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 Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones

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The House of Ainsley
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Location : The Dark Heart of Bardosylvania

PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:44 pm

Earlier at this same spot had Karnoz keenly noted the relations betwixt Arno Hennbauer and Peluko, which, while agreeable enough for the two men to do business, were nonetheless tinted with contentious overtures. And he cunningly spoke and acted in kind, to his quarry's annoyance.

"Peluko," Arno sighed heavily, "these bags and boxes are what little remain of my keepings. For the rest of the goods, I have already either sold them away or gifted them to friends and aides, including Sadu and Erainyn here. Spirit me to where your fellows can bear me to the sea and I may have some extra keepsakes for you as well."

"Come to that, Arno," his fire-haired aide followed, "I yet fear that your journey will end with your doom. No amount of wealth or power could be worth your life and your soul! Pray reconsider."

But Arno dismissed her worry with a wave. "We have discussed this matter, Erainyn. With what Yorgo took from me, and with his talents for mimicry, he can masquerade as me and thieve what was rightly offered to me. And he shan't be content with that, not when he believes himself to have any chance of swindling the Ainsley family for all their worth. And for what good turns their House has given me, I'll not see that happen."

Arno continued with his explanation to his two companions, even as Karnoz, oaring slowly from a hunched stance, brought the long dinghy about and tethered it to a waiting mooring hoop at the riverwalk's edge.

"But I know Yorgo's heart just as he and I know the land's reputation. Indeed Yorgo is the sort who would slowly flay his own mother for a pouch of silver, but he is also a fearful and superstitious fool. And I trust that he will hesitate for long at crossing the borderlands into Bardosylvania. On our last sojourn together to that troubled land, when Yorgo and I were yet friends and the embers of the bygone war were yet to cool, our party was attacked by a wereboar along the highway to Nellowswann. Yorgo hid cowering in a spent ale cask while I and our aides bared silver and wizardry to strike the beast down. And even after we had marked his cowardice did Yorgo claim before Wee Jas' priests to have bravely dealt the rampaging wereboar a grievous wound, even as the priests cured what lycanthropy I had taken from the creature's bite! My friendship with Yorgo was...strained after that night, and it crumbled into enmity not a year after."

Standing idle, Sadu and Erainyn drew their thick furs tightly around themselves and listened patiently. Unnoticed by Arno, both the vigilant Stali watchman nearby and Karnoz, loading the goods into the Otter's Lament with an air of feigned gruffness as he was, were listening as well.

"But enough with history," Arno glowered bitterly. "Know that Yorgo shall not suffer me to live, for as long as I live, I can expose him as a deceiver before the House of Ainsley, and their lord would surely reward his deceit with a swift beheading. But with me removed from the chessboard, Yorgo's masquerade shall surely succeed, and he shall have a lucrative place in the House's dominion. And so, werebeasts or no, I must get to the House of Ainsley first. They shall protect me from Yorgo's thugs and from Yorgo himself. Do you understand?"

His Caedish aide, draped in her clan's breeze-swept tartan of white and evergreen, replied with naught but a slow and sullen nod. The stoic desert warrior offered not so little as that.

Arno paused for long, as did they. And when Karnoz approached--as an impatient Peluko--to break the silence, Arno was the one to speak again.

"My friends, the moment has come for us to part ways, and our parting could well be forever. Sadu, I now release you from your life debt to me; your service to me has amply repaid that debt many times over. Leave this land of frost behind and return to your warm homeland--and to your family, who pine for your return--in peace.

"And Erainyn, by my hand have you escaped the wrack of poverty. With what you bring home to your motherland shall you forge the prosperous and enchanted life of your imaginings. May your songs and your wisdom grace the whole of Caed Fainne until the seas rise to swallow the heavens.

"And, my friends, if Yorgo succeeds...if my heart's blood should spill by deed of his malice, I hope with all my being that the deed shall be known to your ears, and that ye shall avenge me. May your lives be long and your pantries never bare."

A round of clapped hands, shoulder pats and fleeting embraces passed among the three. And for that spell, the Stali watchman's ice-blue eyes never left Arno's form. And from the corner of his eye, Karnoz watched the watchman in turn.

The tails of his wyvernhide coat swayed as Arno Hennbauer turned, narrow of eye and heavy of brow, to Karnoz and to the seat which Karnoz had prepared for him at the dinghy's bow. "And now, Peluko, we may ease your fears of the watchmen. Let us be on our way, shall we?"



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GoldenDrakon
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sat Sep 22, 2012 4:58 pm

Karnoz said nothing, instead only watching and listening to whatever tidbits of information that Hennbauer and his stooges might drop. He had no interest in joining any such carousing or chatter, both to maintain his disguise and to stay out of reach from either hireling.

In any case, he wanted to be off. The more water and distance he could put between Hennbauer and his allies, the better.

**get him in the boat and cast off. Once we are in the river, start rowing towards our destination.**

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sat Sep 29, 2012 8:49 am

(Note to self: Make some diagonal half-tiles and "rough edge" tiles for those nifty new Ice tiles that you just doodled up.)


For long minutes the two traveled in silence. The warm light cast from the Bard and Fox faded behind them, leaving the dim pinpricks from scores of windows and dangling lamps in the city high around. With arms firm of thews did Karnoz pilot the dinghy steadily along, noting Arno's anxious starts at every shadow drifting or flitting among the taverns, temples and tenements which seemed to march slowly past them in the moonlight. The warmer temperatures of midday had yielded to the chill of nightfall, and the ice floes thus broken from the mountain streams had found their way to Trock Reik under the veil of night. Karnoz sagely kept the boat near the shore, leaving the great river's spine to the drifting, bobbing floes.

The murmurs of creaking wood and stone grinding against stone greeted their approach to the old windmill, its broad sails catching the snow-laden gusts and revolving with labored groans. Beyond the windmill, a spindly guard tower of hard oakwood and gray stone rose at the land's edge where the Strelka flowed sluggishly into the far deeper Zelezo Kanvica. Three great braziers blazed beneath the guard tower's eaves, giving the attending watchmen a fair view of the midnight waters while warning ships away from the dark, jutting shore.


(Karnoz - opposed Listen check: 16)
(??? - opposed Move Silently check: -2/Natural 1)

One of those watchmen loomed in the leeward window, watching the dinghy with a heavy gaze as Karnoz drove it past the tower's point and into the merge. The lashing wind carried to Karnoz's vigilant ears the soft rattles of many chainmail-draped bodies moving southward among the buildings and shadows of that eastern shore, cantering in cadence with an iron-shod horse among them. Their unseen movements were subdued, yet urgent. Perhaps they were on a furtive march, hounding unwary quarry. Perhaps they were not.

Arno Hennbauer remained nervous and watchful against his betrayer's assassins, never suspecting that one such killer shared the boat with him. He broke the uneasy silence with a feeble attempt at conversation.

"So...how have you busied yourself since that trek to the lost Gambador smithy, Peluko?"


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:17 pm

Karnoz had expected Hennbauer to attempt some kind of conversation at some point. It was one of the reasons he had let Peluko talk so freely back in his house, but Karnoz had not the time to inquire deeply about Peluko's relationship with Hennbauer.
At the same time, the assassin's ears picked up the sound of armored skulkers mimicking their rout by land. Too great a coincidence to ignore, but a blessing in that Karnoz thought of a plan to deflect Hennbauer's question and divert his paranoia to a better target.

"We are being followed Arno." he said with Peluko's voice and a touch of disguised fear. "On the shore beside us."

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:52 am

As Karnoz expected, his passenger and quarry jumped from his seat as if a ghost had brushed against him, unintentionally threatening to tip the boat as he twisted to face the shore. "Row faster, Peluko!" he barked with grave alarm. "Faster!"

But, as events precipitated, Arno was not the only one with cause for concern. Crossing the Strelka to the other side of the merge, the riverside labyrinth of clay and stone opened into many throats at the shore, and the steely swishing of oiled chainmail reached a crescendo in a small brickwork plaza ahead. From the shadows across that plaza erupted a handful of men-at-arms draped in the distinctive hauberks of Trock Reik's City Watch, nocking bolts into their wooden crossbows as they dashed for the rolling water's edge. At their backs rose their plate-armored watch sergeant, rocking in the saddle of his splint-barded roan charger as he closed behind his armsmen.

Of the two watchmen first where the bricks met the river, one readied his crossbow and leveled it to where Karnoz rowed, only for his weapon to be slapped aside by his comrade, a comrade who thrust his finger at the dinghy's bow with no small measure of surprise. "Hold your quarrels! The tomb robber...he lives yet! But the dwarf said...."

"Be silent!" barked the sergeant, a command to which his subordinates rightly complied. The horse came about to its side, and its rider addressed Karnoz loudly and firmly with an unscrolled notice in his fist raised high; even through that dark slit in the sergeant's visor, Karnoz could feel the sergeant's eyes searing into him, taking his measure.

"Raven Murder!" the sergeant's tongue shot across the waves, "We know that you are not whom you play at being, and you stand charged by the Burgomaster of Kurvoss with the most heinous murder of Anyaska of Kaban! You are to put to shore immediately and submit to arrest! Resist at your peril."

At the mention of the victim's name, Arno Hennbauer had already turned about to fix his boatman with a befuddled gaze, and in the scant moment of understanding that befuddlement slipped into silent horror. His right hand reflexively snaked beneath the vest of his wyvernhide garment, and Karnoz knew that it would not emerge empty.

But Karnoz was not without his own confusion and querry. He had taken so much care to hide his face from the watchmen and from the cityfolk. Was this the time to talk, to fight or to flee? The city's soundscape spoke of more watchmen soon to arrive--by land or by river--so he would not have ample time to decide. And the City Watch of Trock Reik, as with other city authorities throughout Former Karkova, were not known for their leniency and were known to hold those accused of the worst of crimes as guilty until proven innocent. But Karnoz had never so little as seen Hennbauer's woman, let alone touched her or killed her. By what evidence and whose testimony--however falsified it may have been--had be been accused?

'And which burgomaster?' Karnoz wondered without voice, even as the third crossbowman rushed to take his place with his comrades. There were three burgomasters--each in the pocket of a different Thieves' Guild--so corrupt were Kurvoss' leadership and electoral bodies. But more to his consternation was the alias by which the sergeant had addressed him. The various people of Trock Reik knew him as Josef, as Mitri or as Peluko, but Raven Murder was a name which he had not used at all as of late.

...not since before he left Kurvoss.

Something suddenly smelled very fishy about the whole job, and it wasn't the river.



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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:50 pm

"Damn." Karnoz sighed to himself. "Now I have to kill half of Kurvoss too..."

In the meantime, Hennbauer's rapt attention was on his face and slowly peling away his disguise. As Arno became aware, Karnoz couldn't resist offering him a half-smile and a wink. Damn it all, but the look on Hennbauer's face was priceless.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you." Karnoz said, still in Peluko's voice as Hennbauer reached into his cloak. "Your in the middle of a frozen river in a rowboat. Do you really think a brawl right now would turn out good for either of us?"

The rogue spoke quickly and quietly, so that only Hennbauer would hear him.
"Besides, we need each other now and I'll give you three reasons for it; First, we have both been played for fools, and you have just dropped to the bottom of my level of interest. Second, I am a killer for hire, and I think we will soon want the same people dead. Three, you hired me; don't think that the guards are going to let you go... especially if they take me, and I am forced to tell them how you hired me to kill poor Anyaska because the was going to reveal your part in robbing Boyar Rexis Stolvorov's mansion and cutting her out of the spoils, so now we're fleeing the city together."

"So you decide Arno; do we drown in the river, poked full of holes, do we hang together in the town square for a murder neither of us comitted; or do we work together and kill someone who we both owe a knife in the belly?"

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:57 pm

Hennbauer's eyes seemed neither impressed nor cowed, nor had his hand left the shade of his cloak just yet. "You are not so unimpeachable as you presume, friend," he retorted in an equally subdued tone. "Had you not noticed how these fine armsmen seemed genuinely surprised to see me alive? And yet their fellows seemed not the least concerned for my welfare when we left the Bard and Fox these minutes past. Might you suppose that they expected to find me dead by your hand, just as your name has been stained with good Anyaska's blood? How would they review the taunting message which the author of her horrid fate delivered to me, its author anonymous yet unmistakable, and this message which I have kept through these weeks for the sake of eventual retribution? And let us forget not my two aides and two or three more besides them, all of whom would state before every court of truth and justice that I bore Anyaska no intentions but good. The Watch would sooner find noble Heironeous guiltier of her demise than me!"

None but Karnoz would notice then the twitching lip which bared Hennbauer's foreteeth in thinly veiled anger, whether through proximity or through attention. But Karnoz noted the emotion indeed.

"But yes, if I am to find any measure of peace, then the one who intends my death must perish first. And if you took your coin from that selfsame jackal, and if this alarm was indeed his handiwork...."

But Hennbauer interrupted himself with an inquisitive thought, averting neither his eyes from his boatman nor his hand from his veiled, scabbarded blade.

"My friend's memory howls for vengeance, as do I. Why should I be joined with you? Why should I believe that Peluko does not lie slain by your hand? And why should I believe that you were no accomplice to Yorgo and his brutes in Anyaska's death?"

"Comply at once, Raven Murder!" barked the Watch sergeant from the bank as the unrowed dinghy drifted onward without heed. "Comply or be hunted as any blood-drinking beast!"



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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sat Oct 06, 2012 11:03 am

"Oh, I am in a bad way, no doubt." Karnoz as Peluko said. "But think Hennbauer; When did Kurvoss ever give order to Trock Reik soldiers? You were clearly supposed to be dead by now. So if I die now or not, do you really think you will survive tonight?"

He twitched his head back at the soldiers. "This is a clean-up crew."

"Comply at once, Raven Murder!" barked the Watch sergeant from the bank as the unrowed dinghy drifted onward without heed. "Comply or be hunted as any blood-drinking beast!"

"Look, we can threaten each other later. For now, Help get us out of here and I tell you everything, you tell me everything. Deal?"

"But unless you know a way to stop arrows, we need to move now."

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:28 pm

(Crossbows loose bolts or quarrels, not arrows. Just sayin'. Razz)


(Karnoz has made his case perfectly well. Diplomacy check waived.)

(Karnoz receives 250 Experience for persuading Arno Hennbauer to join his quest for revenge.)

Hennbauer prefixed his compliance with the nasal sigh of resignation. "Very well. First, Yorgo Pavamoski, our mutual betrayer, must die. Then we may discuss whatever remains betwixt us."

He glanced from one side to the other, from the forceful voice and the leveled crossbows to the rolling ice floes and the churning, freezing waters.

"I see three ways out of this tangle. For the first, we remain with the boat and flee with it. The wales will not offer any great protection from crossbow volleys, but they serve better than naught. And we shan't lose my belongings, some of which are quite needful or incriminating. But the boat is slow, you are the only one of us with an oar, and we will be quite vulnerable until we escape Trock Reik.

"For the second, we abandon the boat and take to the ice floes, not unlike how I once crossed the Mead Lake in Lesser Hrothjurgan. We will travel more swiftly and we may even cross the river to the Southwest Gate and make good our escape. But that path demands great balance and nimble leaps, and our best hope is to outdistance the crossbows and flee the city before the Watchmen can race back around, cross two bridges and overtake us.

"For the third--and for if the second option should fail--we dive from the boat and swim to freedom. It sounds mad, but the current will bear us where we're going and the armsmen will have but half a head to shoot for either of us. Our truest threat will be not the Watch but the river itself, and we shall surely freeze if we swim not quickly. I once escaped scalpers in Kunyakarova thus, and the moment we emerge, we will need a campfire straight away...and on that note, Peluko is...or was somehow connected to Oily Tetrov's gang. So be ready to refresh your disguise should we go that route."

In hindsight, Peluko had not seemed all that menaced when Karnoz threatened him with Tetrov's highwaymen....

The Watch sergeant once more made himself known. "You now have until the count of five to turn your boat to the shore, lest my men loose their quarrels on you!"

"Kill them and we shall surely court the noose...but then, we may be courting the noose already. Choose and I shall follow your lead," offered Hennbauer. "For vengeance."

"One!"


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:18 pm

Karnoz considered what to do. If nothing else, he still had one more ace up his sleeve; whatever Yorgo might have revealed about him, none knew about his secret bolt hole in the warehouse of knew that little Josef Korska was really Raven Murder. If he did escape, he could still make his way around in Trock Reik to some degree.

"You have only a few more counts to gather what you will from the chest." Karnoz said. "Then we jump and race for the gate across the ice."

If possible, let the boat 'drift' closer to the ice flows and if Hennbauer lets me, grab something from the chest and stuff it into my pockets. It's all going to the guards or to the bottom of the river anyway. At the count of 'four' jump for the ice and run as best as we can.

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Tue Oct 16, 2012 2:50 am

A sharp nod marked Hennbauer's agreement. Shoving sacks aside and throwing open the chest between them, he snatched a leather-lashed bundle of scrollcases and, curiously enough, a tapered cedarwood wand etched with indiscernable Draconic glyphs.

Though the armsmen at the shore watched with stoked interest, the Watch sergeant's count did not relent. "Two!"

With a final snatch at a small sack of stitched bearskin and tied owlbear feathers, Hennbauer spun away in a twirl of wyvernhide and took his place, stooping at the prow and ready to spring. Karnoz did not tarry in plunging his own hands into Hennbauer's stash and pouching whatever his leathered fingers could dig out and take away.


(Karnoz has taken a masterwork spiked gauntlet, a masterwork repeating crossbow, 2 flasks of holy water, 6 flasks of acid and a light flail forged from white metal. Karnoz may immediately discard any of these goods, should he see fit. Karnoz does not yet recognize the spiked gauntlet or the repeating crossbow as being masterworks, nor is he certain of the flail's properties, but he should have ample time to appraise his finds later.)

Perhaps it was some unvoiced reflex pertinent to his calling which compelled him to snatch up several weapons from the yawning chest, but Karnoz questioned it not; after all, what he had grabbed could hardly be considered junk, particularly if Hennbauer hadn't already traded them off to his friends and cohorts.

The spiked gauntlet was forged of dwarven steel and fitted for a man's left hand. The gauntlet's dorsum sported the face of a majestic dwarven entity alien to Karnoz's recollection, and the bas relief was set with eyes of blue onyx and framed with a celestial halo sculpted from what was likely to be gold, perhaps suggesting a legendary dwarven king or a god of wisdom, knowledge or perception. Though independent at the first knuckle, the four forefingers were joined at their first and second phalanges in a wide, jointed cap, and the thumb ended in a steely claw just short enough to fit across the underside of a fist. The great center spike jutted from the meat of the knuckles and was flanked with its two shorter siblings, and each spike was rooted between its corresponding fingers and slightly curved to match the trajectory of a well-thrown punch.

The belly of the repeating crossbow croaked and stuttered as the rim of the chest caught its brass crank and whipped it about. Only a gnome could design such a peculiar weapon, but the chute atop the brass crossbow's ironwood shelf was empty, bereft of some manner of container. The crossbow was useless without its missiles, but perhaps Karnoz could acquire the proper ammunition later; a crossbow capable of reloading itself while spitting bursts of quarrels might be too valuable to simply toss aside.

A black leather sling buckled with brass and laden with eight crystal-glass flasks came away next. Karnoz tore away the thick cotton wrappings to find that two of the flasks were sealed with elegant stoppers of bronze and wax, each stopper etched with the holy icon of Saint Cuthbert of the Cudgel. The remaining six flasks were sealed with stoppers of fitted green glass, and each stopper warned of the fluid it guarded with a reliefed sigil; Karnoz immediately recognized the sigil as that of acid and took the needed care to keep the clear, sluggish liquid from escaping its six prisons.

The horseman's morningstar flail which came next was an intriging amalgam, boasting elements of a craftsmanship both human and elven. The morningstar was forged of the whitest metal, as were its chain and the cap and pommel of the weapon's redwood shaft. And two rings of gold-traced Elven script wove laterally among the morningstar's bristling spikes and circled its white orb in flawless parallels. Though Karnoz was no more adept at wielding the cavalry flail than he was at working the repeating crossbow, perhaps it too could be learned--or sold--later.

"Three!"

Karnoz quickly stuffed whatever he thought to keep into his waiting backpack, then moved across to the bow where Hennbauer awaited his moment. Even without looking could Karnoz feel the enemy crossbows bearing on him, loaded and readied for what could come. But before the sergeant could reach the count of four, the Otter's Lament shook terribly as Karnoz's designated ice floe ground heavily against the hull. The time to depart the boat and leave it to its fate had arrived.

As arranged, Arno Hennbauer promptly lunged from the prow and capered across the bobbing ice. His sudden flight--and Karnoz's void of aggression against it--told the watchmen all they needed to know.

"By the Cudgel...the plunderer is the murderer's ally!" barked the astonished Watch sergeant, forfeiting his count and commanding his subordinates into action. "Bring both down! For justice!"

Drawstrings snapped and bolts hissed through the frosty air, seeking their homes in the two rogues' backs. Hennbauer trotted to the edge of the ice floe and leaped for another, leaving the nearest floe vacant for his erstwhile ally's escape from justice...or from what passed for justice in vaunted Trock Reik.







Notes for this encounter:

• The Jump and Balance skills are crucial to Karnoz's escape across the ice. Though Karnoz has invested no Skill Points in either skill, he does get +2 synergy bonuses to both skills for having at least 5 ranks in Tumble. Jump is dependent on Karnoz's fair Strength, while Balance is dependent on Karnoz's incredible Dexterity. So while leaping among the ice floes could be difficult for Karnoz (particularly with long jumps or standing jumps), keeping his footing on the slippery ice may prove to be but a minor concern.

• As sprinting across the ice floes is impossible, Karnoz can move up to 60 feet per round (a typical Double Move), though I won't sweat it if he goes a few feet over; there are oodles of angles involved here, after all. Karnoz can move 15 feet or less without inviting any Balance checks, but the faster he moves, and the more he jumps, the more difficult the Balance checks will become. Moving will invite but one Balance check per round (though again, faster movement may raise the DC), while each jump will also invite its own Balance check. Failing a Balance check will cause Karnoz to stumble and stop him in his tracks; failing a Balance check by 5 points or more will send Karnoz prone, and he may slide into the river if he lands too close to an ice floe's edge.

• Moving slowly, of course, presents the other edge of the sword: the three crossbowmen, whose light crossbows presently have Karnoz and Hennbauer at close range (80 feet or less; they presently have Karnoz at 50-57 feet). Thus, putting some distance between himself and the crossbowmen as soon as possible may spare Karnoz a few bolts in his hide. So Karnoz essentially has to choose between the rock, the hard place or a median somewhere between the two.

• In order for Karnoz to take a running jump instead of a standing jump, he must move at least 20 feet before jumping that round. Naturally, running jumps tend to cover greater distances than standing jumps do, but starting on smaller ice floes may prevent running starts.

• I will be illustrating the most likely paths across the floes for each round (and omiting any paths which, according to Karnoz's Jump skill, are impossible); some points along those paths are identified by letters for your convenience (since saying "Karnoz walks to Point A" is clearer and easier than saying "Karnoz walks a straight line to a destination 15 feet West and 15 feet North from the chest on the boat"). Don't feel bound by these paths, however; if you want to spell out directions for another path which I may not have anticipated, by all means let me know.

• The jumps are color-coded depending on their difficulty. Green is easy; Karnoz should be able to make these jumps with a natural roll around 10. Yellow is troublesome; Karnoz may need to roll about a 15 to make these jumps. And red is very difficult; expect to roll close to a natural 20 if you want Karnoz to make these jumps. Again, jumps which Karnoz couldn't make even if he rolled a Nat 20 won't appear on the map.

• Some of the ice floes have brittle edges; Karnoz should avoid standing on the edge of the ice wherever possible. Small ice floes (about 20 feet across or less) cannot support the weight of two men; if Karnoz and Hennbauer stand on such a floe at the same time, the floe may tip and dump them both into the river. Smaller ice floes (10 feet across or less) can't even support the weight of one man for more than a round; Karnoz should skip across these floes without stopping, if possible. The tiniest ice floes can't support any weight at all. Rule of thumb: if it doesn't look big enough to hold you up, it probably can't. Stick to the large floes whenever possible.

• The ice floes may have also torn free some boats, buoys or other debris from upriver. Keep an eye out for them! They may be useful.

• The first map covers more of the Zelezo Kanvica river and has a number of special locations denoted. The ice floes are traveling at around 5 feet per round, so be sure to keep this in mind when picking Karnoz's destination. Feel free to consult the city map on Page 1 of this thread if you need to do so; much of that work over the past week involved keeping the Gametable map as true to the Campaign Cartographer map as possible.

• Southwest Square leads to the Southwest Gate (the route which Karnoz and Hennbauer arranged beforehand). Rabocie Park leads to the Southeast Gate. The southern Outskirts are outside of Trock Reik proper; though there are no gates or walls cutting through the outskirts, the City Watch has compensated for this lack of walls with increased patrols. But for those stealthy enough to elude patrols (who may or may not be alerted by a sounded alarm by the time Karnoz gets there), the Outskirts may be the safest escape route...provided that Karnoz can first skirt around Starfall's Throat and get there, that is. Other paths out of the city--through alternate streets, through alleys, even through buildings--may also be possible.

• Ice floes may not be traveling directly southward; the river itself is flowing south-by-southeast, and individual floes may deviate from that course. Be watchful for floes drawing nearer together, beware of floes drifting apart and bear in mind that floes which collide with other floes or other solid objects will roll, deflect away and possibly break apart on impact; plan Karnoz's path accordingly.

• That's all for now. Stay alive out there, Karnoz!



Karnoz (Init 12) > Two running jumps from the boat to Point D
Hennbauer (Init 11) > Hops southwest to the small floe
City Watch Sergeant (Init 9) > Gallops away on urgent business....
City Watch Crossbowmen (Init 8) > #3 looses on Hennbauer; the other two loose on Karnoz


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Fri Oct 19, 2012 3:57 pm

Jump from the boat and run as fast as possible and make the jump from A to B, then again from C to D.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:54 am

(Karnoz - running Jump from A to B (18 feet): Near Miss (21). Karnoz jumps 16 feet.)
(Karnoz - Reflex Save (DC 15): Success (21))
(Karnoz - Balance check (DC 10): Success (10))

Expecting to feel the crossbow bolts punching into his back at any moment, Karnoz stormed from the Otter's Lament and darted across the thick, bobbing sheet of ice. The far edge of the floe hurried near as he picked up speed, and the frigid water in the expanse lay in wait. With every ounce of push in him, Karnoz threw himself bodily into his leap.

He came so near to falling into the river, but fall he did not. Though his left foot struck the water and sunk in past the ankle, the toe of his forward boot caught the scintillating edge of the second floe, and as his weight came down on the ice he could feel the edge giving way well before he heard it. He instinctively fell forward and rolled into a tumble as the edge of the floe broke away under him. Rolling back to his feet, the rogue felt himself sliding as the ice threatened to topple him yet again. But in forcing himself to lean forward, he kept his footing and continued his race against the crossbows.


(Karnoz - running Jump from C to D (10 feet): Success (21). Karnoz jumps 16 feet.)
(Karnoz - Balance check (DC 10): Success (22))

Karnoz swiftly recovered what little momentum he had lost, and the third ice floe wavered in the ripples at his furious approach. He dug the balls of his feet into the ice and leaped again, and he leaped very well...so well that for a moment, he feared that his leap would entirely overshoot the smaller floe. But he set his heels down and ground to a halt, and the floe rocked in protest.


(Arno - standing Jump to the small ice floe (12 feet): Success (29). Arno jumps 13 feet.)
(Arno - Balance check (DC 10): Success (11))

The ice floe on which Hennbauer had landed was barely enough to support his weight, and he knew that much in advance. His chosen route still held the promise of being shorter, if more treacherous than Karnoz's route. And as the river water crept over the edges and onto the surface of the sinking ice, Hennbauer hoped that his drifting floe would drift near enough to the next floe for his subsequent lunge.

But time was running out for both scoundrels. And the growing chatter of snapping crossbows was their disquieting alarm.


(City Watch Crossbowman 1: light crossbow attack on Karnoz (medium range, AC 14): Missed (10))
(City Watch Crossbowman 2: light crossbow attack on Karnoz (medium range, AC 14): Hit (17))
(Karnoz takes 2 Damage. 32/34 Hit Points remain.)
(City Watch Crossbowman 3: light crossbow attack on Arno (close range, AC 15): Hit (20))
(Arno takes 3 Damage. 33/36 Hit Points remain.)

As Karnoz took measure of his next jump, a bolt sung past his legs and skipped off the sluggish waves, striking an unseen point among the far streets and houses with a sharp echo. Another hissing bolt followed, and Karnoz twisted at the waist and ducked to avoid it. But his evasion did not spare him from harm entirely; Karnoz spat a muffled curse and clutched the shallow, bloodied groove in the meat of his forearm where the feathered messenger of harm had passed.

Though so concerned for his own state, he couldn't help but overhear Hennbauer's yelp from over the waves. The third crossbowman smiled at Hennbauer's wound from beneath his helmet, then tugged his weapon's drawstring back into place for a prompt reloading.

"I go to alert the southern posts!" snarled the Watch sergeant as he set the spurs to his steed. "Bring these two dogs down and I shall double your pay for this fortnight!"

His answer was a joyous whoop amid the redoubled clatter of crossbows being ardently reloaded. Satisfied with the response, the sergeant drove his charger into a full gallop and was gone, leaving his men to handle the fugitives' fates.

Little else marred the overarching silence, save for the churning of the water mills at the river's far edge. The incessant ringing of buoys reached Karnoz's ears from Starfall's Throat well to the south, but what seemed to be their echo was then seen to be no echo at all but another small buoy, torn free from its moorings far to the North and bullied around by the ice floes. Its steel frame and hardwood belly easily resisted the floes' efforts to crush it, and perhaps with a bit of guidance the buoy could be more than helpless flotsam.

But as the floes continued to crack and break against each other for miles up the river and down it, Karnoz considered how hazardous that endeavor could be. Perhaps staying on the ice floes would prove to be the safer path in the end.

Or perhaps not.




(The blue arrows at the edge of each ice floe indicate the direction of that floe's drift.)

Karnoz (Init 24) > Leaping, running and leaping to Point C
Hennbauer (Init 19) > Standing leap to the next floe; running leap to the fourth floe if possible.
City Watch Crossbowmen (Init 12) > Two desperately loosing on Karnoz, one confidently loosing on Hennbauer


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:35 pm

Karnoz uttered more than just a few profanities as he jumped, slid and skidded his way across the ice. Had he been in range, he would have flung a dagger back at the insipid, snickering guards to remind the dogs that a predator is still a predator, even while on the run. In the meantime, Karnoz scoped his path out. If he could just make the other bank, he would be clear...and more than ready to inflict a little payback of his own.

Do the 5 ft jump to A, then A to B to C. My goal is the little boat on the other side of the ice floes.

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"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Fri Nov 02, 2012 8:21 am

(Karnoz - standing Jump (5 feet): Success (14). Karnoz jumps 5 feet.)
(Karnoz - Reflex save (DC 15): Success (20))

Treading on the ice's edge was a treacherous proposition. Karnoz knew this well, and so he was prepared.

His cloak snapped wildly about his thighs as he threw himself into a pitched dive and a rolling tumble. The gap passed beneath him, and the next floe's edge barely had time to crack before Karnoz's momentum carred him to safety. With a sharp chill creeping through the weave of his cloak and the skin of his back, his legs were already kicking in cycle by the time he pushed off with his elbows and bounced to his feet, and so he seamlessly emerged from his roll into a furious charge.


(Karnoz - running Jump (10 feet): Success (19). Karnoz jumps 14 feet.)
(Karnoz - Balance check (DC 10): Success (16))

As he landed from yet another leap, the water quaked with a frightful roar for what seemed like a mile around. Several ice floes had collided almost in unison, and the very floe on which Karnoz stood threatened to topple him from the force of its own impact with one of its many neighbors. The foggy mirror of the ice's face was then marred with a sudden web of thin cracks spreading from the point of impact in a radiant pattern, and Karnoz knew in his gut that he must move with urgency or risk an untimely fate.

"This river has killed better men than ye!" one of the crossbowmen taunted from the shore behind, as if sensing Karnoz's predicament. "If only ye had surrendered, eh?"


(City Watch Crossbowman 1: light crossbow attack on Karnoz (medium range, AC 14): Missed (6))
(City Watch Crossbowman 2: light crossbow attack on Karnoz (medium range, AC 14): Missed (5))
(City Watch Crossbowman 3: light crossbow attack on Hennbauer (medium range, AC 15): Missed (7))

His taunt was punctuated by the familiar cracking of crossbow strings, the dull impacts of bolts skipping off the water or gouging into ice, and then by the rising clamor of a bell frantically tolling somewhere to the southeast. The Sergeant had made good on his threat to sound the alarm, and very soon would the streets of Trock Reik teem with Watchmen on full alert.



Karnoz (Init 18) > Running southwest and leaping to Point D
Hennbauer (Init 14) > Commandeering a floating barrel and propelling it westward
City Watch Crossbowmen (Init 9) > Same as before...


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sat Nov 03, 2012 6:51 am

Again run and jump from C to E and then jump (tumble?) from E to D. If the E floe looks like it is breaking up from the collusion or is seriously dmaged, then just jump to D. My goal is still the boat for now.

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"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:00 am

(The small floe at Point E will be deflecting away next round, possibly with Karnoz on it. Karnoz could spare himself an extra jump by leaping to Point D and its floe, since he'd only have to roll 1 point higher on the Jump check (which, before his +3 bonus for Strength and Tumble, would be a Natural 13 instead of a Natural 12). Then again, that 1 point could be the thin red line between success and failure....

I'll also be rolling a durability check for that smaller floe--since the smaller floe in any impact tends to take most of the damage--and that floe could disintegrate if the roll is very bad. The damage shouldn't be too bad, given that the floes are almost drifting in the same direction, but the chance does exist.)
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sat Nov 03, 2012 11:34 am

To D then.

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"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:52 am

(Karnoz - Balance check (DC 10): Success (16))
(Karnoz - running Jump (11 feet): Success (18). Karnoz jumps 13 feet.)

The frosty wind rasped in Karnoz's lungs as he lunged low and spurred himself into the next leg of his galloping flight. Choosing between the two gambles which faced him as he rounded the floe's edge, he chose the leap which offered greater surety at the price of greater exertion. He came down on the next floe with a stance so thundering that the far point of the floe rose out of the water for the barest of moments.


(Hardness and damage checks: One small ice floe strikes the log floating to the north and disintegrates.)

The grinding among those three floes ceased with a violent twist that threatened to sent Karnoz supine, and the floe on which he then stood was struck away with a burst of velocity. But the river had not yet returned to silence, and the continued growling of ice crumpling against ice, wood and stone for far around persisted in lending the freezing river a nebulous air of menace.

And again was Karnoz confronted with a choice. At one option's terminus, the brickmakers' workhouse loomed dark and quiet, its lanterns shuttered and its workers returned to their homes and their beds. The cart tracks which had borne many a load of soft clay from the presses and potter's wheels to the kilns stretched no loftier than the height of a man over the rolling waters, and their tempered oaken supports had defiantly withstood the ice's assaults for many winters. The other option would demand that his bounding path would continue southward across the ice, where his practiced eye had caught a rowboat bobbing among the floes.


(Hennbauer - Balance check (DC 12): Success (15). Hennbauer propels the barrel eight feet.)

And from the corner of that eye, Karnoz spied the frothing and churning where his erstwhile ally, having found a large, emptied ale cask floating derelict on the water, was jogging on top of the barrel, propelling it westward and facing the Watchmen with a defiant smirk plastered under his shapely nose. Karnoz did not take long in noticing that Hennbauer and his barrel were moving towards the drifting rowboat; perhaps the two had come to the same idea all along.


(City Watch Crossbowman 1: light crossbow attack on Karnoz (long range, AC 14): Hit (17))
(Karnoz takes 3 Damage. 29/34 Hit Points remain.)
(City Watch Crossbowman 2: light crossbow attack on Karnoz (medium range, AC 14): Missed (10))
(City Watch Crossbowman 3: light crossbow attack on Hennbauer (medium range, AC 15): Hit (15))
(Hennbauer takes 7 Damage. 26/36 Hit Points remain.)

As amusing as some would find Hennbauer's barrel walk, it suddenly took a sour turn as his flank seemed to sprout the blue-fletched shaft of a crossbow bolt, and Hennbauer's smirk yielded to a deeply pained grimace. To his credit, he kept his composure and continued to roll his barrel through the water despite the nasty wound.

A split-second later, the black fabric of Karnoz's cloak was ripped through by the rosebud head of another bolt which glanced off his scapula, leaving a thin ribbon of torn flesh in its wake. Though one benefit to Karnoz's choice of clothing was that blood would not show against the black, he found no greater chagrin than when that blood was his own.

"Pike this nonsense!" barked one of the crossbowmen. "It'll be a miracle if we kill them at this range. Quickly, men! To the bridges!"

How fortunate it was that Karnoz was soon to reach the far shore. If his luck didn't falter within the coming minute, he would reach that shore before the Watchmen did.



Karnoz (Init 20) >
Hennbauer (Init 17) > Doing the barrel roll!
City Watch Crossbowmen (Init 10) > Running around to the far shore, alerting any other Watchmen they find
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:03 am

Karnoz finished his jump and turned, offering each of his assailants an silent, one-fingered salute before returning to the more note worthy task of escape. Regardless, he made a mental note to self that should the time and opportunity come about, he might just look up the names of his attackers.... but in the meantime, Karnoz needed to complete some more pressing tasks.

[color:5153= cyan] Jump A to B, then C to D.

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"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Fri Nov 09, 2012 9:40 am

(Karnoz - Balance check (DC 10): Success (11))
(Karnoz - standing Jump (5 feet): Success (19). Karnoz jumps 8 feet.)
(Karnoz - Reflex save (DC 15): Success (23))


(Karnoz - running Jump (10 feet): Success (21))
(That might have been too good of a success; Karnoz overshot the floe completely. And...)
(Karnoz - Reflex save (DC 15): Success (16))

The greater floe shifted and resumed its course downriver as Karnoz landed with a swift and even stride. He darted across the floe with the backdrop of shouting Watchmen playing in his ears. Perhaps they had seen his insulting gesture, or perhaps they were already angry enough with the growing likelihood of his escape.

And as the far edge of the floe raced near, he beheld the small floe which bobbed next in his frantic path. So small it was that it would surely not support his weight for long at all. And so, at the last possible moment he felt a gripping tingle in his gut, one which strongly compelled him to invest every possible fraction of his strength into his next leap. An impulse which he obeyed....

With the timing of an eagle's talons, Karnoz's leathered hands snatched the cart track as it passed over him. With the toes of his boots dangling scant inches over the rime-riddled water, he hung from the rail for a few seconds, checking for dangers and searching for options.

The track from which he suspended had a slight decline from north to south, suggesting that the northernmost section of the workhouse was where the moist clay was worked and shaped, while the southern section, with its smokestacks, was probably for kiln-firing. Perhaps the great iron doors on either end of the tracks, though forged and reinforced to resist battering from the carts and their wares, were neither locked nor barred; after all, who would want to steal mere bricks and pots, and who could be mad enough to paddle the frozen river to do so?

The south of Trock Reik came alive with the rhythm of a second tolling alarm bell. He would not have much time to weigh his next move.



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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:43 pm

Using what momentum he had, Karnoz pulled himself up onto the tracks and spared a quick look back down the river in order to gague the current position of the guards and Hennbaurer's progress. Once done he scrambled down the track towards the double doors, seeking to test the possibility of their allowing the rogue to pass within. If not, there was the window next to it and if that too was barred with no way to open it, there was always the more direct method of breeching the glass and entering.


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"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:44 am

Karnoz's momentum, though slipping, was enough for him to work with. With the timing of a practiced gymnast, he fiercely kicked back, then forth, and back and forth once more. With a final kick and a telling curl of his spine, Karnoz swung himself gracefully onto the track, then stood and surveyed his surroundings.

The City Watch's crossbowmen were, at the time, crossing the bridge over the Strelka River. But from that distance, Karnoz could not be sure which of them were his attackers from not a minute before. And there were five of them. Clearly they had summoned some passing help for the chase as they pursued. The Watchman leading them pointed urgently in Karnoz's direction, though whether he was pointing at the workhouse or at Karnoz himself was unclear.

Hennbauer and his barrel were moving faster and were nearing the small rowboat cast adrift among the floes; if he kept his pace, he might have enough time to row the boat and debark on the avenue to Southwest Square before finding his boat dashed against the jagged rocks of Starfall's Throat. Of course, that would assume that the rowboat had oars aboard...a crucial detail which was in no way a certainty.

To add to Hennbauer's need for urgency, Karnoz also spied another column of Watchmen weaving along the shore edging the outskirts, and though he could hardly count their numbers with any accuracy over that distance, the column was long indeed...enough to divide themselves and threaten both Hennbauer and Karnoz, if they thought to do so. As he trotted along the cart track to the double doors, Karnoz briefly entertained the regret of not hamstringing the Watch sergeant's horse with a well-thrown dagger when he had the chance.

With a twist of both door handles, the latch yielded yet the doors themselves did not. On impulse, Karnoz took three steps back, then threw his shoulder against the doors. With harsh wooden scrapes and the shuddering of iron, the doors growled inward and the cedar doorstops which had chocked them against the biting winds of winter were sent skipping across the brickwork floor. Uncertain of what to expect therein, Karnoz lingered at the threshold, allowing time for his eyes to adjust to the darkness.

The stirring air of the far-reaching kiln house was heavy with the scents of fresh clay and burning oak. The ceiling loomed overhead at the height of five or six men, and faint rays of light from the crescent moon streamed through the bank of windows near the ceiling, striking the floor and his surroundings wherever the clouds permitted. A single oil lantern flickered from the pillar at the far exit, and firelight filtered beneath the stone doors of what two of the three great kilns had been left to roast their contents for the night. Aside from those feeble sources of light, the kiln chamber was bathed in darkness. And the prospect of moving through such a chamber seemed both promising and hindering.

But then, those of Karnoz's calling were wed to the night. Setting one foot before the other, he watchfully entered.


Spoiler:
 
(This map is spoilered for the convenience of your reading. Click to examine it at any time.)

• The kiln house is lit very dimly to the point of being near darkness; the only sources of illumination here are the windows three stories up (near the ceiling) along the south wall, the track observation windows in the wall near Karnoz, a lantern at the northwest doorway and the firelight from the two live kilns, both flickering beneath the less-than-perfectly-snug kiln doors and through the air grates in the furnace doors in the fire pits. As per the Party topic, the moon is currently a waning crescent moon, so moonlight is meager. Anyone without the benefits of lowlight vision or better will receive penalties to all Spot and Search attempts, and anyone here will receive a 20% Concealment bonus against ranged attacks from further than 15 feet away (provided that the attacker isn't near a strong enough light source or lacks the aforementioned enhanced vision). The ambient darkness will also grant bonuses to any Hide checks for as long as such favorable conditions exist.

• The west end of the kiln house consists of three levels of storage space, where shelves and pallets are laden with bricks and pottery, some of which are awaiting the kilns, others of which have already been kiln-fired and are waiting to be stocked and sold. The cart track there rises through two sharp ascents (flanked by stairs on either side, where workers can push the carts up and escort them back down), looping completely around the second level before coming to a terminus on the third. The upper two levels used to have full-length guard rails along their outer edges, but the rails have been damaged, broken or destroyed in places by cart accidents or collapsing stacks of bricks, and the workhouse staff seems to have grown tired of repairing them.

• The carts used to ferry the bricks and pottery are repurposed mine carts, possibly salvaged from closed mines among the mountains of West Karkova. The carts are made of thick tin with iron struts, supports and wheels. If they could lug around hundreds of pounds of metal ore, then bricks and pottery would give them no problems at all. The cart basins may be tipped--to any degree to either side--for ease of loading and unloading, a particularly important asset where delicate pottery is concerned.

• The ceiling is 30' high, made from tempered wood and wooden supports crossing from north to south every ten feet. There are no chandeliers or other fixtures mounted to or suspended from the ceiling. The three kilns are conical, tapering into a smokestack (three feet wide) about ten feet below the ceiling. All of the walls and pillars are made from brick, as are the kilns. The two upper storage platforms are made of brick with wooden cross supports.

• Between the three kilns are two fire pits, where firewood is stacked and fed into the dugout furnaces below the kilns as needed. The furnace doors are made of iron, grated for fire ventilation and slightly shorter than a gnome; the circular grates (two to a door, and each the size of a dinner plate) have pivoting shutters so that the fires may be reduced as needed or snuffed whenever a kiln's work is done. As my trusty new "terrain depth markers" suggest, each of those fire pits is 5 feet deep. All of the firewood is oakwood cut from the nearby forests, as oak burns slower, longer and hotter than most woods (even if it is more difficult to ignite in the first place). The fire pits are bordered with waist-high wooden rails to keep workers from accidentally stumbling into the pits and injuring themselves. The stairs are made from cut stone rising directly from the floor of each pit; the firewood stacks and guard rails may burn if a fire escapes the furnaces, but the stairs certainly won't.

• Entering a live kiln would be a bad idea, of course.



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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:52 am

Karnoz moved into the room carefully but with purpose, grateful at least for the heat of the kilns as opposed to the damp cold of hopping from ice floe to ice floe. Hennbauer mish still provide more of a distraction for him as the guards would surely zero in on the more visible target, but regardless, Karnoz knew he did not have much time to make his way to the street and disapear into the annonimity of Trock Reik. To that end, the rogue made his way towards the feeble lantern light ad its doorway. As he moved, he let his feet follow the rail tracks. Necessity dictated that these at least would be kept clear to allow the heavy carts access with whatever junk they might be hauling about the workshop.

_________________
"I can fire your blood with passion or leave you sick with bile and revulsion. I raise heroes from the masses and send them to lay low kings and warlords. I will take you to exotic, far-away places, only to leave you in darkness and dispair. I can show you wonderous treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and terrors to freeze your soul."

"Who am I? I'm your StoryTeller."
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The House of Ainsley
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Age : 45
Location : The Dark Heart of Bardosylvania

PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones   Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:06 am

(Good thinking.)

Karnoz wisely followed the cart tracks around the kiln house, rightly trusting that the work crews had kept the tracks clear of obstacles and debris. Save for the crackling of the flames spitting in the kiln furnaces, the workhouse was deathly silent. And Karnoz, skulking along the tracks warily, did nothing to threaten that pervasive silence.


(Four rounds pass....)

(Karnoz - untrained Listen check (DC 15): Success (16))

He felt and prodded his way around a mine cart squatting on the track, impeding his path. A brief peek confirmed that the cart was empty, and so Karnoz, disinterested, continued on his way.

But then, he froze in his tread at the shuffling of chainmail and a resounding thump on the front door, followed with a furious but futile wrenching of the door handle. And through the unyielding doors' brazen keyhole did a stern voice snarl in command.

"Menser. Go to Usarvo Borl's home and wake him. Inform him that the Watch has hounded a murderer to his workhouse and that we have broken the doors and forced our entry. Go!"

The hurried racing of hobnailed boots over brickwork and snow receded as a second voice rose in question. "Sergeant, I fail to see how this murderer is a concern for the mayor and the Stali Muzcinami...."

"We have received word that our quarry may be a hired killer, a most odious breed which has drawn our mayor's piercing gaze in the past. Our mayor is not without his rivals in Trock Reik. Some of those rivals are scant with scruples and heavy with gold. Need I say more?"

A pregnant pause descended and held, then the sergeant's tongue snapped again. "I want every inch of this workhouse searched, every box opened and every brick turned. I want no one straggling alone and no one charging into a waylay. Unless he has fled through a window, this ruthless assassin will be in here with us. Take every precaution; I will suffer no Watchmen to join his victims. Am I understood?"

Murmurs of concord and eagerness followed.

"Halberds and crossbows at the ready, men. Now heft the bench and batter down these doors!"



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Chapter Zero: New Gold for Old Bones
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