Difference between revisions of "Rocs Fall Everybody Dies, part 1"

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Latest revision as of 22:47, 29 July 2020

Log Info

  • Title: Rocs fall everybody dies part 1
  • Emitter: Whirlpool
  • Characters: Iuitl, Pelka, Nels, Cryosanthia, Braelnoir, Lanier, MAC-B1G
  • Place: Hardscrabble shepparding fields, and a not-so nearby mountain peak
  • Time: Monday, July 27, 2020, 9:28 PM
  • Summary: The Druids of the Grove are busy with the portal, so an adventuring party is sent out to deal with a dead roc. Iuitl turns into a swiftclaw and performs a forensic examination, ripping it apart with her talons. She discovers a bead, which Lanier identifies as some kind of poison. It's determined the Roc feel from a great height, and as they aren't useful in warfare generally, it's death appears to be of a personal vendetta sort. One divination later, and Iuitl knows where to go. She takes off, the rest following, with Pelka narrating a long and rambling, multi-day story, which somehow relates to the task. At the mountain, Iuitl flies up to take a look around, the rest start climbing, and Pelka hovers ready to assist anyone who falls. No one does, and following Lanier's lead a nest with a dead nestling is found. More than the fallen ones have been poisonned. Pelka arms up and declares this must be stopped while everyone else recovers from climbing.
-=-=-=-=-=-=  Appearing, in Order  =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Iuitl        5'2"     149 Lb     Sith-Makar        Female    Short sith, mottled black scales, tired green eyes
Pelka        5'8"     140 Lb     Eaglefolk         Male      Egalrin artificer, SKREE!
Nels         3'7"     42 Lb      Goblin            Male      Tall, for a goblin, and athletic. Close-cut black hair.
Cryosanthia  6'9"     267 Lb     Sith-Makar        Female    A dashingly tall, elegant white-scaled lizard woman.
Braelnoir    5'11"    146 Lb     Human             Female    A tall, pale Acanian woman, branded in silver.
Lanier       6'0"     245 Lb     Human             Male      Young, lean and strong Acanian wearing hide clothing.
MAC-B1G      6'6"     303 Lb     War Golem         Neuter    Drab gray primarily metal humanoid with cyan-lit optical receptors.
-=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=

-=-=-=-=-=-=  As the GM  -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Whirlpool                 Lb     Otyugh                      I am stinky!                                                              
-=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=

You were called out because hardscrabble shepards found a giant bird monster laying on the side of a road, quite dead. A corpse that you're now looking at that's... increasingly pungent. There's no visible signs of trauma to the Roc, as the Guildsmen identified it before you were called out to investigate.

Guildsman Haywiv stands beside the shepards, a flock of sheep providing background ambience with their various utterances.

"Ordinarily, a dead animal would just be a dead animal," says Haywiv, "but this is the *third* roc that we've found in the last month. These are giant, apex predators. They shouldn't just be... falling out of the sky. It seems bad. Somthing is afflicting them, perhaps. The Yggradrasil Union has been too busy with something near the Am'shere portal to come take a look, but you all seem competent enough." He covers his mouth with his hands, turning his head away from the smelly corpse of the giant monster, half-elven ear-tips twitching.

"Auuggh. Sorry about the smell. Should it really be stinking *this* much? It's oinly been dead for less than a day!"

"If it had a disease, it could've been rotting for much longer than a day, while it still breathed," Iuitl points out, as she bravely approaches and examines the corpse. She tries to identify what, precisely, killed this creature, but doesn't go so far as to touch it, if she can help it. With something so big, a cause of death might be self-evident if one knows what to look for... or it could be a complete mystery. "Or an acid could speed up decomposition."

GAME: Iuitl rolls Heal: (20)+11: 31
GAME: Lanier rolls Heal: (12)+13: 25
GAME: Pelka rolls heal: (5)+4: 9

Word came to the local Egalrin Aerie, of something to with Rocs. Pelka has mixed opinions about the gigantic animals. On the one hand they are larger, stronger, and fiercer hunters than Pelka could ever hope to be. On the other hand they are faster and better flyers. Basically Pelka has nothing but envy for his avian counterparts. But he walks around to one side and then the other of the dead specimen to peer at it from different angles. Apparently without much suuccess, because he then returns to a spot where he can listen to Hawyiv.

Nels is here to help out, mainly by providing moral support, because about the only thing he knows about rocs is .... what does he know about rocs? They're pretty huge. He knows that. While everyone's looking at the bird, he'll make himself useful by scouting around for clues. There could be clues. Maybe. It's possible.

"It... does have a strong smell." A white-scaled sith-makar comments. She recognizes a few of the others, Pelka and Nels from previous adventures, Iuitl from Mictlan. She's standing beside a tall acanian woman with silver tresses and a scythe. Cryo doesn't approach, instead she looks around, mostly up, attempting to determine if the Roc fell straight down or crashed at an angle and through some trees before ending up here. She nudges the woman beside her, "Any thoughts?"

"This needs further investigation." And so, Iuitl pulls some kind of animal hide from her person, whips it around herself to morph into a mottled Swiftclaw with a soft shimmer of magical light, and sets about climbing onto the bird and using her now raptor-like claws to dissect the carcass for clues. Being a swiftclaw also makes this less of a horrifying proposition to her nose.

Gods, she is enthusiastic about this, actually, that's kind of gross...

Well, now she's heard... about the bird.

Brae came with Cryo to make sure the Sith got some time out to try and get back in touch with the world, plus, there's the possibility that what's affecting things here may eventually be a problem in Cryo's favored turf. Her scythe is carried indexed back back over her shoulder, though she considers the giant bird idly for a moment, before turning her attention to the surroundings, just in case the invetigation draws some unpleasant attention. "Whatcha think?" she asks to the folks at large.

Lanier reaches up, scratching his head as curiously examines the corpse from afar, "It really shouldn't be smelling like this." He tilts his head to the side and then unslings his pack, reaching in. As he digs around, he explains, "I heard about this issue through the adventurer's guild first, Guildsman. I'm certain the Yggdrasil Union sends their apologies for whatever is pressing need is keeping them otherwise engaged." He finally seems to find what he's looking for: a cloth by which to tie around his face and block his nose.

He stands up, approeaching the Roc and looking it over. As Inuitl shape shifts and begins cutting into the corse, Lanier frowns, "I'm done looking at it. Thanks."

"Augh," is what Haywiv says when Iuitl .. changes and just starts... tearing into it. Yikes! He looks away. The Shepards are going to mind their flock, of course.

"One roc dying, you can ignore. Two rocs fall and it's maybe time to eyeball things, but three? Not a coincidence. We didn't find the other corpses until they were pretty well decomposed, however."

MAC-B1G scans the now flightless bird before scanning the sky above. There is far too little information to determine a cause, though possibilities exist. A very tall, perfectly transparent barrier, for example, though there is no indication of such a structure. Accordingly, were it perfectly transparent, it could be very difficult to detect.

Rocs are typically only used in battle by druids or rangers, and even that is rare due to, well, *them* being rare. Still, that the Druid's circle isn't dealing with this as a result of that connection indicates that business at the portal is probably important.

GAME: Cryosanthia casts Detect Magic. Caster Level: 7 DC: 14
GAME: Cryosanthia rolls perception: (19)+5: 24

Cryosanthia leans back, then makes a graceful gesture with her left hand, looping and tracing symbols in the air. The scales on her chest flash, then turn into a trickle of light that swirls down to her hand and disperses. The scales around her eyes glow, and there's a shimmering to her eye-scales as well. After which, the whitescale sith stares at the roc corpse for a few moments, then starts looking around. She touches Braelnoir's arm, "Three is enemy action, isn't it? Help me determine how it came down, I'm seeing if it has any lingering aura."

SLORP PLOP SLRP.

Iuitl the Swiftclaw lets out a cry of alarm, and animated LEAPS back from the corpse as an unidentifiable soup of rot spills out of it. The reptile wipes her claws off on the bird, and trots away from it with a great trill of dismay. Then she shifts back to normal. "-Unnatural-," she spits out, and shudders visibly from the smell, gagging briefly.

Braelnoir shrugs, "Anything I'd know ta take one of these things down would make a significant mess." She looks to Cryo at the touch to her arm and she nods, "That's the sayin', luv..." she arches an eyebrow, "Sure, whatcha need me t'do?" as she steps closer to the expired giga-poultry.

Pelka gives Iuitl a long look. The he tilts his head back and peers up at the sky as well. "Unnatural? Maybe they were cursed. Or poisoned. I wonder where it's been..."

The smell is now *way* more potent with it opened up and it's entrails and viscera just sort of ... soupily oozing out. It's not exactly fun to behold, let alone the smell that washes over everyone.

Yikes.

Nels wonders, just to check, "They're not coming to life, are they? Roc zombies would be really bad." He makes a face when the yuck comes out, and tries not to heave. "Can we burn it, at least? I think that'd perhaps make it slightly less disgusting."

Somewhat secure from the smell with the cloth wrapped over his face, Lanier steps up and then crouches down, checking out the soupy entrails as they ooze out. He tilts his head, "You know..." He looks up towards Braelnoir, raising his eyebrows, "Have you ever seen entrails like that? Usually they're more solid."

MAC-B1G does not breathe, therefor scents are not sampled and cause no hinderance. As it possesses more data on humanoid organics than avian, its attention is upon those studying the creature, rather than the creature, itself.

Iuitl pauses to investigate the corpse again, pulling her cloak to her face. Her eyes squint at the horrifying soup with watering involved. She kneels and carefully scoops a black bead from the goop with the head of her longspear, bringing it up to examine it more closely. "... hmm. What do you make of this?" she says, showing it to Lanier.

Cryo keeps examining the roc, staying back to avoid any unexpected eruptions. She snorts, to clear the smell from her nose. Her eyes keep glowing, "There's no magic in the immediate area, no signs of anything unusual in the nearby vicinity either. I don't think it's going to turn into a zombie, Nels."

Without looking at Braelnoir, she leans her head her way, giving some instructions, "I'm trying to determine if it fell straight, if it flew in. Looking for drag marks that give us an idea of a direction it came from."

The whitescale turns towards Haywiv, "Where were the other two, was there some kind of pattern, like all on a road?" When Iuitl brings the black bead up for viewing, she examines that also.

GAME: Iuitl rolls Fortitude: (10)+9: 19

Braelnoir focuses on her sleeves and manifests a cloth wrap over the lower half of her face as the soup bits come out and she comes to a quick pause at the smell. Ahem, "Ugh! Wow.... ain't smelled anything like that in years..!" She shakes her head and looks to Lanier on his question, "No. Never like that... mebbe it ate a slime'r something." She looks to the golem, a moment, curious, then Cryo's giving her instructions and she nods, "A'ight, lemme see." and she starts to walk an outward spiral, looking for what would look like a significant impact crater or disturbance in the earth.

GAME: Whirlpool rolls 1d6: (5): 5

There is, indeed, an impact crater. Somewhat. It looks like it crashed into the earth in a tangle of limbs, having dropped out of the sky. It might have bounced, it did fall from a great height.

Haywiv is just grossed out and moving back even further.

Pelka edges back away from the corpse as the smell gets even stronger. "How long has it been here?" he asks Haywiv. "I wonder if it's possible to follow it's trail. If it touched down anywhere in the area." He turns and scans the horizon, looking for any particularly lone trees, espeically tall towers.

GAME: Iuitl rolls Craft/Alchemy: (15)+14: 29
GAME: Lanier rolls Craft/Alchemy: (7)+4: 11

Lanier turns to looks towards the outstretched hand of Iuitl, narrowing his eyes as he peers at the pebbles. He then shakes his head, "I don't think I've ever seen those before."

What the Sith-Makar Witch can surmise from she sees in the bead and the method of killing makes her scowl with a growing disdain. Iuitl stands and shakes the bead off onto the bird. "Do not touch the beads. These are lethally toxic. Someone is killing these birds quite intentionally, and I fear they will wipe out these beasts for... what, a personal vendetta, it feels..." She shakes her head. "Does anyone have a method to track the killer?" She looks among the party gathered here, interested in their input.

Nels peers at the bead, and wonders, "Is that like a bullet from a gun? Could you fire it that way? Or how was it administered?" He can only shrug. "I wonder how high up it was when it started falling." He tries to figure this from the depth of the crater. " Pelka turns his head ever so slowly to look at Braelnoir at the words 'personal vendetta'. But he quickly looks away. "That depends...I can track by scent, sort of. But these guys," he nods with his beak towards the Roc, "Can cover so much ground. If I just knew which way to start..."

GAME: Iuitl rolls 1d100: (53): 53

"So it's a poison pill? Wrapped up in something it would swallow? I didn't think there were enough Rocs around to have a vendetta against them." Cryosanthia muses. She reaches into her haversack, pulling out a mithril buckler which has a dark icicle dagger strapped to it. The dagger goes in her belt, and she slips the buckler on her arm.

"Can you follow their scent up in the air, Pelka?" She looks over at the egalrin.

Braelnoir frowns a little at the word from the dark sith, "Most likely, personal. There's almost no strategic value in comin' up with a plot just ta kill these things, they're too rare ta chance over a campaign." She pokes at the lip of the crater with the butt of her scythe, "Mangonel might huck a boulder massy enough ta match the impact weight, but... birds are kinda light fer their size so I'm.. havin' a hard time tellin' how far Beaky here fell from. Pretty damn high's my guess." she shrugs.

MAC-B1G unexpectedly powers-down for a recharge cycle.

In a moment of reprieve for everyone, Iuitl sits down with a bowl of expensive herbs and incense, and beseeches the gods... specifically the Forgetful Dragon, for an answer to a single question. She whispers it in draconic, and does the rites needed to cast a spell. It takes ten minutes and, thankfully, the scent of incense has softened the smell of rot nearby. But then, she stands bolt upright, and turns to the others. "They're being killed in their breeding grounds. The poison is being administered near there. We must go, before more of these creatures are killed."

GAME: Iuitl casts Divination. Caster Level: 10 DC: 20
GAME: Cryosanthia rolls knowledge/nature: (9)+2: 11
GAME: Iuitl rolls Knowledge/Nature: (14)+11: 25
GAME: Lanier rolls Knowledge/Nature: (18)+13: 31
GAME: Nels rolls profession/airman: (2)+10: 12

Lanier stands up from his spot near the Roc corpse, watching the Sith witch while the ritual is performed. As it's settled on their breeding grounds, Lanier turns and looks up towards the mountains. One can almost follow his eyes as he sizes up the mountain and then adds, "So we're looking for a Roc breeding ground?" He then points, "I'm pretty sure there." He drops his arm and says, "There's not many areas suited to a Roc's particular breeding practices." He looks around, "We're going to have to do some climbing."

Pelka listens to Iuitl. He turns and peers in the direction Lanier indicated. He briefly pulls out a spyglass, extends it and studies the terrain. And then he nods. "Yes!" he squawks. "Ahem. Ah...not to worry. I've been planning for this for years now. Let's go!"

Cryosanthia gazes off in the direction Pelka points his spyglass. She can't see whatever he sees, especially at this range. A mental image strikes, of her struggling up a cliff-side, perhaps with her tail curled around Braelnoir to drag her along. Not the most elegant, dramatic sort of thing to be doing. Perhaps there will be a rope. She's eerily cheery, "Sure! Sounds great. You won't believe how I go up a vertical wall. Let's go!"

Nels grumbles about climbing. At his height, that's going to be a challenge. He looks off in the direction that Lanier points out, and sighs. "I'll do my best, I guess," he says.

"Perfect." Brae remarks offhandedly, taking a long leather sheath out of one of the large pockets on her bandolier before sliding it over the blade of the scythe. She slips the peace strap in place and spends a moment fidgetting it into the baldric on her back. As the group gets underway, she shrugs, "Wish I still had all m'arms." as she readies her crossbow, instead.

"Years? This is a very specific situation to train for..." Iuitl trails off, clearly thinking better of letting her nerdery get the best of her in Pelka's case. She shifts into a swiftclaw with her animal hide, and begins merrily marching in that direction with speed and purpose. She will try not to lose the others along the way. She pauses to offer Lanier a chance to ride on her back, though, if he likes. He's been a good crime scene investigator buddy, and you don't get many chances to ride a raptor.

"Well you see, it all started on this adventuring job where I was sent to Happy Valley..." Pelka explains as they travel, blissfully unaware that perhaps nobody really wantes to hear the story. "...and the wall of fire, was less than fifty feet high but you see a Khazad in full plate armor weighs over..." He obligingly restrains himself to the speed of the rest of the party and ohgodhowlongdoesisthisstory. "...can survive for up to ten minutes in a bag of holding!" he finishes proudly. Then he amends, "well, if they're in reasonably good physical health that is."

... and when you finally arrive at the base of the mountains that Lanier has indicated, severa considerable trip, Pelka's story finally finishes!

Realistically, it's gonna take a couple days to get there and so you do camp overnight a couple times. It's fun. Except for the part where it's the middle of summer and you're in the great outdoors and it's hot. At least now you have the shade of a mountain to sit in.

That said, you're gonna need to go up and that either means climbing on the hunt for an on-high roc breeding groind, since this mountain is apparently key, or identifying where they are up ther in some other fashion. You've had some time to consider your next move.

GAME: Iuitl casts Overland Flight. Caster Level: 10 DC: 21

Iuitl decides climbing is for normal people when they get to the mountain (no longer a raptor, it's been days), incants a spell, and rises up into the air. She announces to the others, "I'll look around. If you can fly, I recommend you follow!" She seems happy to take to the air like some sort of anime hero, clearly quite comfortable with magical flight.

GAME: Pelka casts Magic Vestment. Caster Level: 8 DC: 16
GAME: Pelka casts Greater Magic Weapon. Caster Level: 8 DC: 17

Pelka spreads his wings and crouches slightly when Iuitl takes off. But then he peers up at the cliffs and rock walls above. He looks at the rest of the party as they prepare to climb. He begins rifling through belt compartments and producing bits of artifice. One is a disc he attaches over his belt buckle and another a square block he fits between the jaws of the wrenchlike attachment on his arm. Finally he lifts off, adopts a circling pattern next to the others. High enough to try to catch one if they fall, and not too far ahead that he might make a juicy target for hungry Rocs.

GAME: Braelnoir rolls athletics: (20)+11: 31
GAME: Cryosanthia rolls athletics: (13)+8: 21
GAME: Nels rolls athletics: (17)+11: 28
GAME: Lanier rolls Athletics+2: (3)+12+2: 17

After the marching, and camping and the odd story here and there, Brae is starting to feel like it's old times. She only has the occaisional nightmare along the way.

Once they reach the mountain, however, and the dark Sith and Elgaren take off, she smiles to Cryo, and... for a given lattitude for 'normal', she starts to scale the mountain like she was born to it. Crawling around with all that extra mass during her 'altered state' were good for the upper body strength, it seems. She passes some knotted rope back down as they climb in stages, trying to be as helpful as she can.

Cryo enjoyed the trip to the mountain, and wasn't bothered by the heat. It's naturally cooler around her, and her tent is in danger of getting rather cold over night. Alexandros bugs don't compare to Am'shere's, so that was another thing largely overlooked.

Then the mountain is reached, and their witch takes off and their elgarin hovers up to a protecive position. The white sith turns to Braelnoir, "Do you..." Her question dies, as her sister is flying up the cliff face, leaving helpful ropes behind. She shrugs and starts climbing, taking her time.

Nels climbs and cimbs, hand over hand, and it's lucky he's a goblin, at 42 pounds, it's not too hard to keep climbing. He's breathless as we get so high up, but that's the problem with being too tall.

Not used to working around mountains at all, climbing is much slower going for Lanier, even though he seems to have brought additional equipment for the task at hand.

Up, up, up the mountains you go.

It's going to take time, of coiurse. There's a a lot of mountain to search, a lot of mountain to climb. Still, things are mostly quiet here except for the wind, and if you've got it from having been thunderstoned one too many times, the usual ringing in one ears. With a few of you able to fly, climbing is actually not terribly difficult. Up goes someone, secures the rope for thge next length, nad thje rest of you make your way up. Going this fast has its perks, though as you make your way up, the thinning air is more than evident in how tired you start to feel. Thankfully, this mountain isn't T HAT tall, but it's still a mountain.

Lanier has a fairly good idea of 'where' to look for roc breeding nests on the mountain top, and he's already been able to rule out a few places.

Pelka finds perches to land and rest. He hasn't ascended this far for a while, and while the altitude doesn't bother him, the exertion seems to be catching up to him.

Iuitl isn't too bothered by the thinner air, beyond the expected consequence of diminished energy along the way. She does fly around on the regular with this very same spell because it is very useful for patrolling around Mictlan. She assists in the mountain climbing where needed and requested, though she reminds that if anyone fell she probably wouldn't have an easy time catching them, since her arms are basically made of balsa wood, as expected of a magical type.

Finally!

You scale another piece of mountain and come to a cliffside. The first thing that hits you is the smell. It's a familiar... thickly pungent smell. Soupy and dreadful. It draws you closer, of course, and that's when you locate its source, hidden in a recess carved out of the mountain, dug out by sharp beak and razor talons. There, a nest, wither another deceased roc in it.

It looks like it was nesting, certainly.

And it's quite dead.

Pelka waves a taloned hand in front of his beak, as if to ward away the smell. He peers at the newest Roc and then sighs. "I suppose it was too much to hope for that the ones that fell were the only ones that had been...poisoned." He reaches over his back and pulls off a thunderbelcher with a large sight attached to the top. "Whoever is behind this...we have to stop them."

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