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 Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion

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The House of Ainsley
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Location : The Dark Heart of Bardosylvania

PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Thu Jul 29, 2010 4:12 pm

"Think naught of it, Sylvea," Ariean assured her, returning the poke to Sylvea's nose. The chill from Ariean's touch was inconsequential but noticeable, even to Sylvea's elven thews. "We are family. It is natural that we should depend on each other in times of need, and now you depend on me to see us to safety. I will not fail us, sister."

With a wave, Ariean turned to leave Sylvea and Donovon on the street behind her, and then she set hand and foot to the crude bricks of the tenement wall.


(There are three floors and a flat rooftop to this building. As per Sylvea's command, Ariean will begin her search with the roof.)
(Ariean - Climb check (DC 10): Success (25))

Beneath Ariean's thick and cruelly curled toenails, even the thinnest mortar cracks became as sturdy ledges, forming a teeming number of handholds and footholds for the ghoul as she ascended swiftly--from bricks, from ledges, from windowsills and from rainspouts--to the rooftop.

The planters dotting the roof's edge had long since traded their blooming flowers for the dead husks of choking weeds. Seizing a withered juniper shrub for support, Ariean swung herself upward and rolled onto the roof beyond her sister's view.


(Random Encounter Check (d10): 1)
(Dice dice dice...)
Ariean (Initiative 11) > Claw attacks on Madman
Madman (Initiative 10) > Club attack on Ariean

(Ariean - Claw attacks on Madman (AC 12): Miss (11), Hit (17))
(Madman takes 5 Damage.)
(Madman - Fortitude save (DC 15): Failure (3 / Natural 1))

(Madman is Paralyzed for 2 rounds.)

No sooner had Ariean disappeared over the roof's edge than a snarl which could barely be considered human erupted, followed closely by a brief clamor of violence. And shortly after that...

"Grah! Huh...huuuuuuaaaaaaaaaAAAAAHHH!!!"

With his mouth still half-filled with the coarsely chewed pulp of old and toxic juniper berries, a half-naked lunatic was flung from the rooftop with a swift and forceful hurl, twisting in midair to plunge three stories and crash flat on his back with bone-splintering force.


(Madman takes 9 Damage from the fall and is now Dying.)

(Sylvea receives 100 Experience from the madman's very sudden defeat. Ariean receives a matching reward.)

Golden hair and a familiar pair of dark eyes fleetingly peeked over the roof's edge, ensuring that Sylvea had not been--and would not be--injured by the falling psychotic. And with that, all noise from the rooftop ceased. Ariean was going about her mission.


(Ariean - untrained Search check for the roof (DC 15): Failure (6))

Long seconds passed into longer minutes. Somewhere above, a creaky wooden door whispered lightly on its hinges as Sylvea continued her anxious wait in the alley below. The laughter and howls of madmen grew louder and nearer, only to recede again. And the dying madman near her continued to writhe and kick mindlessly, gurgling and choking on his own fluids as his lifeforce steadily ebbed.


(Sylvea - Random Encounter check (d10): 7)
(Ariean - Random Encounter check (d10): 4)


(Ariean - untrained Search check for the third floor (DC 10): Success (14))

The minutes continued to pass. Soon, another madwoman drew too near an adjacent corner, cooing playfully. But what is playful to the mad is too often dangerous for the sane....

At long last, a window 25 feet overhead slid open. A length of towels and bedsheets knotted together end to end was lowered from that window to the street below, its tip dangling just a finger lower than Sylvea's collarbones. From the room above, Ariean waved assuringly to her sister and their companion, silently bidding them to ascend while glancing from one end of the alley to the other for any approach of the deranged.


(Ariean has knotted together a makeshift "rope" from bedsheets and the like. Discerning the exact shoddiness of its craftsmanship will not be possible from the ground; the only way to gauge its sturdiness--and the success or failure of Ariean's meager Rope Use skill--is to climb. And falling from three stories up is an unsavory prospect if the rope turns out to be too shoddy to support anyone's weight for the entire climb....)

(Unfortunately, Sylvea may not have very much time on her side. Though the duration has been reduced by the madfolk's fleeting attention spans, the brief clamor of battle--and the plummeting madman's subsequent scream--have doubled the frequency of Random Encounter checks for the next two turns.)

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:08 pm

Sylvea gave an experimental tug on the sheets and blinked - staring up at the head poking over the edge and waving to her sister. She turned around, stared at Donovon for a little period then nodded her head.

She would be the first one to test this out. Slinging her current equipment on her back and tying on what she could, she once again tugged on the 'rope', lifted a foot to the wall and slowly eased her weight onto the bed sheets....

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:46 am

(Ariean - untrained Rope Use check (DC 12): Failure (11))
(Sylvea - Reflex save (DC 15): Success (18))
(Sylvea avoids injury but finds herself separated from the party....)

The improvised rope felt quite sturdy at first. The first floor slowly crept below Sylvea, followed by a second-story windowsill. But something above her then began to give: a frayed towel, splitting under its strain with a forboding shrrippp!

From the window above, Ariean screeched with dismay at seeing her sister fall. But Sylvea came to no harm; she fell but a yard before her hands lunged through the open window, grabbing the sill with all the strength she could muster and pulling herself inside to safety.

The sundered sheets and towels collapsed in a heap on the street below. Donovon stifled a fearful wail as Ariean gestured for him to stay quiet and calm. And Sylvea, somewhere between the two, beheld the crude boarding room into which she had clambered.

The room was very sparsely outfitted, as are most boardinghouses which cater to the impoverished and vagrant. A short chest squatted against the far wall, its rivets orange with rust and its lock forcibly broken in years past; its lid sat closed at an awkward angle, suggesting warped or broken hinges of cheap metal. The small oaken table near Sylvea's right hand had one of its legs snapped short and propped up with an old book, and one of the two seating stools had been broken and nailed back together at least two times in its history. And against the room's south wall, two simple beds with birch bedframes and well-worn woolen blankets reeked of moldy goose down from mattresses which had never been cleaned.

That odor would soon be joined by worse, for the cold body of a longhaired older man with streaks of gray crossing his hair lay sprawled in a horrid pose across one bed, his rigored face betraying the panic and agony which were with him in his last living moments. The fancy broom, decorated with dainty bows of pink ribbon and protruding from his chest at an unsettling angle lent a darkly comedic touch to the macabre scene; the tip of its broomstick had been crudely sharpened and driven into the reclining guest with enough force to transfix both him and the mattress beneath him.

The man's blood had dried to clotting but was not yet browned and crumbling; it had been spilled scant hours before Sylvea arrived. But it was not the blood staining the bed or its former host which she examined, but that which had been collected from the man and madly fingerpainted on the wall between the beds to lend the Laughing Death another voice, silent but equally grim:


RATS RATS RATS RATS RATS RATS RATS RATS
THE RATS FOLLOW BAVATUR THEY FOLLOW
THEY FOLLOW THEY FOLLOW THE RATS FOLLOW
HIM THE RATS THE RATS THE RATS FOLLOW
BAVATUR FOLLOW HIM FOLLOW THEM FOLLOW
HIM FOLLOW THEM THE RATS THE RATS THE RATS




From somewhere out in the hallway beyond the ale-splotched oakwood door, a woman sang a lullaby in a perfectly tranquil tone. "Sleep, little baby, and dream of delight. / Be quiet and peaceful from sunset to light...."

Ariean's footsteps quickened, sending frantic shuffling sounds through the ceiling of Sylvea's present room. Surely she was scrounging for more textiles to make a second makeshift rope, for Donovon alone would not survive for long on the streets of blighted Palemare. And with his demise would come the failure of Sylvea's quest.


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Sat Aug 28, 2010 4:50 pm

Sylvea stuck her head out the window - being careful not to be seen and waved down to Donovon. She lifted her fingers to her lips and motioned for him to stay put.

Sylvea hesitated for only a moment more before quietly heading towards the beds. She intended to search to see if she could make a rope, and hopefully get Donovon at least to this level of the building. She silently prays that Ariean has the sense to come down to her level, hopefully scouting the way clear for them to get to the roof.

She pulls the broom handle from the body and the mattress, it is difficult but she gives it her all and then heaves the body off the bed, being careful not to make noise - easing the stiff body down onto the floor. Then she begins her search - if it proved fruitless, she would just have to somehow claim Ariean from above and then descend down through the guts of the building - hopefully avoiding any others and collect Donovon. But she has to work fast and pressure is building behind her eyes.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Mon Oct 11, 2010 7:02 am

(Random Encounter check: 10)

The sobbing and gibbering seemed to surround Sylvea as the crazed voices rippled through thin walls and resounded through corridors. Fleshy footfalls lightly loped down the stairs, and Sylvea tightened her grip on her staff, bringing it to a ready level.

Her anxiety was misplaced. Sniffing the air intently, Ariean nudged open the door and slipped into the tenement where Sylvea waited. Beneath Ariean's arm, a rolled bundle of linens and bedsheets dragged along the dusty, battered floorboards.

"No one is in the hallways...not for the moment," Ariean declared with a glance back to the ajar door closing behind her. "Perhaps you can tie a better knot than I can?"

There was that, or perhaps there was time enough to move through the building and find another way for Donovon to enter and join them. But the madfolk, unpredictable as they tend to be, would surely not stay fixed in one place for long.


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Mon Oct 11, 2010 7:13 am

Sylvea nodded, not to sure (she was getting tired of having to make decision on the fly like this) but took the bedding from Ariean.

Concentrating, she tried to secure the knots better than her sister had, a few more years of experience hopefully counting in her stead. "Sister, you will have to pull Donovan - he is much heavier than I," she flashed a grin, "And you know my strength lies in speed, and wisdom. Not so much here, i'm afraid."

Poking her head out, she waved at Donovan, catching his attention. SO far this plan had not worked well - but second chances were like that, they had to come after the first try.

Droppping the linen out of the window and handing one end to Ariean, she kept half an eye on the door and the other half below, waving for Donovan to come up - and hopefully quickly.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:55 am

"As you wish, sister," Ariean complied, taking up the makeshift rope and pulling it back in as Donovon seized it and shakily clambered up the wall below the window.


(Sylvea - untrained Use Rope check (DC 12): Failure (Natural 1))
(Donovon takes 2 Damage from the fall. 10/12 Hit Points remain.)

But the knot supporting him very suddenly slipped as he drew near two feet under the sill. With a yelp and an echoing thud, Donovon flopped to the street below, clutching his ankle in pain as he recovered his footing.

Sylvea's misfortune to that point then turned even more sour, for Donovon's impact had not gone unperceived.


(Number Appearing check (d4): 1)

"Awooo? Awooooooo!"

Footfalls in a shuffling lope bounded around the corner, dragging the dull wooden scrapings from a broken table leg behind them. And from beneath a tangle of filthy and matted blond hair, two dark, beady eyes bore into Donovon. The madman's deranged impression of a wolf would have been comical had it not laid bare his intentions and his alien frame of mind.

"Wooo! Woooo WOOOO!"

Donovon desperately snatched his own weapon from the pavestones as the salivating madman drew closer. Ariean's foot was already seated in the window jamb, ready to propel her out through the window and at the direction of the threat. Even though she and Sylvea stood two floors from street level--and though her lifeless heart remained twisted in ghoulish rancor--she knew how much Donovon's life meant to her sister. And she would risk profound injury to see that man defended.



Sylvea (Init 13) > Casting Animate Dead on the corpse on the bed, turning the dead man into a zombie and sending him out the window at the madman
Ariean (Init 12) > Leaping from the window, rushing to attack the madman
Donovon (Init 12) > Defending himself with his club
Madman (Init 11) > Moving to Donovon for a club attack
Zombie (Automatically goes last) > Moves to intercept the madman


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Tue Nov 02, 2010 4:43 pm

Sylvea whipped her head around at the sound that came through the window, she had barely enough time before her sister went charging past her, having discerned the situation much faster and already decided on action.

"Ariean! NO!" her shout stopped her sister as she crouched on the window sill, ready to leap out and protect Donovan. She pulled her sister back urgently and frantically, her heart racing, looked around. There was no way she could risk running back down to the ground floor to protect Donovan. She had not cast any protection spells as of yet either - so there was no help there. Besides, anything could delay her - more madment in the building, or even the building itself.

Her eyes alighted on the only other denizen in the room. The corpse lay on the bed, and she blinked - her mind made up in a mere moment.

Crossing the over, she shoved a black gem into the corpse's mouth and prepared her Animate Dead spell. When successful, she would order him to protect donovan from harm as well as herself and Ariean.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:44 pm

Startled with Sylvea's yell, Ariean halted where she crouched in the window, glancing uncertainly between Sylvea and Donovon below. Mutely the ghoul withdrew from the window, watching her sister as the latter cupped a black onyx in her hand and moved aside the nearest bed.


(Sylvea casts Animate Dead on the corpse atop the bed, turning it into a zombie. The black onyx is a freebie...just this once. Wink )

The gem was slipped into the dead man's gaping mouth, which still screamed its silent scream. With a brush of her hand, a dark annointing gesture was traced over the corpse's forehead as Sylvea whispered a brief and furtive prayer to her dark lady's name. In the half-second which followed, a sharp red flicker consumed the onyx, leaving it to crumble into gray dust as the dancing light melded with the emaciated flesh around it.

A low, rumbling moan rippled from the dead man's still lungs and pushed out through his crushed windpipe, bounding from every wall in the room. The corpse's eyes raced with new undeath, and the first thing those dim eyes beheld was the priestess' finger, thrust towards the window with an urgent command.

The terrible reek of clotted blood and old bile and humors seeped into the mattress washed through the surrounding air as the newly animated zombie tore himself from the bed and rose to stand. The bedsheets stuck to his oozing back were dragged along behind him as the zombie loped mindlessly towards the window. Ariean then realized Sylvea's intentions entirely, and she stepped two paces back from the window, allowing the zombie to pass unimpeded.


(Donovon - Club attack on the Madman (AC 11): Missed (9))
(Madman - Club attack on Donovon (AC 12): Missed (11))

Below, the diseased lunatic had backed Donovon into a corner. Their clubs swatted and swept through the alley breeze, with Donovon sorely pressed to defend himself from the madman's rage. Donovon's arm was chafed from where the table leg skimmed over his skin and narrowly missed his head, but one could hardly consider his mark a wound.

But then, a piece of broken window frame struck the ground at the madman's heels. The zombie followed after it, lunging out through the window with a snarl both primal and unholy.


(Zombie - Tumble check (DC 15): Success (17))
(The Zombie takes 4 Damage from the fall. 15/19 Hit Points remain.)

Zombies make very poor tumblers, but luck was with Sylvea and her new lackey that day. The zombie landed on his feet with a resounding thud, twisting its knee as its heels met the pavestones. But the zombie cared nothing for the malignant contortion, reaching for the hapless madman as his elven mistress appeared in the window above, directing the zombie's every move in her sternest voice.

The madman's eyes followed his nose. In the deepest recesses of his plague-wracked mind, he knew that this new undead menace was a threat more grave than Donovon, and his improvised weapon rose to meet that new threat. A maddened wail of alarm vied against a lifeless guttoral howl as the two faced each other, giving Donovon his much-needed chance at escape.



Ariean (Init 16) > Following Sylvea downstairs
Zombie (Init 13) > Punching the madman
Madman (Init 13) > Clubbing the zombie
Sylvea (Init 2) > Running downstairs
Donovon (Init 2) > Scooting not-too-quickly out of the corner along the south wall


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:56 pm

Sylvea barked a command, swift and with no uncertainty as to what she wanted done, "Kill the madman! Protect Donovan till I return!"

Then she disappeared from the window and turned to her sister. "Come sister! We must get back to him... through the building."

She raced to the door... she knew time pressed on her and whispered a fervent prayer to Evening Glory for her safe return to their guide's side.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:49 pm

With little time to spare, Sylvea led Ariean away from the window and down the stairs as swiftly as their legs would carry them. The clamor of battle still pealed through the walls as they raced, lending greater gravity to Sylvea's prayer.



Storming down the stairs with her sister in tow, Sylvea froze abruptly as she reached the bottom floor and drank deep what she beheld there.



The main entrance to the tenement building was blocked by two madmen, both busied with screeching insanely and hammering their fists on the armored corpse of whatever city guardsman they had dragged down and murdered. Getting past them would be a big problem...and taking that exit would place Sylvea well away from Donovon anyway.

But the apartment nearest her held other options. The door had been torn from its hinges and battered to flinders in the hallway. And seated at the table inside the room, a woman wept loudly at her table. Her arms and shoulders wept with blood from several bite wounds--wounds left by human teeth, it would seem--and her sobbing and wailing were broken by a random spike of rising, spiralling laughter. Sylvea had all the assurance she needed that the weeping woman numbered among Palemare's deranged.


(Zombie - Slam attack on Madman (AC 11): Hit (17))
(Madman - Club attack on Zombie (AC 11): Hit (12))

(Madman takes 2 Damage)
(Zombie takes 4 Damage. 11/19 Hit Points remain.)

Outside, the lunatic and the walking corpse traded their first blows against each other. Surely there was enough cacophony in the atmosphere to give Sylvea and Ariean the opportunity to act without observation...or without warning.


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Wed Nov 03, 2010 5:49 pm

Sylvea surveyed the scene before her and shook her head, the entrance was definitely not an option. Her elfen ears picked up the sounds of battle and her heart raced with adrenaline. Blood pumping in her ears, she crossed to the unhinged door, observing the weeping mad woman.

"Ariean," she gestured to her sister, "Kill her - or paralyze her - but do it swiftly."

She held her staff at the ready, should she need to come to Ariean's aid. But she has faith in her sister's ability and they has surprise on their side. She hoped that luck was there too.

As Ariean went to do her bidding, Sylvea kept an eye on the entrance - and the deranged fools around them. A part of her mind wondered idly if she could capture a madman to study the Laughing Death further... but there were other, more pressing, matters at hand for the moment.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Thu Nov 18, 2010 8:33 am

Ariean's tongue offered no word of compliance, for truly none was needed. Like a white beast on the hunt, the ghoul plodded into the room on all fours, drawing near enough to pounce on her crazed, wailing prey.


(Ariean - opposed Move Silently check: 12)
(Madwoman - opposed Listen check: 16)

Ariean (Init 15) > Two claws and one bite on Madwoman
Madwoman (Init 9) > Knife attack on Ariean


(Ariean - Two claws + one bite on Madwoman (AC 11): Missed (8), Hit (14), Hit (14))
(Madwoman takes 8 Damage total)
(Madwoman - two Fortitude Saves (DC 15): Passed (18), Failed (14))
(Madwoman is paralyzed for 1 round)

As light as Ariean's feet were, the floorboards creaked sharply as she darted. In a flash of steel, the madwoman snatched a wickedly sharp tanner's knife from her table and struck at the air as she turned to face the threat. But Ariean was swifter, lunging through the moldy air with bared incisors and curling claws. Four sharp, yellow nails ripped into the wailing woman's ribs and pulled her near, where Ariean's teeth sunk deeply into the meat of her victim's trapezius. A trembling through her bones shook the knife from the woman's fingers and dropped her to the cheap, fouled carpet where she lay laboring for breath.

With a nod back to her sister, Ariean absently licked the rivulets of blood from her cruel nail-claws. "She will not stay there for long, sister. What comes next?"


Zombie (Init 13) > Slam on Madman
Donovon (Init 4) > Club on Madman
Madman (Init 2) > Club on Zombie

(Zombie - Slam attack on Madman (AC 11): Hit (13))
(Madman takes 3 Damage)

(Donovon - Club attack on Madman (AC 11): Hit (22))
(Madman takes 4 Damage)

(Madman - Club attack on Zombie (AC 11): Hit (20))
(Zombie takes 5 Damage. 6/19 Hit Points remain.)

The noises of the scuffle outside lurched to greater intensity. The lunatic's morbid laughter rose amid the thumps and thuds of bone and wood crushing meat and cracking bones, both living and not. Donovon's sharp grunt of exertion heralded his return to the fray, a stark contrast to the shambling corpse's mindless moans. Though Sylvea could not yet see the battle, she could gauge how unwise one would be to wager on the madman emerging the victor.

But even if the madman were doomed whether Sylvea and Ariean interfered with the battle or not, their timely arrival certainly couldn't hurt Sylvea's one-onyx investment....


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Sat Jan 15, 2011 4:38 pm

Sylvea opts to peer quickly out the window, witness the fight. Then she looks back at the madwoman momentarily paralysed. She pursed her lips and then nodded her head, coming to a decision. "Finish her," she directed towards her sister - then turned back towards the window and slips out - seeking to bring her staff down hard on the madman's head - hopefully she can distract him enough for the zombie to finish the fight.

Then Sylvea will attend Donovan and see if he needs medical aid.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:35 am

Madman (Init 20) > Attacking Zombie
Donovon (Init 8) > Attacking Madman
Zombie (Init 8) > Attacking Madman

(Madman - Club attack on Zombie (AC 11): Missed (9))

The crazed man's wounds were driving him to heights of wild fear echoed from his tongue. "Bavatur sent you, corpse thing! Sent for me! I'll have you not! Away!" His panicked swings devolved to useless swatting, and Sylvea's shambler easily brushed the madman's crude weapon aside and lunged as emboldened Donovon circled with his truncheon and lunged.


(Donovon - Club attack on Madman (AC 11, Attack +2 (Flanking)): Hit (18))
(Zombie - Simultaneous Slam attack on Madman (AC 11, Attack +2 (Flanking)): Hit (17))

(Madman takes 8 combined Damage and is now Dying.)

By the time Sylvea straddled through the shattered window and squeezed her way into the fray, the plague victim lay curled into a broken, impotent ball of flesh on the pavestones. Donovon sternly drummed his club against the street, shaking a torn hunk of diseased skin from its planed shaft as the zombie turned to his master, gazing blankly.


(Ariean - Coup de Grace on Madwoman: 12 Damage)
(Madwoman - Fortitude Save (DC 22): Success (22))
(Honest. Natural 20 with a +2 modifier. So now she's Dying instead of flat-out Dead. Big difference, huh?)

Sylvea looked Donovon over, drawing down the cuff of his boot and taking note of the swelling in his ankle. The fall from the window was Donovon's only wounder, and Sylvea's timely animation of the corpse had spared him far worse at the madman's hands. The zombie himself felt no pain, but the blows endured by that cold flesh in Donovon's defense were quite terrible.

Ariean appeared in the window behind her sister, wiping a bloodied claw on the window frame. "I wanted to bite her," she offered without enthusiasm, "but I did not. It is done."

The streets of Palemare continued to babble and howl under the afternoon sun, a chaotic symphony in which the broken, wailing man at Sylvea's feet played his part. The priestess and her band were in no danger at the moment, but it would not do to linger about and invite more.

(Sylvea receives 300 Experience for defeating the madman (through her zombie) and sparing Donovon from harm.)
(Ariean receives 150 Experience for eliminating the madwoman, taking no part in Donovon's defense.)




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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:21 pm

Sylvea dispassionately rifled through the madman's pockets, caring little about it. He had just tried to kill her friend and charge, after all.

Coming to a decision, she turned to her sister, "Areian, I think it is time we went underground - we can navigate the city better - and faster that way. See if there is anything around here that can be useful, or made into a torch. Be quick about it."

Then she turned towards her creation. It had come in handy and did not make any undue noise. She could not heal it now, not without difficulty and even so, she had not made the proper preparations at the Temple to do such a thing.

She resolved to include such spells in her repetoire for future excursions. It did not help that this was the first true mission she had undertaken since becoming a Sister. She sighed and cast her own eyes around, climbing back through the window to see if anything in the room would prove useful.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:49 pm

Deftly did Sylvea part the fallen madman's garments, rifling through boots and through pouches. The plague had left him with the most minimal care for earthly possessions, but a handful of coins had yet remained nestled in his beltpouch.

Ariean soon emerged from the apartment bearing what little goods remained in the wake of looters and lunatics. With a small silver-glass in one rough hand and a crude lead candelabrum in the other, Ariean had enjoyed some measure of success in her search. Though but two lightly melted white candles remained fixed in a candelabra meant for three, the candles would offer faint yet pleasant illumination for whichever dark, dank passages Sylvea might wander next.


(Sylvea has found 4 Gold Pieces and 9 Silver Pieces.)
(Ariene has found a small glass hand mirror and a simple three-socketed candelabrum, forged from lead, with two candles. Each candle will burn for roughly one hour, but burning two (or three) candles together will provide stronger light than burning one.)

Donovon sat on the pavestones, spitting curses as he favored his injured ankle. "Infernal, goat-sired lunatic and his plague-headed kith! What be this 'Bavatur' on which he so witlessly babbled?"

The zombie stood languidly, caring neither for his oozing club wounds nor for the echoing chorus of plague victims dancing to the throes of their creeping madness. Distant though they were, the madfolk were still too near for Sylvea's tastes...and, she feared, near enough to have overheard so much commotion.


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:29 pm

(I'm a little rusty with all of this.... so I might just opt for an action post)

Sylvea wasted little time in opening the grate to the underground and slipping downwards with her entourage in tow. With the small amount of light from the open grate, Sylvea could see a little into the darkness.

"Onwards my friends. Ariean, keep a sharp lookout." She nodded towards her sister and allowed her to take the lead with the zombie shambling behind them.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:10 pm

Donovon fervently agreed, helping Sylvea pull the grate free from its cradle and slide it aside. "The sooner we quit these streets, the better."

At Sylvea's ushering, Ariean descended first. Her hard, curled toenails scratched the tarnished ladder rungs and clicked against black iron as she plod down the crude stairs descending from the mounted ladder to the dark tunnels below. Sylvea followed shortly after, supervising the zombie's awkward scaling and clambering as she went and leaving Donovon to tug the grate back into place behind them.





Somewhere below the open stairs, a trench as broad as a man's height lapped and murmured with revolting sewer sludge. The rays of the noontime sun sifted through the grate overhead and pierced the darkness below, and through that sunlight the fouled air could be seen to drift and move with the four's passage.

To Sylvea's approval, the maddened cacklings, weepings and howlings were all but absent from the sewers. But to her stark concern, those lost noises were replaced with the chittering of rats, the sloshing of deeper sewage somewhere in the distance, and the weary moans of the dying...or of the once-dead.

Donovon eased past the blank-eyed zombie to take his place behind Sylvea on the crumbling walkway running along their sewer channel, straining his eyes in the half-light as he peered at a simple yet well-maintained oaken footbridge crossing the trench of sludge. "I do hope that we truly are safer down here, priestess. Where shall we wander from here?"


(The dark sludge seems to be flowing--likely from the run-off of melting snow--but only a close inspection can discern which direction it flows. The sludge is quite opaque, and trying to gauge its depth by eyesight alone is impossible. Considering what normally comprises sewage, staying out of the sludge would surely be a good idea; anyone who falls in or jumps in can look forward to fouled clothing and repeated Fortitude saves against disease until the sludge can be washed off one's body with clean water. As always, diseases do not affect the undead...at least, not the mundane diseases.)

(The way to Sylvea's destination--where Donovon believes his son to be--presently lies westward from here. However, there may be slight curves and angles to the sewer passages, and without any dwarves in the party, Sylvea and her party can lose their direction if they wander those dark passages for too long; if this happens, even that compass rose in the upper right corner can turn against you. Keep the Staff of the Northern Cross handy, and be sure to take any measures needed to stave off this disorientation.)

(The sewer grates of Palemare provide illumination for anyone passing through the sewers. Ariean and the zombie have darkvision, so they need not worry about light sources. Sylvea has lowlight vision; as long as there is an overhead sewer grate within 200 feet of her, she will not be blinded. But Donovon's vision is entirely human; he will be blinded if no sewer grates are within 60 feet of him. Personal light sources can negate this natural darkness. However...)

(The sewer grates also provide ventilation. The sewer gas near the grates stinks considerably, negating any relevant bonuses to Spot or Listen checks against strong-smelling creatures in the sewers. But without any line of sight to the grates, the concentrated sewer gas can quickly turn poisonous. And if the miners' tales from the nearby mountains hold true, bringing an illuminating flame into a pocket of sewer gas can have disastrous consequences.)

(Be careful down there, Sylvea.)



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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Sun Sep 16, 2012 5:01 pm

(I'm sorry, I'm having some difficulty getting back into the game. I opt to move in a westerly direction... and hope to god I haven't screwed myself lol)

(Sorry again, crappy non-posting. Please don't hit me Mister GM Ser.....)

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:16 am

(*cracks the whip* Twisted Evil )

(Also, I made a new "light filtering through overhead grate" overlay just for you, seeing as the sewer grate locations might possibly be important down here. Enjoy! Very Happy )

Stalwartly pressing onward, Sylvea urged her sister to head westward from their descent. The city's heart lay westward, after all, and there might they find the trail to Donovon's son...or to whatever was left of him.


(Random enounter check: 1)

The light at their backs soon faded, yielding its illumination to two soft pillars of sunlight ahead. Through the fetid air, Sylvea noted the sewer passage broadening into a chamber ahead, and its narrow channel of repulsive sludge poured lazily into a pool which most souls would find to be naught short of menacing.

But further menace yet lurked on the platform beyond a well-aged wooden bridge ahead. Donovon's half-blind gaze followed those of his elven defenders to a thick sheet of moss, fungus and vegetation which was well on its way to overrunning the damp stonework platform. And looming over that verdant mass rose two doughty fungal stalks, each over half as tall as a man and topped with sleek purple domes which shone brilliantly in the half-light. Such towering mushrooms were far from ordinary; a common nuisance in many crypts and catacombs, both Sylvea and Ariean knew them for what they were: shriekers.





(In themselves, shriekers are harmless. But their true danger comes with their namesake defense mechanism: when attacked or otherwise disturbed--typically when bright light shines on it or it senses movement within ten feet of itself--a shrieker will emit a very loud and piercing shriek for 1-3 rounds. This sound has a vexing tendency to attract any nearby creatures who may be inclined to investigate such noises, some creatures of whom may be hostile towards intruders. Indeed, some of the world's more cunning predators deliberately keep their lairs within earshot of shrieker patches and, regarding the shrieker's scream as a dinner bell of sorts, will eagerly come running the very moment a shrieker sounds the alarm. And in a network of narrow sewer tunnels, "within earshot" can be a very far distance indeed.)

(Killing a shrieker will silence its scream, of course. Though not all that difficult to kill, shriekers are Plant creatures and are therefore immune to Critical Hits, Sneak Attacks, Death Attacks and the like.)

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Sat Sep 29, 2012 4:14 pm

Ariean sees them first and points them out to her sister. She is silent, standing still as Sylvea weighs up their options.

There weren't too many. They could opt to destroy the shriekers, however that would be risking their shriek - and the chance of anyone nearby hearing them. The shriekers were directly in their path, however they could sneak past them and head south - swinging back west when more convenient.

The problem? Sylvea had no way of knowing if the tunnels to the south would lead back west. And there was no sure footing to the south either. Sylvea wanted to keep the trudging through sludge to a minimum. Disease a fear large in her mind.

She regarded her sister for a moment, and donovan behind her. She could not risk him, her charge. However, getting back out of the city would present the same dangers as getting back in.

Uttering a small prayer, she closed her eyes briefly. "Ariean, kill the first shrieker swiftly. I will command the zombie to take on the other one. I will help which ever is needed first."

Gripping her staff, she nodded and bade Ariean to hurry.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:08 pm

"Pray aid me if I call for you," Ariean uttered in reply--half as a plea and half as a warning--before loping forth to tear the nearest shrieker to pieces. Following Sylvea's thrust hand, the zombie lurched forward to follow the ghoul, evoking a crinkled face of revulsion from Donovon as the walking corpse brushed past.

Something further in the darkness caught Ariean's eye, not far to her left. Glancing fleetingly over her shoulder, she hissed, "Three shriekers!" before treading on the scum-caked wooden bridge and rushing in low at the leaning mushroom's thick stalk. But already had the shrieker commenced its piercing cry.

"rrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE..."

And Donovon cringed with wild glances hither and yon.


(Ariean - two claws and one bite on Shrieker 1 (AC 13): Missed (6), Hit (20), Missed (12))
(Ariean does 3 Damage to Shrieker 1)
(Shriekers are immune to paralysis.)

So rattled by the jarring shriek, Ariean misjudged the length of her leading swipe and raked naught but the odorous air. But a cursing snarl of anger brought her nearer, and torn purple fungus splattered into the sluggish sewage as the ghoul's sweeping left hand found its mark. The wounded shrieker quaked from the blow, but its dismaying shriek desisted not.

Then from somewhere not near yet not far enough, the soft noises of chittering and the scurrying of twenty horned feet moving in concert crawled nearer from the north. And the passages joined to the southern half of the chamber began to moan with the tuneless choir of the walking dead.



Ariean (Init 11) > Two claws and one bite on Shrieker 1
Sylvea (Init 9) > Moving to attack Shrieker 1
Shrieker 1 (Init -3) > Continuing its shriek for two more rounds


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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:03 pm

Sylvea blinked and Ariean was in action. Seeing her sister now, in her ghoul form did come at a constant surprise, especially in these moments when Ariean's true harshness came to the fore.

Without hesitation, Sylvea lifted her staff and went to Ariean's aid. The shrieker would die quicker with the both of them attacking it.

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PostSubject: Re: Chapter Zero: And Death Shall Have No Dominion   Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:11 am




(Ariean - two claws and one bite on Shrieker 1 (AC 13): Hit (19), Missed (11), Hit (21))
(Ariean deals 8 combined Damage to Shrieker 1. Shrieker 1 is Dead.)
(Sylvea and Ariean each receive 300 Experience for defeating the Shrieker.)

(Sylvea's Zombie - slam attack on Shrieker 2 (AC 13): Hit (17))
(Sylvea's Zombie deals 6 Damage to Shrieker 2.)

Despite the shrieker's resounding scream, Ariean stepped aside as her keen ears told her of the zombie's approach from behind. As she moved, her raking right hand clawed a fistful from the shrieker's cap, sending the shrieking cap rocking away. Seizing the moment, she lunged teethfirst at the exposed stalk and bit deeply through. The shrieker's cap fell away and tumbled from the platform, and with a heavy splattering was its infernal shrieking immediately drowned in the channel of thick, repugnant sewage. With a deep gulp, Ariean swallowed her mouthful of purple fungus and wordlessly turned to face whatever would come skittering from the north.

But the silence was not long-lived. The next shrieker came to life screeching as the zombie loped near with his pallid arms raised high. With a guttoral grunt, the walking corpse drove its beefy fists downward in unison and struck the shrieker squarely in the cap. Though the nasty blow tore away almost half of the shrieker's cap and sent it skipping across the slick, mossy pavestones, the shrieking continued to echo through the winding corridors far around.

Then was Sylvea at her sister's side, joining the ghoul in her vigilance. To their consternation, the third shrieker commenced its alarming shriek as the clicking of long, thick toenails grated nearer, for shriekers know neither friend nor ally. The newly come ghoul bounded along the dark westward passageway and stooped beside the trembling shrieker to bellow its howl, a terrible call both mournful and predatory. From the southward passage, a second ghoul reared his head, returned the howl in kind and raced nearer, smelling flesh both fresh and foul in the stagnant air.

And ever behind the first ghoul was the labored shuffling of sludge-caked boots and filthy feet dragging across the masonry. Similarly attracted by the shriekers' song, a trio of zombies lazily followed the ghoul into battle, spurred by an impulse which they could never hope to identify.

But then did Sylvea's attentions snap northward as the source of the heavy, insectile skittering made itself seen. The creature's twenty horny feet scratched not along the floor but across the wall as it rounded the corner, craning its twin eyestalks to bring Ariean into focus. It paused for half a moment, baring two rows of yellowed teeth as it snaked its head towards Sylvea, then back to Ariean. And then, recognizing its newfound prey, the eight tentacles twisting from around the carrion crawler's maw flared to life in a mockery of a peacock's plumage, and not unlike those of an alarmed caterpillar did the crawler's feet grip the wall's flagstones and bite into the mortar, driving that wormlike body forth in a series of swift, urgent undulations.




The black goblet rocked lightly in its cradle as Sylvea faced the carrion crawler, then the ghouls, then back again. She would have but a moment to decide: strike the crawler with her staff, unleash the dangerous power of Ideraal's ruinous wand, raise her goblet and channel Evening Glory's unstoppable power against the ghoulish marauders or pursue some other course of action. Perhaps the goblet could wait just long enough for her to lure the zombies nearer, that she may rebuke the zombies and the ghouls all at once.

Yet so many undead in one place could be too overwhelming for Sylvea to shackle with faith and force of will. But then, what would her faith be if she balked at such a task?

The shriekers suddenly seemed the least concern in that moment. Not far behind her, Donovon paled at beholding the onslaught and gripped his club timidly, unsure of what to do. Their allied zombie continued swatting at his shrieker, mindlessly complying with Sylvea's last command as Ariean turned to her sister with a knowing grin, nodding assuredly before darting at the carrion crawler to shield Sylvea from the aberration's felling touch.


(Another menace familiar to those who rove tombs, catacombs and forsaken dungeons, the carrion crawler, true to its name, prowls dark passages to feed on the flesh of the dead and the living alike. Though its diet is similar to that of a ghoul, the carrion crawler is quite alive and is thus not subject to a Cleric's powers over the undead. Its bite, though capable of rending meat from bone, is fairly clumsy and easy to evade. But the carrion crawler's gravest threat lies in its eight tentacles which, while not damaging in the least, carry with them the threat of paralysis on contact. These tentacles serve the carrion crawler well in satisfying its dietary needs, paralyzing unwary adventurers and gripping their limp bodies, which the crawler can then drag away into its favorite dark recess to devour at its leisure.)



Enemy Zombie
Enemy Ghoul
Carrion Crawler


Carrion Crawler (Init 22) > Moving to attack Ariean
Donovon (Init 21) > Cringing uselessly (unless Sylvea commands otherwise)
Ghouls (Init 16) > Moving to attack Sylvea's Zombie
Zombies (Init 13) > Shuffling into the fray
Sylvea's Zombie (Init 12) > Slamming Shrieker 2 again (unless Sylvea commands otherwise)
Sylvea (Init 10) > Using her Wand of Magic Missiles (all three missiles at the Carrion Crawler)
Ariean (Init 7) > Moving to attack the carrion crawler (unless Sylvea commands otherwise)
Shrieker 2 (Init 3) > Falls silent
Shrieker 3 (Init 3) > Shrieks for 2 more rounds


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