Also, I love that we both pretty much immediately decided that Mike was really talking about a Tijuana donkey show.
Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold
I saw a donkey (well, horse) show in Tijuana in my youth. Remember Seth Rogan describing it in The 40 Year Old Virgin? It's exactly like that.
That was my link. "You think it's going to be awesome, but it's not. You start feeling bad for the woman. I felt bad for the horse."
I'm honestly unsure what would lead anyone to thinking that it would be awesome. It sounds like a hellish thing to watch.
It's some time after 3pm now. You've made it a significant stretch of the way, even moving at half speed due-west through the forest because you didn't enjoy the benefit of a road or even a well-defined trail. But now in another hour or so (starting at 4:30pm) the "storm" part of the weather event will begin in earnest and you will be pretty much required to take shelter until 5:30pm.
At that point you could certainly proceed although it would still be raining heavily and we can talk about the penalties to Perception checks when it's pouring down rain outside if that's something you're interested in attempting. The good news there is that, at least as far as we can predict, if you were going to encounter something between here and your destination, that something(s) would also suffer a significant penalty to Perception checks, making it more likely that both parties would just pass by each other without detecting anything amiss. I guess this is really only a good thing if the encounter were with hostiles and not innocent civilians in need of assistance.
Another option would be to wait until it stops raining altogether. That would mean waiting until 7pm but that's really not awesome because if it isn't dark by then, it would be soon enough, and you're really back in the same position as before with heavy Perception penalties. Riding hard in the dark is pretty much the opposite of what sensible people traveling overland through dangerous terrain do when trying to conceal their presence after nightfall.
You could also just call it a day and wait until morning to proceed. Argus expects a heavy fogbank to roll in about an hour before midnight and lingering until 3am, but so far as anyone with ranks in Survival is aware tomorrow's weather should be totally clear. If you waited until tomorrow to proceed, you could even take a few breaks along the way and not hustle at all and all the animals would reach Kuiper's farm before the day is done without taking damage.
"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
Sleeping under a roof would be nice.
Shit... was that too soon, Raphael?
Daaaaang more like a collapse in judgment amirite
Dalvar's fine with continuing once conditions become safe enough that we don't have to be terribly concerned about lightning strikes. A roof would be nice, and his level of interest in stopping to help anyone is extremely minimal. The possibility that he simply won't see someone who needs help is, if anything, a positive feature of continuing onward in the rain.
Sounds like Dalvar and Feruq want to press on and damn the consequences. Jugg is not terribly concerned about traveling in the dark because he can see in the dark, but what he is concerned about is spending the night outside when he doesn't necessarily have to (because he is a weak little dwarf baby right now and a kitten could murder him).
Lyntern will of course do whatever the party wants because he has no idea where he is or how to get home; or even a home to go back to until a number of crises there are resolved. In a general sense his preference would be to get settled somewhere like Kuiper's farm or even Milborne as soon as possible.
I'm going to assume that Thunk is looking forward to one of Kuiper's farmhouse dinners and would need to be persuaded to actively pursue any other course of action. So unless Argus has something compelling to say about the merits of camping out in the woods tonight, I'm going to assume we're proceeding; but I'll give DDMW a chance to chime in today.
You have perfectly captured Thunk's argument.
I kinda imagine Jugg'r as probably looking like a more muscular version of the Sexy Stud. Always have, really.
I kinda imagine Jugg'r as probably looking like a more muscular version of the Sexy Stud. Always have, really.
This is 100% accurate.
Also, Jugg doesn't have much of an opinion outside of what you have said. He is still 1,000 yard staring shit and wondering what the fuck happened.
Argus knows better than to put himself between Thunk and a quality dinner. Since he didn't bring snacks, best to press on. We can chain the animals to ensure nobody gets lost.
None of the others see what Feruq is gesturing toward. It could be 30 feet away or a mile, but whatever he sees must have been spotted by pure chance. Now that he is focusing on it, Feruq himself can barely keep track of whatever the light is; but he imagines if they started riding in that direction it would come back into view.
After maneuvering his horse a little closer and looking back to yell to his colleagues, Feruq has lost sight of the light again. Everyone knows which way he pointed so he could very well just decide to ride off in that direction and see what he can find.
Note that Perception checks right now are at a -8 penalty not counting the one for -1/10' of distance (which if his first guess was correct is just about as far away as someone could see something in these conditions). Not only is it dusk, the storm is reducing visibility by at least 75-80%.
He could take 20 to reacquire visual contact, but that will take two minutes, which is a long time to hunker down in your saddle in the middle of a storm while you wait for someone else to do something. Alternatively, he could reroll the shitty shittington check I just made with a Hero Point.
Or you could move on. If someone is out in this weather they probably have a very good or very bad reason for it and hopefully they will still be there in the morning.
Dalvar would really expect this to be happening closer to the swamp on the other side of the river but Haranshire's recent extreme weather really are making anything within a few miles of the river very marsh-like. But yes, what Feruq is describing COULD be a lantern hanging from a fence or suspended on a rope between two trees. Or maybe a person holding it while he or she is buffeted around by the wind like a newscaster reporting live during a hurricane evacuation.
OR it could be a will-o-wisp. They're aberrations with the air subtype who manifest as glowing orbs of light to lure their victims out into the middle of nowhere at night. Will-o-wisps attack by discharging electricity when they touch you and literally feed on fear - if they're close enough to someone who is genuinely terrified for their life, the will-o-wisp gains fast healing.
Everyone else in the party (including Feruq) may not have as much experience with aberrations but they do know this is pretty much how every story about someone who goes missing in the wild begins.
Unless they are taken by a storm and come back...changed.
Well, there is that; but hopefully now that the lightning has passed that isn't as much of a risk. It certainly isn't the kind of thing that might make someone want to linger outside when it's raining cats and dogs, though.
Feruq's certainly not going to go chasing a phantom light in the wind and rain.
Aklo, roughly: "Go away! We won't be fooled! Go away, or die!"
Argus, Feruq and Thunk all hear what sounds like a man calling out amid the howling wind. It's definitely coming from that direction but is quite faint; Feruq thinks it could easily be as far away as the floating light was when he could still see it.
It sounds like Argus was ready to go investigate before he heard that, though. Is anyone else going with him? I think the only reasonable course of action here would be for everybody to split up and move in different directions, just in case.
I think following Raphael's example and offing ourselves one at a time offers the most appropriate and satisfying conclusion to this horror movie...
In any case, I don't see any reason for everyone to scatter, but I wouldn't mind a buddy coming with me to find the voice.
Dalvar is going to stay with the horses, the Count, and Jugg'r's gimpy carcass.
No objections from either party on that count. Lyntern wants to go check it out as soon as it's obvious it's safe, being serious about making himself avaialble to the people in whatever way he can; but he's no fool - Dalvar made a very persuasive argument that it may be and in fact likely is a horrible monster.
Jugg thinks this is pretty stupid and is just grateful he didn't know Argus long enough to REALLY miss him when he gets will-o-wisped.
Feruq will go with Argus, but he will heed Dalvar's warnings and only move where Argus has moved, keeping the man in sight at all times.
I need Sense Motive checks from Argus and Feruq. If you want to go back and inform the others of what's going on, you can definitely do that - the more people involved, the easier it will be.
Simply picking things up and moving them around is pretty much exclusively a function of how high your Strength score is, according to the Core Rulebook. Strength checks are reserved for attempting to break an object without actually dealing damage to it the same way that you would, say, a goblin or skeleton. But in this context, the downed tree is large and ponderous enough that even a handful of people are having a hard time with it.
Krynen has hit the nail on the head. If it's a matter of just adding enough people so that each man's portion of the tree is under his max load, lifting it up so the cow can escape is no trouble. But to do so safely, there needs to be some plan in place for the tree to be dragged away at the same time because there's no way to know what the cow is actually going to do. Argus might be able to help in that department.
Sense motive - I'll check my bonus after rolling.
Feruq intuits that Kurt not having shifted already to haul the downed tree out of the way means he either doesn't fully have control over his abilities as a new werebear or he is in mixed company - the other two men have not been formally introduced but they don't bear any familiar resemblance to the boy or his father. Maybe they work at the farm, maybe they're neighbors, but it seems plausible that not everyone around these parts knows he's a lycanthrope.
All right. I need a Strength check from Argus and Feruq, and a wild empathy check from Argus (class level plus Charisma mod). This is basically a Diplomacy check toward the trapped cow but its starting attitude is indifferent because cows are stupid and don't even understand when someone is potentially risking their life to help them (also because they're domesticated animals).
Congratulations! Argus and Feruq receive 535XP each for saving the cow.
Argus - 11,290
Dalvar - 11,085
Feruq - 10,620
Jugg - 8,185
Thunk - 10,385
And I'm not going to have to hear an 'I told you so' from Dalvar. Or be dead, which would mean I wouldn't have to hear it, but he'd have said it for sure. In any case, things turned out as well as they possibly could all things considered.
Oh, I honestly thought this was gonna be a will o the wisp. Then I thought it was people being mind-controlled that were gonna ambush us while we tried to help. Imagine my surprise when it turns out it was exactly what it seemed.
Yeah, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar (or a cow).
If Dalvar, Jugg or Thunk have at least one rank in Knowledge (religion), I need a check now, please.
Dalvar is an amateur theologian.
I forgot I requested this Knowledge check. When Lyntern made reference to "the Pilgrim's Path," he refers to a circuit of holy sites important to the histories of the churches of Erastil, Iomedae and Sarenrae, who make up the Triad worshipped by most commonfolk (at least among humans). The pilgrimage is made at various times throughout the year and the choice about when to set out typically indicates when the faithful anticipates his or her completion of the trek, with both dates being spiritually significant. If the court physician left from Parlfray Keep, Dalvar doesn't know where precisely she might be right now, especially because the stops along the trip are left up to the discretion of each worshipper. But even the most ambitious and least interested in checking every location off the list would be hardpressed to travel west from the Keep and hope to be back in Haranshire in only four months.
The pilgrims Gideon and his new friends intercepted on Howler's Moor would have been traveling south into Haranshire from the border region along the Grayleaf Forest, and from Verral (south of Northreach) before that. Many important battles were waged by the Triad's supplicants at the kingdom's founding under Gabriella I, and Dalvar thinks he remembers most of the oldest stories having to do with some dispute over who would wear the crown between the would-be queen and her uncle Qaden. Qaden's armies was dashed to pieces, caught between his niece and the elves of the woodland realm.
Sorry for the delay. This week has been ridonculous. I'm trying to catch up.
Somewhat implausibly, I can actually confirm that we have two players waiting in the wings to join the game! They will be testing the waters in the IC thread soon, I think. If we can't get all our I's dotted and T's crossed, maybe it will have to wait until the party leaves the farm, but I think this is as good a place as any to make new introductions.
Woot. Extra targets for the bad guys.
Between letters of credit bearing Kuiper's signature and the goods and hard coin kept on-hand by the merchant captain whose barge is docked out front, this is also as good a place as any for shopping and liquidating the party's magic items they don't have any interest in keeping.
If no one else wants it, Feruq could use the amulet of natural armor +1. He's almost got enough money to buy it at half price. Probably will have enough with the liquidation of other items. Remember, also, he's holding on to a used necklace of fireballs belonging to the party.