Uwais pokes his head back into the other room. "All clear," the halfling says. When someone else enters, he points toward the top of the stautue. "It appears that the iris there may be removed... though the inscription makes me wonder if we should," he says cautiously.
Finding neither magic nor mechanical trap, Sister Mara extracts the iris with nary a pop. Revealed is a small hollow containing a ball made of a bronzed metal that is warm to the touch. Looking at it closer, you can see that the ball is criss-crossed with tiny seams.
Sister Mara turns her skill at identifying magic at the bronzed ball- it does indeed contain some faint traces of divination, as well as abjuration magic and transmutation. Its function, however, remains a mystery...
Quick, cast detect plot mcguffin!
Knowledge- Religion DC 20 (looking at the statue):
The strange statue represents the Peacock Spirit- an obscure Thassilonian deity of mind, body and soul, whose worship ended with the empire's fall.
The stone door at the opposite end of the L shape from the statue seems to be barred from the other side.
You return to the cathedral through a side door, deducing that the passage where you found the mound of discarded body parts (and the corpse of Tripe) will open into the Grand Cathedral. The ceiling vaults to a height of sixty feet, unsupported by buttresses or visible columns. Forty feet above you is the wide stone bridge with elaborately carved railings you entered through initially. You find yourselves on a wide ledge, opening in the center to a recessed area with the inlaid spiral symbol of Pharasma in the center.
On the wide ledge stand bronze doors to the west and the door you entered through in the east. Eight larger-than-life statues stand upon the ledge as well, evenly spaced around the room's circumference- seven carved from white stone, and the eighth carved from black stone.
The eight statues, starting from the southwest and going clockwise:
A tall man with gems set in his forehead, wielding a flaming glaive (1, Karzoug- Greed)
A beautiful woman with wild hair, holding a ranseur (2, Alaznist- Wrath)
A voluptuous nude woman wielding a two-headed guisarme (3, Sorshen- Lust)
A short, smiling man holding a longspear (4, Krune- Sloth)
An obese man with rotting flesh, wielding a scythe (5, Zutha- Gluttony)
A handsome, bearded man in extravagant clothes wielding a lucerne hammer (6,Xanderghul- Pride)
An imperious, heavyset woman holding a mirror and a halberd (7, Belmarius- Envy)
The eighth statue in the south-southeast corner is carved from dark stone and is threefold in form, portraying a tall woman with three faces looking in three different directions. One side has a kind face and cradles a baby in its arms, while a second side displays a more stern expression and holds an hourglass. The third face has a crazed look; its hands are empty, but thornless roses twine up both arms. (8, Pharasma)
Uwais and Waya pace slowly around the cathedral, the halfling's face wrinkled in a thoughtful gaze. He pauses an especially long time in front of the Pharasman statue, his brow furrowed. "What an odd cathedral," he asks out loud. "Very unlike the one upstairs. Why do you think Pharasma would allow all these other statues space in her temple?"
Assuming since you gave their names, I can identify them as the ancient Runelords.
"It is the Runelords of ancient Thassilon. Maybe this chapel dates from then. Dispite the sins they embodied, all were prideful. But maybe another reason, also ...
knowledge religion 1d20+8
Yeah, about a year ago you guys made a check and identified them all.
The Thassilonians considered Pharasma a minor goddess in their pantheon, mostly recognizing her as the goddess of death. The Runelords were said to honor themselves and their godlike power alongside true deities- seven power-mad megalomaniacs would be reluctant to honor anyone before themselves.
When Kua touches the hem of Pharasma's robe, an effervescent chill sweeps up his arm and fills him with a sense of confidence and well-being.
For the next ten minutes, Kua gains a +1 morale bonus on attack rolls and saves against fear effects as well as 1d8 + 10 ⇒ (4) + 10 = 14 temporary hit points.
Auron doesn't feel anything out of the ordinary on the statue, though it becomes clearer that everything held in the statue's arms are carved into the sculpture and cannot be removed without the aid of a chisel and hammer.
A bit of old-fashioned pushing gets the secret door open. A five foot wide, forty food long corridor opens before you, with six alcoves spaced evenly along its length. In each alcove is a gaunt corpse, long since gone leathery and decrepit. As you peer in with darkvision or your magical lights, the skin starts sloughing from each corpse, gathering into a mound on the floor. The tumescent mass grows, blubbery and greasy, from the last remaining bits of flesh on the alcove's corpses until it's a man-sized mass of flab with half-formed limbs and a tumorous face. It garbles something unintelligible and starts inching toward you!
"This crypt is a wonder of strange beings," Yang quips, not as disturbed as you might ordinarily expect. He tries to figure out if he knows what the creature is.
knowledge religion 1d20+8
Modifying this to a 20, since it's a Knowledge- The Planes check.
What stands before you is a Lemure Devil, the least of the Damned summoned from the First Layer of Hell. It is formed from a soul of one who revered infernal powers or failed in the proper worship of a true deity. Its flab and Infernal flesh make it resistant to harm from normal weapons, though it may be pierced by silver or blessed weapons. Like many devils, it boasts a number of immunities- fire, mind-affecting spells and poison among them, as well as boasting resistance to cold and acid. This looks to be a particularly hearty specimen.
I'm assuming you stepped into the corridor/tomb thing- which is unfortunately just five feet wide. Kua in front of the marching order as usual?
The Lemure trundles forward, hurling its bulk at Kua with a wet snarl.
Claws: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 71d6 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
But the Duskwarden easily deflects the clumsy swing with the haft of his greataxe.
Kua feels the blade of his axe meet resistance on the lemure's blubbery flesh, but the heavy weapon bites through and leaves a bleeding gash in its shoulder. Yang's force missiles diverge around Kua, zipping past his ears and slam into the devil. It wails- a burbling shriek like a disgruntled baby.
Looks like it hurt it.
Unable to get a clear shot on the creature past Kua, Sister Mara offers a brief prayer to the Dawnflower and touches Kua on the shoulder - granting him a touch of the Goddess' divine guidance. She then steps back to give the Duskwarden room to retreat to draw the creature out of the narrow passageway.
Standard action to cast Guidance on Kua. Move action to back out of passageway.
The creature continues to pursue Kua out into the temple proper, provoking Auron's wrath. His warhammer slams into the blubber beast's shoulder, leaving its arm to flop elastically in its sloughing flesh. Uwais sends a sling bullet into its temple, with little notable effect. Waya growls and keeps her distance from the unnatural thing.
The Lemure vents its rage on Kua once more, swinging surprisingly sharp claws at the Duskwarden.
Claws: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 81d6 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2
But its many wounds throw it off balance, making it seem more pitiful than threatening.