Shielding Alliance

Two heads are better...?
a look inside the mind & motivations of the young cleric

Florent is conflicted. He has come to admire this bow wielding farm girl, as well as lust after her. She is most impressive in her leather armor, and he can only dream what she looks like without the armor. But his recent string of near death experiences have given him an even greater sense of urgency than his raging hormones and pent up ‘lenergie de sexualite’. Sulmia has not outright rejected his advances, but neither has she lept into his arms. Now there is this strange affinity she has for shadows, almost as if she is dancing. He is not certain how the ever vigilant light of Helm sees this practice.

The conflict comes from what he has heard of young maidens expressing their gratitude to the brave heros that plucked them from certain death and torture. Actually, he has heard very little, but his imagination can fill in the blanks. In his head he knows that a long term relationship would be much more meaningful and fulfilling. But his second head is sending stronger, more base level urges. And if he dies on his next venture to the temple, what will long term potential get him. Nothing but a blue ball virgin string of frustrations.

As he heads to the inn and the young maidens, he decides which one of them he should give his pitch to first. He knows he might fall short, but he has to take a stab at it. He laughs at this series of bad puns, and starts rehearsing his story. A few changes to their exploits certainly wouldn’t hurt. Homiletic license, Kalmer would call it. Suddenly the giant frogs they first encountered become young wyverns, and the clerics and fighters Florent and his followers have faced become thrice has many. He decides against showing them the implements of torture they have recovered, but knows that a vivid description of what he saved them from might inspire their gratitude to even greater heights. Them… toegether… his recently post-pubescent mind races and he has to stop to re-adjust his polearm. No, don’t want to be greedy. One at a time…

Thus Florent spends his first night back in Homlette. While going through cheesy lines about “going to face certain death in the protection of all that is good” and “You may be the last beautiful woman I am to lay eyes upon before my eternal rest” he has a nagging concern in the back of his mind. Will Sulmia be the next to shoot him in the back (or worse) by ‘accident’, as the half-elf did? Surely she’ll understand, or hopefully she’ll never find out.

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still sucky in armor

page 122 “If a character is wearing armor and using a shield, both armor check penalties apply.”

so Florent is still clanky as he ever was.

Helllo negative 38 to swim checks!

I was asking about Initiative as I could not figure out how Kel had +4… But then I recalled he has the AGGRESSIVE trait… carry on citizens

Am I correct in assuming Treveylan will be assuming the same trait in the near future?

Or maybe just AGGRESSIVE with human citizens…

FLORENT:” So if we no find any prisoners ‘ere that must be returned to safety, our options are continue our descent and eradicate more evil, return to ‘Omlett to get better prepared, and then come back, or go to Baldur’s Gate in ‘opes of even better provisions, and then return. Is this correct in what I am ‘earing? My vote is if we no find any prisoners to protect, that we begin initial exploration of next part of tempel to know what we are facing. Perhaps we can follow the line you mention, Turtel.

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Of gods and humans...
or, the elves talk religion

Seemingly disinterested in the discussion about human deities Pertinax suddenly offers, almost with a shrug:

“Helm has healed us and aids us in this endeavor. For that I am grateful. I am not surprised, for Corellon is a friend of Helm and such a fine elven deity wouldn’t befriend a human unless he was indeed exceptional. I could say that you have all proven the same and as such you count this elf as your friend and companion. Perhaps there is hope for humanity.”

“Now Tempus, I know little of him, but I thought him a most martial and combative sort. Not really a protector of much but more of an aggresive force. Xuntuiven, my people call him. The Destroyer. Perhaps there are other aspects of him I ignore. Do illuminate us with your most charismatic discourse Treveylan.

“Well, I suppose most of what you say is true Pertinax… but Tempus is not merely known for his war savvy. His followers, particularly the priests, keep warfare a thing of rules and respected reputation… while also trying to work to minimize uncontrolled bloodshed and to end pointless extended feuding. They also fight to protect all civilization from the monstrosities that inhabit this earth, but severely punish those who fight dishonorably, or with cowardice.

All who have fallen are honored by the Feast of the Moon, which is held each year. Each of the temples have a Feast of Heroes at highsun, and a Song of the Fallen at sunset. Most temples also have a Song of the Sword ceremony after dark for the layfolk.

Tempus does not win battles himself, and is known to favor one army, or soldier one day, while he may favor another the next. His favor is random, but eventually he favors everyone equally.

Tempus regards all life equally, whether friend or foe. All that have fallen should be remembered… friend or foe. As Tempus would not want anyone to disparage any foe, but to respect all, for valor shines in all regardless of their age, their sex, or even their race.

His is a just God, and should be respected, but no less than any of your own patron deities…

But that is enough on that… I am beginning to sound as zealous as the young lad here…,” a sly wink in Florent’s direction.

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Treveylan speaks...

“While you all seem to have a similar sense of what we “should” do… I will say that spending too much time away from here will not help us at all. I understand the need for preparation, and the need to re-supply… but too much time wasted gives our enemies the advantage… and I can’t wait that long for them to be ready. We need to take the fight to them before they have time to realize that their upper defenses has been breached so. I have a potion of water breathing in my pack (he moves his hand to remove it), whomever needs it most, take it.”

Turning to Florent, “Lad you must understand that continuously preaching the ways of your god does not warm us to your beliefs. In truth, it may only set us further from seeing what you have already come to believe. So for the rest of us, please calm your exaltations. In time, if we choose to follow your deity, we shall. But to continuously persist in your beliefs, so that you may sway our opinion of your god, does not help your cause. I mean no ill will against Helm, for he surely does protect us.” He starts to turn away, but turns back, and says, “He seems very much like the Great God, Tempus… a master of protection and warfare, as well as strength. Your god seems to hold similar ideals as Tempus. Me father always said I was more like Tempus, than he could ever remember anyone of our tribe. Even more so than the Northsmen, who revere him as their mighty protector….” he walks away from the group, and says almost inaudibly, “Perhaps I am destined to follow Tempus then??”

He stands away from the group for a short time, seemingly perplexed with his own statements, then abruptly turns around and heads directly toward Furnock. He crouches near Furnock, speaking quietly so that only Furnock can hear what is being said, “I have been meaning to ask you a few things… and was wondering if we could talk alone…

Roberto, being funny:He crouches near Furnock, speaking quietly > so that only Furnock > can hear what is being said, “I have been meaning to > ask you a few > things… and was wondering if we could talk > alone…”

OOC:And then he stabs him! +1 because he is a human!

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High Elven Arrogance

“Ellilin. We fight well together. You keep the abominations away from me and I blast them with High Elven Arcana. I can almost hear the screams of the Ancient Souls, those who died before their time. I will learn to channel their disembodied voices and bring swift judgement to the evil in these halls.”

After noticing that no one is paying attention to him because of the theological discussion and because everyone is tired of his arrogance, Pertinax shrugs his thin shoulders.

“Aye (OOC:Espruar for yes, believe it or not) it would be wise to prepare before we venture down. There is not only the Water Temple, but also the Fire Temple mentioned in the previous battle. It stands to reason that there should also be an Air Temple. I don’t know about weeks but I think we need to explore this level and then head back to Hommlet, decide what to do about new equipment and then come back here as swiftly as possible. We don’t want the other temples to have too much time.”

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Born Again Cleric

“One, we do research from Boourns about beings made from water, as the Water Temple will have them if the Earth Temple did. Two, we make preparations to get wet, as it is a safe bet we’ll have to swim at some point. I’m not bad in the water, but there are ways to help even the dryest landlubber.” She adjusts a soot-stained boot.

FLORENT:”Uh, pardon moi… Did you say swim? I no so good at swimming. Let me re-phrase this. I no swim at all. I sink. Quickly. Maybe preparations are good idea.”

“The line is a metaphor, symbolic of my not moving from a position, Helm with us or not. ‘Hold the line,’ and all. Again, we check out as many rooms on this level as possible, but return to Hommlett immediately afterwards and spend some weeks preparing before we return to go deeper.” FLORENT: “Weeks! No, we cannot wait weeks while evil grows. No think you that the Tempel de Water people already know about us? Already we ‘ave seen ‘ow they are adapting, bringing flaming oil to pour on our shield wall, and weapons to disarm us. I no want to give them weeks to prepare for us, swimming or no swimming.”

“Forgive me- I meant ‘several series of seven days successively.’ Turtle blusters on. “Just enough time for a quick trip up to the Gate and back for the necessary supplies that Hommlett can’t provide.” She moves over to the corpse of the ‘mummy’ that Furnock has been checking and picks up the cowl to make it ‘move.’ “You don’t want to meet these guys without some new equipment do you?” She lets it drop, but turns back to Florent. “And while I have respect for your god, this mission is no more Helm’s than it is Chauntea’s. I have not decided yet on a patron, mostly because one has not yet moved me, but I would feel more comfortable if you’d tone down your zeal. Actions speak louder than words and your faith is clear.” She smiles diplomatically, but clearly is getting frustrated with the constant preaching.

FLORENT: “You ‘ave no yet ‘eard the call of ‘Elm, I am mean, decided on a patron? I am ‘appy to ‘ear this, shield sister. I see the Protector already at work within you, through your actions in defense and vigilance. Praise be to ‘Elm! As for my zeal, you mean this bright light on the front of my shield? Eet is a ‘oly symbol of ‘Elm that has been blessed to always shine. I no think it has a dimmer switch.

Sighing again Turtle replies, “No, I have not heard his call, but I am happy to aid his goals, especially if they include us getting guidance and supplies at one of his larger temples in the Gate.” She looks around for support at this idea. “Of course we don’t need to vote right now- let’s finish this part of the temple first like we’ve agreed to.”

Furnock over up at Turtle and says “I hate this place the sooner we leave the better. As to who has agreed to YOUR proposed plan of action, that has not been decided yet.”

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Praise be to 'Elm!

OOC: Please note that the first part of my initial e-mail was all interior dialogue. I wanted you to have a window into the mind of Florent, but obviously your characters would not have such a priviledge. The part he said out loud, the cursing in french, the exclamations about how terrible that creature was, the question about what happened, was the part in “quotes”. He didn’t say anything about fear. A prideful teenager (in love) would never be so vulnerable or honest to admit he was afraid.

TURTLE: “Use this episode to learn from indeed, but learn that fear is useful. It teaches that there are things out there you cannot beat, things which can destroy not just your earthly body, but your eternal soul as well.” She moves her shield arm gingerly, trying not to show the wound. “Things you SHOULD be afraid of. We are fortunate that High Elven Vengeance is soo…vengeful because without Helm’s power in this fight, we could have lost someone’s body and their soul.” She moves her shield arm fluidly. “I will keep looking on this level for more prisoners, but I will NOT go down into the Water Temple without serious preparation. This is my line.”

FLORENT: “Fear? Afraid? What ‘ave we to fear when we ‘ave the power of ‘Elm? See ‘ow great ‘is glory is, that even when I taken out of the fight, ‘e works through all of you to defeat this monstrosity. You are right, Turtell, that ‘without Helm’s power in this fight, we could have lost someone’s body and their soul’ but ‘Elm is indeed with us! Praise be to ‘Elm!” Florent’s voice gains in strength and ferver as he speaks. His eyes get wide and somewhat glazed. A discerning listener would get the sense that he is speaking more to himself than to anyone else. It is as if he’s trying to beat down inner demons and fears with his faith, even if it is becoming blind faith.

“I agree we need to continue to search for prisoners first. What preparations do you suggest for the Water Temple, Turtell? And what is this line you speak of? I did no see the line as we were exploring the temple, but with my shield I no see so good.”

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Turn around, bright eyes...
DM's comment: Absolutely epic! You guys are getting very good at this.....

“Every now and then I fall apart.”

Even while cowering behind a wall of steel, with his head turned and eyes clamped shut, he can see those eyes. Those terrible red eyes burning past his defenses and searing his soul. With horrific clarity those eyes lay bare his greatest weaknesses, and the darkests spots on his conscience. He is afraid. For all his blustering, for all his talk of his new found faith in Helm the protector, he is afraid. It is a core insecurity he has carried all his life. When he first trained as a fighter, he always chose defensive techniques not out of strategy or practicality, but out of fear. His tower shield is a huge encumbrance. It hampers his every attack, his every movement. He clings to it out of fear. He huddles beneath it now, along with his terror.

Even when the sounds of battle fade and words of congratulations are offered, he is paralyzed by fear, he cannot move, cannot stop weeping. The shame and base fear are too much. When his muscles finally respond, he gasps and gags through the smoke, trying to crawl away from the cell as quickly as possible. Some prisons are easier to escape than others.

“Merde! Sac re blue! Quelle ‘orror! Ees eet gone?” He wheezes these exclamations between choking coughs. “Eet was terrible. Those eyes were ‘orrible! Were any of you able to resist eets evil power? I saw nothing. What ‘appenned?”

“The enemy has been dispatched, my friend… (speaking with a calm voice) As for whatever you saw… I am not sure. I felt the chill of it’s mind trying to invade mine… I felt it try to make me feel guilty for being a half-breed, to hate both my Elven and Human heritage. Fortunately, I fought the desperate calls of this beasts foul magics…

Be not afraid Florent… without you, we would not have been here to fight this monstrosity. Your skill as a healer and warrior are unparalleled by any in this party. Stand tall… do not be ashamed, do not be afraid. Learn from what has happened… do not let such a valuable lesson escape you. Perhaps, by this interaction, you can learn how to defend against magics such as this??”

Treveylan walks to where Florent is, stands beside him, and places a hand on his shoulder. “We each have burdens to carry, and I think that this beast tried to use our own guilts and fears against us. You did fine, take your time if needed. We still need you and your skill. Perhaps you can bless or say some final rights to keep this thing from rising again??”

“Merci beaucoup pour your words, Treveylan. I am most relieved to ‘ear the monstrosity is gone, but ‘ow? Surely, eef I fell with the power of ‘Elm within me, I was not the only one to be struck down by the monster, no?: Looking at the faces of his compatriots Florent realizes that he was alone in succumbing to the fearful gaze of the undead. As with many recent converts, he cannot accept or integrate shades of gray when it comes to faith. “Then eet was the power of ‘Elm that struck down this monstrosity, working through you. Do you no see ‘ow awesome mon Dieu is? ‘E reveals ‘is glory through momentary weakness de moi. Glory be de ‘Elm!” [Listening to this last phrase, one gets the sense Florent is trying to convince himself more than anyone else.] “Eef there is any remaining ‘umanity within this creature, this ‘oly water will commit eet to eternal rest”

Furnock watches the exchange between Trevelyn and Florant, then spits some ashy goo onto the ground. He takes out his loaded dice and begins shaking them and musing to himself. “That… that thing had been WAY too close. Those red eyes… its shrieking wasted mouth howling… far too many dead things up and walking about in this dung heap… its so unnatural… maybe the kid was right? Maybe Helm does protect? I’ve been loading dice and marking cards since I started walking next mother from town to town. Maybe it was time to hedge my bets with the great beyond? Shifty had always made it clear to never sit down at a table you couldn’t leave. There was no escaping this pit except trusting my new allies… well some ARE allies… one has yet to reveal himself… he was talking to that temple scum alittle too friendly-like, talking about some earth mother nonsense, probably some geo-tectonic trollop, and then rolling those devil bones, not good, not good, best keep a weather eye on the ranger”

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moving fwd once more. maybe.

Eef the gnome lives, then we must escort ‘im to safety. Eet is the sworn duty of the Protector. I fear I am still learning ‘ow to be ever vigilant, ever watchful. But my duty is clear to me now. I will call on the blessings of ‘Elm to ‘eal us. Sulmia, mon cherie, are you injured? [Heal checks all around]

Eef the gnome cannot be saved, we must press forward until we can go no further. We ‘ave done much to protect the ‘eartlands today, but there is much evil left to crush under the unbending ‘and of ‘Elm.

OOG: Brian, there must be quite a back story on how Treveylan became a devotee of Chauntea. He seems more like the hunter gatherer type than committed to agriculture and farming. And given Chauntea’s great love for all beings and the vast majority being human, the human as favored enemy doesn’t seem to match up. You may want to choose a deity that is a closer match to Dr. Tre. Bane and Cyric come to mind as possibilities… [Insert good natured wink here to convey joke]

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Treveylyn tries

I freely admit that I am short-tempered… I suppose that I am used to working on the range of the ‘Shaes, alone. Many in my clan would spend months alone, as that is the way of our Rangers. We each defended a position of the lands we inhabited… and served to protect the people who also resided there. Therefore my social eloquence has obviously suffered quite a bit… though my father always said I had the gift for talking. He once said I talked a raging bear down when I was a mere child… But I think he may have been pulling my leg.

I hate none of you… and to clarify… I do not hate Humans. I was raised amongst them, was trained to fight against them… as the barbarians had to be fended off from taking too much from the people they came across in their travels. As I have been raised around humans mostly, I have a better inclination to find their weak spots… whether in their physical attributes, or their social abilities. I no more hate humans than I hate the trees… if I truly hated humans, why would I travel with you?

I suppose I am still trying to grow accustomed to being in such a close group at most times of my day and life… it truly is not something that grows upon you quickly.

Sacrifice, is always a part of an adventure, but to not at least attempt to assist the less fortunate seems low. I can only hope that the great judge allows me to pass to the heavens when I am taken from this earth.

What is our next plan… what do we do now?

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