A Lapse In Judgment (OOC)

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deadDMwalking
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I live dangerously.

These are the bonuses listed on my sheet; does not include any circumstantial or favored terrain bonuses.

Perception; Survival
I rolled 1d20+8, the result is 6, 8 = 14.
I rolled 1d20+11, the result is 20, 11 = 31.
Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

MinusInnocence wrote:

Most forays into the woods consist of two or three individuals at a time, never exceeding ten to twelve (and these are certainly Bloodskull orcs, not the human or demihuman cultists the party has crossed swords with in the past). The most recent trek was two or three days ago but it looks like they came back two orcs short, and two more were carrying something heavy. Maybe injured comrades, maybe food, who knows?

Cannibals could kill two birds with one stone here.

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

All right, let's move this along. What's the game plan? It sounds like Argus is pitching a last minute Plan B (or rather, Plan A, because it would necessarily happen first): to attack during the night instead of at first light, with the thinking being that if the fort's occupants don't shut and lock the gate at nightfall, sneaking in under cover of darkness would be a piece of cake because the front door is wide open.

The alternative plan is to wait until dawn so that the light coming from the east will help obscure line of sight for sentries on the wall. What is the final time everyone agrees on to assault Broken Spire Keep? Is there anything else we want to do or discuss before proceeding?

"Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists." - H.L. Mencken

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Leon is indifferent and happy to move along.

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

Feruq will opine that dawn might be the best time for the reasons I mentioned above. As usual, he can be swayed by a compelling argument.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Dalvar would strongly prefer to attack at dawn. But he's not prepared to knife people who come to wake him earlier than that over it, or anything.

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

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

Talanall wrote:

But he's not prepared to knife people who come to wake him earlier than that over it, or anything.

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

Okay, dawn it is.

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Checking in - do we need anything here?

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Nope. I mean I do. I need a solid day of free time to get the ball rolling here. When I'm ready I will lock these threads and create new ones for the home stretch of the current story arc.

Tentatively, that could probably happen this weekend, and it really needs to because I'm on call next week.

"Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists." - H.L. Mencken

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

I thought we agreed not to tell anyone else when we were on 'booty call duty' for each other??? But let's be clear - MinusInnocence won't have free time with that being the case.

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

How does he go about using up the other 23 hours and 58 minutes of the day?

MinusInnocence
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Cool. As we lead into the next phase here, the rest of the evening and night passed uneventfully. Everyone is now at 100%, the last of Jugg and Feruq's ability damage having been healed.

At nightfall, the gate was shut from inside and presumably barred or locked in some way - given that there was at least a chance Feruq was imagining things when he saw movement along the top of the wall, this is the first concrete evidence that something is moving around inside there, and that it's intelligent enough to want to close the front door when the day is done.

If I understand correctly, the plan is for everyone to break from the treeline east of the keep, running as quickly as their feet will carry them. Will you try to make contact with the wall then circle around the outside until you get to the gate, or will you eschew the gate entirely now that it is closed and may also be locked or barred?

Since the objective is to clear the distance between the trees and your enemies as quickly as possible, are you running single file or side by side? And do we have final confirmation on whether the two mules are being put to use to boost Jugg and Aramil's movement speeds?

Secrets
I rolled 1d3, the result is 2 = 2.
I rolled 1d4, the result is 3 = 3.
I rolled 1d8, the result is 6 = 6.
I rolled 1d8, the result is 3 = 3.

"Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists." - H.L. Mencken

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Before you commit, I should reveal that it started raining around midnight and Argus hoped it would break before dawn, but it's close to 8am now and the clouds still haven't parted to reveal the sun overhead. It might still do the trick, just peeking over the tops of the trees from the east, but once you make it inside the fortress anyone sensitive to light inside the walls won't have any problems.

While it's raining, everyone (friend or foe) has a -4 penalty to all Perception checks and ranged attack rolls. Unprotected flames are automatically extinguished unless we're talking like a huge bonfire or something, and most lit lanterns have a 50% chance of likewise being snuffed. So all in all, this is actually a perfect time for you to attack.

"Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists." - H.L. Mencken

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

What's the plan for getting in once we get across the field? Have Feruq scamper up the wall? Have Jugg & Thunk try to break the gate? Maybe have Dalvar materialize some...thing that can unbar the gate from inside?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

I like the sound of having Feruq scamper up the wall. Especially if he takes a rope with him.

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

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Approaching from the east, what is left of the tower (in the southeast corner) will be on your left. Yesterday Feruq clocked a pile of rubble that sort of makes a kind of ramp leading up to the top of the wall there. It's been raining for hours so it may be slick, and it could also just be really delicate in terms of finding stable footing even when it's bone-dry. But for anyone who isn't strong enough to force their way in or dexterous enough that the wall presents no obstacle, scrambling up the debris could offer an alternate way in.

"Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists." - H.L. Mencken

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Talanall wrote:

I like the sound of having Feruq scamper up the wall. Especially if he takes a rope with him.

Yes, a knotted rope with a wall to brace your feet against while you climb reduces the Athletics check to DC 0. As long as someone doesn't have a -5 penalty or worse, in this case the worst that could happen is that you just fail to make progress.

Having said that, however, I did run one campaign where the PCs were in boot camp and the gnomish sorcerer dropped into negatives trying to get over a 10' wall. It took several failed checks to do so poorly, he definitely had time to stop and reevaluate his life choices.

"Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists." - H.L. Mencken

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

Feruq's feeling good again, so he's all for going over the wall and opening the gate. He lacks a rope and grappling hook. If someone wants to lend one out, he can try going over somewhere we don't see guards present. Otherwise, he'll carefully brave the ramp.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Dalvar has 50 feet of rope, but no grappling hook. Isn't the top of the wall crenellated? If so, couldn't we just tie a loop on the end of the rope, and let him slip that onto a crenel?

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

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Yes. The crenellations are mostly cosmetic, being only half as tall as an adult human; but Dalvar's proposed workaround could work in a pinch. I can report that Aramil and Argus both have grappling hooks, however. In terms of how much rope the party has at their disposal, it's a lot. Like hundreds of feet.

Can I get an Intelligence check from Feruq?

"Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists." - H.L. Mencken

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

Int Check

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

Aramil will help out with any gear he can help with. He isn't much of a tactician or combatant and moves slow. He'll help out where he can though.

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Fixxxer wrote:

Int Check

Wow! I'm just going to break this down into game mechanics, I guess. Feruq unplugs from the Matrix and sees everything there is to see.

Scaling the mound of rubble will put Feruq closest to what is left of the tower, which is the most likely place for him to encounter sentries of some kind. It's hard to say based on yesterday evening how many guards there are patrolling the wall but whatever he saw moving around on the battlements was closer to the tower than not. It also presents a significantly higher vantage point from which to spot incoming trouble, and is where Feruq would choose to post up for watch duty.

The weather this morning is not conducive for any of that, however. Unless they have protection from the elements, it seems unlikely that his enemies will be interested in standing around in the rain for hours. The best case scenario is that there is nobody on watch duty at all when the PCs make their assault. Failing that, maybe whoever is up there is doing their best to hunker down and make their shift as tolerable as possible. So they probably aren't paying a lot of attention, and even if they are they still get a -4 penalty to Perception checks due to the rain.

Taking this into consideration, visibility is quite poor. If Feruq were to approach the Keep from a different direction, he calculates that there is a significantly lower chance of encountering resistance on the wall at all. His best guess about how big the keep actually is would put it at being at least 50x50 yards, counting from the exterior walls.

The northwest corner would put you quite close to the gate, if sneaking in and opening it from the inside is your secondary objective. If not, it would place Feruq opposite from the tower when he reaches the top, as far away as he can possibly be from where sentries are most likely posted - about 200' away, in fact. Not including any penalties they might incur for not paying the closest attention to what's going on, that's something like a -24 penalty to their rolls to spot an intruder.

So if the primary goal is to find a safe place to throw down rope for anyone who can't just scamper over the side like a squirrel, that seems better than the collapsed tower for a few different reasons: it places as much distance as possible between Feruq and where the guards probably are, it puts him right next to the gate he needs to open if he wants to ensure the party has full access to the Keep, and the weather is a serious detriment to anyone else who might try to thwart him along the way. Indeed, it is so dreary that the prospect of actually detecting intruders before they arrive is basically nil, so maybe there won't be any resistance at all until it's too late.

He does know that if there is anyone watching, the best direction for the rest of the party to approach from is the east, as Dalvar initially proposed. The most likely sentries to be affected by the sunrise would be anyone still manning their post on the ruined tower. Once he actually has access to the top of the wall, though, Feruq can definitely go anywhere he wants to drop the rope down, including the eastern wall; but while he may be able to sneak around in the rain, getting the whole gang up and over the wall seems much more likely to draw a tower guard's attention. If anyone is posted there maybe they have to be dealt with first, but access to the courtyard would let Feruq approach from whatever direction he wants, including the keep's interior (the most vulnerable for anyone primarily concerned with scanning the outer perimeter).

TL;DR: Shitty conditions mean Feruq can attack from wherever he wants and once he's up and over, he probably has the run of the place. He can definitely pick what happens next, if not the order of a sequence of events.

Map incoming tomorrow.

"Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists." - H.L. Mencken

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

I'd like to get a look at the map before settling 100% on a plan for Feruq, but Feruq knows the value of our group's hive mind and will share all of this information with the rest of the party, including drawing a basic diagram in the dirt, and will welcome input from the tactically-minded (maybe he'll set Thunk and Jugg up with a soccer ball in the meanwhile ;)). I do this OOC to spare everyone's sanity (my own included) by forgoing the need to read a long-winded speech in Feruq's odd 4th-tense vernacular.

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

OK so I can't remember how to upload pictures here but here is the link: https://imgur.com/a/vedQeHd

NINJA EDIT

It's not at all to scale but gives you a little bit of an idea of how far from the treeline the fortress walls are, as well as which corner the tower occupies. The rubble spills out quite a bit further than what's shown here in a circle around the tower's foundations. The gate is on the northern face (unless stated otherwise, "north" is always the top of the map),

If the party approaches from the east so that the rising sun blinds sentries (until it gets too high in the sky and is obscured by gray stormclouds), the tower will be on their left. If Feruq makes a beeline for the tower to scramble up the debris, he'll be closer to the most likely roost for a sentry but the furthest from the front gates. Presently, the party is congregated under the treeline on the top border of the map.

Akthough there are bushes and gnarled, dead trees here and there, they are too small and isolated to really accurately be reflected here on the map. Suffice to say that moving from cover to cover would be pretty difficult, given how sparse the vegetation is, but if anyone explicitly wants to do that I won't stop them.

"Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists." - H.L. Mencken

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

It's not at all user-friendly, but since BBCode got turned off, HTML is the only way to post an image directly, and the infuriating trick is that you have to make sure you're posting using the Filtered HTML text format. For whatever reason, Full HTML doesn't work. To the topic at hand, it suddenly occurs to me to ask if any of our party members have the ability to use invisibility or a similar spell. Our loot list does list a scroll of invisibility found by Dalvar while we were exploring Parlfray Keep a few days ago, but I'm unsure if that remains or has been sold off. Feruq is quiet enough that he'd probably be neigh-undetectable were he invisible. It's also worth it to ask if anyone has the ability to cast expeditious retreat. Feruq's already the fastest party member on foot. An extra 30ft per action would ensure that he could get to the keep in a matter of seconds. If he's unopposed, he could probably get there and have the gate open or a rope secured by the time the rest of the party arrives.

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Leon has Expeditious Retreat and Invisibility prepared.

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Fixxxer wrote:

It's not at all user-friendly, but since BBCode got turned off, HTML is the only way to post an image directly, and the infuriating trick is that you have to make sure you're posting using the Filtered HTML text format. For whatever reason, Full HTML doesn't work.

That explains it, I was in Full HTML. Good to know.
Fixxxer wrote:
To the topic at hand, it suddenly occurs to me to ask if any of our party members have the ability to use invisibility or a similar spell. Our loot list does list a scroll of invisibility found by Dalvar while we were exploring Parlfray Keep a few days ago, but I'm unsure if that remains or has been sold off. Feruq is quiet enough that he'd probably be neigh-undetectable were he invisible. It's also worth it to ask if anyone has the ability to cast expeditious retreat. Feruq's already the fastest party member on foot. An extra 30ft per action would ensure that he could get to the keep in a matter of seconds. If he's unopposed, he could probably get there and have the gate open or a rope secured by the time the rest of the party arrives.

Unfortunately, [I]expeditious retreat[/I] won't do Feruq much good since it has a Range of "personal" (the caster must be the target). [i]Invisibility[/i] isn't a bad idea, though, and will take Feruq's infiltration of the keep from "virtually guaranteed" to "impossible to screw up."

He could even take some time moseying around for awhile, checking stuff out; and eventually either attempt to open the gate from inside, neutralize a sentry to open up a clear path over the wall for his comrades, or even sprint back before they make their assault and report his findings.

"Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists." - H.L. Mencken

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

MinusInnocence wrote:
some dumb shit

Damn it we just got done talking about BB Code. Ignore my attempts to make spell names look nice.

"Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists." - H.L. Mencken

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Well, Leon will be quick about it, then.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

If I had realized the scroll was around, then I would have claimed it for Dalvar's use; he'd have copied it into his spellbook at his first reasonable opportunity. Since he only needs about 80 minutes for the whole process of copying a scroll into his spellbook, and it only costs him about 20 gp for a 2nd-level spell, a "reasonable opportunity" is far easier to come by for him than for a wizard under D&D 3.5 rules. He doesn't need multiple days of downtime to do wizard stuff.

If he'd done that, then I have no reason to think that he'd be at all difficult about preparing an instance of it to be cast on Feruq.

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

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

That's very reasonable, Dalvar probably would have called dibs and taken a minute to transcribe the spell.

Does he even need to roll for this spell?

"Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists." - H.L. Mencken

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Depends. If you allow take-10, then no. If not, then yes (and see the roll below).

I rolled 1d20+13, the result is 19, 13 = 32.

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

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

I don't see why he can't take 10. It's the kind of thing you would do if you had a quiet, tidy space to do some reading, and that doesn't sound like it ticks off any of the boxes for being "in immediate danger or distracted."

"Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists." - H.L. Mencken

Talanall
Talanall's picture

I considered it a matter for doubt because if he fails the Spellcraft check to understand the formula sufficiently so that he can copy the spell, he must wait a full week before he can retry. So I thought it was blurry enough to check with you first.

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

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

Well, if invisibility is an option, then Feruq could easily scale the ramp and have a look-see what the best option for getting everybody else into the fort is. If Leon or Dalvar is willing to hook him up, that seems like the best course of action to Feruq.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

If Leon's doing it, then I'll hold Dalvar's prepped spell aside for the moment. MinusInnocence, Dalvar's 2nd-level prep list today will substitute invisibility for his usual defending bone.

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

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

So Feruq goes? And we're ready to charge the gate when it opens from the inside?

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Right, so that's the next item on the agenda. Unless the plan is for Feruq to sneak around then come back to give everyone an update and confirm final plans, what do we expect to happen once he takes off? And how much time after he leaves will everyone wait before they make their approach?

We assume the plan is still to attack from the east, then I guess you either want to scale the wall right there, make your way for the pile of rubble to climb up or make for the gate. If we're going with Plan C, I guess you guys will want to make for the outer wall then circle around?

We don't need to overthink things but I wouldn't want to move forward assuming one thing is going to happen, roll some djce and it turns out someone's character lands in trouble when it was never anybody's intention to do X, Y and Z. I once had a game where I and all but one ofthe players were proceeding with one set of assumptions about how big the windows in a hallway were but the last player had a different idea. We had to replay an entire encounter because his plan was predicated on jumping through what turned out to be an arrow slit.

"Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists." - H.L. Mencken

Talanall
Talanall's picture

I guess the most straightforward way to proceed would be for us to agree on a signal that Feruq should use to signal when the coast is clear. Carried items are invisible, but when dropped or put down by an invisible creature they become visible, so a large blanket or similar piece of cloth might work; it'd need to be something that would be unmistakable if draped over the side of the wall.

I suppose he could instead use a lantern or something like that, but it's harder to keep that concealed, because even if you're invisible and your light source is invisible with you because you're carrying it, the light itself is not invisible. So he'd have to carry one and then light it, which is tricky in rain.

I guess it's worth asking MinusInnocence whether he thinks that invisibility fully cloaks a light source that is stuck inside an opaque covering (for example, a lantern that is fitted with shutters).

If he thinks that's kosher, then Feruq can stick a lit lantern inside a burlap sack or pillowcase or something, and Bob's his auntie.

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

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

If the plan is either to unbar the gate or drop a rope down the side of the wall, then it seems to make the most sense for one person to go. Argus might possibly be slightly better at moving quietly, but I doubt he's going to be significantly better at it than Feruq, plus Feruq has no armor and a lot more speed, so he's the natural choice, I think.

If they were moving as a group at the best speed, how long would it take the group (minus Feruq) to reach the wall if they approached from the closest forested area to the east?

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

I imagine a lantern inside a sack or something like that would probably be fine. A sack would obscure the light of a totally normal, visible lantern, so it should do the same thing for an invisible one. I guess at that point the question is how confident Feruq is about running around carrying a sack with a lit lantern (presumably full of oil) inside it. If he has a mishap and finds himself engulfed in flames, though, that's a no brainer - the party would definitely see him on top of the wall. Pretty extreme way to send a signal but I can't stop you.

If the party is moving at top speed (with Aramil and Jugg each riding one of the party's mules, which would necessitate Ride checks from them), and nobody is carrying a heavy load (which may mean stowing some gear in the brush), they will be trucking along at 120' per round. A heavy load would reduce someone's speed to 90'/round.

If nobody is encumbered, you're looking at 3 rounds to reach the walls from the treeline. Encumbered characters or creatures wouldn't quite get there and would need an additional round.

"Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists." - H.L. Mencken

Talanall
Talanall's picture

I suggest that Dalvar should light his bullseye lantern, and give that to Feruq, who then can be turned invisible, and sent to drop us a rope. Once he's secured the rope, he can set the bullseye lantern into a crenel, and unveil it. Bullseye lanterns are directional, so he should be able to point it so that it shines outward, which will make it harder to detect from inside the castle walls, and much easier for us to see from outside. This should not only provide a signal telling us when to cross, but also an indication of where to go in order to find the rope; since it's raining, we might otherwise have difficulties seeing it until we're practically on top of it.

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

Board Rider
Board Rider's picture

If we're discussing tactics amongst the group Aramil will offer that climbing a rope is about as close as out of the question as it can be for him. He is a poor climber who, even in the best scenario, would move even slower than he does on land. His currently prepared spells wouldn't be of much help to overcome the obstacle either.

For Aramil, it may be better to stay back or to knock on the front door. He is a healer after all. He can always use say he is looking for information regarding others from his church. It's not a complete lie. Hell, maybe an invisible Feruq could follow Aramil inside presuming he is simply not killed at the front door.

I don't know. Aramil just isn't skilled for this scenario.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

What Thunk hears:

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

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Not gonna lie, Aramil isn't going to win any rock climbing awards anytime soon. But this plan isn't the end of the world for him. The DC to climb a knotted rope when you have a wall to brace against is 0. Even if I impose a -4 penalty reflecting extremely unfavorable conditions for the check, Aramil still has a total -3 modifier. He actually can't mathematically fail a roll so poorly that he falls while climbing, which requires missing the DC by 5 or more.

So, combined with his abysmal modifier, his lower Speed means he will be making less progress even when he succeeds on a roll. But he can't actually get hurt getting up the wall. Will he reach the top in a timely enough fashion to actually help his companions during a combat encounter? Probably not. But if Jugg/Think/both goes first, it's a moot point. They'll just haul your ass topside.

"Men are the only animals that devote themselves, day in and day out, to making one another unhappy. It is an art like any other. Its virtuosi are called altruists." - H.L. Mencken

Board Rider
Board Rider's picture

Given my history with this sites dice roller, it isn't outside the realm of possibility that Aramil tumbles off the wall.

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

So, options for Aramil boil down to the following, then:

1: He stays outside until after whatever happens happens.
2: He goes up the rope last and takes a long time to reach the top.
3: He goes to the rope last and one or more of the beefier guys just hauls the rope up with him on it.
4: He foregoes the rope, slowing climbing the rubble ramp.
5: We rearrange the plan so that instead of dropping a rope, Feruq attempts to unbar the gate.

Sound about right?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Yeah. Option #3 might not even require a check. Thunk and Jugg'r are both very strong.

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

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