Comic 123 - Search for Lagrand

8th Jun 2018, 10:10 PM in High Roads, Low Roads, Threeroads
Average Rating: 5 (3 votes) Rate this comic
Search for Lagrand
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Author Notes:

Morgenstern 8th Jun 2018, 10:10 PM edit delete
Morgenstern
Ranse and Inzo wander off into the woods, searching for Lagrand.

"H-he... turned himself into a tree. Probably." Ranse looks around, slowly, a little cautiously. "Just... lookforanythingoutofplace. S-smaller trees."

Oddly, there's little sign of Lagrand OR the monking; the chase must have taken them a pretty good distance before Lagrand got a chance to shake the beast.

After a little while of walking, Inzo and Ranse begin to see statues, similar to the ones that were at the abandoned temple. Lagrand had mentioned previously, in his story about the archmage Neid, that there were statues like this all over the woods.

As the two pass by a few of the statues, though, Ranse stops. She turns, something having caught her attention.

"H-Hey." Ranse moves over to one of the statues, and crouches low to the ground... pressing a hand against the dirt. "Th... there's something. Buried here. I-It's... a lot of enchantments. S-something... complex."

"Secret treasures?," Inzo asks curiously. Ranse steps out of the way, and Inzo uses the huge hands of his mech to scoop up dirt. It doesn't take long to reveal...



a coffin, buried at the foot of the statue.



"...Uhhh," Ranse vocalizes, but doesn't say much else. She and Inzo just... stare at it, for a second. Inzo glances at Ranse, but Ranse never takes her eyes off the coffin. With a great deal of hesitance... she reaches into the hole, running her hand across its smooth surface.

"P... preservation," she says. "You wouldn't... needtoeat. Or drink anything. ...For a long time. It also... makes it easier. To stay asleep. ...While you're inside it."

Inzo looks around somewhat nervously before bringing his focus back to Ranse. "Inzo's no expert on coffinses, but... aren't they for DEAD persons? Why would dead persons need a good sleep?!"

"I..." Ranse pauses, swallowing dryly. She stands back up, still staring hard at the coffin. "Idon'tknow. It's... it's well made. Those... enchantmentsarereallyspecific. Someone HAD this made. Someone... s-someone wanted it. Had to be... expensive. A... a bed like this. Would be incredible. Don't know why... a coffin."

"Is..." Inzo hesitates, though the question is really obvious. "Is there a someones inside?"

Ranse breathes in slowly, and out through her mouth. "I can't tell. Th... the magic on this is, really potent. I can't... tell what's inside. W-without... o-opening it."

Ranse and Inzo stare into the hole, silently... fixated on the coffin, as though something will burst out of it the second they stop looking.

Comments:

Lu!dot 8th Jun 2018, 10:40 PM edit delete reply
Lu!dot
hoy, an unofficial NtE discord server exists now.
heres the link: https://discord.gg/E5XEexs
ZincFingers 8th Jun 2018, 11:37 PM edit delete reply
ZincFingers
Noted.
Lu!dot 8th Jun 2018, 10:43 PM edit delete reply
Lu!dot
oh my god its a fucking vampire
ok uh...

maybe we should just remember this location and come back to this later when we're more prepared?
GS 9th Jun 2018, 12:02 AM edit delete reply
A vampire wouldn't need all the magic.
1977 9th Jun 2018, 1:10 AM edit delete reply
Unless it was put by others so the vampire wouldn't wake up.
Maybe it is a real powerful vampire they couldn't contain in any other way.
Sonico 9th Jun 2018, 7:06 AM edit delete reply
Don't know, a vampire might want to preserve THINGS alongside itself with magic for example.

But yeah, this setup does give some serious "slumbering vampire, lich or archmage/eldritch horror" vibes all the way. :D
Caydenite 8th Jun 2018, 10:43 PM edit delete reply
Do Not Open The Coffin.

Can it be removed from the hole without disturbing the lid? Does the magics, err, smell? indicate that who/whatever might be inside would have awareness of being moved?

Maybe we should just cover it and mark it's location so we can find it again. Consult with people (Lagrand, Ranse's dad, some big city knowledge person) before doing anything?
ZincFingers 8th Jun 2018, 11:36 PM edit delete reply
ZincFingers
This is probably the best course of action. We want the whole party present if we are going to mess with something like this.
MakePeaceAndLove 9th Jun 2018, 9:11 AM edit delete reply
+1 to marking this location and returning here later. It's nice that we have a group that can agree not to open strange coffins we dug up by chance XD
Fireopal 9th Jun 2018, 11:20 AM edit delete reply
+1 to not opening the coffin
Antarean 8th Jun 2018, 10:45 PM edit delete reply
This. . . really doesn't seem like something that should be tampered with, especially with only part of the party, and also not right after a battle. Honestly, I'm sorta concerned it's an Arch Mage buried there, living or dead, and it would probably be a bad idea to mess with it.

I'd recommend reburying it, *carefully*, and possibly making a note of the location so we can return with the full party, and even then I don't think we should open the coffin without identifying each and every spell on it. Maybe even try a scrying spell instead to look inside it without opening it.
Guest 9th Jun 2018, 4:00 AM edit delete reply
+1 there. Waking up a being with godlike power seems like it might not be the best idea.
MakePeaceAndLove 9th Jun 2018, 9:12 AM edit delete reply
+1
Jex 8th Jun 2018, 10:50 PM edit delete reply
Yeah I don’t think we should open the human time capsule
Tentechoes 8th Jun 2018, 11:11 PM edit delete reply
0kay let us not open the coffin. Bury it again while not disturbing the coffin that much. Lets leave a mark too, so that we can go back to it again.

Time to bury the thought of the coffin on the back of our heads and find largand!
Gandalf 8th Jun 2018, 11:14 PM edit delete reply
Gandalf
Definitely agree: let's find Lagrand and make sure he's OK before we start making things more complicated than they already are.
Anes Mt Siin 8th Jun 2018, 11:26 PM edit delete reply
Inside is archmage Neid, still alive, and he just happens to look a lot like a certain enchanter we know.
Anes Mt Siin 9th Jun 2018, 12:25 AM edit delete reply
He couldn't preserve his full power in one piece though, so he separated his essence into multiple pieces. That's why Nast and the panty thief(and possibly others that haven't com up yet) are identical. They're reincarnated fragments of the same archmage.
GS 9th Jun 2018, 8:08 AM edit delete reply
What a horrible thought. 0_0
MakePeaceAndLove 9th Jun 2018, 9:14 AM edit delete reply
Even if that scenario seems unlikely, I had a laugh at that one
Fireopal 9th Jun 2018, 11:22 AM edit delete reply
Wouldn't that be interesting? Maybe each fragment of him is of a different school of magic. Scary thought.
GS 9th Jun 2018, 4:35 PM edit delete reply
Even scarier, if all the fragments are convening, we might have to go through Nast struggling not to lose his sense of self and become a hollow shell for Neid to inhabit...
RicardtheDragoon 8th Jun 2018, 11:48 PM edit delete reply
I wonder if the fairies know anything about the coffin, being both old(?) and magical. Besides them, I think Justice and Lagrand are the ones most likely to know something useful about it. Certainly no one should open it without Nast (Je Ne Sais Quoi) or at least a healer of some sort nearby (Justice or Valley). Justice is most likely to be able to converse with whoever or whatever is inside if it is capable of conversation.

If it is a member of the undead, perhaps the skull helm might be helpful. We could hide Justice behind Lagrand (masquerading as a tree or a bush) while Nast wears the helm (but Justice and Nast could be switched).

In any event, leaving the coffin alone for now sounds like a good idea.
Antarean 8th Jun 2018, 11:53 PM edit delete reply
I don't want to sow suspicion towards a party member, but did Ranse ever get over her distrust of Lagrand?

I hope I'm wrong about all this and that this is just extreme paranoia, but Lagrand *is* still 5-7 levels above the rest of the party, and I believe it is something of a trope that the party meets a powerful loner in the woods who helps them out briefly before revealing his true objective and betraying them. And given his knowledge of the forest and of Archmage Neid, he might actually be there to find where Neid is buried, with the goal of either resurrecting him or taking his power for himself. (Assuming of course it *is* Neid in the coffin, but based on what we know it seems to fit.)

Pure speculation of course, and the way the party's been levelling, maybe Level 12 doesn't mean that much. And again, I *really* hope I'm wrong; I like Lagrand and I honestly want to be able to trust him.
GS 9th Jun 2018, 12:01 AM edit delete reply
I know what you mean, but... innocent until proven guilty?
Antarean 9th Jun 2018, 12:05 AM edit delete reply
I know. Pure speculation and what I hope is unfounded paranoia. : /
Green Visitor 9th Jun 2018, 4:50 AM edit delete reply
Well, yeah. I bet at least one of Lagrands levels is really: Lagrand learned that meditation for months to get one level is really boring..

And another level could be: Having a billowy cloak that does nothing but looks cool won't save your ass. (pun intended)
MakePeaceAndLove 9th Jun 2018, 9:22 AM edit delete reply
I don't think any party member we had great sex with could betray us. I know, I'm clearly biased here, but it's a comforting thought.

Only Mel seemed to be up to something, though I'm only 90% convinced she was going to turn us in. She's also the one we turned down. Coincidence? ... Eh, maybe?
Gandalf 9th Jun 2018, 4:09 PM edit delete reply
Gandalf
We turned her down.
Corwin of Amber 8th Jun 2018, 11:57 PM edit delete reply
Dig the hole twice as deep, re bury the coffin upside down , bury it then run away quickly!
GS 8th Jun 2018, 11:59 PM edit delete reply
DO NOT RELEASE AN ARCHMAGE UPON THE WORLD!

Shove this thing into Inventory with a note not to open it, then keep searching for Lagrand.
Fayti 9th Jun 2018, 12:14 AM edit delete reply
Wait didn't Ranse's father say that they needed something OLD?
1977 9th Jun 2018, 1:07 AM edit delete reply
He said a fragment from a gargoyle or alternatively something very old.
Though, he mentioned demons.
It is needed to grant permanence, the coffin is pretty much enchanted with permanence in a way.
So, like others said, put it in the inventory, under materials.
ZincFingers 9th Jun 2018, 2:07 AM edit delete reply
ZincFingers
If the thing in the coffin is so thoroughly preserved, has it even aged? Like, sure it’s been around a for a long while, but has it aged? The oldest thing may well be the coffin itself, and we can’t take a fragment of that without risk of waking up what’s inside...

Although it occurred to me that just, like, rocks. Rocks tend to stick around for a long time, just grab one that isn’t sedimentary and we are good to roll.
Krylo 9th Jun 2018, 12:54 AM edit delete reply
Tie the coffin closed and bring it with.
Gandalf 9th Jun 2018, 3:18 AM edit delete reply
Gandalf
Why would either ropes or being in an inventory be enough to keep the coffin closed, if whatever's inside is as powerful as we fear? Sounds like a really risky move to me.
Krylo 9th Jun 2018, 3:35 AM edit delete reply
It might not, but I don't feel safe leaving it when we might have woken something up already. I'd rather it not escape while we're gone.
Gandalf 9th Jun 2018, 8:12 AM edit delete reply
Gandalf
Better than having it wake up inside our inventory!
GS 9th Jun 2018, 2:11 PM edit delete reply
Isn't our inventory a pocket dimension that only party members can access? That seems pretty secure.
Gandalf 9th Jun 2018, 2:32 PM edit delete reply
Gandalf
Do we know that? We also guessed that the skelecan was undead, and that healing magic would harm it, and look where that got us.
GS 9th Jun 2018, 4:33 PM edit delete reply
Well, Mel almost blindsided us back at the farm and she's all about the money, but she didn't use the opportunity to leech the cash out of our inventory while our backs were turned. ^^;
Portal In Time 9th Jun 2018, 1:00 AM edit delete reply
Portal In Time
Put the coffin in our inventory!


(Or at least try...)
Jex 9th Jun 2018, 10:05 AM edit delete reply
-1
Fireopal 9th Jun 2018, 11:24 AM edit delete reply
Also -1 to putting it in our inventory. Let's leave it here and pretend we never saw it.
GS 9th Jun 2018, 2:12 PM edit delete reply
+1
Benjerbro 9th Jun 2018, 1:19 AM edit delete reply
Yeeeaaah we need to get our ducks in a row before unleashing whatever beast is in there
lil Joshu 9th Jun 2018, 2:04 AM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Calling it now, 3:1 Internet points...

There's an archmage in there.
ZincFingers 9th Jun 2018, 2:09 AM edit delete reply
ZincFingers
My first bet would be that the inside of the coffin holds the interior of a coffin. But I don’t know if we are allowed to gamble on technicalities.
Twelveseal 9th Jun 2018, 2:43 AM edit delete reply
Agreed. Or at least something tied to one, likely Neid. We can toss it in the inventory, but don't open. In fact, if possible, slap a warning on it. The fairies may know what's inside, so checking on them might be a good idea.
MakePeaceAndLove 9th Jun 2018, 9:30 AM edit delete reply
We can take a detour to visit the faeries and ask them about it.

My guess is that there's no archmage Neid inside because that's too simple, instead we'll find some seemingly useful item or material, maybe organic to explain those preservation enchantments, but it later proves connected to Neid and the archmages, maybe a key to his secret chamber? Or a tool for his resurrection?
The Chicken Guy 9th Jun 2018, 3:10 PM edit delete reply
What's the conversion rate between internet points and internet cred?
lil Joshu 9th Jun 2018, 7:45 PM edit delete reply
lil Joshu
Chicken Guy,

I think is 25 internet points to 1 internet cred, but that's only on wednesdays, holidays, and weekends. Mon it's a 5 to 1 relation, while tuesday and thursday are at 10 to 1. Fridays, however, it's a 5 to 8 exchange rate assuming you're wearing a shirt with a picture of Rick Astley on it.
Professor Cupcake 9th Jun 2018, 3:07 AM edit delete reply
Professor Cupcake
Definitely don't want to open that, at all. We can see if there's someone inside later, though, by having Justice attempt to use Status Martyr on them. Of course, we'd have to make sure she takes something that isn't going to wake them, which may be difficult.
Gandalf 9th Jun 2018, 3:20 AM edit delete reply
Gandalf
I like this, as an idea to try out later.
G. Sansa 9th Jun 2018, 6:51 AM edit delete reply
-100. We'd get an awake thing inside a coffin. Bad news.

I think possibly Lagrand has been inside a coffin like this. Didn't Valley say she suspected him of being a vampire? Which he's not but this is close.

Also posible that it's related to the crown(s).

All in all, seems like something potentially Dangerous. We should come back with Nast (or, JNSQ) and ask the fairies about this but now it's time to leave.

Lagrand? He can take care of himself. These woods are his home. And if the monking was gonna catch him frankly it would be over by now.

I still mostly trust Lagrand to have been sincere in helping the party but I think there is some secret there.

So concretely: somehow make sure we can find our way back here (put the goblin knife sticking out of the statue's helmet and then blaze a trail on the trees as we go?) and go to a safe rest.

....

> "And whatever Lagrand's deal is, 'cuz Ranse thinks he's secretly evil or some junk? I'm thinking he's like... good, but a vampire maybe."

....

Thinking using genre-savvy logic: Morgenstern deliberately separated us from Lagrand. That's either temporary or permanent. But whatever is going to happen here is supposed to have Lagrand absent. Thousand-year-old preserved thingies are generally well above level 6 threats so I don't think we're supposed to deal with it now. So my current first guess that this is supposed to make us suspicious of Lagrand, and he's coming back eventually.

Ranse should ask Dad about the crown and also when we see the king Slime next we should have Nast ask nicely if Ranse can identify her crown, without taking it off.
Fireopal 9th Jun 2018, 11:27 AM edit delete reply
Besides which, we can reform our party at any town or resting place. So we head back to town and Lagrand will be there, for sure. Let's get out of these creepy woods. I don't know if Ranse and Inzo can handle themselves if they run into something nasty in these woods.
Gandalf 9th Jun 2018, 2:10 PM edit delete reply
Gandalf
If we're going to risk waking it up at all, then better while it's still confined to the coffin than by (say) releasing it from the coffin. And better to try something that might passively identify it without waking it at all, than to identify it by opening the coffin and thereby almost definitely waking it.

Or we might pass on investigating the coffin further at all. Also a sensible option.

Either way, I like the idea of using the party-swapping mechanic to scoop Lagrand up again without hunting around for him, or at least to establish he's somehow indisposed. Might not do any good, but worth a try.
Iago 9th Jun 2018, 4:29 AM edit delete reply
Don't think it's an actual archmage, but do not open.
Lagrand is still the priority. He also might know something. If not, maybe the fairies, though I'm not convinced.

I'm not against opening it down the line though, just ... Not until we know more and everyone is here.
MakePeaceAndLove 9th Jun 2018, 9:33 AM edit delete reply
+1
Tayla 9th Jun 2018, 5:03 AM edit delete reply
Seriously, DO NOT TOUCH THE COFFIN!
I don't know if putting it in our inventory is even possible (since it's pretty big, and might contain a person or monster) but maybe doing so could activate some weird magic!
Who knows?
GS 9th Jun 2018, 8:11 AM edit delete reply
We can't just leave it here, either.
Now the earth has been disturbed, someone else could dig it up even if we re-bury it.
And the next guy might not have our sense of caution...
Fireopal 9th Jun 2018, 11:28 AM edit delete reply
Then let the next idiot get killed by what's in there.
GS 9th Jun 2018, 1:38 PM edit delete reply
If it is an archmage, it'd be a disaster on a global scale soon enough...
Gandalf 9th Jun 2018, 2:14 PM edit delete reply
Gandalf
If we really think that opening the coffin leads to global catastrophe then we gain nothing by being the ones to do it, and we gain the chance of averting it altogether by reburying the coffin and walking away. For now, anyway.
GS 9th Jun 2018, 4:32 PM edit delete reply
Except that now, we've pretty much set up a big sign in flashing neon letters that reads "SOMETHING'S BURIED HERE, COME AND GET IT!"

We need to deal with this thing somehow. Maybe tie it up in the reinforced vines, just to start.
MakePeaceAndLove 9th Jun 2018, 7:52 PM edit delete reply
But GS, anyone that finds it after us and wants to open it will do so, we can tie it up, bury it again, it still won't be enough. Look how easily we found it.

If you want to make sure the coffin won't open, I say just take it with us. It won't open at random, I think... but what might happen is that, as a key item, it will trigger an event in another location, or near a specific NPC.

At which point I'd rather we have it with us exactly for the trigger, that's what key items are for... and maybe we manage to identify or otherwise check it before that. >.>
Magister Dicks it 9th Jun 2018, 7:01 AM edit delete reply
Do these statues count as gargoyles?
And would it be wise to take one (would it trigger any spell?)
MakePeaceAndLove 9th Jun 2018, 9:37 AM edit delete reply
They might not be gargoyles but they ARE in fact the creation of an ancient artisan. We can try to take a piece of one for Ranse's dad

... and hope that these don't wake up and try to fight us.
Korsha 9th Jun 2018, 7:09 AM edit delete reply
Whether you take it with you or come back later, DO NOT OPEN without Nast. Need his charisma and plot armor for whatever is inside. Might be the nicest, friendliest vampire girl ever, sure. Could also be some evil progenitor looking to swallow souls of whomever woke them early.
Dude With a Shovel 9th Jun 2018, 8:39 AM edit delete reply
Remember the scene where someone said that healing abilities harm the undead?

Remember to have Justice on hand for this.
SwiftSalizar 9th Jun 2018, 9:38 AM edit delete reply
Healing doesn't harm the dead, remember the dead pelican got healed from it's fight with the toads when we tried.
Jex 9th Jun 2018, 10:04 AM edit delete reply
Yeah healing doesn’t hurt undead
Caydenite 9th Jun 2018, 10:10 AM edit delete reply
Pelican wasn't dead, it just had ghoulish taste in accessories.
Gandalf 9th Jun 2018, 2:18 PM edit delete reply
Gandalf
Right: lots of unfounded assumptions meant we almost got creamed by a pelican and three toads. Suggest we do better research rather than jumping to any other conclusions.
GS 9th Jun 2018, 4:30 PM edit delete reply
Hopefully, there will be some useful books in the store in Peace Calling.
If not, we keep looking!
Green Visitor 9th Jun 2018, 9:13 AM edit delete reply
Carefully search the coffin for additional clues. Then, bury the coffin, in case we have to make a quick departure. Remember to listen for Lagrand.

Thirdly, check the immediate area for more clues. A warning, or identification. Closets statue and tree most likely. Trees grow, Inzo may have to give Ranse a hand to get up in the foliage.
uynhygfxgcjv 9th Jun 2018, 11:25 AM edit delete reply
That's an okay thing to do, but whatever happens when you are checking the coffin, do not actually open it.

This is fantasy genre, yes? It would make sense for some random dead boi with a taste for human . . . whatever to come out of that coffin. Not Ranse nor Inzo has plot armor.
Lapdragon 9th Jun 2018, 2:19 PM edit delete reply
While I am totally +1 with everybody else on NEVER opening the coffin, is there any way that we could pry off a loose-ish splinter or two for use in alchemy? The permanence on this thing has gotta be off the charts, and I’m wondering if adding a permanence-based ingredient to the brewing of a disguise potion would increase the duration - being a lady enchanter for more than 24 hours could be useful down the line.

If we don’t want to pry splinters loose from this thing, I’m totally fine with it, and we should instead grab a couple pebbles from the zwei statues (along with maybe a spare zwei for Valley or selling in ThreeRoads).
Green Visitor 9th Jun 2018, 6:22 PM edit delete reply
+1
Mr. Ford 9th Jun 2018, 6:28 PM edit delete reply
+ 1
Necryel 9th Jun 2018, 3:04 PM edit delete reply
Re-bury the coffin, but leave a marking of some kind so we can find it again easily.

Find/rescue Lagrand and return to the coffin. Lagrand can use his Bramble Arms to keep the coffin securely closed and inzo can carry it back to town.

Once in town, we can use rope/chain, whatever to keep th coffin closed more securely and then bring it either to the Justices church or somewhere in Threeroads to have it more professionally examined.
Guest 9th Jun 2018, 3:50 PM edit delete reply
If we're going to move this thing, it will only be after Inzo makes a specially-built wagon and crane with ultra-shock-absorbers on both. Whatever's hypothetically inside is as far as we know just sleeping. Movement could wake it up.

None of that is what we need to do right now. Lagrand, by now, has either escaped the Monking or he's hamburger. I strongly suspect it's the former. Either way, any further searching now is just so we don't hurt his feelings by leaving him. Which could totally be worth it but let's not fool ourselves.

Personally, I think that Lagrand is the "we'll never speak of this again" type. He doesn't want us to come find him because that means admitting he unstylishly fled. He's fine, we should meet him back in town. I'd vote for Tumbletart so we can talk to Ranse's dad, but Peach Balling could be fine too.