E-mail Side Adventure - Vash
Finding the Fallen Stars Skill Challenge for Vash
Goal: Vash hopes to find and hopefully retrieve the two other fallen stars.
Win / Lose conditions: 12 successes vs 3 failures
XP for completion: 625
Primary Skills: (Endurance, Athletics, Diplomacy, Intimidate) Most likely to count for successes and have multiple different uses.
Secondary Skills: (Nature, Perception, Insight, Bluff, Stealth) May count for successes or give bonuses to another check, depending on use.
Other Skills and Powers: Mostly will give bonuses to other checks, but may count for successes.
Repeated Checks: Each round, please make an endurance check to represent that Vash and his team are sleep-deprived, and pushing themselves hard to travel quickly and retrieve the meteors before anyone else does.
Notes: You can use the same skill twice if the story element of how you are using that skill is different, but it will usually get harder each time. Also, I try to count successes based on moving towards a story goal, so keep that in mind. This is only a means to add some random variables to a story, the “crunch” is secondary.
Professor Jennish has arranged for University Abríanach to provide the loan of 3 men and 4 riding horses, as well as a wagon and a draft team. He will reimburse “reasonable” related expenses, but reminds you that he has a limited salary. From your maps of the area and what you saw through the observatory telescope, you think that one star fell somewhere near Dalbaryth, a small town south along the river Ruel. You should be able to use roads most of the way. The other meteor, to the best of your calculations, is out rougher terrain, in the temperate deciduous forests east of Athelshoth. You have calculated rough distances, and, barring complications, hope to retrieve both meteors and return within 24 hours. It is approaching midnight, and you and your men are all wishing you could be in bed.
What does Vash do?
Vash gives an inspiring speech to the men with him to convince them to press on through the night, stopping only to water the horses and have a cold meal of sheep jerky and carrots.
Diplomacy check of 25: rolled 18 + 7
Endurance check of natural 20!
Oh, and we’re heading for the one in Dalbaryth first.
Hooray! That counts for two successes!, and your critical on the endurance check gives you a +4 to your next roll.
Vash and his men Reach Dalbaryth in less than two hours of hard riding, feeling energized, alert, and full of adrenaline, from the excercise. It’s a small, walled farming village surrounded by quilted acres of partially harvested crop. You hear sheep baaing from inside the walls. The wall is made of mortared stone, and is just over six feet tall. There are two gates, and one guard tower.
Vash takes one of the men to the guard tower (bearing the writ that Professor Jennish had provided with the University’s seal) to inquire if anything had been seen from the tower. He sends the other two men to canvas the villagers and patrons of the local tavern.
Streetwise check for talking to guards/villagers of 18: 16 + 2
Endurance check of 16: 13 + 3
Ok, so that streetwise check gets another +4, so that’s actually 22. No positive or negative modifiers this time from the endurance. You are at 3 successes total.
Fighting back the yawns, Vash impresses the guards with his official university seal. Although some stare at the strange humanoid, or ask him bluntly what he is, overall, they are helpful and curious rather than hostile. An older man with an impressive mane-like beard reaching well past his waist rocks in a porch swing outside the tavern, enjoying the cold night air with a whiskey. “Falling star, eh? I hear tell somethin’ hotter than hell crashed over by old man Othealier’s farm. Set fire to his prize peach orchard, I guess. Poor bastard was here half the night, whining about it for hours.” He gives you directions to a farm just north of town.
Vash thanks the man and gives him a few coins for his help and asks him to keep quiet if anyone else comes looking for the meteor. What would be a good tip amount for information and silence?
He collects the other two men and then races to the Othealier farm. When they arrive, he plans to wake the owner of the farm first, show him the university writ and ask for his help in collecting the meteorite.
Diplomacy check for waking the man in the middle of the night without making him mad is 20: 13 + 7
Endurance check is another natural 20!
The old heathfolk man accepts the gold eagerly, promising that not a word will pass his lips to anyone else. At the Othealier Farm, he notices that most of the ripe fields and orchards around it have burnt to the ground, leaving a strong scent of burnt fruit and grains. Fire damage to the house itself indicate that it was barely saved. Farmer Othealier is extremely cranky, but warms up when he sees his visitors are a finely dressed elf with a crew of men in tow. Rubbing his hands together and muttering under his breath, he leads you to a huge, deep trench plowed into the middle of a charred orchard. The meteor is huge, an irregularly shaped, partially melted, and cratered crystal twice the the size of your cart. It still radiates a good deal of heat, enough to burn an unwary hand.
The Guard probably makes the equivalent of 30 gp a month, so 1-10 gp is a hefty bribe, I’d say, depending on how generous you’re feeling with Jennish’s budget. Ok, so success, and a +4 to your next roll from the secondary roll.
That’s 4 successes, 0 failures
Bribe amount was 4gp, just under a week’s wages then.
Vash and the men walk out to the orchard with the farmer to survey the meteor. “How are we going to get this back to the university? You three have any suggestions?” He turns to the guard.
Turning back to farmer Othealier, he asks, “How far from here is your well? I would like to see if we can cool it down some with water before trying to load it on the cart.” He then directs one of the men to see if he can push move the meteor with his leather gloved hands, to see if it was as lightweight as the other meteor.
I want to make a bluff roll to charge the farmer for removing it from his field.
Bluff roll is 21: 19 + 2
Endurance roll is 17: 14 + 3
The meteor is partially lodged under a pile of the dirt it plowed into, but it gives under the man’s touch, as if it is floating a few inches above the trench below it. It’s twice the size of the cart, but virtually weightless.
on your bluff check, what is your reasoning, exactly?
Vash wants to say something about charging him for the removal of/exposure to potentially hazardous materials, storage and transport fees, but that they’ll also pay him for the meteorite, making it work out to either a net zero, or small net loss on Vash’s part, but with the farmer feeling like he got the best deal ever.
Farmer Othealier goes white at the mention of a possible health hazard, horrified at the possibility of contagion. After few lurid details, he’s begging Vash to take it away as fast as he can, thanking him for his magnanimity in taking a personal loss to remove such a dangerous public hazard. The meteor is easily cooled with water from the nearby well, at least to the point where it can be touched with bare skin.
That’s 7 successes, 0 failures, still doing well on the endurance checks
Vash thanks the farmer for his assistance.
Insight roll to see if Vash can figure out how to use 4 levers to get the meteor onto the wagon is 23: 18 + 5
Perception check to see if he can find appropriate trees to get levers, and rocks to use as a fulcrum is 14: 9 + 5
Vash handily determines a way to get the meteor into the cart, finding that despite its awkward size, it’s relatively easy to maneuver.
I’m not giving you a success for that, it was so easy. However, you do impress your men with your ingenuity, giving you a +2 to all social checks while they are present to vouch for you.
After securing the meter with ropes and covering it as best they can with sackcloth sheets they brought in the wagon, Vash has his men head out towards the forests east of the city, where he thinks the 3rd meteorite touched down.
Athletics check to rush there is 23: 14 + 9
Endurance check to survive the trip is 15: 12 + 3
Vash and his men arrive at the forest’s edge in record time, arriving two hours after dawn, only a few miles from where he thinks the meteor struck. They get a few odd looks on the way, but are unmolested on their journey. The roads, however, do not continue into the part of the forest he needs. the horses and men are utterly exhausted, as they stand near the city wall, the sun creeping up ahead of them, casting light over the countryside. Ahead of them, as the farms peter out and the forest begins, they see a dense tangle of trees, underbrush, and broken terrain, the entire forest blazing not with fire, but with brilliant red and gold leaves.
2 successes on getting this far, but your endurance checks are getting harder as the day goes on. That one wasn’t a pass, but as a secondary roll, it doesn’t count as a fail for the challenge. You lose a healing surge from pure exhaustion. You are at 9 successes, 0 failures
Seeing as the meteorite is so huge, Vash decides it would be best to get it delivered to the university before trying to find the last one. He sets two of the men to looking for signs of the third, and returns with the third guy to the university to get the meteorite stowed with the professor.
Streetwise to get through town without any issues is 16: 14 + 2
Endurance roll is 22: 19 + 3
The streets are congested, and people stop to gape openly at the sight of a drow elf with a cart carrying something mysterious, not to mention twice the size of the cart itself. He loses hours in the streets, but manages to get the meteor into the university, where it is promptly swarmed with eager experts who aren’t attending today’s lectures. He leaves them debating with the university guards how best to get the meteor to the upper floor, where the museum has facilities perfect for its study. Weary, but still holding his own, Vash arrives back at the forest’s edge to find that his two industrious porters, despite all their best efforts, have no idea where to even start.
_ 9 successes, 1 failure, only one healing surge lost so far._
Getting back to the forest edge exhausted, Vash leaves one of the men with the cart, and takes the two who were already looking into the forest. By methodically not searching where they already looked, he hopes to be able to find the meteor in no time, get it back to the university, and then sleep for 2 days.
Vash has darkvision, so he won’t be hindered by the deep dark dank forest’s lack of light
Insight check to see if he can work out in his head the trajectory of the meteor with relation to where he was at the observatory and where the forest is, etc, etc. Insight check of natural 20! Separate from the previous one!
Endurance check of 13: 10 + 3
Ok, change that insight check to a perception check for abstracting a view of the map and the meteorite trajectory in his mind.
Vash cleverly deduces the best way across the difficult forest terrain, closing the gap on the star, but is forced to leave his less agile companions behind as a combination of exhaustion and lack of outdoor experience makes it impractical for them to continue. He treks into the forest alone, tired, but determined.
2 successes for your critical, plus you may have a re-roll on a future check. You do lose another surge, however, due to exertion. 10 successes, 1 failure, 2 healing surges lost. You need two more successes to win the challenge.
Stealth check to move quietly, since it’s entirely possible someone else got here first, is 20: 11 + 9
Endurance check 19: 16 + 3
Vash Stealthily approaches the impact crater, which is just where he calculated it would be. It is smaller than the others, and struck a small pond, the impact damaging one side of it even as it enlarged it. Dead fish float all around the pond, several blasted out of the water and lying at impressive distances from the re-settled pond. He has to duck under the water, bringing up a small stone, barely larger than his closed fist. As he examines it, he sees someone else approaching the pond, a man who hasn’t yet seen him. He recognizes him. It’s Anotros Bartoli Ciprano, dressed in loose black clothing, moving confidently through the trees straight towards Vash and his find.
Ok, you win the skill challenge! If you want, we can reply back and forth a bit more to develop the scene, or you can sneak away and we’ll have you join the others, arriving back in town just in time to participate in the next fight. Your XP is already recorded, but please have an action point! Woooo!
Stealth roll to hide in a tree overlooking the water and observe the Anotros is a Natural 20
Vash silently pulls himself out of the water and quickly ascends into one of the brushy trees to conceal himself from Bartoli. He then gets comfortable and waits.
Bartoli stops, looking around with confusion. He examines the impact site carefully, stripping down and diving several times to sift through the loose soil at the bottom of the pond. The man’s body is covered in scars, a latticework of older white lines often broken by newer cuts, swollen purple bruises and angry red weals. Many of the scars are intricate, a complex network of patterns carved into his skin, new ones sliced over the old, healing to form a strange, runic pattern over most of his skin.
“Looks like someone else got here first.” He stands waist deep in the water, speaking towards an empty space on the muddy shore, as if someone is there. Vash sees nothing.
“I know, I believe you, but I’m telling you, it’s not here!” He listens intently, nodding.
“Well, can’t you… I don’t know…. fine tune it? If you can lead me right to it, why can’t you show me exactly where?” After a moment, he raises both hands in a pacifying gesture.
“Latrizi, Methis, you know it’s not like that! Look, I’ll search it again, all right? Just give me a moment to clear my mind.”
The Anotros wades over to ankle-deep water, dropping to his knees in the icy pond. He removes a small ceremonial blade from a thong around his neck, and murmurs a soft, rythmic mantra in motare as he drags the blade over the skin of his thigh, grimacing in as the blade slices into his flesh. After a few minutes of carving, he seems calmed, re-energized. With fresh blood running down his leg to cloud the pond, he renews his search of the water.
perception check to find this “Methis” on the shore is another natural 20, woo!
Scratchy bark from the gnarly cypress tree digs into his skin as looks down from above, but Vash remains perfectly still as he stares at the apparently empty air that Ciprano addresses. A spill of afternoon light filters down through the trees, and he sees motes of dust swirling strangely in one particular area, but no sign of any person there. Then, the meteorite warms in his hand, uncomfortably warm against his skin, and, as it does, Vash’s eyes catch a glimmer of movement on the water. For a just a moment, he glimpses something in the reflective surface. The reflection of a male humanoid form. It’s vague outline, ghostlike and hazy, but strange in color, whorling silver and midnight black swirled together in constant motion, like two liquids that will not blend. The apparition paces back and forth at the water’s edge, hands rubbing upper arms in apparent anxiety, impatience, or eagerness. Vash can only see figure for a moment, a glint of light reflected from silver eyes, and then the image is gone. Anotros Ciprano still searches the water. Neither he nor his invisible companion has noticed the drow masterfully concealed within yards of their search.
Figuring it would be better not to meet Methis while alone in the woods, Vash surveys the far side of the pond for a good distraction. Spotting a likely hollow log a short distance from the water he calls upon the limited fey magic his mother had been able to teach him and makes a quick gesture while silently mouthing the losandrae word for smoke. Billowy white smoke suddenly begins pouring out of the log opening.
Stealth check of 26 to escape silently while the two are distracted by the smoke
He escapes without detection. What does he do now?
Vash quickly retrieves the men and the wagon and returns to the university to store the last meteorite with the other two.
OK, we’ll pick this up in the next session. Action point!