Outwardly showing the calm professional look that she had perfected, but inwardly fuming at the sight of a device even more monstrous than she had imagined, Perspicacious addresses the professor and his assistant. "Cordelia. Gordra. Let's drop the pretense. You know why I'm here." She lifts her hand to indicate the contraption in the middle of the room. "This... this thing is why I'm here. This thing shouldn't be here!"The tiefling walks around Jean, using the guard as a buffer to wind her way into the middle of the room, skirting Cordelia. "I admit I was mad when I found out, but... I ran into an old friend on the way down, and he reminded me of some things. So now..." At this point, Perspicacious has gotten closer to Gordra, and pausing, she looks directly into his eyes to ensure she has his attention. "Now, I just want to talk."
Perspicacious approaches the Novascope, which begins to emit a deep thrumming susurrus. The mark of the Tower, the indelible sigil that identifies a member of the Intervexus Academy, suddenly blazes on the back of the right hand of every person in the room.
Everyone, please make a WIS saving throw.
Gordra and Amaruve, as you are closest to the Novascope, you both have disadvantage.
Cordelia, the device in your hand begins to emit a piping alert, the symbols flashing above it urgent and bright. You have advantage on this roll.
Smelling a threat, Amaruve is ready to run. Then without warning, the contraption behind him sets his senses ablaze. A predator, no- a wildfire- NO, a wave of danger, mountains high, rises at his back and he is nearly overwhelmed by fear. He sees now in the span of a quickened breath his only hope. There is one point of egress: the tiefling woman brought this danger to him, she awakened this threat, and ending her life will send it scurrying away.
For a moment, the sane piece of Amaruve's mind left to him gibbers about the truce of the tower and the unbroken law, but then...
Amaruve- you are forced into Wild Shape. Go ahead and tell the people at home what you become.
A deep, unintelligble whispering fills the room. Gordra and Perspicacious look in alarm at the Novascope, but they are unaffected by the sound. Amaruve hunches over the moment it begins, hands clutching at his head as he is overcome by rage and fear. Cordelia focuses her attention on the information pouring out of her device, the whispering itself almost unnoticed by her.
Jean hears the whisper in the way a drowning man tastes the ocean. She hears it almost as though it were pouring out of her own head. And teeth. And bones. And what she hears confuses and frightens her.
"It wasn't our fault!It wasn't our fau- was no time. Everything gone in an inst- elia, where are you?!Where are we-wasnotimetherewasnotimetherewasno- Murderers! Thieves!"
And on and on, the cries of countless voices overcomes her. Standing directly in front of Perspicacious is the professor. Gordra is the enemy. He has flouted tower law, and for that, the punishment is exile or death. Jean, you must subdue him now before he can do more harm.
Jean takes 4 damage and you have advantage on attack rolls for 1 minute.
Gordra stares down at the sigil glowing on the back of his hand and then back to the Novascope. He is unaware of anyone in the room now, only the work matters. He moves with experienced gestures towards the displays and controls, attempting to determine what was happening. "Ms. Luna, details please." she would know from her history with the professor that he was looking for any pertinent information about what was happening that she could get from her device.
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DM: Tomb of Horrors x 2 | Curse of Strahd | Out of the Abyss | Gambler's Quest | Waterdeep: Dragon Heist Player: Undead Nightmare | Blood Scales | Halfling Lands | The Next Leap | Hidden Heroes
Cordelia, your device informs you that the Novascope has identified a new world. However, it wasn't- and still isn't- actively searching for anything. Furthermore, the metrics used to determine the qualities and location of a found world are shifting wildly. You can roll for either investigation or arcana to learn more, however, it doesn't take a perception check to notice that Amaruve is suffering and Jean has taken on a murderous look.
Just to recap: It appears that the professor is, for once, entirely focused on a problem. Amaruve is in the midst of... something. Perspicacious and Cordelia are unaffected by whatever that was. And Jean is overcome by a need to subdue the professor immediately.
Jean's green eyes almost seemed to burn. Danger. Here. So many could be harmed or killed if she did not act. For a moment, memories flashed through her mind:
Running as fast as her long legs could carry her after a Zhentarim agent who's dagger was still wet with a child's blood, burning her still scarred palms pushing a burning roof beam off a trapped shopkeeper, slipping an urchin girl a few silver pieces so that she could buy a meal.
I have to act.
This place is still so strange to me, I'm no mage to comprehend everything I see here, but there are people who live here, people who need protecting and whatever Gordra's doing it's going to hurt everyone here.
Jean's eyes narrowed with determination and suddenly she burst into a sprint, straight at the professor and attempted to tackle him to the ground.
Cordelia peeks at her device, trying to assess what, exactly, it is displaying. A new world?
Almost like time had slowed down, Cordelia sees the muscles in the woman that came with Perspicacious start to flex and shift. She's about to run. Based on how the woman leaned forward toward the professor and the look on her face, Cordelia could read that this woman meant to do something to the professor. She looked like a cat ready to pounce onto a mouse!
Time continued as Cordelia made to intercept the professor's would be grappler.
Cordelia, you have just enough time to glimpse something important on your device. It distracts you for half a moment, but you aren't able to process it before your reflexes kick in and you leap to (attempt to) block Jean.
Amaruve Roars a fierce inhuman howl as his features grow more bestial. His teeth are longer and sharper than a man's and his ears are longer as well. His beard covers more of his face than it once did. But the form is familiar, as he's been able to shift for all of his adult life.
But this is different. He's put on some weight. His nails have grown long and sharp. His hair is thick and even. Standing upright he's a bit off balance. His gait, a bit unnatural. But he's stronger and more fit. His nose is a bit longer and more sensitive and his teeth... aren't what they once were.
The ability to Wild Shape is not completely foreign to Amaruve, he's encountered many druids when they meet up. But they all seem to be more in control of the ability. Amaruve did not intend for this to happen and expected to train more before he would be able to take on the ability. There's nothing to do about it now. He is a Black Bear and no one in this room can stop his escape
We'll see after Rivina's roll whether Jean manages to push past Cordelia (the odds are decent that she does). Given that everyone in the room is now either the target or the instigator of an attack, I'd say it's time for you all to Roll Initiative! For the sake of pacing, I'd like you all to state your intended action in the same post as your initiative roll. If that includes an attack (or for Jean/Cordelia, maybe a strength contest roll against your respective targets), go ahead and include that, as well.
Perspicacious, your guard just leapt toward Gordra. More importantly, an enormous black bear now towers before you, roaring fiercely. What the hell do you do?
Gordra, I hate to say it, but given the focus you are devoting to the device I think this is a surprise round in Jean's favor. You can go ahead and roll initiative, but if Jean gets past Cordelia she's getting a free hit on you.