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DM Voice's Osirion Expedition (Inactive)

Game Master Mark Sweetman

Sent into the Sahure Wastes by Lathrat Ke'shin an 'entrepreneur', the party seeks to recover ancient treasures of the Four Pharoahs....

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Minor Crab-beast

"Lathrat Ke'shin of Sothis seeks able bodied persons to accompany him on an expedition into the Sahure Wastes. Applicants are to make themselves known at Karisht's Emporium in the shadow of Azghaad's Spire this coming Oathday as the sun sets.
The journey will be long and ardous, but the rewards are commesurate with the suffering that will be endured.
May the smile of the Ruby Prince lay upon you."

تعلم لغة الاموات عاليا في عقد (Ancient Ossirian):
Knowledge of Dead Languages Held in High Regard

The hot sun is starting its descent into night as you make your way across Sothis. The notice requested your presence at the setting of the sun, so you figure you best make haste. You walk towards Azghaad’s spire with intent. Around you craftsmen are making their way home and food vendors are plying their wares.

Passing the High Temple of Pharasma you see supplicants filing in to evening prayer before setting your eyes on the black spire itself. You continue East a short distance to where the spire’s long shadow is already being cast. Spotting a weathered sign for Karisht’s Emporium in the distance you approach it. From the outside the store does not seem imposing, it is a simple stone structure with little adornment outside apart from the sign.

As you arrive the door is shut, but upon your knocking a pair of eyes appear behind the grill inquiring as to your intentions. On mention of Lathrat, the door is opened and the bowab (doorman) dressed in a dull red kaftan greets you formally and leads you into the Emporium. The interior is draped with colourful silks and you see several curtained rooms fitted with low tables and festooned with cushions. Tonight the rooms are empty and you see no-one apart from the bowab.

You are led to a large room at the back of the Emporium, decorated in blue silks with a recurring obelisk motif in yellow. The bowab bids you enter, though remains behind the line of the curtains. After seeing you in, he bows to you and closes the curtains behind him. The table has some plates of food – flatbread, dates and olives – and is made up to seat seven recumbent upon the cushions.

For anyone who is not the first:
The bowab greets you at the door, and ushers you into the blue room at the rear of the Emporium. He opens the curtains for you, ushers you inside then draws them closed behind you. You see those that have arrived before you in the room.

This is just for anyone who wants to meet and greet each other before the employers arrive. Once everyone has arrived, I’ll introduce Lathrat

Male Half-Elf Alchemist (Beastmorph/Vivisectionist) 4 (HP 31/31) (AC 21/11/20) (CMD 18) (Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +2) (Init +3) (Perception +13)

Setesh pulls his cloak tight around him as he makes his way through the streets of Sothis at dusk, more for peace of mind than to ward-off the evening chill.

I hope that this one proves to be more agreeable than the last two. I really need to get out of this city, and find some breathing room...

He is unimpressed by the Emporium's exterior, but once led inside, appreciates its not-so-subtle charms.

Hmmm... This does look promising. I wonder when my host will make an appearance?

Unwilling to touch the refreshments until his host has arrived, Setesh amuses himself by sitting cross-legged on one of the cushions and practicing some breathing exercises...

Male Dwarf Rogue 2

A well-outfitted dwarf makes his way to the door, flicking the sweat from his brow as he offers not-so-gracious gesture to the setting sun. He stops before the emporium, taking a moment to regard the unassuming structure as he re-adjusts the wide-brimmed hat resting on his brow.
Looks a bit sketchy, he thinks to himself, But I s'pose these sojourns usually are.
Inhaling deeply and puffing up his chest, he gives the door a quick rap, and upon gaining entry, follows the bowab to the sitting room.
He takes a moment to absorb his surroundings, then offers a casual wave to the elf seated at the table as he himself plops down upon a cushion and eyes the food warily.
"Bazil Stormdasher, he offers in thickly accented Osirionese as a gloved hand plucks up an olive. "Been waiting long?" His nostrils flare wide as he sniffs the morsel, and after a moment of consideration, he pops it into his mouth.

Male Half-Elf Alchemist (Beastmorph/Vivisectionist) 4 (HP 31/31) (AC 21/11/20) (CMD 18) (Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +2) (Init +3) (Perception +13)

Setesh exhales deeply, and then focuses on the newcomer, favoring him with a seated bow, and greeting him in impeccable Osiriani.

"Setesh Bantling, and no, I have not been waiting long. Forgive me for asking, but you do not seem to be from around here; what brings you to Sothis?"

Male Dwarf Rogue 2

Bazil shoots Setesh a wink as he gives a the feather in his cap a light flick.
"It's the hat, right?" he jokes. "Always gives me away. But yeah, you caught me - I'm no native. I'm a professional adventurer is what I am! I've been all over Avistan, and I thought I'd take a look at what kind of excitement your land has to offer - sand, so far, but I remain optimistic."
He flashes a sardonic grin as he gestures to the room around him.
"I couldn't very well turn down an invitation with such an air of mystery to it, could I? That's trouble waiting to happen, and trouble is always exciting!"

Male Half-Elf Alchemist (Beastmorph/Vivisectionist) 4 (HP 31/31) (AC 21/11/20) (CMD 18) (Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +2) (Init +3) (Perception +13)

Setesh smiles serenely, even as his eyes glow with enthusiasm.

"Indeed it was! 'Tis a pleasure to meet you - I must confess, I have not traveled beyond the borders of Osirion myself, but my country is so rich with history that I feel I could spend a lifetime exploring it, and still barely scratch the surface...

...I agree, the invitation was interesting, and would be a welcome opportunity for adventure, discovery, and profit!"

Pharasmin Clr 5 AC:18; hp: 36/38; Saves: fort +6 ref +3 will +7; 1 reroll

The tall lanky Garundi paused on his way to the market to consider the notice that had slid under his sandal by the siroc wind as if by fate. Far be it for me to question the will of Prince Khemet III, blessed be his name, but all these foreigners and their 'expeditions' can lead to no good. Pharasma may not care what wealth is left behind once a soul has reached its eternal destination, but I worry that thoughtless grave robbers may call those departed souls back from her care. And who knows what abominations remain trapped in their tomb, denied the fate written for them.

Jaru looked at the notice again. Is it your will Pharasma to see that this Lathrat Ke’shin causes no harm in his quest? Am I to guide him across the desert to whatever destiny awaits? Looking into the cloudless sky, Jaru offers a small prayer ”Inut ya-Fatah… Inut ya-Fatah… If it is fated… If it is fated,” then he makes his way to the shadow of the Azghaad Spire.

Passing the High Temple, Jaru stopped and smiled sadly. The temple no longer seemed to offer him solace. Instead of comfort, it only offered memories of sorrow. Sllowly turning away Jaru soon found the Emporium mentioned on the notice and gently knocked on the door. Greeting the bowab with a traditional blessing, Jaru followed him to the room of blue and gold.

Female Human (Garundi) Ranger 1/Sorcerer 2

Noor emerged from the Armorer's tent satisfied with the breastplate she now wore. But she still bristled at the familiarity the man showed when determining the best fit. He should have lost a hand if not something else...but his skill is appreciated, so his sins can be overlooked...this time.

She readjusts her robes over the armor. Reties the shemag about her head and face. She slings her falchion and bow on her back. Those two are enough to keep most people away before noticing the feminine eyes. She now once again resembles the desert nomad that she is, although much better equipped. The funds she garnered from the caravan were surprising, but she had proved herself a useful guide in the desert, and they rewarded her for it.

But now those funds were drying up. New armor, sword, and bow would mean she was ready for any bandits that might cross her next caravan. The new robes, well, she has just never seen such a collection of fine silks and such vibrant colors before.

She follows the directions to Karisht’s Emporium. Arriving before sunset, again as directed. She knocks and waits. She looks around, knocks again and waits. She readies her fist to pound on the door when it smoothly opens. Awkwardly lowering her hand, she follows the bowab inside.

Once admitted, she is escorted to a room that contained..the cargo? Passengers? Can't be guards? Well the Dwarf looks capable. A priest, at least born to the sun...and...a very strange and strong looking half-elf. But not a lick of them look ready for what lies south of here. Noor removes the veil portion of her headwrap and gives each person a small nod with a smile in her eyes "Greetings. I am Noor El'Harkon from the Brazen Hills." "Dead. All of them. Within a week. The pay better be good to keep them from being Hyena food.".

She moves over to the ignored trays and samples an olive. "Mmmm...Please. You all should partake. Our benefactor has provided, and it is ru...impolite to allow his display of generosity to go to waste." She makes up a small plate and a serving of lemon water. A child of the desert, she knows to be grateful at unexpected bounty.

Male Human (Garundi) Magus 3

The young man hurried toward his destination. As usual, he had become caught up in something else and forgotten his task. The sign had made him so excited though! For nearly a month he had traveled through Katapesh and Osirion, finding grand culture and wondrous foods, but very little adventure. Now, after 3 days in Sothis, he had finally found something that seemed like it would prove very adventurous indeed.

"Maybe now I'll finally get a story worth telling to those bookish quill wielders back in Quantium!"

Arriving at his destination Tarik was quickly shuffled off to the appointed meeting place. As he entered the room he took in the others already sitting. A priest, good, good, we can always use divine protection. Often they're the ones who make sure the daring exploits of heroism are even achievable. A guide of some sort, of course we would need one. Often wise and knowing of secret ways in their homelands. I see a dwarf, rather dashingly dressed for one. Perhaps our rakish hero? And...hmm, some sort of experimenter in magical arts. By the smell I'd guess they do quite a bit of alchemy. A representative of the natural sciences then. Adding me in puts a bit of the mystic and arcane in our hands. It seems we are well prepared!

Tarik bows to the others before sitting. He jangles slightly as he does so. Anyone who takes a moment to look him over will notice that he wears fine clothes of red and yellow. He has many thin strips of cloth wrapped about him, each one with magical runes on them. Hanging from many of these strips are small charms, some referencing astrological signs, while others are talismans sacred to Nethys. From his neck hangs a medallion bearing the sigil of the Arcana Illuminati, one of the most prestigious arcane universities in Nex.

Well met all. What brings such interesting characters to this place? Might I know your stories? How rude of me though, let me introduce myself first. I am Tarik Veihess, scholar of magic and student of the sword. I hail from far Nex and its capital of Quantium. I have journeyed through Katapesh and much of this country to reach beautiful Sothis, and finding myself in need of excitement, answered the call of this Lathrat. So, what say the rest of you?"

Pharasmin Clr 5 AC:18; hp: 36/38; Saves: fort +6 ref +3 will +7; 1 reroll

The black robed Garundi sits quietly on the cushion waiting. One does not rush fate, he thinks. He smiles warmly at the dwarf and half-elf, but holds his tongue. He catches the familiar scent of spices and embalming fluid that appears to come from the native half-elf and smiles at the memories of all the time he spent mastering his delivery of the proper death rites.

His revelry is interrupted by the entry of an impatient and ah, quite beautiful actually, Southerner. He nods back, but waits to eat until he knows whose food he is tasting. Soon after, a bustling and exotically dressed fellow enters. Jaru again smiles in return and waits.

Minor Crab-beast

The curtains are suddenly drawn open and the bowab announces ”Please welcome افندم Lathrat” The honorific used is very similar to Efendim, or Sir, in Osiriani but the intonation is slightly different. Those who know Ancient Ossirion recognize it as the precursor to the modern term He then bows deeply and backs away while facing the floor.

Lathrat is very tall and his head comes near to grazing the roof, while the cut of his red silk robes give the impression of some small degree of corpulence. His skin is blue-gray, smooth and hairless and his arms end in three fingered hands. His robes include a hood that covers most of his face leaving just a few apertures for his eyes and mouth. After entering the room a second set of hands stretch around from behind his back and he gives an elaborate flourish and bow. ”Ah, I see you are all here – good. I am named Lathrat, which has called you, and my companion is Bas’rac” before arranging himself on the cushions in a relaxed, recumbent pose.

Following him into the room is a powerfully built man stripped to the waist with a dark tan and wearing a shendyt (male wraparound skirt). His head is shaved bald and a blue gemstone has seemingly been embedded in his forehead. The gem sparkles in the lantern light. His countenance is dour and he gives a cursory nod before sitting crosslegged by the table.

Tarik as he has Knowledge (planes):
You recognize Lathrat is a Witchwyrd, a merchant known for travelling the planes. You know they are neither evil, nor good – but have mercantile desires and honour contracts made.
Casting an eye over Bath’rac you notice his skin colour is slightly off and suspect that he may have Shaitan (earth genie) heritage in his bloodline.

Those with Ranks in Knowledge (history / religion):
The gem in Bath’rac’s forehead is the symbol of a local group with ties to the Sphinx known as Living Monoliths. They are mighty warriors and are divinely charged with the protection of ancient treasures.

Lathrat continues ”I trust all have introduced to the other? Please partake of the food, and would anyone care for tea or shisha?” Calling out to the bowab, Lathrat barks some orders and soon the bowab enters with a large silver platter. A teapot filled with a mint tisane is placed on the table and poured out to all present in small glass cups. He also receives a hookah, and begins to take large draughts as the air gradually becomes hazy with smoke.

”Before I entrust upon you the details of my ‘request’, please entertain me a story of why you would answer my call.” his red eyes taking in the room intently.

Pharasmin Clr 5 AC:18; hp: 36/38; Saves: fort +6 ref +3 will +7; 1 reroll

The foreigners appear to be becoming yet more foreign, Jaru Toth thinks, then stands and finally speaks:

”Efendim Lathrat and Bas’rac, my fellow applicants; my name is Jaru Toth. The reason I am here is simple: I believe it is my destiny. As you can see by my robes, I am pledged to Pharasma, The Lady of Fate. I have had much fortune and some severe misfortune in my life as was preordained. I have come to the point where I realize a life at the temple is not my destiny and a have wandered looking for a sign as to what lies before me. I believe Pharasma has pointed me to my fate and it has led me to this point and I do not question it."
"Any journey across the desert has its risks. If I may be of service to help you reach your goal safely perhaps I have simply done as I was fated. If I should die then I do not question that either. Only the Great Prophetess knows, but I hope that she has much yet for me to do."

Jaru then bows, has a seat, and beckons the bowab for some tea.

Male Dwarf Rogue 2

"Feh!" Bazil scoffs as he piles a few olives onto a piece of flatbread. "I s'pose I ought to explain something about myself to ya. When I'm walking the streets of a strange city and I happen across a notice like yours - one promising danger, riches, and exploration, I don't stop and ask myself 'why?' I ask myself 'why not?' You've pretty much provided a list of my three favorite things, Lord Lathrat - I hope that title will suffice, you're tongue is still new to me, and I don't want to butcher your honorifics!"
He unceremoniously scarfs down the bread before standing and taking a deep bow, removing his hat with a flourish.
"Bazil Stormdasher is my name, sir, and I'm a professional explorer. This sort of thing is what I do, and I might not be too familiar with your country, or the delightful dangers it might pose, but I'm eager to learn of them, and I'm good at thinking on my feet!"

Female Human (Garundi) Ranger 1/Sorcerer 2

Noor rises from her cushions. She unwinds her headwrap and shakes out her wavy long hair. The black tresses are wrought through with gold wire. In the lantern light, her face shines a coppery bronze and her features well defined. But it is her eyes that draw attention, large almond-shaped and dark with a fierce shine. All leading to a sharp edged beauty of an 18 year old woman.

She gives her host a large sweeping bow. "Thank you افندم Lathrat for your hospitality. I am Noor El'Harkon from the Brazen Hills across the Great Desert. I wish to offer you my skills, for I do have experience in my native element. And though young, I have been killing desert bandits since I could hold a bow. Now, my sword adds even more fear to their ranks." She gestures to the large oryx horn bow and the large falchion resting against her pillow.

"I would be honored if you deemed me skilled enough to join your esteemed expedition." She gives another bow and resumes her seat, cross-legged on a pillow.

Minor Crab-beast

Lathrat laughs with a deep tone "So formal they are, please there is no need to stand or bow. And what of you two?" gesturing to Tarik and Setesh with his left arms.

Bas'rac has not moved to eat or drink while the introductions are being made. His hands rest lightly on his knees and there is an impassive look on his face.

Male Half-Elf Alchemist (Beastmorph/Vivisectionist) 4 (HP 31/31) (AC 21/11/20) (CMD 18) (Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +2) (Init +3) (Perception +13)

Hmmm... It looks like this expedition could indeed be... unusual; but then again, a rather eclectic bunch seem to have answered the call, so perhaps we will be equal to the task.

Setesh bows from the waist to the rather exotic figures that have joined the applicants.

"Greetings افندم Lathrat, my name is Setesh Bantling, and I am an Embalmer by trade. I find myself in need of some fresh air and time away from Sothis to collect my thoughts, and re-evaluate which direction I wish to take with my life.

I have an abiding interest in the history of this great nation, am fluent in both modern Osiriani and the ancient tongue on which it is based, and I can take care of myself - I know the importance of being able to be self-sufficient in the harsh desert, where there are no second chances...

...I am also a devotee of Nethys, the Lord of All Magic, and a firm believer in self-improvement, through whatever means necessary."

He then gives an impish smile.

"Moreover, if worst comes to worst, I can guarantee that anyone who dies (as well as any native animals that you might want to collect) will be adequately preserved for the journey back to civilization."

Female Human (Garundi) Ranger 1/Sorcerer 2

Noor watches her host with great interest. Such a strange creature. Jinn perhaps? By the looks of the jewel in the other's forehead, this expedition should be very profitable.

She sits back on her pillow and marvels at all the strange strokes of luck that have come her way since leaving home.

Minor Crab-beast

Posting slightly out of order as it's almost bedtime for me. When Tarik's online for his intro post, just assume it happens before this.

”As you have opened to me, allow me to do the same.” A wry smile breaks across what you can see of his mouth. ”It may be obvious that I am not of this realm. My race exists as though bedouin merchants who travel from the stars and to places in-between. Upon visiting Sothis many floods ago, I was drawn into it’s heady smells and the earthly delights of it’s bazaars. I have remained since and have grown favored of it’s ‘charms’”

”You are likely aware, the Ruby Prince has opened up the sands of Osirion to those that seek to explore it. While it’s likely that most will die and have their bones scoured clean by the khamsin fuelled winds, there is yet much to find for those that know where to look.” he pauses to take a drag on his shisha.

”My mercantile dealings are mostly in… ‘oddities’, but my eyes and hand have recently passed over and obtained something of note. A scroll was ceded to me in a ‘business dispute’ of whose details are of no import. However it is a peculiar item” His lower left hand fishes around inside his robes and draws forth a scroll. Throwing it at an empty spot on the table, Lathrat’s eyes momentarily tighten and the parchment unfurls and lays flat.

The scroll has a central picture with a spiral of written script fanning out from it. The picture at the centre is of a human headed sphinx in the traditional pose, though holding its head close to the ground. The mouth is open and the bottom jaw lays against the sand. The script seems to be issuing from its mouth, but it is not one that any of you recognize.

”Knowledge of the matter so poorly represented in my thoughts, I consulted with Bas’rac as to its import. The words not known to me are known to he, and tell of the Four Pharoahs of Ascension. It describes a ‘vault’ of kinds, where riches both fair and foul are preserved.” taking another long drag on his shisha. ”The means to access the vault and treasures within were ‘lost’, though my associate believes he knows a worthwhile place to start the search for them”

Those with Knowledge (history):
The Four Pharoahs of Ascension ruled Osirion in the time before it fell to the Qadiri keleshites over six thousand years ago. They unified Osirion under one banner and waged war against the Tekritanin League, winning many great battles before their power waned

”As my girth may tell, I am not one to wander the sands in search of fame or folly. Which brings us to our notice and gathering. After all, اللي يلاقي اللي يطبخ له لية يحرق صوابعه؟"

Ancient Osirion:
Why should one who finds someone to cook for him burn his fingers?
and his mouth twists into another wry smile.

”Now that you have heard of the proposition, would you have anything to say before we move to terms?” his left arms moving forward to retrieve his tisane and a piece of flatbread as his right hands cradle his hookah pipe.

Male Human (Garundi) Magus 3

Jingling as he stands, Tarik bows low to Lathrat, saying "A thousand thanks for your call, Your Eminence. I am named Tarik Veihess, a student of sword and spell. I have come many miles, from the great country of Nex to the south, to find the land of adventure that I have spent my life reading of. Now that I am here, I find it lives up to expectations. Your call for those who would seek danger and riches is exactly what I was looking for: a chance to live an adventure rather than simply reading one." He smiles at Lathrat, and pauses to get some tea, quickly returning to his own introduction.

"I have some skill at magic, knowing some spells of general utility, personal defense, and a few battle spells. My blade also stands ready and I serve ably with both. I am versed in the ancient form of Osiriani, and have been educated in general spellcraft, arcane knowledge, and have made a study of ruins and their environs. It is my hope that these skills will be to your liking, Eminence." Tarik bows once more, and sits back down, returning his attention to his tea.

Pharasmin Clr 5 AC:18; hp: 36/38; Saves: fort +6 ref +3 will +7; 1 reroll

Jaru looks closely at the scroll. ”There is a black sphinx in the wastes beyond Shiman-Sekh. A door was found on the top of the head. No one who has entered has returned,” he observes conversationally.

Hey eyeball, you lookin' at me? oops, I meant to change my domain spell to comp. languages when I switched domains or I’d check out the translation.

Male Half-Elf Alchemist (Beastmorph/Vivisectionist) 4 (HP 31/31) (AC 21/11/20) (CMD 18) (Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +2) (Init +3) (Perception +13)

Setesh quietly sips from his tisane as Lathrat unveils his proposition. However, he cannot hide his interest as the scroll is unfurled.

How utterly fascinating...

Once Lathrat is finished, Setesh smiles.

"Well, hopefully you find our culinary repertoires suitable for you palette."

Female Human (Garundi) Ranger 1/Sorcerer 2

Noor's eyebrows come together at the half-elf's words. Thinking that perhaps she misunderstood something and that her luck may have given out. Her host had spoken in a dialect she did not quite understand, but she did not like the ramifications, if this is to be some kind of joke joke. I am to be no Efreet's cook! We are talking of searching for a Sphinx, I am here to be a desert guide, not a servant. Lathrat's jovial ease grated on her, although she did not no why. Perhaps because he jokes and smiles, yet an expedition will be a dangerous affair. She decides to wait to hear the terms.

And then there is the other one...will he ever smile?

Male Dwarf Rogue 2

A throaty chuckles escapes Bazil's lips as he leans forward to examine the scroll.
"So have you done this before, Mr. Lathrat, or is this going to be your first expedition into dangers unknown? Seems like we've got a shaky lead, at best... Maybe we ought to consider doing a bit more groundwork? And, er, have we got supplies prepared for this journey into the sands? And..." He wipes his hands off on his pants before placing a finger on the drawing of the sphinx. "Are we gonna fight this thing? Never fought a sphinx before, and I don't know too much about them, but I've heard they can be tricky buggers. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for rushing into danger, but I'd prefer to do it with some measure of preparation... or at least strong drink."

Minor Crab-beast

A threatening growl issues from Bas'rac when Bazil talks of fighting the sphinx, before he adds in a dark tone "There will be no combat with the watchers of the tombs. If our paths cross any conflict will be resolved without bloodshed. But I believe the drawing is of a structure so the answer is no."

He continues in a slightly less gravelly tone "I will be the one to accompany you into the wastes, not Lath'rat. Preparations have been made, supplies packed and camels fed and watered. Our first destination is to the foothills of the Pillars of the Sun"

Swallowing a morsel of bread washed down with tea Lath'rat adds "Does that allay your concerns good dwarf?"

Male Dwarf Rogue 2

"Easy there, Bloomers," Bazil raises his palms towards Bas'rac. "Just want to know what we'll be up against. And yeah, sounds like we're in good order. So is there anything we ought to know about these "Pillars of the Sun?"

Minor Crab-beast

Lath'rat responds "The Pillars of the Sun are a range of mountains to the southwest, near the city of Eto."

The air is getting thick with smoke and redolent with the fragrant smell of Lath'rat's shisha.

Pharasmin Clr 5 AC:18; hp: 36/38; Saves: fort +6 ref +3 will +7; 1 reroll

Jaru runs a hand over his shaved head and tries to remember any specific importance the Pillars of the Sun might have had to the Four Pharoahs of Ascension.

Knowledge (history) 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13

"Careful friend Stormdasher, if I am not mistaken Effendim Bas'rac is pledged to the protection of the Sphinx and the ancient treasures it might hold which make me wonder why we are being hired to disturb these ancient treasures." Jaru looks to their benefactors for clarification.

Female Human (Garundi) Ranger 1/Sorcerer 2

"That is a good question, I would like to hear the answer to."

Minor Crab-beast

Bas'rac nods his assent at Jaru's statement. "My order is charged with the protection of tombs and vaults from ages past. And that purpose will be my remit if we travel together. However one cannot protect that which is not found"

Lath'rat continues "The premise of the venture is simple. I supply the scroll and finance, you supply the expertise, and Bas'rac will accompany you to ensure that his orders sensibilities are seen to. If we succeed in finding the vault, we each can take a selection of the treasure - a finder's fee if you will - and cede the remainder to Bas'rac." languidly continuing to smoke as he speaks.

Knowledge History DC 10:
The Four Pharoahs of Ascension were: Anok Fero (the Cerulean Pharoah), Hetshepsu (the Fiend Pharoah), Ankana (the Radiant Pharoah) and the Pharoah of Numbers (whose true name is lost).
They ruled during the third age of the black sphinx - but you are unaware of any link to the Pillars of the Sun

Pharasmin Clr 5 AC:18; hp: 36/38; Saves: fort +6 ref +3 will +7; 1 reroll

Jaru sips his tea considering and then places the cup decisively upon the table. "Perhaps it is my destiny to return these treasures to the living. I will assist you if it is so fated. I take it that if all is readied then we will leave very soon."

Male Half-Elf Alchemist (Beastmorph/Vivisectionist) 4 (HP 31/31) (AC 21/11/20) (CMD 18) (Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +2) (Init +3) (Perception +13)

Setesh continues to sip his tisane, pausing only to interject with a few questions:

"A couple of points for clarification: When we 'investigate' the vault, how will we determine what an equitable 'finder's fee' is? Also, is there anything... specific... that you have in mind that you want us to keep an eye out for? Also, if there are traps or guardians to be bypassed to enter the vault, are we allowed to use 'deadly' force to bypass them, or do they need to be turned-off / subdued?"

He then offers a small smile.

"Other than that, I am certainly interested. Will there be a formal contract?"

Minor Crab-beast

As Setesh mentions terms Lath'rat breaks into a warm grin and sits up on his cushions attentively "And now we come to the heart of the matter. Knowing not may be found I cannot imply what would suit my purpose. My interests are both vast and specific. Also, it would be impolite of me to cast my number first - what percentage would you think fair?" his eyes sparkle with excitement. "My colleague can speak to terms of engagement."

Bas'rac ponders the question for a moment, then intones "That which was once dead, but now lives, should return to Pharasma. That which was first built of stone or wood and now walks may be broken. Those that lie in peace should not be disturbed. Graven images and idols are not to be desecrated. Treasures and trinkets that lie stored, may be taken."

Lath'rat also adds: "My words bind me tighter than my penmanship. Though if it soothes your doubt to see it written, that can be arranged."

Male Half-Elf Alchemist (Beastmorph/Vivisectionist) 4 (HP 31/31) (AC 21/11/20) (CMD 18) (Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +2) (Init +3) (Perception +13)

Setesh nods respectfully to Bas'rac.

"I cannot speak for the others, but I have a great deal of respect for both the Honored Dead, and the handiwork of ancient craftsmen from my chosen profession. I have no intention of disturbing their rest, and will not harm them unless they try to hurry me on to the afterlife."

He then turns his attention back to Lath'rat, with a sparkle in his eye.

"Well, you are financing the expedition, but then again, we are taking all of the risk, so if this venture does not work-out you have not lost anything beyond a scroll, a few supplies, and some employees that you are not particularly invested in...

...How about 60% split between the five of us (i.e. 12% each), and 40% for you? I think that that would be a handsome return on your investment..."

Minor Crab-beast

Lath'rat continues theatrically "Your ill-chosen words must surely wound dear Bas'rac." looking at him with a saddened expression "You have not considered him worthy of any recompense. To think you expect him to serve as your guide and accompany you on this endeavour without being able to celebrate any gain. Surely you are not so callous and cruel."

"Nay, it is required that his needs be considered. Look at him, he is so obviously destitute - why he cannot even afford a kaftan with which to cover his chest. Since you obviously have not intent of seeing his needs met, then I must extend the charity from my own heart and pocket."

"Therefore I must counter with a request for 70% of any finding, both along the journey and in the final vault. From this meagre figure I will allow for Bas'rac to be well seen to, and it still leaves 30% for you all to enjoy"

You have seen this style of haggling many times before in the markets and it is clear that Lath'rat takes great pleasure in it. The journey is more important than the destination, and much better deals can be obtained if you participate with vim and vigour.

Perception DC 15:
You can notice Bas'rac almost imperceptibly roll his eyes and sigh

Male Half-Elf Alchemist (Beastmorph/Vivisectionist) 4 (HP 31/31) (AC 21/11/20) (CMD 18) (Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +2) (Init +3) (Perception +13)

Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (11) + 9 = 20.

Well, well, this could be... fun.

Setesh affects an expression of mock-horror.

"Come now, افندم Lathrat, surely you do not misjudge Bas'rac so? He is clearly an ascetic, who takes little pleasure in worldly goods, except insofar as they allow him to carry-out his duty. One only has to see the sacred stone that he has embedded in his forehead to know that he answers to a higher calling."

He then smiles.

"However, if it will grant you peace of mind, I will happily sacrifice my share of the supplies that you have set aside, so that Bas'rac may journey in comfort, even as I swoon from heatstroke, and my belly is gnawed by hunger; we cannot allow your honored guide to suffer from privation."

Setesh's grin continues to widen.

"I agree, however, that it was remiss of me to exclude him from consideration when it comes to the rewards of this expedition. As he will be traveling with us, and sharing equally in the risks, he should get an equal share of the rewards. However, each of us has our own debts to pay... wear and tear on armor and weapons, upkeep on clothes, use of potions and scrolls, et cetera, and therefore we really cannot go below 12% apiece. Therefore, I counter that we should take 72% of the profits from the vault,to be shared between the six of us. You would still be receiving 28%, which is more than twice what the rest of us will receive, without having to take any personal risks."

He then shrugs.

"As for other treasures that might be found along the way, well, any travelers in the desert can be way-laid by bandits, or stumble across a hidden stash at an oasis, so I would argue any such realised profits would exist beyond the bounds of our agreement, and should be split fairly between us, without having to bother you."

Haggling is something I can do - raising stakes is something that I am also happy to do :-P

Minor Crab-beast

A look of shock spreads across Lath'rat's face "After I have invited you into my house and made you comfortable. Have I not provided you with food and drink with no request for payment. And this is how you insult my hospitality."

"You talk as though I have done nothing. If only you had seen the days that I have spent scouring the bazaar to find supplies. I have bought camels so fine that you would not deign to touch them lest the dirt from your hands spoil their coat. Tents made from the finest cotton plants yearly soaked by the floods and woven into cloth by hand in the houses of master craftsmen. Cold pressed olive oil imported across the waves and salt blasted dry by the rays of sun as it lay recumbent upon the Glazen Sheets."

Shaking his head with a hang dog expression "I too have debts to care for, I have stretched myself to breaking obtaining supplies - if I don't realize quick returns from this venture who knows if my head shall remain on it's shoulders for long."

"For me to turn over the supplies without immediate recompense I must see at least some portion of any gain from the venture. I could see myself being thieved to the extent of accepting such a low value of 30% of any incidental wealth you might encounter along the way" he then sighs "Though it would mean that I could not entertain you in such a display of splendour if you successfully return"

Taking a momentary pause to drag on his shisha "As for the vault itself, why you would not know where to look without my generous offer of the scroll. It seems only fair and just that I take 40% of all that lies within, including first right of selection on any individual item so obtained. You may cede to Bas'rac whatever portion seems fair to you from your final coffer." he then pops an date in his mouth and slowly savours it's flavour.

Male Dwarf Rogue 2

Bazil's eyes go wide at the prospect of loosing rights to first salvage, and he quickly chimes in.
"Of course you are correct, Mr. Lathrat. You've done some pretty solid legwork, but remember that we're the ones dealing with the dangers of the sand. I've been on these expeditions before though, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate you setting the supplies up for us. Why I've been with crooks before that send me off to get what I needed without a word, then took it out of my share. How about this? To show we appreciate your up-frontness, you take 35%, plus half-again the value of the supplies - that gives you a hard number to work with as a base." He pauses as he helps himself to another piece of flatbread, and after swallowing adds: "But we get first choices on individual items, the value of which naturally comes out of our share."

Minor Crab-beast

Lath'rat continues to roll the date around in his mouth as he considers your offer.

I'm going to hold off on responding so that our American based friends get a chance to weigh in on the fun as well :)

Male Half-Elf Alchemist (Beastmorph/Vivisectionist) 4 (HP 31/31) (AC 21/11/20) (CMD 18) (Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +2) (Init +3) (Perception +13)

Setesh raises an eyebrow.

"We are no simple band of rag-tag mercenaries! I am a professional embalmer, and know much of the history of this great nation, as well as being well-versed in the ancient tongue. There is also a devotee of Pharasma, and experienced travelers from beyond this nation's borders, who undoubtedly bring many useful skills to the table. It would be an insult to our professionalism to suggest that we should accept any less than a percentage commensurate to our worthiness."

He then spreads his hands in a gesture of conciliation.

"Nonetheless افندم Lath'rat, whilst I would not dream of marginalizing the contributions you have made to this expedition, consider; just as there would not be an expedition without you, there will also not be an expedition without us - and you seem to have assembled quite a competent band together, who should have an excellent chance at realizing a profit for you on your investment.

However, in the unlikely event that we should fail, and get swallowed-up by one of the desert's many hazards, or even by the vault itself, you will survive, continuing on to make many a canny bargain in the future. I dare say, you might even be able to write-off the expenditures that you have made as a business expense on your annual tax report, in which case, you will essentially have lost nothing."

Setesh pauses briefly to let that sink in, and tip take a sip of his tisane.

"As such, I truly believe that 65% of the proceeds from the vault (split between the five of us) would be the absolute rock-bottom that we could accept and still feel that we were being properly compensated for the risks we are taking, and still feel respected for the skills will bring to the expedition.

As for any incidental treasure that is encountered on the way to the vault, I think that it is only fair that it should be split between the six people who are actually on the expedition. If the vault is as lucrative as you seem to think it is, I am sure that we would all be glad to contribute equally to the celebratory banquet at the successful conclusion of the expedition."

Pharasmin Clr 5 AC:18; hp: 36/38; Saves: fort +6 ref +3 will +7; 1 reroll
DM - Voice of the Voiceless wrote:
Bas'rac ponders the question for a moment, then intones "That which was once dead, but now lives, should return to Pharasma. That which was first built of stone or wood and now walks may be broken. Those that lie in peace should not be disturbed. Graven images and idols are not to be desecrated. Treasures and trinkets that lie stored, may be taken."

Jaru nods his head in approval and watches the haggling with an amused expression on his face. Perhaps the priests of Abadar partake in such activity, but Pharasma's temples receive a steady flow of donations as certainly as all are born and some day must pass. A tithe of 10% is all he would ask for himself, but he allows his companions to bargain for a better portion.

Female Human (Garundi) Ranger 1/Sorcerer 2

Noor holds an olive pit between her teeth and grinds it. Her eyes follow the proceedings but it is ...AGONY!!! These city men and their bickering and dithering. In the Brazen Peaks, everyone knows the value of a bow, a goat, or a jug of water. And your honor was as strong as the steel you wielded. But here...'my children will shame me...a pittance you offer'. It is nauseating.

She spits the ragged pit out. She fights the urge to get up and pace or to repeatedly wiggle the falchion within its sheath. Instead she looks around with a half smile of feigned interest on her face, not following a word at this point, but eager to get the expedition started.

Male Human (Garundi) Magus 3

Tarik follows the proceedings with great interest, a small smile on his face. "I had expected that adventure would be found in dangerous ruins, but this seems quite exciting nevertheless!" After a few more minutes of listening, Tarik attempts to intercede, "Please, gentlemen, let us not be overly worried about this. Can we not make this simple? We who go to the tomb will take 60%, a tenth for each of us which includes Bas'rac, and the remaining 40% will go to our patron. Those items we find shall be divided according to who might make best use of them. Truly remarkable items should be cataloged and taken back to Sothis so that we might ascertain their true worth. Then we can determine what any profit from them might be. Does this satisfy?" Tarik looks about expectantly.

Male Dwarf Rogue 2

One of Bazil's stumpy legs shoots out in an attempt to kick Tarrick beneath the table, though he is seated to far away to garner any success. "That would be a fine offer if this were some Andoren compromise, but we're no deposed nobles, we're adventurers, and adventurers take 65%. Plus first choice on selected items. After all, Mr. Lethrac, if profit is your chief concern, what does it matter to you what the exact nature of your swag is?"

Minor Crab-beast

"I have heard your words and savor their meaning, and have one final offer that I am sure you will find agreeable. 20% of any gain en-route capped at the value of the supplies I provide - which you will find are not merely mundane."

"As to the final destination, I must ask for 30% and first selection of any one item that interests me. You choose all that you care for then, and I am left with the final dregs that remain? Surely this will be amenable to you. Shall we call for parchment? Or is bonded word sufficient?"

Male Dwarf Rogue 2

"20% of our en-route loot, and 30% from the vault, plus one item of your choice. Seems amenable to me. How about the rest of you?"

Male Half-Elf Alchemist (Beastmorph/Vivisectionist) 4 (HP 31/31) (AC 21/11/20) (CMD 18) (Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +2) (Init +3) (Perception +13)

Setesh raises an eyebrow at Bazil.

"No, no, he is suggesting up to 20% of any incidental items, capped at the value of the equipment that he is providing us, plus 30% of everything from the vault, with the added proviso that he be allowed to pick one item from the total vault haul first (which comes out of his 30%), and then the rest of his 30% comes from whatever we do not want."

He smiles indulgently.

"It is a subtle distinction, but an important one..."

Setesh then turns to Lath'rat.

"I find your terms to be acceptable. Your bonded word is sufficient for me. When shall we start?"

Female Human (Garundi) Ranger 1/Sorcerer 2

Suddenly realizing the negotiations are at an end.

CLAP "Word!" Noor exclaims with a sudden powerful clap and a leap to her feet. Her voice ringing surprising louder and more powerful than she intended.

"Er..I mean. Your word is fine, we are all of honor here, correct. These terms sound agreeable. I do not begrudge the choice of item to our benefactor, as this expedition does not happen without your blessing." Her manner and bearing suggest that she is used to having her word followed.

Will put the final touches on the character sheet this weekend. Thinking of swapping out Ease of Faith trait with Princess trait. Noor's arrogance seems to be forming, likely the result of being a chieftain/head priest's daughter. The Princess trait is from Pathfinder Companion: Qadira, Gateway to the East. Although her affiliation to the secret brass dragon shrine is still valid, it is her impatience and arrogance that led her to being denied entry. Although those traits are likely Draconic in origin and starting to manifest in her, and she will need to learn to control them before she is allowed entry.

Princess trait found here with your permission. Basically +1 to diplomacy and intimidation with one becoming a class skill. Slightly more powerful than the Ease of Faith trait or I can see it being to much, but I will RP it that was regardless.

Male Dwarf Rogue 2

"Yes, I think that your word should suffice. There's a certain degree of assumed understanding in the spoken word that makes it so much easier to deal with. Contracts have too many loopholes in the fine print."

To the GM:
Just a heads up. Reviewing Bazil's skills, I realized he makes a TERRIBLE survivalist, and that even though he's not adverse to roughing it, he's not really a wilderness type. To that end, I swapped out his ranks in Survival for ranks in Knowledge (Dungeoneering). Just let me know if that's a problem and I'll change it back.

Pharasmin Clr 5 AC:18; hp: 36/38; Saves: fort +6 ref +3 will +7; 1 reroll
DM - Voice of the Voiceless wrote:
"As to the final destination, I must ask for 30% and first selection of any one item that interests me. You choose all that you care for then, and I am left with the final dregs that remain? Surely this will be amenable to you. Shall we call for parchment? Or is bonded word sufficient?"

"Honored host, you are most generous. I think it is only proper that you have first choice of any artifacts we recover. It may be you already have something in mind... however that is none of my concern. I find this agreement quite acceptable and my word is my bond."

Minor Crab-beast

The tension floods from his body and Lath'rat lays back down on his cushions smiling widely "Excellent, this will be a most agreeable arrangement. The camels are ready and will be loaded tomorrow, so what say you to setting out with the rise of the sun two days hence?"

Bas'rac, who until now had been listening impassively, rises to his feet "It is agreed, I will be waiting outside the Southern gate in two days. You need not worry for food or water, but if you wish for anything else before we travel you should make arrangements on the morrow" with that he nods at Lath'rat, formally bows to the party, turns and walks out of the Emporium.

Lath'rat continues "Will you stay for supper?" he calls out to the bowab and he brings in a single platter laden with rice, spiced meats, and chutneys. "I will eat later, but please take your fill. If you have no other place to sleep, then you may also stay here until you depart. Have you any more questions of me before I take my leave?" taking another drag on the shisha.

Bazil and Noor - no problems with the touch ups on the characters, and if anyone else wants to massage things slightly that's ok too. Also, feel free to swap out kit as well before we depart Sothis.
What are people's plans for the free day before you depart?

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