Shielding Alliance

one of the last SA emails :(

Florent looks at the other party members, puzzled by their silence. He shrugs his shoulders and takes their silence for acquiescence, strapping on the javelin sling. “So we forge ahead then, No?”

Turtle looks around at her companions. “The map must reach the side of good and the sooner it does, the more lives it may save. It is hopeless to try and confront a demoness at this point. We need to get the map to Burns, buy magic that will affect slimes and demons, and see if we can do any research on our foes. I will not go down into the next level until those things are done.” She stands firmly against a wall.

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Gotta 'ave Faith

OOG: Florent adds a George Michael “Gotta Have Faith” dance into his ‘I Told You So’.

IFH: (In Florent’s Head) Florent looks into the weapons closet and sings the praises of Helm. As the stakes get higher and the Temple more deadly, the party is becoming stressed and edgy. All he wanted to do was follow the will of Helm, and yet his companions were so filled with doubt. The she warrior grumbled and pouted. The half elf made some grand speech about how he doesn’t trust me. Such fear, doubts, and lack of faith. But they could not hear your voice. They cannot know the peace that comes with direct communication with you, O mighty Protector. “Stay true, Be Brave”. You imprinted these words on my heart, and I will cling to them now, when the evil of this place seeks to disrupt our communion. I will stay vigilant. I will stay true. I will be brave.

“Praise be to ‘Elm!” Florent proclaims for the tenth time. His smiling face turns from the weapons closet to the party with the joy of vindication. “No I say to you that ‘Elm would provide? You worry that they are no magical, but they will be just what we need, you wait and see.” Florent picks up one of the javelins and tests its balance. “I am no so good with a sword or a bow as some of you, but I think I could throw one of these with some force. ‘Ow you want to divide these weapons?”

Treveylan looks again at the zealous youth. “I do not think that any of these (pointing directly at the weapons) are the weapon your god referred to. What were his words… exactly? Did he not mention the “lands of good”? Perhaps while he spoke to you, there was more emphasis on certain words in his statement? Perhaps, and I suspect that we may be right in our guess, that this Map is the true weapon. Knowledge, above all things is, a more potent weapon, especially when it reveals your enemy. Without knowledge all that we have, all that we do, is nothing. We would have no armor, no weapons, no magic, no food, no life. While these physical weapons might help us, I am not sure that they are what your god was referring to. But I am sure you will not listen to my wisdom either as you are brash and blind in your devotion. Gods may word their desires, but those words may also need to be deciphered. Anything simply stated is not necessarily the true meaning… perhaps the words are a play upon themselves?” He turns to see if anyone else might believe this to be possible.

“Even though we have found these weapons, I feel that we have somehow missed something. While we have the time, perhaps we can do a more thorough search, to be sure that nothing was left unturned; nothing has gone unchecked.”

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some sense and sensibility
wherein our band has to once more decide whether to push on or recoup

Pertinax, “This was a tough fight, but I am inclined to attempt to find a safe spot to rest here on this level and then press on. I don’t know what else we could hope to accomplish on the second level. That priest of air seems to have finished the job on our behalf.”

Turtle nudges a now motionless helmet with a toe. “I know that you’re all impressed with my speed as is,” she quips dryly, “so I think I’ll stick to the chain shirt and leave the ‘swapping armor with the forces of evil’ routine to Florent.” She blows a raspberry at him. Straightening her hair. “Pertinax, I am worried if these mere animated guards were immune to your Art that the demoness will be also unaffected. In fact, did we not see evidence of TWO demons?” She shakes her head again. “Where would we camp? In the room with the evil tiled Floor of Death or in the room with the earthen ground, that Something Hideous will no doubt erupt horridedly from?” She shakes her head again. “I don’t think there is any ‘safe spot to rest’ in these parts,” Turtle says, with an eye fixed toward the darkness. I’d much rather hike back up to at least the previous so we can have, if nothing else, a height advantage. And I thought there was still one passageway, albeit filled with water, that we might investigate further.”

“Well, it certainly seems to me like we need a vote. Do we return to the upper levels now or do we stay at this level and attempt to rest here or perhaps even push on? Just because these two recent creatures were resistant to magic does not mean that others will be. In any case, my bow seems to work fine on other creatures. I am far from useless even without the use of my magics.”

“Florent, how much magic did you use in this encounter? I still have quite a bit left. I vote that we stay in this level and either push on if our magics are not depleted or we find a relatively safe spot to rest. I believe the upper levels hold little more for us to do, flooded passageways notwithstanding.”

“Well, they would be safer than an unexplored level home to at least one demon.” Turtle shrugs. “Resting down here would be pointless, as sooner or later something from one of the numerous evil rooms would interrupt our sleep, catching us when we’re most defensible. But even if Florent has a lot of magic left, it would be wise to approach this part of our campaign with caution- with the elemental temples effectively destroyed or disbanded, the slime demon is stuck down here without arms or legs.” Turtle does her best impression of a quadrapelgic.

“I think rushing ahead at this stage is reckless; if things are immune to magic, then magic which affects us through Elven speed or Helm blessing need to be prepared as much as possible. Perhaps you can advise us on the nature of demons Pertinax, so that we have some idea of what we’re up against.” Turtle looks hopefully to the elf for him to avoid a TPK.

Pertinax, “Using caution is always a good course of action, but we must also advance at some point. Powerful demons share some things in common, for example it is wise to use weapons that have been aligned with a good power and preferably made of cold iron. That is used against the most powerful demons. The problem is that others, which we might call devils, are susceptible to different materials like alchemical silver. Until we know more about our specific foe we won’t be able to predict much about it’s weaknesses. That is why we must push on, to investigate more. The bottom line is that we don’t know what we need to defeat the Demoness and the answer must lie down here.”

Pertinax then points to the room with the door few people can look at.

“Besides, I think the Demoness is still bound behind those doors with the magical wards. It only makes sense. Otherwise we’d be dead already.”

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The Emperor's New Armor (but still has no clothes)
Florent feels as if their success is a sign

Didius and Pertinax exchange relieved looks after the last of the animated suits of armor is on the floor. “I am getting tired of all these critters that my magic can’t seem to affect. Thank Corellon for my Fine Elven Wood!” Pertinax taps his bow, ignoring Florent’s juvenile laughter. Pertinax moves closer to the heaps of metal and casts the spell to detect dweomers.

“Mes Amis, those guardians were tres difficile. Think you that it was their animation that made them so strong and difficile to ‘it, or the enchantment on the armor. Pertinax, are the suits still detecting strong… exaltation, as you say they were before?” Florent bends to examine the fallen heaps of plate mail. “I ‘ave say before that ‘Elm provides. Look ‘ow well Lareth’s armor work for moi, before I find this new suit I wear. Sure it looks evil, but eet is the ‘eart that matters, the faith, no the exterior. If there is armor intact and useable, I would like for you to examine eet with your fancy glasses and say to me eef eet is another gift of ‘Elm.” Florent gets a now familiar gleem of blind, fanatic faith in his eyes as he starts to imagine himself bringing destruction to the enemies of Helm in their own armor.

“Turtel, mon amis, you can no let yourself get discouraged so quickly. No I say to you that ‘Elm would provide? Why don’t you try on some of this new armor that Vigilant ‘as given us. It will ‘elp you come out of your shell.” The teen priest obviously thinks he’s hilarious. “But you know we can no go back. The evil lies ahead and we must stamp it out. Plus, I no think we ‘ave way of going back anyhow. So onward, my charges. Let us strike a fisted blow for ‘Elm for the ages.” Florent strikes a pose and looks back to see if Didious is taking notes.

Turtle shakes her head. “No doubt the Watcher would be pleased that despite fighting mindless opponents, who had no special abilities, and whom we KNEW were going to attack us, we were hard pressed to win. In fact, we needed to use much of our higher magics. I believe we are not yet ready to be down here, and should go back to the second level until we are better prepared.”

She seems sullen.

“Oui, I ‘ave most of ‘Elm’s blessings at my disposal. We are ‘ealthy, for the most part, and I am no for going back. Turtel, when you assume the demon is trapped, you make an ass out of me… no wait, ‘ow does that saying go? Anyway, I no think I can climb that rope to get back to higher level anyway, so I say we forge ahead. Time to ‘ike up that chain mail skirt of yours, Turtel. Too much caution is cowardice.”

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Nice view from up here
Don't drop acid; I mean, no drop moi into the acid, si vous plait.

Waves of evil wash over Florent as he edges around the precipice. Normally he is not bothered by heights, but the unease of the place has added a sense of vertigo. Making fun of the skittish half-elf is easier than acknowledging his own fears. Still, there do seem to be advantages from their current vantage point. Higher ground is always a plus. The wall of the corridor on both sides that did not fall away provides cover, and would allow the group to spread out. It also seems like this is their only way to proceed. Florent still struggles to know if he is doing the will of Helm in situations where a quick decision is necessary. Was it good sense and prudence to back away from the powerful cleric, and let his destroy the middle level of the temple? Destroying the temple certainly is one of Florent’s, and most likely, Helm’s goals. But he also let collapse tunnels and retreat without a challenge. Should he have attacked and at least tested the cleric’s ability to maintain such spells and defend himself? Doubts plague Florent, but doubts have no place in the heart of a man of faith, do they? Florent shakes his head to clear these esoteric musings. Focus. Be Vigilant. Helm will provide.

Turning to the group, Florent addressese the Alliance. “Mes Amis. ‘Elm ‘as provided once again with this storehouse. My suggestion is that we spread out along the ledge and then lower a lamp into the darkness. We ‘ave ‘igher ground, and can perhaps lure something out to learn more. Retreat is a problem with this whole cave-in thing, but I no want to retreat anyway. Evil must be crushed.”

OOG: This would definitely be one of those times when I would have reloaded the last save point and then attacked Tornado Tom (aka the High Priest of the Air Temple) just to see if he could be beat or retreating was the wise choice afterall. I love the non-linear sense of the adventure path, knowing that we can take the story in different directions. I am hoping this baby stays in the oven for at least a few more weeks so she gets bigger and so I can see where this story goes.

Dan, sorry about leaving the greasy pan at your place. My bad.

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Turtle asks the new bard for a favor

OOC: I’m not sending this to Luke (it might overfill his inbox) or Brian, as Furnock is apparently at the bar & Treveylan is doing his Bill Bixby impersonation.

As the ranger leaves, Turtle mutters a few choice curse words in Elvish, hands still squeezing the chair tightly. When he’s gone, she relaxes a bit, pouring yet another flagon of water, anger cooling as she drinks. “Talk about presuming.” She rolls her eyes. “The nerve.” Slam of an empty mug. “Right. Moving on. Didius, I’d very much appreciate any help you could provide, as maybe music along with the charisma-enhancing magic will soothe the savage beasts. I subdued a temple follower early on named Chan a misguided sort who could easily be returned to the fold. The other is a bit tougher.” Leaning back. “His name is Feldron and he is associated with a guild of cut throats to the north. Still, I find him honorable, and keep a slim possibility that he’s redeemable. It won’t be easy for either, but an hour a day for each while we’re here should do the trick. If you help, no matter what the result, I’ll compensate your time with a small magical item of protection.” Turtle holds a hand up to prevent a refusal.

“I insist. We’ve got to keep our resident bard around for our deeds to be shared no?” Turning to her brother. “I assume you’ll be scribing that vision scroll for our sensitive friend.” OOC: it’ll take 1 day to study it and 1 day to do the actual scribing. “But can you also spend some time researching demons and slimes? What made me laugh before was the idea of being worried about simple villagers but not preparing adequately for the slime demon.” She shrugs. “I myself would rather fight the whole population of Knulb than a slime demon.” There is a despondent look in her eyes. “We’ve had much success but I fear this foe will be beyond us.” Her expression is grim. Bashfully grim.

Furnock watches the arguing with his mouth agape and his eyes wide. Then he shakes his head and heads for the bar to get another beer.

STEVE RESPONSE: OOC: There should be a tie-in with what Furnock did/didn’t do the night before. Chris can even do it, but email-wise, we last left off with Pertinax going upstairs to knock on Furnock’s door as umm, it was likely the rogue was not going to rise early given what had happened. (also not sure that we all have separate rooms, but hey, sounds more dramatic that way)

PS OOG: All that arguing about very little fills up my email box

STEVE RESPONSE: As far as reducing emails, Roberto has mentioned having a message board for the group. Until then, we could stick brief labels in the subject line to help sort out the emails:

1. nothing but a title if its 'in game' action/dialogue
2. an 'OOC' prefix if the email is game-related, but from you, rather than your character
3. an 'OOG' prefix if its not about Sunday sessions at all
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and the not diplomatic way to do things

Didius, who has been very quiet while sipping some juice from a goblet, says: “If possible, could I be present during this attempt to convert the criminals? I would like to dedicate at least one song in what surely will be my magnum opus to this pursuit.”

Turtle nods emphatically, then pauses. “Well, if its ok with Treveylan.” She looks over towards the ranger bashfully.

Turning to Turtle, “Please do not attempt to use your feminine wiles on me,

(Turtle’s mouth drops)

..they will do little to convince me to turn the evil doers. Just be forthcoming and do not try to be coy about it.”

(She looks angry and her hands clench the chair)

“I dislike when I am used as a pawn of anyone’s ideas. If you want me to help, ask for my help. Do not try to gain my assistance with foolishness.”

(Her eyes squint together and you hear the chair cracking)

“We are a team and should treat each other as such. I will help, but if at any point it seems hopeless, I may rescind my efforts. Chan is probably more akin to our efforts, whereas Feldron may be much more difficult to turn to the light. he may be lost forever already.”

STVE OOG: Dude, you TOTALLY have the wrong meaning for that word. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bashfully

(Turtle sits, stewing angrily for a minute before closing her eyes and muttering Holy verses to herself as Treveylan walks out)

Watching Treveylan walk away from the breakfast table Florent gleefully joins in the conversation: “Turtel you two timing whore! ‘Ow you flirt with the ‘alf-elf when you’ve just given me your apple core. Everyone knows this is universal invitation to plant my seed in you.” Florent then ducks to avoid the anticipated flying projectile sent his way. ‘Ow come we ‘ave woman who acts more like man in this party, and male ‘alf-elf who acts more a woman? Good work on stirring up pot without me. Nothing like morning drama to start off the day!”

Pertinax “Perhaps, but I think the disadvantages outweight the advantages. In any case, this is empty rhetoric until we have an actual proposed course of action regarding Nulb.” “Speaking of which, we need Furnock. I will check his room.”

Pertinax walks up to Furnock’s room an knocks on the door.

STEVE OOG: Roberto had this in another email, but given Treveylan’s abruptly leaving, I thought it made more sense for the elf to wait. ‘berto, what do you think? btw, Pertinax was replying ‘perhaps in response to Turtle’s idea of having some members check out Nulb.

SOOOOO…then we move on to the player discussion of this.

BRIAN: Not if you have been giving him grief about much of what he does a good portion of the campaign, I don’t. {have wrong definition of ‘bashful’)

STEVE RESPONSE: the major source of grief for Treveylan is Florent, period. trying to say Turtle picks on him ‘a good portion of the campaign’ is wacky. hell, she just stood up for him 30 seconds ago in game when Pertinax made a comment.

BRIAN: He does not know if you are using it to try to sway him to your side of the perspective, or not.

STEVE RESPONSE: the ‘it’ being her tits? I think you confused ‘bashfully’ with ‘batted’’ as in ‘bat your eyes’ at someone. if I was going to have a character make a seductive pass, I would use a lot more description for the body language. i get how you thought Pertinax was being sarcastic (hell, I thought it too) but I’m taken-aback why you’d think she’d suddenly prostitute herself. thats nothing like how I’m trying to play this character.

so kids, to be crystal, PLEASE let the record reflect that Turtle was NOT flirting with Treveylan. She was reluctant to impose on him and not sure how to ask for a favor. That’s it. Only the goal of saving these schmuck’s souls kept her from flipping out. Hey, thats what women do when you say insensitve shit like; “Vasectomy? In another few years you’ll hit menopause”

BRIAN: As your character has griped about his (Treveylan’s) lineage, the rope of climbing and many other things, he treats much of what Turtle says as baited.

STEVE RESPONSE: THATS how you remember my character?! Not for any of the plethora of good ideas/tactics/party changers?!

You suck. Turtle has a kick-ass resume.

ROBERTO: Man, I love e-roleplaying.

Priceless!

ROBERTO: In all fairness, regardless of the dictionary definition, appearing to be bashful is a time-honored flirting technique. The question is whether Turtle is genuinely bashful or putting the moves on Treveylan. I’m guessing Treveylan bombed his sense motive check here though.

BRIAN: didn’t roll one.. didn’t want to… refer to reasoning in previous email

DAN: I love the ‘you suck’ part

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the diplomatic way to do things

Pertinax: “Perhaps another option would be to magically contact our allies but that could be hard to do without attracting attention to them.”

Turtle nods. “I’m sure those ‘old hags’ already have some system for reporting in, but I’m curious as to what, if anything they’ve learned so far. Have our activities produced any noticeable changes in Nulb?” She flicks an apple core at Florent. “Furnock would have better ideas for spying than me, yet after beating down giants I’m not scared of some bandits. It was one thing to scurry through there when we were greenhorns, but if it saves time going through there, we go through there and woe be the bandits foolish enough to challenge us.”

LUKE OOG:

I remember the Hommolet-cleric-Helm-dude (I forgot his name) being concerned about not hearing from his boss one of the ‘hags’. So I don’t believe the town has contact with the ‘hags’.

STEVE RESPONSE:

Yeah, that sounds vaguely familiar, ala the door that we couldn’t go through that Brian was talking about

Pertinax, “Well, it’s one thing to not be scared and quite another to invite aggression. We don’t know what kind of forces are in Nulb. A planned ambush, given that they know how we like to fight, could be quite deadly.”

Turtle bursts out laughing. “I’m sorry, but that’s just funny since we’re always racing off to hunt down a slime demon.”

Pertinax looks perturbed. “I’m not sure why you find this amusing. Defeating the temple is our self-appointed mission and we return to fight the evil we know is there. That’s quite different than inviting fights in Nulb too when we may not have to.”

“So we’re worried about bandits, but not demons?” Turtle shrugs again. “There’s advantages and disadvantages to splitting our forces. Our party sure has grown from when I started. Any more people join and we can have a whole other team. Maybe inky can lead it.” She crunches on some more toast. “And one day Chan, or even Feldron could be a part of what we do.”

Pertinax, “If Treveylan can’t move them to repent with his honeyed tongue then no one can.” Pertinax says.

Turtle frowns. “I know you’re being sarcastic, but Treveylan was the one who was able to convince Meelub that our mutual arrangement for discounts deserved that 3,000 (?) gp larger scale. Heck, even though it was my idea, it’d never have gone anywhere without him speaking it.”

OOC: Turtle is talking about how we’ll get the 10% bonus to buying/selling for items up to, I believe a 6,000 gp cap. A major coup for us financially.

“Turtle, I was not being sarcastic. Treveylan may have a temper that gets the better of him sometimes but there is no question that when he is focused he is a very good negotiator.” Turtle holds up her hands in mock defense, appearing skeptical.

Treveylan, “Pertinax, your sarcasm is duly noted. While I was able to gain us a better deal with Meelab, if not without the team it could not have been done. The deal was agreed at 6000gp… I was hoping for 8000, but 6000 is no small sum either,” he smiles.

Pertinax, “As I said before, I wasn’t being sarcastic. I may give you a hard time on account of you being nobility and all but your skill at diplomacy is evident.”

Treveylan, ””My apology, I appreciate your faith in my ability. As for my nobility… Trust me, I am no more noble than the next man, elf, orc… whatever. I’m just the being I am, no more, no less.”

Looking a bit more humbled, ” I am sorry that my debt had slipped my mind… it was an error. There is much I am thinking about and how to best attack the temple. I still have some coin, but if it takes giving up all my coin to make some sense of restitution, I will.” He gets up to leave, “I will be around town, if you need me look near the druids grove, or near the woods around town.”

ROBERTO: OOC:Cue in the music from the end credits of Hulk.

BRIAN: [OOC: Ooh! Ooh! Look at me! Look at me! I’m walking away now! Look here I go…]

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working vacation

Early the next morning Turtle strides over to the group’s tavern table for breakfast, shields in tow, dabbing her brow. “I’ve been up for a bit, doing a run.” She carefully sets the spiked weapons down before plopping down. “There’s some sense in maintaining our adventuring routine to make sure the Alliance does not lose the edge that keeps us alive.” She chugs some water and begins chowing eggs. “Did anyone hear from Furnock?” A quick look around. “That spider cloak probably came in handy. I myself am taking the boys,” a foot tap one of the spike in the tail of the celestial manticores, “over to the armorer for an upgrade.” Pausing to chew, she continues, “The enchantments will take the ten days to animate the mouths to attack on their own accord, almost as good as my own combat ability. One day I hope to have the wings themselves move, flying me into battle. Until then, this is a crucial improvement, much needed to hold the line.”

She butters up three pieces of bread. “So I’m glad that Helm blessed us with his divine grace and that his boy devotee, has developed wisdom enough for us to revitalize. This leg will be crucial towards our success and we must use this lull in the fighting properly.” Moving onto some picked fruit, she chomps on an apple. “Pertinax will no doubt spend time copying the Knock, Enhancer, and Darkvision spells into his book. It would be nice to have Slow available to us as well, but the Wand of Healing was necessary. Of course we could always sell that wonderful rope.” A brief smile. “Onto a tense subject, as far as debt goes, I’d like to suggest that we set aside argument about this until the next time we come across enough treasure to split, but agree to maintain more obvious records until then.” She reaches for the pitcher and refills her cup. “Please let it be on the record that I loaned our resident Elven wizard 703 gold for the magical inks. He’ll calculate what the scrolls themselves cost and let us know. Now that no one will be wearing that nice cloak from our friends at the Temple, Florent’s record is safe.”

A brief bow. “The Watcher protects, when he is listened to. Perhaps Florent can request additional guidance from Him before we go back.” She shrugs. “At this point we seem to not understand what exactly is going on, especially with this latest revelation of another dark side in the Temple play- that Sultan who the giants were working for. I still say that there is a connection somehow between Knulb and the Slime Demon’s forces that we should investigate.” Leaning forward. “Maybe this is something a few of us can check out during the week. Or even do a little reconnaissance on the Temple itself.” Another hunk of bread, washed quickly down with some water. “Meanwhile, if Treveylan can borrow the charisma-aiding magic and wouldn’t mind helping me speak with Feldron and Chan for an hour a day, perhaps that might be the light which brings their conversion. Will you think on assisting me? Please?” Her eyes shine brightly, yet she appears bashful at requesting the favor.

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and where we are now, thanks to last session

We were all pretty tired, and since Dan had awarded us 200 XP apiece for the email roleplaying we did the weeks before, (some of which I mentioned previously) we kept to town.

The Alliance sold stuff, bought stuff, dropped stuff off at the armorer’s, and at some point Furnock went off using his new spider cloak to do his own sneaky-sneak, aided by Elven Dextrousness right before a revelrie. Too bad that new fuzzy cloak did not come with spider sense, as he became poisoned (alas, not via a spider) but he avoided a poisoned gas bladder plus survived the whole deal, so he got XP- catching up!

Florent, aided by his Jiminey Crickett Phylactery of No Torture, (i.e. a Phlactery of Faithfulness that Turtle has bought him to help keep him on the straight & narrow) left to go to Helm’s house, although he heard of the plan to check out the shady trader’s shack and warned against it. Pertinax, Turtle, Treveylan knew of the plan/went to sleep. In game, they are not yet aware of him being poisoned, although when he wakes up the next morning all green and spitting up blood…

So that morning when we wake up will officially be Day 1 in town, and Day 3 (?) away from the Temple.

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