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Game: In the Spire's Shadow

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{Loots: Tattered Cloak

{Loots: Tattered Cloak (Homebrew flavor: grants Fire Immunity and a +2 bonus to all saves), an Eversmoking Bottle (makes a ton of smoke), three red [url=http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/wondrousItems.htm#elementalGem]Elemental Gems[/url (one use items that summon large fire elementals), and a the Torch of Alzrius, which at the moment appears to be nothing more than a charred stick.}

Captain Driban leads your party back out of the tunnels without incident, and though it briefly appears as if the large doors may not open for you, they let you out after the second knock. The cool air of the main tunnels is a welcome relief, as is a chance to drop your guards a little. You were in the tunnels for about five hours, but, it feels like five months. As you catch your breath, Driban quickly runs over to the Minister of Mining and whispers something in her ear. Her eyes go wide and she stares at the orb he is holding. She thinks for a moment and then approaches you. "I'm told you saved the life of my good friend Driban, and possibly the whole city as well. On behalf of the Ministry of Mining, and the Kobold Empire, I thank all of you for the services you've performed, and will see to it that you meet with the High One tomorrow. As for the matter off the Orb you brought back, I know I promised you a ten percent stake in whatever you brought back, but I can't very well chip off a piece and hand it to you. Would you agree to hand over the orb to us in exchange for 1,000 platinum pieces, and the other stuff you found? I don't want this to become an issue."

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Despite the relief of

Despite the relief of getting to safe grounds and fresh air, Polp cannot suppress a sigh when leaving behind the comfort of tunnels and underground environs. Completely unaware of local customs and kobold etiquette, the shad defaults to the standard greeting in his home garden when returning from a dangerous voyage – he gives the minister a long warm hug.

 

“So good to see you again, Miss Minister! Thank you for the kind words and the swift arrangement with the High One. It definitely was a somewhat complicated, not quite healthy, and certainly not fireproof affair down there, but here we are and tonight there’ll be need of many a Doctor’s Surprise!”

“Your offer is most generous, but I can’t speak on behalf of the group. Would you mind if we do the whole group-huddle thing? We’ll be quick and we’re pretty good at it!”

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She seems more than a little

She seems more than a little surprised to be getting hugged. "Uh, sure huddle away. Crazy warmbloods."

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Kadar attempt to feel the

Kadar attempt to feel the way that the cadence is drawing him in regards to the sphere

 

[cadence whispers]

__________________

"We're making a better world. All of them, better worlds." - Anonomous Harmonium Officer

Jem
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Zhegre put his head

Zhegre put his head together with everyone else, puts in his two cents as mentioned elsewhere and goes along with the group consensus.  He certainly agrees that they need to be kept in the loop regarding studies of the thing; if qualms about saying the Kobold Empire "owns" the orb dents their offer, he can live with that.

He'd also hand over the Torch of Alzrius, held very gingerly and with no small disgust, with strong recommendations that some mages be put to work disenchanting the thing, which might require a trip to the 9th ring for a disjunction depending on how powerful it is.

Other than that, stuff looks good.  We should turn our attention next to the upcoming meeting with the High One. 

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Kadar, the cadence would

Kadar, the cadence would like to remind you that the kobolds already have the orb. The time for action was five minutes ago, now the deed is done.

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Polp turns back to the

Polp turns back to the kobold and bows politely.

“We happily accept, Miss Minister, though with our former arrangement in mind and given what we experienced down there we do have to insist on a small caveat. The Orb may be very dangerous and we’d like to be kept informed on what you discover and what your plans are for it. We have reason to believe disaster struck when it last was used, so all the more reason for caution and trust.”

“Also, I would very much appreciate if you could point me the way to your finest park. Oh, and a comfy place to stay until our meeting. Pretty please.”

Jem
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"Aye.  After all, deal was

"Aye.  After all, deal was for twenty percent, not ten.  I do think that reasonably means we should have weto ower any drastic plans using this thing.  It may be wital to... those matters we should best be discussing at appointment with High One.

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"Veto? I honestly don't

"Veto? I honestly don't think I can do that. Once this goes to the High One, it's pretty much out of my hands. You have done good work for us today, so would you settle for 15000 and a promise to keep you notified? I really can't offer you any more than that."

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Zhegre thinks ruefully, .

Zhegre thinks ruefully, . o O (It's not the money I'm after!)  "We will... bring it up with High One.  Let us go with that for now.  In meantime, aye, place to rest and freshen up would put us in much better state for diplomatic meeting."

"You are fortunate to be able to hold religious serwices in any place with greenery," he says to Polp.  "I do not suppose there are any shrines to Dwarven pantheon in this town."

. o O (You know, I don't think I've ever even been to a actual, established temple of Kurtulmak! I wonder if the ceremonies are different here, and if a layman can visit to learn something about the faith when we're not on terms of warfare.)

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"You are free to mention it

"You are free to mention it to the High One, and I will try to get you the 15,000 you wanted after your meeting. I hope you don't mind if I pay in gems. It's what we have on hand. As for the shad's request, you could always go up to the top of the mesa. It's not a park, exactly, but it is where we grow most of our food. Now then, is there anything else I can help you with?"

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"I would also like to see

"I would also like to see the top of the mesa if possible" Chips in Kadar "The change in scenery would be welcome."

__________________

"We're making a better world. All of them, better worlds." - Anonomous Harmonium Officer

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“Excellent! We should be

“Excellent! We should be able to get a good overview of the city from there. Hope to see you again, Miss Minister!”

 

Once the matter of payment and meeting arrangements for tomorrow have been sorted out, the shad turns to Zhegre and Aloric.

“Will you two be coming with us to the mesa peak? Otherwise, we could all meet at Kurtulmak’s Spear in half an hour or so.”

 

As soon as the two dwarves have decided, Polp locks eyes with Kadar, a challenging smile on his lips.

“Race you to the top!” he bursts and speeds away with an enthusiastic weee, jingling earrings, and the tattered cloak of the servant of Alzrius fluttering behind him.

Jem
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Zhegre has no particular

Zhegre has no particular plans before meeting the High One, except a vague interest in seeing if there are any religious services of the locals' that are open to non-kobolds.  He will note the arrangements Minister Driaktt'l recommends, and follow with the others.

If Minister Driaktt'l says the meeting with the High One will happen in two days, he'd probably look in to seeing if he could rent a forge during the daylight hours, and spend some of his share of the gems on making his sickle +1 to match his warhammer.  (The sickle isn't magic at the moment, so that would take 2 days.)  Since kobolds are mostly active at night, might there be space available?  Preferably near someplace that's already noisy during the day, since he wouldn't want to disturb anyone's sleep.  :^)

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"Forge? Yeah sure, my

"Forge? Yeah sure, my cousin Opik keeps a smithy in the lower districts. I'm sure he'll let you use it." She gives Zhegre directions to the smithy, and sends him on his way.

Polp's amazing typo-driven speed is of limited use as he goes the wrong way or crashes into something (or someone) every few minutes. Kadar, meanwhile, has superior stamina, always goes the right way, and has the cipher knack for not running into people, even when he's not looking. The two arrive at the top of the mesa in a dead heat, but since they came up via different routes (Kadar having taken a shortcut he couldn't possibly have known was there) it is anyone's guess as to who actually made it to the top quicker.

The top of the Citadel at night is an absolute wonder. The sky (or what passes for sky on the Outlands) has just started to fill with pre-dawn light, and the outlines of the Spire and Sigil are just barely visible on the horizon. Below the mesa, empty scrub brush, dotted by the occasional kobold streches off in to the haze, a couple miles out, the silhouettes of what appear to be Khaasta dance in front of a bonfire, and dire bats can regularly be seen riding the updraft from the mesa and hurtling unsteadilly over your heads. Around you, the mesa is crammed with warm-weather fruit trees, from oranges to pomegranates. Two huge fig trees, whith roots so large they serve as terraces for smaller trees, tower over the rest of the orchard as they guard each side of the canyon that bridges the mesa. Kobold children play in the branches (and occassionally snatch figs when no one is looking) while their broodkeepers watch. The adults, meanwhile scurry among the trees hurriedly as they prepare for the dawn and the end of the night's work.

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Kadar breathes deeply on

Kadar breathes deeply on the fresh air as Polp sets about his work, enjoying the change from the twisting underground passages.

 While he waits he takes full advantage of his lofty position and scans the surrounding plains to take in the lay of the land and to spot anything of interest.

 

6 Bonus for to do Spot
I rolled 1d20+6, the result is 19.
__________________

"We're making a better world. All of them, better worlds." - Anonomous Harmonium Officer

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Zhegre is already entering

Zhegre is already entering a semi-meditative state, a combination of art and worship, the mindset of the dwarven craftsman-priest. The arrangements he will need are laid out one by one in his mind: the forge, the time, the magic. He must sleep before he works, but he must secure the forge before he sleeps if he is to achieve this task swiftly enough to be of use in their current mission. It would be good to sleep there, perhaps. Yes.

He thanks the Minister and secures a brief letter of credit against the gems they're owed. He explains his plans and takes leave of his friends, a little distractedly. He makes his way as she directed, heading downward again, toward the heart of the mesa. It's a good strong place, close to the earth.

The clang of hammer on metal. Sparks fly. The forge-fires and glassblowers' ovens and potters' kilns glow among the tightly packed stores of the craftsmen. Good, this is the right district.

Raw materials. He'll need a few of the more common sort -- well, as common as the simplest of magic items go. He ducks into a few shops sporting mystic symbols, chatting knowledgeably with the shopkeepers about local magical conditions, picking up a few valuable fuel woods that will give a good fire, and some standard metal treatments that will hone an edge to beyond physical sharpness. For this he must admit he has only credit at the moment... he'll need to bargain with the storekeepers on the Minister's word.



{OOC: Two rolls below: Craft (weaponsmithing) to select good quality materials, and Diplomacy to try to persuade the shopkeepers to take my credit -- with my Haversack as collateral if for some reason the payment doesn't materialize, but the Minister didn't strike me as that sort.  The first has a bonus of +12 and ends up as a 20, for Craft (weaponsmithing), and the second has a roll of +9 and ends up as a 28 for Diplomacy.  Let me know if any other rolls are called for.}

Materials secured, he makes his way toward the shop he was directed to, and waits in the doorway until the smith is ready to talk to him. "Smith Opik? I was directed here by your cousin, Minister of Mining. She said you would be willing to let me use your forge for day or so, during day... I assure you I know how to keep smithy in working order, and would more than replace any materials consumed."

0 Bonus for multiple to do arrange for materials
I rolled 1d20+0, the result is 8.
I rolled 1d20+0, the result is 19.
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Kadar: You notice that the

Kadar:
You notice that the bonfire in the distance has a lot of khaasta around it, especially given how close it is to the citadel. None of the kobolds seem worried, but you get the feeling that relations with the Khaasta may not be a bit rockier than they are letting on.

Zhegre:
{There's be no problem getting stores to accept credit, and you find all the ingredients you could need and more. }
Opik is incredulous for a moment, but then looks at the letter the Minister provided you with, scowls, and agrees. The smithy he leads you into is large and well appointed (+2 to crafting, as with masterwork tools). Aside from lacking a big enough chair, the space is perfect for what you need.

Jem
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Zhegre thanks Opik kindly

Zhegre thanks Opik kindly and arranges a small workspace for himself in a corner out of the way.  As dawn approaches above the mesa, he says his morning prayers, happy there's a forge nearby to serve as an altar for once.  That done, he stretches out and zonks after the night's battles.

When his internal clock calls him, he wakes up in the middle of the day and gets to work.

Bank the fire, keep it low / silver melt like water flow

stoke the fire, blaze it high / mithral carries star from sky.

Edge and tip, grip and guard / made to pierce and made to ward

crafter's pride in every bend / on your skill my life depends.

God of fire, prepare my flame / I call upon thy holy name

God of war, instill this blade / with truer aim than hands have made.

Teach it how to pierce and harm / flesh that heeds no mortal arm.

Deep to thrust, and clean return / for justice strike, and victory earn. 

He'll spend the next two days doing this, and the evenings recuperating, possibly visiting a temple if one's open to the public; if not, then just waiting for the announced time of the meeting. 

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Polp is still rubbing his

Polp is still rubbing his forehead from running headfirst into the largest, or at least widest, and certainly angriest female kobold he’s ever seen. For a minute he thought she’d actually take a swing at him using her child, but then he got preoccupied navigating several lines of laundry suspiciously fixed to hinder his efforts.

 

He takes the time to savour the view from the mesa peak with his tiefling friend before looking about for a good place for the seed to grow. The shad sets to carry out his ceremonial planting where it would be unobtrusive and separate from the fruit trees, but someplace to take advantage of the fertile soil they also grow on.

 

Once he’s done, Polp takes a cue from the kobold children and snatches two figs when the broodkeepers don’t watch. Walking back to Kadar, he offers him one and follows his gaze to see what he’s looking at.

“Big lizard-people, like the ones who picked a fight with us earlier?”

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Kadar accepts the pilfered

Kadar accepts the pilfered fruit with a smile. "It looks like it Polp, perhaps we should speak to the High one about them when we have our audience."

Kadar pauses, reflectively looking across the outlands to the distant spire before continuing,

"If you have planted your seed perhaps we could explore the city for a little while before turning in."

__________________

"We're making a better world. All of them, better worlds." - Anonomous Harmonium Officer

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"Sure thing! But, eh,

"Sure thing! But, eh, let's start down the other side of the mesa than we came from."

The shad glances nervously back at the path from where he came, hoping he didn't trip over something important or bump into someone vengeful.

 

Polp would like to pass by the mine entrances again if they should find themselves in the vicinity, to scribble a bit of Shad Graffiti on a nearby rock, signifying these tunnels as a "dangerous place" to further generations of his kind.

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Kadar and Polp start to

Kadar and Polp start to climb down the far side of the canyon and begin to notice how peculiar the Citadel's inhabitants are. Besides kobolds, the streets are also full of a number of other races not always seen in polite civilization. A goblin sells rat-in-a-bigger-rat-on-a-stick, two bugbears haul a huge stack of mining tools down steps far too narrow for a pack mule, and a gaggle of gnolls patronize a refuse pile/discount eatery run by a particularly seedy looking Troglodyte. The kobolds themselves show a lot of variance in how they look and act, as well. Some have fine robes and polished scales, while others wear nothing but simple loincloths, and some don't even wear that much (not that it makes it any easier to tell the genders apart). As you travel back towards the mines, the city gets seedier, and the kobolds get fiercer looking. Upon crossing into one tunnel, the duo encounter a group of seemingly-albino kobolds blocking their their path. The kobolds wear nothing but belts (from which dagger hilts hang unsubtly) and have crude looking bone piercings sticking out of their crocodilian snouts and strange etchings all over their white scales. The group glares at the Polp and Kadar and shouts something threatening in strangely-accented Draconic.


Zhegre, meanwhile, hammers away.

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“Oh… uh,

“Oh… uh, hi?”

 

Polp nervously offers a friendly smile with his hands raised to indicate he has no hostile intentions, always one to avoid this kind of trouble if he can. He leans slightly towards Kadar and whispers with a bit of whimper and fright in his voice.

“You wouldn’t happen to know what they said, would you?”

 

Having no knowledge of the language and no better ideas at the moment, Polp tries offering the only thing he has gotten familiar with in this city.

“Doctor’s Surprise?”

(if the orders were given in Draconic at Kurtulmak’s Spear, he tries his impression of the local tongue)

 

OOC

How many are in the group?

4 Bonus for Diplomacy to do
I rolled 1d20+4, the result is 21.
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"I'm afraid not, although

"I'm afraid not, although it's one I'm interested in picking up." Kadar turns to the kobolds, asking if they understand him and would be interested in joining Polp and he for a drink in each of the languages he knows - Planar trade, Xeph, Infernal, Celestial and Abyssal.

7 Bonus for to do Diplomacy
I rolled 1d20+7, the result is 13.
7 Bonus for to do sense motive
I rolled 1d20+7, the result is 8.
__________________

"We're making a better world. All of them, better worlds." - Anonomous Harmonium Officer

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{{OOC: Sorry for my absence.

{{OOC: Sorry for my absence. I had a busy, busy week. Who'd have thought working for a political campaign a month before the election would be time consuming?}}

The seven kobolds simultaneously draw their daggers and begin to advance slowly while growling something in what almost sounds like Undercommon. Obviously your drink offer was not a success.

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“I guess they’re not

“I guess they’re not thirsty…”

 

Expecting the worst, Polp draws his rapier and shield while looking around for law enforcement in the immediate vicinity. He keeps very close to Kadar and crouches ever so slightly with his footing on some manner of slight elevation, in preparation to vault over a kobold that should close in and engage.

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Kadar eyes the oncoming

Kadar eyes the oncoming pale kobolds, "Not knowing the laws of this berg I'd rather not scribe these sods the day before meeting with the high-up. Perhaps we should continue our race from earlier? First one to the top or a guard wins?"

 Kadar readies himself to take off back down the way that they came but waits to ensure that Polp is willing to follow.

__________________

"We're making a better world. All of them, better worlds." - Anonomous Harmonium Officer

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Shifting anxiously on his

Shifting anxiously on his wobbly clawed feet, Polp is already starting to pull back as Kadar speaks.

“More than happy to comply... Watch out at the tunnel exit, that’s how ambushes are pulled off back where I come from!”

 

With that said the young shad rush away from the albino kobolds with his Cipher friend, seeking to keep well ahead so that he’ll be first to encounter a potential trap or ambush that should be sprung on them at the tunnel opening. As they speed toward the exit, Polp keeps an eye out for any boltholes in the tunnel and keeps well clear of any they might run past.

11 Bonus for Listen to do notice any unseen problems waiting ahead
I rolled 1d20+11, the result is 28.
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(sorry, double post)

(sorry, double post)

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Kadar takes off behind

Kadar takes off behind Polp, scanning the area for anyone who might be of assistance.

(ooc- Yay, that new level just gave me +5 to my movement)

6 Bonus for to do Spot
I rolled 1d20+6, the result is 7.
__________________

"We're making a better world. All of them, better worlds." - Anonomous Harmonium Officer

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You two escape the kobold

You two escape the kobold toughs with no difficulty and you can't help but feel that the whole incident was a total waste of time.

[You guys have something else you really want to do before meeting the High One, or should I just skip ahead?]

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[ooc- Sorry DL, couldn't

[ooc- Sorry DL, couldn't think of a good IC reason for Kadar to slaughter the locals. I'm good to move on I suppose]

__________________

"We're making a better world. All of them, better worlds." - Anonomous Harmonium Officer

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During the two days before

During the two days before the meeting with the High One, Polp spends his time on a number of varied tasks and errands. He keeps his companions informed of his whereabouts in case they need him, occasionally dropping by Zhegre’s working space in the smithy to visit.

 

The shad explores the city and asks around to track down a proprietor or crafter of magical garments, to have someone in the field take a closer look at the magical properties of the tattered cloak and trade in his old one. If the sale along with his share of the minister’s monetary reward should allow, he purchases an enchanted pair of gloves to heighten his agility.

In the evenings, Polp gathers his parchment and quill to write an extensive letter for friends and family back in Gemstome Gardens. He details his voyage since leaving his home plane, emphasizing the spectacular places he’s visited but down-playing the potentially apocalyptic-like prospect of the expanding shadow of the Spire (he doesn’t divulge anything sensitive or information that otherwise could compromise the mission).

In the remaining time he mostly loiters around the gardens at the summit, chatting up the local gardeners, and asking them about local herbs. He happily helps out with tending to the flora wherever he can and shares his people’s experience with plants both mundane and mystical with those who want to listen.

 

OOC

Like Az, I couldn’t think of any IC incentive for Polp not to avoid conflict either. Polp is looking for gloves of dexterity +2, which should be affordable with his cut of the 15 grand and sale of his old cloak.

Jem
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Zhegre is happy to chat

Zhegre is happy to chat with his friends dropping by, and has no particular other plans before meeting the High One. Given the description of the races around, he supposes that some of the passersby may not be thrilled to have a dwarf working in some locals' smithy, permission or no, so a friendly face would doubtless be welcome.

"...why hammer and sickle? Well, they are tools, you see. Pressed into serwice as weapons. It is intended to say, we do not seek war, but we will go forth to fight from our farms and our smithies if you make it necessary."

"...is easier to enchant weapon I forged myself, not to mention have owned and used for some time, da. There is certain bond. Priest of Moradin enchanted my hammer in Sigil, but this is first chance I have had to put into practice my own more recently completed studies on matter."

"...Process of enchantment itself is symbolic re-forging, is what this tracing of mithril and bath of molten silwer are all about. To become magic, it must have existence beyond material lewel. Since we are on Outlands, this will be the nature of immaterial existence it will bond with. Legend has it... and I speak no secrets because I do not know for certain..." Zhegre's voice drops conspiratorially. "...but legend has it that there are hidden forges scattered across Lower Planes, where priests of Soulforger and Forge-tender make for us weapons imbued with holy power, shining lamps welded to the fabric of those dark places, powerful in realms where Good must go to combat Evil. Creatures of darkness hate such forges, of course, and our smiths there are in deadly danger constantly. Discovery means flight or death; no attempt to hold territory can possibly last long in heart of enemy's turf."

Zhegre sets aside the strangely delicate feather of some celestial bird he's been using to dust a glowing powder on the blade very, very gently. He picks up the sickle upside down by the handle and turns to a basin of holy water in the manner of a smith performing the final quench of a forging.

"First by hammer you were made / on anvil flat, to shape the blade

heat to soften, thus to mold / cool to quench, your edge to hold.

Now by power of dwarven pride / I call upon thy power inside:

By word of war I summon you: / awaken! and be forged anew!"

He plunges the sickle into the holy water, and the powder flashes to aromatic smoke, raising a cloud of steam just as if the blade had plunged in hot from a forging -- which, in a mystical sense, it had. When he draws it forth, the enchantment is complete.

{OOC: Oh, and personally? I'd have gone for a nonlethal smacking of the little wannabe gangsters. Teach 'em a lesson safely. :^)}

0 Bonus for to do light generation(30 or less)
I rolled 1d100+0, the result is 47.
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