutely nothing to do with this place, then I'm on board with flitting off to the cave. It makes sense that helping the people here would be antithetical to his concept.
However, I'm also on board with screwing over the commander of the tower and her sergeant. If you think that would make sense in any way, or would be fun for you to explore with the character, I'm all in favor of it. Eryndir would actually probably enjoy it for a variety of reasons.
I'm also happy to have that discussion IC'ly in the barracks of the Watchtower after we've sold the loot from the communists.
Short version: I'm happy to move forward in any way that makes sense for the other characters.
(In the meantime, Eryndir is going to sell his loot -- the scimitar and the leather armor -- that he picked up from the communists. No one ever mentioned taking the gems or the canteens. Eryndir was leaving that for the others, but if no one took it, he would've tossed it in his pack to divide up later. Please just let me know if/what each of you grabbed and I'll mark the rest on my sheet.)
We should go ahead and settle up here for sure, because we don't know when we'll next be somewhere that can handle transactions like this (but it would still be good to have more portable wealth, like coinage, instead of finished goods).
Caleb has zero interest in helping the people who are stationed here but recognizes that they're really only so awful because they are stationed too far from civilization, so it's not their fault. Still, we're busy and he doesn't see the merit of escorting them elsewhere, especially because even though their methods are unpalatable, their assigned role is critical (defending the government and its subjects from foreign encroachment).
In a roundabout way, he feels sympathy for the captured orc, because he must also have some kind of a government of his own (even if he doesn't necessarily worship it). Still, it's a different one, and he's only in this predicament because he attacked servants of the State. So he gets what he gets and shouldn't throw a fit.
"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken
The quartermaster offers 40 gp, take it or leave it, for the scimitar and the leather armor together. The offer makes little to no sense to Eryndir, since the market price for a scimitar is 25 gp, and the market price for the leather armor is 10 gp.
Would it be an insight roll to determine his state of mind? Eryndir is also happy to flat out ask why he's offering that price and whether he knows he's overpaying. But not until his compatriots sell their wares, too.
From the SRD:
Your Wisdom (Insight) check decides whether you can determine the true intentions of a creature, such as when searching out a lie or predicting someone’s next move. Doing so involves gleaning clues from body language, speech habits, and changes in mannerisms.
From your roll, you can determine that he wants to make this transaction.
Able is confident he could take this whole place, but he doesn't care enough about them to make an issue of it. He is not going in to the tower and will wait a few minutes for them.
Alrighty - Are Charn and/or Caleb doing anything at the Watchtower?
Folks have mentioned looking for the cave Hatepshon mentioned. This would require going back to Hatepshon and asking him about his "acquaintance's" cave. That's a somewhat difficult, but obviously not impossible, trek back south. The other obvious choice would be returning to The Outpost. Finally, you guys could also do something at the Watchtower or go elsewhere. Let me know what you want to do.
If we make sure we tell her the druid's message, he was going to give us some scrolls. So let's do that and then return to him.
Let me know if anybody has any questions or thoughts here. Happy to further describe anything people see.
Charn's happy to press on to the cave at this point, since most of us seem not to want to stay. He would opposw trying to u dermine the tower.
Caleb rethinks selling his loot here and wants to donate his share of the haul from the Communist skirmish instead. He will follow the party's lead.
To recap: Eryndir has sold some loot in the tower. Able is standing outside. Charn and Caleb are going with the flow. We're sort of at an impasse with a 1-1 vote for activities in a party of 4.
I'm happy to nudge but I wanted to make sure the less opinionated members of the party had a chance to voice their opinions.
I'm happy to head back to Hatepshon and learning about the cave if that's what folks want to do.
He definitely doesn't want to help the Tower's leadership, and if Charn isn't up for helping them mutiny or escape, then Eryndir won't push the issue at all.
So, please feel free to count me as another vote for the cave.
Yeah, let's go spelunking. DUNGEON TIME!