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The Southern Temple (Gothic Quest)

Discussion in 'Questing and Roleplay' started by Gaemnomut, Sep 10, 2017.

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  1. mrttao

    mrttao Connoisseur.

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    [x][Harpies] Find the injured Firelizard.
    [x][Hazred] Share your secret with Razul.
    [x][MINE] 4

    Injured firelizard is time sensitive. so find them.

    Razul will be very useful for our 3 monster hunting expeditions, reducing their DC a lot. He also helps a lot in enslaving the bandits (but only if we share the secret, otherwise he is strictly worse than bringing over the zombies, which are not enough). The bandits which would be a good source of both gold and slaves to boost our growth rate so I want to hit them soon. This is something we put off for a while now.

    No money to start another project. so put them all in the mine for now.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  2. DrStrangeLove

    DrStrangeLove Versed in the lewd.

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    [x][Harpies] Find the injured Firelizard.
    [x][Hazred] Share your secret with Razul.
    [x][MINE] 4

    I'm down. Lets go for it.
     
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  3. Gaemnomut

    Gaemnomut Experienced.

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    Damn it, this is what happens when you start editing on your phone. Thanks for pointing it out.
    I also just noticed that it added a bunch of random font size and alignment changes as well. Weird.
    Anyway, the formatting should be fine now.

    Good idea, I didn't think of that. Vote option added.

    One important thing I want to point out is that you are limited to 10 slaves at the moment. You just aren't equipped to securely hold any more than that. You'll need to upgrade the living quarters to be able to have more than that number.
     
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  4. mrttao

    mrttao Connoisseur.

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    Oh right, that. hmm... I am hoping this turn will give us enough money to start work on the living quarters then. Have the slaves start on them next turn (if we get enough money this turn) and then work with razul on hunting beasts until it's done. then once the quarters are done finally go out and take out the bandit camp.

    This also puts a damper on my idea of going after the ship for slaves
     
  5. DrStrangeLove

    DrStrangeLove Versed in the lewd.

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    Huh. We can do mental influence magic, right? Is it possible to do long term conditioning, by repeatedly casting a short term effect on someone, then putting them through a situation that emphasizes it? Say, cast a bravery enchantment, then put someone through a bravery testing experience, having them pass their bravery checks with the bonus from the bravery enchantment, and thereby grow braver? It sounds like it would be difficult to do, but not impossible. :/
     
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  6. TooCowardlyForRealNick

    TooCowardlyForRealNick Not too sore, are you?

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    [x][Harpies] Find the injured Firelizard.
    [x][Hazred] Share your secret with Razul.
    [x][MINE] 4
     
  7. Gaemnomut

    Gaemnomut Experienced.

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    Well, yes and no. While I don't want this to end up as a mind control quest I won't stop you from being creative with what you have. You can (or will be able to) cast some mind affecting spells like a fear spell and the spell to destroy memories, but it would be impractical to condition anyone with them. Afaik, it's better to use positive emotions for that and the power of the god of death and destruction doesn't really lend itself to that. You could use fear to condition people but casting magic usually isn't subtle and since each casting costs mana (=it tires you out mentally) it would probably be more efficient to just hit them with a stick.

    Interestingly, in universe the ability to dominate minds lies actually more in Innos' domain. The word of law shapes society, and thus holds sway over people's thoughts. The firemages don't advertise it, and most of them aren't powerful enough to wield that kind of magic properly anyway, but they do use it. I hinted a bit at that in the 'followers of innos' lore piece. There is even a canon spell called 'word of dominon' that's exclusive to the highest followers of Innos' and instantly takes total control over any npc.

    On a relates note, I base most of the stuff you can, or will be able to do on the games. Almost everything you have done so far is actually possible in at least one of the games with only a few things being embellished (Mage sight doesn't exist for example). Right now Hazred is still a noob compared to most well trained mages so he only gets access to the lowest tier of spells unless he uses Beliar's power, but that will change as you progress through temple levels and raise your personal power.

    When I designed the quest I thought I'd keep things as simple as possible, so instead of individual spells/abilities I just used personal power as a stat. If you're interested though I can type up a list of spells when I get home from my trip. Maybe I'll even do an extra long lore piece on the workings of magic in general.

    tl,dr: You could theoretically do it, but your time is best spent elswhere.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2018
  8. Gaemnomut

    Gaemnomut Experienced.

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    I'm now back home again from my trip so I can finally start writing the next chapter. That means the vote is closed, talking to Razul and scouting out the injured firelizard won.
     
  9. Threadmarks: Chapter 14: Prayers in the dark
    Gaemnomut

    Gaemnomut Experienced.

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    By the power vested in me as OP and the dread art of necromancy I raise this thread once more from the depths of Beliar’s realm. Rise and be reborn!
    Uhhh, *ahem*, I mean, yeah, I’m back :) Had to deal with some stuff that took way longer than I expected it to. Anyway, enjoy:

    [3][Hazred] Share your secret with Razul.
    [3][Harpies] Find the injured firelizard. (DC: 14)
    [3][MINE] 4

    Hazred roll: [1+2+1+3]+5-3 = 9
    AN: Due to the fact that sharing your secrets with Razul exposes Hazred personally (which goes against his philosophy of striving for personal gain) you get a small malus to the action (the ‘-3’).

    Harpy roll: [4+5]+10 = 19 → Success
    Gold mining: [2+2+2+2] = 8 → 40 gold

    +10 Gold (normal income from the Sahelim businesses)
    +40 Gold (gold mine)




    Gold, gold, gold

    The lure of gold drives the slaves forward, none of them have ever seen so much of it. Even though they know they won’t keep it there is a small spark of greed that urges them to mine ever more of the precious metal from the stone. As the days pass your riches swell and soon you are back to the 100 gold you started out with. With that pleasant thought in mind you make your way out of the Svengali to talk to Razul. You’ve pushed this up for far too long already.

    Your continued efforts to mine gold have paid off well! (+40 gold)

    Before you head out you pack an old scroll you acquired a few months ago. It’s an essay on the use of magic you bought from the black market. Written by an old firemage from Myrtana it’s at the same time startlingly insightful and also exasperating to see how narrow minded and dogmatic the priest of Innos can be. You’ve been rereading it to brush up on some of the more obscure points of magical theory, and since you’ll stop a few times along the way to rest it will be good to have some reading material.

    AN: As promised, here is an introduction into how magic works in my version of the gothicverse. Once again, spoilers marked with (*) contain only optional lore. So read if you are interested, skip it if you aren’t. There is a tl;dr below.

    “...magic is at the same time one of the simplest and most complicated concepts any man can delve into. At its core the subject can be distilled into one sentence: Magic is the art of understanding how the essence of the gods flows through the cosmos and using it to exert our will on the world.
    However, actually doing this requires a lifetime of study, and few have the mental fortitude to actually comprehend and what they learn and use it properly. This is why we have created the spellscrolls and runestones. With their help mages can cast magic quicker and easier than ever before, leaving more time to study other subjects.


    Runes

    To explain how runes work one has to first understand how a spell is cast without them. To cast a spell a mage needs the right invocation, which can be any combination of words, movements, rituals, or runes. These channel their will, making it easier to concentrate on shaping the magic they summon. Then the mage must draw upon the essence of the god who’s power they wish to shape into a spell. Each god’s power and will lends itself to different uses. To summon fire or to heal the injured we beg our lord Innos for his favour, to wield the spells of ice and exert power over nature the watermages call on Adanos, and the black mages draw upon Beliar’s foul magic to twist the dead into unholy servants and to spread the breath of death. Once the appropriate god’s power is summoned to enable it, and the invocation has been spoken to shape it, the mage needs to call on their own magical reserves, their mana, to give it life. Thus the spell is complete and will take hold to reform the world according to the caster’s wishes.

    One has to take great care though. It takes years of study to comprehend the magical underpinnings of the world enough to use magic freely. There are a lot of factors that need to be taken into account, all which influence the invocation and will needed to produce the intended effect. Most mages will learn to cast simple spells like this, but anything more complex is a dangerous undertaking. There are numerous grim tales of spell casters who did not understand what they were meddling with and overreached. Even miniscule errors in the invocation could have disastrous consequences, and many of these poor fools did not live to tell the tales of their failures. This is another reason why runes are used to cast anything more complex than spells of the first circle.

    A rune is a stone made from magical ore. Creating the runestone is a delicate process that is extremely easy to get wrong. This makes unmarked runestones into a rare and valuable commodity. Once the runestone is complete, the mage performs a ritual in which they engrave upon it the runes of power that shape the spell. These inscriptions are predetermined and only need to be copied onto the stone from the books we store in our libraries. Only those who have spent decades studying the necessary aspects capable of creating new sets of runic inscriptions, for these inscriptions need to contain the invocations needed to make sure the spell works correctly anywhere, at any time. So while the average mage must only copy the symbols onto the stone during the ritual, the creation of each one of the runic inscriptions themselves are some of the proudest achievements of the the greatest minds of the circle of fire. For obvious reasons these runes are closely guarded secrets of the church. The watermages of the nomadic tribes also jealously guard the secrets of the runes they carve onto their own runestones, just like the black mages of old did when the temples of Beliar where still active.

    When the ritual is finished and the rune is complete, the mage must only touch it and provide the mana necessary, and the predefined invocation shapes the spell. This method of spell casting allows even those who do not yet fully understand the magic they are using to cast spells, and eliminates the potential for possibly lethal mistakes almost entirely. Creating and using a rune still takes a certain measure of knowledge, but far less than working magic without one. Of course, for all it’s benefits it is also far less flexible than doing the invocation by yourself. Channelling your mana through the runestone will produce the same effect every time, and nothing else. Theoretically a mage who knew what they were doing would be able to alter their spells on the fly to fit the current situation. Unfortunately most of the old lore is now lost, and there are few who are wise enough to even attempt doing this with any form of the higher magic. It is said that the civilization of those we now know as the old people, who’s ruins are found throughout Myrtana and Varant, was home to mages who had such a great understanding of magic that they worked entirely without runes, but the cataclysm that wiped out their people also destroyed most of their knowledge.


    Spellscrolls

    There is another way for the uninitiated to use magic. Spellscrolls work on the same principle as runes, but are even simpler to use, although just as hard to make. Instead of inscribing the runic symbols onto a stone made from magical ore, they are written on specially treated paper. The paper itself is magical and is infused with a certain amount of mana. This means that even less magical energy is required to cast the spell, as the power in the paper is used to fuel it. Furthermore, since a scroll of paper is far larger than a rune could ever be while still being practical, it can be inscribe with far more clauses and channelling symbols. These are used to eliminate what little remains of the malleability of the spell that would be inscribed in a rune. While a runes effect can be slightly twisted if the caster is capable enough, a spellscroll will truly only do one thing, nothing more, and nothing less.

    All this means that even a layman can use a scroll without fear of turning himself into a toad or accidentally incinerating himself. The mana in the scroll helps power the spell, and the additional runes mean that only the so called activation cost has to be paid to cast the spell. This activation cost is, of course, the mana needed to fully power the it. Regrettably nobody has yet found a way to make these spellscrolls last. They are destroyed when used, the magic flowing through it consumes the fragile paper in an instant, making sue that each scroll can only be cast once. Still, the fact that they allow non mages to use magic, or untrained mages to use higher forms of magic than they could if they were only using runes makes spellscrolls extremely potent tools. This, combined with the high costs of creating the mana infused paper and the arduous task of inscribing them ensures that each scroll is highly valuable.

    Some mages have also used spellscrolls to create entirely new kinds of spells that would not work with runes. The extra space that allows for more complex inscriptions makes interesting effects possible. Transformation spells and certain teleport spells for example are only found on scrolls.

    Interestingly, spellscrolls don’t actually need to be read to be used. It is enough to infuse them with enough mana to cover the activation cost. This means that some mages have begun to sell scrolls to the general public. The sold scrolls are specially prepared so that the runes inscribed upon them remain a secret. These security measures range from magical booby-traps that curse those who read them to sealing the scroll in lead. A particularly enterprising magical scholar called even figured out a set of symbols that would only work if it was written by himself. Unfortunately his genius failed to consider the flood of counterfeit scrolls that emerged soon after he began to sell them, which made his own work almost entirely worthless as nobody would by his scrolls for fear of them being fakes.


    Paladin runes

    The paladins that serve our lord Innos as the defenders of his church are noble heroes, and are thus granted the power of magic. These paladin runes are specially created by the mages of the circle and let them cast certain spells. As champions of our faith it is only fitting that their spells focus the holy light of our lord and help them spread his peace and uphold his laws in our world. This also gives their order, the Order of Light, its name.

    They all have in common that they are even more inflexible than most runes the mages use. Most paladins would not have the understanding of magical theory to use such runes to their full potential anyway, and in turn the paladin runes are more efficient and need less mana to be used. They fall into two categories. Those that heal their user, and those that shape the light of Innos into a weapon to burn away all those that have been touched by Beliar’s tainting influence.

    The more a knight proves his worth, the higher they will rise through the ranks of the order and the more powerful the runes that are granted them. Only those that show that they can handle the powerful magic of the highest paladin runes are given access to them, and although these mighty warriors are few and far between, each one of them has carved his name into the history books with legendary deeds.


    Side effects of magic use

    What many of the uninitiated fail to understand is that the magic that we mages draw on is the essence and will of the gods themselves. Using it does not leave you unmarked. The more often you call upon a gods power, and the more powerful the spells you cast, the more influence that god has on your mind and soul. The high priests of our church are revered not only for their wisdom and tireless devotion to Innos, but also because they share the greatest connection to our lord. A lifetime of drawing on his essence binds their soul to his light, making them shining beacons of hope to all those who follow the teachings of our lord.

    However, one must take care when experimenting with the various forms of magic. Tragically we have lost many mages who studied the enemy’s power too intently to the dark gods insidious influence. It takes considerable mental fortitude to withstand the subtly poison that Beliar spreads in the minds of those that delve into the art of black magic, and regularly cleansing one’s soul of his corruption is imperative for all who do so. Those who do not and have the wills of two gods warring in their soul often stray from the light and leave the church, or worse, go insane. Since the power of a fully trained mage in the hands of a madman poses such a grave threat the study of Beliar’s magic is strictly regulated.

    It is worthy of note that the bond experienced mages form with their god feeds itself in a way. The more tightly one is bound, the easier it is to draw upon the power of that god, and the harder it is to use other another god’s magic. This means the high priests of any particular faith can become immensely powerful, as the favour of their god lets them wield spells others could not dream of using, and their bond makes it easier to cast these spells. There are accounts of old high priests of the circle of fire calling down meteorites on their enemies, while old tales of the nomad tribes claim some watermages could conjure up terrifying storms.


    The circles of magic

    I swear by the powers of the gods
    I swear by the power of the eternal fire
    that my life and deeds shall be bound to the flame, from now on and forever more
    until my body goes on to Beliar’s realm, and the spark of life is extinguished.

    - The oath of fire

    I swear by the powers of the gods
    I swear by the strength of the holy water
    that my knowledge and deeds shall be bound to the water, from now on and forever more
    until I enter Beliar’s realm, and the wellspring of life dries out.

    - The oath of water

    I swear by the powers of the gods
    I swear by the majesty of the void
    that my power and deeds shall be the harbingers of death, from now on and forever more
    until Beliar calls me to his realm, and my spirit takes its place in it.

    - The oath of darkness

    Once a mage has sworn themselves to their chosen path they have entered the first circle. As they gain knowledge of the nature of the world and their place in it their wisdom grows, and their circle expands. Once they have proven themselves to be committed to their path they will be recognized as mages of the second circle. With each one they reach a mage will learn more about themselves, their god, and the magic they wield until they reach their zenith. Each circle also allows a mage access to new runes that let them cast more complex spells. There are six circles in total, but only a select few grow powerful and wise enough to be known as mages of the sixth circle. Just like the paladins that wield the highest tier of their magic, the works of the high mages of the sixth circle are often times glorious and terrible to behold. ....”


    - The Theory of Magic
    by Incendiarus, fire mage and researcher of theoretical magic at the monastery of Vengard


    AN: tl;dr:
    Casting magic can be dangerous because if you get it wrong you suffer for it and it gives the god who's power you draw on a foothold into your soul. Runes are specially made to simplify the process. They make it easier to cast magic, but since every rune only works for one specific spell relying them makes you less flexible. Spellscrolls are the same as runes, with the exception that almost everyone can use them, they disintigrate after a single use, and they sometimes have effects that runes can't have.
    Currently, runes and scrolls are the only known way to cast higher level magic, as most of the knowledge necessary for doing it "freestyle" has been lost.
    Paladins use runes as well to cast magic, but they are even less versatile than the runes mages use and the don't make them themselves. Instead the church make the runes for them, and grants them to the knights and paladins who prove themselves worthy.
    The circles of magic are an indicator for how powerful a mage is. Every mage is introduced into the first circle of magic when they swear the oath of magic, and as they grow more experienced they're granted the title of mage of the second circle and so on. Only the very strongest and wisest of high mages reach the sixth, and final circle.

    - - -​


    Fire and Blood

    The harpy circled around the lake again, despairing at failing her masters orders. She and her sisters had been sent out to find a firelizard that was supposed to be badly injured, but had yet to locate the creature despite already spending half the day searching the beaches. There were groups of giant lizards all along the shore, lazing around in the sun and bathing in the shallows. Some of the groups contained firelizards, some didn’t, some counted up to twenty of the large reptiles, some had as few as three, but none of them contained a firelizard that was badly injured.

    To be honest, the harpy was a bit confused. The master made little sense. Some of his orders were perfectly reasonable. Why wouldn’t one want to know about everything around one’s nest? Why wouldn’t one want to know about where to find tasty humans to eat. Of course she and her sisters would never dare to attack so many at once, but master was strong so he could probably do it. But then he sent them out to find an orc. Everybody knows hunting those is stupid. Much to chewy, and too hard to kill. Easier to just hunt deer, or rabbits, or squishy, scrumptious fish. In the end they’d found the dying orc, and instead of eating him master had brought him into his nest. Why ever would he do that? And now he was sending them out to find another wounded creature, did he intend to adopt the firelizard as well? She snickered to herself, he would soon find out that that would end badly. But master’s wishes were her command, who was she to stop the enslaver from running into his doom. She couldn’t bear the thought of disobeying her master, but mother had made it clear that he was not to be trusted either.

    She snaps out of her ruminations when she sees a firelizard rear up on its hind legs in front of her. She’s flying much to low! The sailed back glows for a moment with the deep charcoal red of dying embers and from it’s gaping maw a plume of fire erupts into her path. She shrieks in surprise and frantically dodges to the right, barely evading the blast. A wave of hot air rolls over her and she can feel the hair on the left side of her body curl in the heat. She frantically pumps her wings to gain some hight, the tip of her left wing aching with every beat. That was too close, far too close. As she ascends into safer heights she curses herself for getting distracted and calls her sisters to her. Scouring the lakeside any more won’t get them anywhere, the lizard they seek clearly isn’t here. They decide to split up to search the surrounding area. While her sisters fly west, north, and east, she flies further south, following the river downstream.

    The perpetual winds carry her easily, and the ache in her wing slowly subsides, the only reminder of her near death that remains are the slightly singed feathers on her left wing. She enjoys the flight and revels in the warmth of the afternoon sun. The Naragost already carried a slight chill with it, and she can sense that it would not be long before the last days of summer would be over. Careful not to get lost in thought again the harpy carefully watches the meanders of the river below her for signs of her quarry. The dense vegetation of the swamp would probably be to constricting for such a large reptile, and the river houses less dangerous beasts than the lake so it would be a perfect place for the injured lizard to retreat and lick its wounds. Perhaps a younger, healthier male had forced it out of their group, firelizards were notoriously aggressive after all, or it had simply crept south for some peace and quiet.

    Lying on one of the large flat rocks that litter the riverbank she spots the charred carcase of a deer. Its side is horrifically burnt, it’s been ripped open, and chunks of flesh have been torn out. About a hundred meters further downstream she finds the killer, a huge firelizard resting in the slow moving, shallow waters. There is a deep gash in in its sail, the red leather of the huge fan on its back hanging away in strips and crusted over with dried blood. The gash continues further down along its flank and even along its left foreleg. As she watches it move it is clear that it’s not doing well. The injured leg isn’t working correctly, more dragging than stepping, and all it’s movements are slow and careful. Whoever had struck it had dealt it a truly terrifying blow, and probably a mortal wound. The harpy reckons that it still has some fight in it, she can see that the reptile clings to life stubbornly and would probably do so for another two or three weeks at least, but there was no doubt about it. This creature’s days are numbered. It had to be the one she was looking for. Finally.

    You’ve found the place the injured firelizard has retreated to. Hunting this one will be far easier than going after one of the healthy ones. (DC of the “hunt the firelizard” option reduced by 7)

    . . . . .​

    Now that she has already flown so far south she decides to take a look at the big ship her sister told her about. Careful to fly high enough to be out of reach of any bowmen she surveys the campsite. The sailors have made good progress with repairing the ship. They have cut down one of the larger trees to construct a new mast to replace the broken one, some of the holes in the hull are already fixed. They have also fortified their campsite with a rough palisade to keep out the wild beasts that roam the river delta. A large fire is burning in the middle of the campsite and a wild boar is roasting on a spit. No wonder they felt the need to construct a palisade. She can smell the sizzling meat from all the way up here, so surely all the other predators in the delta can do so as well. At night the area around their camp must be crawling with whatever horrors the swamp spits out.

    She circles over the camp for a while, taking in the sights and the smells. It’s unusual to see so many humans in the Svengali, and the young harpy is fascinated. Something is off though. There is a tense stand off in the camp. Two groups have gathered, and an animated argument is going on. Tempers are flaring and shouts ring out until suddenly the leader of the larger group draws his sabre and attacks the leader of the smaller one. An all out brawl ensues. The smaller group, six men dressed in fine garments are quickly surrounded by the mob. They hold their own well for a while, but are overwhelmed eventually.

    The harpy does not stay much longer, for with the temporary distraction out of play people have begun to notice her. She does not want to risk an arrow hitting her, even as high up as she is a lucky shot might still be her death. She turns around and lets the winds carry her north again.

    - - -​


    When the prey strikes back

    The female lurker follows the scent trail further. She and her two sons had gorged themselves on the goblin remains they had found splattered across the ground outside a cave, but for her growing sons there never was enough food. They were almost as big as her now, their hides thick and leathery, claws long and sharp, and the spikes on their back had started to turn green like those of a mature lurker. The taste of fresh goblin blood still fresh on her tongue she creeps through the trees of the valley forest. Her nose is not built to track by scent, but here it is thick and pungent, and thus easy to follow. There will be more to feast on soon.

    She was lucky to be the first to find the torn apart goblin corpses. Whatever beast had killed them had not eaten them, leaving an easy meal for her and her sons. She knows that the Svengali is full of scavengers though, and has thus taken care to hide the trail as well as she could. She does not want anybody to snatch her prey away from her.

    The trail leads north, and up the western side of the valley until the three beasts reach a tunnel. She hesitates for a moment, Lurkers do not like enclosed spaces, but the smell of goblin blood is overpowering and her sons are hungry. Carefully she leads them down into the mountain. Further and further they go, and with every step she senses that her prey is getting closer.

    The tunnel opens up into a cave, and there they are. Two goblins, shuffling about. Something is strange though. They smell off, like meat that has already been dead for some time, and their chattering calls sound strangely hollow in her ears. Before she can retreat to watch from afar her sons have already rushed forward. They are young still, and the smell of their favourite prey drives them wild. Before they even go close to the goblins though something stirred in the darkness of the cave. From the far corners there emerged stinking, shambling things that smelled of death and decay just as the goblins did. They roared with manic, wheezing voices, and fell upon her sons. In desperation she joined the fray to save them.

    Temple defences (Zombies and two reanimated goblins) vs. 3 Lurkers (6 vs. 3d3)
    [3+1+1] = 5 → Success (barely)

    AN:Lurkers love to eat goblins, and will abandon any other prey when they have a chance to catch one. The leftovers of your experiments lured them out from the swamp, and since you were splashed with goblin blood when your magic tore the bodies apart they could follow your trail to the temple.

    It was for nought. These things did not flinch when hurt, and even grievous wounds barely slowed them. The angry growls of the lurkers turned into pitiful whimpering as they were torn apart, and one by one, they died.

    When you return to the temple you find their corpses lying in a pool of blood. The undead used the rusty old swords you found for them to hack them apart, and fleshy chunks litter the floor. The one zombie that was the slave that had been killed by lurkers seemed to have been particularly vicious, as he was completely covered with dried blood. He even left bloody footprints on the cavern floor before it dried. You briefly consider skinning the lurkers and selling the leather for gold, bot their hides are so damaged that nobody would pay for them. Some of their claws are still intact though, and you break them off to sell to a trophy merchant the next time you are in Silmorkal.

    The undead have taken a few more wounds, the claws and teeth of the lurker leaving numerous gashes in their flesh. They seem unbothered by it though, and so you pay it no mind. It is good to see your undead soldiers are tough and durable. Unfortunately lurker meat isn’t good to eat, so you just tell the slaves to clear out the cave so it doesn’t rot.

    Your undead defended the temple successfully from lurkers, and selling the claws you gathered will make you a small amount of gold. (+15 gold)

    - - -​


    Milosh’s perspective

    It had been a week since the black mage had allowed the slaves to see the sun. Milosh was accustomed to spending days at a time deep underground, he had been a miner after all, but even he was getting sick of only seeing the walls of the tunnel and the dim light of the torches. He missed the open sky above him, the snow of his homeland, and the crisp, cold air of the mountain peaks. The oppressive atmosphere of the temple had worn down the slaves. Even Ben who had talked so much at the beginning barely interacted with anyone any more. Sullen stares and despondent mumblings were all that Milosh got most of the time. Tempers were short, and with no end in sight everything felt hopelessness, helpless, pointless. The clan had kept him safe, the church had kept him safe, but what use was clan and church here? Here in the dark he was all alone with is fellow slaves. Helpless and shivering at the gateway to Beliar’s realm. Here, deep in the darkness Milosh could feel Beliar’s cold touch on his soul, creeping fingers of malice and despair that held him in a crushing grip.

    Mining was a monotonous task, once you were in a rhythm your body mostly did the work by itself, leaving your mind to go in endless agonizing circles. Again and again Milosh tried to think of plans to escape, again and again he discarded all his idea. Pointless, helpless, hopeless.
    He had prayed to Innos for freedom every night, but it seemed that they were so deep in Beliar’s domain that not even the bright lord could reach them. He had hoped for weeks that the paladins on the island would find this place and tear it down, but nothing had happened. It seemed like he would have to find a way out of this himself. At night he dreamed of being strong enough to destroy the zombies, fantasised about killing the black mage and repaying him for bringing them all to this cursed temple. Still, all those dreams lead nowhere. He was weak, and posed no threat at all to the mage and his undead servants.

    Milosh paused to catch his breath, resting his protesting muscles for a moment. Careful not to rest too long lest he draw the attention of the zombies he sighed, and with a silent prayer for strength hefted his pickaxe again. He lifted it high over his head and brought it down on the rock in front of him, breaking off a shard of rock. As he picked it up to throw it on the pile of rubble behind him Milosh noticed that it had an unusual shape. Long and thin, with a sharp edge that tapered off into a vicious point...
    Looking around to make sure the zombies’ malevolent gaze was momentarily directed elsewhere he quickly pocketed the shard and went back to work. For the first time in weeks he felt a slight smile tug on his lips. Now he had a weapon. Perhaps he was not quite so helpless after all.

    - - -​


    AN: In the conversation between Hazred and Razul I coloured Hazred’s parts dark grey so it would be easier to make out who says what. I’ve been informed that this makes the text invisible with some backgrounds, so if it looks like half of the talk is missing, just highlight the text to see it.

    Rum and Philosophy

    The fire in Razul’s fireplace flickers and dances. Apart from a few candles placed on the table it is the only light source in his small hut, which means Razul and you are sitting in near complete darkness. Between the two of you there is a half empty bottle of Rum and two small mugs. When you had knocked on his door the hunter had invited you inside to eat and drink, bringing out a new bottle of fine Rum he had bought with the gold of the shadow beast fur. Ever since then you have been sitting and drinking, talking about your trip into the swamp and many other things. It’s nice, but you feel distinctly uncomfortable. The whole point of your quest to restore the temple was to gain power for yourself, and now your about to expose yourself to an outsider who might spill all your secrets to the paladins. If Razul talks, all your hard work, all your years and years of secret machinations will be lost. Once you are outed as a Beliar worshipper the king’s troops will hunt you down. Even worse, Razul knows the location of the temple and could lead them there, so you wouldn’t even have a safe refuge there. Still, despite your misgivings you can’t deny that having Razul fully on your side would be extremely useful. You’ve subtly tried to feel out Razul’s stance on Beliar worshippers but haven’t really gotten any concrete answers. With nothing to go on you hesitate to commit, and just let the conversation flow in the hope that you’ll find an appropriate way to broach the topic soon.

    Meanwhile Razul doesn’t seem to notice your discomfort, or is simply mistaking it for the first signs of the alcohol the two of you have been drinking. He takes another sip of the rum, grins, and asks: “So, how do you like the rum?”
    “It’s good, I like the bittersweet taste of it. It must have been expensive.”
    “Yes it was, it cost me a pretty penny, but it’s not every day that I have a shadowbeast fur to sell, so I thought I’d treat myself.”
    “Well, it was worth every piece of gold you payed for it. If you don’t mind me asking, who did you sell the fur to?”
    “Ahh, Ras al Sahelim, I am sorry but I can not tell you that.”
    “Why?”
    “Well, the buyer would like to remain anonymous.”
    “Is that so?”
    ”Yes, you see, ...when I sold the fur neither he nor I paid the tariff for trading luxury items.”
    “Ah, so you avoided the king’s tax collectors. I was curious about how you got such a good price for the fur, I guess now I know.”
    “Yes, now you know, Ras al Sahelim. I’m also sure you know the importance of keeping quiet about such things, yes?”
    “Of course, of course. You have nothing to fear. A plague I say, a plague on the king and his taxes. What right does he have to rob us of our hard earned coin? It’s for our protection they say. To pay the soldiers that defend us. But where are the king’s men when the pirates take our boats? Where are the paladins when bandits raid the villages and hold up our caravans. All they do is sit in their damn castle and lord over us. I cannot bear it.”
    You stumble a bit over your words, painfully aware of how awkward you sound with this slightly forced change of topic. Luckily Razul seems to be too drunk to care. He just seems relieved that you aren’t appalled at him breaking the law like that: “Yes, my father’s father told me about times when Zarava was free of their yoke. What a time it must have been.”
    “A glorious time. A time when we were free. What a shame that we were not strong enough to remain free. My uncle taught me that strength is what matters. If I want to protect what I care about I need to be strong. If I want to live free I need to be strong. If I want to fight my enemies I need to be strong. That is why I turned away from the church. How can I follow the law, when the king’s law is the very thing that keeps me weak and enslaved?”
    You hesitate for a moment. This is it, the moment of truth: “I worship Beliar now. Just a few years, and I’ve already become more powerful than I’d ever thought I’d be. I’ve seen the magic that is woven through the bedrock of the earth, and I’ve managed to make it my own.” You lift your hand while channelling a drop of mana through the runestone on your belt. A spark of electricity crackles around your fingers for a brief instant. As small as it is, the white blue glow illuminates the cabin in a whole new light. As it dies down you can see Razul staring wide eyed. You press onward: “You know that I went back to the temple, right? I took some slaves and we dug up the tunnel. Razul, I found it! I found the temple, and it’s just as glorious as I could have ever hoped. There is still power there, just walking in feels like you stand at the precipice to Beliar’s realm. It’s magnificent-”
    “Stop!” Razul cuts in, “I don’t want to hear any more. This is too much, I can agree with your dissatisfaction with the kings reign, but to fall in with Beliar? Ras al Sahelim, this will lead you to your doom.”
    You’re honestly a bit taken aback by his vehement statement. You try a different path, if he doesn’t want to do it for Beliar, that’s fine, you didn’t really expect him to, but perhaps he’ll join you for Zarava or for personal gain. He seemed pretty proud to have outmanoeuvred the king’s taxcolletors. “But don’t you see? This is a way that we can strike back! We can take what is ours, and live as a free nation again. Why sit around moaning about our fate when we can change it. And think about what we could gain if we succeed. We could rule-”
    “No! I want nothing to do with this! I disagree with the paladins because they came here and conquered us through violence! They’re endless war against the orcs is what’s driving us all to ruin! With Beliar whispering in your ear I have no doubt you want to start more violence, more war! I won’t be part of it.

    You saved my life twice which is a debt I’ll probably never be able to repay, but I can’t follow you into this. You have my word that I’ll never speak of this to anyone, but please, leave now.
    You’ll be welcome here to share a meal or a drink, just leave your thoughts of revolution at the door.”

    Beliar damn him. You briefly consider using your magic to cause him to forget the last day or so, but come to the conclusion that it would be too difficult. After this discussion he surely won’t let you cast magic on him freely, and the spell takes too long to take effect to surprise him with it. If you had a rune of the spell prepared you might be able to cast it faster, but alas, you don’t. Since it doesn’t work on unconscious targets you can’t even knock him out and cast it on him, not that you really want to risk a fight after drinking as much as you have. Shaking your head in disappointment you gather up your things and head outside to walk away.

    You walk for about five minutes before you turn around to look back at the home of one you might have called friend and consider your next actions. Alcohol and the bitter taste of failure feed your anger. How dare he admonish you for doing what’s necessary? All the weak people moan and complain but turn on anybody willing to step up for change. You knew this was a bad idea. Can you afford to trust him? If he talks your position as a noble is in peril. Not only that, if the paladins get wind of this, not even the temple will keep you safe from them. There is no way you are strong enough to defend it yet, and if Razul leads them there they’ll be on your doorstep before you have time to prepare.

    [ ] Go home, you’re drunk. Sleep it off. Razul might be right, your plans do include a decent amount of violence after all.
    You’ll go home, and trust that Razul will remain true to his word. Who knows, you might convince him yet, and even if you don’t he might prove useful in other ways.

    [ ] Go home, but call in a harpy to keep watch over the hunter.
    You’ll head home for now, but there is no way you’ll trust Razul now. Far better to have one of the harpies keep watch over him for the time being so that you’ll at least have some advance warning if he spills your secrets to the paladins. She might even be able to stop him before he reaches them. Splitting the flock will reduce their effectiveness a bit though.
    (-1d5 to the harpies’ power until you recall the spy)

    [ ] Go back and kill him. Do it now. He is too dangerous to be kept alive!
    This will not stand. You’ve heard enough of the ungrateful man. You save his life, and he won’t even let you explain properly? And now he expects you to trust him with your life? No, if he is so convinced that violence is in your future then you’ll start with him.
    (DC for killing him without problems is 12, If you fight him now you’ll get a 1d5 malus to your personal power due to being drunk though.)

    - - -​


    Gold: 116
    Favour: 13
    Slaves: 4
    Personal Power (Hazred): 4d5+5
    Personal Power (Harpies): 2d5+10


    You may also vote for one option from each spoiler.
    What are your plans for this turn?

    [ ][Hazred] Explore!
    You saw quite a bit of the valley surrounding the temple already, but you didn‘t have time to really look around. You‘ll explore the area around the temple.
    (No DC, but I will roll for your findings should you take this option.)

    [ ][Hazred] Deal with the bandits yourself.
    You will attack on your own, killing who you can and enslaving the rest.
    (DC with no further bonus: 33. You may choose as many bonuses as you want.)
    -[ ][Hazred] Bring the harpies along.
    You will have the harpies assist you from the skies, spying on their movements and distracting them when needed.
    (Reduces DC by 7, any harpy action will be cancelled for this turn)
    -[ ][Hazred] Ask Beliar for a favour.
    Time to test how well you can draw on Beliar‘s power while in the temple and prepare a fun surprise for the bandits before you engage them.
    (Reduces DC by 7, costs 3 favour)
    -[ ][Hazred] Ask Razul if he wants to go bandit hunting.
    Go to Razul and see how he likes the idea of getting some payback against the bandits.
    (Reduces DC by 7, cannot be taken with the others unless you have already shared your secrets with him and he agreed to help, costs 20 gold)
    -[ ][Hazred] Bring along some zombies.
    Among the uneducated and superstitious stories of black mages and their undead abominations are told to frighten children. You can show them that they were right to be afraid.
    (Reduces DC by 9)

    [ ][Hazred] Tip the archon‘s militia off to their location.
    The militia has been hunting the bandits for a while now, and they pay well for any hints as to their hiding places.
    (No DC, but you a better roll will allow you to negotiate a better reward. You will get 5 times your roll in gold.)

    [ ][Hazred] Spend some time with the harpies.
    There is a difference between servants who grudgingly obey your orders, and those loyal to you and your cause. The harpies might not be the smartest creatures, but there are always ways to build some rapport.​
    (DC: 14, Cost: 15 gold, cancels any harpy action picked for this turn)

    [ ][Hazred] Check out the damaged ship on the southern coast.
    The Naragost often drives ships against the rocks of the coast, perhaps that’s what happened to them. It’s rare that ships travel outside the bay of Mara Shedim at this time of year, but winter will be here soon, maybe they got impatient and thought they could manage. Whatever happened, it might be interesting to take a look.

    [ ] Hunt the creatures needed for the Ulu-Mulu!
    Each expedition will trigger another two part update. In the first you’ll look for the creature, assess your options and formulate a plan of attack, in the second the battle will play out. Depending on how well you prepared you will have the opportunity to lower the DC by voting accordingly during the planing phase. Should you find that you are not prepared enough you will also have the opportunity to back out, and try again later.
    -[ ] Kill a swamp shark!
    The whole swamp is infested with them, so finding one wont be a problem. Killing one on the other hand…
    (DC: 25)
    -[ ] Hunt the injured fire lizard!
    Now that you know where you can find the wounded firelizard you have your work cut out for you. All you have to do is go there and kill it. That can’t be too hard, right?
    (DC: 25)
    -[ ] Slay the troll of the plateau!
    Well at least you don’t need dragon scales for the bloody thing…
    You’ll venture to the plateau and just walk north until you find the troll. They’re not easy to miss, you’ll find it eventually. What you’ll do once you’ve found it though… Meh, you’ll think of something.
    (DC: 40)
    [ ] Instead of hunting for the trophies, you could see if you can find someone in Silmorkal willing to sell them to you.
    -[ ] Buy a bag of swampshark teeth.

    (DC: 11, Cost: (55-personal power roll) gold)
    -[ ] Buy a fire lizard’s tongue.
    (DC: 12, Cost: (95-personal power roll) gold)
    -[ ] Buy troll tusks.
    (DC: 13, Cost: (135-personal power roll) gold)

    [ ][Hazred] Go to Silmorkal to buy slaves.
    The more slaves you have, the faster the temple will be rebuilt.​
    (Cost per slave will be (35-personal power roll) gold. This might change after a while so that slaves don’t get ridiculously cheap as your personal power increases.)

    [ ][Hazred] Go through the old books at the temple to see if you can find information on the runes from the amulet you found in the goblin cave, or the creatures you need to hunt for the Ulu-Mulu.
    Judging by the magical signature it doesn’t seem like a very powerful magical artefact. Still, it might be useful, and you’re not going to just put it on and see what happens. As for creatures, it’s always good to know more about who or what you’re going to be fighting.​
    (DC: 10 to find information on the creatures and to reduce the DC of the hunting actions, 15 to find out about the runes.)
    -[ ][Hazred] Just try it on and see what happens in case you don’t manage to find out what the runes mean.
    What’s the worst that could happen?​
    (???)

    [ ][Hazred] write in!
    I‘ll reserve the right to veto anything that wouldn‘t work or would derail the quest.
    What will you have your harpies do?

    [ ][Harpies] Spy on Ivan‘s watch.
    The paladin Ivan and his knights guard the pass that connects the Svengali to the rest of the island. It would be nice to know what they are up to.
    (DC: 15)

    [ ][Harpies] Send them out to see if they can find a swampshark that might make an easy target.
    Better start easy. Even better if your harpies find a swampshark that’s alone, wounded, or an easy target for some other reason.
    (DC: 16)

    [ ][Harpies] Locate the troll on the plateau.
    Mor-Narog is sure there is one there somewhere, probably further north where the mountains start. Unless you want to buy the tusks or wait until it dies on it’s own, you’ll have to kill it eventually. And the first step towards that is finding it.
    (DC: 13)

    [ ][Harpies] write in!
    I‘ll reserve the right to veto anything that wouldn‘t work or would derail the quest.
    How many of your slaves should be sent to the gold mine?

    [ ][MINE] Write in.
    You may only sent ten slaves at a time into the mines. Once you reach temple level 2 and upgrade the gold mine, this cap will increase.
    Any slave not sent to the mine will work on restoring the temple.
    Which areas of the Temple should be restored/upgraded?

    [ ][TEMPLE] Beliar statue I (0/10 done)
    The statue is the focus of the temple‘s power and a true wonder crafted by the black mages of old. Restore the great Beliar statue in the main hall for a continuous trickle of favour as well as the ability to call in some other boons later down the line.
    (Costs: 70 Gold)

    [ ][TEMPLE] Living quarters I (0/10 done)
    In order to really grow the Temple's power you will need to have people living here full time. This first upgrade will allow you to securely (more or less) hold an unlimited number of slaves. Without it you are limited to 10. Additionally, future upgrades may only be unlocked after this has been done, since they rely on manpower to function.
    (Costs: 70 Gold)

    [ ][TEMPLE] Personal Chambers I (0/10 done)
    As the master of the temple it is only right for you to have proper chambers. Having a place away from the city and the prying eyes of the paladins will allow you to train in secret, growing your power.
    (Costs: 70 Gold)

    [ ][TEMPLE] Temple Defence I – Harpy Roost (0/10 done)
    You will have your slaves dig upwards from the tower you found until they reach the top of the cliffs and prepare a place there for the harpies to build a new nest by the temple.
    (Costs: 70 Gold)


    AN: So, I hope the chapter makes up for the wait. I’m looking forward to see what you’ll decide to do next. I’ve got some interesting things planned.
    Also, big thanks to DrStrangeLove who helped me a lot with the Razul conversation. Writing dialogue is not my strong side, and every time I try it I get a new level of respect for those who manage to do it well.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
  10. TooCowardlyForRealNick

    TooCowardlyForRealNick Not too sore, are you?

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    [X] Go home, you’re drunk. Sleep it off. Razul might be right, your plans do include a decent amount of violence after all.

    [X] Hunt the creatures needed for the Ulu-Mulu!
    -[X] Hunt the injured fire lizard!

    [X][Harpies] Send them out to see if they can find a swampshark that might make an easy target.

    [X][MINE] 0 Slaves working

    [X][TEMPLE] Beliar statue I (0/10 done)
     
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  11. Gaemnomut

    Gaemnomut Experienced.

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    Hmmm, one vote after more than 24 hours is ...slightly underwhelming. I've been thinking about having this thread moved to the NSFW section. Perhaps it'll get more traffic there.

    Anyway, the vote will remain open for a while longer, at least for another day.
     
  12. DrStrangeLove

    DrStrangeLove Versed in the lewd.

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    [X] Go home, you’re drunk. Sleep it off. Razul might be right, your plans do include a decent amount of violence after all.
    [X] Hunt the creatures needed for the Ulu-Mulu!
    -[X] Hunt the injured fire lizard!
    [X][Harpies] Send them out to see if they can find a swampshark that might make an easy target.
    [X][MINE] 0 Slaves working
    [X][TEMPLE] Beliar statue I (0/10 done)

    Hah, whoops. Sorry, I got distracted by other stuff. >_>
     
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  13. Aigloss

    Aigloss Versed in the lewd.

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    [X] Go home, you’re drunk. Sleep it off. Razul might be right, your plans do include a decent amount of violence after all.
    [X] Hunt the creatures needed for the Ulu-Mulu!
    -[X] Hunt the injured fire lizard!
    [X][Harpies] Send them out to see if they can find a swampshark that might make an easy target.
    [X][MINE] 0 Slaves working
    [X][TEMPLE] Beliar statue I (0/10 done)
     
  14. DrStrangeLove

    DrStrangeLove Versed in the lewd.

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    Hmm. Should we have a write in for slave management? Or is that cheating, as Al doesn't know about the dude with the rock. :/
     
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  15. TooCowardlyForRealNick

    TooCowardlyForRealNick Not too sore, are you?

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    QMs don't like OOC actions or reasoning. Besides, what can he do with the rock besides attacking the other slaves?
     
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  16. DrStrangeLove

    DrStrangeLove Versed in the lewd.

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    I was thinking more something like "try and intimidate the slaves into better behaviour, or bribe them, or whatever."
     
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  17. Gaemnomut

    Gaemnomut Experienced.

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    You could do that. A write-in action to that effect would give the slaves a small, short term boost to their productiveness. It might even let you discover the rock knife if you roll high enough. On the other hand it would also take a whole turn that you could be spending doing other stuff. It has its pros and cons.

    There will be options for more permanent solutions in the future. At the moment Hazred is pretty busy with other things and doesn't really have anybody he can delegate such tasks to. The undead, while very useful as guardians, are still lower undead and thus not all that smart or perceptive. Once you have more followers though you'll be able to have some of them watch the slaves and make sure they don't slack off.
     
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  18. mrttao

    mrttao Connoisseur.

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    Ouch, the most important roll failed hard. Tempted by all the options there
    Shouldn't he have a similar malus for also being drunk?
    So far, as far as we are aware IC, they are behaving just fine.
    that DC is surprisingly hard.
    We did share the secret and he didn't agree to help... does that mean this option is no longer possible?
     
  19. Gaemnomut

    Gaemnomut Experienced.

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    Why do you think the DC for fighting a skilled hunter in his own home who also knows you might be coming to silence him is only 12? ;-)

    Besides, if you pass the DC you kill him 'without problems'. If you fail you'll likely still kill him, but it won't go as smoothly. Depending on your roll you might get wounded and have a temporary malus to pp, or maybe you'll be seen and have to bribe or kill the witness. You'll have to roll really bad to fail to kill him.
    I should have written that differently, as it is it is somewhat misleading.

    As long as Razul lives there is a chance you can still convince him to help. Right now he won't do it, but who knows what the future will bring? Perhaps he will fall on hard times and you could tempt him with gold, maybe he has loved ones to threaten or secrets of his own you could blackmail him with, or maybe you'll find some other way to convince him your cause is a worthy one.
    Only death is final, and with Beliar on your side, maybe not even that holds true.
     
  20. Gaemnomut

    Gaemnomut Experienced.

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    Vote closes in 24 hours from now.

    Edit:
    Closed.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2018
  21. Threadmarks: Chapter 15: Hunting the Firelizard (part 1)
    Gaemnomut

    Gaemnomut Experienced.

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    AN: Unfortunately, after the last chapter I had a problem with my computer and lost a large chunk of files, among them everything I had ever written for this quest. Took me a while to get the motivation to write back again. Still, here I am, so I hope you're all still interested. I'm going to try to keep the chapters a bis shorter from now on, so I can stick to a more regular update schedule. We'll see how that works out.

    Also, since it’s been ages since the last update, here is a small recap of what happened so far:
    You went into the swamp to find the lost temple of Beliar. Razul the hunter joined you on your trip.
    You found the temple and brought slaves to the swamp to start to restore it.

    You also enslaved a nest of harpies, killed a shadowbeast, and confronted an orc warrior (Mor-Narog) that attacked you.

    By talking to the orc you convinced him to join you and learned that you need to construct an Ulu-Mulu, a proof of honour and strength, if you want the orcs to listen to you. For this you need some monster trophies, among them the tongue of a firelizard.

    Before you set out to hunt the firelizard you tried to also convince Razul to join you, but the old hunter refused after learning that you worship Beliar.

    Since this chapter is late as hell anyway I took the time to redo some of the previous chapters a bit. The story hasn’t changed at all, but I added some pics here and there, corrected some typos and other errors, and rewrote a few passages so they flow better.

    With all that said, back to the actual quest:
    [3] Go home, you’re drunk. Sleep it off. Razul might be right, your plans do include a decent amount of violence after all.
    [3] Hunt the creatures needed for the Ulu-Mulu!
    -[3] Hunt the injured fire lizard! (DC: 25)

    Hazred roll: [5+1+2+5]+5 = 18




    A spark of anger

    You stare at the door of the hunter‘s hut, indignant anger bubbling up inside you. How dare he deny you? You image yourself drawing on Beliar‘s power and unleashing a stream of lightning on the dry wood. In your mind‘s eye you can see tongues of flame licking at the old wood, consuming the house while the hunter who defied you fries inside.

    The crackle of electricity between the fingers of your outstretched hand pulls you back from your violent fantasy. You snap back your hand in shock, you hadn‘t even noticed yourself raising it, or how Beliar‘s power had uncoiled from your core and reached forward along your arm. Dangerous to lose focus like that. “Not today Beliar, not today” you mutter, “you’ll be denied his soul for a little while longer yet.”

    No, the hunter will live for now you decide, at the moment you are clearly not fit to make such impactful decisions. You turn around, briefly swaying as the alcohol in your blood makes the world turn on foreign axes. A growl of anger slips through your lips in annoyance, but you clamp down on the feeling and head back home. You always hated how alcohol made you vulnerable. Time to clear your head.

    Above you a harpy flies in watchful circles, guiding you back to the safety of the temple.

    - - -​


    Lessons from failure

    With the news of the injured firelizard being found you decide that the time for delaying is over. If you want to get in contact with the orcs the Ulu-Mulu is your best option, and for it you‘ll need that firelizard‘s tongue.

    Before you head out you take a moment to speak to Mor-Narog. The orc warrior faced the beast before, perhaps he can give you some useful information. He is lying on a straw mat in one of the unused chambers of the temple, half asleep. He slept through the last days, the orc‘s natural healing process slowly pulling him back from death‘s door. As he notices you he slowly sits up, and rasps out a greeting:

    "Good morning. Or good night? I know not, always dark in temple and sleep lots. I no see sun or stars. You find fire beast, come to me for advice on hunt?“

    "Yes, I have indeed found it. So what can you tell me?“

    The orc considers for a moment, then grins and lift his arm to show off the horrific burn wound: "Be careful of fire breath. No fun at all being burned. Me survive because orcs tough, you likely die, so take care to avoid.

    Also, firelizard's fast when run, this one probably not so much because has wound, but still, might surprise you. Also swim well, and probably faster than you. Just because fire in name does not mean beast is afraid of water. “

    He thinks for a while longer and then adds:
    "One thing more. Don‘t fooled be by looks, fire lizards are clever. I‘m not sure, but think that it noticed I see little on left eye and swipe tail from left on purpose.
    Very dangerous. I would tell what I say to all young orcs, to stay far away, but if want make Ulu-Mulu, then no other way.

    When fight, then be ruthless and quick, and hope strength not fail you.“

    - - -​


    The clearing

    The day after you are finally ready to go. You aim to travel light, with only the map, a small pack of food and drink, a jar to transport the tongue back home safely, and your weapons. It‘s a two day journey on foot to reach the point the harpies described to you.

    You actually make good time, one of your harpies guiding you along so you avoid the bigger beasts and the more treacherous swamp patches. You actually get far enough that you decide you‘ll send the harpy to join the others in looking for a swamp shark to hunt in the morning. From here you‘ll be able to find your way to the beast alone tomorrow, and the harpy is too vulnerable to fire to consider taking her. Your hold on their minds is strong and so far they seem content with the new status quo, but you would not want to be responsible for the death of one of their number and give them cause to try to rebel against your will.

    Before you turn in for the night you consider all you know about the lizard, and how best to defeat it.
    As Mor-Narog said, getting too close is something best avoided, so you decide to look for a good spot and try to hit it with arrows. If you‘re lucky you‘ll kill it before it reaches you. The area around it‘s territory is a relatively open river bank so you think that tactic could work rather well.

    You sleep well with that thought in mind, a fire crackling next to you and the harpy keeping watch from up high to spare you unwelcome surprises.

    . . . . .​

    The next morning you continue on your way towards your target. This close to a firelizard‘s territory there are few creatures roaming around, most of them sensible enough to stay far away from the beast. This makes the walk actually almost enjoyable as you get to appreciate the light of the rising sun breaking through the trees and glittering as it breaks on the morning dew in peace.

    As you near the place the harpy spotted the fire lizard you come across a large open clearing surrounded by dense vegetation. It looks like an ideal place to lure the beast later on if needed since you would have lots of room to manoeuvre around. The ground isn‘t slippery either since it hadn‘t rained since two days ago, and you consider constructing a trap of sharpened stakes like you did for the shadow beast. It might not work, but it might also save your life if it does. Judging it to be worthy investment of your time you walk around the edge of the clearing to find some proper branches to use. Most of the vegetation there is made up of a dense thicket of high, thin reeds you can‘t use unfortunately, but a few smaller trees have branches you could break off easily enough.

    You head to the nearest tree to start, and just as you reach it and begin to work you catch a glimpse of red moving towards you between the reeds out of the corner of your eye. Instinctively you jump backwards and see a huge jet of fire lance through the space where you just stood. Even from a meter away the heat is blistering and you scramble back further. Good thing too, as the stream of flames scythes through the air in your direction in a swift arc and almost hits you once again. Frantically you move away from the source of the fire, sprinting for a few seconds until you hear the crackling roar behind you come to an end and you dare to turn around to take a look.

    The ground is singed and the plants around it burning, the wet leaves shrivelling and giving off harsh smoke and steam. And from of the noxious cloud emerges the firelizard. It‘s bigger than you imagined it would be, easily two meters long snout to tailend, with a large red fan flaring up from its back. Beady yellow eyes are fixed on you and it lets out a menacing hiss as it stalks towards you, uncaringly walking over burning ground. It must have been waiting for prey. Hidden as it was in the reeds it was pure luck that let you notice it before you were burned alive. The orc did say that it was a cunning beast.

    It‘s jerky movements betray a weakness though. It is slow, stepping carefully with its left foreleg. Just as Mor-Narog said it sports a vicious injury where his axe left its mark. Above the shoulder the flaring red sail is torn down to the back, and from there a horrible wound traces downwards to the leg. It‘s barely healed and clearly causing it a good deal of pain.

    It‘s almost in range to hit you with another fire blast and you quickly consider your options. Right now it is far too close for you to hit it with an arrow, in the time it would even take for you to draw you bow you would be burned to a crisp.

    You could try to get close to it and hit it with your sword. You don‘t have a very long reach with the short sword and even if you dodge the fire the beast still has teeth and claws.
    However, the magical ore blade would surely be sharp enough to penetrate the thick, scaly hide. If you managed to land a solid hit you could do quite a bit of damage.
    You could try to hit the left foreleg to cripple it entirely, the right to hobble both its front legs, or strike at the back hit its already damaged sail and maybe even reopen the wound the orc warrior dealt it.
    You are somewhat reluctant to strike at the head, fearing that you could damage the tongue, but you reckon that if the worst came to pass you would rather survive than preserve it.

    You could also use magic. The spell of weakness you used on the shadowbeast would work here as well, draining away its strength and vitality for a while. It would hardly show instant results with a creature this size, but the longer the fight would last the weaker the beast would become.

    Another option is to use your rune and unleash magical lightning on the advancing lizard. This would likely exhaust quite a bit of your magical reserves, but it would allow you to deal damage without getting any closer. You‘re not sure how well that will work though, given that the lizard seems to completely ignore the flames licking at its underside. It certainly won‘t shrug off the lightning blast entirely and might even be dazed by the bright flash and shock, but the scaly hide might prove somewhat resistant.

    Your final option is to run away, retreating either deeper into the forest or towards the stream. The dense vegetation of the forest might be hard to navigate, but the beast would have a harder time of it than you given its larger size and reduced mobility. The area along the river is more open which would allow you to dodge and run around more easily, and maybe even put enough distance between you and it to use your bow. Of course, this would also mean the firelizard has an easier time of chasing you down and Mor-Narog did mentioned that they are faster than they look.

    How do you react?

    [ ] Use your sword.
    -[ ] Where do you try to hit it?

    The magical ore blade is very likely to pierce through its hide, but you would need to get close to it.

    [ ] Use your magic to drain its strength.
    This would continuously weaken the beast for a while, although it will take a while until the effect become noticeable.

    [ ] Hit it with magical lightning.
    -[ ] Where do you try to hit it?

    Allows you to stay at range, although the beast might be resistant.

    [ ] Run away Retreat!
    -[ ] Where to?


    [ ] Write in.

    You can discuss your battle plan, but this vote is just for the immediate reaction, whatever action you chose I will roll a personal power check to see how well you do and then the battle will continue.

    The rest of the winning votes (the temple restoration and harpy scouting) will be handled once you get back to the temple.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018
    DrStrangeLove likes this.
  22. DrStrangeLove

    DrStrangeLove Versed in the lewd.

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    Hey! It's good to see this update going live. Awesome. XD

    As for the vote, I'm split between retreating and trying to curse it and fight it from range. Anyone else have any thoughts? :/
     
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  23. TooCowardlyForRealNick

    TooCowardlyForRealNick Not too sore, are you?

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    I would be all for cursing. It is the action that we could benefit the most from using early.

    Besides, if we focus on its limbs afterwards it would definitely topple, allowing us to finish it off from range.
     
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  24. DrStrangeLove

    DrStrangeLove Versed in the lewd.

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    Yeah good point. Let's go with that, then. Probably worth doing even if we end up running. :/
     
  25. TooCowardlyForRealNick

    TooCowardlyForRealNick Not too sore, are you?

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    [X] Use your magic to drain its strength.

    Do we need to maintain eyesight/stay in a radius for this to work?

    Otherwise I can imagine backing off after this and tracking it down after an hour to finish it off when it is so weak it can barely breathe.
     
  26. DrStrangeLove

    DrStrangeLove Versed in the lewd.

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    [X] Use your magic to drain its strength.
     
  27. Aigloss

    Aigloss Versed in the lewd.

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    [X] Use your magic to drain its strength.
     
  28. Gaemnomut

    Gaemnomut Experienced.

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    The spell will expire eventually if you don't top it off regularly which will mean the lizard will be good as new after resting for a bit. Given its large size compared to a human the spell will also start to work quite a bit slower (just like it took a while to affect the shadowbeast). On the other hand, once it does start the fact that it is already injured and weakened will make it more suceptible to the curse. In the short term expect the effects to not be noticable immediatly, but to grow more and more pronounced as the fight goes on.
     
  29. TooCowardlyForRealNick

    TooCowardlyForRealNick Not too sore, are you?

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    So no cheesing the fight. Expected, but it would have been in tradition of the games.

    My favorite was climbing on that tree stump near the shadowbeast (G1 near Old Camp) and shoot a few hundred arrows into it while it was cycling through its 'threatening' animation, unable to do anything about it. Didn't work with trolls unfortunately.

    Actually, that reminds me. We definitely should look for 'shrink monster' scrolls in town next time.
     
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  30. Gaemnomut

    Gaemnomut Experienced.

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    Eh, trolls are slow enough that if you can manage to slip past them you can stay behind them and kill them with a thousand cuts. Took me forever, but I killed the black troll from G2 with a rusty sword and no armour that way XD

    In any event, while cheesing the fight would most definitely be in the spirit of the games, it would likely make for a boring quest. And the curse is based on the "weakness" spell from G3 by the way, which only prevents stamina regen so it's actually already stronger than it should be.
     
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