Thread LXXXIII: Didn't want to start on the tail end of a weekend, but also didn't want to have to fight with intermittent service with a storm, apologies.Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Lamia%20Legacy%20QuestTwitter: https://twitter.com/LamiaLegacyOpening Theme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCQmQwKEEOMStory Thus Far: https://pastebin.com/Um2D0iCjSeason: Early SpringMoney: 1425Sasha: Skill listRanching +4Scholar +3Marksmanship +6Natural Ability (Lamia) +3Intrigue +4Casting (Draconic+4 Roc+3 Leviathan+3 Troll+1 Elemental+1)Falconry +1Midday finds you rifling through the stack of leftover supplies from the cattle drive to Riverport, trying to figure out what will keep for the eight man expedition to Bralin. You have to thank Tatiana for the suggestion, her having made it when you went to ask her about how prisoner exchanges work with the Casimiran rule of four. Having assured you that having a fifth wheel would not draw anymore attention than having your band of Kutkh stroll up to the gates. She then asked when you were expecting to head out, and suggested re-purposing the remaining supplies when you mentioned you were just waiting on the fresh delivery. Most of this stuff would be squirreled away into the larder and left to Tai to dispense. The young man, among his other talents, has a particularly good head for spoilage, and you've not had much go to waste since you hired him on. Satisfied with your sorting, you let Tai and his little beastfolk entourage make off with the leftovers, judging by their haste, you bet some of it is going into dinner tonight. With what you pulled out, you can probably manage the trip to Bralin tomorrow, provided the first batch of supplies McCain ordered arrives this afternoon as scheduled. Heading out, you do feel some concern should the Phoenix make a play at the ranch while you're gone. You could see about some earthworks, but you're skeptically about what good they'd actually do in the event of an attack. Other than that, you've largely freed up the rest of the day to do with as you please.>What do?
>>1747639The earthworks would be good for defending the main house, so if we want to be on the safe side, it wouldn't be a bad idea to have a redoubt constructedA: TrenchB: Earth wall with spikes and reinforced with stone or wood.(They should be no taller than the shoulders of the average height of the defenders. There should then be ~3 feet of level ground behind them. Past that you dig it down some more so that if you're not on the walls then you're not in danger.)C: EntranceD: Magozine.
>>1747695Another look at one that isn't a shitty drawing.(Water in the trench is optional, but not usually used.)
>>1747639As to how well it would work: it would provide a safe place to retreat too that would be easily defended and well stocked. We have no cannons, but they aren't needed. So long as no-one (other than Mari, as she can fly) tries to go over the top, and they don't ignore it the Pheonix should easily be defeated by our men if they all man the fort. It would need to be on a hill with no vegetation near it, though. Also, if it's on a hill that overlooks the main house then the Pheonix would HAVE to attack it, and they shouldn't be able to get any cannons in here, so the only worry would we mages, but we can probably place runs to reinforce it against magics.I'm all for being careful, and having a redoubt would put me at ease.
>>1747639>>1747712Though, if the other anon doesn't show to confirm, just tell those left here to make preparations just in case the Pheonix do attack. If a full redoubt would be too much work for them then some earthen walls near the bridge so that everyone can fall back into the forest and have a decent rear guard.No matter what, the main requirement in the event of an attack is that as many of my people live as possible. The land and buildings can be retaken and rebuilt, they can't be.
>>1747747>>1747724That's a little bit intensive, but sure, we can have the guys get started on it while we're gone.
>>1747770It's not that much work for ~10 guys, really. It'll take them ~2 days of work if they already have the lumber tarred and such.
>>1747803Hey, I believe ya.Out of curiosity, where are our cattle during this?
>>1747816Being taken care of by two of our hands in the large fields that we own/
>>1747832fair enough. Hope any theoretical attack doesn't try to kill 'em.
>>1747639Would our magic be of use with regards to raising earthenwork walls around the farmhouse? I don't recall if earthshaping was among our skills of yet.
>>1747836They'll either kill them for food, let them free so that they can fuck with us more, or they'll ignore them.>>1747843We did it once when trying to manipulate water.
>>1747847Then let's magic up some damn earthworks to make the house more defensible. Perhaps bring Oldsnek to advise. Perhaps invite him to dinner?
>>1747877We have almost no real experience with teramancy. The most earth we've ever moved was by melting it with fire.We can probably try to get Vales to help before we go, though.
You seek out McCain to get his opinion on constructing some defenses, searching, you find him over by the bunkhouse going over the schedule for when you are gone with Marie and Tai. He looks up as you approach. "Something on your mind, Miss?""I was just thinking, with the bounty on me, I wouldn't be surprised if the Kingfisher or any money hungry hired guns might have a go at the ranch thinking I'm here.""You think they'd be that stupid?" Marie asks, puffing up and scanning the woodline."They did go after us in the middle of a town crawling with Nitor. So... yes.""Point taken."Turning to McCain, you continue. "Do you think we can see about getting some defenses set up?"He clucks his tongue and looks speculative, "Anything particular in mind?""Well, we've a lot of gun now, so some earthworks just in case might not be a bad idea. A redoubt folks can fall back to just in case we are under siege. Maybe situated where it can cover the house and the compound."He frowns, "Only thing I could think of that'd be up high enough to cover everything would be the hill near the pond, and that's right out.""Why's that?" Marie asks."My dad's buried there." You asnwer."Oh.""Might be able to rig up something up near the bridge, now that that's finished, but that's far enough away that if the house is attacked it wouldn't be much use. If we had a hill where Liama and her boys have their camp that'd cover just about everything, and it's in sprinting distance from both the main house and the bunks." He says, looking pointedly at you."I could see if Veles has something that could help with that." You say, picking up the hint. "I doubt moving a bunch of earth is beyond his abilities."McCain nods, "Still would have to get everything moved, I'll go let Liama know they'll have to shift camp. That is unless you've got a better spot.">?
>>1747990Man, there's literally only one hill near our property? Talk about flatlands.I suppose the thing can be put down any old where, as long as it's not within sniping range of graveyard hill, which I am now calling it.
>>1748029Nothing that has good sightlines on the compound, not really, the only hill that'd give a good overlook is where your father is buried, that's to the southeast of the compound in this image. Liama and her crew are set up in the northeast corner of the compound just north of the bunkhouse. The whole north face of the compound gently slopes down into a lowland forest that turns into marsh. Your approach to the river is also a gentle slope, there are actual hills and a decent downgrade on the far side. You might have the range to set up a good firing position on the far bank, but for the purposes of a defensive position they'd have to cross the bridge that was built north of this paddock to get there.
>>1748112Huh, well, I'm not any kind of whiz with defensive emplacements or anything like that.I'd probably just put it up around our existing structures to maximize the chance that our guys actually can get there in time.
>>1747990Let's go talk to Veles. We'll see if we can convince him to help us, instead of needing to make the hill ourselves.(It CAN be done by hand. It'll just take a long time. Like, two weeks straight for 20 men to make a hill large enough around and tall enough to make a redoubt on.)
Leaving McCain to the task of getting the shadows to move, you head back behind the house and through the gateway leading to Veles' lair. You find the old snake in the main atrium, only instead of tinkering with some arcane device of his own creation, your neighbor is instead packing up some supplies for your excursion. You manage to coerce him away from the task with a minimum of grumbling, if only through the effective bribe of Tai's cooking. Pulling him back through the portal, you see Liama and her gang already in the middle of moving their stuff out and away from the spot McCain suggested. Outlining your intention, Veles responds with an appraising hiss before producing his blade. You see him carve a rough outline of the hill into the ground, and on the northern corners, adding a pair of flared grooves heading to the northeast and northwest. <Stand back, if you would.> He says quietly, before you see the faint hum of energy illuminate his blade. You motion for the growing crowd of spectators to stand back and, upon hearing a gasp, turn to watch Veles work.From the center of the marking you begin to see a grass bulge upwards. The bulge begins to rise higher, the limits of it extending towards the marked grooves. From your perspective, it looks like the hill is literally growing out from the ground. He spends a good half hour standing there, channeling into the earth with a look of grim concentration on his face. Finally, he ends the casting, and you can see a nearly uniform rounded square where there was once a campsite. You turn to the visibly sweating old snake. "Amazing, you need to show me that sometime."He puffs a bit before saying, "I created nothing, that would take far longer. Look to the other side."You hazard a glance, only to see that the gentle slope on the north side of the new hill has become a sheer gradient that anyone attempting to climb would have a rough time of. "Just moved the earth. Land here is resistant to change, for some reason. At least by way of magic." He manages. "I would have carved the interior, but just creating it proved more taxing than I expected.">Is there any way I could help?>Lets get that meal I owe you, the boys can carve it out while we're away.>Other?
>>1748673>>Lets get that meal I owe you, the boys can carve it out while we're away.Gotta pay a hungry mage.We know the way we can help. It's with shovels. That will come later.
>>1748673>Lets get that meal I owe you, the boys can carve it out while we're away.While I'd love to get him to show us how to do geomancy better than we can now, he's tired and we promised food. We also only asked for the hill.(I would have gone with a Hexagone myself, but the square may have just been easier for him to make.)
"No worries, Tai should be just finishing up dinner." You say, leading the big snake towards the house. Unsurprisingly, Zhou and his beastfolk take their meals a respectful distance away from the main room, but whether that is out of concern about his magic, or the fact that Veles takes up an entire side of the dining room. Liama, despite having stated her intent to ask questions of the old snake, seems content to simply retire to their relocated camp, presumably to pick up where they left off. Between mouthfuls of food, Veles elaborates on what he did. "It was less creating land, and more moving the earth underneath. Since you mentioned it was to be a fortification, I set it to draw from the side facing away from your home, as it would provide a steeper incline.""And give us a place to dump the stuff we carve out of it. Any idea why you found it such hard going?"He frowns midst loading up his plate once more, "It was as if the land did not wish for me to move it. Every motion took twice the energy it should have.""When's the last time you did it?" Marie asks, for her seat. Veles, mouth full, simply shrugs. "Anyway," You say, switching to future matters, "With what we didn't use on our trip to Riverport, we could probably make the trip to Bralin tomorrow. That is of course, provided we don't get sidetracked.""And when have you not gotten sidetracked in Casimiran lands?" Veles asks. "When are the rest of your supplies due?""Two days from now." McCain says."Any particular reason for the hurry?" "Just don't want to be sitting on my hands is all." You say. "Serrak's keen on getting the trade route going, and I am too if I'm honest, sitting and waiting with a target on me in Riverport was not fun.""I can imagine." Veles, says, "Well, whatever you decide, I am fine with.">Leave tomorrow or wait for the extra supplies?
>>1749110I myself am up for going soon-like. I assume we can hunt if worse comes to worst comes to worster.
>>1749110Wait for the supplies. We want to leave sooner than later, yes, but we want to be fully equipped and prepared when we do go.
>>1749155Then I guess we get to help with the diggin'
>>1749179That sounds like a plan.
>>1749155>>1749179>>1749188Alright, we'll pause here since its gonna be a Monday. Will try and get something out early tomorrow so early folks can mull over it before we pick up again at the usual time. Thanks again for reading, and apologies once more on the end of weekend start.
>>1749208Won't be here between 2.30 and 9 pm EST.
>>1749110I would be down for leaving now-ish.
>>1749405I will continue to argue that being as prepared as possible is for the best. It's ~5 days worth of walking to get us to Bralin, and that's if nothing holds us up. Yes, you can survive that trip on nothing but water, but I'd rather NOT risk it.
"Better safe than sorry. We'll wait, though I'm not to keen on the prospect." You decide.The rest of dinner is uneventful, as most of your company gawking at how much food Veles is putting away. You suspect that the display of geomancy earlier took far more out of him than he would like to admit, and as such is trying to make up for the energy debt. With that in mind, you make doubly sure to thank him for his help and see him to the gateway. Even in the evening light, you can see him looking far less drained as you bid him farewell. With that, you turn in for the night. The next morning finds you waking up with the rest of the crew and indulging in a larger than average breakfast. Finishing it, promptly, you and McCain head up to the study to draft up rough designs for the redoubt. Drawing on his old Nitor training, he gets a rough estimate of the lumber needed and has Liama run the requirements over to the work camp. He then has Zhou and the rest of the beastfolk head out into the woodlands to find ideal logs to form the outer barricade. "Shouldn't we start breaking ground?" You ask, as the rest set off, hatchets in hand."Gonna take a bit for the lumber to get here. Not to mention I want some shorings just in case we get bad weather. Rather not have to rebuild the whole thing if it gets waterlogged. Outer defenses we can handle without too much worry, though once we've got the lumber I'll prolly have them trench around the sides a bit more."With that well in hand, you look to making yourself useful. With the beastfolk on construction duty, Tai's handling cooking all on his lonesome, though you suspect without needing to teach anyone he's got that under control. Tatiana and Marie are seeing to the cattle, the harpy making good on her desire to do nothing but relaxing monotonous cattlemen duties to recover from the Riverport excitement. Inside the bunkhouse, you can see Artyom has pulled prisoner minding duties. Turning back towards the house, you see a pair of Liama's men emerge from their relocated camp, presumably heading out on patrol. >What would you like to do today?
>>1750675Well, I had intended to dig, but as we're getting wood first, maybe go a-choppin'.Boy you weren't kiddin' about starting early.
>>1750675>help the beastmenFor now, we make ourself useful to our immediate goals.
You decide to focus on the job in front of you, and head off to grab another ax. Joining the beastfolk you descend into the lowland forest to the north, looking for some trees that will meet McCain's specifications. The better part of the morning is spent on acquisition, and you end up having to denude the landscape of several younger pines. Stripped of their branches, the trees are felled by the beastfolk and handed off to you to drag towards the ranch. Being the most suited for the task, you end up dragging about twoscore of the trees out of the woods while McCain sets about culling them into uniform lengths. After showcasing how it is done, he leaves the task to some of the beastfolk before grabbing an armload and dragging them to the front. Placing one, point first, level with the ground on the sides it he drives the stake halfway in at a forty-five degree angle. After creating a row of blunt rods, he then directs the sharpening group to hone those as well. Instead of repeating the process on the sides, he grabs a spade and marks out distance two handles from the hill itself and begins to dig out the start of a trench. Once things are to his satisfaction, he directs the idle woodcutting team to take over on both the east and west sides. You've got the trenches about a quarter of the way done when Tai rings the lunchbell. Heading in, you catch sight of Liama finally return from her errand. Behind your fellow lamia are several of Serrak's work crew guiding a wagon loaded with lumber. A little shocked at the quick turnaround, Liama says that the men can't stay and help as the work stoppage at the other construction site is over, but figured delivering your order would stop any cross purposes while they took care of their own business. Thanking the men, you offer them some lunch that they politely decline before the head back to work on the other projects. Finishing lunch, the crews focus directly on the trenches, with the sharpening group now digging out a rear trench, the waste of all three sides piling on to a canvas tarp. Asking McCain what he intends, he tells you that the excess dirt will be used to reform a trench up front, refilling the depression caused by Veles' magic. Unable to use a spade to full effectiveness, lacking the required feet, you find yourself feeling a bit extraneous to the current endeavor. >Keep helping out on the redoubt.>Head over and talk to someone? (specify)>Other?
>>1750743Keep working on the redoubt. It's our project, and it's making many of our men work more than they normally would have to. I'd also feel better that it got done as quickly as possible, and having us help will only speed up the process.
>>1750743Is there anything we could haul? Or are we resigned to supervising and managerially bugging people while cursing our lack of feet to operate shovels with?
>>1750754We could try to use geomancy on our own, but we've never done it before on any legitimate scale, so I'm not sure how it will go. test rolling.
Rolled 4 (1d20)>>1750757
>>1750759Hmm. Well, at least we have two people to roll if we try for geomancy.>>1750754If you want to go for it, then I'll roll second, okay?
>>1750760oh, sorry, I was sort of on other stuff.And I don't think we have a roll prompt anyway?
>>1750783If we're going to try for Geomancy, then we should go ahead and roll. I'll roll after you, as it seems that the Random Number Gods aren't with me today. I'd rather see if you can make a good roll than risk crit failing when I go.
Rolled 11 (1d20)>>1750788sure, whatever. If that's how it works around here.Randomness is random yo.
Rolled 15 (1d20)>>1750789
>>1750793That went better than expected.>>1750743So, yeah. We're going to see about using geomancy to help.
Rolled 1 (1d20)>>1750789>>1750793Ok.
>>1750805I'm not sure if you're rolling for the grounds will-save or not, but if it's not that, then that doesn't look good for us.
>>1750805wow, lookit that.>>1750811I'm sure it'll be amusing if so.
You figure you'll try your hand at what Veles gave a hard time. Figuring it a bit of a gamble, you McCain back the crew off and place your hand on the ground and imitate the stance you saw, sans catalyst. You remember what Veles told you about draconic elemental magic, in that it is a projection of your own will. You feel a resistance and then, everything. From the hard packed earth of the main compound you can feel straight down to the bedrock and all the layers in between, including the dampness below the layer of clay that makes up your well's aquifer. Shaking your head, you break the connection and gather your thoughts. Suspecting Veles did most of the work in making the area so malleable, you repeat the process and focus on the hill itself. Recalling McCain's schematic, you let the earth turn to fluid against your will, draining out the bulk of it through the center and back into the groove Veles left behind. It's a rough job, and the crew is probably gonna have to handle the fine work, as you didn't want to completely collapse the fresh hill, but the heavy lifting is completed. Putting the last finishing touches on the hill, you let your focus expand once more only to get the feeling of being watched from behind. Shifting your gaze south, you get the impression of a very faint, very large thing far to the southeast. You attempt to focus on it only to get the feeling behind you once more and whirl once more to the north only to 'see' nothing. Worried, you close the connection. Back on the surface, you sag as the toll makes itself known. You're supported by a worried looking McCain who gently leads you over to the porch."You going to be okay?" He asks, offering a canteen of water.>?
>>1750914Correction, that should have been 'far to the southwest.' not southeast
>>1750914Yeah, I'm okay. A bit tired, but okay. Though, while I was moving the dirt, I felt like something was watching me. Something towards the southwest, but far away, like it's in the Casimir lands.Either way, most of the earth-moving is done, and the redoubt should be mostly done or complete by the time we leave, which will make me feel better.After I rest here for a few minutes I'm going to go talk to Veles about whatever it was that I felt.
>>1750914Weren't we warned some kind of behemoth or leviathan or whatnot was living/sleeping eternally under the lands some time ago?Think it's to the southeast? Or there are multiple and one of them is to the southeast?
>>1750950If I remember correctly, the Leviathan was under the mountains, not behind them, but I could be remembering incorrectly.
>>1750957Well, like I said, maybe there's multiple?Or heck, it could even be moving.I dunno, might be a red herring and it's something else that's big.
>>1750961I'd go with a Troll, rather than a Leviathan, given the direction. If not that, then it could be a land spirit like the Citadel from the last quest.
So, bad news, I've been up for over 24 hours now and am going to be crashing quite shortly.Good luck with the rest of today which I will probably be asleep for.
"Tired, but I'll be okay after a bit. Felt like I was being watched. That and there's something big to the southwest." You say before taking a long sip of the water.Obviously disconcerted, McCain asks "Wait, was the thing watching you or were there more than one?""Can't rightly tell. I felt a thing behind me when I was facing away from the big one, and then felt it behind me again when I was inspecting the big one. Could have imagined it." There's a long pause, as the both of you are for a loss on what to say. "At least the redoubt's almost done." You manage, causing eliciting a mirthless chuckle. "I'm gonna go see if Veles can provide any insight.""Right now? You look about done in as it is." He says, "I'd hold off on that. At least 'till tomorrow. We've got time.">No, it's better we take care of this now.>You're probably right.
>>1751110oh, fair timing, one more before bed.And yeah, if we're waiting for supplies anyway, we can wait for us and him to get over our respective magical hangovers.
"You're probably right." You admit, letting trying not to let the tiredness show."You know I am." McCain says, "Head inside. We'll take it from here."Doing as your foreman instructed you head in, and give Tai a tired wave before retreating to your study, you may be physically exhausted, but mentally you're fine. Sitting down in your chair, you pick up the ink pen and look at the stack of paperwork. The next thing you remember is coming to with your head on the desk, groaning blearily, you check the window only to see pitch black. Dragging yourself downstairs you see a small tray sitting on the stove just barely illuminated by the light of the dying embers. Beset by a powerful hunger you demolish the leftovers before dragging yourself back upstairs, to you room this time, and all but collapse into your bed. You wake once more in the early morning, the sleep debt apparently not enough to wake up at a reasonable hour. Grumbling, you head downstairs and put on a pot of coffee and wait for Tai to show up. Ever the early riser, the phoenix man is genuinely surprised to see you, but gladly welcomes the help. Apparently Tai had omelettes planned for this morning. Helping get the egg mix ready, you vacate the kitchen so as to not crowd the cook. Heading upstairs, you poke your head inside the study. It seems your passing out didn't mess up your papers too much. Looking back at the your chair, you see the spare quilt draped along the back. Smiling to yourself, you fold it up and return it to the spare room where McCain, in all likelihood got it from. Breakfast is a quiet affair, and you notice McCain shooting you worried glances. Assuring him you're fine, you offer to handle dishes this time, since you're actually up for it. By the time you've finished, the sun has fully cleared the horizon, and the sounds of everyday ranch business can be heard from outside. You debate heading directly to talk to Veles, but given how early it is and how tired he was right after making the hill, you wonder if he's up for a morning visit.>Action?
>>1751414Well, if how tired WE are is any indication, he should be fine. He's had more time to recover than we did, and we didn't do that much less work, so he should be properly rested now. Unless he didn't get any rest and worked on something, but then that's his fault.Wait until noon at the latest. Beyond that, finish any papers that we had to finish. If there's still time: talk about what the plan will be if the ranch gets attacked again with McCain and Zhau.
>>1751414Let's take some coffee to the old snake. The heat should help get him rolling once he's ready. Give us a chance to work with our eagle too.
>>1752987*FalconSimilar, but Falcons are smaller and easier to train.
You spend the first part of the morning looking over the progress on the redoubt. With most of the heavy labor handled, it seems McCain spent the rest of the afternoon on woodwork. Looking over your handiwork, you're rather pleased to see how little further work needed to be done. Once a few support more posts are driven in, you can slap up some of the wide clapboard to form a solid interior. you then confer with McCain with what to do in the event the ranch does get attacked. The way he figures it, if they get the redoubt taken care of, they can hold up inside long enough for Marie to make it to the nitor post in south fork, or the next nearest ranch. McCain also tells you that it appears that this isn't Zhou's first rodeo, and the beastfolk seem to be fully aware of how to use defensive positions. Nonetheless, McCain will be showing them a few Nitor volley drills while you're gone. Heading back inside, you give your paperwork another once over, neatly putting everything away before freshening up. Grabbing a basket full of goodies to bring to Veles, you slip through the gateway, only to see him on the second floor the room, looking out into the Casimiran valley. Quietly following his gaze, you can see the Beastfolk scouts returning out from the badlands. Finally noticing your presence, and your gift, he smiles. "If that's an incentive to make another hill, I'm going to have to decline. I've only just woken up." You hand it off, "No, I tried my hand at it after you had left. I think I can understand the exhaustion.""Was the earth fighting you as well?""Nnnot exactly." You say, and he turns to regard you curiously.>?
>>1753832It was exhausting, yes, but it didn't feel like it was fighting me, rather, I felt like something was watching me while I was moving the earth. >le describe what we felt again
>>1753832Oh, no, it was fine, we're just not great at magic and junk.Also, giants.
>>1754091We melted through ~15 feet of stone and dirt with a normal flamethrower. We're just not good at GEOmancy (yet). Pyromancy, on the other hand...
>>1754101See, that also sounds tiring.
>>1754105We weren't. It took us, like, five minutes too. rolling nat 20s is a good thing.
"It was exhausting, yes, but it didn't feel like it was fighting me, rather, I felt like something was watching me while I was moving the earth." He raises an eyebrow. "I mean, I was able to shape the earth easy enough, and I could feel everything down to the bedrock. After I'd moved everything I began to have a feeling something was behind me. When I focused on it, I sensed something faint but incredibly large.""Beneath the earth? I would suspect that is Tanak.""This felt really far away though. I thought the leviathan was under the mountain." You protest."The mountain range. I do not think you fully understand how large a leviathan is, but no matter." Stroking his chin, he asks. "Did you feel the lava vents, and the hot springs between your home and here?""Well, no. Not that I could feel, just the layers of different material all the way down to the bedrock. I didn't notice anything of note between me and the presence.""I imagine that what you did was more focused on the depth of the land than the breadth.""Imagine? You aren't sure?""This is not an experience I can say I've ever shared, at least in regards to noticing presences." He pauses, "A while back you had that group of magi come and check beneath the earth, yes? This could be a similar type of ability.""So I'm basically a living dowsing rod? Wonderful" You watch him shrug before continuing, "Though, the feeling I was being watched didn't stop when I was looking to the south. I felt something behind me again, but couldn't locate it when I turned. I stopped channeling at that point.""Strange, and you are sure it was something actively watching you?""No, I can't say for sure. I've never done anything like that before." Turning to look at Veles, you see the old snake lost in thought, staring out into the valley. Eventually he straightens up. "The only thing I can suggest is that you attempt once more, only with me supervising. That's a project for another day." Seeing your disappointment, he adds. "If I remember correctly, on the morrow we will be heading out into the Casimiran lands, testing an ability like this will require planning, setup, and most likely recovery periods.""But what if it's a land spirit? Those are bad news."Veles shrugs, "If it is, it is one that has been idle the entirety of my living here, or has managed to evade the wards my sire created. I find the prospect of either unlikely. I believe the phenomena will keep until we return." Giving you a small smile, "Nevertheless, thank you for the gift. Is there anything else I can do for you before we set forth tomorrow?">?
>>1754211Just rest up and get ready, big guy.We're going road tripping soon, and will probably have to fight, I dunno, trolls or bandits or whatever the wilds want to throw at us.
>>1754211Let's work with Daisy for a while, then doubble check out packs.>>1754370>big guyNo.
>>1754211Work with Daisy, shoot the shit with the snek.
"Well, we said we could work on my falconry on the way there. I may as well brush up on the basics."He nods, "I'm just making observations, don't want to get invested in a project only to be pulled away when an epiphany strikes. Let me know if you need any help."Heading into the rookery you extract Daisy from her roost and grab the retrieval target, a bundle of thin tanned leather strips tied into around a thicker looped core, and head back up to the Veles' atrium. From your vantage point, you can still see a few spots where your pyromancy exercises scorched the ground earlier in the year. Lobbing the bundle over there, you try and recall the old commands you had ingrained into the bird. Initially Daisy is unresponsive, more at home to chunner quietly and look at you expectantly for treats. After some cajoling, and a few pointers from Veles' you manage to get her to at least strike the target, though it seems an even chance she either brings the target back to you or just opts to savage it on the ground, forcing you to climb out onto the ridge line to retrieve both her and the target. Though progress is far less than satisfactory, you do manage to drill most of the stuff you taught the bird back into her. Once you've finished, you realize that by now the last of the supplies should have arrived. Thanking Veles again for his help, you head back home. Back at the ranch, you hit up the kitchen for a late lunch before heading out to where McCain is sorting through the latest supply delivery. You spend the rest of the evening making sure everything is in order. Knowing this will be your last bit of Tai's cooking for the next week or two he opts to give you a sendoff worthy of his skill. After a veritable feast you and the rest of the expedition party opt to retire early, if only so you can meet up with Veles at the tunnel at sun up. Early next morning you are seen off by McCain, Marie, and Tatiana. The first two drive your expedition group in to the rendezvous point in a pair of wagons while Tatiana helps Artyom see to the prisoner. Bidding them farewell, catch Tatiana whisper something in the captives ear before lifting up his blindfold long enough for him to focus on her face. Once recognition sets in, she pulls the blindfold back down giving Vernon, the Head of House Dijkstra, something to think about while you wait for Veles to open up the passage. He does so shortly after accompanied by both Dahz and Daisy. Once through, your group of eight and your sole captive start off towards Bralin. >Give me a 1d20 travel roll, best of three, lower is better.
Rolled 15 (1d20)>>1754883Can do!should I do three, or should we wait for the other guys, or what.
Rolled 2, 19 = 21 (2d20)>>1755011Because here is two more if it's all me, if it's not then disregard these.
>2Still firmly within the shadow of the morning valley, you set out hoping to get into the sun as quickly as possible. Once out into the badlands you begin to try and get a feel from the area having been gone so long. you can't say for certain, the the northern badlands feel wilder and more inhospitable than you remember. Veles, guiding your party mostly from landmark to landmark, points out areas where the degenerate trolls have created 'Troll Runs' wide paths of flattened scrub where the living natural hazards have moved from point a to b in large groups. Naturally unnerved, you make haste hoping to get well away from their stomping grounds. With the Kozaks scattered, and the Szlachta hussars more concerned with the succession war than taking car off the bastards you worry about caravans making it through the inhospitable area.Caution lending you wings, you all but fly through the outer badlands. Once certain that the risk of a Fallen attack is at a minimum, you grab Daisy for a little more training. Retaining yesterdays lesson, the bird shows a marked improvement over yesterday, though any hope of getting some hands on training from Veles is dashed by Liama who's seemingly prepared a list of things she's wanted to ask the old snake. In a magnanimous mood, he's obliged her the best he can, splitting his attention between her, your falconry, and trying to guide the group.Eventually you make camp on a small elevated hill overlooking valley. Dinner is a quick and simple affair and Liama's shadows volunteer to split up first and second watch between them. Veles offers to take third, with Liama quickly joining in, citing that she has a whole slew more questions to ask him which is accepts gracefully. With all that in order, and you and Artyom slated for morning camp duties, you bed down for the night.>Another 1d20 travel roll if you would. Also, if there is anything specific you'd like to do while traveling, please don't hesitate to mention it. As for whether rerolls are fine or not, I've taken the stance that provided enough folk are here to do the rolls, I'll try take one from each. Obviously, this isn't the case at the moment.
Rolled 11, 18, 2 = 31 (3d20)>>1755362all right, leftmost roll is mine if more people pile on.As for things to do while travelling, you can never go wrong with preparing flammables to throw when trolls show up. You know, in addition to the pyromancy.Also, keep an eye out for centaur signs, to see exactly how much area the trolls cover before the centaurs seem to give a shit.
Rolled 6 (1d20)>>1755362See if Vernon has changed his mind about defecting. In an unobvious fashion, of course.>>1755388As far as I know, we have nothing to make molotoves with.
>>1755428well, it was worth a mention.
>>1755445I suppose, but the time to make them would have been BEFORE we left.
>>1755454well, hindsight and all that. No real big deal either way.
>>1755458I mean, yeah. Normal weapons can take them down temporarily, so we can clean up after everyone.
And I'm off to bed again. Good luck yall.
Waking up the next morning, you make sure the captive is still asleep before questioning Artyom. [Our captive has been given a bit to mull over what Tatiana's told him. You think that'll make a difference?]Looking up from the campfire he's rekindling, burned hussar shrugs, [I imagine it will make him question his lieges orders a bit more, but he's the head of a sworn house. I cannot begin to think about how strong those loyalties are.]After a quick breakfast, you set out once more keeping an eye out for any signs of life. Crossing several more of the Troll runs, you eventually stumble across a battlefield. It's an old one and from Artyom's estimate it seems more of likely it was a group of skirmishers that ran afoul of one another. Picking his way through the savaged bodies, he estimates about two dozen participants, with three quarters of them falling in the initial clash. It seems the survivors hadn't had time to recover the dead before the hordes of fallen had arrived. Stripped to the bone, you can just about tell where each of the centaurs fell, by the circle of discarded armor and pile of broken bones, the marrow sucked clean out by the scavengers. Remnants of Krasick, Bralin, and other heraldry can be made out among the wreckage.Putting some distance between yourself and the scene, you end up making camp in a large open expanse. You pull third watch with Liama and the two of your retire early to make the most of your sleep schedule. You're shaken awake by Caff, who pulled second shift. Settling into the watch, you and Liama keep a weather eye out for any signs of movement. >Give me a travel roll and any actions you'd like to take.
>>1756447Sooooo.How're ya liking the frontier? I imagine it's a lot less hectic than the mainland.
Rolled 15, 9, 15 = 39 (3d20)>>1756473fuck, that roll didn't take
Rolled 15 (1d20)>>1756447
>9With nothing pressing to do on watch, you pose a question to Liama. "How're ya liking the frontier? I imagine it's a lot less hectic than the mainland." She side eyes you, "How do you figure that? We're at war with at least one faction of the Phoenix Empire right now, and the focus seems to be entirely here.""Well, I mean, I've heard stories about how the mainland has more than its fair share of action, even during peacetime.""I suppose, though outlaws and the like at least put on the semblance of peaceful relations until you pull back the curtain." She concedes."What about those bank robberies and other heists that show up in the papers?" You ask, somewhat disappointed."Few and far between, given the number of people. Outside of the First Wood Rebellion a couple decades ago there hasn't been outright chaos. This jobs probably the most action I've seen in years. Most other contracts have been glorified bodyguard duty. The Patrick family name gets a lot of people willing to pay for the prestige alone, not that I'm complaining about the cash. Main reason I took Serrak's gig was wanting some adventure. Though I kinda wish we'd run across some of the trolls you guys were talking 'bout, my boys are anxious not knowing how bad they really are.""Well, I hope you don't hold it against me when I say I'd rather this stay unfulfilling for a while."She laughs, "I'm in a new land, meeting entirely new races, and my charge has a several thousand isen bounty on her head. I'm right where I want to be, in the middle of everything."In good humor, you're relieved by the camp team, and settle down to a slightly overdone breakfast, one which the shadow Jack blames entirely on his compatriot Liz. Not to be deterred your group head out. Your cheer is only slightly dampened by an intermittent light rain that trundles over the wasteland. Thankfully, you don't come across any more desecrated battlefields nor does Liama get her wish of confronting the Fallen. Towards the evening you call a halt in the slightly greener portion of the badlands that, by your reckoning, marks the halfway point between your pass and the greener pastures of the Szlachta lands.>1d20 Travel roll and any actions?
Rolled 11 (1d20)>>1756723
Rolled 17 (1d20)>>1756723Check your supplies as a good boss aught to, ponder some method of making this trip faster.A road might not even help. It's just a long ways. though it would make wagons more of a thing.
Rolled 11 (1d20)>>1756742and a third in case the last guy doesn't show
>>1756742Wagons are fine over terrain like this so long as it's not too muddy, and enough of them going through will make their own roads after them.Also, yes, a road will help. They always do. Going over hard-packed, level dirt is easier than going over uneven grasslands.
>>1756750for people, sure.I think snakes might actually prefer a rougher ground. But that is pulled entirely from my ass.
>11The light rain persists steadily through the next day which makes for slow going. With the rain comes Daisy's reluctance to continue the impromptu training you've been attempting the last couple days. With the sullen little falcon nestling the best it can in your pack, you take a mental inventory of your supplies. You figure you've got enough food make the trip between the Szlachta hold and your home three times over. With two of those trips already spoken for, the third gives you a comfortable margin before you'd be forced to scavenge supplies. Midday finds Veles, who's been acting as unofficial guide, call a halt near the crest of a hill. Beckoning you up, you can see Dahz flattened to the ground, growling slightly and poised to pounce.<Fallen. Probably another battlefield, only fresher, scent of rot on the wind. Rot and troll.> He says in almost the almost subvocal snake cant.<You certain on that?> Liama responds, having followed you up to the older snake.<Smell for yourself.> He says.The sickly sweet smell of rotting flesh, blessedly muted by the falling rain, assaults your senses as it is carried towards you on the wind. Not only that, but your sure can also hear the faint rasping cries of the degenerate trolls as they feast. Confident in Veles' assessment, you move back down the the rest of the party. Almost immediately Liama's shadows check their weapons and Artyom looks torn between the excitement of finally seeing combat once more and the responsibility of minding your prisoner.Liama turns to you, <You're the boss here, how do you want to handle this?>>?
>>1756891Roughly how many of them are there?If they're more than our number, maybe our number and a half, we should probably just go around. otherwise, we can do everyone a favor and take out these stragglers so they don't bother someone else later.
Rolled 16, 1, 19, 18, 19 = 73 (5d20)>>1756912You don't have a visual on them, you can only hear and smell them. They are a ways off yet.
>>1756966Well, let's get someone to scout 'em out. Keep out of wind of 'em so they're not spotted, and all that.Whomever is the sneakiest.
>>1756990Give me a 1d20 roll then.
Rolled 11 (1d20)>>1757001sure thing.
Rolled 2 (1d20)>>1757001>>1756912NEVER LOOK FOR A FIGHT!We should just attempt to avoid them.
>>1757025>>1757836But, we do want traders coming through here... Fine. Kill them all. Also, fuck. That was a close one.
>>1757846It's important to know if we should be killing a small group or running the fuck away from like 90 of the dudes.
>>1757881I mean, we are REALLY good at making fire. It'll be weaker with the rain, but having your entire body on fire tends to be more fuel than rain can put out. Also, if we only had melee weapons, then I would agree whole heartedly in not drawing their attention when there are more of them, but we have guns, magic, AND melee weapons, so unless this turns into a downpour, we should win against ~40-50 of them, and even if it does turn into a downpour, we can run the fuck away and they won't be able to smell or see us. Both very important elements of running away.
>>1757905I'm leery when facing particularly large groups of cannibals. They play for keeps.
>>1757994They're trolls. It's only cannibalism if you're one of them. If a wolf eats a wolf, it's cannibalism. If a Wolf eats a Human, then it's not cannibalism.
>>1758012The important part is they want to eat us.
>>1758016We will eat them back harder!Remember: If someone shoots at you, shoot back harder.
>>1756891Let's try edging around it. Once we hand off the prisoner, the better.
>11Veles, despite his size, is probably the best person to scout out the area. Asking experienced lamia if he could get a count on the number of enemies you watch as he quietly slithers up and over the ridge with Dahz padding silently along after him. When he finally disappears from sight, you turn and look to the rest of the group. Liama and the shadows are standing stock still waiting for the cue to go loud. Behind them, Artyom is just about bouncing in excitement, so much so that make a point to tell him to relax. Leaving the burned hussar grumbling in disappointment, you go back to waiting. Fifteen minutes later Veles returns. "About thirty, all told. Battlefield scavengers." Dropping the snake cant."What are the odds we can get through them undetected?""They are focused enough on the feast that we'd be able to walk right through them and they'd not notice. Provided we didn't bump into them."You grimace, "Lets not take that chance."You wind your way around the ridge giving the battlefield a wide berth. From the apex, you can see just see the hunched figures tearing into their meal. Figuring this is a good a time as any, you call up Liama and the shadows to give them a glance at the hazards they might face. After a good five minutes, they've seen enough and you make tracks away from the area. Making camp, you pull first shift guard duty, and given the known presence of Fallen in the area you make sure that Veles and Artyom are paired with those unfamiliar with the creatures for the other shifts. After a quick and cold dinner, you and Eli move to the edge of camp and being your watch.>1d20 Travel roll, lower is better. And are there any actions you'd like to take?
Rolled 18 (1d20)>>1759189
Rolled 11 (1d20)>>1759189Rolling!
Rolled 9 (1d20)>11The rain abates come morning, but the grim overcast skies linger. Checking with the others, they report no signs of movement during their shifts. Banking on the rain preventing any fallen from picking up your trail you head onward towards Bralin. With the clearer weather comes the opportunity to get back to training Daisy, something you take full advantage off. Running through the list of basic commands again, you then turn to Veles for the more advanced techniques. It's not the most fruitful venture, having just started, but you can at the very least figure the methodology behind them. Figuring it'll be a while before you've got Daisy catching flying objects on the wing, you just stick with reinforcing your glorified fetch-with-talons for now. Having seen the enemy, if not met them in combat, Liama and the shadows seem far more confident on how they'd fare against the degenerate trolls. What time Veles doesn't spend instructing you on falconry is spent answering questions Liama has about the best way to disable the creatures without the benefit of fire and acid. Artyom provides a wealth of information on that front, as prior to his refit courtesy of the Bralin the Purobka Hussars weren't well kitted in runic weapons. His explanation brings up a problem of its own, however, regarding defenses for any trade caravan coming through. Figuring that a problem to solve in the near future, you focus instead on your falconry, and getting your bearings.You eventually make camp near a stream you recognize from your last trip here, if you had to guess, you're probably a half day away from Bralin proper. You've not quite hit the start of the wide, gently sloping valley the feudal centaurs have their folwark. With the likely need to engage in some diplomatic negotiations looming, you and Veles pull the morning shift, and settle in for a full nights sleep.>One last 1d20 travel roll, and any actions you'd like to take?
>>1760396Start discussing with Veles if there are any potentially salable parts of them trolls. Might be a nice way to both make a buck and help out neighbors at the same time.
Rolled 5 (1d20)>>1760473Oh, forgot my roll.Perhaps taking some samples of the trolls might help in this.
Rolled 3 (1d20)>>1760396here ya go.>>1760473Man it would be nice if the trolls were valuable in some way. A natural bounty REALLY keeps numbers of species down.
Rolled 12 (1d20)>>1760396>>1760473>>1760629Their hides perhaps? They could be more resilient than cow leather.Confirm this with Veles.
>>1760396Also, when we advance, we advance with Liama, Artyom, and Veles.We shouldn't go up to the gates in an odd number and announce what we're going to be doing before hand so that they don't get weirded out by our numbers.
>3Morning comes with a definite lack of activity and an early start. With the weather rapidly clearing, you inform the team that in the event they run into the Casimiran Veles, Liama, Artyom and yourself will make up the negotiation party leaving Liama's shadows to watch over the captive. Along the way, you can see signs of active measures to deal with the troll threat being taken. There are definite signs of bonfires, and without any trace of charcoal or bone, you figure its a pyre upon which theydisposed of the fallen. Curious as to whether or not the strange creatures have any mercantile value, you pose the question to Veles. "I'm not sure I understand." He says, "Valuable how?""Well, I mean are there any parts of them you find useful? Like the hides and such." You venture.He shakes his head, "If one was to skin one of the fallen, one would find that they'd then have two regenerated fallen to deal with before the tanning would be completed. Their bodies are almost completely made of a fibrous muscle like tissue surrounding a slightly more calcified fiber like core. They have no real organs to speak of, but are rather just one large single organ. The only exception is their brain, which I have not had cause to look into too much, but is just as hard to destroy that as it is the rest of them. I cannot say for sure if there are any uses, as I've had no interest in exploring such until just now.""Well," You say, smiling, "At least I provided some inspiration."You proceed further into the valley, and it is nearing noon when you finally catch sight of the folwark. The toll the war's taken isn't readily apparent, but a number of the further fields have gone to seed, as if the people inside weren't able or willing to harvest them in time. That coupled with complete lack of visible peasantry leads you to believe that things could be better. Your approach is halted by Liama gesturing over to the far side of the town. You can just make out a substantial force, with a standard bearer flying the Bralin heraldry, leaving the city. >Action?
>>1763662Well, guess they're off to the wars.There still should be some people at town to trade with. I think.Man I barely remember why we came out here. Was it to see what goods they actually had that we would want?Oh, wait, I think it was to get them to agree to take merchants. Right? Right. Let's go in and talk to whatever contacts we have, or the great poobah failing knowing a guy already.
Keeping the rest of the group at a respectful distance, you head towards the gates of Bralin. Like the last time, there are a pair of guards on duty on the outer perimeter who view you with equal parts suspicion and curiosity as you approach. Having done this song and dance once before, you head directly to the small building built into the wall itself that served as the Northern Bralin merchant post. Entering, you're greeted by a younger looking Casimiran lad who looks up as you enter, does a double take and nearly spills the sack of goods he was carrying before fleeing into the rear of the room. Trying your damnedest to calm the kid, you eventually coax him enough to stick his head out of the doorway and ask what you want. Asking for Boris, you give the kid a reason to vacate the area as he all but gallops off to find the bombastic merchant you met on your previous visit. "They always that excitable?" Liama asks, looking both bemused and concerned."The civilians? Yeah, when we last came here we got an audience with Lord Bralin himself. Inside the locals treated us like we were liable to grow a second head and breathe fire at any second." "Well, you do breathe fire when it called for. I seen it." Artyom says, slipping into his own stilted version of your language.Surprised, you wonder why he's bothering, but respond, "The soldiers themselves seemed unphased at the time though, if a bit hard to read. That said, Boris is very firmly at the opposite end of the hospitality spectrum."You half expect to hear the centaur coming, but all is silent for another ten minutes until you hear the back door open once more. No bombastic sweeping gestures accompanies your merchant contact, just a very tired, haggard looking centaur with the lad all but pushing him along. It takes him but a few moments to recognize you, but when he does a little bit of the fire he used to have seeps into his voice. [The Kutkh returns, and after such a long while at that.] Staring between you and Veles, he then nods towards Liama, [And you have multiplied since you've been gone. Congratulations!] Seeing you sputter, he laughs in a way that suggests its been some time since he's been able to. [I jest, but nevertheless bid you welcome to our home once more. What is the occasion?]>?
>>1764210We're going to try to get more merchants moving through here soon. Will there be any problems with that legally? How about militarily? I notice you guys are still having that war stuff go on. Should we be worried about getting raided by your opponents in addition to trolls when we send merchants?Also, continue being suitably embarrassed by tired centaur ribbings.
>>1764262> I notice you guys are still having that war stuff go onTake this out.>when we send merchants*if>Also, continue being suitably embarrassed by tired centaur ribbingsPlease, no.>>1764210The first thing we need to do is discuss our prisoner.
>>1764262>>1764842Those changes make me accept this line of dialogue.
>>1764870forgot the name, eh?And yeah, feel free to make ammendments.
>>1764892Yeah. Have to take it off when posting in /k/ or /u/.But, yes. The first thing we need to do is talk about our prisoner and discuss the prospects of trading him for trade-rights or similar. It would be useful if we could take back a book with their codified laws in it to be able to stay within them. (or skirt around them as needed.)
>>1764210>>1764842>>1764870>>1764937I have misunderstood WHO we're talking too.Fuck.Okay, so: We need to get into the walls to talk to Lord Bralin to discuss prisoner transfer.First, we ask Boris about how well received a weapon that could fire a lead bullet straight, with no slinging room needed, at ~1500 feet per second (a normal sling can only get a bullet up to ~150 feet per second) and remain accurate for hundreds of yards (provided you adjust the sights for the distance), while also being incredibly loud and disorienting to the enemy.
>>1764983Addendum to the sales pitch for guns:A weapon that would make enemy armour and shields obsolete as it would just go through them, or at least crush the bones of the one wearing the armour while also probably pulping their organs.The weapon is not so useful against the Fallen, but they are terrific against everything else.
[We need to get inside the hold, we have a prisoner for Lord Bralin that we agreed on delivering once he'd recovered.]He frowns, [The folwark is under lock and key at the moment, surely you saw the procession? Lord Bralin is meeting with a potential ally from the far south on neutral ground, and our advisor suspects the Krasick may be aware of it and attempt to disrupt things. I could get you the head of the household guard, however. He is running things in the interim.][That's damned unfortunate.] You say, having hoped to bend the leaders ear during the prisoner transfer, [That's not all we wanted to discuss, though. How would you feel about a weapon that could fire a lead bullet straight at ten times the speed of a sling, with no slinging room needed? One such thing that will remain accurate for hundreds of yards, while also being incredibly loud and disorienting to the enemy? It's not quite useful against the fallen, but it will puncture through enemy armor at a great distance.][You mean your claybreakers?] He asks, [You make a good pitch, and were it anything else I would likely be sold, but I am a merchant not a soldier, and I leave matters on weapons and armor in their capable hands.]Undettered you try another avenue, [Well lets use your merchant experience then. Lets say we're going to try to get more of our own merchants moving through here soon. Will there be any problems with that legally? How about militarily? Should we be worried about getting raided by your opponents in addition to trolls if we send merchants?][I cannot speak on military matters, but any merchants that come through here would come to gate trading posts first and foremost. Only those in good standing get beyond the walls, but that does not stop us from our mercantile endeavors. At this point any merchants would be a welcome sight especially if they are carrying food.] He says with a careful feigned ambivalence.[Thing's are tough here, then?] You ask, tentatively taking his bait.[Not such that we are starving no, but there might be a market for things to make up that which we have shortfalls on.]Figuring you've read between the lines, you take a step back and confer with the group. Artyom suggest catching up with the military force and speaking to lord Bralin, though you suspect that's more his desire to get stuck in rather than any useful information. Liama has a similar selfish motivation, but more for arranging a meeting with the Castellan of Krasick so she can get a glimpse inside. Veles, mostly along for the ride, is ambivalent.>Try and catch up with the war party.>Try and arrange a meeting with the interim regent lord.>Other?
>>1766919It sounds like the guy we actually want to talk to is in the war party.Give catching up a shot, I suppose. Though, they are horse people. We might not be able to if they are making a good pace.
Rolled 2 (1d2)>>1766919>try to catch up to the war hostWhile it would make them need to take care of a prisoner, it could help them with negotiations.Though, it could also hurt them...We promised to deliver Vernon to Lord Bralin, and we would likely not be able to catch up to them easily if we take the time to meet with the Lord Regent...I'm not sure. on a 1, go to the war host, on a two, we go in.>>1766941They may be horse people, but I doubt that they'd run there.
>>1767020Like, if they're marching at even a moderate canter, they'd still be too fast.
>>1767031We're pretty fast too, mind you. The slow down is from the humans with us.(I'm assuming that the shadows are bipedal humanoids at least.)
>>1767038Yeah, I think we would have noticed if we had an entire cadre of snake people.
>>1767045Well, they could be harpies too, who can fly.
>>1767045>>1767055Eli, Jack, Caff, and Liz are all human.
>>1767060good to know for future reference.
>>1767060Thought so. Veles, Artyom, Liama, and we could probably easily catch up to the war host even if they were marching at double time, but that would fuck over those 4. Humans can't move as quickly, and they don't have the same levels of endurance. I doubt that the army IS moving at double time, it's probably at half time, but we should probably get in to talk to the lord regent instead. It's the safest choice.
You're torn between wanting to get another audience with Lord Bralin, and the daunting task of catching up with the war party with four humans and a prisoner in tow. Eventually you decide to go with the safe route and ask Boris to arrange a meeting.[This can be done, please wait here. I will be back in but a moment.]Watching the centaur merchant and his skittish assistant head out the back door, you can't help but notice the frustrated sigh from Artyom. Turning, you address the hussar, [I'm surprised we haven't run across any enemies either, but for the time being lets not seek out trouble because I don't doubt it will try and find us. Alright?][I just hope I am not too old to swing a blade when that moment arrives.] He says.[Well, if we get this trade route working, the merchants are going to need escorts who know the land. If we can't get Bralin to commit some forces it's gonna fall to us to handle it, and if I'm reading it right I wouldn't put it past Krasick to try and hit a caravan. Not to mention it would be foolhardy to believe that a caravan won't stumble across a horde of Fallen.] you say, more speculating allowed.Mollified, Artyom settles into quiet anticipation when Boris returns. [The lord regent will see you now, he will meet you at the north gate.]You head out and back to where the shadows have been set up and grab the prisoner, moving back towards the now opening gates. You make it back before the gates fully open, the ponderous momentum suggesting that they have been reinforced since your last time here. The lord regent approaches, clad in full hussar armor and flanked by a squad of six who are quickly joined by the two guards. A little nervous, you're about to introduce yourself when a familiar voice emanates from behind the visor. [I should have figured it was you, Lady Masterson.][Elim? Is that you?] You ask, recognizing the voice. [You are the lord regent?]He removes his visor, revealing the Kozak who grins, [Lord Bralin's Advisor is rather taken with me, and with things being as they are, I was the only candidate. All the nobles with sense are accompanying Lord Bralin. So it falls to me, someone unaffiliated to hold the hold together in their absence.][Kozaks lording over Szlachta, I imagine that's fun for you.][Like you would not believe.] He says as four of his retinue split off to take up positions on either side of the gate, beckoning your group to follow, you head beyond the walls. [There was some disagreement to me meeting you, as the nobles are distrustful at this time, but I believe you've been beyond the walls before, yes?] You nod so he continues, [Good, now, I take it you're here about the prisoner we left you, yes?]>?
>>1769630That's part of it. It took a bit for us to get him fixed up and such. We're also here to get agreements to send merchants, and if at all possible assurances as to the relative safety of these merchants.Money won't flow unless we can get the people flowing, you know?I think that's why we're here. Getting the formalities done and exchanging the prisoner for... sssomething. General favor?
>>1769670In general. we need to make it sound like we're trying to help them more than we're trying to make a profit though. (We are trying to help them, don't get me wrong. Money is more important, but having Bralin and their allies be better off is better for us.)Just take off the last sentence here, and add in that we're willing to meet them halfway on the defense of the caravans.>>1769630
[That's part of it. It took a bit for us to get him fixed up and such. He claims to be Vernon of House Dijkstra.]Elim gives a low whistle, [A head of household is a hostage of some value, bring him in.] You finally take the blindfold off the prisoner, who blinks a few times but shakes it off. Vernon gives you a final parting glance as he is led away by the remainder of Elim's retinue. With that taken care of, you follow Elim inside as the doors swing closed behind your group. The interior guards make to follow their regent but he waves them off. Moving a little ways away from the rest Elim asks you, [How is Tatiana?]You smile, [Quite well, it is her skills that kept the prisoner alive. A fact that I think Dijkstra has been coming to terms with while we were traveling here. He didn't know until we left.]Elim looks worried, [He knows then?][Only that one of Sigismund's line still lives. He doesn't know how to get back to my home. I felt it was prudent to disabuse him of the Krasick claim that they've extinguished the royal line. I left the final decision to her, however.] You say.He is quiet for some time as he mulls the situation over, [There is some truth in what you say. I will not proclaim her survival to Lord Bralin however, there are too many opportunists even among our allies that would not be above marrying a female heir to seize the throne for themselves. But intrigue and nobility squabbles aside, Boris says that is not all you wish to speak about.]Reminded of your other goal, you refocus, [We're also here to get agreements to send merchants, and if at all possible assurances as to the relative safety of these merchants. I've got allies of my own that are keen on creating a trade route.][The former would be welcome, especially if said merchants can provide food. Krasick and Bandyta forces have harried the peasantry to the point where we cannot work the outer fields. I would not be surprised that had the Lord Bralin's main force not been leaving you would have run afoul of either of their scouts. As for the latter? At the moment, no, I cannot spare the men to accompany a trade caravan. When Lord Bralin returns I can recommend it, but getting word to you would be a problem.][What if we were able to meet you halfway when it came to providing defender?][You would have to get your merchants here first. I can provide an escort out into the badlands on a return trip. That is the best I can do at this time. In the meantime, feel free to stay a while in town. Oh and before I forget.] He says, producing a small hardwood scroll case, [Boris has vouchsafed for you since your last visit and has asked me to give this to you. These are accreditation papers that will permit you beyond the walls should your travels bring you back here.]Giving your thanks, the Kozak-turned-regent excuses himself and heads to rejoin the group who took your prisoner. You look over to the case before turning back to the rest of the group.>Action?
>>1769902Welp, formalities are included. They'd quite enjoy some traders, but are stretched too thin for complete protection.Strangely enough, they'd like food in trade most of all. Figured they'd have enough of that out here.Either way, they have us appropriate papers to enter the town as we want. We should spend some time looking at their trading area and their way of life inside the walls so we can make some guesses as to what trade goods they'd have that would tempt merchants out here.Do the papers allow us to take friends into the city? I know some of our group are curious for tours.
>>1769920Guests are permitted, but are considered your responsibility.
>>1769958Yeah, I don't think anyone we brought with us will be doing any kind of thievery or crime. I see no reason not to let liama and whoever check out the inside with us.
>>1769902>>1769920I agree with this sentiment. See what is most expensive to them, but is less expensive for us. We need to write as much of this down as possible. If we can, we should ask Elim how well-received firearms would be in their lines, and how much they would be willing to trade for them, along with training in their use.>>1769964Yeah. The only person that we could have brought that MAY have gotten into trouble unsupervised is Mari, but that would only be minor fights at most.Once we get back, we NEED to take some time to learn Pheonix. I don't like needing translators.
>>1770051not only do we need what is expensive for them, we need what they have in excess.Traders won't come to trade if there's nothing to incentivize them to make the dangerous trip.
Before Elim gets out of sight, you flag him down and ask him his opinion on your rifles, and if he thinks that the Szlachta would be interested in purchasing them. He tells you that prior to Krasick's power play he would not have found much use for them, but that was then. Regardless of his opinion though, the final say belongs to Lord Bralin, so he'd be the one you'd have to convince, probably by demonstration. With that he bids you farewell and you move to rejoin the group. Flashing the accreditation tube to the guards, your group is left alone inside the walls. Moving in a single group, you're not surprised to see the peasantry all but flee the streets as you approach, much to the chagrin to the few merchants still operating. >Give me a 1d20+2 roll for trying to piece together what is valuable and what isn't.
Rolled 15 + 2 (1d20 + 2)>>1770293PLEASE RANDUM NUMBER GODS! GIVE US A 20!
>>177030317 is okay too, I guess...
Rolled 18 + 2 (1d20 + 2)>>1770293ah jeez, I zoned out.
Rolled 7 + 2 (1d20 + 2)>>1770397There we go! Not a natural 20, but a 20's a 20.(If a third guy rolls, ignore this.)
>20You take great care in browsing the merchants stockpiles, trying to pick out the choice items. You find that, as you expected, the silks of the Casimiran centaurs are your best bet in terms of trade. After all, you paid through the nose for the silken dresses you found in Snake's Landing and with the only other source of silk being the Phoenix Empire you could probably corner the market. Other than that, it seems Bralin's chief export is metalwork from the forges, while not as handsome as the two kozak blades you picked up here earlier the craftsmanship on even their cheapest of silverware would fetch a high price. From your conversations with the merchants, you discover Bralin's inability to work their fields has hemorrhaged the already limited trade they have with the southern holdings. While still far from famine conditions, if they aren't able to replant they will be hurting come next winter.A little uneasy about the prospect of bartering against starvation, you look around to see what you can't find readily available. Even harder than it sounds, you eventually notice that one of the luxury merchants of Bralin has something you wouldn't normally expect. Paper, or rather parchment commands a very high price. Questioning the proprietor, you discover that forestry is something that has been rather underdeveloped here, with most going towards either lumber construction, or breeding better homes for silkworms. What few paper producers they do have are far to the south, and by your reckoning, you could get an equivalent return in silk for paper by surface area alone. With that in mind, you try desperately to keep your face neutral you regroup with the others. Liama and the shadows have picked up a few knickknacks, mostly wicked looking curved daggers, with some trading fodder they brought along. Artyom, in his element among the blades surprisingly volunteered his opinion on them on their behalf. It's late afternoon when you finally finish searching. Other than the paper, silk and food situations, you don't find anything too particularly out of the ordinary for your average medieval village. Naturally some technological innovations would do well here, but you imagine that, like your rifles, you'd have to make a pitch for those to catch on.>Next order of business?
>>1770668Oh man, I forgot they had silk here.Yeah, that's enough to start a trade road. One might even say a silk road.Try not to laugh about how you can print money with paper without even using a printing press.Well, we accomplished our orders of business. Though, upon re-reading, I don't think we actually gave up that prisoner we were going to give up. Are we still going to do that?Other than prisoner worries, all that's left to do is enjoy our time here as guests and get ready to head back home. We've got some good information for the merchants, and could even make a nice wad of cash if we tried to do the trade route ourselves.
>>1770711The prisoner was already taken care of.>You finally take the blindfold off the prisoner, who blinks a few times but shakes it off. Vernon gives you a final parting glance as he is led away by the remainder of Elim's retinue.Apologies if it was unclear.
>>1770726nah, I must have missed it.
>>1770668All that's left is to find lodging and wait for the morrow so that we can set off for home and get a message to our benefactor about what they'll be wanting. We need to find Lord Bralin eventually to see if he wants to trade for guns, but we shouldn't try to find his war host just yet, I think. Perhaps after a week or so of us having been back at home we'll come back over and try to find him, but not quite yet.
>>1770809Our ork business friend is working to get some feelers out to merchants, right?Or is that our next job?
>>1770822We get him the information, he gets merchants, we get money from them moving through our land
>>1770859I'm sort of waiting for the other foot to drop here.Like some kind of safe water route being found.
>>1770890No such thing. The other shoe doesn't exist.The outside is impenetrable mountains. We own the ONLY entrance as far as anyone knows. All we can do is make sure that the merchants have armed escorts.
Gonna pause for the night here, got some early morning obligations and I'd like to try and take steps to limit things that might cause yesterdays difficulties from replicating. Will try and get an early post or two up.As always, thanks for reading and I hope you've enjoyed the thread thus far. And again, apologies for the abrupt vanishing act yesterday.
>>1770915No problem. You have a life too, Chem. Thanks for running, and see you tomorrow, hopefully.
>>1770915Eh, I just figured you caught on fire or were hit by lightning or something. It happens more than you'd think.
Finding lodging is a difficult task as travelers lodgings are few and far between. Discouraged, you consider roughing it outside the castle walls and setting home early in the morning when Elim and Boris come through for you once again. Apparently owning the Lion's Head Ranch translates to being minor nobility to the szlachta, and as such you are treated to the visiting dignitary housing. You are shown your own room, a massive thing covered in silks and furs, with the 'bed' being a massive cougar pelt on the floor surrounded by silk pillows, and the rest of the group is relegated to the attached housing for retinue. Feeling guilty about that, you're about to suggest roughing it with them until you discover that their lodging is almost as sumptuous. Nevertheless you're almost about to refuse your room when Liama suggest that it could be perceived as an insult. Figuring Elim and Boris would understand but worried about the minor nobility you relent. Not wanting to impose further on your host's hospitality, especially given their worries on food, you broach the subject of meals with Elim suggesting that you're more than capable of feeding yourself while you're here. He is understanding and tells you that the cooking staff will be relieved.After a restful nights sleept and with confirmation on the sheer abundance of silk, you rejoin the rest of the group early and have a quick pack breakfast before heading back to the Northern gate. Flashing your papers once more the guards swing open the massive doors, that you see now have been recently reinforced with half inch thick iron sheathing, and set out for home.>Give me a 1d20 Travel Roll, lower is better, and any actions you'd like to take today.
Rolled 19 (1d20)>>1772177As usual, let's work with Dasy some more.
Rolled 8 (1d20)>>1772177wait, we're technically a minor nobility because we're landowners?Fuck yeah. I've always wanted some nobility.How would you even go about getting nobility where we come from? Does it even work that way? I have the strongest feeling that it doesn't any more.
>>1772183The Nobility died with Prince Isen. (Or did he actually take the title of king? I don't remember.)Point is, there is no nobility where we're from. We're a democracy.
>>1772185Darn, I was hoping he had continued his line. Which might involve minotaurs now.Mino-king.
>>1772187He did, but Nobility doesn't exist. He was the last of the Nobility to exist in the UFK.
>>1772188Blast and damn. The hijinks they could've had over the years.
>>1772190They had them, dummkopf. I just told you that he had kids, but nobility is gone. They just don't have the titles.
>>1772191Well, I meant ROYAL hijinks.
>>1772194How about RICH KID/CHILD OF A POLITICIAN hijinks?
>>1772183>>1772185The Newgate line has persisted in a largely ceremonial role. One of the current 'crown princes' of that family was Francis Newgate, the buyer of the colt you took from the wild herd on your property. As for your 'nobility', it is not recognized in the eyes of the United Free Kingdoms but in the eyes of the Szlachta. You own the land of the Lion's Head Ranch, ergo you are Lady Masterson of Lionshead. Land ownership is just about the only qualification for nobility in Casimiran lands.
>>1772197Well, yeah. We're a horseguy noble.>>1772196I think I'm content with a ceremonial line. That way, you still get the nice effect of an angry bull when anyone angers our great nation.
>8As make tracks away from Bralin you figure that it would be best to work with Daisy some more. With the weather keeping itself clear for you Veles suggests an advanced loiter technique, where instead of waiting on a perch, the falcon is aloft and waiting for the signal to strike. It goes well at first, with Daisy being both responsive to commands and quick on the uptake. Eventually, though, that breaks down, with the bird returning to your hand instead of staying in the air. "I just don't know what I'm doing wrong." You huff, giving it a go once more just for the bird to return immediately. "Bird is probably trying to tell you we are being followed." Artyom says, "It is returning because it feels flock being stalked.""You sure about that?" You ask in alarm, Liama and the shadows going into alert immediately.He stumbles for a bit over his words before cursing and slipping back into Casimiran tongue, [The Lord Regent did say the hold was being watched by Bandyta and Krasick. That they would ignore you far less likely. In either case.][You think they will try and attack us?] You ask, acting as translator to Liama's crew.[That they have not yet means we either outnumber them, or it would be a fair fight. They will either ambush, or simply stalk us to see where we go.]Turning to Veles you ask, "You sense them at all?""Not as such no" he admits but points at the ground, "but they don't have to be close to follow us."You look back behind you to see the tracks of three lamia, four humans, and a centaur having moved through the scrubland. Tracks that, probably until now, are completely foreign to the Casimiran, but unmistakable.>Action?
>>1772888Well, I don't know much about dang ol' tracking. Or the foiling thereof.Unless any of our companions has a brighter idea, let's continue on our path until we find a more defensible position with good visibility, then camp out for a bit to see if we really are being tracked.I had a wacky scheme involving going near some trolls and dropping meat as we travel to make them converge on our path and force our pursuers to fight them, but I'm gonna file that as a solid plan C.
>>1772888If only we had Mari here to double check...Okay, we need to find some way of either MAKING them engage us, or to make them leave us alone. If we had been traveling in single file the entire time they may have thought that we were only one and attacked, allowing us to see them and them being overly confident would not have been prepared for out numbers. That won't help now, though.(Wait, are the tracks in the grass, or in the dirt?If we're not making tracks in the grass, then if we go only through the grass we may lose them for a time. If it's in the grass, then try the dirt, and step softly so as to not make imprints.)>>1773046We should find a hill and wait for some time. We may not have the supplies for a siege, but neither do they, and they probably have farther to go.If we stop for a time, they just might end up stumbling upon us.Okay:>continue as normal>don't move come the morn>wait if concealment for them to find the camp, if they didn't attack us in the night, and ambush them. Try to keep them alive (and in reasonable condition) if we can to interrogate them.
>>1773403I like the plan. Figure ranges and holds before bedding down.
Rolled 14, 17, 15 = 46 (3d20)You consider the possibilities for some time. "Nothing we can do about it now. Lets just keep going. We'll set up a camp near a defensible position and if they don't have a go then we'll set up an ambush in the morning." you finally decide, and without any better suggestions the rest of the group agrees with your plan.Nightfall finds you about a half days travel from the battlefield you skirted on the initial trip. Using the uneven ground to full effect, you camp out in gulley that'll provide some shelter from the weather, but more importantly will give you nice clear sight lines come morning. Setting up the camp with the goal to create a facade of normality you rotate out the watches so that each one has either you, Liama, or Veles are all on separate shifts. Figuring that your senses will provide you more warning than Artyom or the shadows, you settle in for the long night ahead.>Give me a 1d20 roll.
Rolled 13 (1d20)>>1777178
Rolled 10, 18 = 28 (2d20)>>1777200If no-one else shows within a few hours then here are two more rolls:
Rolled 2 (1d20)>>1777178bleh okay
>>1777213Well, I'm off to work. See you all in six and a half hours.
>13You spend the tense hours of shift just scanning for the sound of your pursuers finally attacking, but the night attack doesn't come. Finally, with the predawn light just barely illuminating the badlands you rouse the rest of the group for the next phase of your plan. You set out away from the camp and towards your intended destination before doubling back and proceeding, single file, up to the vantage point you had scouted the night before. There the team sets up, using what concealment they can, and begins to wait.The shadows prove themselves worthy of the name as they all but vanish next to you. Liama and Veles settle into a copse of shrubbery near one another, with the former using the shadows the foliage cast to great effect. After a bit of strategic movement, and matching the black of of her scales to the deeper shadows, the silhouette all but vanishes among the more dead grass. The only awkward one is Artyom, who in full armor, is not really cut out for sneaking. Having prepared for this, you station the hussar on your flank, well concealed from any approach, but well suited to keep an eye on anyone who might circle around you. With the others accounted for, you find a greener patch of high grass and hunker down, sighting up your rifle on the campsite.One hour passes. Then another half. The sun, having fully risen at this point, is beginning to beat down on you. Figuring Daisy may have been mistaken, or your pursuers have given up, you consider giving up until a motion on the far side catches your attention.A group of six centaurs walk your way, following the trail you made to the campsite. On arrival, three of the group begin investigating the remains. The lead one palms some ash from the fire, crumbling it between his fingers before barking an order to the group. After a muted conversation, one of the centaurs canters back the way they came, leaving five. Willing the illusory scope to life, you sight in on them. Vibrantly colored with a slew of different silk clothing, their underarmor clashes violently with the ill fitting, dented, and clearly thrown together set of looted armor, a mix of both Szlachta hussar elements and lighter Kozak barding. Though you've never seen them before you suspect that these are the bandyta, the outcasts and dregs of centaur society. Them being this far within Szlachta territory is a grim reminder of the absence of the Kozaks, the shield that usually keep these renegades confined to the western wastes.>?
>>1778992Give them some time to wander off or find us, I guess.There's only five of them, so we can just give 'em a hail of gunfire if they actually find us. And if they don't, well, they can't very well follow us if they can't find our trail again.
>>1778992Kill them. They're bandits. Bandits are to be eradicated on sight. We outnumber them and have guns.>>1779058We can't let them live. They can't be allowed to find the entrance to our land, and the sixth of their number likely went to get the rest of their fellows. We need to decimate these five before the rest come.
>>1779644well, if you want I don't mind it too much, but I'm not nearly as averse to bandits as I am cannibals.
>>1779758Again, the Fallen aren't cannibals. They're degenerated Trolls. It's not cannibalism unless they're the same race as us.
>>1779773I am going to keep calling them cannibals.
>>1779793I'm going to keep correcting you.
>>1779644Yeah, gonna second whacking them.
You briefly consider letting the group wander off, but your hand is soon forced. One of the five is clearly an accomplished tracker and soon finds the traces of the single file line you used to reach your ambush point. As the realization sets in and the leader rises from the camp he was inspecting to look your way. You fire and he's down. It's not even a contest, five unaware bandit knights versus you and five mercenaries all armed with rifles. The shadows rises as one from concealment on your cue letting off a blistering volley that claims three of the remaining centaurs sending the last, the tracker who discovered you, running for the hills. Sighting on the retreating back you hear the roar of Liama's rifle. You see the round of the big rifle connect through your scope, pulping the bandits shoulder and separating his arm from the rest of the tumbling body. Artyom, having charged in after the first shot, is the first to arrive at the scene. The hussar begins rifling through the bodies grumbling about both thieves and it being over so quick. With the swift and violent reprisal complete you contemplate what to do next. With the sixth unaccounted for, putting some distance between yourselves and here would be ideal. Though Veles suggests disposing of the bodies, as the meat will attract more Fallen who will undoubtedly create a nest. Looking over, you see Artyom ripping off a strip of the silk from the fallen leader. Memory flashing a card, you recognize it as the same color that the hussar's undershirt was when you found him in the ruins of Purobka.>Action?
>>1781767Hm. Can we burn the bodies away?I'd like to deal with them on the quick and skedaddle.Also, I guess the bandits hit the hussar's forces, or something. I dunno. We'll have to ask about that at some point to somebody who is still alive.
>>1781767Pile them up and burn them.>>1781788They're dead, Jim.
>>1781862yeah, someone else. Someone who's not these dead guys.
>>1781874We may end up meeting their friends, but we should see to them dying too. It's possible that they're working for Krisak, but the chances are less than 50% if we're being honest.
>>1781862Oh yeah. Look their weapons too.