The Giggling Goblin (OOC)

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Talanall
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The Giggling Goblin (OOC)

Okay, then. @Fixxxer, @deadDMwalking, @Darker, @Obsidian_Spoon and @Cronono, welcome to the game. I think you all know how we do things around here.

https://www.dndarchive.com/forums/argent-cyma/giggling-goblin-ic for the IC thread.

Remember to subscribe for e-mail notifications if that's the kind of thing you're into. The button for that is at the bottom of this post, and at the bottom of my first post in the IC thread.

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

Darker

Ha, I posted before I saw this.

Fixxxer
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Hee.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

I feel that if Thunk were part of this adventuring group, he would have been out the door and looking for alchemist shops long ago. Innocent men would already be dickless.

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

Darker

If Thunk were eviler, he would have made a nice addition to the party. I suppose evil is more than recklessness and stupidity.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Recklessness and stupidity are evil's handmaidens.

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

Talanall
Talanall's picture

It looks like you guys are going to try to get this done immediately, so we'll take a quick moment to talk about the mapping conventions I'm going to use for the next little while. As a general rule, I'm using grey to indicate streets paved with cobblestones that are in good repair. Beigeareas denote streets that are either in poor repair or unpaved. Dirt and poorly-maintained cobbles are basically identical in terms of their mechanical effects; they make Balance and Tumble checks more difficult by a matter of +2 DC points.

All other colors represent buildings. I've set them off in different colors because they are not all the same height, and if you end up climbing onto a rooftop or something like that, it'll be a matter of interest for us to know which building is which.

The district you're entering, the Vellum Quarter, is mostly professionals, arcane services, and certain kinds of craftsmen (like alchemists). It also is residential; a lot of university students and faculty live here.

Nerillus Philo's building is marked with a white asterisk.

At present, it is raining. Rain has several noteworthy mechanical consequences because it reduces visibility and creates a lot of noise. It imposes a -4 penalty on Listen, Search and Spot checks, as well as to ranged attack rolls. Additionally, it extinguishes most unprotected flames, and imposes a 50% chance per round of extinguishing a protected flame such as a lantern.

It's nighttime In Character, so this is kind of a big deal. There's very little moonlight to speak of (tonight is the first night of the waxing crescent phase of the moon, so it'd be close to pitch black even on a clear night). Main thoroughfares in the Vellum Quarter are lit with continual flame lanterns, spaced about 60 feet apart. One such main thoroughfare runs up the western side of our map, below. When you get away from the main thoroughfares, the lighting consists of whatever the neighborhood's residents feel like providing. Most of the time, that means no lighting except near taverns, inns, and similar businesses that are open at night.

Characters with darkvision won't have any trouble navigating on a rainy night like this, but those of you who rely on low-light vision and normal vision effectively will be blinded, causing you to move at half speed.

So the rain is a huge fucking nuisance, basically. On the bright side, it's also a big headache if you're an honest, law-abiding citizen or law enforcement official; it doesn't just pick on criminal miscreants who're about to break into a stranger's home and slice off his penis.

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

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Are the 4 squares in shades of white/grey to the east of the target's residence the stairs?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

It will be more evident as your party gets closer to the building. But two of them are stairs.

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

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

Who has the box?

Are they singing?

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Cragar has the box. He is not singing.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

If there's any last-minute business you want to take care of, this is the time.

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

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

Fricka is good until we get to where we're going and can case it a little. Which begs the question, is this an easily walkable distance to go in the rain? What's public transportation li8ke in this city?

Darker

Gruum has no other business to take care of first.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Fixxxer wrote:

Fricka is good until we get to where we're going and can case it a little. Which begs the question, is this an easily walkable distance to go in the rain? What's public transportation like in this city?

There is no such thing as public transportation, in most of Tolrea. Per the second post in our map reference, the Giggling Goblin is in area 3 of Floresta, a neighborhood locally known as Foreigners' Gate. The map key indicates broadly what is in each of the neighborhoods, and provides the indicia for locating the Giggling Goblin and a few other places of interest on the map there.

https://www.dndarchive.com/comment/29848#comment-29848 offers some additional information about getting around in Floresta, including things like rush hour traffic patterns. The punch line is that Foreigners' Gate is an extramural neighborhood, which means it is OUTSIDE the city walls. And the city gates are closed and guarded at night; a couple of them are open to "emergency" traffic, but most are shut tight and unmanned from sunset to sunrise. Undoubtedly, there are ways around that for the manned gates; you can bribe guards to let you through. Or you can find a way to pass over, under, or through the wall someplace that isn't a gate. But for tonight, at least, you don't have to worry, because the Vellum Quarter also is extramural. So you can just walk there. It's about two miles.

The darkness is going to make this a real nuisance, though. It's rainy and miserable outside, and you don't really have a good way of obtaining a light source because the rain will put out any non-magical flame you guys might happen to try to use. Since it's also a night of a nearly new moon and most of you don't have darkvision, that's going to be slow going; you'll move at half speed, and since Fricka and Gravington are gnomes, that's going to be about 1 mile per hour.

So you'll need about two hours to get where you're going; in better weather, this would involve an hour's stroll. That's not a huge problem because it's early enough in the evening that there is no reason to worry that the sun is going to come up while your hands are full of bloodied penis.

And as discussed previously, the rain does have some benefits. You're much less likely to run into bystanders because sensible, honest people are staying indoors if they can do so tonight. And even if you do run into someone, they're less likely to see or hear you. And it'll be harder to track you, if it comes to that.

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

Obsidian_Spoon
Obsidian_Spoon's picture

Faust has no further business either.

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Cragar makes no mention of any further business.

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Is the square Cragar is in grey or brown? The alley is brown, right?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Grey. The alley is brown.

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

Cronono
Cronono's picture

How long would it take to "take 20" to climb the stairs carefully and stealthily?

Obsidian_Spoon
Obsidian_Spoon's picture

Faust can't see in the dark, so he's effectively blind right now, yes?

If so, he'll wait for the others to go into the alley and then plant himself in the mouth of said alley and do his best to not let anything that doesn't sound like someone in the group past him.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Cronono wrote:

How long would it take to "take 20" to climb the stairs carefully and stealthily?

Well, that depends what you mean by "carefully" and "stealthily." I'm going to interpret the former as, "using the Search skill to check for traps." A Search check takes 1 full-round action to cover a 5 ft. square, so taking 20 requires one minute per square. So climbing the stairs would take two minutes, since they cover two squares.

Moving "stealthily" requires a Move Silently check to deal with noise, and a Hide check to deal with the problem of being spotted. Realistically, we can dispense with Hide, since it's extremely dark outside. Anyone who doesn't have darkvision can't see you; anyone who does will see you no matter what you do, because you don't have cover or concealment to enable a Hide check.

Move Silently checks are ALWAYS opposed by Listen, and there is always a consequence to them (someone hears you move). So you can't really take 20 on that. If you move no more than half your speed in a round, you make your check without any penalty. If you move faster than half your speed but up to your full speed, you take a -5 penalty to your check. If you move faster than that, it worsens to about -20. There are modifiers for especially noisy surfaces, but none of them really apply here, so we'll skip that, but Listen checks are penalized for distance, distraction, and environmental factors (the rain that's still falling, doors, walls, etc.).

If you take some effort to avoid making a bunch of noise while you check for traps, then you'll certainly be moving slowly enough that Move Silently won't be penalized.

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

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Cragar will take those two minutes to climb the stairs, barring someone wanting to go faster.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Obsidian_Spoon wrote:

Faust can't see in the dark, so he's effectively blind right now, yes?

If so, he'll wait for the others to go into the alley and then plant himself in the mouth of said alley and do his best to not let anything that doesn't sound like someone in the group past him.

This is correct. Faustus, Gravington, and Fricka are effectively blind at the moment. I'm being a little generous by letting Cragar's propensity to gesture rather than speak pass muster, really. Blindness, from a game standpoint, is really debilitating in a fight, but it's otherwise not a huge issue unless you need to be somewhere in a hurry or are in a situation that makes it easy to get lost. I'm pretty much treating the environmental conditions as dark enough to count as blindness, but not actually so dark that you can't see your hand in front of your face.

If it were necessary, Gravington and/or Fricka could create a light source, since they're both gnomes and have access to some racial abilities. But it'd only last for about a minute. I guess that'd be the thing to do if Nerillus Philo jumps out of a window or something like that, since you'd undoubtedly hear him fall from the height of the second floor.

And I suppose it's also possible that he'll manage to get past Gruum, Crag, and Fricka and run out through his door, but in that case he'd definitely have to go through Faustus, and you'd almost certainly hear him coming as well.

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

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Okay. I guess I might as well call for Move Silently checks, if you folks are going to try to keep your approach to the front door stealthy.

My impression is that when you get up there, you're just going to knock and let Fricka try to talk her way inside, though. I get the sense that she wanted to know the whore's name so she could pretend to be a fellow whore, possibly one bearing a message.

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

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

That's close enough to the plan, yes. She intends to convince him she was sent by his whore until he opens the door. Then she's going to hit him with charm person pretty much immediately.

Darker

What's the ruling on sucker punching the guy or just dragging him into a grapple? Still a roll an initiative thing? Is there a chance to get in a surprise round?

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

I would assume that a surprise round wouldn't help that much, since the only way to reach him is through Fricka, who blocks a charge with her positioning. Plus, there's that pesky door he's behind.

Darker

The DOOR. Yes, well that is a problem. Man, I missed that. How sturdy of a door though? Maybe we just knock it down and lay him flat.

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

I don't recall that it was specified, exactly. But it has a sliding gate so you can check on your visitors without opening the door. I'd imagine you don't find too many cheap, flimsy doors with those.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

The door looks pretty sturdy, yes. The real question is what is holding it closed, of course; a door is only as good as its latch and hinges.

This said, I think it's fair to note that Philo is awake, and probably will start screaming for help if you try to kick in the door. It'd be risky if you go that route, although I can't rule out the possibility that you'd be able to get inside and quiet him before anyone heard him.

If only there were some way that you could induce him to open the door instead of just the little hatch.

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

Talanall
Talanall's picture

And no, there'd be no surprise round in this case. I'd be a straight initiative check, per normal procedure. You're mutually aware of one another's presence; it's not like you just kicked in his door while he was in a sound sleep.

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

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

It bears asking if what Fricka sees of him through the slat makes him a viable target for charm person, despite the door being closed.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

The pertinent section of the rules is in the Magic Overview section of the SRD. It reads as follows.

SRD wrote:

Line of Effect

A line of effect is a straight, unblocked path that indicates what a spell can affect. A line of effect is canceled by a solid barrier. It’s like line of sight for ranged weapons, except that it’s not blocked by fog, darkness, and other factors that limit normal sight.

You must have a clear line of effect to any target that you cast a spell on or to any space in which you wish to create an effect. You must have a clear line of effect to the point of origin of any spell you cast.

A burst, cone, cylinder, or emanation spell affects only an area, creatures, or objects to which it has line of effect from its origin (a spherical burst’s center point, a cone-shaped burst’s starting point, a cylinder’s circle, or an emanation’s point of origin).

An otherwise solid barrier with a hole of at least 1 square foot through it does not block a spell’s line of effect. Such an opening means that the 5-foot length of wall containing the hole is no longer considered a barrier for purposes of a spell’s line of effect.

There is a lot to unpack in the quoted rule snippet, but I think that for our purposes in adjudicating whether Fricka can target Philo with charm person, we can make a very quick determination because all we need to know is whether there is line of effect from her to him. We don't have to worry about how an area of effect should be classified in order to determine how it propagates, because this spell affects a single target. We just need to know whether the door counts as a barrier.

And the answer is pretty clear; for our purposes, there is not line of effect. Philo's hatch is only about eight inches on a side, and that's only about 45% of the requisite hole of at least 1 square foot.

In this context, I think I should clarify that this is one of the instances where we have to consider that although not everyone in a fantasy setting knows much about doing magic or how it works, we can assume that the general practice in the setting is to construct buildings in such a fashion as to make it difficult for low-level criminal mages to do what Fricka wants to do here.

I wouldn't go so far as to suggest that there is anything in the Tolrea setting that resembles what we might recognize as a building code, but certainly we can assume that the apprenticeship guidelines for masons, carpenters, and craftsmen in related trades include training in the best practices that govern how to mitigate for low-level magical threats, and that in general the norm is for these people to apply that training.

The alternative is that people simply wouldn't answer the door at all during the night, because there'd be no way to be sure that they won't take a charm person or burning hands spell in the face the minute they looked out through their peepholes or hatches. That's not a big deal if you're an adventurer, especially if you're even 2nd level; you probably won't die of 5d4 points of damage. But most NPCs are 1st-level commoners, and likely to be incapacitated or killed outright by such an attack.

I think it's more consistent overall to assume that people's daily activities are composed in such a fashion that these sorts of elementary precautions are just part of how they conduct business. I think the dire warnings from the Fifalls family in Ancestral Burdens, about the importance of not opening the door to the fey, make a lot more sense in this context, I think. If you keep the door shut, the fey cannot put the whammy on you to get you to invite them inside the house. Having established that the fey are unable (or at least pathologically unwilling) to enter a building without an invitation, keeping a door closed when you don't know exactly what's on the other side is a really big deal from the perspective of most NPCs.

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

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

That's pretty much what I expected, but I thought I'd check to be sure.

This isn't applicable here, but I'm suddenly curious about your thoughts on a partial barrier like the one we're dealing with here in other odd situations. What if we had a similar door, but Fricka could get her hands or her face through the porthole? Would that still be a barrier?

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

I was just reading this for other reasons. If the target has total cover, you don't have line of effect. Usually, having an open door between you provides cover (+4 bonus) and not total cover. What's weird is a strict reading of the rules indicates that even with an 8" by 8" hole, you can't stab him, either. Any time you don't have line of effect, the target has total cover; any time the target has total cover you can't make an attack.

That seems strange to me.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

If Fricka were able to succeed on an Escape Artist check for the "Tight Space" application of the skill ("getting through a space where your head fits but your shoulders don’t"), I would allow her to pass through far enough to cast a spell through the hole. That's an imperfect solution because the rules don't actually give us anything useful for determining how big a gnome's head is. It also would be very difficult; the DC is 30.

But in general, a space 2.5 to 3 feet wide allows a Medium or Small creature to squeeze through ("You can squeeze through or into a space that is at least half as wide as your normal space. Each move into or through a narrow space counts as if it were 2 squares, and while squeezed in a narrow space you take a -4 penalty on attack rolls and a -4 penalty to AC"). Smaller spaces than this generally require an Escape Artist check.

I suppose there's scope for some kind of combination of squeezing, Escape Artist, and the reduce person spell.

Overall, though, it would be a gigantic pain in the ass, and still very risky. It strikes me as a good way to get hurt.

To DDMW's comments, I think we're confronting a point where one of the seams in the 3.5 rule set is unusually evident, as far as that goes. The rules are an abstraction, and anytime we use an abstraction there's a trade-off. The simpler it is, the faster it is to adjudicate, but the less reflective it is of reality. D&D 3.5 breaks this out into roughly four classes of abstraction.

1) No cover
2) Cover
- soft
- hard
3) Improved cover
4) Total cover

Out of these classes, only total cover blocks line of effect. The Core rules do not provide us with a convenient, neatly packaged definition for each of these classes of abstraction; the information is present, but we have to dig around to get all that we need.

Cover is anything along the lines of a tree, a low wall, a pillar or column, or some similar solid barrier, including another creature (in which case it is a special type known as soft cover). It doesn't block line of effect, but it does block AoO.

Total cover is provided something like a wall, door, or other solid barrier that contains no single opening equal to or larger than one square foot in size. So if we wanted to take a five-foot square of wall and put a set of four 13" diameter holes through it, we could do that and it would still provide total cover. Each of those holes would have a size of about 133 square inches. A square foot is 144 square inches, so they're not big enough.

What we have in the actual IC situation in front of us is total cover that still grants line of sight. This is unusual, but there are several ways it can occur. For example, we could have a 12" x 12" window in the door, glazed with a pane of glass. It would block line of effect. Glass has hardness 1 and only about 1 hit point per inch of thickness, so it would be easy to break the window and gain line of effect. And if you threw a fireball at it, the spell propagates as a spread and would break the glass and keep going—in essence it would turn the door into improved cover instead of total cover. By contrast, burning hands would just break the glass and stop, because it's a burst effect and not a spread. Lightning bolt is a line, so it would behave similarly to fireball.

Improved cover is meant to cover the intermediary space between these two abstractions. So if Philo were standing behind a door with a 12 x 12 hatch cut into it, I would rule that he benefits from improved cover. It would be clear-cut.

It is important also to consider that certain kinds of cover and improved cover are applicable only to the closer of two creatures. If two creatures are roughly equidistant from the source of cover or improved cover, they both get it. If they are both adjacent to it, they both get it.

So for example, Fricka would have improved cover versus Philo in the current scenario (if the hatch were large enough, anyway). If she takes a 5-foot step back from the door, she'll lose her cover. If Philo took a step back, Fricka would regain it. This would be the case we'd use if Fricka and Philo were confronting one another from opposed sides of an arrow slit or across the top of a crenellated wall.

There is plenty of scope for me to make a side ruling that (for example) you could stab someone through the eye as he looks through a peep hole in a wall. This wouldn't create an exception to the principle that the wall is granting total cover and blocking line of effect, so much as it would depend on an assertion that you would be, in essence, attacking the peep hole.

In such a case I probably would treat the peep hole as a Fine object, giving it a base AC of 18, and I would apply the victim's Dexterity modifier. And probably I also would insist that the attack would have to be made with a piercing weapon. I don't imagine that I would allow ranged attacks at all, except maybe if the attacker had Improved Precise Shot. And I would not allow sneak attacks.

But I don't really expect it to come up, because it would require a scenario in which you got your weapon ready without it being obvious to the watcher. I guess we'd end up with an application of Bluff and/or Sleight of Hand.

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

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

All of that seems fair.

If Philo lets her, Fricka is content to walk away and find another way in. If he has to be strongarmed into opening the door, then there's a decent chance that charm person wouldn't work anyway. If he bids her to wait, she'll use his desperation as a prybar to get that door open so we can cut his dick off.

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

On some level, before the walk in the rain two hours one way, I was tempted to pull a Snow White and take one from a random passerby.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

If not for this pesky issue with the door, charm person absolutely would have worked to get Philo to open up. I don't know if that makes you feel any better.

I guess we'll see if you can coax him into opening up. On the one hand, he's clearly suspicious of Sovhi's motives. This may have mostly to do with the thing where he beat her up so badly that she's unable to take customers; perhaps he's concerned about retaliation of some kind. On the other hand, he was smitten enough to propose elopement and marriage to someone whom he knew to be actively engaged in a career as a prostitute. I guess we should have a Bluff check to see if Fricka's act takes him in.

If you can't get him to let you in, then you'll have to figure out a way to apply force in some way that won't give him an opportunity to scream for help, or else work out some means of inducing him to come out. The situation isn't hopeless.

I rolled 1d20, the result is 5 = 5.

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

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

I'm kinda hoping to use his neckbeard way of thinking against him to convince him that without work, she's finally come around and might give him a chance. At least, until he opens the door.

Bluff
I rolled 1d20+5, the result is 15, 5 = 20.
Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

Fricka will allow him to stop her if it seems like he'll open the door. If not, she'll return to the street, get everyone out of his potential sight and we can come up with a different way in.

Aside from being sturdy, what's that door look like, anyway? Is there a spot where it could be jimmied with a tool? Are the hinges exposed?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

The door is made of wood. There is a simple latch, operable from indoors or out.

Hinges are on the inside (the door swings in, as is the case for most residential entry doors). There was no lock visible, although there is a pair of hasps on the outside, one on the frame and one on the door. They're placed such that a padlock or chain could be used to secure the door. That is probably how the door is kept shut against unwanted intrusion while its resident is away.

While Philo is at home, the likelihood is that he uses a bar of some kind for security.

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

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Forcing the door would require a moderately difficult Strength check. Gruum could probably do it by himself, but with help it would go faster. Getting more than two guys on the job at once would be difficult because of the stupid landing up at the top. There just aren't enough places to stand. A crowbar would help.

Alternately, you could just smash the door with a weapon. That would entail attack rolls against AC 3 (or attacks as full-round actions that auto-hit with melee weapons). Hardness 5. Piercing weapons only deal half damage.

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

Cronono
Cronono's picture

I can't quite tell from the map - does the second floor take the same amount of space as the first floor of the building? Put another way, do the walls go straight up from the ground of the shop to the roof of the apartment?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

The second floor does take up the same space as the first. You'd have to get inside both to know if they are cut up into similarly-sized rooms, but the building has no cantilevers or anything of that nature. Floresta does not appear to tax buildings based solely on number of windows or area of ground floor.

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

Darker

Talanall wrote:

Forcing the door would require a moderately difficult Strength check. Gruum could probably do it by himself, but with help it would go faster. Getting more than two guys on the job at once would be difficult because of the stupid landing up at the top. There just aren't enough places to stand. A crowbar would help.

Alternately, you could just smash the door with a weapon. That would entail attack rolls against AC 3 (or attacks as full-round actions that auto-hit with melee weapons). Hardness 5. Piercing weapons only deal half damage.


Gruum is in favor of this plan.
Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

If Philo lets her walk off, that might be the way we have to go. Have Grumm kick in the door, knock him in the head, do the deed quickly, and flee before guards or lookee-loos can show up. If he opens up, we might not have to rush as much.

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

Might be worth giving it an hour or two for him to cease being vigilant. If the rain continues, the chances of people hearing him are pretty low if they're on their own houses with the doors and shutters drawn.

I'd say wait for lightning and time entry with the thunder.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

There's no lightning or thunder. It's just raining like hell.

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

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