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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    The first rays of light begin to peek over the horizon as you reach your destination. Standing at a crossroads about a mile east of Tirisgor, a prosperous town at the edge of the human kingdom Tilrian, are five humanoid figures. Next to these figures are two ponies and three horses, one harnessed to a cart. As you approach, one of the medium-sized figures pulls down the purple hood of his regal cloak off his head and smiles at you warmly. You recognize the young human's face as Arthur, your employer. "Good, everyone is here. Thank you all for being so punctual as always. I apologize for the abrupt meeting here, I am very pressed for time these days. Sadly I have no time for pleasantries -- however, as I mentioned in my letter, I do have a very lucrative mission for you all." He grins as he gives a quick glance at you before continuing, "A local wealthy noblewoman named Helene Maurgen requests the aid of capable adventurers to find her missing son, Jeref. Apparently her kid was notorious for having a rebellious streak, and despite having the option of living a comfortable life in a mansion for the rest of his days he instead set off for the adventurer's life. Helene tells me that her relationship with her son is rocky at best and he's been successfully avoiding contact with her for nearly a year now. But recently a good friend of Jeref came to her with troubling news. The lad's been missing for three months now! Jeref told this friend that he was heading to the land of Barovia to hunt 'more challenging game,' and promised to write back as soon as he could, but he never did. That's where you come in."

    Arthur produces a rolled up parchment from one of his cloak's pockets and hands it to you. "When news of this came to Helene she contacted me. Jeref is her only son and she'll pay handsomely for his return... Or closure of his end. That parchment is a map. It'll get you from here to Barovia. I don't know much of about that land myself, it's pretty isolated from civilization. In fact, the city east of here is probably the last town you'll be seeing for a while! Barovia is about five day's journey from here." He points at the cart, "You have enough provisions in there to cover that trek. Also enough gold for lodging and fresh food when you come by it." Arthur stares off at the brightening horizon and looks back at you. "I must get going. Is there any questions before I'm on my way?"
    Last edited by Delandel; 2009-08-11 at 01:27 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Keld Denar's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    Danok

    Danok looks up at the woman. Miss, I'm sorry for your loss, but this sounds like a fun adventure! Do you know anything about the condition of the road between here and Barovia?

    Danok seems eager to set out on the journey!
    Quote Originally Posted by Fax Celestis View Post
    AILHAY THULUCAY! AILHAY THULUCAY! AILHAY THULUCAY!
    _________________________________
    A beholder’s favorite foods include small live mammals, exotic mushrooms and other fungi, gnomes, beef, pork, colorful leafy vegetables, leaves, flower petals, insects, and birds.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    Gharer

    I will do my best to return your son safely. I know you have not been in contact with him, but do you know if he has any experience as an adventurer? Please be honest, we need to know if he is defenceless.

    Gharer is worried for the lost son, and is anxious to begin the adventure.

  4. - Top - End - #4
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    rezplz's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    Nambert

    One of the group, whose head only reached the waist of the taller members, pulled down the hood of a simple, rugged cloak. Bright, energetic yet focused eyes looked up at their employer as the gnome's hands rested on the handle of his axe, the head of which was on the ground. "Yeah, I actually do have a few questions, if you don't mind. Of course, keep in mind that I'm definitely going to help this woman out, no matter the reward offer, but..." He shrugged. Paladin or not, he did need compensation, after all. "Exactly how much was this woman going to offer?"

    The gnome drummed his hands on the handle of his axe as he thought of his next question. "Also... What kind of dangers might we be expecting? I'm sure that whatever it is we can handle it, but I'm just wondering how serious I should take my enemies."

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Nebuchadnezzer's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    "Does it matter, lads?" said the barbarian with a smile and a shout. Ogre von Bartholomer was a tall, ugly mess of a man. He had an unkempt beard, disheveled hair, and a smell that wasn't quite fresh. The breastplate he wore was rusted and well-worn through use. The large axe strapped to his back was of excellent quality.

    "As long as we get foes to slay, I will travel to any land."
    Avatar by Elder Tsofu.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Herman View Post
    Is there still a technical reason for the 50-page limit, or is it just a quaint cultural thing to attract tourists?
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  6. - Top - End - #6
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    Keld Denar's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    Danok

    Ah, my large bloodthirsty friend, but it DOES matter. I'd rather know what I'm facing than face the unknown. Not all of us are fortunate enough to have your strength of arm! I suppose in the end, it doesn't really matter. Shall we be away?

    Danok takes a moment to walk up to each of the party members and all of the horses. He takes a DEEP intake of breath, that of a creature twice his size, before exhaling on each in turn. There, that'll keep you cool in the heat and keep you warm in the cold, as well as protect you from my wrathful flames!

    (Danok invokes Endure Exposure on each party member and mount.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Fax Celestis View Post
    AILHAY THULUCAY! AILHAY THULUCAY! AILHAY THULUCAY!
    _________________________________
    A beholder’s favorite foods include small live mammals, exotic mushrooms and other fungi, gnomes, beef, pork, colorful leafy vegetables, leaves, flower petals, insects, and birds.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    Arthur strokes his well-kept goatee as he surveys the road to the west. "Well, I haven't travelled west beyond here myself but I know that there are farms lined up from here to where you want to go. I'm sure they keep this ol' dusty path relatively bump-free so they can sell their stock easily. As for the son, my contacts told me he was an exceptional combatant and tracker, but clearly he wasn't good enough for employment under me if he got into this mess." The human grins slightly and then looks at Nambert. "Don't worry, you'll be more than compensated for this journey. A couple thousand more gold than you'd expect, I might add. This lady REALLY doesn't want to be the last of her bloodline I suppose." With a shrug of his shoulders he adds, "I honestly don't know much of what you'll be expecting. Helene was too busy rambling about the merits of her son and how she was such a fool for letting him leave and on and on... I couldn't pry much relevant information out of her, and my contacts don't extend this far west to learn much of this Jefer fellow. I do know that he purchased silversheen from a travelling merchant in colorful garbs passing through Tirisgor, but I couldn't find this merchant to question him myself. Whatever the challenges in the way, you five are more than capable of handling it." Arthur nods thankfully to Ogre and continues, "After all, you're working for me, and I never select my adventurers poorly!"

    Arthur anxiously peers off at the horizon. The sky is gradually turning to a lighter shade of blue. "It's time for me to take my leave. I've got another client to deal with in Tirisgor. Make haste for Barovia, fine gentlemen! I'm sure I could raise that compensation of yours if you find Jeref alive!" With that, the human gives a short bow, puts on the hood of his cloak, and begins walking at a brisk pace eastward to the gates of Tirisgor.

    You know that to the west lies Barovia. Flat plains extend long into the unknown, a hint of rocky landscape juts out in the far horizon. Fields of various crops, mainly wheat, surround you. Brown farms dot the sides of the dusty trail in the distance.
    Last edited by Delandel; 2009-08-11 at 12:27 PM.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    You head out westward along the dusty trail. The fair weather makes for easy travel and you make good time towards your destination, perhaps even faster than you anticipated. The sparsely populated countryside offers lodging for the nights and fresh meals in the morning. The days go by rather uneventfully and you pass the time making friendly conversation with each other. By the fourth day you realize the air around you is becoming more cooler, yet more humid. The once distant mountains loom closer to you, not more than a day's journey now.

    It is the evening when you reach a roadside hostel, a sign above its door proclaims it to be The Weary Horse Inn. You decide to stable your horses and enter the inn for food and lodging for the night. You sit down at a large wooden table and order your respective meals.

    With the dying of daylight, a fog creeps across the land, clutching everything in its clammy grasp. Inside the Weary Horse Inn, though, the fire is warm enough, and if the few patrons are sullen and stare at you a little boldly, at least the food and drink are good.

    For an inn's common room, it's quiet. It holds no more than a handful of customers. They keep their voices low, and even the clink of their mugs seems subdued as the fog gathers outside. When the door swings open, every head turns to see who has arrived. This new arrival loudly stamps the mud off his boots in the doorway, then strides confidently over, throwing a letter down on the table in front of you. "The village of Barovia is in need of heroes," he says in a thick accent, "You'll do as well as any." Without another word, he turns to leave.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Nebuchadnezzer's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    "What's this?" Ogre said with a smile. He took the letter, and read it once. After pouring through it, he read it aloud for the others.

    Spoiler
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    What does it say?
    Last edited by Nebuchadnezzer; 2009-08-11 at 02:09 PM.
    Avatar by Elder Tsofu.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Herman View Post
    Is there still a technical reason for the 50-page limit, or is it just a quaint cultural thing to attract tourists?
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  10. - Top - End - #10
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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    Gharer pokes his head out of the inn's door to see where the mysterious figure is headed, but he stays inside to listen to Ogre.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    Gharer watches as the messenger, a human dressed in colorful garbs, begins heading westward to Barovia. He is walking at a normal pace.

    Ogre clears his throat as he begins reading the letter aloud for all to hear:
    Spoiler
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    Hail to thee of might and valor:
    I, a lowly servant of the township of Barovia, send honor to thee. We plead for they so desperately needed assistance within our community.
    The love of my life, Ireena Kolyana, has been afflicted by an evil so deadly that even the good people of our town cannot protect her. She languishes from her wound and I would have her saved from this menace. But I fear the only cure lies within the dreaded walls of the castle, where none may enter without risking their lives.
    This is much wealth in this community. I offer all that might be had to thee and thy fellows if thou shalt but answer my desperate plea.
    Come quickly, for her time is at hand! All that I have shall be thine!

    Kolyan Indirovich,
    Burgomaster of Barovia

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Nebuchadnezzer's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    He cleared his throat. "What do you think, lads?" said the barbarian. "We need information on the boy. Of his whereabouts, and activities. Maybe these people would enlighten us?"
    Last edited by Nebuchadnezzer; 2009-08-11 at 03:18 PM.
    Avatar by Elder Tsofu.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Herman View Post
    Is there still a technical reason for the 50-page limit, or is it just a quaint cultural thing to attract tourists?
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  13. - Top - End - #13
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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    Gharer makes an awkward half-orc's smile.

    "A chance to get information and heal someone all at once? I Like this idea."
    Last edited by Strawman; 2009-08-11 at 03:44 PM.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Keld Denar's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    Danok

    Eh, I'm game. What'dya think happened to her? And which "castle" do you think he's talkin about?
    Quote Originally Posted by Fax Celestis View Post
    AILHAY THULUCAY! AILHAY THULUCAY! AILHAY THULUCAY!
    _________________________________
    A beholder’s favorite foods include small live mammals, exotic mushrooms and other fungi, gnomes, beef, pork, colorful leafy vegetables, leaves, flower petals, insects, and birds.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Pixie in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    Marten waited for the rest of the party to finish deciding what their next course of action would be. He had offered a few morsels of conversation through their travels, but he still felt it difficult to trust them completely and openly. The actual direction they went to achieve their goal was immaterial to him, so long as they were successful.

    Marten made a gesture, a wave of his hand, that said "Whatever you decide is fine with me" and continued to scan the inn for anything interesting. Sadly, nothing piqued his interest.

    For a few moments, Marten considered what kind of effort it would take to rob this inn blind. But, perhaps this was not the place for this, least of all with that Gnome among them. He would have to wait for a better opportunity.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Nebuchadnezzer's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    "At the very least, we should talk with this Indirovich character. You never know, maybe his interests coincide with ours." The barbarian called for more ale.
    Avatar by Elder Tsofu.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Herman View Post
    Is there still a technical reason for the 50-page limit, or is it just a quaint cultural thing to attract tourists?
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  17. - Top - End - #17
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    As you continue discussing the details of the letter you all eventually notice that the quiet environment of the common room has become a dead silence. Many of the patrons are blatantly staring at you, their faces contorted into signs of fear mixed with rage as they speak in hushed whispers in a tongue that you do not recognize. They refuse to speak with you if confronted.

    You eventually head up to your rooms on the second floor of the hostel and retire for the night. When you wake up the next day, have a meal and head out for Barovia, you head to the stables to discover an unpleasant surprise; your horses are missing! You notice that fresh horse prints in the moist ground lead to the Old Slavich Road, the road that, according to your map, goes directly to the village of Barovia. With this in mind you agree to head to Barovia on foot, following the Old Slavich Road.

    Black pools of water stand like dark mirrors about the muddy roadway. A pall of thick, cold mist spreads over the ground. Giant tree trunks stand guard on both sides of the road, their branches clawing at the mists. In every direction the fog grows thicker and the forest seems more oppressive.

    Venturing further you reach the gates of Barovia. Indicated on the map, it seems like the only entrance to the valley, as it is entirely enclosed by rocky mountain cliffsides.

    Gray in the fog, high stone pillars loom up from the impenetrable woods on both sides of the road. Huge iron gates hang from the stonework, dew clinging to their rusting bars. Standing before the pillars are two stone statues of armed guardians with wicked polearms. Their carved heads lie among the weeds at their feet, neatly broken from the stone shoulders.

    As you approach within fifty feet of the gates, Danok hears the gates screech open slowly. You approach cautiously. Your limited vision and the eeriness of the land surrounding you is quite unsettling. When you pass through the gates, they quickly close with a loud clang. Try as you might, you cannot open the gate!

  18. - Top - End - #18
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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    Gharer eyes the gate suspiciously.

    Indulge me for a moment. I wish to discover if this gate remains closed by magical means.

    Gharer casts Detect Magic on the gate, carefully searching it for lingering magic auras.
    Last edited by Strawman; 2009-08-11 at 10:08 PM.

  19. - Top - End - #19
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    Keld Denar's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    Danok

    Geep! Danok squeaks startledly, and gripping his long spear in both hands, prompty vanishes from sight.


    OOC
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    Danok used his Walk Unseen invocation to become Invisible, as the 2nd level spell. He also ALWAYS has up See the Unseen, which gives him 60' Darkvision and See Invisible, as the 2nd level spell. He continues to move forward in his normal place, scanning the gates and walls for any movement.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fax Celestis View Post
    AILHAY THULUCAY! AILHAY THULUCAY! AILHAY THULUCAY!
    _________________________________
    A beholder’s favorite foods include small live mammals, exotic mushrooms and other fungi, gnomes, beef, pork, colorful leafy vegetables, leaves, flower petals, insects, and birds.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Nebuchadnezzer's Avatar

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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    Ogre let out a fierce roar, and struck the gate with all his might.

    Spoiler
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    Attack roll? Probably futile, but it's in character.

    (1d20+12)[20]

    Avatar by Elder Tsofu.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Herman View Post
    Is there still a technical reason for the 50-page limit, or is it just a quaint cultural thing to attract tourists?
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  21. - Top - End - #21
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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    Marten lets out a laugh that doesn't seem inappropriate to him, even if it should have. He makes no move to retrieve one of his weapons, but keeps his head forward as he scans the area. Then he turns around and tries to gauge how high the gates stand, wondering if he could climb over them if needed. Then he dismisses the thought.They didn't have any need to travel backwards just yet, did they?

    Besides, if someone didn't wish to be seen, they would have an easy time doing so. For now, perhaps it was best to simply continue on.

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    At first, Nambert saw the missing horses and thought it was a prank - it was annoying, but not quite out of line with what he would expect from his kin. He attempted to laugh it off, expecting them to show up any moment - when they started walking, however, somewhat forced laughter turned into irritated grumblings about thieves and taking what didn't belong to them. Sure, gnomes might do that as a prank, but you could usually expect to get your things back. No, the real world was nothing like his home land - but then again, that was why he was IN the real world now...

    "Ah, finally, the gates!" Being short, and clad in platemail, Nambert had been sweating in order to keep up with the rest of the group. Seeing the gates, however, gave him renewed vigor, and his miniature legs moved him faster, his face optimistic as the gates opened for them.

    Then he flinched, grimacing for a second as the gates closed behind them. Nambert looked up at the gates that were higher than he could ever hope to reach. He tried to keep his cool - maybe someone had decided to close the gates. Maybe they could be reasoned with. He gently rested his hand on his axe, smiling and laughing a bit.

    "Hahahah... okay, very funny. You got us good, whoever you are. How about you come out so we can talk to you? Congratulate you on this excellent prank?"



    Spoiler
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    Diplomacy check, if there's anybody there to hear it. Probably not, but whatev. Let's see, I'm not too familiar with the dice roller, hope I do this right...

    (1d20+11)[20]

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    "I don't think this is a prank, lad."
    Avatar by Elder Tsofu.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Herman View Post
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  24. - Top - End - #24
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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    "Yeah, guess you're right... if I assume it is a prank, though, it's easier to keep my cool for now." After all that walking, though, it was tough to keep cool for much longer. The small paladin readied his axe blade, looking around to see if anyone would show themselves - if not, then he'd try - with no success, likely - to sunder the iron gate before leaving again.

    So much walking... Nambert was tired of it already.

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    When the gate slams shut Danok lets out a squeek and promptly vanishes from everyone else's sight.

    @Danok
    Spoiler
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    You don't see any movement outside of your party.


    Angered perhaps by a feeling of lack of control, Ogre lets out an impressive roar as he strikes the iron gates with all his might. His battleaxe connects with a loud clang, but doesn't leave much more than a noticeable dent.

    Gharer moves closer to the iron gates, eyeing them suspiciously. After a few quick words and simple hand gestures the half-orc begins searching for lingering magical auras.

    @Gharer
    Spoiler
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    You cast Detect Magic and you concentrating for 3 rounds. You quickly realize there is more than meets the eye here*. You cannot discern whether the gate has lingering magics because in fact the entire area appears to be heavily saturated in strong magical emanations which distorts your search. You're quite certain that the oppressive mist blanketing the entire area is a strong magic, but you cannot discern the school of magic.


    "Hahahah... okay, very funny. You got us good, whoever you are. How about you come out so we can talk to you? Congratulate you on this excellent prank?" The heavily armored gnome asks, trying to take the situation in good humor. But there is no response.

    *OOC:
    Spoiler
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    Sadly no decepticons.
    Last edited by Delandel; 2009-08-12 at 04:11 PM.

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    After gathering your wits, you realize all you can do is continue forward on your path. You continue following the Old Slavich Road as it winds its way northwest deeper into Barovia. The mist only gets denser, obscuring your vision to the point that you can barely see the outline of the forests on either side of the road. The only sounds that break the silence of the walk are your own voices and distant howling of wolves. You remain ever vigilant, weapons ready in this clearly hostile environment.

    After about three hours of walking you think you've reached your destination. Tall shapes loom from the dense fog, and the muddy ground underfoot gives way to slick, wet cobble-stones. A dilapidated wooden sign reads "Welcome to the Village of Barovia." As you grow closer, the shapes reolsve into tenements whose windows are boarded, broken, and lightless. Nothing moves nearby, though the fog limits visibility. Faint sounds, as of something groaning, echo hollowly from somewhere deeper in the settlement.

    You all pick up a faint whiff of odor as you approach. It's repulsive smell, that's for sure.

    OOC:
    Spoiler
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    You believe you've arrived at the village of barovia. It looks like it fell on some hard times. Do you want to go in? They might have candy. Delicious candy.

  27. - Top - End - #27
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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    "Well, lads. I say we gird our collective loins and sally forth. I have no doubt that it will be simply enjoyable."
    Avatar by Elder Tsofu.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Herman View Post
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  28. - Top - End - #28
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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    The groaning sounds and foul odor remind Gharer of one of a cleric's most important duties. Destroying the undead.

    Everyone on your guard. I suspect that evil may have taken this place.

    OOC
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    Gharer LOVES candy.

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    "Oh, by the gods, that smells!" Nambert waved a hand in front of his sensitive gnome nose, making a disgusting face. He had been trying to keep in high spirits - he really had. But stolen horses and a mysterious closing gate was starting to put him on edge.

    The half-orc cleric's comment made the gnome nod in agreement. He readied his greataxe, and cracked his neck. "Our cleric makes a good point," he said, making sure not to refer to his companion by race, as that might sound offensive. Orc blood or not, he was a cleric of Heironeus - and that was as good of a companion as any. "Let's go take care of whatever's bothering this place, eh?" Despite the stench, Nambert grinned and rested his axe against his shoulder, continuing onwards.


    Spoiler
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    candycandycandycandycandycandycandycandycandy
    Last edited by rezplz; 2009-08-12 at 04:57 PM.

  30. - Top - End - #30
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    Default Re: [3.5] Expedition to Castle Ravenloft

    Ogre slapped the gnome in the back, and with a shout he said: "That's the spirit!" The large man laughed.

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    I want candy, bubblegum and taffy. Skip to the sweetshop, with my sweetheart Sandy.
    Last edited by Nebuchadnezzer; 2009-08-12 at 05:01 PM.
    Avatar by Elder Tsofu.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Herman View Post
    Is there still a technical reason for the 50-page limit, or is it just a quaint cultural thing to attract tourists?
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