She stands up when Maldorn returns. "Birdfolk? I've heard stories, but I haven't met one. I guess we could be cautious, maybe Erric is right. We've all got short range bows except Master Whitehare, maybe he stays back to cover us? I still think we should try the front, first, but if you all think we should reconnoiter the back..."
At the mention of birdfolk, Anafrey (who has been looking quite distracted) stirs into action. She pulls her shortbow from its holster and strings it and nocks an arrow. Without saying a word she starts walking deliberately, keeping an eye out for potential traps and dangers, but heading directly for the front door. She keeps an arrow nocked, ready to draw and let fly if needs be. She doesn't appear to try to sneak at all.
"Uh, miss 'frey? Miss Iceriver? Anafrey!" Jambiya will start to follow her. "Where are you... um," she turns and looks at the others, shrugs her shoulders, and follows Anafrey down the hill into the clearing.
"Anafrey please stow the bow and give us options!" Erric says, running ahead of her and stopping directly in her path. "Or tell us what you're doing so we can help you! I love improv, and I'm happy to 'Yes and' this endeavor from here to the moon, but you have to give us something or we're going to get killed and not even know why."
DM: Can I cast minor illusion around a moving person and have it move along with it? As in, could I cast it on Anafrey, to have a chair float chest-height between the house and her to make it seem like she's carrying a chair, and not a strung bow? Or at least have the chair obscure what she is actually holding?
Jambiya and Erric's speaking to her seem to give Anafrey pause. She shakes her head abruptly. "Huh... I was just going to go and give the door a knock, but uh... just wanted to be prepared. I'm not familiar with bird-folk and I don't want to be caught unawares."
Maldorn agrees to provide cover fire from afar: “The three of you should approach the house as you see fit. I’ll stay back, about 200 paces away from the door, ready to shoot arrows if anything goes badly. I’ll be by that rock”
Maldorn points and leaves once again. He plants three arrows on the ground for quick access in case it is necessary, and softly holds a forth in his right hand, semi-nooked, just in case.
"I guess there's not much turning back now. If they haven't spotted us it's likely because they don't care to. It'll all be well. Just put the bow up, like Erric is suggesting, and I'll knock, the two of you can stay back off the porch if you like, though, maybe one of you can come with me..."
Erric, still not breaking eye contact with the woman, turns slightly to Jambiya and says out of the corner of his mouth: "...do people normally knock on doors with the point of an arrow?"
"I agree, we've passed the point of being able to sneak as a group -- we'll leave that to Maldorn. Mistress Jambiya, I will follow your lead as you joyfully pay a visit to your dad's old pal Lordy McLordson, and just keep our eyes open."
(Erric accompanies them to the front door, percepting as best he can and ready for anything.)
Anafrey puts the arrow back in her quiver and unstrings her bow, tucking it back in its place. Anafrey looks a bit nervous, but stays back a bit while the two little ones approach the door. She has one hand on her hip and the other reaches into her tunic. She takes a nip from her flask.
About 200 feet from the house, Erric and Jambiya stop Anafrey. Maldorn heads into the woods, settling 150 feet from the house within the thinning trees with a pretty good view of the front yard.
As the other three again approach the house, what Erric's eyes alerted him to from afar becomes more apparent: the house is a burnt out ruin. Much of the roof and upper floor has collapsed, but it appears that the walls of the ground floor are largely intact.
About 100 feet from the front door, the plaintive cry of a feline comes from a thicket five feet off the path to the south.
As we get closer, any sign of habitation at all? Erric casts minor illusion 60 feet closer to Maldorn of two things: a miniature static image of a burnt house with still flames burning the upper floors, and right next to it an image of the house as Erric sees it now, still and quiet.
He catches both walking companions' eyes and motions for quiet, and peers into the vegetation looking for a cat 5 feet away from the path. (Perception 16)
OOC: Thanks! I meant something that would be static (the chair wouldn't be moving like a fountain - it would be a fixed, static image of a chair that would simply move along the ground, fixed on a person who was moving). Guessing the answer is still no, but wanted to clarify my question!
"Ha! Even this is a little spectacle for the little bard" Maldorn mumbles under his breath in the distance. "Message received," he says as if Erric was right next to him. The old scout then fully nocks the arrow he was half-handling up until this point and aims at a point 10 feet ahead of Erric. As the halfling moves, so does Maldorn's protective aim.
-> Here is a stealth roll in case it is needed (I was't sure): 4.
-> Natural Explorer also allows me to "stay alert to danger" while in the forest. I am not sure if you'd like to use passive perception for that, but here is a fresh perception roll just in case: 13.
As they approach the building, and it becomes clear something is wrong, Jambiya walks slower and slower. "What happened here?" She starts to hurry up, maybe to see if anyone needs help, when her progress is arrested by the meowing. (At least, that's what she thinks of it as.) She turns to go investigate, but at Erric's hand signals, she stops, waiting for him (or Anafrey) to do something about the cat in the bush. She puts a hand on her witchy stick, and crouches, ready.
OOC > She is Readying to cast Eldritch Blast, though she doesn't think of it as that, yet
About to raise the flask to her lips, Anafrey stops, mouth half open when the meowing sound reaches her ears. She hastily puts the top back on her flask and shoves it into her belt pouch. Her hand goes to the hilt of her short sword and Erric sees a shadow growing beneath him as she leans over him to get a look at whatever is in the bushes.
OOC: My take on rolling for a check versus passive: Passive is when you're not actively perceiving or investigation or intuiting. It just happens naturally. If you're actively looking, investigation or trying to read a person, you roll for it. The reason an active check can be lower than your passive (if you roll lower than your passive, that's the number I use) is because you sometimes don't do things as well when you're thinking about it. For instance, you might be a better driver when your subconscious is in control. Also, if you're actively looking for something, a low roll can always be explained as you got a lash in your eye or a bug landed on you and distracted you. If the group has time, though, I'm not against a player rolling again for the same check. If you think that it might be that kind of instance, ask me. An instance that might make sense is if you're having dinner with someone, your insight at the beginning of the meal might be completely different than at the end.
Erric peers into the thicket, squinting his eyes against the darkness within. Suddenly, a shortsword is jabbed out from within at the halfling.
The point of the shortsword flies out of the thicket aimed straight at Erric's face. (shortsword attack: 14; damage: 4 piercing damage) Erric reacts by bringing his arm up in an arch in front of his head, knocking the blade to the side at the last minute, but avoiding any harm.
At almost the same instant, two arrows come flying out of a thicket 50 feet away — both aimed at the largest target of the three: Anafrey. (shortbow attack 1: 9; damage: 6 piercing damage — shortbow attack 2: 24; damage: 8 piercing damage) The huntress is distracted by the surprising attack against Erric and fails to notice the two soaring projectiles. One lands at her feet, but the second catches the side of her neck, leaving a red gash which stings like crazy!
Maldorn sees a commotion near the path, not understanding why the group has stopped and why Erric and Anafrey are peering into the bushes. When he sees the glint of sun on steel and his two companions jump back, he is very alarmed. Then, he sees the arrows land and he immediately attempts to determine from whence they came. His best guess is a bigger bunch of foliage about 50 feet from the path and 40 feet in front of him. He can see some slight movement, but the foliage is thick and it's hard to tell who or what is in there.
Jambiya, Anafrey and Erric were too distracted by the attack from the bush that they really have no idea where the arrows came from.
OOC2: Please keep your character sheet up to date. Record changes in hp and update your equipment. And definitely record used spell slots, etc. I'll be keeping track myself, and if you attempt to use a spell when you don't have a slot left, I'm going to be disappointed. You need to be responsible. I will not be posting hp levels on any characters. If you're a healer (or have a potion you'd like to use one someone), you have access to other characters' hp levels by accessing their character sheet. I do also ask that you only equip the equipment you're currently using. If you're walking with no weapons in hand, please unequip all your weapons. When you draw your sword, equip your sword. I'm funny that way. As for recovering arrows, the book says you can recover half the arrows you use. That's fine, but you need to post that you're recovering arrows. If you forget, those recoverable arrows are lost. Also, if you're shooing 150 feet away and never head that way to recover them, you're obviously not just going to post "I recover arrows." It has to make sense.
Round 2: Jambiya, Maldorn (unknown by foes), Anafrey, foe1 (1/4 cover), foe2 (3/4 cover from Maldorn; unknown by others), foe3 (3/4 cover from Maldorn; unknown by others), Erric
OOC: Whoa! Definitely thought that this was a clearing/glade that was too open and clear to hide anyone well.
Is the thicket from where the arrows originated between us on the path and Maldorn? If so, is that behind us or in front of us?
Also did Erric see anything OTHER than a shortsword when he knocked the blade aside? A hand of some kind holding it? Can we actually tell there are three foes, or is that behind-the-screen accounting the characters don't know yet?
"As Maldorn scouts ahead and a little south, he happens upon tracks." "Maldorn heads into the woods, settling 150 feet from the house within the thinning trees." I would assume he went south again. "About 100 feet from the front door, the plaintive cry of a feline comes from a thicket five feet off the path to the south." "His best guess is a bigger bunch of foliage about 50 feet from the path and 40 feet in front of him."
Erric's face was pretty close to the bush, so the blade didn't come out that far for the attack. As far as number of foes, you know there is someone/something in the bush and two arrows landed. The "behind-the-screen accounting" is kind of metagaming, but hopefully not a fun-squelcher.
Thanks for putting those together! Him going south was confusing because we didn't know which direction the path took us, nor how far into the woods he got from the path.
But I'm going to take it that we've got the path, then the cat thicket 5 feet off it, to the south (assuming the house is east or west), then farther off into the sparse trees is where Erric did the minor illusion of the house for Maldorn, then a bit farther away is where he thinks Maldorn is. Something like this, with the house toward the top?
I I I I I I house Maldorn? I I cat illusion I I thicket I I
And yes, Erric wouldn't know lots of this, including that the arrows came from beyond the cat thicket. etc!