Felliped gives a look of alarm at Dashki's analysis of his friends situation. " oh I do hope my escape has not brought more harm to them! " Feliped nods to Garavel " That sounds like a good plan but I would hate to leave Ali and Theodric in the Gnolls power for any amount of time. I don't know what they planned to do with us, they are both solid and dependable companions. Do you think it would be possible to draw some of the Gnolls out of Kelmarane with some sort of mock battle while a smaller force snuck into the prison and rescued Ali and Theodric? I could help, I know a way into Kelmarane that the Gnolls don't use. "
"A most noble plan, Sahib, but I fear we do not have the strength of arms to execute it. All told, we have but twelve fighting men among us -- thirteen if you join as well. Of those, four are not... entirely... under our command. The liveried guards are here at the behest of the Pactmasters, and their orders are to guard the Ameera Roveshki, not," he raises his hands apologetically, "to rescue foreign prisoners. Aside from them, there are six mercenaries, Valik here chief among them, Dashki, and myself. It sounds as though the gnolls have two or three times our number. They could field a force large enough to defeat our diversionary group, while still keeping sufficient reserves to defend the Battle Market. Do you concur, Dashki?"
Dashki screws up his face in an ugly grimace and tugs at his lank hair for a few moments before answering. "Aye, that's truth. Drawin' the Kulldis into battle won't get us anythin' but dead. But..." His eyes flicker between the other people, as though he is trying to decide whether to continue, "If they think yon pretty boy is still around, they're like to put on a show for him. Execute his fellows public-like, where he can see it, from the hills or the river, wherever he's hiding. If you was close, just a small group... Might stop it happenin'. Or," he looks darkly at Felliped for a moment before looking down again and continuing, "At least get close enough to put 'em out of their misery with an arrow. Gnolls ain't clean or quick about executions." He bares his teeth in a fierce grin.
|ML: Almah Roveshki|
Looking despondent Felliped says " Well perhaps the best course is to keep the Gnolls occupied with these 'Viking' raids. Maybe they will be to busy to torture or execute Theodric and Ali. I would still like to help, after all it's in the Pathfinders interest to have Kelmarane clear so my mission can be completed. And there's still a chance, however slim " He glares at Dashki. " that my friends will survive until we have whittled down the Gnolls enough to make a rescue. "
"It is not right for us to sit by while the gnolls torture your comrades Felliped. Dashki's plan is sound. If the gnolls are going to execute your friends, they will do it soon."
"I think you are right Dashki. A quick strike could cause enough confusion so we can grab the prisoners and run like rabbits for a good ambush point. And attacking an execution party from behind, that would definitely cause confusion."
"Dashki says that the gnolls will execute the prisoners along the path of Felliped's escape, correct?" Valik says, looking at Dashki.
"If so, then we merely need to position ourselves in the abandoned houses on the edge of town so we can strike when we see a chance. If the gnolls don't help out and bring the prisoners out, then we will just have to go and get them. Our escape point will be whatever is the best place, tower, ruin or waterfall that is closest to wherever we are on the edge of town."
"Any problems with that plan? Its simple enough, but we can modify it if we need to." Valik finishes, looking around the group.
Felliped gives Valik a look of thanks for his unlooked for support. " My only suggestion is that we should make sure our escape routes are clear of enemies and defensible. Perhaps we should take extra arms and store them somewhere, incase Ali and Theodric are well enough to fight. " Felliped looks to Garavel and Almah. " That is if this plan is agreeable to you of course Ameera. I don't want to compromise your mission... So we should work out which of these locations is best to retreat to and inspect it? "
A waning moon hangs high in the sky. The light causes the dunes to shimmer with a silver sheen as three men lean low over a slowly crackling fire...
"Thank you for the milk Felliped and you as well Theodric for cleaning up. Dinner is always more enjoable when spent in good company. Now does anyone have some tobacco or perhaps an Oud or Sitar? No, a shame. I do enjoy music or quite smoke by the fire. Ah but where are my manners. I promised you a tale..."
It was said by wise men that know such things that there once lived a great and powerful king. This man was the ruler of a an ancient empire and he was known as Caliph Abd al-Malik bin Marwan. One day the Caliph sat conversing with his advisers concerning our god Sarenrae, and they noted that Sarenrae in her wisdom had bestowed upon him of lordship and dominion over all that was right and good, but still this was not enough for the Caliph, and he called for his high-priest to attend him. When the priest appeared, the Caliph said that he was troubled for his heart was still like stone, and not the beauty of a woman nor the first break of dawn over the dunes could inflame it. The high-priest wise in his years nodded knowingly. “Indeed my lord, You have attained more then any man has known, but all of us are equal in our hearts, I can help you not." advised the priest. The Caliph was unhappy with the priests answer and asked his advisors and hangers on if anyone knew how to move his quiet heart. Then said Talib bin Sahl (who was a seeker after treasures and had books that discovered to him hoards and wealth hidden under the earth), “O great and powerful Caliph, Sarenrae may thy dominion to endure and exalt thy dignity here and hereafter! My father told me of my grandfather, that he once took ship with a company, intending for the island of Sikiliyah, and sailed until there arose against them a contrary wind, which drove them from their course and brought them, after a month, to a great mountain in one of the lands beyond the horizon, but where that land was they wot not." Quoth my grandfather "I saw a great fiery mountain rising up out of the sea, blood red in light, with the smell of brimstone. This was in the darkness of the night and as soon as it was day, there came forth to us, from the caves of the mountain, folk made of flames, with skin black as coals with hair like a roaring fire. The very water hissed around them and burst into clouds and none could stand near them for blisters would form on their skin."
Rising up from the depths of his story Ali looks around at the two Pathfinders. "Ah but the night grows late and we have a long day tomorrow, for we must continue our journey. By evening we should reach the foot hills of the brazen peaks. Tomorrow I shall continue you my tale." Standing up and stretching Ali looks out past the tower and towards the moon. "I'll take first watch. Try to get some sleep."
|ML: Almah Roveshki|
Almah favors Valik with a contemplative look. "Always eager to risk your life for another, aren't you? But the plan has its merits. From a location hidden in the ruins of the lower city, you would have an opportunity to scout the terrain and learn more about the forces arrayed against us, while being well positioned to aid Signior Leroung's captive allies should the opportunity arise, and perhaps reduce the number of gnolls a bit in the process." The princess turns to her majordomo. "Garavel, what are your thoughts?"
Garavel strokes his well-trimmed beard for a moment. "Yes, I believe it is a reasonable solution, as it forwards our mission goals while potentially aiding our guest. I would suggest Dashki and Valik, and Signior Leroung if he wishes to accompany them... Though, he is not properly equipped for such a--"
|ML: Almah Roveshki|
Almah interrupts Garavel with a dismissive wave, "The Signior must equip himself with whatever he sees fit from our supply wagon, and take whatever supplies for his fellows he things are necessary. It is but a trifle!" She flashes a smile at Felliped.
Communication between Almah and Garavel is very subtle, but this lightly delivered comment carries more weight or command than it seems at first glance. Apparently, she is trying to present herself as being more generous than it is her usual wont to be.
|ML: Almah Roveshki|
Garavel breaks the silence as if nothing had happened. "Yes, Dashki, Valik, and Signior Leroung. Valik, if you wish to take any of the other mercenaries, that is at your discretion, but I recommend keeping your team small, to avoid detection. Dashki, you are the guide, how do you think it best to reach Kelmarane undetected?"
It takes Dashki a moment to react to being spoken to, so fiercely is his angry gaze fixed on Felliped. "Huh? Oh. As to that... Gnolls see in the dark, better than men. Even pitch black, but just up close. At distance, they're blind as us. Best to move at night. Moon's almost full, so enough light to see by, but dark enough for cover."
|ML: Almah Roveshki|
Almah looks at Valik and Felliped in concern. "You two look like you could use a good night's rest before you begin such an expedition. But a measure of haste is prudent. Garavel, help Felliped equip himself, and then you two rest for the afternoon. The other mercenaries will keep watch tonight. I'll ask Father Zastoran to brew some more of his healing draught for you. Go to bed early, and leave with enough time before dawn to reach Kelmarane before it gets light."
That's the end of my flurry of posts, go to it. Felliped may want to take this opportunity to look around the monastery, and he also may be able to shed some light on the loot.
"A fine tale, my friend," he says, his voice deep and rich, with an exotic but unplaceable accent, "And one known by few men these days, I think." He gives an elaborate bow, "My pardons for startling you, I was taking shelter for the night in the ruins, and I heard your tale-telling. Might I join you at your fireside?"
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11
Felliped watches the back and forth between Almah, Garavel and Dashki. He begins to smile as they agree with Valik's plan but just ends up distracted at Dashki's seeming dislike of him. What did i do to him? Why would he begrudge me some gear when I am planing to help? He thinks frowning back at the man.
However he smiles back at Almah and says
" Thankyou Ameera, you have great generosity and it is most welcome. Of course I will repay you though I find myself a little short at the present " He jokes a little awkwardly. " Now Garavel, " He says as they move away towards the stores but still in earshot of the others " I don't suppose you would have any of the small trinkets and such that wizards use to work their magic? Though I am not as adept as such men I can work some small spells. I would also like a sword and some armour, something light however I never really got the hang of moving about incased in iron. "
Garavel nods slowly as Felliped makes his requests. "Weapons and armor, we have. I believe the Avistani prefer straight blades to the curved scimitar that is most widely used here in the desert. We do have a few of those in the supplies; longswords and rapiers. They are of no great craftsmanship, but they should suffice. I can also probably find a suit of leather armor that would fit you, or perhaps a chainmail shirt? As for wizardly trinkets, I am afraid I can't help you. None among us are wizards. I have some small pouches that would suffice to store such goods, but I'm afraid you would have to stock it yourself..."
Looking at your spell list, it looks like you need a supply of fireflies, some lard, a clear crystal, and a piece of copper wire, and you'll be set on spell components. Except for the fireflies, all that is probably in the gear, and we'll assume that there are fireflies around for you to catch.
Seeing the tall man appear before the fire, Ali rises and clasps his hands together while giving a short bow from the waist. As if part of a age old choreograph Ali greets him in the traditional manner of the nomadic tribes of the Brazen Peaks. "Peace be upon you friend, and be welcome to our camp. I am Ali, a local guide and these are my employers, Felliped and Theodric. May I offer you some water, salt and shade? We have some food remaining from dinner and you are welcome to share the fire with us." Smiling Ali gestures to the fire with one hand, and with the other beckons for the man to sit. Traditional greetings complete Ali begins to converse with the man. "I am surprised you know the tale friend. Its quite old indeed, and fewer still remember it. I don't suppose you are familiar with any of the other songs? Ah but where are my manners, tell me of yourself. have you been on the route long? Its rare these days to see single travelers as of late, ever since attacks from the gnolls of the Brazen Peaks have increased."
Magister, please let me know if the man does not accept my offer of Salt, historically its a peace offering and bond of trust for the duration of the visit.
"I am but a traveler, a lone wanderer. It has been long years since I have passed this way, but still I think I have the knack for avoiding gnolls." He smiles slyly. "And yes, I know many songs and tales, though not as many, I think, as the great Shazathared, who for many a long fiery night entertained the cruel Jhavhul al-Bazan, an efreeti warlord, known as the Merciless, with a new song each night, for he swore that if she failed, he would put her to death. One thousand nights and one night, some say she entertained him. Some say one thousand years and one year. Some say even longer. Some say she is still locked away, still telling tales to Jhavhul the Merciless... But I think not." As he speaks, his deep silky voice draws the three travelers in to the story, its pitch modulated just so, the words drawn out and sensuous, their rhythm carrying them along in its gentle yet insistent cadence, like a deep-flowing river. Truly, he is a rare storyteller! Yet at his last words, the flow halts, and his smile fades just a touch, but then he laughs, a deep infectious belly laugh.
"Listen to me ramble on! Tell me, my friend Ali, where did you come by that tale? Never before have I heard it told except among the Keepers of the Flame, and they do not part with their tales lightly!"
Theodric is immediately shaken by the unexpected visitor, and stands up so fast he almost snaps his kneecaps.
"WOAH! Hello traveler, what an unexpected visit."
Theodric is a bit surprised by the almost instantaneous revealing of their identities, but quickly recovers. After the man shares his story, Theodric is already on the edge of his seat, but still feeling uneasy.
"Ahem. Man, you are a story teller among story tellers. Such fine ability is not surely learned by one master, nor by the light one fire. I would that the fortune and guidance of Abadar be upon you in your travels. If I may ask, what brings you back to this area?"
Theodric pays close attention to the man's face, gestures, body language, and tone as he speaks.
"I'm still a stranger to such travel, but this kind of encounter is not what I expected. Perhaps I aught to relax."
Theodric looks up at Ali seeking some sort of reassurance in his uneasiness, and then back at the strange fellow.
Sense Motive (Hunch) DC 20: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (12) + 10 = 22
Hunch: This use of the skill involves making a gut assessment of the social situation. You can get the feeling from another's behavior that something is wrong, such as when you're talking to an impostor. Alternatively, you can get the feeling that someone is trustworthy.
Valik jumps a bit at the mention of magic by Felliped.
Perhaps he can tell me about the sword! And the mercenaries will be happy if he can determine if any of the items are magical and what their value might be...that way I can get them paid.
"Ah. Felliped. I can help you chose gear if you wish. While you look over what the caravan has I would like to ask some questions about magic if you don't mind. I also may need your assistance with a small project."
" Uh, yes of course, I don't mind answering some questions for you Valik. After I've got my gear I'll help you with anything you wish. "
Felliped looks through the caravans surplies with Garavel and Valik's help he picks out a longsword a chain shirt and a small bow. He takes the pouch offered by Garavel and strapping it to his belt he says " I suppose I'll have to look around and see what I can find. Thankyou Garavel, I don't take these things lightly. I will do my best to earn them. "
He turns to Valik. " Now what did you want to know about magic? I'm no wizard but I do know a thing or two. "
I am assuming Valik and the other mercenaries will show Felliped all the loot they've gotten in the monastery, which by my records is:
Valik's mace, from the undercrypt
Valik's silver holy symbol, from a box in the undercrypt
Valik's gold brooch, also from the box in the undercrypt
Valik's box of religious texts on a cord, from the pugwampi king's treasure box
Silver chime from the room with the stirge
Silver bowl from the room with the stirge
Book (Courts of Stone and Flame) from the library
Asad's warhammer, taken from the pugwampi king
Travis's bloodstained dagger, taken from the undercrypt
Travis's ring engraved with feathers, from the bugwampi king's treasure box
Dross's potion, from the pugwampi king's treasure box
Dullen doesn't have any treasure, and is grumpy about it.
Valik's scimitar, dug up in the courtyard
Knowledge (arcana) DC 16: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (7) + 10 = 17
Spellcraft DC 18: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (13) + 8 = 21
+1 mace (CL 3; Faint transmutation)
Knowledge (arcana) DC 16: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (4) + 10 = 14
Spellcraft DC 18: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15
Phylactery of Faithfulness (CL 1; Faint divination)
Knowledge (arcana) DC 15: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (8) + 10 = 18
Spellcraft DC 16: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (10) + 8 = 18
Chime of Opening (CL 11; Moderate transmutation)
Knowledge (arcana) DC 20: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (12) + 10 = 22
Spellcraft DC 26: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (20) + 8 = 28
Potion of CMW (CL 3; Faint conjuration)
Knowledge (arcana) DC 16: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (10) + 10 = 20
Spellcraft DC 18: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (15) + 8 = 23
+1 Scimitar (CL 3; Faint transmutation)
Knowledge (arcana) DC 16: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (10) + 10 = 20
Spellcraft DC 18: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (2) + 8 = 10
wish (L9; Strong universal)
Knowledge (arcana) DC 24/29: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (6) + 10 = 16
+1 Warhammer (CL 3; Faint transmutation)
Knowledge (arcana) DC 16: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (15) + 10 = 25
Spellcraft DC 18: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24
Brooch of shielding (CL 1; Faint abjuration)
Knowledge (arcana) DC 15: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (19) + 10 = 29
Spellcraft DC 16: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25
Ring of Feather Falling (CL 1; Faint transmutation)
Knowledge (arcana) DC 15: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (7) + 10 = 17
Spellcraft DC 16: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16
Valik's mace gives off a faint aura of magic, but you can't determine exactly what it is.
The tiny box of religious texts reveals a faint, clear blue aura of Divination to your mage sight. It is a Phylactery of Faithfulness, a minor magical item created by pious folk, which is meant to be worn around the head. With a moment's reflection, the wearer can know with clear certainty whether an action they are contemplating would be approved by their deity. This one seems to be devoted to Sarenrae.
Valik's gold brooch has a faint aura of Abjuration, like a protective green barrier. You identify it as a Brooch of Shielding, which protects against the magical force darts cast by wizards and their kind. It seems to be unused, with its full protective capacity remaining.
The chime radiates a more powerful, swirling orange aura you recognize as Transmutation. Though at first you took it to be silver, its light weight, hardness, and untarnished finish soon convince you that it is actually made of mithral. You believe it to be a chime of opening, which can be used to open any door, though it can only be used 10 times. By the strength of the aura, you estimate that it has already been used several times. 4 charges remain.
The silver bowl, book, and holy symbol are all nonmagical, but potentially valuable. The book, entitled Courts of Stone and Flame, of course catches your eye. You can try to appraise those, if you want, but those are hidden rolls too.
Dross's potion gives off a faint but warm purple glow of Conjuration. This, combined with its color and taste, leads you to conclude it is a moderately potent healing potion. Cure Moderate Wounds
The warhammer of the pugwampi king, now held by Asad, appears to be crafted to be used as a one-handed weapon for a gnome or halfling, so it's quite small for a human. It gives off a faint orange aura you recognize as belonging to the school of Transmutation. After further inspection, you determine that the head has been enchanted to make it feel heavier to the recipient of a blow, while lighter and easier to swing to whoever wields it. +1 small warhammer
Travis's dagger also bears an aura you identify as transmutation, granting it supernatural sharpness and the ability to find gaps in an opponent's armor. The bloodstain, though ominous, seems to be an ordinary bloodstain.+1 dagger
Travis's ring has a faint aura of Transmutation also; by the feathery pattern in the orange aura, and the engravings on the ring itself, you deduce that it is a Ring of Feather Falling, which prevents the wearer from being injured in falls, no matter the height.
When you first look at the scimitar, you are shocked by the strength of its aura, but you soon realize that the aura does not come from the weapon itself, but from a powerful spell which encompasses both it and Valik. You have never seen such an aura, and you cannot begin to identify the spell! Strong aura, school unknown
Beneath the spell's aura, and perhaps entwined with it, the blade does have its own aura; like the dagger, and hammer, it presents a nimbus of faint orange magic, indicating a Transmutation effect, but you cannot determine its exact properties. The scimitar's blade is engraved with a single word in a language you do not know; if it could be translated, it might give a clue as to the nature of the blade.
Felliped may also want to wander around and explore the monastery; I'll give you all the room descriptions and knowledge check results in another post.
Observing the reaction of his companions, Ali gives a reassuring smile. "Be at peace Theodric, this man is our guest. He has freely taken of the offered salt and shade, and as such we have bound ourselves to a pact of peace for the evening. It is ancient and honorable tradition among the tribes of the region, and one our guest appears to be familiar with, for he knows of the Keepers of Flame as well, and would have received a similar greeting from them."
Reaching into his travel bag, Ali retrieves a aged tin pot, and places some water over the fire letting it begin to boil. "Will you take coffee?" Ali ask's their guest. "I don't have much, but enough I think for a guest."
Leaning towards Theodric and Felliped, Ali beings to explain his odd behavior. "Its custom my friends. You see, generosity brings honor, while stinginess spawns contempt. As a result, Osirion hospitality is unrivaled. Hospitality demands that a man must offer food and drink to anyone who appears at his doorstep as a friend, no matter how poor the host may be. Did you not find it curious that the first day I met you I bought you mint tea and hummus? It is the nature of such things."
Bringing the water to a slow boil, Ali begins to prepare the coffee. "To answer your question, I too heard that tale among the بأمين اللهب. But much has been lost to the sands now. To my knowledge all of the remaining keepers are dead and gone." Shrugging in quiet contemplation Ali broods for a moment while he gazes into the flames. "My Flame Keeper used to be able to make the flames come alive when he would tell his stories, you could feel the unquenchable heat from the City of Brass, or see the tears roll down Shazathared's beautiful face each night she begged for her life with a tale. I am... a sad substitute. I know the words, but so much of our history was lost. I know of the great and beautiful Shazathared, but this efreeti warlord Jhavhul al-Bazan, that is a memory's, memory of a name." Snapping awake from his reminiscence, Ali gives a half smile. "Such a poor host I am. Ah, here the coffee is ready. May I offer you a cup, while you speak of any news or stories from your trip? Even the music of your bandur would be appreciated. Forgive me if I offer generosity with hand hand and grasp with the other, however new tales are something to be treasured beyond wealth, as I think you know."
Felliped picks through all the items presented to him all the while looking like a child in a candy store.
" Well this mace definetly has an air of magic about it, but it's exact nature is eluding me. " He hands it back to Valik " I'm sorry. "
Studying the small box of religious texts on a cord he smiles " This has divination magicked worked into it... Yes, when wearing this around ones head with a moment of reflection you could tell with certainty if the action you are contemptating would be pleasing to a deity. This appears to be devoted to Sarenrae. I admit I prefer to make my own decisions... But look at the intricate carvings here. Quite a find. I believe those with faith call it a Phylactery of Faithfulness "
Next he picks up Valik's gold brooch " Ah green, This brooch has protective qualities, it will kind of absorb any of those force bolts that obtuse nages tend to throw around. It seems new... or rather it's power is still strong, just imagine its been sitting in this temple since who knows when, Sarenrae I suppose... I wonder who's cloak it used to fasten? "
A silver chime next catches his eye. He picks it up and seems to feel its weight " Oh! " he exclaims with pleasant surprise " It's mithral... " he concentrates on it for a little while examining markings and experimenting with it. " oh that's clever! It opens doors! A little weak though, only a few more doors for you eh? " he says talking to the chime.
Felliped picks up the silver bowl looks at it for just a second before putting it back. " Nothing, well something, I mean it still worth something. Just not magical, I'll take care of identifying magical properties first. I'll come back to this. "
Felliped takes the potion offered to him by Dross, he holds the bottle to his eye then pulls the cork and smells the contents. " A potion of healing, judging by the aura I'd say it's a moderate strength. "
Travis hands over his dagger
" Valik said this could be cursed, cause of the blood? "
After a quick inspection though Felliped hands it back " Not at all, in fact it's been enchanted with accuracy the ability to find chinks in armour and it will always remain sharp as the day it was made, the stain seems to be mundane " he smiles reassuringly as he hands the dagger back. " Oh and your ring? Ah yes, see the feathery engravings? This is a ring of feather fall. If you fall from a ledge while wearing it no matter the height you'll land safely after floating down. That is a handy spell."Inspecting Asad's small warhammer he says " Yes it's magical to. A transmutation that makes the head seem heavier to your enemies while remaining light and easy to swing for the wielder. I'd say it was made for a gnome or a halfling maybe? I wonder how it ended up here? "
" Your Holy symbol has no magical aura " He tells Valik " and neither does this book... Would... Would you mind if I had a little read of this? I'll give it back or pay for it if I find some gold. "
When Valik presents the scimitar Felliped's shock is easy to see as his mouth falls open " The aura is so powerful? But so stra... No wait, Valik somehow this weapon is tied to you. A bond of some sort? It's a powerful aura that encompasses both you and the scimitar, I've never seen anything like it! " he says with excitement. " there's a second aura to, actually coming from the weapon, it's a transmutation effect. Maybe similar to the dagger and hammer but it's over shadowed by the first aura I can't make it out properly. "
Once he is over the shock of the scimitar Felliped studies the bowl and the holy symbol again trying to determine their worth and if he can any history they may have.
Kn History: Holy symbol 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (19) + 10 = 29
Assuming there are any markings that would give away anything
Appraise Symbol DC 20: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 = 21
Appraise Book DC 20: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
High or low: 1d2 ⇒ 1
The book seems to be an account of the different genie races, including information about notable individuals of each type. You are sure that it will come in handy if you ever need to know anything about genies. +4 to knowledge checks relating to genies if you spend 10 minutes to consult the book beforehand. Reading it thoroughly would take about a day. The book is old and in relatively poor condition; but still you estimate that it might be worth as much as 50 gp. Of course, your untrained Appraise bonus is only +4, so you are probably aware that you're not the best judge of such things...
Edit: If you want to take a look around the monastery, let me know how long you want to spend at it, and any standard procedures you want to follow, as far as detect magic, taking 10 vs. rolling on perception, etc.
pale mountaingeography DC 10: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (10) + 10 = 20
death of arodenhistory DC 10: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (14) + 10 = 24
north cloister wallreligion DC 15: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6
east cloisterhistory DC 17/27: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (2) + 10 = 12
efreetiplanes DC 18/34: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (1) + 10 = 11
djinniplanes DC 15/18/29: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (20) + 10 = 30
salamanderplanes DC 13: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (8) + 10 = 18
Here are descriptions for all the rooms of the monastery, in one place. Felliped is the one looking around at the moment, but Theodric and Ali can both read them too, so that I don't have to post it all again later. Valik has seen these before, but he can re-read them if he wants. Felliped's knowledge checks are for him to share or not as he sees fit, of course.
The monastery is divided into two sections: a conventional temple of Sarenrae, built in the shape of Her symbol, the ankh, and an adjoining, more-or-less rectangular section which houses the living area for the monks and nuns that would have inhabited it in the past, composed of the cloister in the north and the southern wing in the south.
In the west transept, the bearded figure appears on a hilltop to a group of robed pilgrims. The being holds up his hands, palms out, in a sign of peace. Though many of the faces and limbs on the bas-relief have been worn down or cut away, the expressions of those range from beatific to horrified.
Also in the west alcove stands a crude stone stele that seems to have been erected more recently than the abandonment of the monastery. Its graven inscription reads: “A ghost of unholy mien was purged from this place by Theodephus Estrovan, servant of Aroden, 4691 AR.”
A thin balcony overlooks the chapel floor some twenty feet below. Two rows of tall-backed wooden choir chairs dominate the southern reach of the balcony, which hugs the chapel's concave walls. The balcony falls away -- collapsed for a span of perhaps fifteen feet -- just on the other side of the choir area. To the east, rickety time-worn wooden rafters stretch across the whole chapel. A sort of nest comprised of a patchwork of random bits of cloth dangles from the southeastern portion of the rafters.
The entire area stinks of urine and filth. The area around the altar, which has been smeared with excrement, is littered with the torn out pages of The Birth of Light and Truth, the holy book of Sarenrae.
The north wall depicts five bearded, larger-than-life humans riding the wind, with triumph carved upon their faces. One of them appears to match the statues in the alcoves of the transept. Though some of their arms and hands are missing, each is clearly meant to wield a distinctive weapon. One of the five warriors holds a large axe, while another holds a fragment of what must once have been a regal staff. In the distance, a peaked mountain ominously looms over the quintet. An inscription above them reads, "Templars of the Five Winds." It appears that each of the templars once had its name inscribed near its image, but the words have been scratched out as if by axe blows. East of the wall decoration, two open arches lead into small rooms off the north wall.
The eastern wall bears a marred sculpture depicting the same five figures from the north mural in battle against numerous creatures of evil demeanor. Several of the creatures appear to be composed at least partly of fire, while others are much more difficult to define, being outright monsters of unknown origin or unusual warriors with weapons bonded into their flesh like organic tools. In the background a mountain looms large, and over it two titanic figures lock in a deadly wrestler's embrace: a horned man with a demonic visage, crowned with fire, and a gorgeous veiled woman, her lower body wreathed in swirls of cloud and wind.
The southern wall bears a bas-relief sculpture in the form of a triptych. In the first scene, the bearded man takes leave of his four similarly attired companions, who rise off into the heavens, leaving him to stand vigil over a mountain in the background. The next scene depicts the bearded figure in battle with a flaming half man, half snake creature wielding a spear. The fire spirit transfixes the bearded hero with the spear, seemingly striking a killing blow. In the final scene, the hero appears twice - once on the ground with a wound in his back and once standing over this form, looking down upon it sadly. A caption above the entire work, in ornate lettering, reads "Saint Vardishal of Uwaga, Guardian of the Mountain, Blessed in the Light of Sarenrae."
On the west wall, the heroic man with the pointed beard - presumably Saint Vardishal - preaches to a variety of human clerics from throughout the long history of the monastery. The first image depicts the figure manifesting in a spiritual manner to a small group of pilgrims of Sarenrae. Another shows the figure conversing with a man in religious finery while the monastery itself is being constructed in the background. Thereafter follows a procession of similar poses, each depicting a visit by the bearded man and the leader of each era of the temple. The depictions of these clerics often also bear an identifying inscription, complete with dates that span the last several hundred years. The most recent carving is from thirty years ago, and while ample room remains for additional carvings on the west wall, the last thirty feet or so are completely blank.
Opposite the door, dominating a section of the north wall, stands a man-sized statue of the bearded warrior, its face marred by what look like numerous blows from an axe. The statue holds both hands in front of him, bent at the elbow, palms up, as if expecting an offering. Several deep rents from similar axe blows make it clear that someone tried to hack the arms from the statue decades ago, but was unable to do so.
Several pillows are arranged on the floor here, and there is a faint smell of incense. (Presumably, Valik will show you the secret door down to the catacombs from behind the statue.)
An open arch in the southeast corner of the room leads into what appears to be the remains of a tower, which has since partially collapsed. Fallen wooden stairs and platforms litter the floor. There is also a short stone staircase leading down to the heavy wooden door to the laboratory, which is partially covered with a layer of green and yellow mold, though some attempt has been made to scrape it off.
Father Zastoran is here, scrubbing away at the mold by the light of an oil lamp. There is a sharp scent of chemicals, which comes partially from the bucket at his feet, and partially from a fluid bubbling in the alchemical apparatus. He greets Felliped, inquiring after his health, and promises more infusions in the morning, gesturing proudly at the complex apparatus on the worktables.
East Transept Alcove: Knowledge: history: The god Aroden died in 4606 AR, 85 years before the stele was erected, and there have been no true divine servants of Aroden since. Whoever this Theodephus Estrovan was, he was not acting on divine inspiration.
East Cloister Wall: Knowledge: planes: You aren't sure what event is depicted in the image, but you are certain the beautiful veiled woman is a genie; in particular, a djinni, one of the inhabitants of the Plane of Air. Based on her raiment, this djinni seems to be of noble birth; she looks remarkably like an illustration you once came upon in a book of the exiled djinni princess Nefeshti. This was DC 29; you rolled a natural 20!
South Cloister Wall: Knowledge: planes: The fiery serpentine creature is a salamander, an evil creature hailing from the Plane of Fire.
Values for identified magic items:
Hammer: 2312 gp
Dagger: 2302 gp
Chime: 1200 gp
Brooch: 1500 gp
Phylactery: 1000 gp
Ring: 2200 gp
Potion: 300 gp
Even split between 5 mercenaries: 2163
Most of this stuff is beyond what Garavel can pay for out of the expedition coffers, unfortunately. He's got a purchase limit of about 500 dinars. He can pay more for items that are specifically useful or desirable to the expedition (or Almah personally).
Edit: Felliped also knows that it's a good bet that any magic weapon is worth at least 2000 dinars, unless it's cursed. That adds at least 4000 to the total, for the mace and scimitar, and puts the even split at around 3000.
After identifying magic items for the mercenaries and Valik, Felliped takes a tour through the temple with Valik. He takes quite an interest in the murals and statues. " It's as if this whole place is telling some grand story... I wish I knew what it was. "
In the east Trancept Alcove Felliped notices the inscription by Theodephus Estrovan " A ghost of unholy mien was purged from this place by Theodephus Estrovan, servant of Aroden, 4691 AR. " He reads. " That's strange. Aroden died in 4606 that's... 85 years. He couldn't have been acting on divine inspiration. I wonder who he was and what his ghost was. "
In the Cloister he points out the mountain that features in the murals. " It must be the same mountain that was depicted in the Trancept Alcove. I believe it's the Pale mountain from the Brazen peaks... This woman here, " he says pointing to the beautiful veiled woman on the eastern wall of the cloister " she looks exactly like, like an illustration I've seen in the book about the exiled djinni Princess Nefeshti' A Djinni if I ever saw one and definetly of noble birth. " Looking at the southern wall Felliped says " Vardishal's last battle? The flaming half man/serpent beast is a Salamander from the plane of fire. " Felliped turns to the southern wall. " So this Vardishal's spirit remained and he visited the temple at least each time a new leader was appointed? The last carving is from 30 years ago, ten years before the 'priest' of Aroden purged the 'ghost'... I wonder? "
While they tour the temple Felliped keeps a keen eye out for anything he could use as spell components.
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13
We'll assume Felliped gets all the necessary spell components.
The mercenaries clutch greedily at their magic items as Felliped identifies them, eying each other suspiciously. Valik suggests selling some of them to Garavel, but the mercenaries scoff.
"That tight-fist? Nah. There's nothin' worth buyin' out here anyway. I'll keep this beauty to sell for a good price in Katapesh," says Asad, admiring his magical hammer. The others nod their agreement.
Dullen bursts out, "Why don't I have anything? Travis has a dagger and a ring, and Valik has a mace, a scimitar, a brooch, and that prayer thing. I demand my share." The other mercenaries look darkly at him, keeping their own goodies out of view.
We don't really need to roleplay out these negotiations if you don't want to; however, everyone can agree on selling the silver bowl to Garavel and splitting the coin, which comes to 15gp apiece for Valik, Asad, Dullen, Dross, and Travis.
Anything else you want to do before you head out to kill some gnolls?
Proffering a cup of Coffee, Ali pauses as the man asks about his tribe. The earlier smile on his face now completely gone. "My tale is one then the night is long my friend." Sipping on his coffee slowly, Ali leans back against his saddlebag, gazing long into the flames of the campfire before continuing. "It all happened about fifteen years ago. I was just a boy then, no more then twelve summers. You must understand that in the desert tribes you are expected from a very young age to assist the tribe, even as a child. I was riding ahead of our caravan, acting as a scout. Forgive my lack of modesty, but even then my eyes were sharp and I was a skilled rider. Regardless, I was several leagues away from my tribe when a powerful haboob suddenly appeared around me without warning. Blessed be the name of Sarenrae, I was only caught in the fringe, but I was without shelter, and when the dust and sand block out the very sun around you, it is very easy to become lost, so I was forced to build a sand cave and wait out the storm." Grimly chuckling Ali takes another long sip of his coffee and turns to Felliped. Have you ever been in a fight and had sand thrown in your face? No? Then you cannot understand how blistering a pain that first day was. Half-blind, barely able to breath from the dust in the air, fighting to just survive. Pffha! I have heard sailors speak of the great salt seas as if they are a cruel mistress. Fools the lot, there is no greater temptress then the great dunes. She gives with one hand and takes with the other! On the fourth day the storm finally broke. I clawed my way out of the cave and in the distance I could make out a large pall of smoke rising from the horizon. With no other landmarks in sight I made my way towards the smokes origin." Pursing his lips as if the coffee left a sour taste in his mouth, Ali prods the fire, stoking the flames. "When I reached the smokes origin, I found the remains of my tribe. There was wreckage everywhere. Everyone I knew and loved was dead, but they didn't die alone. Scattered among the bodied were strewn the corpses of Gnolls. Actually that was the day that I also earned this scar." Ali pulls back the edge of his Keffiyeh exposing a long scar that goes from the left side of his hairline down to his jaw. "One of the weaker Gnolls had been left at the wreckage. He was already wounded, so I'm sure he was left by his tribe to die. He was the first Gnoll I ever killed, though it could have easily gone the other way." Ali looks up from the flames. Taking some sand from beside the campfire he begins to methodically use it to scrub out his tin cup. "That's about the best answer I can give. I honestly don't know what happened. Even to this day I am left with more questions then answers. The Keepers were a long way away from the normal area that Gnolls tend to attack, and the sand storm that blew up was never predicted by our Flame Keeper. Call it pride, but I refuse to believe that it was a random attack. We had fought Gnolls before. We knew how to defend ourselves. It looked like a Gnoll raid. I have seen plenty since, but they tend to loot and pillage. Even rape the women. None of that happened. The came in under the storm, killed everyone and left. I wish I could tell you more my friend. I wish I knew more. But I am afraid that may be a secret that will be lost to the dunes like so many others."
Perform oratory: 1d20 + 26 ⇒ (20) + 26 = 46
"In the beginning, when Rovagug perfected the way of destruction, the lands were littered with the dead. Crows, maggots, beetles, worms, and the other crawling things of the earth complained to Rovagug.
“You destroy and maim too quickly!” they cried. “We cannot devour all the meat you give us! Please, destroy the people of the earth more slowly.”
“What?” shouted Rovagug, in a voice that toppled pillars. “My glorious destruction shall never cease nor slow!”
Yet in the dark, delighting in the destruction god’s slaughter, watched Lamashtu, the Mother of Monsters, and she heard the base things cry. In those black days when all the land was covered with death and all the air stank, she watched as a few tribes of men her followers and devout worshipers, ate the flesh of corpses as the crows did, plucking out eyes, savoring the bloodiest cuts. To these cannibals she led packs of hyenas, and their ways became as one. Of those louse-ridden beastmen rose the first gnolls, half-hyenas who love the stench of carrion and praise each corpse as an offering to their dark mother. And the demon queen delighted in her own perversion and reveled in these monsters’ terrible howling songs.
Born of devastation, and insanity, and the corrupt of soul, the man-beasts spread upon the world, and where they prowled they indulged in their hunger for murdered flesh. Surely, they are to be despised by any sane god, and so we make ceaseless war on those who seek to feed on the bodies of heroes and innocents. And somewhere in the madness between the stars, the Mother of Perversion and the Mistress of Insanity still laughs her wicked laugh, as her ravening spawn, the bone gnawers and carrion eaters, grow fat off our flesh.
Gnolls are among the first abominations, and their death is a blessing. Remember this when their laughter haunts your steps."
The tambur picks out a few more virtuoso runs, and ends on a last jangling chord, without resolution. The man is motionless until the notes fade to silence, and then he quietly says, "That was one of the songs Shazathared sang for Jhavhul. The lord of al-Bazan was ever known to be cruel of heart, even among the efreet, and he found such tales... Amusing." He looks in to the fire, then glances up at Ali. "Many centuries the Keepers of the Flame walked the camel's road, and they were among the last to bear memories of things other men have forgotten. Their passing is... a loss. Whether a sad tragedy, or the fruit of dark plots, I cannot say. It is not unheard of for gnolls to rally around evil powers."
As the conversation between Ali and the mysterious traveler continue, Theodric becomes a bit bored and leans back.
"Such customs, such conversation, such pleasantries among companions around a campfire... these are not my people. I'd better just spare them one of my stories... though perhaps the man would be interested in a riddle."
As the mysterious man unsheathes his tambur, Theodric leans back just a bit further and rolls his eyes so as to ensure that the white's of his eyes are unseen. He takes in a deep breath, and breaths out slowly, and then sits up straight in his chair to show some respect for the man's talent.
As the music begins to play, the foreign sounds captivate Theodric. The structured dissonance penetrates into his mind as he closes his eyes. Each note and chord, splitting up and restructuring in Theodrics head like a puzzle with pieces he was unfamiliar with. Before recognizing it, Theodric was completely lost in the sound of the music, completely mesmerized by the tune of the tambur.
A few moments after the man stops speaking, Theodric realizes that the song has ended, and gives a slow, quiet clap, as if slowly coming out of a state of trance.
"A rare tune indeed. You are a man of many talents and surprises. Do you have a name, traveler? We have shared ours with you, but I do not believe you have shared yours with us."
Theodric will remain quite until the man answers, or someone interrupts.
"There is so much more about this man that we do not know, and we would all be wise to keep an eye open at all times around him... not just me. There are two sides to every coin, and there are two sides to every story. Was this man a musician in a roayl court? What does he want? How could a man of his caliber stumble upon a meeting like this in such a random fashion."
Although running a million thoughts through his mind at once, Theodric keeps a very calm and humble look on his face as he awaits an answer.
The man slits his twinkling eyes at Theodric, a slight smile on his lips. He shrugs and laughs his booming laugh. "Fair enough, Theodric, my name is Pazhvann. Ali the Flame Keeper tells me you are his employer. You don't have the look of a desertborn man yourself. What do you seek here on the sands?"
Rolling a few Kn checks on Pazhvann
Knowledge Local: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (15) + 9 = 24
Knowledge Nobility: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10
Knowledge History: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (15) + 10 = 25
Felliped Know: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (10) + 10 = 20
Pazhvann disguise: 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (8) + 16 = 24
Felliped Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25
Ali Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17
Theodric Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (19) + 8 = 27
"Flame above, Dullen. You sound like a crying brat. Haven't you been with me long enough that you know I am fair about things? And to be honest, I had no idea that the brooch or the mace were magical. Since I think that I can trust you to smash what needs smashing, here." Valik says as he tosses the mace to Dullen.
"Now you are ready to smash some dogs into the dust, right?"
Felliped snorts as Valik calls Dullen on his tantrum. " You are a generous man Valik, that mace is worth quite a sum. "
I'm ready to move on when you are Magister. Felliped would like to take some basic gear to arm Theodric and Ali if they can rescue them but on the other hand I don't know how he'd carry it all. They may have to use gnoll equipment?
hope this doesn't get us in trouble :)