Chapter 17: A Small-Town Girl (OOC)

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Fixxxer
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I'm for it.

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

Can Chuul tell which direction whoever camped her likely went after they left?

Survival (find tracks/sign)
I rolled 1d20+8, the result is 3, 8 = 11.
Fixxxer
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Why does taking 20 never occur to me until half a second after I push the ROLL button?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

There's more trail to follow, leading south by southwest. Chuul can't tell the actual direction of travel by looking, but the trail only goes two directions and the Bastards have been following it from the other direction for most of a day without seeing anything.

Either he and Garren reasoned entirely incorrectly about what direction the halfling nomads would send their noncombatants, or the tracks are old enough that you haven't caught up yet.

This particular spot has what looks like it must be a reliable source of water, so if you were patient enough, you probably could just hang out here and expect to see halflings and/or goblins at some point. You've crossed a bunch of little streams and creeks today, and when I say they're little, I mean it. A few inches deep, most of them. It's obvious that they only flow intermittently as seasons and weather allow.

I kind of doubt that Chuul (or any of the other Bastards, except maybe Oskav) has the patience to sit still for the days or weeks it might take for that strategy to bear fruit, but access to reliable water sources is important, and the cover over a deep well here is a giant fucking clue. It's there to keep critters from falling in, drowning, and then rotting in a good water supply. Someone is taking care of this site.

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

Darker

Question: Circle Dance requires "first hand knowledge" of a subject in order to locate them. I take that to mean that you have seen them and know what they look like, but I am not sure that's what that means. If it is, how far does that stretch.... for example, if Alannah scrys on someone that she has heard of (secondhand knowledge, +5 on their will check) and is able to then see them and their surroundings, does that then trigger the firsthand knowledge?

HVB

I think you need a 1000gp 4foot mirror to scry. I hope she has one to do her makeup.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

I certainly take the "first hand knowledge" provision in circle dance to indicate that you must have seen (or otherwise perceived, using whatever is your primary sense) the subject, in adequate light and at reasonably close distance.

For 99.99% of all casters of spells requiring this provision, I take this to mean that you must have been able to see the subject in conditions that would not provide a miss chance due to concealment from darkness, fog or smoke, a blur spell, etc., or a penalty to Spot and/or Listen checks, and that you must be able to observe the subject for at least a full round under such conditions.

To put this in real-life terms, I make a distinction between, "I got a good look at Hugh Jackman from across the room at ComicCon. He's way taller than you'd think for a guy who played Wolverine," and "I met Hugh Jackman at ComicCon. We shook hands and I told him that I really liked his work in The Fountain. He was really nice."

I think that in the past, I have established that I interpret the scrying spell in the same terms. It is easier to scry upon someone whom you know well or intimately, and harder to scry on someone you've only seen or heard of, and nearly impossible to scry on someone whose name you don't even know.

To map this into exemplars from Alannah's in-game experiences:

Alannah she knows her brother, Boromil, familiarly. She would receive a +5 bonus to the DC of scrying against him. This also goes for most of the Bastards, with the possible exceptions of Avar and Kya.

Alannah has met but is not very familiar with Elena Markham, the investigator and agent who assisted the Bastards in Port Hope. Markham (and other NPCs, like Aphora Barnsley, Constable Yorenna Malter, etc.) would not receive a bonus or penalty to resist being scried upon. When a spellcaster uses scrying to observe a creature, and is able to view a second creature during the course of the spell, I consider this observation sufficient to establish the new entity as a "met" creature, provided that it meets my other requirements as described above.

Alannah does not know but has heard by name of Mintinarn Ceretheliaul, the druid who rules Woods End. She has heard of Fafrilla's mother, the silver dragon Vifrilidaxas. She could attempt to scry upon them, but they would receive bonuses to resist her. Successfully scrying on a creature in this category of knowledge bumps the target up to "met" status, if it meets all of my other requirements.

Alannah has not seen and does not know the name (assuming it has one) of the dragon that attacked the thorp of Morville. She cannot scry upon it at all, but potentially would be able to do so if she could obtain some kind of connection to the creature. Among those connections are the ones listed in the spell description: a likeness or picture, a possession or garment, or a sample of bodily material (blood, saliva, skin, hair, a nail paring, etc.). A likeness or picture would need to be something that an eyewitness would recognize. These creatures receive a large bonus to resist being scried upon. Again, success confers a lasting benefit in terms of how well you are considered to know the target.

Under this last category, entities that you haven't seen and don't have a name for, I also include cases where you have some non-tangible connection, subject only to my own discretion.

For the sake of completeness, I also make mention that certain kinds of magical relationship, such as those between a familiar and its master or between a homunculus and its creator, also have a transitive property, such that any connection established by a familiar or similar entity is accessible to its master.

Overall, I follow a principle that repeated or concentrated uses of scrying and other forms of divination can be leveraged to make them harder to resist. This usually favors non-adventuring NPCs as divination specialists, because they have the time and resources to devote to tasks like this. A lot of the spells involved have long casting times. There is no actual impediment to someone like Alannah using similar techniques, and I certainly encourage you toward thoughtful applications of the spells at your disposal.

All this said, I contemplate that you are asking about this topic because you are trying to determine whether Alannah can cast scrying to establish a first-hand connection with Chief Eulan Barnstead, and then use circle dance to figure out which way you should go to find him.

The answer is yes, but Barnstead is known to you only by name and reputation, so he will be a hard target for scrying.

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

Darker

Your conculsion is correct. I figure that she might as well use her 3rd level spell slot and attempt to find him. She should have done it the previous night as well. If it fails, no big deal. If she can scry and find him, then she can figure out where he is with circle dance. Simplies this whole wandering in the wilderness thing.

Darker

Hmmmm... Alannah should have considered what an eye of an arrowhawk could have done for her spell.

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

Since Kya might be surprised by it, Garren pulls the mirror from what appears to be a normal sized backpack, just as Mary Poppins pulled a lamp from her carpet bag. It definitely is too big to fit, but somehow it did.

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

Kya's sense of wonder is a treasure.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Rolls

I rolled 1d20.hits(3), the result is 18 = 1 vs. 3.

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

Talanall
Talanall's picture

The spell didn't fail because of an invalid target or anything like that, as far as Alannah can tell. Eulan saved.

The effective DC when Alannah is trying to scry on someone based on a name is only ~11.

I haven't solidified it as canon in the Tolrea setting, but this difficulty probably is a basis for wealthy families to keep samples of their members' nail parings, blood, etc. If you need to hire a spellcaster to scry on a kidnapped family member based on only a name, you'd want to have something like that as an aid. Arguably this would be a tacit reason for people to hire artists to do portraits of the family, as well.

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

Darker

What's the fancy code you used there for the dice roll? Would that be useful for players?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

The fancy code nominates a minimum value for success on the roll being made. When you open the dice roller amenity and then additionally open up the "Help" option on it, you can see a collection of specialized functions. For example, for ability score generation according to the standard dice-based method, one option allows you to do 4d6.takehighest(3). The output of such a roll is the ability score generated. If you use 4d6.takehighest(3);4d6.takehighest(3);4d6.takehighest(3);4d6.takehighest(3);4d6.takehighest(3);4d6.takehighest(3), then you get a six-score array and don't have to do any math.

Most of them are not terribly useful even to a DM, at least in the D&D rule set. It's my understanding that open-ended or extra dice rolls are pretty common in other gaming systems, but my experience with them is pretty limited.

The XdY.hits(Z) argument is most useful for checking against concealment. For example, if you want a 20% miss chance, you can do 1d100.hits(21). When you use this specific argument, the returned value is a Boolean: 0 is failure, 1 is success. If your D100 roll is 20 or less, then the returned value is a miss; if your D100 is 21+, then it returns a hit.

None of these options work at all if you are using them for an XdY+Z style of roll, which is probably why you have never noticed me using them before.

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

Darker

So what time is it IC right now? How many hours have we been traveling for the day already?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

It's around 4:00 PM. You have slightly more than two more hours of daylight remaining, but you've traveled for about seven hours already. It won't be long before you'll need either to stop or begin using magic to keep your horses from experiencing ill effects from being worked too hard.

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

HVB

Kya's been carb loading so hopefully she has enough energy :) She's light though so probably wouldn't effect one of the magicked up heavier horses if they don't stop soon and she needs a ride.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

The issue at hand is that after you travel for eight hours at your overland movement rate, you can only continue using the forced march mechanics. This is no big deal for characters who're walking on their own two feet, because they make Constitution checks to resist, and the damage incurred in a forced march is nonlethal for them. Similar mechanics govern starvation/thirst/environmental heat and cold, but in several cases those differ because they indicate that you have to end the root cause of the nonlethal damage before you can start to heal it. But forced marches do not have such restrictions, and given that your characters are all at least 6th level, you pretty much heal the non-lethal damage as fast as it happens. One of the reasons why I enforce a biological requirement for your characters to sleep is that without it, your characters would be able to walk for days at a time with no ill effects.

Creatures being used as mounts automatically fail their checks to resist the damage, and they suffer lethal damage instead. That's not great news in and of itself. The mounts need magical healing or enough rest to get rid of the lethal damage via natural healing.

This has come up, in the past, as an obstacle to this adventuring party's ability to travel as fast as they would like. Their nemesis, Berger Cole is able to travel about as quickly as they can in terms of actual speed. But he's traveling on his own two feet, and as a result he can force march to great effect.

It's proven a nuisance, and the Bastards have gone to considerable financial expense in the past trying (and failing) to keep up with him. Darker is asking questions because he's trying to avoid a similar situation. I imagine that he's also in a heightened state of anxiety because this whole set of concerns could make it hard for you to run away if something attacks your party in the middle of the night.

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

Darker

Yep, just looking at the cost/benefit analysis of the situation. If we were going to gamble and maximize the benefit, we should hustle the last hour, as 1 hussle is free. That lets us travel twice as far in an hour, effectively getting 9 hours of travel in. However, it leaves us quiet vunerable if something catastrophic should happen. Some of the party could escape (pretty confident if Alannah needed to, she could get away and be far, far from the scene) but horses wouldn't be able to get far.

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

We're talking about creatures in terms of "something catastrophic," right? Not natural disasters. Like it doesn't really matter how fast Alannah can travel, a tornado is a tornado. So if we're just talking about creatures, what is our target number for Challenge Rating beyond which we don't think we could hack it? 10? 11?

If you filter the monsters listed in the SRD by Challenge Rating and select a list for only CR 10 or CR 11, I think you end up with about 1/3 of them either being able to fly or have some other exceptional means of movement. A lot of the ones that don't make the cut there are specimens like the Rakshasa or Guardian Naga that have all kinds of supernatural or spell-like abilities and may likewise be able to confound our ability to escape.

I guess my point is that if Ed's Encounter Chart decides to bury us, it may not matter how many hours we've been in the saddle the day before. I also don't like the odds of Alannah being able to recruit a new party to repopulate the Bastards on her own, because she is one of the least likeable people with a Charisma score that high I have ever seen.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

I use a separate table for natural disasters.

Regarding the encounter table, the general trend you'd notice if you could see what's actually there for you is that I rank the encounters in terms of maximal EL rather than CR. The highest EL rankings are indicative of how the encounter would specify if I generate it with the largest organizational configuration for the monster in question, at the highest Hit Dice advancement for that monster.

So (for example) there's a space on one of the encounter tables for a desert terrain that allows for the possibility of an encounter with one or more jann. As presented for the MM v3.5 standard version, a janni CR 4 encounter if you meet one alone. But my entry also contemplates the possibility that there will be multiple jann in the encounter, perhaps as many as 15 of them. And they can be advanced all the way up to an 18-HD with size Large.

The max number of jann at max advancement would work out to EL 20. So that encounter has a possible EL range of 4 to 20 overall.

But in practice, that's a little deceptive except as a best case/worst case indicator. The balance of encounters would trend heavily to the lower end of that range, because I end up checking each janni individually to see if it's going to advance, and then I randomly determine how much advancement it receives. Most of the time, even a very large group would consist of stock jann. It's theoretically possible that I might max the group size, then have every single member of the group come up for advancement, etc. But the odds are way out in "get struck by lightning twice" territory.

The random encounter table also includes an assortment of other stuff, like goblinoid patrols. You guys have already seen what those would look like; the one you fought when you were on your way south from Morville was very solidly average for that type of encounter. I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying that there's a chance you'll get tangled up in more of the same thing.

And of course, there's also the not-insignificant possibility that you'll randomly encounter something friendly or just harmless.

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

Talanall
Talanall's picture

The goblin raiders you fought were ~EL 11-12 as presented. There again, you had some range for up/down variation from that figure. As I recall, at least a couple of the worg mounts from that fight were advanced enough to gain Large size.

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

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

The obvious benefit to staying put is access to fresh water. But while that's monumental to a very large group of people, we're such a small party that's it's fairly inconsequential, at least in the environment we're in. There's no obvious benefit to defending this spot than there is any other spot. So unless this spot has some sort of culturally-accepted neutral ground aspect to it, we might as well keep moving. That said, without a solid direction, it's not like we gain anything by moving quickly.

HVB

Quote:

This has come up, in the past, as an obstacle to this adventuring party's ability to travel as fast as they would like. Their nemesis, Berger Cole is able to travel about as quickly as they can in terms of actual speed. But he's traveling on his own two feet, and as a result he can force march to great effectt's proven a nuisance, and the Bastards have gone to considerable financial expense in the past trying (and failing) to keep up with him.

While I'm not really seeing the full picture of how getting a single piece of a bone necklace is going to yield the result we desire as quickly as we want it to, I suppose dedicating all our time to tracking all of the pieces might. I obviously don't know the full details but maybe if this halfling chase doesn't work we should stop chasing stuff :)

Anyway, I agree with not rushing and potentially losing our horses since we dont know where we are rushing to

BTW are we following the potential trail of the noncombatants to ask them where Eulan is? Is that what's currently going on here?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Yeah, I don't really have a dog in this fight. If you guys want to press onward to get as much travel time as you can today, okay. If you want to camp here, also okay.

If you end up coming back to this spot later in the year, the water supply issues could be much more pertinent.

Figure out what you want to do.

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

Talanall
Talanall's picture

HVB wrote:

BTW are we following the potential trail of the noncombatants to ask them where Eulan is? Is that what's currently going on here?

That appears to be what the PCs are doing, yes. Alannah's scrying attempt was an effort to fast track this whole process by getting an approximate direction of travel for Eulan instead.

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

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

I vote camp. Interesting people are likely to come here.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

I think that the Bastards are operating on the assumption that if they don't have something Cole wants, he will just continue to hurt/kill people they're fond of, and then run away faster than they can chase him. They further reason that if Cole wants all of the pieces of this necklace, gathering them will provide them with "something Cole wants," and therefore induce him to stand and fight instead of fucking with them for the rest of their natural lives.

So in a roundabout way, they're really trying to quit chasing people. Or at least, they want to chase people they can actually catch.

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

Darker

HVB wrote:

While I'm not really seeing the full picture of how getting a single piece of a bone necklace is going to yield the result we desire as quickly as we want it to, I suppose dedicating all our time to tracking all of the pieces might. I obviously don't know the full details but maybe if this halfling chase doesn't work we should stop chasing stuff :)


Eh, its part of this being a sandbox style adventure. We have lots of things we could be done and lots of plot hooks, but Chuul (kind of the defacto leader) is driven with a single minded purpose of killing Cole (that werewolf bastard). While the most direct route could be to travel to the spirit world and try to jump him there, Alannah convinced him that she could bring Cole to them by collecting pieces of an artifact that Cole wants. Scrying on Cole revealed that he really does want to get his hands on the artifact and that the plan might just work. At the same time, Alannah gets to indulge in one of her favorite pastimes (tracking down lore, magic, and artifacts) and can curry favor with the Port Hope wererats by giving them what they find (depending on whether or not she's going to take up the offer to become the rat queen one day, but that's a different story).

So the bottom line is we could be doing a lot of different things with different hooks, but unless it has to do with advancing the cause to kill Cole, Chuul may refuse to go along with it. Avar might as well. Probability Garren as well.

HVB

I vote press on for an hour because interesting people might come here

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Oskav isn't voting because he doesn't know how far away Eulan is; which direction he's traveling in; whether or not he is riding with the noncombatants; or if he even has the trinket in his possession at all. So it doesn't really matter what we do because for all we know he could show up in 10 minutes and want to rest here for the night while he tells us all about his jewelry collection.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Okay, so that's one vote for stay, one vote for go, and one vote for, "The DM is a sadistic asshole, so nothing really matters anyway."

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

HVB

MinusInnocence wrote:

Oskav isn't voting because he doesn't know how far away Eulan is; which direction he's traveling in; whether or not he is riding with the noncombatants; or if he even has the trinket in his possession at all. So it doesn't really matter what we do because for all we know he could show up in 10 minutes and want to rest here for the night while he tells us all about his jewelry collection.


Yeah but he'll be all cranky in the morning cause he didn't get his 8 hours of sleep.
Darker

Alannah is irratated her spell didn't work, she's for traveling another hour to seperate herself from the site of her failure. Avar (IC) is obviously voting to move on as well.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Okey doke.

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

Board Rider
Board Rider's picture

Yep, Avar wants to keep moving.

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

I vote for "The DM is a sadistic asshole, so nothing really matters anyway." But Chuul doesn't mind pressing on a bit.

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

Darker wrote:

Eh, its part of this being a sandbox style adventure. We have lots of things we could be done and lots of plot hooks, but Chuul (kind of the defacto leader) is driven with a single minded purpose of killing Cole (that werewolf bastard). While the most direct route could be to travel to the spirit world and try to jump him there, Alannah convinced him that she could bring Cole to them by collecting pieces of an artifact that Cole wants. Scrying on Cole revealed that he really does want to get his hands on the artifact and that the plan might just work. At the same time, Alannah gets to indulge in one of her favorite pastimes (tracking down lore, magic, and artifacts) and can curry favor with the Port Hope wererats by giving them what they find (depending on whether or not she's going to take up the offer to become the rat queen one day, but that's a different story).

So the bottom line is we could be doing a lot of different things with different hooks, but unless it has to do with advancing the cause to kill Cole, Chuul may refuse to go along with it. Avar might as well. Probability Garren as well.

What he said. If/when Cole is dead, Chuul will probably either retire or he'll step back and let others make the choices about what to do and where to go. For now, he's 100% determined to cause that death, by any means. Cole doesn't fight straight-up. He ambushes and he wounds before fleeing. He uses non-combatants as bait, butchering them or infecting them with lycanthropy to fuck with our emotions and make us reckless. Alannah's convinced Chuul that rebuilding this necklace will bring Cole to us.

In all honestly, Alannah is a good enough orator that she could probably convince Chuul it's in our best "kill'n Cole" interests to go just about anywhere, at least for a time. But while she's bratty as hell, Chuul trusts that she wants Cole dead almost as much as he does.

HVB

I wasn't so much questioning the goal of killing Cole as much as the route to doing it. But it seems that's Alannah's doing by design. Obviously there are other potentially more direct avenues to explore in terms of drawing Cole out of the spirit realm or going to find him there but they don't suit her ulterior aims. I just wanted to understand why we are doing this in particular, so I think I have my answer.

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

Looks like we're moving on, then.
If we walk the horses, rather than riding them, does that allow them to take non-lethal damage for a forced march? If we press on for 2-4 hours (albeit slower than if we rode) would that allow us to spare the horses? What about if we had Oskav pass from one horse to another each hour so he doesn't slow us down too much?

Darker

You'll be harder pressed than those horses to convince Alannah to keep going 2-4 more hours unless there's a warm bed or shelter that they are trying to hustle to get to. She'll ride another hour, even double time, but she's not going much further than that unless there's some reason other than to cover a bit more ground.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Zeelar, Avar's mount, belongs to a union that prohibits him from being forced to work more than 8 hours in a 24-hour period. So it's really a moot point. You should take it up with the Celestial Court. Maybe propose some kind of right-to-work legislation to break down the power of the Heavenly Teamsters' and Draypersons' Comity.

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

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

Oskav has many questions about the megaliths and tries to recall anything he may have learned previously that would inform a theory about what they are, where they came from and how they were erected (giggity). Craft (stonemasonry) and Knowledge (architecture & engineering) for the logistics of what they're made of, how they were carved and transported, what it would have taken to set them in place, etc; Knowledge (arcana) and (religion) for WHY someone would do such a thing; and Knowledge (local) for any rumors or legends people around here might have about them.

Craft (stonemasonry); Knowledge (arcana); Knowledge (architecture & engineering); Knowledge (local); Knowledge (religion)
I rolled 1d20+14, the result is 17, 14 = 31.
I rolled 1d20+13, the result is 7, 13 = 20.
I rolled 1d20+12, the result is 1, 12 = 13.
I rolled 1d20+6, the result is 5, 6 = 11.
I rolled 1d20+13, the result is 8, 13 = 21.
Darker

Come on dice roller, show that damn dwarf up.

Bardic Knowledge; Knowledge (arcana); Knowledge (history); Knowledge (local); Knowledge (religion)

I rolled 1d20+15, the result is 19, 15 = 34.
I rolled 1d20+12, the result is 5, 12 = 17.
I rolled 1d20+7, the result is 5, 7 = 12.
I rolled 1d20+3, the result is 10, 3 = 13.
I rolled 1d20+3, the result is 18, 3 = 21.
Darker

Screw you dice roller.

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

We're not great at this part of the game but that's what Evocation spells are for.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

MinusInnocence wrote:
Oskav has many questions about the megaliths and tries to recall anything he may have learned previously that would inform a theory about what they are, where they came from and how they were erected (giggity). Craft (stonemasonry) and Knowledge (architecture & engineering) for the logistics of what they're made of, how they were carved and transported, what it would have taken to set them in place, etc;
Just from looking at them, Oskav can tell that these stones definitely are not just hunks of rock that someone found lying around and dragged into place. They're some kind of igneous rock, probably basalt or dolerite or something of that nature. He'd have to get closer and examine them in detail to satisfy himself as to the exactly variety of rock, but suffice it to say that this is not easy stuff to work with. Nevertheless, he's sure that they were quarried and then shaped to give them reasonably straight edges and square faces. They've weathered since then, which is indicative of extremely great age. For the same reasons that this general type of stone is hard to work, it's also extremely durable. His professional opinion is that these things are tens of thousands of years old.

This general kind of stone doesn't belong anywhere near here; the Desertwall range is composed mostly of limestone and other soft, porous material. Oskav is more used to seeing this general sort of rock in the area near Merethrone. Its exceeding density and hardness is one of the reasons why his kinsmen don't live in extensive tunnels under the mountains, choosing instead to build masonry structures on the surface. The Great Delving that connects Merethrone and Riverguard is noteworthy because of the colossal expense involved in cutting a long tunnel through this general sort of rock. Oskav knows perfectly well that the Delving was accomplished by transmuting millions of tons of stone into clay to facilitate excavation. These megaliths look like they were quarried using tools.

Quote:
Knowledge (arcana) and (religion) for WHY someone would do such a thing;
There are all sorts of reasons that COULD make sense. Oskav wouldn't be surprised if these stones are orientated to reflect some astrological conjunction—scratch that; he'd be surprised if there is not some astrological significance to the overall concatenation of stones. There's probably a certain star or planet, or possibly several stars and planets, that position themselves in a specific configuration with reference to these rocks on a date that may come every year, or only once every century or millennium.

Because Oskav doesn't know who built this site, he doesn't know anything about the users' lifespans, and therefore he can't really make an educated guess about how often the stars are right for it to be used. An elf can live for a thousand years or so, which means that a timescale of once every century or two would be plausible. Halflings only live about 200 years, max. And in yet another example, dragons are capable of living for spans of well over 1,200 years—Oskav suspects that true dragons may actually be immortal, at least in terms of theoretical maximum lifespan (obviously, they can be killed by mishap or hostile action, but he's not sure he's ever heard of a dragon dying of old age). Some giants can live a really long time, too.

And all of this is just assuming that these megaliths were erected by a mortal race that still exists, and not by something that is extinct, or some kind of immortal creature like a celestial, fiend, or what have you.

As to the general purpose of this structure, Oskav thinks that its timekeeping function probably is meant to track the most favorable dates for the builders to perform some kind of ritual. Most commonly, he'd expect that these would be orientated toward divination or conjuration of some kind. But he guesses that some kind of fertility rite might involve transmutation instead.

He's pretty sure that despite the rock being strikingly similar to the stuff he's used to from home, this wasn't built by dwarves. A lunar cycle is 30 days, and lunar movements account for a lot of practical considerations like lycanthrope behavior, nighttime visibility, tides, etc. So it's no surprise that dwarves use a lunar calendar for their own purposes. But the worship of the Stone Lords doesn't really take note of astrological phenomena.

It's also entirely possible that this thing is meant for some cockamamie druidic or shamanic activity. Maybe it's a calendar to keep track of when the next orgy happens with the faeries, or something.

Quote:
Knowledge (local) for any rumors or legends people around here might have about them.
Bubkes.

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

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Darker wrote:
Bardic Knowledge;
Alannah has read literally a couple hundred different epics, poems, songs, insane rants, etc. having to do with this general kind of megalithic structure. Her favorite is a patently insane theory that gnomes raised all of these things in order to ward off some kind of menace from beyond the stars. Supposedly they make the world invisible, but only if innocent human infants are sacrificed at the heart of the stone circle at dawn on every 144th winter solstice. Obvious nonsense, of course.
Quote:
Knowledge (religion)
Alannah's drawing a blank. She's aware of plenty of astrological/religious interplay in the worship of various members of the Celestial Court, and for that matter there are several deities, in the pantheon worshiped by the elves of the Tallwood, whose rituals are situated in terms of astrological events. But she's not aware of anything that would link the elves to something like this structure, and the Celestial Court was unknown here until after the Aureshan colonization. These standing stones are much older than that part of history.

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

Darker

Would Alannah's single rank in Profession (astrologer) come in helpful here?

I rolled 1d20+1, the result is 16, 1 = 17.

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