The Impossible Mission: Group B Game Thread
At many places of higher learning, there is an unwritten rule: if your classmate dies during the term, you all get As to console you in your grief. At the Adventurer’s Guild Training Hall, the rule is a little different: if the teacher dies during the term, everyone responsible graduates immediately. No teacher will acknowledge this, of course, and for most of them, the chances of murdering them seem quite low. But there’s always that group that feels both desperate enough as first year exams draw near and lucky enough to take their chances.
Stephanie Felis, the catfolk teacher of basic magics, seemed like a good target. She was slim, frail, and rarely demonstrated her powers, teaching them cantrips and basic hedgewitchery. It was possible that’s all she had; she was relatively new to the staff, after all. She was probably unlucky, given her fur was ebony in hue. And she was careless enough to have let Tiet know where her sleeping quarters were that one time when he had to return a book after being out sick.
The plan was to use Tiet as an unwitting distraction, asking her some questions about the final exam, while Shade picked the locks and slipped into her room. That would let Alrod and Roland into the room to ambush her. Ariana discovered their plans late and decided to aid Tiet, just in case; that was the safer course, after all. It was a foolproof plan they were sure to carry out.
Until they got into her rooms and found the reanimated skeleton of a large, hungry canine waiting for them. His bone-chilling howls tipped off Steph who, as it turns out, has plenty of high-level magics: she’s a master of necromancy, which she obviously wasn’t demonstrating to first-years.
It was the last straw for Headmaster Ebonfeather Shadowcaster. He said as much, his ebony feathers puffed up in anger as he clacked his beak together. “This is the last straw! The very last! You have tried my patience far, far too much for me to let this go!”
He had gathered the students into Steph’s classroom, with Solras the fighting teacher on hand in case they still felt murderous -- not that he couldn’t handle a bunch of firsties himself, you understand, but he didn’t feel like putting up with their shenanigans today, and Solras did a great intimidation face. “I should have all of you expelled for this treason!”
Roland looks up from his seat, where he lounges, an expression of supreme indifference on his face, as he slowly rubs what appears to be a whetstone back and forth over one of his claws.
"Trrreason, Headmasterrr?" he asks in a very mild tone. "I am not surrre what it is you mean. You cerrrtainly do not believe that one such as myself would conspirrre to do harrrm to anotherrr Felyn, my own flesh and blood? We werrre seeking herrr advice rrregarrrding the final examinations, when this monstrrrous beast attacked us!" He pauses for a moment, considering. "I must admit, though, it is strrrange. What sort of Felyn would have a dog, even an undead one, for a guarrrd?"
(None of the other catfolk at the academy use the term "Felyn"; it's apparently a term that comes from his tribe. When asked, he claims it means "glorious favored ones", and scoffs at the idea that it has anything to do with any other language's word for "cat".)
Roland: Bluff check please.
OK, rolling Bluff.
+1 (skill rank)
+3 (class skill)
+4 (CHA modifier)
+2 (Clever Cat)
+2 (circumstance bonus)
@yamibot roll 1d20+12
(I hope I did that right. It's been a long time since I played D&D. If I made any mistakes, please advise.)
You rolled 1d20+12:Your rolls:
1d20: 13 = 13
"Really, if that area was meant to be off-limits, there should have been more than a simple three-tumbler padlock on the door."
Roland glowers darkly at the elf and hisses softly with feline displeasure. "You'rrre not helping!" he murmurs.
Solras, Daughter of Umdor, Son of Gimrigg, Son of Rangrom who slew the dreaded Balrog of Tydren's Keep looks grouchy. That's nothing new, she usually looks grumpy. She did nothing wrong. There were rules. She followed the rules. So what if they weren't the rules you wanted to her follow? They were still the rules.
Why did she have to be here? These students, expel them and be done with it, why waste her time? Still she was being paid for this... and the pay was good......
Shade looks completely guileless.
"I was just curious as to what could possibly be in there! The secrecy, the lock, the strange sounds coming from within. It was practically irresistible."
Ariana stared ahead, not at Shadowcaster or Solras, but just ahead. In her hands was the wooden falcon, symbol of Freya, to focus her thoughts. She had a point she intended to make should Roland's explanation fail to convince the headmaster, which she didn't doubt. The most she was hoping is that her reasoning, if she had to come forth, may soften the punishment, at least for some of them.
Tiet just sits there, saying nothing. He has learned that, in situations like this, it is best to rather let Roland do the talking.
He initially didn't really want to go through with the plan anyway. He and Shade were talked into it, as usual. He can't really remember who finally convinced him, but it was probably Roland.
"Save it, cat," sqwaks the bird-man. "Not only did the lot of you conspire against the very people who are sacrificing our time and energy to teach you, you did so and failed!"
Roland considers protesting further, but at this point it's probably no use. Besides... the way he said that--implying that the failure to achieve the nefarious goal was somehow worse than the nefarious attempt itself--that intrigues him.
There's an old saying about curiosity, which if anyone were to be so indiscreet as to actually voice aloud in Roland's presence would probably earn them a withering look and a scathing comment about the speaker's racist tendencies. Nevertheless, there is some truth to it. The Headmaster is behaving in a strange and unexpected way, and this catches the bard's interest.
He bows his head humbly. "As you say, sirrr," he says, putting on his best contrite tone. "And what is the penance to be forrr ourrr failurrre?"
"Save it, cat," sqwaks the bird-man. "Not only did the lot of you conspire against the very people who are sacrificing our time and energy to teach you, you did so and failed!"
"Class is so boring, though. We need more than just theory and contrived sandboxes and obstacle courses. We're actually applying the skills we'll need in the field, in a practical scenario."
Shade smiles, as if this lame excuse should completely reverse the headmaster's response into praise rather than scorn.
'class is boring?' Solras, Daughter of Umdor, Son of Gimrigg, Son of Rangrom who slew the dreaded Balrog of Tydren's Keep thinks, the frown deepening on her face. 'I'll show you boring. a good lump between the eyes will knock the boring right out of you!'
But she keeps her mouth shut. this isn't her place to pass judgement.
Ariana speaks up, Roland's gambit having failed.
"And to be fair, headmaster, you cannot fault us for at least applying the teachings we were given. We worked as a team, divided our efforts to where they would best apply, and aimed to take advantage where an opportunity exists."
Ariana raises her focus to the headmaster.
"Our failings were misjudging the opportunity and possibly an act that is seemingly in poor taste, but no student would consider any such act if it were explicit that the passing of one of our teachers would not lead to an immediate graduation."
Ariana then bows her head, apologetic.
"At the very least, I offer my apologies for our ambitious but misguided actions."
@ChaosTheEternal [Gimme a Diplomacy roll, if you would be so kind.]
@yamibot roll 1d20+5
You rolled 1d20+5:Your rolls:
1d20: 1 = 1
Headmaster Ebonfeather slowly turns to face Ariana. "...you think it necessary that we explicitly tell our students to not murder the faculty? That's something you all thought seemed reasonable?" He lets out a raspy hissing noise, an avian growl, then sighs.
"Still, in a way, this could be considered our fault as teachers, evidently we did not do enough to correct the deeply imbedded stupidity in our young." That was perhaps the most backhanded apology the group has ever heard... " He gives Ariana one last dubious look, then turns thoughtful. "Still... having you all imprisoned for attempted murder would reflect badly on the school..."
'Just give them to me then. I'll beat seven kinds of shit out of them, so they will forget about ever trying something like that again. That'll probably take a long time, because up until now i've only discovered four different kinds of shit.' Solras, Daughter of Umdor, Son of Gimrigg, Son of Rangrom who slew the dreaded Balrog of Tydren's Keep thinks, what does this headmaster think he's accomplishing here? they did wrong (not so wrong as she did for not noticing earlier and correcting their error, but still.) they need to be punished. Let her do the job she was hired for.
Seems like we're stuck here for gods know how long, Alrod thought. And I'm bored to death already.
"Can we go now?" he asked the headmaster, hoping to get any reaction other than five more minutes of silence and stares.
The Headmaster turns slightly to regard the impertinent brat who just made mouth noises. "No you may not," he says very softly, the crest of feathers on his neck and head rising up slowly. "I have... expressed my displeasure with your stupidity and incompetence, yes, but we haven't gotten to the fun part of a proper rebuking."
With an expression of satisfaction, he says almost happily, "the punishment!"
Shade, almost imperceptibly slowly, starts to distance himself from the headmaster, putting his classmates in front of him.
Roland looks around the room at his partners-in-unsuccessful-crime and sighs in exasperation. "Have you not hearrrd the wisdom of the ancient barrrds? One must know when to hold them, when to fold them, when to walk away, and when to rrrun!" His accent grows a bit thicker as he continues. "Rrright now, this is a time forrr the folding! These things you all say, they only make it worrrse. The next move, it is not ourrrs to make. Let us trrry to keep quiet and bearrr the indignity of our failurrre with good grrrace, and see what comes of it. Then, the next move will be ours." Turning to Ebonfeather, he humbly asks, "Headmasterrr, please forrrgive these imbècils. They arrre afrrraid, and it turrrns their brrrains to palona."
Shaking his head slowly, he gestures to Ebonfeather. "Please, prrroceed. We will accept the just punishment that you mete out."
While @masonwheeler is talking, Shade crouches down so as to occlude the line of sight between himself and the headmaster.
You rolled 1d20+11:Your rolls:
1d20: 3 = 3
The headmaster leans to the side slightly, curious about what Shade is doing. Or possibly amused. Still keeping an eye on the elf, he turns back to the rest of the party. "Of course you will, that goes without saying," he says dryly. "But I do thank you for your acceptance of the inevitable."
Flicking his wrist, a tendril of shadow lashes out towards the party.
And then goes right past them to pluck a slim folder off a table. Opening, the file, the elderly tengu leafs through it for a moment. "So, because I am a kind and generous soul, I am offering two options. One involves you all learning the joys of cutting rocks out of a hole for about five to six years after you're sentenced for attempted murder. The other is boring, tedious and possibly lethal but should at least take much less time."
He pauses, then adds idly, "and I suppose if it actually is something more noteworthy than the last four times the damn fool shepherds came bleating, you can even graduate early."
Shade, somewhat keenly aware of how badly this escape attempt is going, decides to keep going anyway. Trying to be faster than the eye, he somersaults from his ill-concealed hiding spot to a nearby hallway.
You rolled 1d20+8:Your rolls:
1d20: 20 = 20
He leaps over the chair, somersaults in midair right over Solras, Daughter of Umdor, Son of Gimrigg, Son of Rangrom who slew the dreaded Balrog of Tydren's Keep and sails out of the room. The Headmaster blinks twice, then cocks his head. "That was impressive for a land bound race," he admits, then snaps his fingers. There's a blur of shadow and then suddenly Shade is back in the room where a chair was a split second ago.
"Don't do that again," he says mildly. At least he seems amused/impressed enough to not be annoyed by the attempt. "Where was I?"
"Shepherrrds?" Roland prompts, to help move things along, giving Shade a bit of a stink-eye but not saying anything to the impulsive rogue.
He ponders this for a moment. "But no. You would not send a grrroup such as us to chase afterrr lost sheep." Then a broad feline grin grows upon his muzzled features. "Ah! We arrre being sent to hunt that which is stealing away the lost sheep, no?" His eyes twinkle gleefully at the prospect.
Ebonfeather looks skyward, a look of mock joy on his face. "Ah, so we were not entirely unsuccessful in teaching you rabble, at least a little." Looking back at them, he nods. "Quite so. We've four confirmed reports of livestock going missing- indeed, in one case, there were six cows taken without any track leading away"
He shrugs a little. "Of course, a few other shepherds have complained as well, but their reports were... less than credible." Giving a faint snort of disbelief, he adds, "as if a dragon of all things could be hiding away on the M’kai plains."
@Kaelas Bardic Knowledge check. Are there any rumors of dragons living in that area in recent memory? And if so, how credible are they?
@yamibot roll 1d20 + 3
You rolled 1d20:Your rolls:
1d20: 7 = 7
Shade laughs, nervously, unsure whether to take the headmaster seriously.
"You wouldn't seriously send a handful of near-dropouts after a dragon. That would be... that would be erm."
Shade coughs and grimaces slightly.
There was a rather famous bronze dragon that had captained a pirate-hunter frigate some sixty, seventy years ago. Captured and sunk almost a dozen ships and burned out the only real pirate hideout for a hundred miles of Whitehawk. But she'd moved on after that, bored with the lack of challenge and eager to continue her mission elsewhere. Other than that, all Roland can recall are tavern tales.
The Headmaster rolls his eyes, a peculiar expression on his avian face. "Of course not," he replies. "They're peasants. If the daft simpleton wasn't outright lying to try and excuse his own mistake, he probably just saw an overly large bird. Perhaps a griffon or at most a chimera."
I think the headmaster knows more than he's telling us.
Sense motive, what is it he's holding back?
You rolled 1d20+2:Your rolls:
1d20: 20 = 20
Roland rolls his eyes at Shade's nervousness.
"Hah! Drrragons? Drrragons have not been seen in this rrregion in generrrations. Just watch. It is some grrreedy townsfolk.
"We will go and find this 'drrragon', and we will pull off his mask, and we will gasp and say 'It was the bootcherrr all along!' And he will scowl and say, 'and I would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't been for you meddling adventurrrerrrs and yourrr mangy dog!"
Roland pauses, looking worried. "We will have to buy a mangy dog to do this thing?" He makes a face. "Suddenly I am not liking this plan so much."
To be blunt, he doesn't think the reports are about a dragon. Or even a chimera. He figures the probable culprit is some briggand, trying to hide out in the plains and living off stolen livestock. Or perhaps it is the butcher. Or some wild dogs.
His real intent is to make the party go, far, far away for a few months as they chase shadows and live rough, unpleasant lives doing a task that he then won't have to give to people he actually likes. And of course, given that this is punishment, the Guild will get to keep the fee the locals will be paying out.
There might be a bit more layers but Shade is only lucky, not a mind-reader or a trained diplomat.
"Tempting, Mister Caesamar, but no, I won't require you to do so. Pets aside, your duty is simple- go to the Plains, to the reservoir itself and find whatever is taking the cattle. Put a stop to it and bring back the traditional trophy as proof of your deeds to hang in the Hall of Honor."
He smirks, adding with some amusement, "a notable piece of the 'dragon's' horde would suffice. We will be keeping an eye on you, of course, so we will know of your success- or failure- anyway, but traditions must be upheld." He nods at Solras, Daughter of Umdor, Son of Gimrigg, Son of Rangrom who slew the dreaded Balrog of Tydren's Keep as he speaks. "And our new fighting instructor has volunteered to escort you as well."
"Let's not get ahead of ourselves. If there is a supposed dragon, we deal with it if and when we get to it. But to worry about something that might not even exist is not very productive"
'A dragon eh? that will be a hell of a notch on my axe. If i spin that right i could drink for free for years.' Solras, Daughter of Umdor, Son of Gimrigg, Son of Rangrom who slew the dreaded Balrog of Tydren's Keep thinks, an odd smile flitting across her face quickly before the normal scowl reasserts itself.
Shade watches @accalia's face intently as various expressions play across it. She has been absorbed in her inner monologue for quite some time. What could she be thinking about?
Ariana, having straightened after her apology, mulls over the information.
"So, if you do not suspect a dragon, perhaps a wyvern or two? Or do you truly believe it to be the work of bandits, or drunkeness of the shepherds with no tracks left behind?"
"Or I guess you intend to leave the investigation on us, so you can put it out of mind?"
The tengu shrugs slightly, a rather notable lack of concern on his face. "As I said, it is passing unlikely right in absurd to think that a dragon could- or would be willing to- hide itself away on the Plains for any real length of time. Oh perhaps a wing of faerie dragons, or yes, a mated pair of wyverns, but not a Draconais Supremis."
Smiling faintly, he adds a trifle placatingly, "if it does turn out to be a such a foe, then you will be compensated appropriately from the Guild's own coffers upon your triumphant return." Unsaid is that if it is a true dragon, then they're all pretty much fucked.
(EDIT is bold)
Shade takes on a suddenly somber and piercing countenance.
"I suppose you expect all of us to march off merrily to our doom." His tone is somewhat accusing.
"At the very least, you could send us off well-stocked and equipped, if we're to have any hope at success in this fools' errand."
The tengi gives him a sharp look. "What doom? You sorry lot wanted to become heroes? Adventurers? Well, risk is part of that! If you wanted a nice safe, tepid life, you should have taken up farming. Or weaving."
Ebonfeathers straightens, his glare intensifying as he sweeps the room with his gaze. A hint of shadows swirl around his feathers as he snaps out, "enough. Decide now- will you through yourself on the mercy of the courts- which I assure you will end up with you spending at least five years doing back-breaking labour in the mountain quarries or will you go hunt down a monster the way you all insist you're capable of? After all, you did try to graduate early."