Chapter 16: Many Blood-Sucking Parasites (OOC)

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Darker

Alannah, bored now, will try to get closer to Wæmunding to see if he's saying anything interesting.

MinusInnocence
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Oskav doesn't care about this so he's going to go back to the library.

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

Board Rider
Board Rider's picture

Damn...Avar needs to be in Cuuls convo!

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

He and scorpion lady seem to share a common thought.

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

It's not the first time a man has let a milkmaid with ample jugs distract him from a woman that might be a better match.

Darker

Does Alannah know anything about Marta? Like ever heard of her? She keeps eavesdropping, though she's considering punching one or both of them.

Int Check + whatever
I rolled 1d20+2, the result is 15, 2 = 17.
Talanall
Talanall's picture

Alannah is pretty sure that Marta's father is a merchant of some kind. Padishar Meel, by name. Which would make her Marta Meel. Obviously, Alannah would need to ask to be sure; it's not like she keeps up with every mercantile interest in town. Really, it's kind of a miracle that she remembered this much.

Marta Meel. Huh, what an awful name.

Anyway. Yes, a merchant. Wealthy, Alannah believes, or involved in politics as a member of the Council of Guildmasters, or both. Otherwise, why would Marta be at a party like this?

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

Darker

Oh fun. She'll try to catch another snippet of conversation before throat punching one of them.

deadDMwalking
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Rather than reading that as 'Alannah continues eavesdropping' I read that as 'what's up with that Marta bitch eavesdropping on my conversation'. Obviously Alannah and Marta were both subjects of the first sentence. Are their any clear rules in English about 'last proper noun used is eligible to becomes a pronoun'? I could read up on it (and I probably will), but Talanall, you English good, what you say?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Marta was not the subject of the sentence, "Does Alannah know anything about Marta?" The subject of that sentence is Alannah. Marta is the object of the preposition 'about.'

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

Darker

Hell yeah, Alannah is about to make a scene.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

It's probably good that Alannah doesn't know more about Nithingsbane, or she'd bump it higher up her priority list. Owning that sword is a pretty miserable experience.

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

Board Rider
Board Rider's picture

Man. How much more interesting would this game be if Avar smited the milkmaid mid coitus with his penis?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

I guess it's distantly possible that she worships an evil deity without actually being evil herself. Is Avar still spamming detect evil?

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

Board Rider
Board Rider's picture

No....he isn't.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Well, if she's neutral and just has a thing for wicked deities, then that's one thing. If he's contemplating whether or not to shag Maleficent, then that's another entirely. I don't think he has a very strong argument to the effect that he wouldn't be associating with her, either way, so it actually kind of matters.

Also I guess it matters whether you think one-night stands are chaotic, and if so, how chaotic you think they are. Or perhaps he's planning some kind of longer-term association.

Anyway, there's nothing actually in the paladin's code that calls for celibacy. But there's a lot that would call for some kind of informed consent, and the religious thing is a matter of genuine concern.

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

Board Rider
Board Rider's picture

Way to piss on that parade.

Darker

Informed consent? Thought the new thing was "enthusiastic" consent.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Tolrea is not our world. But I'm sure there are people in Tolrea who go in for that kind of ethical purity there, too.

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

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

#metoo

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Maybe Oskav can challenge Waegmunding to a duel for taking advantage of his pet bird while it was drunk then just fireball him to death once he rolls initiative, claiming ignorance of Port Hope's backwards customs.

"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
Talanall's picture

I love that Oskav hasn't even met Wæmunding, and we're already theorizing about scenarios in which he might be able to murder this guy.

But he'd better get in line quickly, because it looks like Garren wants to see to the matter.

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

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

Everyone: "Hey, Chuul?"

Chuul: "Huh?"

Everyone: "Kill that man. He took advantage of a girl."

Chuul: "Oh. M'kay." *stab*

Darker

Oh, Alannah was just going to slap him and give him a stern talking to.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Doot doot doot.

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

Darker

Who is in this room? Can Alannah possibly cast a spell if Garren and Avar block the view?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

As a bard, Alannah has no alternative but to use verbal components. There is no disguising the fact that she is casting a spell.

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

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

Would it not be possible to try and cover it up as humming or something?

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

It's the current year. No one should ever have to cover up that they're casting a spell.

"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

Ok, wasn't sure if the ambient noise in the area plus her keeping her casting "voice" down would be enough. She was thinking of casting invisibility on Marta (after explaining things so she didn't freak) and leading her out to the library to make sure fucknut doesn't try to follow them.

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

We know from the Magic chapter that verbal components to spells necessitate speaking in a loud, clear voice. I don't know if bard spells sound like songs or not. It would be cool if they did, and in this case it would definitely help; but I also think it goes against the subtext of verbal components being impossible to conceal by lowering your voice, which is that people in your presence should be able to identify right away that you're casting a spell.

The DC to make a Listen check and hear people talking is 0, but the check suffers a -1 penalty for every 10' of distance between you and the source of noise. We also know from the skill description that the DC goes up by 5 if the listener is distracted, and I think someone currently and actively engaged in a conversation with someone standing right next to him qualifies. You might even be able to argue for another minor penalty like +2 to the DC.

So you're looking at DC 5-7 at a distance of X feet. If you can get her out of his line of sight and in a different room, even if he hears you casting the spell all he will really know is that Marta walked in but never walked out; assuming, of course, that A. No one who witnesses the spell being cast says or does anything about it; B. He doesn't succeed in a Spellcraft check to correctly identify the spell being cast; and C. He doesn't have any way to detect invisible creatures or objects.

"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
Talanall's picture

There are a few things going on here, and I guess I'll break them out individually so that you can make an informed decision about what might be the consequences of casting a spell under observation in general, and in this specific social setting.

To start with: as Mike suggests, there's just the question of whether you can conceal what you are doing. It is an ironclad rule that bard spells have a verbal component. Furthermore (and this is something that's buried in the rules for the Silent Spell feat), bard spells cannot be made silent using metamagic feats.

We also know with some specificity that the verbal component of a spell is always recognizable as such to anyone with even a modicum of knowledge about such things. The Spellcraft skill spells it out that you can use observations of verbal or somatic components to identify a spell as it is being cast. This means that if you're dealing with a spell that has only verbal components, like power word:blind, that's your only option for identifying the spell as it's cast. In the case of a stilled version of that spell, you can't tell what is happening until you actually observe an effect from the spell. And if you have a spell that relies on both verbal and somatic components, you can render it unidentifiable by using the appropriate metamagic.

Bards are kind of left out in the cold on this score because there is no Core methodology for them to cast a spell that is not obviously a spell.

So we can tell for sure that anyone who can see and/or hear Alannah and has at least one rank of Spellcraft will at least know that she's casting a spell, and potentially will know that it is invisibility. The rules are not totally clear about people who aren't trained in Spellcraft, but I think it's fair to suggest that if Alannah makes this girl disappear, people will conclude that the waving arms and chanting were indicative of a spell being cast. It wouldn't be terribly hard to arrange matters so that Wæmunding doesn't have line of sight, and there is ambient noise. So he might not even hear anything.

But it's also worthwhile to keep in mind that there are a couple of different paths through this mansion that could allow you to get to the library (or some other relatively private area) without bothering with magic at all. You could just walk westward, pass out of his line of sight, and then keep going through the foyer. There are crowds of partygoers clumped here and there, pretty much everywhere that isn't the banqueting hall.

And crowds provide cover, meaning that they support Hide checks. As with Listen checks, distance imposes penalties to the Spot check required to oppose a Hide check. So it'd be pretty easy for him to lose track of you, assuming he's even keeping track in the first place.

So really, you probably don't even need to have recourse to magic unless you think this guy is going to roll up to you and do . . . well, I'm not really sure what you think he's likely to do. I mean, yes, he's blackmailing this chick and her father. But whatever he's got on them is hardly going to stop being blackmail material if you walk into another room with her.

I guess he might decide to challenge someone to a duel or something, but that's really only a problem insofar as it'll cause a scene, upset Marta, and possibly get him (and you, depending how you deal with him) thrown out of this place. And I guess that if you kill him or beat the dog shit out of him, he or someone in his employ might cause whatever dirt he has on her family to become public.

But suffice it to say that he's got something to lose if he does anything other than glare at you and think mean thoughts at your receding backs. That doesn't mean he won't take a risk.

And then again, there are other options, even less direct, at your disposal. I won't spell it out in detail, but you've encountered at least a couple of NPCs who're already happy to disrupt this guy's plans.

Finally, one major argument against deploying magic to spirit Marta away to the library is that even though Wæmunding probably won't notice, various servants, guests dining in the banquet hall, and sundry others certainly will notice. The risk is that your vanishing act will arouse curiosity from people other than Wæmunding. That may not be a big deal from your perspective, but Marta probably will lose her shit. She clearly doesn't want an audience, and I can think of few things that would attract the attention of a bored socialite faster than a clear indication that you're up to something secretive. You guys aren't exactly celebrities, but nobody (except maybe the servants and musicians, who are paid to do as they're told) has really been pretending not to know who you are.

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

Darker

Ah, knowing that they'd be a way to just walk through, that sounds like it works just fine.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

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

Talanall
Talanall's picture

You can reach the library by moving from Room #5, through #s 7, 3, and 2, to Room #8.

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

Darker

Alannah attempts to do just that then.

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

Garren will follow.

Darker

What is the power dynamic between Waemunding's and Alastar's?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Roll Knowledge (nobility and royalty) and (maybe) find out.

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

Darker

Here's the roll. But I was more or less asking about Alannah's opinion: Is her house more powerful than his... not really an in-depth analysis.

I rolled 1d20+2, the result is 20, 2 = 22.
Talanall
Talanall's picture

Alannah only recognized the guy because of a favorable bardic knowledge result. Knowledge (nobility and royalty) is untrained for her, so this is actually just an Int check and Alannah isn't going to know anything that falls above a very basic DC 10 level of detail—in effect, stuff that is common knowledge, although perhaps not common to the level of "oh, everyone knows THAT."

At the time that Alannah recognized him, I made it clear that Alannah doesn't even know his rank. She's quite sure that he is counted as a member of the nobility. The lowest rank possible is the hereditary title of baron.

Alannah's father is a count; her eldest brother is a baron, basically because their dad has a barony as well as a county, and the custom is that if you have more than one title, your eldest kid gets to use the next best title you have.

So if he's a baron, Alannah's family would outrank him by a substantial margin. That doesn't mean her house is necessarily richer or more powerful. Rank doesn't change, but economic, political, and military strength does. By and large, her family is likely to have more money than his, just because they probably have bigger estate holdings, and that usually translates to more money unless someone screws up. Marta hasn't said anything that Alannah thinks is suggestive that Wæmunding's financial situation is unusual for a man of his rank.

Alannah doesn't know enough about this cat to have any strong ideas about whether he has military or political clout, or whether he has more or less than might be considered normal for his rank. Per the initial bardic knowledge result, she knows that he must be ambitious because she has good reason to think that he paid someone to write songs about his family and sing them in public venues.

Of course, she could be wrong about his rank. Alannah hated all the boring hereditary titles, heraldry, rules of precedence, etc. so if this asshole were a viscount or a count, she mightn't know. On the other hand, the higher your rank, the fewer other nobles of similar rank. There are only a couple of nobles ranked higher than count, other than the two earls the Bastards have already met. Counts are much more common, enough so that Alannah has no real reason to be surprised at meeting one that she doesn't know already, and viscounts and barons are even more common still.

The preponderance of evidence is that her family is of equal or greater rank, and probably greater.

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

Talanall
Talanall's picture

I should add that Alannah knows that Wæmunding is the holder of the highest title of his family. Trogar's remarks simply don't make sense unless that's true.

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

Darker

What's that look for?

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

Okay - a non-meaningful look. Take it as explicit permission to do what you were planning to do, anyway, even if it volunteers Garren in your hare-brained plot.

Darker

It's fine, Alannah would rather eat her boots than use her family's resources for just about anything but the direst circumstance. But if Wæmunding thought she might, the illusion of her willingness to run and tell Daddy that the lecherous lord Wæmunding tried to assault her might be enough.

So, here's a rather unique deal -- if Alannah wants to use Alter Self to appear as Marta she gets a +10 to disguise. I don't know what the familiarity Wæmunding has with Marta, so I'm not sure what the DC would end up around. But in this case, Marta is already "disguised" because she's wearing a mask, so getting the exact details of her face, etc aren't super necessary, just the minor and major details (such as hair color, hair texture, and skin color; such as height, weight, and gender). How would that work?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Disguise is always an opposed check against the mark's Spot check.

As far as it goes, Alannah is not merely changing minor details; the girl is not quite the same height as her, has a different figure, etc. The two women don't look anything alike. On the other hand, they share a race, gender, and age category. So there's no inherent bonus or penalty at work here for the actual disguise.

It is true that Alannah does not need to disguise herself to match the fine details of Marta's eyes (other than maybe the color), eyebrows, nose, etc. The upper half of her face is covered. But the lower half is not.

And we're not really looking at a situation where Alannah is changing minor details about herself just to deflect observers who are looking FOR HER SPECIFICALLY. She's impersonating a specific person.

So I think the check will be Disguise +13, opposed by his Spot check. I suppose it's obvious that he'll have some kind of bonus applied for familiarity, since he was able to pick Marta out of a crowd even though she was in a disguise of sorts.

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

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

I was thinking stealing the evidence.

Darker

With what thieves? Not a bad idea though... but the logistics...

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

He and his best defenses are here.

Darker

Hmmmmm.....

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