The Impossible Mission: Group B Game Thread
"Gods bless @accalia... I'm so glad it wasn't me who had to say that word!" Alrod thought, a little smirk forming on his face.
Herald Vanessa looks first startled, then her expression grows distant and stern. "As was already said, dragonfire is not just heat but also magic. Powerful, dangerous magic, that leaves behind unpleasant... scars on that which is burns. You may be able to mend a torn tunic or wash out some smudged ash, but I will not risk the deaths of more of those in my care to some fell curse just to save a few hours!" she snaps back, just as firmly. "And I resent that you would accuse of seeking your harm after we have shared our shelter, our food and the belongings of our dead for your comfort, with nothing but so far unfulfilled promises and pretty words in return."
Roland steps in at this point, looking more annoyed by their embarrassing behavior than the usual calm, suave face he puts on in front of outsiders.
"Herrr objection is perrrfectly rrreasonable. We will skirrrt the burrrned-out arrrea and then prrroceed towarrrds the mountains!
"I think the two of you both need to cool off!" he snaps. "Parrrt of ourrr agrrreement was that those who can, would searrrch the countrrryside forrr materrrials that those amongst the pilgrrrims with the rrrelevant skills can use to crrraft into things of worrrth, to be sold to finance theirrr jourrrney. I would suggest that you both starrrt on it rrright away!"
He glowers at the two petulant party members for a few moments, then turns and stalks off, going over to check on @Hitoshirenu-Shourai. Maybe she'll be a bit more stable than these two weirdos? What has gotten into them today?!?
Ooooh. that's it. Nobody calls Solras, She Who Was, Is and Shall Be a liar. Nobody. Solras, She Who Was, Is and Shall Be flushes red with anger, it's a miracle her beard does not catch fire with the sudden bloom of heat in her cheeks.
"For my comfort?! Well if it's repayment of the food you want, that you may have now, with interest! if it's repayment for the conversation over the food, that too i will pay back, but i have taken no shelter from you, nor have i taken anything from you, other than the food you offered and I now repay." With that seven sealed and carefully packed days worth of travel rations are unslung from Solras's backpack and land at Herald Vanessa's feet.
"We are even, you and i then. For that must more than repay my debt to you. What the cat said is his own business, and he can deal with you separately." The words are sharp, cliped, sheered from a block of steel, and cold, cold as the air that freezes one's breath in their own throat. "I have not seen evidence of such a curse in dragonfire, I would risk the ash. But you say there is a curse, and you appear convinced of it yourself. It is a shorter path to travel through the ash. Let us take that path, and if this curse be true we will turn aside at the first sign of it, and should it come to pass I will offer not only my apologies for the insult, but my services for a time equal to the harm you and yours encounter because of my error. What say you to that?!"
"I don't care about their journey. I want to finish my job, and do it as safely and quick as possible. Travelling together makes a lot of sense, because it's safer and less mundane. But travelling in the exact opposite direction than we were heading makes me question her abilities as a guide through wilderness. I do not want to spend a minute longer on the way than necessary. This little scavenger hunt is good to both of our groups, but I don't think it's worth it if it means we'll be delayed by at least two days. Especially that now after the dragon's attack, we're very low on supplies."
The Herald opens her mouth to reply again, then stops. Her eyes close for a moment as she takes a deep breath. "Very well then. It seems our paths were not meant to be joined," she says, her voice much more calm. "Bard Caesamar, I wish you good fortune in your endeavor and I thank you for your kindness and songs both." She glances at the two dwarves- and the pile of rations- and turns away without comment. The pilgrims seem unsettled by the altercation, but quickly get moving again, though some give the two somewhat dirty looks as they go.
Roland stiffens at that, turning back. "Have you gone completely loco, both of you?" he glowers at the two dwarves. "Yes, afterrr the drrragon's attack, we arrre low on supplies! Did you not see that they have supplies? They have wagons! They have people to trrravel with!
"We arrre likely to be delayed by one day forrr this, if even that much! Not two. And even if we would have little trrrouble crrrossing the charrred zone, what will theirrr animals who pull theirrr wagons eat?"
He glowers at them fiercely. "Both of you, get yourrr heads out of yourrr culos, apologize to the Herrrald, and let us continue ourrr jourrrney and put this pábada behind us!"
He hustles off to catch up with the pilgrims, giving his best appearance of contrition. "Lady Vanessa, I must most humbly apologize forrr theirrr behaviorrr. They arrre rrrattled afterrr yesterrrday's encounterrr, and theirrr brrrains arrre all full of palona. I can only hope that you would rrreconsiderrr, and not judge them so hastily when they arrre at theirrr worst?"
!roll 1d20+19 (Diplomacy + Hero Point)
You rolled 1d20+19: 20
1d20: 1 = 1
Solras, She Who Was, Is and Shall Be rolls her eyes at Roland, glowers for a moment at the pile of rations lying at the ground, then stomps after the idiot cat, without pausing to pick up the rations. She paid the lady back for the food, if it's not accepted that's not her problem, and she resolves not to share food with the pilgrims again. As for actually setting out alone, that's just crazy, for one thing stupid blackfeather would tan her hide for abandoning her charges, and she's not strong enough to kill all the "pilgrims" she'll have to watch carefully and be ready to defend herself when whatever trap they are being led into is sprung.
"I'll take first shift tonight if you take the second. We seem to be the only two who distrust them, no sense letting them go unwatched." she snaps, but a lot softer than she spoke to Roland or Vanessa, at @Gąska, offering to share a watch shift with him separate from the regular camp guards.
"That sounds reasonable," Alrod replied, nodding in agreement.
Seris Clover had stayed quiet during the entirety of the altercation. She wasn't in a hurry, and didn't see the detour as any bit of an issue. The food, though... she knows how rough it can be trying to gather food at times. She removes her backpack and goes to the pile of rations, stuffing them in. They were definitely some sort of crazy.
As for the claim that dragonfire had magic in it, well, she had nearly been burnt by it the day before, but suffers no lasting effects due to her being a tiefling. The spot where that branch fell was still a bit tender, but she was alright, in full fighting form, and ready for just about anything that was neither a dragon nor significantly more powerful than she was capable of dealing with. Maybe some wolves, or orns, or something of the like. She only had so much power, despite her claim of being powerful.
When Roland checked on her, she was just watching the conversation unfold, looking surprised the entire time, an expression along the lines of 'Seriously?' on her face the majority of the time. She sees sense in both arguments, but chose not to contribute. She must not be ready to commit to truly being one of them.
After having the rations secure in her pack, she ties the flap and hefts it over her shoulders, heading off after Roland and the Pilgrims. An idle thought occurs to her that 'Roland and the Pilgrims' may not be a terrible name for a traveling band of musicians.
Herald Vanessa turns her head only slightly at Roland's approach, not giving any sign of reaction as he explains and apologizes. Even after he finishes, she's silent for a long moment. Finally, she lets out a deep sigh. "It is fine, Bard Caesamar. We are... long used to similar treatment... though I must admit this is the first time it has occurred over directions."
Another long pause. "I thank you for your words, but I was already uneasy about...mingling with strangers. I think perhaps it best if we did in fact part ways." She finally looks over at him, a hint of regret and perhaps apology in her eyes. Something anyway. "Please, take the supplies along with my... well wishes. I hope your alliance with the baron goes as you hope it shall."
Seris continues to remain silent, now standing a mere few feet from Roland, looking to him expectantly for guidance. Clearly she views the cat as the only sensible one among the lot of them.
Roland sighs to himself as the pilgrims leave. There's not much more he can do at this point, now is there?
"I hope you arrre happy," he growls at Solras. "You have made us unwelcome!" By his tone, and the straight-up Death Glare he shoots the druid, it's almost as if that were some sort of mortal sin. (Or maybe it is, to a bard?) "Now we have no wagons, no sourrrce of rrreserrrve supplies, and no company! Just as I was beginning to think you can be rrreasonable, you do this?!?"
He sees @Hitoshirenu-Shourai watching, looking towards him, and gives her an appreciative nod. He steps closer and lowers his voice. "You arrre the only one with any sense this morrrning, gatherrring up those rrrations. We will need them."
Turning to face away from the rising sun, he says, "I suppose we arrrre headed this way now, then?"
@masonwheeler After Roland walks past, she hides a quick grin and a blush, then resumes her silence. Even her 'bad' side has the sense not to antagonize the dwarves after being praised! Perhaps she's learning? Or perhaps her 'good' side is more in control today? Who knows! In any case, she remains nearby the cat bard. If nothing else, she can use him as a shield in case the dwarves tur-- HEY! BAD SIDE! That's not cool! She shakes the thought out of her mind. The bard is the only one she can (reasonably) trust among this lot.
The catbard seems oblivious to Seris's whole "senpai noticed me" routine. He wears a scowl as he walks, too busy lost in his own thoughts.
Can this possibly get any worse?
Oh, it can always get worse!
Bah. How? What could be worse than this?
The party could be split in half, with some going with them and some staying.
Depending on who goes and who stays, that might be a distinct improvement!
The big bird could find out what you're doing.
Looking for the only solution that has a chance of succeeding against a real dragon?
Riiiight. Hmmm, what else? The party could stop listening to your ideas.
Bah! Who made me leader anyway? This was never part of the plan!
- Train at the guild
- Become a freewheeling bard who can go anywhere and do whatever he wants
- ? ? ? ?
What part of that includes burdens of leadership?
The ? ? ? ? part, and you know that much full well. How else are you going to get--
Shut up! Haven't you noticed how strangely everyone is acting? The dwarves are going mad, Princess Tsunderella is a step away from fawning over you, and the pilgrims are completely rotos. They don't even persuade like proper people! Something is messing with minds around here, so don't even think about something like that, not where someone might overhear!
And here you are, having an argument with yourself inside your own mind. Nothing loco about that, not in the least!
You're not helping...
Wasn't trying to!
Ariana is a bit farther back than the party, escorting Kilral alongside the pilgrim wagons, as she witnesses the breakdown and hostility between Solras, Alrod, Roland, and the pilgrim leader Vanessa.
She speaks in a lowered voice to the nearest pilgrims, who she hoped were at least a bit more friendly to her over the rest of the party, and says, "Forgive us, I do not believe most of us bear any ill will towards you, but dwarves will be dwarves, and we are stuck with them until the completion of our task," finishing with a slight bow and a look on her face to try and show she absolutely doesn't share Solras and Alrod's position.
After the groups separate and the party starts down their new route, while Roland walks in quiet contemplation, Ariana gives him a stare that he won't see, but one that contains a "matter of fact" kind of look to it. She thinks, "I hope you learned something today Roland. I hope you finally learned that dwarves are not to be trusted," then breaks off the staring and starts to keep an eye out for anything the party may need to worry about.
"Ok, let's get going," Alrod commanded. Then he looked around, and noticed that everyone is looking at him and Solras in a somewhat unsettling way.
"Look. Those pilgrims... There was something off with them. Noticed it already last night. There was something in their eyes... That shadowy glimmer. They might be possessed, or they might be some kind of dark cultists. The fact that she had some "map in her head" that directed us totally not where we're going, is more proof of that. It really felt like they were luring us to a trap. I might be wrong, but I think it's safer to travel on our own than with them."
Ariana responds to Alrod, stating, "There may have been something you would consider off with them, but your excuses are flimsy and your and Solras' actions lack respect."
"Power handed down from the divine gods can grant many gifts, including the ability for one to know the lay of the land, and the usage of those gifts manifests in many ways, including reflection in one's eyes. Channeling Freya's energies through my body shows such a glimmer in mine."
"Don't trust them. If they offend so easy at a little shouting hoe good a friend will they be when the fighting starts?! Because ever sense I have screams "THEY ARE LEADING YOU INTO A TRAP!""
Solras, She Who Was, Is and Shall Be Snaps this response out, but it's pretty half hearted. The rest of the party hates her now, well fine, she can deal with that. They'll see... They'll see she was right all along.
Roland finally can't take the shouting. "Quit being such a drrrama llama," he snaps at her. "You make me wanna alpaca my bags and goat away from all of this!"
@masonwheeler Seris Clover, known to be tsundere as hell, stares at Roland for a long few seconds, then starts laughing, "BAHAHAHAHA! OH MY GODS THAT WAS SO LAME AHAHAHA" She keels over, holding her sides, then falls to her knees, laughing hard and pounding her fist on the ground, "THAT MAY HAVE BEEN THE LAMEST THING I HAVE EVER HEARD AHAHAHAHAHAAAA"
Wow. NO ONE expected this kind of reaction out of her. Not even herself! Curiously, between the breaks when she's gasping for air, she's trying to open both eyes, not just the red one. Perhaps her celestial heritage has something to do with this reaction? ...Or maybe she just likes bad jokes.
Roland is as surprised as anyone at that completely incongruous reaction. At first he just stares blankly, but her intense, overwhelming laughter proves infectious and soon he's fighting back the urge to chuckle at the absurdity of it all... and losing. Before long the bard is laughing too, holding his sides and letting out a long string of laughter that's mostly mirth with just a touch of hysteria...
Solras, She Who Was, Is and Shall Be does ot join in the laughter, she merely glares at Roland. Such a stupid cate he is at times.... can he really not see the trap that was being laid?
Alrod just shakes his head.
Meanwhile, during the whole altercation Tiet was stunned with disbelief. He was trailing a bit behind the party, close to Ariana when the whole situation unfolded. When Alrod and Solras first raised their objections and threatened to part ways, he didn't make much of it as he assumed they were just a bit tired and grumpy after an uncomfortable night's sleep. Even when tempers began to flare on both sides he was confident the situation would resolve itself. Only when the pilgrims continued to journey further leaving their party behind did he realise the gravity of the situation.
Even Roland's attempt at lightening the mood with his joke wasn't able to release Tiet from his paralysed state.
Tiet never saw himself as a racist. In fact, being a bit of an outcast himself when growing up he usually sympathized with most minority groups, no matter the criteria applied (race, gender, class, bloodline, etc.). However, he was now seriously reconsidering his established moral beliefs when it came to the dwarfs...
Roland eventually manages to compose himself, taking a few deep, gasping breaths. He shakes his head slowly. "I think we all needed that," he says, pointedly ignoring the way they hadn't all been laughing. Looking out over the burned-out land, he sighs once more at the missed opportunity, but the anger and outright hostility seems to have run its course by this point.
Roughly taking his bearings from the rising sun, he points off to the southwest-ish. "Ourrr goal is this way, but it will be long and difficult. We may be betterrr off rrreturrrning to the Nagajin village to rrrestock. We arrre welcome therrre." He points back toward the west this time, and shoots a brief glower at @accalia. "It will make the jourrrney longerrr, but easierrr.
The sorcerer eventually calms down, having had a VERY good laugh at that. "Pfft!" She relapses momentarily, settling into giggles, then regains composure, both eyes open, practically glowing with her tumultuous emotions, "Wherever we go, I'm sure it'll work out! We've got our basic necessities and we're all still able-bodied adventurers. I don't know about you lot, but I'm ready to get moving! Let's just figure out where and go!" She seems a bit more... hyper? Than usual. And she still hasn't closed her golden eye. Interesting.
"The sun is there, so we're heading there. Let's go." Off went Alrod in roughly the west direction.
"Why take the long way? it is shorter that way, and the ash is no problem for us. We should go the direct route." Solras, She Who Was, Is and Shall Be grunts at Roland. She seems to have calmed down from her earlier incandesant anger to mere grumpiness, which is par for the course. Odd that she calmed down as soon as the "pilgrims" disappeared over that small hillock a small ways away.
(Edit, clarified who Solras is speaking to)
This post is deleted!
Well, the ones who actually have the skillset to forage and gather food say the more direct route is not a problem, and the rest of the party doesn't seem to have any input either way, so Roland nods. "Verrry well, a morrre dirrrect courrrse then." He turns and puts the sun at his back, to head westward. "We will have to find morrre prrrecise dirrrections at some point, but forrr now... west!"
(@Kaelas @Yamikuronue End of scene here.)
The party continued their journey. Due to low supplies, they're not pushing too fast so as to give Alrod and Solras time to gather the food the party desperately needs.
[Moving at half speed. Taking 10 on survival, which if my math is correct, gives food and drink to everyone except @accalia, but she's probably also hunting and foraging, so it's not a problem.]
The party has been traveling for a good seven days- which, having decided to save a half day or so by bypassing the nagaji village, leaves then about four days from the Foothills- when most of the party spots a trio of wagons ahead, moving in roughly the same direction as them. Alrod and Solras, She Who Was, Is and Shall Be are away from the party on a hunt, having spotted some deer tracks an hour ago, though if they stay true to form, they should be back just before they stop for the evening in two hours or so. And most of the party is thankful evening is so close, given the headaches and tired eyes they've been having from time to time these last few days. It's been... stressful for the group of late.
Tiet is able to just barely make out that the figures ahead of them have dull, almost greyish skin and the only two without helmets are bald. The rest of the group all note the figures are wearing heavy armour and are both short and stocky- like as not, dwarves. Most of the half dozen or so figures have giant warhammers strapped to their backs, but one of them instead has a massive greatsword. The wagons are fairly elaborate affairs, made of very solid wood slats instead of fabric, drawn by pairs of shaggy ponies. Tiet and Ariana can make out what looks like a proper door on the back of the nearest of the three wagons with a heavy bar on it. One of the dwarves, crouched atop the middle wagons, makes a gesture in their direction, causing several of the others to glance towards them.
A good half mile away, the two dwarven foragers and hunters have tracked their prey to a wide field of lush grass in the lee of a trio of rocky hills. The deer aren't as big as one could find in the Foothills or the much more arable lands to the west of the mountains, but one of them should feed the party for at least a day all by itself...
[ @Impossible-Mission-B So this is late afternoon, a week after parting ways with the pilgrims.]
Tiet moves closer to Roland. "Hey, what do you think we do?" Tiet asks almost instinctively. With his liking in the two dwarves at a very low point, Ariana, like Tiet, usually following rather than leading and Seris acting... odd at times, he has subconsciously made Roland the leader of the group, like it or not. "Are you going to talk to them? I think you should go talk to them."
Roland keeps his voice low, wary. "Those men arrre verrry heavily arrrmed, and those wagons arrre built morrre like cages than carrrrrriages. It is harrrd to know forrr cerrrtain, but my firrrst instinct is, 'slaverrrs.' They have seen us, and it would be rrrude to prrretend we did not see them, but be cautious." He continues walking on the same course, which would take them by the armed group, near but not too close, and waits to see what they will do...
In the past week, Seris had been traveling with eyes wide open for a change. They didn't seem weirded out by her eyes, and if they did they certainly made no mention of it. However, the approaching group may not be so nice about it... she closes her golden eye, frowning ever so slightly.
Upon seeing @Hitoshirenu-Shourai , the dwarves seem more interested. One of them raises his hand in a two-fingered greeting toward the group, nodding pleasantly. They do not speak, but they seem stern people made of stiff stuff, so that doesn't seem unusual.
Ariana, guiding Kilral along, speaks low after Roland, "Slavers or bounty hunters. In either case, we have no business with them, and they shouldn't have business with us."
"Be friendly, but don't tell them anything they don't need to know."
"I swear," Seris says quietly, "at this rate I'll need an eyepatch..." She puts on a fake smile, hoping it will make her seem more friendly. It doesn't look incredibly forced, at least. "They're greeting us... I don't really want to have to deal with dwarves right now." She nudges Roland, and walks close behind him, "This is your territory, Oh Fearless Leader." She grins teasingly, seeming to be satisfied.
Roland nods at his companions' words. "Good day," he says to the dwarves, in a tone that suggests he's simply being pleasant and acknowledging them as fellow travelers, rather than attempting to start a conversation. They keep walking.
"Well met, ahya," the dwarf agrees easily, looking over the entire party. "Look you weary and traveling light. Have trouble, did you?" He speaks in a strong accent, strangely different than either of their two dwarven companions. @Gąska 's accent is pure common, but @accalia has noticeable tones of her racial tongue. This is fairly close to that accent, with the same strange... lack of emphasis on any higher-pitched sounds but even further than common. @Vault_Dweller would be aware that dwarven avoids such sounds, as deeper tones travel much better underground.
The speaker, one of the dwarves with warhammer and shield, is followed at a slight distance by another dwarf with the same and the one with the greatsword, whom they can see has a symbol on his scalemail denoted by having a different colored metal for certain scales. The other four dwarves they can see are all paying attention to the group but don't seem inclined to approach at the moment.
[ @Impossible-Mission-B Remember to roll any social, knowledge, etc. skills if you think it might help]
Roland slips into character, his shoulders slumping just a little, a weary chuckle passing his lips at the dwarf's observation. "Ohhh, you would not believe if I told you," he groans. (And hey, it's almost certainly actually true!) "Wherrre arrre you bound, frrriends?"
!roll 1d20+3 (Bardic Knowledge: What kind of accent is that?)
!roll 1d20+3 (Bardic Knowledge: What does that scaled symbol represent?)
!roll 1d20+4 (Sense Motive: any hostility or ill will from them?)
You rolled 1d20+3: 7
1d20: 4 = 4
You rolled 1d20+3: 21
1d20: 18 = 18
You rolled 1d20+4: 13
1d20: 9 = 9
The accent is definitely kind-of sort-of dwarven. It's dwarven-esque. Dwarven-derived.
That symbol though.... that he recognizes, from the Tale of Cedric. In the tales, he had attacked a bear, only to find that it was a skinchanger, a worshipper of Lyssa -- unusual, because Lyssa, goddess of wrath, is often worshipped by barbarians. She had tried to kill him, but settled for fucking him, because as Lyssa teaches, nature is cruel and callous, and the only joy in life is to take what you can get and enjoy the hell out of it.
He doesn't sense ill will but instead, greed. Not all of them are wearing the symbol of Lyssa, but all of them seem keen on Seris.
Before they have time to respond, the bard asks one other question. (Make yourself look like a harmless chatterbox and people begin to underestimate you, which can often be useful when dealing with dangerous people!)
"Also, I could not help but notice that symbol. Is that the emblem of Lyssa? Therrre arrre those among my people who follow herrr ways, and I have often been fascinated by the tales of herrr!"
!roll 1d20+11 (Diplomacy: we have common interests, so we must be friends!)
You rolled 1d20+11: 25
1d20: 14 = 14
The divine associated dwarf stares at him Roland blankly, then glances at the speaker. Who then says something in dwarven, which is replied in kind. "He says yes. Not all of we are of Lyssa, but some are. She is... feisty and demanding, like woman should be. If good for wife, good for god, no?" he says with a gruff laugh. @Vault_Dweller is the only one that would have caught the presumed priest ask what the talking cat had said about his goddess or the answer of 'useless surfacer drudge.'
The speaker glances back again, asking the priest if they should barter or- and Teit doesn't know that bit. Huh. He'd paid a fair amount of attention in his dwarven language lessons, he wouldn't have thought he'd run into so many words in a casual conversation he wouldn't have a clue about. Though... they sound a fair bit different. Maybe some loan words or regional slang? Possibly a separate language entirely? Strange to swap mid sentence though.
Tiet, not wanting to tip his hand, stays quiet. It could be very useful to know what they are discussing amongst themselves... if they kept to Dwarven. He has an itching burn to tell Roland about their unique use of language, but he doesn't want to look rude in front of these... travellers by discussing things in private. He will just have to wait for the opportune moment