[PbP] D&D 5E: The Hound of Cabell Manor (Game's done!)

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  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    Mori follows along behind King, anxious to learn more about the fine art of conversation.

    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
  • nightmarennynightmarenny Registered User regular
    "Something attacking from the wilderness and getting run off... maybe this will be a straightforward monster hunt". Hobs opined finishing "for once" under his breath. Hobs loved his job but it could get a bit complicated now and again and something about this place was making his ears itch. He pressed forward with the group.

    Quire.jpg
  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    Taking his cue from King, Mori attempts to focus squarely on the manor door, blocking out any potential hidden threats or other dangers.

    Geth, roll 1d20+3 for perception

    perception:
    1d20+3 6 [1d20=3]

    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    A few moments after you knock, you hear a man's voice on the other side of the door. "Who's out there?" the man calls. "What do you want?"

  • SteelhawkSteelhawk Registered User regular
    "Greetings good sir!" King replies through the door. "We are representatives of the Guild of Explorers. I beleive you called for our assistance?"

  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    edited April 13
    There's another pause, then the door opens to reveal a young human man brandishing a rapier. He lowers his weapon as he spots your Guild insignia. "Oh thank the gods," he says, breathing a heavy sigh. His dark hair is disheveled and there are bags under his eyes. It's clear he hasn't slept well in some time. "I was beginning to think we might have been too small for the Guild to take notice. Please, come in."

    Denada on
  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    edited April 13
    Mori regards the inelegantly wielded rapier for a moment before speaking.
    "That is a fine rapier it reminds me of one my mother wielded as a young lad."

    Turning his head to King.
    "Was that adequate small talk? Shall we move on to discussing undefined task as requested by the Cabell family?"

    Mori pauses for a moment waiting for a judgement on his newly developed small talk and conversational approach, then follows the young man into the manor.

    see317 on
    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
  • SteelhawkSteelhawk Registered User regular
    King grins at Mori as the warforged moved past him to enter the house. "We'll work on the specifics of genders and baby-making, but that was a decent try. First though, try to make the jibber jabber believable if you want to put someone at ease, yeah? Do warforged even have mothers?"

  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    edited April 13
    No, we do not. I have been informed that it is important to establish a rapport by creating shared frames of reference. Such a rapport being a primary foundation for building a trust that would ease sharing of information.
    Had I made reference to my creation, of first waking in the Creation Forges and being trained as a weapon of war, enslaved to the battlefield and the whims of my masters, and then sold as guardian and caretaker of my family's burial land, it may have been difficult to create such a rapport.
    I feared that such loss may render me even more alien and disturbing than my appearance already does. Instead forming a foundation of fear and mistrust that would render me a hindrance to further information gathering.
    Instead, I created a fictionalized history in an attempt to set this man's mind at ease.

    Mori pauses to consider this for a moment.

    An endeavor I fear may have been rendered moot by vocalizing my previous statements.

    see317 on
    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
  • nightmarennynightmarenny Registered User regular
    edited April 13
    "Little bit" Hob's chuckled. "Somehow it makes the mistakes stick out all the more though"

    Hobs walks into the Manor

    "You be the one we're here to meet? What are we hunting?"

    nightmarenny on
    Quire.jpg
  • NealnealNealneal Registered User regular
    Laen sidles up beside Hob and watches as King and Mori discuss the fine arts of conversation.

  • SteelhawkSteelhawk Registered User regular
    edited April 13
    King turns to the young man who answered the door and gives a slight bow. "Greetings again, sir. My name is Rutherford King. This burly gentleman here is Laen, our pious metallic friend is known as Mori and our blunt furry friend is known as Hobs. We are from the Guild of Explorers, as I said, and we are here to help you."

    King straightens up and gives the man a once over, pointedly lingering on the rapier, and then turns to look at the rest of the house.

    "And who might you be..."
    @Denada - Whats the deal with payment here? Do we as a group know what the going rate is? It is up to us to collect? Or do we get paid on returning to the guild. I figure King, for all his false polish, would really be most interested in the reward first, the job second. But if he already knows that the money comes from somewhere else he wouldn't press the issue.

    Steelhawk on
  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    You get paid by the client when the mission is finished. The Guild contract you have indicates that you will be paid "1000 gold pieces in total for the completion of work of an unspecified but dangerous nature." The reputation of the Guild - a large organization of powerful and well-trained adventuring warriors - has historically been enough to prevent unpaid contracts.

    The man clearly isn't as comfortable with your unusual presence as the town guard was, staring at the four of you in obvious confusion as you banter with each other. When you address him again he regains his composure, sheathes his rapier, and bows slightly. "Athon Cabell," he says. "Please do come in, then we can talk about our troubles."

    Athon leads you through a wood-paneled hallway into a large study. The room is well-lit by a few oil lamps and a large fireplace that dominates one wall. Bookshelves line the other walls. A young blonde woman sits on a couch near the fireplace, holding a sleeping infant in her arms. There is another rapier leaned against the couch near her. She looks every bit as exhausted as Athon does. "This is my wife, Katrin," Athon says, "And Henry, our son."

    There are enough chairs and bench seats in the study for all of you to sit down, and Athon gestures for you to do so. "Berry!" he calls, "Bring some refreshments please. Our guests are here." He takes a seat on the couch next to his wife and child. "Do you ... drink tea? Or ... I don't know. Habits I guess."

  • SteelhawkSteelhawk Registered User regular
    King smiles at Katrin and Henry as he takes a seat. "Whatever you have on hand would suffice, do not trouble yourselves too much. It look as though you've had enough trouble lately. Please, let us know how we can help to make these troubles go away."

  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    Athon clears his throat, then begins his exposition. "It all started a week ago. A tall woman in a dark cloak showed up at our door. She claimed to be a devil that had made a deal with one of my ancestors. She presented us with a contract that she claimed allowed her to take Henry from us. We didn't believe her, of course, and closed the door in her face."

    Katrin picks up the story from there. "The first attack was that night. An enormous hound appeared out of the mists, wreathed in fire and shadow. The gate held it off for a little while, but eventually it tore its way through and started attacking the house. It prowled around, raking its claws here and there, harassing us all the way through dawn."

    "The same thing has happened every night since," Athon continues, nodding to a halfling woman as she brings in a large tray of tea and food. "Thank you Berry," he says, then turns back to the four of you as she begins pouring. "At dusk the monster appears, it claws at our doors and walls all night long, then disappears when the sun comes up."

  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    edited April 13
    Oops, refresh before posting.

    see317 on
    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
  • SteelhawkSteelhawk Registered User regular
    King frowns, his experiences dealing mostly with relieving other humanoids of their wealth and/or their lives either with guile and charm, or intimidation and blades. Devil women and their dogs was a fair bit out of his wheelhouse.

    Remembering the story told to them by the guard back in town, King looks to his companions if they know anything about devil women, before saying, "Interesting. We heard quite the story on our way here. Allegedly, your ancestor Richard struck a deal for fortune and prosperity at the cost of a scion of the family every hundred years? Seems to me like the stories are true. Do you have any evidence of this contract?"

  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    edited April 13
    My knowledge is generally confined to undead of various types. What I know of Devil women and their dogs is limited.
    Geth, roll 1d20+1 for history check regarding devil women and their dogs.

    history check regarding devil women and their dogs:
    1d20+1 21 [1d20=20]

    see317 on
    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    Mori proceeds to launch into a doctorate level thesis regarding the exact nature of devils, historic contracts with them, and detailed information regarding known familiars and agents that may work with devils. Information regarding successfully and safely breaking such contracts is, understandably, limited, given the rarity of such an event.
    Full citations are provided, as well as an offer to send a printed copy to the family upon successful completion of the Guild contract if they wish.

    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
    skymakai
  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    Mori: Whatever the source of this knowledge might be, you do indeed recall a fair bit of information. You know that devils, rightfully considered both evil and powerful, are also lawful. Some scholars speculate that they draw some measure of power from the contracts that they forge with people, though that is still debated. In any case, many devils relish in crafting contracts that seem beneficial to the signer at the time, but always exact some painful cost, often for far longer than the life of the original signer. Breaking a devil's contract is always met with violence. These contracts are always physical documents of some kind, usually signed in blood, and enchanted so that they will not decay over time.


    Athon sighs as you mention the legend. "I've heard many versions of that story, including the one passed down in this family. Although we've never referred to it as a sacrifice. I always heard it as a family member being taken. My grandfather swore that it was true, but my father and I never believed him. We always assumed it was just an old tale, nothing more. As for this contract, I've never seen it. The woman showed us a contract, but we were so angry that we threw it back at her. I suppose there could be a copy somewhere in the house, but I wouldn't know where to look. I just can't believe this is all real." He looks at his wife and son with sadness and fear in his eyes, a look that Katrin shares in equal measure.

  • SteelhawkSteelhawk Registered User regular
    What time of day is it? How long before the next attack?

  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    His lecture on demonology having finished, and discussion moving to other topics, Mori turns to the lord of the manor.
    I am curious about the squat, stone structure near your domicile. It seems oddly incongruous to the rest of your holdings. Is there anything about it that we should know?

    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    It's late afternoon. The sun will set in about two hours.

    "That's our family tomb," Athon answers. "Cabells have been interred there for hundreds of years."

  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    Mori leans forward, interested in his own area of expertise.
    "A family tomb? Should we survive the night, I would very much like to visit it in the morning.

    Without waiting for a reaction from the family, Mori turns to the party to discuss plans for the evening.
    "I would recommend that we attempt avoidance of overtly martial solutions on our first engagement. Demons, particularly ones that have been operating for a length of time, can be powerful combatants.
    Instead, I would advise an attempt to obtain a copy of the contract so that we can investigate the possibility of a contractual amendment or alteration to the terms of the contract that may result in a more agreeable arrangement for the Cabells. It seems unlikely that we'll be able to locate a possible copy of the contract given the size of the manor and the limited time before dusk.
    Not trying to take control of the game, but it seems like this is as good a chance as any for planning our next steps and how we want to move forward.

    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
  • SteelhawkSteelhawk Registered User regular
    edited April 14
    see317 wrote: »
    Mori leans forward, interested in his own area of expertise.
    "A family tomb? Should we survive the night, I would very much like to visit it in the morning.

    Without waiting for a reaction from the family, Mori turns to the party to discuss plans for the evening.
    "I would recommend that we attempt avoidance of overtly martial solutions on our first engagement. Demons, particularly ones that have been operating for a length of time, can be powerful combatants.
    Instead, I would advise an attempt to obtain a copy of the contract so that we can investigate the possibility of a contractual amendment or alteration to the terms of the contract that may result in a more agreeable arrangement for the Cabells. It seems unlikely that we'll be able to locate a possible copy of the contract given the size of the manor and the limited time before dusk.
    Not trying to take control of the game, but it seems like this is as good a chance as any for planning our next steps and how we want to move forward.
    For sure. Lets hash this out.

    Who's a good investigator? King is at +4, but my perception is only +1. If someone is better than King then maybe a quick once over through the house with assistance? Then, I think we need to defend the house tonight and kill the dog, if we can. Ranged guys up on a window on the second floor? Melee types downstairs?

    I'll eat my fantasy hat if we don't end up in the crypt at some point. I'd guess the contract is buried with old Richard. :)

    King nods in agreement. "We need to know what we are up against. We need to batten down the hatches and prepare for whatever is coming tonight. Lets see what his devil hound actually is and whether or not we can handle it. We also need to search for the Cabell's copy of the contract. Chances are, we'll be heading into that crypt soon enough too."

    Steelhawk on
  • nightmarennynightmarenny Registered User regular
    Hobs isn't much of an investigator but he has good insight if needed

    "Is the contract necessary? If we kill the devil there's nobody to enforce the contract, yes?"

    Hobs frowns while moving his head back and forth in consideration of Kings comments.

    "Perhaps we decide once we've seen what this devil can do, yeah."

    Hobs turns to Athon.

    "Does this creature truly disappear? Or merely retreat? If the Devil is hiding on somewhere on this plane perhaps we can track it to its lair and face it on our terms."

    Quire.jpg
  • NealnealNealneal Registered User regular
    Devils and contracts are beyond his experience, so Laen quietly listens.

    After a few minutes his patience is stretched too far and he moves towards the front door. There in the foyer, he unsheathes his silvered greatsword and begins to polish and sharpen the blade for the battles to come.

  • SteelhawkSteelhawk Registered User regular
    edited April 14
    "But is this devil-woman the contract holder, or just an agent?" King replies to Hobs. "Mori's dissertation makes me think that's an important consideration. But yes, we definitely need more information before we go charging off to kill it.

    Once the planning discussions with the rest of the party are at an end as to tonight's plan King would like to take what time he can with Athon and anyone else who'd like to help (and give advantage!) and give the house a good searching to see if the contract is somewhere in the house.

    geth, roll 2d20k1+4 for Investigation with Advantage

    Investigation with Advantage:
    2d20k1+4 20 [2d20k1=[16], 7]

    Steelhawk on
  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    Mori responds to Hobs
    "Defeating a devil here does not actually destroy it though. It merely forces the devil to return to it's home plane. While it may take some time for the devil to return, it will do so eventually. If The Cabell line is still extant, they may be troubled once again, possibly under harsher terms depending on the wording in the contract.
    I'm seeing two possibilities from the damage the manor has incurred. The first, the devil is a minor one and this damage is the extent of it's capabilities here and it will be of minimal threat to us. The second, the devil is more powerful, but showing restraint in favor of receiving payment as per the terms of the contract, in which case we may be much better served by determining what the exact terms of the contract are.
    In either case, we lose only time by attempting to gain information from it when it attacks.

    I had not considered the possibility that the devil the
    Cabells have faced may be an agent of the actual contract holder. If such is the case, again, we'd be well served by learning the exact terms of the contract.

    I'd recommend in the short term we divide into two teams. One team to search
    the manor to see if we can locate the copy of the contract, the other to shore up the first floor defenses as much as time allows.
    If nobody else wishes to join
    King in his search, I will do so

    Athon, if you where going to hide an infernal contract in your manor, where would you do so?
    I'd like to consider the behavior of the Cabells and their attendant during our conversation, to see if they have been forthcoming with information.
    Geth, roll 1d20+5 insight for Cabell honesty.

    Cabell honesty:
    1d20+5 24 [1d20=19]

    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    Alright a lot (of good stuff!) to catch up on, let me try to organize and move things along a bit...

    Katrin and Athon listen intently as the four of you form a plan. They chime in here and there, offering information when they can. Athon recalls that the mysterious woman referred to it as her contract, and said that Henry belonged to her. Katrin offers that, while she is passable at best with a rapier, she's quite good with a crossbow and can take up a position on the second floor to assist with fighting the hound, if it comes to that. Athon is the better fencer, but he won't leave his son's side tonight. They don't know where the contract would be hidden, but Katrin is happy to show you around the house and help you investigate while Athon takes care of Henry. They both confirm that the hound disappears at dawn. They've seen burned paw prints around the house, but no trail that indicates it retreats anywhere.

    Mori: The Cabells seem genuine. Their fear is real, and they are honestly trying to help. Berry is harder to read. You can tell she was listening intently as the four of you discussed the situation with the Cabells, though she was trying to seem like she wasn't.

    King: Katrin leads you through the house, which is fairly mundane. Very large and richly appointed, but mundane. The thing that catches your eye is a hall lined with portraits, and one portrait in particular. Depicted in the ornately-framed painting is a rather unpleasant-looking man standing in front of the manor with a very smug look on his face. Katrin confirms to you that this painting is of Richard Cabell, who originally built the manor. Your sharp eyes notice that the inscription on the frame indicates the portrait was painted exactly 400 years ago.

    At this point you have one hour until sunset. Katrin is still with King (and anyone else that joined the investigation) in the portrait hall on the first floor of the manor. Berry is in the kitchen doing various house chores, and Athon is upstairs in a small bedroom, attending to Henry.

  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    edited April 14
    Denada - Do I know enough about minor nobility and their households to know if Berry skulking around eavesdropping is out of the ordinary, or if it's just normal housekeeper curiosity?
    I am with King, my int isn't high enough to help with an investigation, but hopefully my Wisdom or Insight can spot something out of the ordinary. Meanwhile, those of us who didn't dump stat Strength can probably spend their time shoring up the barricades with their muscles.

    To the party - Tactic wise, I don't think we have any dedicated ranged attackers. Looking at the character sheets, I'm the closest we've got with a couple of ranged spells. I'm happy to stay on the second floor and zap things, but most of my heals are touch range. Just something to consider.

    Hobs, you may want to equip your gear in D&D Beyond, it's not showing up when I look at your character sheet.

    see317 on
    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    I don't think Mori would have a lot of experience with nobility or wealthy households in general. Perhaps Berry was just being a nosy servant, or perhaps there's something more there. It's hard to say. Katrin does mention that they used to have more servants, but everyone except Berry left shortly after the attacks started.

  • SteelhawkSteelhawk Registered User regular
    edited April 14
    "400 years ago!" King says, sounding impressed and inspecting the portrait. "Your family, madam, has had quite the longevity. Are you sure no other family members have been snatched away in previous generations?"

    King keeps a sharp eye out for Katrin's reaction while further inspecting the portrait. Even going so far as to take it off the wall to check the back.

    Geth, roll 1d20+4 for Investigation of the portrait
    Geth, roll 1d20-1 for Insight on Katrin
    If King can get his hands on a bow or some daggers, I suppose I can do some ranged stuff...but that's not exactly his style.

    Investigation of the portrait:
    1d20+4 9 [1d20=5]
    Insight:
    1d20-1 9 [1d20=10]

    Steelhawk on
  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    King: "Certainly not every Cabell has stayed in the manor, many went abroad and just never came ba-" Katrin is startled when you lift the painting from the wall, and is even more startled when you find an envelope attached to the back of it. Inside the envelope is a piece of fine paper, on which is written:
    This contract sets out the terms of a deal made between Richard Cabell, acting in his role as head of the Cabell family, and the Devil known on the material plane as Yeth.

    Yeth shall ensure that the residence commonly known as Cabell Manor, located three and a half miles north of Beechburton, remains in possession of the Cabell family, which is defined as a family unit containing the legal heir of Richard Cabell, for as long as it exists.

    Yeth shall ensure that the Cabell Family does not lose possession of the house due to financial or legal hardships. These include it being rendered as an unsuitable dwelling due to lack of maintenance or repairs.

    While this contract remains in place, any attempt by the Cabell Family to sell or otherwise move out of the Cabell Manor shall be considered a breach of contract.

    In return for this service, while Cabell Manor exists as a recognizable dwelling, Yeth is entitled to transport one member of the Cabell Family, as defined above, into the Nine Hells on the date shown on this contract and at an interval of every 100 years from that date. Yeth is considered to be the legal owner of her chosen family member from the moment it is transported into the Nine Hells.

    Any breach of this contract shall result in the breaching party having their immortal soul(s) confiscated by Asmodeus, Lord of the Nine Hells.

    The contract is signed by both Richard Cabell and Yeth in what appears to be blood.

    "By the gods," Katrin gasps when she sees what you found. "I never thought it was real! All this time..."

    She looks at you with renewed fear and desperation. "What do we do?"

  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    edited April 14
    Mori takes the piece of parchment, and carefully scans the text. It seems straight forward, but a second and a third read would be warranted, considering the plight of the family.
    I would like to make a roll to see if Mori can spot some potential loopholes in the contract as written.
    What would I roll for that?
    Or, if you want to make the roll after applying the proper modifiers to save some time...
    Not sure what "Fantasy Contract Law" would fall under.

    see317 on
    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    History I guess? That's the closest thing I suppose.

  • SteelhawkSteelhawk Registered User regular
    Can King suggest a loophole without a roll?

    Burn the house down. :)

    see317nightmarenny
  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    Geth, roll 1d20+1 for Infernal Contract reading

    Infernal Contract reading:
    1d20+1 19 [1d20=18]

    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
  • DenadaDenada Registered User regular
    King can make that suggestion, and given Mori's thorough examination of the contract, you believe it would work. The contract centers around Cabell Manor. If there's no Cabell Manor, there's no contract.

    The other key part of the contract is the Cabell family. If there are no Cabell heirs, then the contract would similarly be voided. Note that just changing their last name wouldn't be enough. The family line needs to be broken in some more substantial way.
    If any of you see any other potential loopholes, feel free to point them out. You can also discuss them in character with or without the Cabells if you'd like.

  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    edited April 15
    Mori reads through the contract once more, then after a brief pause points to a line item in the contract and reads it out loud. His voice takes on a different tone than normal, deeper, more suited to giving last rights or presiding over a funeral than ordinary conversation.
    Yeth is entitled to transport one member of the Cabell Family, as defined above, into the Nine Hells on the date shown on this contract and at an interval of every 100 years from that date.
    By my reading of this section, the right to transport one member of the Cabell Family is limited to one night every one hundred years. If we deny Yeth access to the Cabell scion past the night in question, Yeth will not be able to lay claim after that date, and any attempts to do so would forfeit Yeth's soul to Azmodeus immediately.
    Presumably, the prior visitations are not claiming the Scion, but merely informing The Cabell Family of their obligation. Future visitations until that deadline may see increased pressure to forfeit the Scion to Yeth, however once that deadline has passed the terms of the contract would protect the Cabells for another century. At that time however, Yeth will return for your great grand child. And at that time, Yeth will come with a vengeance for it's due.

    The other section that comes to my attention: and then switches back to his funerary voice
    ...while Cabell Manor exists as a recognizable dwelling, Yeth is entitled to transport...
    As King graciously pointed out, rendering the Cabell Manor non-recognizable as a dwelling would render the contract null and void. A band of noble adventurers seeking to destroy the demonically tainted family and reducing their house and holdings to ash is not necessarily an impossible event given the rumors that have surrounded the family for centuries.

    Clearly, the second option is an extreme measure, and any attempt by the Cabell's to resettle nearby would likely be problematic given the facts of the case that would be presented as evidence of the necessity of such destruction. I'd advise they lay claim to a number of small, valuable items to resell to start new lives in a distant land where the Cabell name and identity are not known, perhaps they could claim to have been servants of the household should any of the treasures be recognized. This would be a difficult life, one who's wealth and well being is not demonically assured. But it would protect all future generations of the Cabell family.

    see317 on
    Ringo wrote: »
    Well except what see317 said. That guy's always wrong.
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