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Gaia, the Lonely Skies (Desperate Defense Campaign)

Dice System
D&D 5e
OOC
Here

StorybookParagon

Mattering Not
"Night time. It's always when the sun decides to take a nap. And me. It's terribly bothersome that they—" The Lazy Alchemist yawns, reclining in her chair as she stares outside. If it weren't for the various herbs and draughts decorated alongside the tables, you wouldn't have even figured that she was the town's alchemist. "Decide to disturb some of my beauty sleep... Makes me even more sleepy than I already am... Oh, and the turnips, if you didn't see those when you arrived here. The townsfolk around here take a lot of pride in their turnips... It's like they're raising a crop of children..."

She points to a high plateau, the mouth of a cave in the distance and overlooking the town. "They come from there... The mouth of Silberzhan's Den. Must have decided to make a nest up there after the dragons disappeared. I say nest, but fiends don't have such things do they..?"

The cabin that the alchemist lives in reeks of ash and horribly burned plants. At least it's comfortable enough of a viewing angle to see most of the town—or what's left of it. Looking back down the path you took to get to the cabin, there are palisade walls being raised. A few homes have been used as part of the wall. There are carts being loaded with turnips (at least from what you can guess) and emigrants along with being unloaded with weaponry and supplies. The sun is a few hours from nightfall, dangling between afternoon and true night.

"Now... before you go, I need to write down who I'm handing these vials to... Which is... too much work. Just tell me, write your name down, and take a pittance of alchemist fire and a bottle of poison. That Bumbling Guard is probably running around the town stressing himself to death with night time approaching, but he knows what needs to be fortified and what not unless you find something else. As for me... All my brewing stations are currently occupied so..." She lets out another yawn and pulls down her hat. The Lazy Alchemist is very much still awake, but she closes her eyes.

OOC Introduce yourself and roll initiative. Initiative will be used in combat. Roleplay has no initiative.
 

Shadeofshade

Senior Member
As Wilfrid listened, he began to wonder what caused all this commotion to whip everyone into a frenzy. As he heard about Fiends on the mountain, a thought came to mind, "I wonder if Hilda might know anything about this?" He listened some more and was not surprised that the Alchemist wanted to not do some writing and just wanted to sleep.

With the writing utensils and paper on the table, Wilfrid silently clapped his hands and said, "Well, this will be interesting." He picked up the writing utensil and wrote his name down, picking up an Alchemist Fire and Bottle of poison when he finished. "My name is Wilfrid, I'm on a journey to help a friend who helped me save my village. Hope we can all get along."
 

Noam

Member
Jay wondered if fiends could actually be poisoned, or if he was about to find himself disappointed and then dead in short order. Not like they had to pay for anything, though, so he took the two vials and added J. Tialgo to the alchemist’s logbook. “Must be some friend,” he remarked to Wilfred.
 
Carl held a fist in front of his mouth, trying to fight off the contagion the alchemist was spreading, but it worked horribly, and the yawn seized him and rung from his mouth a breathy noise. Normally he was a night owl, but the woman was seriously putting that to a test. "I guess we all have something we're prideful of," he commented passively. He stood somewhere in the middle of the cabin and close to the door, expecting that this motley crew wouldn't linger the moment they got all of the details they wanted.

The alchemist's pointing nudged his mind back into the moment just as it started to wander. He bowed his head a bit to get a better view out the window and at the plateau. Wait, huh? Fiends? He glanced at the others to check if they heard it too. It didn't make a difference to him what they were tasked with exterminating, but he assumed they would be dealing with goblins or some manner of beasts.

Two of the other three were quicker to jump on grabbing potions. It sounded like Wilfrid had a story. Carl noted it in the back of his mind for later conversation, if the tiefling's remark didn't goad him into opening up, anyway.

His uneven scrawl was the next to mark the page. "Carl Flatroot, at your service, just your average, friendly half-orc. We're all friendly faces here. Just look at us." His eyes glinted as they danced between the gnoll and the tiefling. The village must've been desperate. The human was the only commoner among them. Maybe this job would be more interesting than he thought.

"Hey, uh," he said, touching the tiefling's arm with a loose fist, "you wanna introduce yourself there, buddy?" He grinned. He didn't think to glance at the sheet. And he'd get around to picking up the two flasks he was being given. Probably.
 

D. Rex

Magic Eight Ball
Writing down their names? Seemed such a silly thing to bother with. Does she not have eyes or a brain? Would it even matter if they were someone else? Zudya didn't think so. Nor did she really see how it mattered who got these bottles... but the methods of towns she knew would be nonsense. Such was their nature.

The gnoll was wrapped in a thick cloak. "Cloak", for it seemed to be more made up of lichen at this point than fabric, yet it did not seem to hinder its ability to keep her warm.

"I am Zudya." She said. Bending over the table to sign her name. She dipped her fingertip into the ink and pressed it down on the page. Sliding it to the side to create a thin smear before writing a character in abyssal. Few gnoll knew how to write or read, in fact her kind didn't even have a written language of their dialect. She knew how, but to say she didn't have much practice was an understatement.

With her signature completed, she wiped her inky finger on her lichen covered cloak. The flattened disks of copper that dangled from her ears tinked as she bobbed her head to each of the other in the room. Trying to mimic their superfluous pleasantries. "My pilgrimage has lead me here. The spirits have yet to reveal to what end, but for now, I shall give aid."


With a stoop and a shuffle she made her way over to the window. To look out in the direction the alchemist had mentioned. "These fiends, they eat your turnips like rabbits, like slugs? " She asked. She understood a desire to protect one's livelihood. The town too, as apparently the destruction did not seem limited to just vegetables. While Zudya found turnips on the spectrum of disgusting, they were edible, and even this town needed to eat something. But how the poor dears decided on turnips, of all things, was beyond her. "What is it we are dealing with that causes such trouble? You say fiends, but that tells us too little. And are you wanting us to kill them, or trap them?"
 

StorybookParagon

Mattering Not
Upon the plateau is the entrance to Silberzhan's Den, a silver dragon. At least it used to be. Somewhere deep lies whatever the source is of these invaders. You can make out a line that walks alongside the rocks and roots leading right into the entrance. Perhaps it used to accept visitors.

"Of course it's fiends." She snaps, opening one of her eyes. "Folk around here don't know half of nothing. They have me make poison and fire in bottles that'll be useless. Think it's just a case of 'strange beasts,' but I know better. Just take a whiff of Farmer Gerald's fields and the ruins. Brimstone. Sulfur... Reeks of it. But no... don't listen to the lazy lady that sits all alone in her cabin all day and night. She doesn't know anything and we'll never talk to her unless we need something. Well see if I care."

The Lazy Alchemist huffs, leaning back in her chair with both her eyes closed again. "They have the anatomy of a wolf... the skin of a slug... the voracious appetite for turnips... Talk to that Bumbling Guard. He's seen and killed enough of them... Or any of the folk still here. If you can stand them..."

OOC Perception Check DC 20 to see something odd about the cave entrance.

Alternatively, History Check DC 10 to realize something strange regarding the dragon cave.
 

D. Rex

Magic Eight Ball
"Slimy hairless dogs...herbivorous demons." the gnoll mused. "They come at night, you say? Odd fiends they are to so have the diet of prey animals. That turnips be the worst of the destruction is of small worry compared to what infernal creatures you could have been plagued with." She sniffed and focused her eyes on the cave. To see about it what she could while there was still light. A dragon cave, quite a strange thing for them to come from. She wondered... (History Check +0)

"That is not to say it isn't dire. Famine has been caused by lesser pests than fiends. And there is no telling if they will stop at vegetables if they finish off your nasty turnips."

Turning back to the table, Zudya takes and stows the flask of alchemists fire, but examines the vial. (Is it acid or poison?) "The lazy lady who lives alone, she wishes to get her moneys worth, no? A maker of concoctions. Many ingredients here. Should these slug dogs feast every night, does anything stop us from poisoning their food, that they may die a horrible death as they return home to digest? A waste of food that would otherwise be wasted by inaction, but an adequate price to rid yourselves of this infestation. An easy solution for the lazy lady who lives alone."




Rolling:
Initiative: 10
History: 3
 

Shadeofshade

Senior Member
As Wilfrid listened, he could make a guess as to if Hilda would know something. Maybe some fiend had gotten out of hell and sending them back would please Hilda? It did not matter. Evil was there and he would do what he could to stop it.

Wilfred then looked out of the window towards the cave...the dragon's cave...the silver dragon's cave...Silberzhan's Den...Why did that ring a bell?

Initiative: 6
History: 20
 

Noam

Member
Jay glanced from the half-orc who looked like he’d been put through a meat grinder to the gnoll with moss growing over her cloak to the human who, if he was out here picking up this job, was probably more fucked up than any of them. Friendly faces. Right.

But the alchemist didn’t seem to care what kind of creature they were. Caring about that would have taken effort, Jay figured, and she didn’t seem the type inclined towards effort.

“Poisoning the turnips isn’t a bad idea,” he said, tilting his head towards the gnoll. Zudya, he was pretty sure, or Zelda, or something like that. He was going to have to start remembering names again. “Unless they can smell it, being dog-fiends and all, but I’m not too familiar with fiends and their noses.”

He was also going to have to start remembering to give his own name. The shit he’d forgotten how to do after two years in the woods kept lurching up on him now that he’d re-entered society. Or what passed for society up here, anyway. “I’m Justice Tialgo. Just Jay’s fine.”
 

D. Rex

Magic Eight Ball
Jay glanced from the half-orc who looked like he’d been put through a meat grinder to the gnoll with moss growing over her cloak to the human who, if he was out here picking up this job, was probably more fucked up than any of them. Friendly faces. Right.

But the alchemist didn’t seem to care what kind of creature they were. Caring about that would have taken effort, Jay figured, and she didn’t seem the type inclined towards effort.

“Poisoning the turnips isn’t a bad idea,” he said, tilting his head towards the gnoll. Zudya, he was pretty sure, or Zelda, or something like that. He was going to have to start remembering names again. “Unless they can smell it, being dog-fiends and all, but I’m not too familiar with fiends and their noses.”

He was also going to have to start remembering to give his own name. The shit he’d forgotten how to do after two years in the woods kept lurching up on him now that he’d re-entered society. Or what passed for society up here, anyway. “I’m Justice Tialgo. Just Jay’s fine.”

Zudy crinkled up her nose. "No. If they could smell, then they certainly wouldn't be eating turnips." Though given some of the things gnolls are known to eat, she isn't one to talk.


"Besides. If it is a matter of smell or taste, then we simply use a poison that has minimal amounts of either. But if they could taste, like smell, they would not be eating turnips." The gnoll looked to the setting sun then back to the alchemist.

"Though I haven't the time to gather ingredients or cook up something that will work well before moonrise. That is unless our lady wishes to let us have run of her brewery, for there are ingredients that are inherently poisonous enough to require little preparation, or she has such poison at hand." She said, looking at the lazy alchemist expectantly.

StorybookParagon StorybookParagon
 

StorybookParagon

Mattering Not
History: Success Silberzhan, Silver Fang. Reports of a silver dragon came long before the disappearance of the rest. In retrospect, some have considered it an omen. They were hospitable, guardians of this town while it was in its infancy. Before it got its feet with an agricultural revolution. Strange sightings—unknown travelers walk up and down towards the den for a chat with a dragon. A beaten path walks up towards its mouth. The latest travelers haven't come back down. After that, the only trails that walk are ones that lead downwards. The path is still usable as ever.


"Ha. You get used to the smell." The Lazy Alchemist gives a joyless laugh. A headache is bubbling behind her head, made from disdain that she barely tries to hide about the town. She's seriously considering the tactic of poisoning the turnips with such clarity it makes you wonder if she's thought about it before. Then, she leans back in her chair. Shoulders relaxed.

"There are many plants around here with dangerous and wonderous properties. I already have something that might help, but that's not what will stop you. I am not a farmer, or even a true part of the town if you ask anybody around here. However, I do know that they treat their turnips like they were gifts from the gods. Gerald, especially, that condescending fanatical— If you can convince them..." She gives a general gesture towards outside. "To touch their precious turnips, much less poison them... good luck. Gerald would be the fastest way. He's the most... vocal and prolific of them. Unless that red marked poison labeled 'Et'ken' goes missing, a few crops suddenly have some strange properties, and I certainly don't know what happened to it—"

Language (Infernal): Success Et'ken is an archaic term for "Pestilence." It's spelled with harsh cross marks and jagged thorns.


There's a knock on the door. A man- a boy— a person between the two with armor that's too big on him opens the door.

"Good afternoon, Isla. I see you have found new..." He looks at the motely crew like you were an assassin ready to pull a knife out at any moment. The Lazy Alchemist interrupts him before he can make a fool of himself. There's a short exchange of pleasantries between the two before the guard takes a little wooden box with sloshing liquid and clinking glasses inside of it. He's bumbling around with it, but she doesn't stop him from leaving with it.

Then, she shoos you away along with him. The defenses won't shore themselves up.

He tries to break it up with small talk as you make your way towards the palisades. The people here can hardly be counted as soldiers. Militiamen would be more apt. A group of them seem to be on clean up duty, moving dead bodies of various kinds elsewhere in the village. The Bumbling Guard asks the whole group, but talks to the only human here. "We're readying them so they we can sling these bottles. They work a charm when you hit them in the eye. Turned into walking torches and you can see the steam off 'em. 'nother miracle from the alchemist. So, what did you think of her? Isla, I mean."
 
Wilfrid. Zudya. Just Jay. In his head, Carl repeated each of the names to commit them to memory. He'd have to ask Wilfrid later how he felt about Willy as a nickname - after they became battle brothers, of course, and took care of the town's apparent fiend problem.

Or maybe more than apparent. Carl knew what sulfur smelled like, alright. He created plenty of it after a night of fine tavern dining. Probably not a good idea to share that with a room of acquaintances. Heh. But he doubted the alchemist would mislead them on that detail.

Zudya proposed an idea that didn't necessarily involve stabbing and blood. His comment rode on Jay's coattails: "I like it." Even better, the alchemist seemed inclined to "not help". Just as the knock on the door happened, well, hopefully one of the others could grab the poison. Knowing him, a moment of carelessness would have him picking up the wrong vial, even if the alchemist pointed in its direction.

Speaking of, he plucked a(n apparently not as effective) poison and alchemist's fire before casting his attention on the newcomer, and he was just in time to see the lovely expressions the man-boy started on them with. The armor looked a little big. That was adorable. Carl just wanted to pick him up in a big ol' hug.

They left with him. What did he think about Isla? "She's lazy, and a know-it-all, probably thinks she's too good for men like you and me. But, hey, fire in a bottle is pretty cool. It's not as fun as feeling your sword tear flesh, if you ask me, but it's a neat trick." Hopefully he didn't guess completely wrong about what the man-boy thought of the alchemist, or else this was going to be awkward, possibly on more than one count, depending on how the others reacted to his words. Oh well. It was his style: shoot and hope for the best.
 
Last edited:

Shadeofshade

Senior Member
As Wilfrid listened, he began to remember. He remembered about the reports and how the Silver Dragon was a sort of Guardian of the town in it's inference. He also remembered the last report of someone being seen going into the cave and not returning. He wondered if they or the one before them had something to do with this situation. As he thought he heard a word that he didn't expect to hear around here, Et'Ken. "Interesting name for a poison. Wonder if the name implies the effect?" He thought to himself.

As Wilfrid was pondering this, a young man with armour that was too big for him came in. After the exchange, he followed and observed his surroundings to get a better grasp of the situation. At the question he answered, "To be honest with you, it's clear to me that Isla is smart. Extremely smart. If anything, her being here could be seen as a good thing and bad one. Good because when a problem comes about, like what we have right now, she can be a major help to everyone. Bad because, from what I've seen and heard of her, if her mind is not stimulated then her talents can go to waste. Does she have an apprentice that she can teach and that can help her?"
 

Noam

Member
The word Et'ken was one Jay had only ever heard from his mother's mouth when she complained about bugs eating the potato plants. Hearing it out of a stranger's mouth, so far from home, felt a little like having the wind knocked out of him.

He followed the guard and the rest of the party out into the early dusk and tried to shake the unwelcome homesickness off. Carl was making conversation, never mind the fact that the guard had mostly been talking to Wilfrid. Carl. Wilfrid. And Zudya. He could do names.

Jay had wanted to ask if setting the fiends on fire actually took. He didn't catch fire too easily himself and he wasn't particularly fiendish, as fiendish things went. "When you set them on fire," he asked, quickening his pace to catch up with the group, "Does it kill them?"

Then he remembered himself. "I'm Jay Tialgo. I mean to ask, does it kill them or just hurt?"
 

D. Rex

Magic Eight Ball
"Bah." The gnoll grumbled, "Be it the fool that sees a blessing from a God so narrowly."

Zudya reached up and touched the jar. She had been in her mothers medicine den enough to know the universal warning signs when she seen them. Universal save for the Jagtail shaman... but that was because she was colorblind. But that was hardly relevant. What mattered was that here was a nice easy way to get the upper hand.

Now all they had to do was gather enough turnips and get as many of the fiends to eat the poisoned ones as possible. If the alchemist was worth her salt, then this should expedite her job greatly.

The gnoll took down the jar and made sure its seal was secured before hiding it under her cloak and into her bag. "Stealing" it from under the alchemists nose.

Though then the young man came in. The one who had the Audacity to "shoo" her out of the building like she was some two-year. The corners of her mouth curled into a snarl as she passed him.

When prompted about what she thought of the woman, she barked a coarse laugh, "Unless you have another nearby to fill her role, then it doesn't matter what is thought of her. Few clans ever manage to weather disasters without one like us. Be they operate with medicine, magic, or both. Any oddities are a small price to tolerate for the good of the clan."

Zudya was partial to the alchemist. But that was perhaps because she felt she was in a somewhat similar position. Shaman, medicine woman, witch doctor, wise one, etc. Many different names for a similar. But it was a role that countless groups have adopted. From kobolds to elves. Not also liked, but always needed.

"Here, orc," she said, as she reached into her bag to pull out the flask of alchemist fire given to her, "if you like the fire, you may have my fire. It is the other vial I find of more value here..." and while her tone was not all that friendly, she certainly didn't have any problem being generous with valuable reagents
 

StorybookParagon

Mattering Not
"She had apprentice a few years back, but it's complicated. Something about ultimatums and experiments and the like. I was too young to know about what was happening. All I know is that I wouldn't last very long as her apprentice. Best not to bring it up with her since she gets even more bitter about the town. It's not bad, it's more that her being... tried of the town makes the town tired of her. So, please excuse her if she gets on your nerves."

He shifts uncomfortably. "Swordfighting is... all right."

Insight (Passive): Success Most of the town is composed of humans. It's getting hard for him to avoid eye contact with everybody that isn't a human.


"The flames hurt them. Slow them down. They look like underwater beasts, so we use fire against them. Their whole body gets engulfed in flames and they start to fry. Even if that means they start stinking." As you get closer to one of the fields turned into fortifications, it definitely smells like sulfur. There's no doubt about that. What can be doubted is that whatever crops were here have been dug up, like they were stolen—not clawed up and eaten. "We have wooden barricades—outside and inside the walls—on the ground, and then there are the higher places that we have out slingers in. Do what you need to prepare. Sun's coming down soon."
 
Welp, looked like he was zero for four. He had hoped potentially sullying his image to his would-be companions would be worth it if he could get the boy-man to warm up to at least one of them, but his insight about the guard was way off, as it turned out. That sounded about right with his usual luck.

Carl smiled and held out his hand dismissively to the gnoll when she tried to give him her alchemist's fire. "Keep it. Never know, you might wish you had it on a later date."

Jay, clever Jay, got to the heart of the issue with a single question. No acting buddy-buddy or playing the long game for him. Almost as soon as the guard finished explaining fire's effect, Carl caught the whiff of an odor that made his stomach churn. His nose wrinkled lightly. "Ugh. Yep, the alchemist was right. Has to be fiends."

He listened to the layout of the town's defenses. Didn't Zuddy grab that poison? He would wait and hear what the others planned to do and follow their lead--probably. Usually, he knew enough to leave the thinking to his betters. "What kind of numbers should we expect?"
 

Noam

Member
"Justice_Tialgo.jpgThey looked like water creatures, so you threw fire at them," Jay drawled. He was beginning to have doubts about the man's intelligence. Those doubts might have been assuaged if he'd made eye contact with anyone but Wilfrid, but he hadn't, despite the fact that Wilfrid had said the least of any of them.

He could understand being ignored himself. He wasn't much of a talker. But Carl was aggressively friendly, and as big as two men stuck together. Not making eye contact with him took concerted effort.

So the guard was an idiot. He'd dealt with worse.

Fiends apparently smelled like rotten eggs. Jay made a face. "I'm an archer. Higher up'd be better for me." Before he went looking for a perch, though, he stepped into the field and crouched down to examine the earth. Based on the alchemist's description of the fiends, he'd expected frantic claw marks and the half-eaten remains of turnips. There was none of that, though...
 

D. Rex

Magic Eight Ball
Zudya had no such reservations of the others for making this man feel uncomfortable. In fact she made it a point to stare the man down to establish her dominance.

"I want your vegetables... your turnips. Pile for them to eat. For bait. Lure the boar in through the hole to chop off its head."

She looked down at one of the half eaten turnips in disdain. "Even your scraps will do. You wish to make it easy, yes? Simple? Then gather them. Let them eat."


She cast her eyes up towards the cave. "And that is for sure where they come? And certain path?"
 

Shadeofshade

Senior Member
Wilfrid took a few mental notes. The Alchemist DID have someone that they had but something happened to them, they threw fire at water and it seemed to work. As he thought, he smelled the Sulfur. "Now there's a smell you don't smell everyday." He said as he covered his nose.

Shaking off the immediate reaction that Wilfrid did he turned to the Villager and asked, "Just two things. One would you be able to describe the creatures in as much detail as possible? And two, I do believe we have yet to hear your name, mind if I ask for it?"
 

StorybookParagon

Mattering Not
Noam Noam , you kneel down...

Investigation: Failure There are no distinct marks you can make out other than a scuffle that you can vaguely understand. The soil is too dry to hold specific information. Even looking into the holes you can tell that this soil is tougher than it is rich...

Nature (Passive): Success Then how can they grow turnips here in the first place?




"Can't be fiends. They're aquatic. They don't have fins or anything like that, but they have webs between their toes and eyes like fish. Slick like eels. And if you hit them with flames right when they open their mouths, they get eaten up inside out by the fire. Fiends don't do that." He insists. He sounds like he truly knows.

Intimidation (Passive): Success It doesn't take much for him to back down though as you assert dominance.


"That isn't up to me. Swear it. Everything turnips goes to father Gerald! I'm just here 'til pa gets back with soldiers and wagons to get everybody out of here before something worse comes down. We don't know how they keep coming either. Ever since Silber and the others left, nobody's come back from going up to the cave and we aren't sending any more. And— Never an odd number of them either. They always come in pairs. Two. Four. Eight. Six. And it's done in one go, a single wave of them and we're finished."

And another thing that he doesn't say, but you can see the palisade walls scratched up all the way to the top. These are not small creatures.

"I'm Junior Jacob Junior the Second. After my pa Junior John Junior the First, and my grandpa: Norman." He says with a completely straight face.
 
Carl laughs at what he thinks is the punchline. Then he abruptly stops the moment he transitions from watching Jay to setting his sights on, uh, Junior's straight face. The humor awkwardly drains from his features. A sheepish smile replaces it.

"Do you mean six came the last time, and eight before that? So there isn't more every time?" Just in case the guy actually didn't know how to count correctly. Carl examines the palisades from where he stands, noting the scratches while imagining the size of the creatures the guard described. "Guess you wouldn't want too many more." His attention strays to Zuddy. "Do we go and give Gerald a chat?"
 

Shadeofshade

Senior Member
Wilfrid looked at Junior Jacob Junior the Second. He didn’t know what to say for a moment. Then he said, “OK, that’s a long name. Mind if I just call you Jacob? I don’t think I’ll be able to remember all of it and even if I did I'll probably somehow mix it up in some way.”

As Wilfrid was saying this, he was trying to think of what kind of creature was attacking the Village and came up blank. He would probably have to see it to know what it was.
 

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