Monday, February 12, 2024

the things i put up with!

now, i hope everybody knows that i wouldn't trade my boyfriend (or any of my other yams, for that matter) for anything or anyone in the world. we're pretty much as close as two people can possibly be (if not closer!) ... but the downside of that is that sometimes his little quirks and foibles rub off on me. aaaannnd some of his neuroses, too.

which is fine, really, since to start with i'm one of the chillest chicas you could ask for, so even a smidge of bad-influence neurosis still leaves me waaay more cool-as-a-cucumber-y than msg. mostly, it's kind of funny when i find myself worrying over something he would worry over that i normally wouldn't.

as long as i don't start going batso-crazy over an out-of-place comma or something, who cares, right?

but then the thing is, there's this neurosisynergy thing that happens every once in a while. it's where he's being a bad influence on me and i notice i'm being neurotic, and instead of laughing it off, i think, oh, cheez-itz, i better not let him realize he's being a bad influence or he'll feel bad about it! but of course, i only ever notice this when it's too late, and so when i start trying to exude the usual deluge of cool, i flub it just enough for him to notice. and then he starts worrying that something's wrong. but he knows that usually there's pretty much never anything wrong for me because my life rules. so he tells himself he's being paranoid. and then i notice that he's acting weird trying not to make a big deal out of something he knows can't be a big deal because if there was a big deal thing going on, he can totally bet his ass i would tell him so. but now i've noticed that he's noticed that something's off, and not only am i worried he'll find out i was succumbing* to his bad influence, i'm also embarrassed that i let him notice. plus, i'm also annoyed at myself for letting my chill go to nil. all of which means i end up doubling down and acting extra-positive instead of just spilling the beans. and that leads to him getting extra sure something is really wrong or why would i be wallowing in marshmallow-happy-sappy overcompensation?

if we're really lucky, one of our other yams will kind of look at us both and say, "you two ... do know you're doing that thing again, don't you?"

which can be pretty humiliating and get us both really red in the face, but at least breaks the spiral of neuroticism.

anyway, that's way too long of a long way of saying that this exact thing happened yesterday, except that everyone remained clueless (or pretended to really well) right up until the point where they're going to read this post and say, "aha! so that's why they've been acting so wacky!"

and we're both going to get teased mercilessly because that's how it happens around here.

but you know ... it's the price you pay for living a dream life, right?


(*there is not nearly a big enough deal made out of how nasty this word ought to be. i mean, just pay attention to those first two syllables. they're just begging to be made a double entendre out of. i'm not wrong, am i?)

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

secret of the dragon emperor ... part 19!

here's part two of our latest dragonbane session!

GM Elle: So by the time you pack the tent up and go back down the mountain to Blind Hildi's Farm, it's getting to be mid-morning.
MSG: Meaning not all that long since we had breakfast.
Sasha: If you're implying you don't want to stop for that home-cooked meal I self-invited us to, Quackers is going to stop you right there.
MSG: Not at all. Dolora will be happy to learn more about farm life in this region.
Claire: Filvius too. It may be mundane knowledge, but knowledge is knowledge, and Filvy craves it just as much as Dolora. Maybe more.
Ariel: Fidu is ready to rest from the trip down the mountain, for sure.
Sasha: Hard work riding in a cart for an hour, huh?
Ariel: Is there any other kind of work?
GM Elle: When you arrive at the farm, Hildi overflows with gratitude for the return of her niece, and is more than happy to cook you a meal. Anybody who wants to can consider this their stretch rest for the shift.
MSG: Deal! In addition to that, I'll ask lots of questions about what it is she's cooking.
Claire: I'll ask lots of questions about what her tricks are for running a farm when she can't see.
Hettie: Possibly a little insensitive there, Clarity.
Claire: Hey, the elf has an 8 charisma and is starved for any kind of learning he can get.
GM Elle: This is also a medieval setting, so there's not much likelihood Hildi expects people to politely skirt around her visual disability. She's actually quite proud of the various knacks she's worked out over the years to do things sighted people wouldn't expect her to be able to do. At the end of all the cooking and questioning and eating, she thanks you again and offers you two days of rations each to take along with you, since she has nothing else to offer for the great service you've done.
MSG: I mean, has she completely exhausted all the knowledge of farm life she could give us? Seems like that would take a lot longer than however long she spent cooking the food and serving it to us. Dolora is more than happy to keep learning.
Claire: Filvius is too, but I suspect our other party members will make an issue of it. Also, he's champing at the bit to go back to that huge statue we passed on the way here and investigate it. It's only half a day back along the road, so we should be able make it by nightfall if we leave after lunch.
Ariel: Fidu isn't all that eager to go exploring a ruined old statue that's way off from the road.
Sasha: I thought Elle said we couldn't tell exactly how far off it was because of the mists.
Ariel: Well obviously it was far enough away that the mists made it hard to see! That's got to be a hike.
Akane: Zedeja agrees it's useless to bother with a broken old relic.
Hettie: Dilfriida mutters that she feels exactly the same way sometimes.
Akane: What? Speak up, halfling!
Hettie: I don't particularly want to go on a wild goose chase at an ancient statue that people have probably been digging around at for years. But I also don't want to agree with Zedeja. On the other hand, maybe the best way for Zedeja to not get her way would be for Dilfriida to agree with her so she'll change her mind to avoid doing what the halfling wants. I guess I'll speak up a little louder and say, "We should just get back to town and cash in the stuff we got from this trip." It's not really a bluff, because she does think that, even if she'd be happy to needle Zedeja into changing her tune.
Akane: Zedeja is tuneless. It's our bard who is changeable. There's no tricking this mage into plan switching. Also, the best solution to a halfling stating opinions is always to ignore them.
Hettie: Well, I tried.
GM Elle: Before you reach the statue site, unfortunately, the road takes you near a high, craggy hill with enormous boulders heaped at its base. As you're approaching it, a bellowing roar splits the air, and from around the boulders comes charging the figure of a furious giant. You have about two rounds before he gets to you, it looks like.
MSG: And how big is this giant, exactly? Does he have out a weapon?
Claire: Also, can I check Beast Lore to see what I know about giants?
GM Elle: A giant is Huge. In game terms, that means it can block an 8 meter by 8 meter area, which is 4 times as wide as the area a human can block. So he's probably also about 8 meters tall, or 24-ish feet to all of our non-metric players. This one doesn't seem to have a weapon out, but his enormous, clenched fists make you think he probably doesn't need one against tiny things like you. Anyone who wants to rack their brains for the first round can make a Beast Lore roll to see what they know.
MSG: I'm also using my eyes to figure out if he looks like he can outrun us and/or our donkeys. My Beast Lore roll is 3, which succeeds.
Claire: Mine's 13, also a success.
Ariel: I'm gonna say this situation is worth putting a little effort into, so Fidu hops down from the wagon and runs to get farther away from the giant. I'll get my bow out too, in case we end up fighting him.
Sasha: Quackers hauls out the cockatrice head and says, "Hey, buddy, we're big-time monster-slayers, so back off and let us go on our way if you don't want to get monster-slain."
Akane: Zedeja assumes this giant is faster than an oldster mage. She casts Stone Skin for defense at the highest power level. The roll is 8, success.
Hettie: If there are lots of boulders around here, Dilfriida will hop off the cart and hide behind one.
GM Elle: Okay. Dolora and Filvius both recall that giants are very territorial and don't tolerate people intruding on their lands. You also know their long legs give them a faster movement speed than people of your size. It's unlikely any of you except maybe Fidu could outrun him if you stay to the open road, but if you split up and make Evade checks, you can probably scatter into the hills before he gets to you. Sash, you can make a Persuasion roll for Sir Q, and Dilfriida can make a Sneaking attempt, Hettie -- with a boon, because this sort of giant is a bit short-sighted.
Sasha: 19 is almost as fail-y as you can get, but Quackers will get mad if the giant doesn't respect a cockatrice-killer, so I'm pushing the roll. Dammit, 18. So now I'm Angry and didn't get anything out of it.
Akane: Possibly good for the party, however. Now the duck knight is a tempting target for the aggravation of this giant.
Hettie: I roll a 6 and a 2 on Dilfriida's hiding check.
GM Elle: Next round. He's not yet close enough for initiative. What's everyone going to do?
MSG: Dolora says, "Everybody break and run! We'll regroup down the road!" Then I'll Dash or make that Evade roll you were talking about to get the heck out of here.
Claire: Did my Beast Lore roll give me a sense of how well a giant might stand up to a full-strength Lightning Flash?
GM Elle: That's 4d6, right? You're pretty sure you could max those dice out and he'd still just be mad. MSG, make Dolora's Evade roll.
MSG: 13 will do the trick.
Claire: I'm following Dolora's lead, then. My Evade roll is 10, which succeeds.
Ariel: I'm already farther away than everybody else -- can I get a Boon on my roll?
GM Elle: Sure.
Ariel: Ack. TWO Demons.
GM Elle: You faceplant in the middle of the road. You're prone, and you need to make a CON check or you'll be dazed and unable to act next round.
Ariel: Oh no! Here goes my CON roll then ... 17. I'm too frightened not to push that, so I'm going to get Scared and roll again. Whew! 2 this time.
Sasha: Quackers is really ticked now. I'm going to use my Ill-Tempered ability to get a Boon on a skill roll and try Persuasion again, still brandishing the cockatrice head. "This is your last warning! I'll be happy to add a giant head to my trophy bag if you really want to push it!" My rolls are 15 and 14. The 14 is a success.
Akane: Can Zedeja drive a wagon Evasively? If yes, a 10 succeeds.
Hettie: I'll continue to hide behind my rock. But as a reminder, it's a cart. The wagon was too expensive for our tastes, as I recall.
Akane: Thank you. Probably the authority of Zedeja would make her exaggerate a cart into a wagon, though.
GM Elle: The giant comes up short at the apparent fearlessness of the mallard wielding a cockatrice head. He's not scared really, but he is wary enough to shout, "Small ones begone! If you stay there will be crushing!" He advances to the edge of the road, close enough that he'll be able to enter melee next round if you don't turn tail.
MSG: He doesn't have to tell me twice. I'm already splitting.
Claire: Likewise. 
Ariel: I'll get up and run after everyone else. 
Sasha: Can I make a Beast Lore check to see whether I consider the giant a monster and not just a big angry person? The idea of turning back chaps my hide, and if I think of him as a monster, I'm not sure Quackers has the good sense to back down.
GM Elle: I think you've got to role-play this one, Sash. A typical person is definitely going to think of a giant as a monster. He's also clearly threatening you just for passing along the road in or near his territory, which makes him a danger to other travelers as well.
Sasha: Crap. I really don't want Sir Q getting pasted. I guess I'm going to keep arguing with my Ill-Temperedness. "Here's the deal, dude. I don't go around letting monsters threaten people. You want to be reasonable? Just charge a toll for passing through your neck of the woods and only smash people if they won't pay." My rolls are 6 and 2.
GM Elle: That's pretty persuasive. He tells you in that case, you can either turn back, or pay his toll to go past. "One donkey! Pay now or go!"
Sasha: A donkey ran us what, 12 gold? Dang. That's pretty steep. Most people coming along the road won't be able to afford that. Still, if he's offering to charge them instead of just attacking, I guess that's non-monstrous enough for Quackers to tolerate it. Is the cart still in sight?
GM Elle: Akane's evasion roll got it around a hill, so no. But you know which way she headed with it.
Sasha: Guess I'll start waddling after it, then.
MSG: Now, the book says if you choose to overcome your weakness, you can't get a mark for it at the end of the session, and you have to pick a new one to play moving forward. Is Quackenscrump's decision to let the giant be edging into that territory?
Claire: I'd say it's more like Quackers challenged the monster fair and square and got it to downgrade from monster to just capitalist.
MSG: Touché.
GM Elle: My ruling as gamemaster is that it's a player call whether they're overcoming their weakness or just not giving in whole hog. A weakness isn't a pair of leg-irons that you either wear or jump right out of.
MSG: Makes sense.
Sasha: So how do we figure out if I catch up to the cart?
Akane: Zedeja slows when out of sight. She listens for screams and crushing giant fist sounds. If she does not hear them, she will wait at least a brief time.
Sasha: All right. So do you think we'll all end up finding our way together at the cart?
Hettie: Everyone else can, but I'm still hiding behind my rock. If the giant hasn't spotted me here, I don't know that I want to attract his attention trying to run away. I might as well wait until the group comes back and pays him off with one of our donkeys.
MSG: Assuming we actually agree with that instead of just trying to skirt wide around his spot through the hills on the other side of the road.
Akane: Zedeja will favor this plan. It salvages a donkey, and also if there is no halfling with us when we go, the benefit is doubled.
Hettie: There's also probably an inkling somewhere in the back of Dilfriida's head that if he leaves the road unobserved, she might be able to sneak around those boulders the giant came storming out of and see if he's got a lair she could slink into and pilfer something from.
Ariel: Does she really think she'll be able to carry giant-sized stuff out?
Hettie: As far as Dilfriida knows, he has giant-sized coins made with 4 times as much gold as a normal coin. Or loot from other travelers he's waylaid. Most likely, the longer she waits in her hiding spot, the more possibilities she imagines. After a while, she'll sneak a peek to see if he's still waiting in the road. Do I still get a Boon on my Sneaking roll?
GM Elle: Yes.
Hettie: Aha! An 11 and a Dragon.
GM Elle: You see that he's sitting in the road with his attention fixed on the road itself and on the area where the cart rolled between a couple of hills. Thanks to the Dragon, you also see that the current angle of his gaze means you could probably dash farther from the road to another hiding spot from which you could make your way either south in the direction the cart headed or north in the direction the road leads.
Hettie: North it is, then. Does the "probably" mean I still need to roll?
GM Elle: Yes, but still with the Boon.
Hettie: 6 and 3. If I can, I'm going to parallel the road north for a few hundred yards ... meters, rather. Then I'll sneak closer to the road and see if I might be able to cross it without him noticing.
GM Elle: You can get to some bushes near the road without a check. From there, you see his back still turned to you, so you can have another Boon to sneak from your bushes across the road and into cover on the far side.
Hettie: 4 and 18.
GM Elle: You're safely across. By this time, Sir Quackenscrump has caught up with the cart.
MSG: How about the rest of us? I guess I did yell for everybody to scatter, so we probably split in different directions.
Claire: I think Filvius would make his way south a bit before trying to get back to the road. Hopefully that's the general direction everyone headed, since the giant was blocking the road to the north.
Ariel: Plus, we're closer to the farm than to that statue I think, right? That would be a good place to rest up trying to figure a way past the giant.
Sasha: I'll ask Zedeja if she saw which way everyone else went.
Akane: It's certainly a yes, due to the vast Awareness of this mage. Should I roll, gamemaster?
GM Elle: You can roll one die to have kept track of one person, with a Bane die for each additional person you want to have observed.
MSG: So that's a triple Bane?
Claire: Honey, please. Do you think Zedeja's going to keep track of Dilfriida?
Akane: This question -- rhetorical, plainly.
MSG: Right. I should have thought that through for maybe half a second longer.
Akane: The Awareness of Zedeja is probably mighty enough for a triple Bane, but there's no reason to heed the location of a halfling, so only two extra dice to roll. Hmm. 15, 17 and 16. That is one failure. But one failure fails for everything, yes? I consider it tiresome to attend the locations of so many companions, so I become Exhausted by pushing. New rolls are ... 13, Demon, and 13.
Ariel: Yikes! That's a super unlucky combination!
Akane: Yes. And there is no push for a Demon. What consequence befalls Zedeja from too ambitiously Awaring?
GM Elle: First, let me ask -- did Dolora try to go north after breaking and running, or did she head south like most everyone else?
MSG: If she heard Quackers challenging the giant behind her, she probably would have looked for a hiding place to watch what happened, in case it looked like our knight had a fighting chance but also seemed to need help.
Hettie: That's a nicely measured degree of bravery and comradeship.
GM Elle: I doubt Sir Q was quiet about it, so you probably heard. Make a Sneaking roll with a Boon.
MSG: 3 and 7. So if I see how it goes down, I'd head in the same direction as the duck.
GM Elle: In that case, Filvius and Fidu meet up some distance south along the road, and the other three rendezvous somewhere in the hills east of the road. I'll roll a die to see which way Glinssa went ... looks like she stuck with the cart. Zedeja's Demon means she's convinced the others went north.
MSG: Dolora says, "Well that could have gone better," as she arrives at the cart. "Are we really going to give that giant one of our donkeys for passage?"
Akane: What? Intolerable! Who negotiated a donkey to use a free road?
Sasha: Quackers shrugs. "I don't much care whether we fork over the donkey or try to sneak around somehow." If we sneak and he comes after us, that's sort of a win-win for Quackers because he'll get to fight the giant.
Akane: When do giants sleep? We can drive by in darkness when we hear his giant snores. That's the direction we must head to find our junior mage and hound.
GM Elle: Dolora succeeded on her Beast Lore roll at the start of the encounter, so she knows that their territoriality means most giants are light sleepers, and that they sleep at night.
MSG: I'll relay that information.
Claire: Down south, Filvius asks Fidu if he thinks anyone else made it.
Ariel: Probably not, but we can definitely rest here a while and see if one or two of them show up.
Sasha: Well, if the wagon patrol is going to head north, we should get to it. It will probably be slow going taking this cart through the hills.
Akane: Yes. And the longer we sit, the more likely a halfling will catch up.
GM Elle: Speaking of halflings, then, what's Dilfriida's plan, Hettie?
Hettie: If I've made it across the road, I'll find my way around the back side of the hill that the giant came charging around to block us.
GM Elle: The terrain is erratic, so you'll need to roll Bushcraft to find the way quickly. You can have a Boon to the roll, though.
Hettie: Not likely to be much help with my 5 skill level in Bushcraft, but let's see. No, I roll a 6 and a 16.
GM Elle: A Demon would have gotten you hopelessly lost, but failure just means it takes you a long time. When you reach the point where those boulders are, you may not actually recognize them from a distance, given the different angle. You can roll against INT to see if you do.
Hettie: That's only a slight improvement on my Bushcraft; I have an INT of 9. And I roll 15.
GM Elle: Then you unexpectedly stumble upon the heap of boulders from its western side, recognizing them at the last second because you see the road beyond them. It's been at least an hour, and from this angle, you can't see whether the giant is still in the same position sitting in the road. You do see that there's a very large cave opening in the side of the hill that was blocked from view by the boulders when you were on the road.
Hettie: I'm going to sneak to that cave entrance, then. Do I get the Boon still?
GM Elle: You don't know where the giant is, so it's harder to effectively sneak. If we were playing by the book, you couldn't make a roll at all unless you actually know he's there, but I think we can all agree that's kind of a dumb rule. I'll let you make a straight roll, but no Boon.
Hettie: 12 succeeds.
GM Elle: You make it to the mouth of the cave, and looking around the corner, you see that a short way into the passageway beyond, there's a door. It's a huge door, sized for a giant, so the handle is 10 or 12 feet off the ground.
Hettie: Not much likelihood I'm getting that open, then. Dilfriida is frustrated at all the time she's spent only to get stopped by a really big door. I'm going to say she grinds her brain cells together trying to think of a way in and brilliantly comes up with the idea that the giant must have a chimney if he cooks anything in his cave. I'll climb up the hill and search around for any opening in the rocks up there that looks sooty.
GM Elle: You can make a Spot Hidden roll.
Hettie: 12 misses it by 1.
GM Elle: You tell me how many hours you'd spend at the search and I'll roll a die to see whether you find something in that time or not.
Hettie: I'll probably only search for 20 or 30 minutes before I get worried I'm being left way behind. At that point I'll climb up to the top of the hill and see if I can spot anyone along the road in either direction.
GM Elle: Go ahead and roll Spot Hidden.
Hettie: This time it's a success: 7.
GM Elle: Okay, then to know what you spot, we'll have to see what everyone else has done in the hour and a half or so that you've spent skirting the hill and searching. There's some tough going for the cart. If you don't make three strength checks in a row to get it over obstacles, I'll say it takes you an hour to get far enough north that you feel safe cutting back to the road. Two people can contribute, which will give whoever rolls a Boon. But anyone who helps is going to be Exhausted after their second roll.
MSG: Since we don't know ahead of time that there will be three obstacles, I assume Quackers and I will both help on the first one.
Sasha: Damn straight, we do.
MSG: Rolling with a Boon against my 18 strength, I get a 10 and a 4.
GM Elle: All right. You come upon your second rough spot, and Dolora and Sir Q are both feeling a bit winded but not done in yet.
Sasha: You want to take this one by yourself, Dolora? I might want to save my strength in case any monsters come along.
MSG: Sure. I roll 17, another success.
GM Elle: Now you're Exhausted, then. If Dolora makes the third roll with anyone else's help, the Boon from help will cancel out the Bane from Exhaustion.
Akane: Already, Zedeja is Exhausted. I presume she cannot help. Especially with her weakling strength of 10.
GM Elle: Glinssa says she can help. She appears to want to prove her value to the group.
MSG: Sounds good to me. Rolling just one die ... 11. Whew! Hopefully that lets us catch up to the folks we think went north.
GM Elle: All right, you get back to the road in less than an hour and start making good time along it. Claire, Ariel, how long to your characters wait where they are, and once they're done waiting, what do you do?
Ariel: Well, I may be slothful, but I'm pretty fast, so I can't imagine anyone got to this spot before me. Probably I'll figure either they headed north or else the giant pulverized them all. I'm good to kick back and relax for however long Filvius wants to wait, though.
Claire: Filvius craves the knowledge of what happened to the rest of the group. I think after half an hour or 45 minutes, he'd want to head north through the hills, just out of sight of the road if we can manage it.
GM Elle: That will be a Bushcraft roll.
Claire: I'm decent at Bushcraft ... and I roll a 2.
GM Elle: Here's what happens, then. The cart company gets back to the road and far enough north Dilfriida doesn't spot them from her perch on the hill. But Filvius and Fidu return to the road and are still in sight continuing along it when Dilfriida looks. She knows they have the fastest movement in the group. Do you want to try to estimate how long it will take you to catch up to them if you hoof it?
Hettie: No. I'm going to finish out my first hour of searching and if I don't find anything, I'll go back up for a second look and see if I can still pick the elf and wolfkin out.
GM Elle: You do not find a chimney in that first hour. Make a Spot Hidden roll with a Bane to be eagle-eyed enough that you can still see them.
Hettie: Two failures: 13 and 15.
GM Elle: No sign of them as far as you can see, then. And I just realized I've been forgetting about the mists. You probably should have had a Bane from the start and a double or triple Bane on that next roll.
Hettie: Damnation. I don't like falling so far behind, but if I catch up to the group with nothing to show for all this work, I know Zedeja will chastise me until I'm ready to explode. Also, since you mentioned the mists, Dilfriida could probably rationalize her inability to see anyone by telling herself they're not that far off, it's just the mists that keep her from seeing them. I'll spend a second hour searching.
GM Elle: You still don't find a chimney.
MSG: What time is it getting to be? I think those of us with the cart wouldn't go all that far north on the road before taking a break to see if anyone is behind us. It seems like if they'd headed north before we did, they would wait for the cart to catch up, since it would be slower than anyone else.
GM Elle: You left the farm a little after lunchtime. The giant confronted you ... let's say d4 hours later, and the die comes up a 3. So the wagon gets back to the road around 4:00-ish, Dilfriida spots Filvius and Fidu around 4:30, and Dilfriida's second hour is up at around 5:30.
MSG: We would definitely just stop and make camp by 5:30, I'd think.
Claire: And Filvius would definitely want to keep going to catch up to the others, since we know we're quicker than they are.
Ariel: Fidu would probably complain about walking so fast for so long, but he'd also probably go along with it. I don't think I want to stop and make camp just the two of us without any of the stuff we've got in the wagon. I mean, cart.
Hettie: It's tricky to roleplay this knowing that the group is camped already when I'm trying to decide whether to search for another hour. But damn it, I have an oil lamp and flint and tinder, so I'm going to search one more hour and if it's night by then and I have to make my way back to the road by lamplight, so be it.
GM Elle: I rolled a 3 on that d6, so by the end of that hour, with sunset approaching, you do find a fissure atop the hill that's more or less sheltered from the elements by a slab of rock propped up on a couple of small boulders. The underside of the slab is very sooty.
Hettie: Is the hole big enough for me to try to climb down through? And is there smoke currently coming out of it?
GM Elle: Yes to the first question, no to the second.
Hettie: All right, then. I'm going in. What do I need to do to make the climb?
GM Elle: Once you're in the chimney, you'll very quickly be in total darkness. You'll have to make an Awareness check to feel your way downward, followed by an Acrobatics check to make the climb. Each Awareness failure causes you to waste time. An Acrobatics failure ... well, just don't roll an Acrobatics failure.
Hettie: Right, then. First Awareness check is 12, so that's one failure. Second check is 7. Acrobatics check is ... fantastic, a Demon.
GM Elle: Ouch. You fall, and you fall hard. The tube is narrow and formed from natural rock, so I would have let you get a second chance at Acrobatics to grab hold after a short distance. But instead, you hit your head and then bump all the way down. 3 points from hitting your head, 3 points from another bash on the way down, and then 14 from the final fall.
Hettie: That puts me at zero.
GM Elle: Time to start making death rolls, then.
MSG: Dang, I'm really going to miss Dilfriida if she bites it.
Claire: Me too.
Ariel: You'd better make your rolls or I'll be really sad, Hettie!
Sasha: Yeah, don't make Aers cry.
Ariel: I didn't say I'd cry!
Sasha: Mm-hmm. Anyone want to put up 5 dollars against me that says she won't?
Akane: ...
Hettie: ...
GM Elle: ...
MSG: ...
Claire: ...
Ariel: Hmpff!
Hettie: My first Death Roll is 4, well under my CON. I'll try to Rally myself if I can in case the giant comes up on me while I'm lying in his fireplace. That's a WIL roll with a Bane ... Dragon! But also a Demon.
GM Elle: The worse roll prevails. I'll say the Demon means you're out cold and can't make any more Rally attempts.
Hettie: Second Death Roll then ... 5.
MSG: This is looking pretty good, actually.
Claire: Don't jinx her, you!
Hettie: Third roll is a 3. I'm in the clear.
GM Elle: Roll d6 to see how many HP you recover.
Hettie: A whopping 2.
GM Elle: Now let's see if the giant heard you. Default skill level for monsters is 15, and he rolls a 13. He was in bed, but something wakes him up. He spends a round getting up and lighting a giant-sized candle. You're covered in ash and still lying unconscious in the fireplace, so he gets a Bane on his Spot Hidden roll. 12 and 7 means he sees you, unfortunately.
MSG: Not looking so good after all.
GM Elle: On his second round, the giant comes over and prods at you with his finger. You're still out this round, so he may think you're dead. Another Spot Hidden with a Bane ... 8 and 2. Nope, he knows you're still breathing. Draw initiative for the third round, which is when you come to. The third Death Roll and recovering HP takes up your round, but if you win initiative, maybe you'll have time to say something before he acts.
Hettie: I draw the 2. I presume being a monster he gets to draw multiple cards for Ferocity.
GM Elle: No, giants are on the lumbering side, apparently. He just gets one, and it's the 7.
Hettie: Then I cough and say, "I can't believe those bastards threw me down here instead of just paying you that donkey! What a bunch of cheats!"
GM Elle: That's pretty good, actually. Roll your Bluffing to see if he buys it.
Hettie: 16, but I'm definitely pushing it because I'm not just Scared, I'm terrified. 18. Now I'm Disheartened too -- no, wait, that would give me a Bane on Charisma checks. I'm still Dazed from the fall, then. 14. I'm also feeling Sickly, probably from a concussion. Whew! 3 is less than my 9 in Bluffing, finally.
GM Elle: He roars angrily and rushes to his door, bellowing that he's owed a donkey and won't take a scrawny halfling in its place.
Hettie: Great. I'll look around for a second while he's storming out. I don't want to try leaving right on his heels.
GM Elle: He's taking his candle with him, so roll Spot Hidden to see if you notice anything worthwhile in the receding light.
Hettie: I roll a 3.
GM Elle: On the nightstand beside his immense bed, you see a book -- human-sized, actually, so it's probably a bit difficult for him to read, but it's the only thing in sight that seems within your capacity to take. However, the nightstand is 6 feet tall, so you'll have to make an Acrobatics check to jump up and grab it.
Hettie: I'm Dazed, so this is at a Bane, but a 4 and a 15 equals success.
GM Elle: You've got the book, then. The giant is out the door and roaring his way up the hill toward his chimney.
Hettie: I will hoof it out the door in the opposite direction and look for the closest hiding spot I can get to.
GM Elle: That would be around the heap of boulders. Roll Sneaking.
Hettie: Again, with a Bane ... 6 and 3. Can I hear where the giant has gotten to?
GM Elle: Awareness.
Hettie: 10, exactly what I need.
GM Elle: You hear his receding voice shouting angrily, "Where is my donkey!!"
Hettie: If there's another hiding spot within moving distance, I'll make for that.
GM Elle: Sneaking check again. 
Hettie: 3 succeeds but 18 fails.
GM Elle: Bad GM moment -- giants are short-sighted, so creatures your size get a Boon to Sneaking, which cancels out your Bane. You should only be rolling one die.
Hettie: I don't know if the 3 or the 18 landed first.
GM Elle: Well, just roll again, then.
Hettie: 14 makes it.
GM Elle: You find your next hiding spot, then, and I'll say one more success gets you far enough that you can sprint up the road and lose yourself in some brush or around the next hill.
Hettie: 2.
GM Elle: You're in the clear, then. But you do still have to make your way north along the road to catch up to the others. Let's see what the random encounter table says ...
MSG: Wow, you're really trying to get her, aren't you?
Hettie: Actually, it seems to me she's taking it pretty easy on Dilfriida's rash little self.
GM Elle: I roll a "nothing happens" result, so sometime near 8:00 or 9:00, Dilfriida stumbles into camp covered in soot and carrying a book. Filvius and Fidu would have gotten there not too long after the group stopped the cart for the night.
Hettie: I would have paused at some point to get out my lamp and see what the book is, by the way.
GM Elle: The title page says, "Handbook of the Master Carpenter."
MSG: That sounds incredibly worth it.
Hettie: I will heave a sigh and continue onward, then. When I get to camp, I'll spin an adventurous tale of sneaking into the giant's cave and make a bold show of the book -- and also this gold ring I found while I was on watch way back in the Magna Woods. I never told anyone about it or sold it, so now's a good time to bring it out.
Akane: We have skipped some roleplaying, though.
GM Elle: Sorry. Was there something Akane wanted to do around camp?
Akane: Yes. She spends one hour sneering about the thief's incompetence. How quickly the hound and junior mage caught up! Of course a halfling is unable to match this speedy rejoining. Then she spends one hour staring quietly into the fire but occasionally looking south along the road. Then she says she is old and tired and going to bed.
Ariel: When she comes in the tent I say, "Hi, Zedeja!" Because obviously I'm in bed already. Maybe even asleep, I guess, so maybe I don't say that.
Akane: If awake, you notice the mage toss and turn considerably on her sleeping fur until sound of the halfling's return reaches her. This makes her sit quickly up, listening. Next she yells, "Why is a halfling disturbing my sleep! Silence out there!" Regardless of any answer, she lies down once more and soon is asleep snoring old wizardly snores.
Hettie: Thank you, Akane. That was so incredibly sweet.
GM Elle: I think that's a perfect point to end this session, too. Full advancement marks for everybody.
Ariel: *sniff* ... Darn it! And I said I wasn't going to cry!

next time: will filvius convince everyone to visit that statue? has zedeja turned a corner in her attitude toward dilfriida? (spoilers, probably not!)

Sunday, February 4, 2024

okay, one more thing tonight ...

so after i hit publish on that last post, i looked at the post that came between part 18 and part 17 of our dragonbane session, and i realized i mentioned that my anniversary was coming up, so i ought to have plenty to blog about ... and then i didn't actually post anything about my anniversary.

it was honestly pretty awesome, although also in a low-key kinda way. no big presents or dinner out or anything. definitely no out-of-town celebration trip!

the number on this one was pretty big: 15 years.

but you know what we did, me and msg and elle? we just kind of spent the day being comfortable with each other.

we're a thing. we're settled. our lives together are cozy and blissful and sweet, while also day-to-day being full of all the little excitements that a relationship of true love can't help but give you. so really, it felt like the best way to celebrate 15 years of that was just to go all-in on it and spend the day basking in the simplicity of loving two people who always give more than they ask, of knowing what's going on in each other's heads because we're just hanging out in sync, vibing on the perfect feeling of three people being one.

i mean, we also boffed, of course. we weren't that laid-back about our anniversarying.


(p.s., yeah, we totally boffed. and it was great!)

don't panic!

wooo, i just totally spooked myself about the latest dragonbane post, guys. i opened up the draft to see where i'd gotten to in transferring the notes over, and it was completely blank. i was like, oh, i thought we'd gone back in the cave to find those cultists and done a lot of chasing them down and fighting. did that happen in the post before? so i opened another window to look at my blog, and part 18 was at the top, so i scrolled down to see how it ended, and when i got to the bottom of the page, it said to tune in next time to see if we went after the cultists.

holy moley. i a hundred percent knew i'd gotten through the part of the notes where we went back in the cave. i was totally panicking. how did it get deleted? this was bad because usually i copy out of the notes file and paste into blogger, but sometimes i accidentally cut and paste instead of copy and paste. what if it was missing from the notes file too??? so i hurried and opened up the notes file, and whew! the stuff was there. only the thing is, i do a pretty good amount of work moving things over from the notes file, making sure everybody's name is the right color, making sure there's not some formatting screw-up because blogger doesn't actually like for you to paste stuff in from word docs. i really didn't want to do all that over. also, sometimes i notice things msg has missed with his note-taking, because he gets up to go to the bathroom or get a snack when his character isn't part of the action. and i was pretty sure there were some funny lines i remembered and added back in that he didn't write down. it's been a week since i did that work! and even longer since we actually played!

i super-totally didn't want to have to re-do all of it, and i started getting mega-bummed.

and then i had a thought and i clicked back over to the tab with the blog up and went to the top and saw part 18 there and saw that it started off with us meeting those other two cultists outside the cave and fighting them. and i realized that when i scrolled down, i scrolled down to the bottom of the whole blog page, not to the bottom of the post. the bottom of the blog page was the end of part 17, not part 18.

so i scared myself over nothing because i scrolled prematurely instead of reading how part 18 started off, which would have let me know that yeah, i did finish working on the stuff i remembered, and i posted it. the blank file was just me getting ready for next time, which was going to be tonight -- except that now i'm exhausted from making myself all panicky-like.

which means now i'm off to bed.

but it did give me a chance to quote some very good advice from the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy for a post title, so all's well that ends well, right?

hopefully i'll get part 19 done in the next couple of days!


Friday, January 26, 2024

secret of the dragon emperor ... part 18!

i haven't been very good about pointing this out lately, but if you need to catch up on the older posts in this series, there's a page of links you can find in the roleplaying game posts section of my blog archive over on the left!

our scene begins outside the entrance to dead eyes cave ...

GM Elle: Here we go, folks. To start this session off, we're jumping back to the point when Fidu, Filvius, and Zedeja limp out of the cave bruised-up and snake-bitten from falling in the snake pit.
Claire: Good times.
Ariel: Is Glinssa still there watching our donkeys and all the stuff in our cart? Because I really need a sleeping pelt to curl up on for some rest right about now.
Akane: If the cultist has fled with our goods, Zedeja prepares loud complaints about the unwise-ness of hiring that zealot to tend our livestock.
GM Elle: As it happens, both Glinssa and the wagon are still there. She does look surprised to see you back so soon, and only the three of you. She jumps up from where she'd been sitting on the cart bench and says, "Oh no ... did the basilisk --"
Akane: No worries about a basilisk. Our dwarf who hired you has disproved its existence. More importantly, what is this sitting down while on the job?
GM Elle: She looks more than a little confused. "I mean ... I expected it would be hours that I'd have to wait out here by myself, and no one told me I needed to stand the whole time. But Dolora is okay?"
Akane: She is dour, but normally so. We are mighty adventurers. There's no need for such worrying. Be more concerned about donkeys! However, if you must be concerned for others, at least include the duck knight in your questions. It's rude to leave him out.
GM Elle: She appears perplexed and off-balance. "I don't understand. Is ... do you want me to ask about Sir Quackenscrump and Dilfriida too? Or ask about nobody at all?"
Akane: Too many questions! Also, asking about that halfling and asking about nobody are the same. Don't be repetitious! There should be reporting about donkey conditions instead. 
GM Elle: She says they seem to be fine.
Claire: Filvius asks if Akane or Fidu need any healing.
Ariel: I'm down 5 hit points, so heck yes!
Akane: Zedeja lacks the same number. There should be healing, then stretch resting, then more healing if still needed.
Claire: Well, Filvius already took a stretch rest this shift, so how about if you two stretch rest, and then if you're still hurt, I could do some healing.
Ariel: I already took my stretch rest too.
Claire: Okay, well, in that case I'll try a Heal Wounds. 19. Nope, 2 WP wasted. Let's try again ... okay, better -- 13. I also roll 13 for the amount of healing.
Ariel: Great! That's way more than I needed.
Akane: Zedeja rests for a stretch and feels improved.
Ariel: I guess while Zedeja is resting we'll let Glinssa know what happened.
GM Elle: She looks dubious when you get to the part about the basilisk being dead.
Claire: I tell her Dolora was very convincing. She gets that, right? Otherwise she wouldn't be here now.
GM Elle: That makes sense to her.
Ariel: Fidu asks if maybe Filvius can set up the tent. I think your Bushcrafting is better than mine. Plus, I'm beat. It's getting pretty late, right? So we might as well get camp ready for when the others get back.
Sasha: You know, your guys don't know that our guys killed the basilisk yet.
Claire: No, but thanks to Dolora's great Persuasion roll, we think it was dead before we got here. I get a 4 on my Bushcraft roll, Aers, so the tent goes right up.
Ariel: Great. Fidu picks a corner and hits the sleeping pelt.
Claire: I guess Filvius does the same.
Akane: No rest for Zedeja. She must watch this cultist. At least until others return.
GM Elle: Well, it was dusk when you arrived, so it's fully dark now except for whatever focus Filvius cast his Light on.
Claire: Probably this amulet I have, which I would have left outside with whoever's on watch to make it easier to get some shuteye. It will only last a shift, though.
GM Elle: Should be enough. Your characters don't know it, but the rest of the group will be back with the lamp well before the elf's spell expires.
MSG: So are we skipping to that point now?
GM Elle: Unfortunately, no. The die of fate that I rolled has decreed a random encounter. Zedeja and Glinssa will need to make Awareness rolls -- Glinssa's being a 20. I'm going to roll again -- on an odd number, she does something that distracts Zedeja and gives her a Bane; on an even number, she's paying so little attention she falls asleep.
Akane: The even possibility would bring instant complaint from Zedeja!
GM Elle: In that case, I don't even need to roll. Zedeja sees Glinssa starting to nod off, and whatever you do to prod her and complain distracts you enough that you get the Bane on your Awareness roll. I probably should have just jumped right to that.
Akane: Zedeja the Mind sees all. Even while she scolds, she remains Aware -- both rolls are 8.
GM Elle: Some movement from down the pass interrupts her criticism of Glinssa, then. Two figures in black robes are approaching -- one of them carrying a torch.
MSG: Not sure I like the sound of those robes.
Sasha: Eh. If they're more cultists but there are only two of them, they'll never survive the tongue-lashing Zedeja's will dish out to anyone who interrupts her discipline session with Glinssa.
Akane: Accurate. Zedeja looks to see if tattoos are visible on these robed interrupters.
GM Elle: Roll Spot Hidden with a bane.
Akane: The first die yes, the second no.
GM Elle: No obvious tattoos in sight then. When they get a little closer, you see them stop a moment and whisper to one another. They're a man and a woman, both shaved bald.
Akane: Conspirers! Zedeja calls out to them, "Speak up! An old woman can't hear you at this distance!"
GM Elle: They move forward, their gazes switching between Zedeja and Glinssa. Their expressions are curious or suspicious. One of them says, "Are you of the group sent by Koth? He wonders why there has been delay."
Akane: We are bold adventurers! Plus an employee. No one sends us except ourselves.
GM Elle: Zedeja can make an Awareness check.
Akane: Accomplished. The roll is 5.
GM Elle: Out of the corner of your eye, you think you notice Glinssa stiffen a little bit at mention of the name Koth.
Akane: Even without tattoos, these two must be cultly, then. Zedeja tells them a basilisk ate all the black-robed types who were here. Astonishing numbers of dead bodies in black robes.
GM Elle: The woman points at Glinssa and asks, "What about her?"
MSG: Wait, she's not still wearing her black robe is she?
GM Elle: She doesn't have an extensive wardrobe, and she wouldn't have been walking around town or into the Three Stags without the robe that Quasimund and Annabelle would expect her to have on.
MSG: I wish I'd known that detail.
Claire: Me too, but I have to admit that any of us could have asked if she was still wearing it.
Akane: Zedeja says, "She is a donkey tender."
GM Elle: Glinssa nods nervously. Go ahead and roll a bluff on your story about there being tons of dead bodies.
Akane: Zedeja is wise with her words, though. "Astonishing numbers" could be one or zero. One astonishing because we did not expect cultists, or zero astonishing because surely a basilisk would kill many of them.
GM Elle: I'm still going to ask for a roll.
Akane: Hmm. Zedeja's Bluffing ... very poor. She rolls 13 and fails.
GM Elle: They continue to walk forward, and the man addresses Glinssa. He says, "Maybe you should speak for yourself, sister. Is this true about bodies in black robes like ours?" Glinssa swallows heavily and opens her mouth to speak.
Akane: If they are within 6 meters, Zedeja will Levitate them.
GM Elle: They are. But an Awareness check means the woman notices you starting the spell and gets to draw initiative against you. The man rolls a Demon, meaning he's so off-guard that your Bane won't apply to him if you win the initiative.
Akane: Initiative! Those cards are against us always. I draw ... 7.
GM Elle: The woman draws the 1. She draws a scimitar and rushes forward to attack. A 13 succeeds.
Akane: Zedeja has stubbornness in wanting to bespell them. She does not dodge.
GM Elle: Ouch, 10 points of damage then.
Akane: Hm. Possibly that was unwise of the mage. Still -- her turn. The first roll is 5, so the man rises into the air. Bane roll is a Dragon, so the woman rises also. 8 meters means 4 dice of falling! 13 against the man. 10 against the woman.
GM Elle: The man comes down on his head and snaps his neck. The woman lands hard but is still alive.
Akane: "The fall was deadly because of your aggression!" Zedeja tells her. "It would be a gentle one as a warning if you did not attack!" This is more Bluffing. The roll is 4, so now I am believable.
GM Elle: Draw initiative again. Fidu and Filvius can roll Awareness to see if they wake up and draw as well.
Claire: 7. Filvius is up.
Ariel: I roll an 18, which is good because Fidu wants to sleep anyway.
Akane: 4 is the initiative of Zedeja.
Claire: 9 for Filvius.
GM Elle: 7 for the cultist, 5 for Glinssa.
Akane: Zedeja will Brawl the cultist. Her skill has improved recently. 13 succeeds.
GM Elle: She tries to evade and does so with a 5. Glinssa follows your lead and tries to punch her. She gets a 2, for 2 points of damage, just enough to bring the cultist down. She probably wasn't eager to kill the woman, so I'm going to say that just knocks her out.
Akane: What! Next time, you must kick where her ribcage is weak from falling on rocks. No sympathies for these cultists!
MSG: Is Zedeja really angry about something? She seems particularly worked up this evening.
Akane: It's her humiliation of rolling a Demon for Levitating near the pit of snakes. Obviously, an overbearing type like Zedeja must do something to overbear her failure. It's not too much, I hope.
Sasha: Are you kidding? Zedeja's a riot. She's on fire tonight.
Hettie: Yes, high marks for the roleplaying, though Dilfriida certainly wouldn't agree.
Claire: Have we gotten around to my initiative card yet? Because Filvius is going to come out of the tent and demand the scoop on what's going on here.
GM Elle: Yes. And Glinssa fills you in by saying, "Some cultists attacked us. Zedeja killed one and I knocked the other out."
Claire: That's great news. We'll be able to get some info out of her for sure when she wakes up.
GM Elle: Glinssa looks pleased at that, then glances nervously in Zedeja's direction.
Akane: Elf! You must come expend magic healing these wounds of Zedeja. She has been scimitared.
Claire: I'll go over and spend a couple WP on a Heal Wounds spell. Oof. Just missed it with a 15. I'll try again. Better. That's an 11. Only 4 hit points back, though.
Akane: I have 3 times as many hit points now as before, so Zedeja withholds complaint. She does insist you cast the spell again, though.
Claire: I'm pretty low on WP. Do you think we should maybe save some healing in case the rest of the group return injured?
Akane: This is wisdom from Filvius, but tonight is not a night for questioning the commands of an aggravated mentalist. Zedeja deals you a fierce scowl.
Claire: Yeesh, all right. Ooh, Dragon casting the spell! Thanks for making me do that.
GM Elle: I'll let you roll 3 dice for healing because of the Dragon, and any points beyond what Zedeja needs for full health can bring her WP up.
Claire: Eep, that's 21 points.
Akane: Exactly the amount to bring Zedeja to her full health and vitality. "Do you see what you can do when you follow the ideal advice of the Mind?"
Claire: Sure. Now I'm going to tie up this cultist chick and see if I can use Healing to wake her up. I'm not really trying to mend anything, just seeing if I can get her conscious and wring some knowledge out of her.
GM Elle: You can roll for that.
Claire: 15, which exactly matches my skill.
GM Elle: With some gentle patting of her cheek, you bring her around. She immediately struggles with her bonds ... and gets a Strength check of 2! It looks like you didn't tie her as well as you might have, because she's getting loose already.
Claire: I guess I'll try to smack her in the head before she can get up. My Brawling sucks, but -- whoa, I get a 2 too. Oh. But it's only one point of damage.
GM Elle: The cultist yells, "Glory to Sathmog!" and leaps back up, hands now free. I guess it's time for initiative cards again.
MSG: Next time maybe somebody should sit on her too.
Claire: 9 for Filvius.
Akane: Zedeja draws the 4.
GM Elle: 7 for the cultist, 8 for Glinssa. Akane?
Akane: This patting of a cheek might overcome the feebleness of Glinssa's blows, but there's no way a pat could fix the damage of falling from 4 meters. Therefore, since 2 points of fist damage knocked her unconscious before, she needs only 1 point to slumber again. Zedeja will expand a WP on Flick to magically do this point of damage without even rolling.
GM Elle: She's unconscious again.
Claire: Well, can I still get my action for the round?
GM Elle: Sure.
Claire: I'm going to Round Rest to recover d6 WP. Only 2, but that's another casting of Heal Wounds if we need it.
GM Elle: All right. I think we can safely consider the combat over at this point. The cultist is going to be out a while longer. Before she wakes up, you hear noise from within the mouth of the cave and see an approaching light. It's the 3 other members of your party, accompanied by a young woman with filthy, dirt-streaked hair and a look of exhausted relief on her face.
MSG: Dolora says it turns out there was a second basilisk in addition to the one we found cut to pieces.
Claire: Does she believe that, or does she need to make Bluffing check?
GM Elle: I think we can handle that straight role-play style without rolls. If you get to roll every time someone makes an off-handedly non-true statement, everyone's going to end up with advancement marks for Bluffing all the time.
MSG: If pressed, Dolora will admit that she might have made a mistake when examining those remains near the cave entrance. That's especially true if Gunhill convincingly demonstrated that they were farm animal body parts on our way out.
GM Elle: Dolora's lack of ability to tell a sheep-haunch from a basilisk leg probably isn't the top thing on Gunhill's mind at the moment.
Sasha: Sir Quackenscrump hauls out the basilisk head and gives everyone the gory details of how we fought it and how he cut its head off, ka-whack!
Akane: Zedeja says, "Don't be such a hog for attention, duck! You let our halfling come back injured, so it's not a complete success."
Hettie: Dilfriida is surprised that the old bag would consider her injury to be any indicator of success or failure.
Akane: Not her injury -- Zedeja objects to letting her come back. Does the halfling say anything aloud that would make Zedeja realize there is misunderstanding?
Hettie: No. After furrowing her brow for a minute, she chalks it up to Zedeja wanting to minimize our knight's accomplishment any way she can.
Akane: This is called "win-win" from the viewpoint of an overbearing mage. Next, she tells the story of defeating cultists through Levitation, some weakling punches, and a very precise Flick.
Hettie: Dilfriida says from all the blood on your robes, it looks like you weren't completely successful either.
Akane: Incorrect. Injury was acceptable because we had magely healing power with us. Carelessly receiving wounds with no healer around -- it's insensible.
Hettie: "Well, we're back at the healer now," Dilfriida says. Then she tells Filvius she could use some of that wound healing magic.
Claire: I succeed with a 9, healing you for ... 9 points.
Hettie: Ahh. Much better.
MSG: Do you tell us the part about the cultist breaking loose after you tied her up?
Akane: It's part of the evidence for superior performance by Zedeja, so yes.
MSG: Then I ask what the heck you tied her up with that she got loose so easily. The cord from the tent?
Claire: Well, I ... hmm. Actually, the only thing I see on my sheet or in the cart inventory are these bandages I'm carrying. Looks like you guys had all the rope with you.
MSG: Dolora shows off her bond-tying knowledge by saying, "You can't tie somebody up with bandages. You need rope, like this." Then I get out my rope and tie the unconscious chick up -- hands and feet both so she'd have to make two different strength checks before she'd be loose.
Claire: Filvius says that if you'd shared the knowledge that you had all the rope, it wouldn't have been a problem.
GM Elle: With all the talking and jostling of her while you're tying her up with the rope, the cultist starts moaning and maybe coming around.
Sasha: I'll get out my sword and point it at her nice and close to make sure she knows better than to try anything.
GM Elle: She opens her eyes blearily and seems to have trouble focusing on your sword. She also seems to be in a lot of pain.
Akane: Deserved!
Sasha: Quackers will tell her we're going to need some answers if she wants to get out of here alive.
GM Elle: She says she will never betray Sathmog, and she knows that if she dies, her soul will become an ember in the flames her master will use to burn the world.
MSG: Dolora will say she should tell us more about Sathmog and what his cult believes. Maybe it will convince us to join.
Claire: Filvius adds, "Also, we're really very curious."
GM Elle: She starts going on about Sathmog being eternal and undying and destined to erase all the misery and ugliness in the world with fire. Then there will be only Sathmog and his endless flames throughout the universe.
MSG: I'm going to ask Glinssa if that's what the cultists really believe.
GM Elle: She looks uncomfortable talking in front of your prisoner, but she says it basically is ... although Leanara made it sound a little more righteous and aimed at destroying the wickedness of the dragons and their knights. The cultist gasps and calls Glinssa a blasphemous traitor. "Sathmog will cleanse you from the world with all the rest for this treachery!"
MSG: I'll say I'm not really sure I hear a big difference between getting cleansed from the world with fire and turning into fire after you're dead. "Is one of those really better than the other?"
GM Elle: She says your mind is obviously too small to comprehend. Glinssa says Leanara and and Quasimund said things like that all the time when anyone in the cult started asking too many questions. They'd say, "You need to repeat these chants until Sathmog's heat expands your understanding."
Sasha: Sounds like loads of fun. Quackers says, "Look ... you got anything to tell us that will make us want to let you live? Like what you're doing here?"
Akane: Zedeja points out the cultist's question: are we part of the group sent by Koth? It's easy to conclude that more cultists are nearby.
Hettie: Dilfriida says according to Gunhill, there's a bunch of them in the cave.
GM Elle: Gunhill nods, then says that actually she doesn't know how many -- whether it's a lot or just a few.
Claire: I'm going to tell the cultist that if she'll talk, I'll cast a healing spell on her so she feels a little better. 
GM Elle: She narrows her eyes as if calculating, still gritting her teeth against the pain of getting dropped from a height of 4 meters onto hard rock.
Ariel: Woohoo, hard rock!   \m/
Sasha: I thought you were asleep.
Ariel: My character is, but I can still do the metal sign. It's not like Fidu would even if he was awake.
Sasha: True.
GM Elle: She seems to conclude that getting healed is a good deal, and she tells you that the group sent by Koth was looking for something precious to Sathmog. She adds that she doesn't know what, she was just sent with her partner to see what was taking the other group so long. You don't quite believe her when she says she doesn't know what it is.
MSG: Dolora will show off her knowledge by saying that obviously it's one of the pieces of the dragon emperor statue, since Annabelle was so keen to get us to find those for her.
GM Elle: Her eyes widen a little, briefly, and then she attempts to conceal her surprise. She says she's not saying anything more until she's healed.
Claire: Probably there's not much more we can get from her that will be useful. I'll go ahead and try Treat Wound on her. It's the same WP cost as Heal Wound, but does less healing, and I don't want to heal her any more than I have to. 12 is a success on casting ... damn it, the 6-siders come up with a 6 and a 4.
GM Elle: That brings her almost back to full and makes her blink in surprise.
Claire: I'll tell her, "See? Sometimes it pays to do right by people who are on the right side of things."
GM Elle: A haughty look comes into her eyes like she's scoffing at your idea, but she doesn't say anything.
MSG: I'll tell Glinssa I'm glad she wasn't as far gone as this fanatic is and that she was able to see reason.
GM Elle: She looks a little awkward, and gives the cultist a nervous glance, but also seems appreciative of the praise.
Sasha: Well, the way I see it, we can camp out here, we can head back into the cave and try to clear out these cultists, or we can go back to Hildi's farm to rest up.
Akane: Zedeja still has scaredness from turning sheet-white. The basilisk is dead, she says. Going back to the farm is safest.
Hettie: Dilfriida doesn't say anything because she's Scared too, but doesn't want to agree with Zedeja.
MSG: Well, Quackers and I ditched our Scared condition by resting up in the basilisk's lair, which is probably safer from wandering cultists than setting up our tent right here by the exit.
Claire: Filvius says, "Do you not remember that the whole reason the three of us came out here was because we couldn't get past the snake pit without halfway dying? How does it make sense to go back in and try it again?"
Sasha: All right, well, all the scaredy cats can go to sleep while Dolora, me, and Glinssa keep watch for any cultists coming out of the cave. I'm down some WP, but I really only use the points against monsters, so I can probably manage a few cultists.
Akane: But there may be many cultists.
Sasha: I'll count 'em as I kill 'em.
Hettie: Hard to argue with that.
GM Elle: Does everyone else bed down for a shift rest, then?
Claire: Sounds good to me.
Ariel: Already half done! At least it sure seems like all this talking has taken half a shift.
Akane: All right ... although Zedeja has nerves about it.
Hettie: Dilfriida's nervous too, but she also thinks it would be nerve-wracking to drag ourselves all the way down the mountain in the dark to get to the farm. So she's good with that plan.
GM Elle: Great. Then I'll just roll on the event table and you don't want me to get another 6. That's the cultist one.
MSG: Watch, it's going to be another 6.
GM Elle: Nope, a 3. Everyone who sleeps gets back all HP and WP and heals all conditions. It's now the middle of the night, though, and Quackers and Dolora are entering Sleep Deprivation territory because it's been more than three shifts since they rested. At this point you can't heal WP or conditions, and when the full shift passes, you'll lose another d6 WP.
MSG: Well, if nobody's scared anymore and there's been no sign of cultists coming out, maybe the two of us should get some rest while everybody else stands watch.
Ariel: Everybody but Fidu, you mean. He's definitely sleeping the whole night unless it's an emergency.
Sasha: If it was more monsters we were going to clear out of the cave, Quackenscrump wouldn't sit still for more resting. But since it's just cultists, he's fine with it.
GM Elle: Rolling for shift number two, then. Another 3. Dawn filters hazily down through the mists of the vale, bringing a diffuse light to the face of Mount Oculus. When Gunhill wakes up, she says she'd just as soon head back to the farm and leave dealing with the cult to you adventuring types.
MSG: I'll tell her she managed herself bravely in the cave, and we'll stop by and let them know how things went once we mop up in there.
GM Elle: The cultist says sneeringly that with the blessing of Sathmog, her comrades will be the ones doing the mopping, and they might be the ones stopping by the farm on the way back too. She's giving Gunhill a threatening look as she says so.
Akane: Akane strikes this threatener with her staff. Hmm 14 is a miss.
GM Elle: I'll give you a Boon because she's tied up and not expecting it.
MSG: Neither were the rest of us.
Akane: Second roll: worse. A 15.
GM Elle: The cultist laughs at you. She says now she knows Sathmog is working your doom.
MSG: I'll tell her --
Akane: Zedeja strikes again.
GM Elle: No Boon this time because she's definitely aware of your attack.
Akane: Now the roll is 2.
GM Elle: She tries to dodge but rolls an 11.
Akane: My staff deals 5 points of damage. "Silence!"
GM Elle: That's almost half her hit points, so she cries out in pain. Gunhill turns away a little uneasily and moves down along the pass, glancing back as she goes. Anyone else doing anything?
MSG: I'm interested in seeing how far Zedeja will take this, so I don't interfere.
Claire: I advise the cultist not to keep aggravating Zedeja.
Ariel: I'm still lying in my sleeping pelt, wondering what these whacking sounds are that are disturbing my rest.
Sasha: Quackers is waving to Gunhill if she keeps glancing back.
GM Elle: She doesn't. The cultist looks sullenly at you but holds her tongue. Glinssa is also watching all this a bit anxiously.
Akane: Good. She should know there is a penalty for culting. To the cultist, I say, "Your master now in place of Sathmog ... Zedeja of Mind!"
GM Elle: With her eyes full of rage, she spits out, "Never!"
Akane: I staff her again. The roll once more, 2.
GM Elle: This time she dodges with a 5.
MSG: Okay, I tell Zedeja maybe that's enough.
Akane: "Why tell this to me?" she says. "Explain to this prisoner who continues making faulty choices."
MSG: Dolora tells the cultist she really doesn't want to see anyone's brains knocked in before breakfast. I'm trying to Persuade her to keep her trap shut. Roll or no roll?
GM Elle: Go ahead.
MSG: Despite being a bard, my Persuasion is only 7, so ... ah, made it with a 4.
GM Elle: She keeps her mouth shut for now and makes sure she watches Zedeja to see if she needs to duck again.
MSG: Good.
Claire: That does raise the matter of breakfast, though I guess we should mark off another round of rations.
Ariel: Fidu will get up for breakfast as long as he's being kept awake by people talking and getting smacked.
Akane: No breakfast for a prisoner cultist, though. Only for an ex-cultist donkey minder -- if she is behaving!
Hettie: It occurs to Dilfriida that the two cultists have been traveling a while to get here and must have some goods on them for the trip. I'm going to check them out.
GM Elle: The dead guy -- who is still lying there not far from camp -- has a backpack with 5 torches, a flint and tinder, and 6 rations.
Hettie: I'll confiscate all that and put it in the wagon.
GM Elle: So. If everyone is up and has eaten, what's next?
Sasha: Let's go spelunkin' for some cult clunkin'.
Akane: Zedeja agrees ... in fact, commands.
GM Elle: Okay, here's the map of the parts of Dead Eyes Cave you've explored so far.

Those two tunnels leading off to the left are the only parts you haven't been to.
MSG: I guess we'll head in there, then.
Akane: Wait! Cultists are in the cave, we think. But have they detected us?
Sasha: Sir Q pats his sword and says, "They'll be detecting something real soon if they haven't already."
Akane: Suppose something, though: we have three cult robes.

Hettie: Isn't it two?
Akane: Glinssa retained her uniform of zealotry. If three cultists enter a cave and say they are sent by Koth, possibly cultists within the cave will provide information we do not have.
Claire: Ooh, I like that! Filvius immediately volunteers to be on the information-getting team.
Sasha: Well, I'm not taking my armor off, and I doubt they'll be expecting any cult members in full plate.
Akane: Zedeja also will dress in robes. Seems like a hound who sniffs lies would be a good addition.
Ariel: Aw, man. I was looking forward to hanging back and chilling a little more while we waited for whoever's in the robes to go in and come back.
Akane: Remember, there is also treasure to be hunted. Reread that adventure card.
Ariel: Ooh I remember now. Okay, Fidu is in.
Sasha: What do the rest of us do then, Zedeja?
Akane: Follow not too close. Wait for a signal -- or fighting sounds! Now, when dressed and near the first tunnel, Zedeja casts Stone Skin of level 1 and Power Fist of level 2. Both succeed!
Hettie: How long do those last?
Akane: One stretch.
Hettie: Boy, really not planning on talking to the cultists very long, are you?
Akane: Zedeja plans to talk, but prepares to fight. You would understand if you were not just a halfling.
Hettie: Grr.
GM Elle: What are you doing with the prisoner?
MSG: That's a pickle, actually. I'd rather not leave her with Glinssa, where she might undermine the progress away from the cult Glinssa has made. But I also don't think it's a great idea to bring her along where she might yell and warn the cultists.
Claire: I suggest we keep her tied up, with a gag, and Dolora can always use that big club on her if she misbehaves.
Ariel: I feel like you're trying to get me to say, "That's what she said." Only, because the cultist is a girl, I think it would just be confusing and not funny.
Sasha: Hey, don't hold back. You never know unless you try.
Ariel: Now I feel like you're trying to get me to say it.
MSG: I don't think anyone's encouraging you to use that bit ... it's getting pretty limp.
Ariel: Stop it!
Akane: Zedeja ties the gag and dresses in robes. Now, into the cave.
GM Elle: Light source?
Claire: Guess I'll carry a torch, since that's what we saw the cultists using last night.
Ariel: You other guys can borrow my lamp.
Sasha: Thanks. I guess Dilfriida's holding it again.
MSG: Who's got hold of the cultist, then?
Hettie: One of you big strong types, I'm guessing.
MSG: I'm a dwarf, so I'm not really that big even if I'm strong.
Hettie: Everyone's big when you're a halfling.
MSG: Good point. Anyway, I guess I can hold onto one end of the rope and just drop it if I need to fight.
Claire: Or you could just hog-tie her there in room number 2, and if you have to come running because you hear us get in trouble, leave her behind.
MSG: I like that plan better. I'll do that.
Akane: Zedeja suggests this plan would not be needed except for the dwarf's interruption of her staffing.
Hettie: Dilfriida suggests the three information seekers get going or the durations going to run out on your spell ... along with my patience.
Claire: We'll get moving, then.
GM Elle: You proceed along through the twisting natural passageway for a brief way and then notice a light source up ahead. You also think you hear voices.
Claire: I'll sneak ahead a little and take a look. My Sneaking roll is 4. 
GM Elle: You also get a Boon because it turns out the people in the next chamber are wearing blindfolds.
Sasha: Haha, losers.
Claire: It would be nice if my second roll was a Dragon, but it's a 16, so no change to the outcome.
GM Elle: As you reach a corner where the passage opens up into a larger chamber, you see a campfire flickering a short distance away. Huddled around it are 6 figures wearing black robes and blindfolds. Obviously more cultists. Along the side of the chamber beyond them, you see skulls and bones scattered all over the floor. A cage with a couple of chickens in it sits near the fire.
Claire: You said I heard voices -- what are they saying?
GM Elle: Roll Awareness to see if you can make it out. They're speaking in hushed tones, but they seem to be arguing, and it's only once in a while a word reaches normal volume.
Claire: 2 again. So many 2's tonight and no Dragons.
GM Elle: It sounds like they're debating whether to give up on their search or keep at it. A couple of them are saying they've looked everywhere, so it must not be here. Another dude who seems to be in charge says if they have to look again, they'll look again. "Azrahel Koth will not accept failure!"
Claire: Are the two guys who are wanting to give up sitting next to each other?
GM Elle: Yes, why?
Claire: Because my Lightning Flash spell only requires a gesture, so if I'm within 30 meters of them, as soon as the one guy says that about Azrahel Koth, I'm going to Lightning Flash those other two, and none of them will know I'm here casting spells at them. Damn it, 19. I'll push the roll and become Exhausted. 10 makes it. The first guy takes 8 points of damage and the second one takes 4.
GM Elle: Lightning bursts down from the ceiling and electrifies the two guys. You see smoke coming off the one who took 4 and smell a cooked smell coming from the other guy. They both scream in surprise and agony.
MSG: Holy crap, that's genius.
Claire: Thanks. Mostly Filvius wanted to find out if it would work. I'm going to duck back out of sight around the corner in case someone lifts their blindfold to peek.
GM Elle: That's another Sneaking roll, still with a Boon.
Claire: 11 and -- woohoo, Dragon!
GM Elle: Not only to they not detect you, it doesn't even occur to them that someone might be there. You hear muttering about the vengeance of Sathmog and some of the cultists who hadn't spoken before declaring that they were definitely in favor of continuing their search. The leader isn't quite sure what happened, but everyone saw the flash of light through their blindfolds, and they seem to be convinced it was a sign from their demon lord. The leader stands and tells everyone to come on and they'll try the passage to the north again. "We haven't found the lair of that creature yet -- maybe the piece of the statue awaits us there."
Claire: Hmm, so they are after one of those statue pieces.
Sasha: Can I assume the rest of us heard that thunder crack from down the passageway?
GM Elle: Yes, there's no mistaking that, even with a Bane on Awareness for your helmet. Claire, the leader orders two of the cultists to get the chickens and lead the way to the northern passage.
MSG: I don't think there's any way around us assuming that something's gone wrong. 
Sasha: Hey, I don't hear any cries for help, do you?
Hettie: Dilfriida's going to sneak partway up the passage and see if she can tell what's going on. But not on a 17, I won't. I'll become Scared someone might hear me and push the roll. Much better, a Dragon.
GM Elle: You sneak so quietly that absolutely no one hears you, and on top of that, you shield the lamp with your body so almost no light precedes you. Ahead you can make out your companions near an opening into a larger chamber. They don't look particularly fearful of danger.
Hettie: Then I'll go back before Zedeja notices me and complains. Once I'm back I'll say, "False alarm, guys. Whatever's going on, Team Cult Disguises seems okay."
Claire: As soon as it looks like the cultists are about to clear the room, I'll sneak back to where the others can see me and gesture them forward. Do I need to make a roll?
GM Elle: Sure, but the Boon still applies.
Claire: 5 and 3.
Sasha: If I see the elf calling us forward, I'll go.
MSG: Me too, with the hog-tied cultists over one shoulder. I'm guessing I need to make a strength check for that. The die comes up 5.
GM Elle: You haul her along like she's a rag doll. The other cultists have gone out through an exit in the northeast part of the room, leaving their fire and the empty chamber with its scattered bones.
MSG: Should we search the bones?
Claire: I dunno, the guy sounded like they'd searched everything in this area.
Ariel: Yeah, but they're blindfolded. How good a job could they do?
GM Elle: Anyone who wants to search can make a Spot Hidden roll.
MSG: 17. Not even close.
Claire: 5!
Ariel: Can I use my Treasure Hunter ability to get a Boon? Or I guess maybe if there's nothing here it'll point me to the next closest treasure?
GM Elle: The closest treasure is definitely in the pile of bones. You can roll with a Boon.
Ariel: A 5 and a 10.
Sasha: I'm keeping an eye up that northeast passage in case they come back.
Akane: Zedeja also.
Hettie: Dilfriida searches and also gets a 5.
GM Elle: That's a 3 way tie for the best roll. I'll say whoever has the best Spot Hidden rating finds something.
Claire: 7.
Ariel: 13.
Hettie: Mine is 11.
Ariel: Woohoo! What do I find?
GM Elle: Under a heap of bones, you find a sheathed sword. It's covered in dust and bone shards, but the hilt looks extraordinarily well made. When you pull it out and examine it, you find that it's a mastercrafted broadsword.
MSG: Anybody use a broadsword?
Ariel: More important to Fidu is, how much is a mastercrafted broadsword worth?
Sasha: Like, 10 times as much as a regular one.
Hettie: According to the book, that would be 120 gold pieces.
MSG: Well that may make this trip worth the effort all by itself.
GM Elle: Zedeja and Sir Q can make an Awareness check.
Sasha: 4 and an 18. I don't see squat in this helmet.
Akane: For Zedeja, a 9. This succeeds.
GM Elle: You think you hear a cry of alarm and then some screams from that passage entrance you're guarding.
MSG: Sounds like they found the snake pit.
Sasha: Or there's another monster -- I'd better check it out. Somebody bring a light!
Akane: Zedeja calls the junior mage over with her torch.
Claire: Are you calling Filvius "junior mage" out loud?
Akane: No, probably "underling" or "you, with torch."
Claire: Well, whatever. I guess since I didn't find the sword, I'll go. Not first though. I want our duck tank in front of me if we're chasing cultists.
Sasha: Or monsters.
GM Elle: As you move down the twisting, narrow passageway, you hear feet padding toward you from ahead. Let's draw initiative. 
MSG: I haven't headed that direction yet, but I get the 3.
Claire: 7.
Ariel: 5 for Fidu.
Sasha: 10 for Quackers. Dammit.
Akane: Zedeja, 2.
Hettie: Dilfriida goes on 6.
GM Elle: Cultists on 8. Zedeja, you're up first.
Akane: I tell the duck to go first and trade my card for the 10.
Sasha: Yes! Is there enough light for me to see cultists coming ahead? Heck, who cares. I'm moving up to the edge of the light and attacking anybody or anything there.
GM Elle: You see the barest outline of a figure coming toward you in the dim light, seemingly hurried and frightened. You'll get a Bane if you press forward to attack.
Sasha: CHOP! That's a 13 and an 9. 16 points of damage.
GM Elle: They have to make an Awareness check to even know to dodge. Ah, makes it with a 3. And Dragons the dodge. With that Dragon, I'll let him take an action on their turn.
Sasha: Double fudge nuts.
MSG: I guess I'll trade my 3 to Filvius so he can move up and give Sir Q some light.
Claire: Sure, I'll step up. What do I see past Quackers?
GM Elle: Two cultists. One is the guy you aimed your Lightning flash at.
Claire: I'll aim another one at him. Or at whichever one is farther from Sir Q.
GM Elle: That's him.
Claire: I cast the spell with a 5, and max out my damage with 12 on the 2d6. The other guy takes 7.
GM Elle: That first guy is a cinder. The other one is the Dragon dodger, so he'll use up that action I gave him trying to dodge again. Succeeds with a 6.
Claire: Foo.
Ariel: Can I see that guy to shoot my bow at him?
GM Elle: There are people in the way, so you'll get a Bane.
Ariel: Well, my odds aren't good, but I'll try anyhow. Ooh, 7 ... and eww, Demon.
GM Elle: You accidentally hit ... oh. Quackers. Probably won't do much, but roll your damage.
Ariel: Yeek, 12 points.
Sasha: Don't sweat it. My armor and helmet take 8.
Hettie: Dilfriida's not going to risk shooting through all those allies. I'll just hang out.
MSG: I'm next? I guess I'll blow my horn to give all enemies a Bane on all rolls until my next action. Wait. The only guy in sight already dodged. I'll make that a Boon to all my allies instead.
Claire: Nice.
GM Elle: It's the cultist's turn, and he turns and hurries back the way he came, yelling for help. That takes him beyond the reach of Filvius's torch. Oh, and you continue to hear screams from up ahead, but it sounds like only one voice instead of a couple.
Akane: Hm. In this case, Zedeja moves up behind Filvius and our knight. Have my spells expired? If so, I will re-cast Stone Skin this time with 2 power levels.
GM Elle: Yes, they wore off while you were searching the bones.
Akane: Success, a 4 and 11.
GM Elle: New initiative.
MSG: 4.
Claire: 9.
Ariel: 1!
Sasha: 3.
Akane: This time, 5.
Hettie: Dead last. Well, hopefully not the "dead" part.
GM Elle: Cultists will go on 2.
Ariel: Well, I can't see anything, so I guess I'll trade my card to ... dang, if I trade it to Quackers, he won't be able to move up and fight because the bad guys are outside of the light. But if I trade it to Filvius and he moves the light up, he'll be up front during the bad guys' turn.
Sasha: You got this, Aers.
Ariel: Oh! I trade with the cultists! Then if they want to fight, they have to be the ones who move up this round!
Sasha: See? I told you.
GM Elle: You hear what sounds like 3 or 4 sets of feet hurrying away.
MSG: Those cowards.
Ariel: Now I still don't know what to do with my turn. Can I swap again?
GM Elle: You can't swap with anyone who already had their turn or who swapped their turn, but it doesn't say you can't keep swapping your own turn.
Ariel: Great! Since they're running away, I'm going to swap with Filvius so he can move up and give us some light.
Claire: A little less than enthusiastically, Filvius moves ahead of Sir Q.
GM Elle: The tunnel widens and reveals the chamber with the snake pit in it. The screams are coming from down there, although there's only one voice now and it sounds very weak.
MSG: What'd I tell you?
GM Elle: To the south, you hear and see three fleeing figures. They're in the entrance chamber to the cave, so their figures are silhouetted to you.
Claire: I keep moving after them and out of the way so others can get by me and still have my torchlight to see by.
Sasha: Quackers will chase after these cult punks. If I can't reach them with a normal move, I'll dash to catch up. I don't want them getting to our wagon and Glinssa out of my sight.
Akane: Also, and especially, donkeys!
GM Elle: You catch up to them just shy of the exit into daylight.
MSG: I'll trade my card for Dilfriida's.
Hettie: Can I hear the noise of everyone running from the other entrance to this campfire room?
GM Elle: Roll Awareness with a Bane because of all the cavernous echoes.
MSG: My Boon knocks out the Bane, though.
Hettie: Okay, straight roll, then. 14 fails. I guess I'll follow the direction everyone else went, carrying the lamp.
GM Elle: You end up a bit behind Filvius if you Dash.
Hettie: Sure.
Akane: Can Zedeja approach to 6 meters from the cultists with her normal movement?
GM Elle: Yes.
Akane: I will Levitate them so that our knight is between them and the exit. Bane because they are unwilling but Boon from a bard, and the result -- Dragon! How is a Dragon of magery resolved?
GM Elle: You can double the range or damage, you can cast it without spending WP, or you can immediately cast another spell, but with a Bane.
Akane: Easy, no WP.
Ariel: Okay, so now it's finally my actual turn! I'm going to move up and shoot my bow. I can do that, right? I've got a boat-ton of movement: 16 meters.
GM Elle: You can absolutely get in a shot.
MSG: With a boon, remember.
Ariel: 10 and a 13, so I hit. And they already moved, right, so they can't dodge. Not as much damage as when I hit Quackers, though. Only 9.
GM Elle: On cultist 1, 2, or 3?
Ariel: Um ... is one of them the part-charred guy? That I can see or smell, I mean?
GM Elle: Yes.
Ariel: I get him, then.
GM Elle: Dead. MSG?
MSG: Dolora will move up into combat range, which I'm guessing will take a Dash.
GM Elle: Yes. New initiative.
MSG: 5.
Claire: 3 this time.
Ariel: 8, bleh.
Sasha: 4 for Quackers. We're doing okay so far.
Akane: This is called a jinx, yes? I draw the 10.
Hettie: Yes, and 9 for me. Thanks, Sasha dear.
GM Elle: Cultists go on 1. They want out, and Sir Q is the one in the way. First one slashes with a scimitar ... 11 hits. Do you dodge?
Sasha: Scimitar is 2d6? I don't bother.
GM Elle: 7 points.
Sasha: Ptink!
GM Elle: Next one rolls an 11 for 5 points, last one -- wait, I mis-counted when I said there were three of them -- the last one was the bug-zapped guy Fidu shot last round. You're in the clear, Quackers.
Sasha: Yeah, plate armor, baby!
Claire: I'm next? Since Dilfriida's here with the lamp, I'll drop my torch and move up to smack somebody with my staff. 12 is an easy hit. 6 points.
Sasha: Time for some cutting! I hit with an 8 and do 16 points to the guy Filv didn't hit.
GM Elle: Basically cut him right in two.
MSG: I'll greatclub the last guy, then. I also hit on an 8, for 11 points.
GM Elle: Pulverized. That's the last of them.
Ariel: Unless there's still one screaming in the snake pit.
GM Elle: Not that you can hear.
MSG: Let's gather up these scimitars, then.
Claire: Are we going to retrieve that hog-tied cultist from the campfire room?
Ariel: Not me. That sounds like too much work.
Sasha: Quackers is kind of with you on that. I mean, it's not that far to the room, but what are we going to do? Haul her all the way back to Outskirt for some kind of trial or something? I get the impression Vagnhild would just as soon stick to her innkeeping duties and not be bothered with all the mayoring and judging and stuff the town seems to rely on her for.
Hettie: Well, we're not just going to leave her to starve, are we? That seems unnecessarily cruel.
MSG: You can look at it that way, or you can look at it as us giving her a chance to get herself free of the ropes and crawl back to Azrahel Koth to report how bad their guys boffed things.
Akane: An escapee cultist might return to the farm and do some criming there. Zedeja favors rolling her into the pit so snakes can decide things.
MSG: Actually ... why don't we ask Glinssa what she thinks we ought to do with the chick? It might give us a read on how she's feeling about the cult these days.
Claire: I like that. And if she says to leave her, it's solving a problem without violence, which is an advancement mark.
Ariel: I don't know if leaving someone tied up where they might starve to death is exactly not violent.
Sasha: She probably won't starve to death. More likely die of thirst first.
Akane: Testing the continued cultishness of our donkey-minder receives Zedeja's approval.
GM Elle: In that case, if you go out and let Glinssa know what has happened and give her that choice, she looks a little uncertain at first. Then her face hardens somewhat and she says, "Just leave her. She had a lot of chances to show some change of heart, and she just kept on and on with that Sathmog crap. She gets what she deserves."
Ariel: I spend my WP on Insight! Does she really believe that?
GM Elle: Your intuition tells you she does.
Ariel: I give everybody the nod about that, then.
Sasha: Sounds to me like it's time for us to head down the pass and get ourselves a nice farm-cooked meal to start our journey back.

more of this session next time, folks!