An epic search for the Amethyst heptagon leads a party of fresh graduates through the northern reaches of Ustalav. Based in Karcau, the party visits places like the dark Castle Jarovich or the dangerous alleys of Carrion Hill.
Well that was interesting, not only did I get blasted by some madman, it seems that I cannot even hit a simple rat. Clearly my training is not paying off. Thank you for the assist my friends, because I know that this would have been an early graduate death if not for the both of you.
Walks over to the madman and takes a looks to see if there still is a sign of life.
Well done Zahur! The real thing sure seems different than our training in Professor Tarkalev's class. Are you well? I have packed my healer's kit if you are in need of assistance. That wound does not look good. Let's hope there is no disease.
Heal Check to clean Zahur's wounds, apply first aid, and treat disease (just in case): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (20) + 8 = 28
And how are you Spearborn? You look unscathed out of this whole affair. Iomedae was with us today. Let us give thanks!
Solaric cleans his sword and takes a moment to give a prayer of thanks to Iomedae.
Prayer to Iomedae:
Iomedae I give you thanks for using me as a channel of your will and smiting this evil madman. You are my guide. Lead me onward today in your ways.
After a silent moment, Solaric will cautiously return to the Madman and search his belongings for clues.
Thank you for the assistance Solaric. You are right, maybe it was my wits with facing my first real encounter. I had no problems with Professor Takalev's classes, I don't know if it was the stench, the rotten teeth, or being faced by some sort of madman, but I just couldn't seem to keep my composure.
Hopefully, it won't happen again. I'll try not to dishonor the academy any more and my title as graduate.
Sheats his sword and starts to search near the altar for any clues.
Hey Zahur and Kirk, look here! This madman looks like some sort of priest of Norgober!. Here is his unholy symbol. I think we are on to something here. He also carries this spellbook, a light mace, and few gold. Here take 8 gold each. Oh, and he also carried this...elixir. Kirk, do you have any idea what this could be?
I hand Kirk the violet colored potion. I put the 6 remaining gold in my belt pouch.
This place seems a little dangerous, and Zahur is still wounded. Perhaps we should consider going back and getting some extra help before we press on. What do you think?
I use my knowledge of religion to see if there is any clue I might know about Norgober. Knowledge, Religion skill check 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10
I also begin a more thorough examination of this creature.
Perception 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
I have added more detail to my background. Does this work for you?
As soon as combat finishes, Kirk lowers his spear and retrieves his crossbow from where he dropped it. As Solaric searches the madman, Kirk joins Zahur in inspecting the room.
Perception 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12
Upon Solaric's discovery, Kirk will turn and say to the paladin, "A religious freak, huh? Poetic." Then, with a nod regarding the corpse on the ground, "Doesn't the poor fool know that the Gray Master doesn't care for favorful mortals?"
"At least the spellbook might come in handy for some of our comrades on the other side of town, let's bring it to them. As for the potion, magic isn't really my thing, but they can probably help with that as well. Random guess, however? Some sort of healing potion: he was obviously expecting a fight, so if it were a typical buffer potion, he'd have already drank it."
"I'm going to take a quick look around before we get out of here. No sense in coming all this way and returning empty handed. There's gotta be something here."
Agreed then. Search the level. But be careful, fanatics such as these have no honor and have no problem laying traps. Take your time as you search.
While Kirk and Zahur search, Solaric quiets his mind into a deep focus as he tries to detect any aura of evil around the room.
A moment later, Solaric continues talking to Spearborn, I have heard of Norgober referred to as the Reaper of Reputation, but I have never heard of the title Gray Master. Did you learn of him in Pettoria? or does your knowledge of him go back further in your past? I am not surprised that a follower of this "Gray Master" would be involved with murder, but I wonder if he was just a tool in the grander scheme of things. I know that Iomedae has no time for such fiends!
The tall garundi steps outside and lets out a two burst whistle. Shortly afterwards the black mare that had gone into the alley returns to its owner.
Zahur then proceeds to put his greatsword on a sheat besides the lance and equips the longsword and shield that are attached to the saddlebags.
Returning inside he looks to his companions.
Shall we proceed upstairs? I know that it would probably be best to check with our companions, but since we are already here we might as well explore every part of the building. Solaric, you saidd that Norgober is the Reaper of Reputation, what would our ambassador care if his reputation is slandered, tarnished, or muddied if he is dead?
That is an impressive mare! She looks smarter than some of my fellow students in Professor Keizak's etiquette and nobility class. Is she smart enough to find our companions with a note attached? I agree that time is of the essence and that we should move forward, however, I also think it would be helpful to send for backup just in case. Either way, I am prepared to lead on upstairs.
Zahur, let's send this note along on your brilliant beast. Does she have a name? How does this sound for a message?
Solaric quickly glances around the room to find a parchment to write on and begins to scribe the following in Taldane:
My dearest Countess and Pitr,
I hope this note finds you well. We are at the ambassador's residental manor and we have run into resistance. Zahur is hurt, but we are following a strong lead. We are dealing with followers of "The Gray Master". Please come immediately. We have left the front gate open. We are proceeding up the stairs past the rats.
Sincerely, Zahur, Solaric, & Kirk
Is there anything else to add? It makes me nervous to write this note in such a common language in case it gets intercepted. Do either of you know a language that is understood by the countess or Pitr? Don't you speak the language of the Varisian, Kirk? Here, you scribe this and we will get it sent.
I don't believe that you should put so many details on it, possibly shorten it so that it only puts Kirk's name,since they haven't met us yet, that he is waiting for them at his last location, and that new details have come up since their last encounter together.
This is in case the note is intercepted.
Dear Countess and Pitr
Please meet me at my last know location. New details have come up that should come to your attention. Bring the mare back with you, she will respond to Faithful Night in Osiriandi.
The rest of your journey back to the academy square proceeds without further interferences so that you reach it at nearly 3AM.
CV, i believe we are already at the square. IIRC each group was to regroup in 2 hours from departure which would be now. Pitr was interested in rejoining the festivities, but if the Countess is worried about their companions,he'd be up for a check in @ the ambassador's place. sounds like pony express is on the way, too.
Pitr asks the Countess to update him on what she's discovered so far and where the rest of the party went.
CV, you don't have to restate, I've read through everything. just getting Pitr up to date in game
Lurking in the shadows of the academy square Victoria and Pitr watch alot of drunken graduates stagger to their rooms and a handful of couples vanishing in the stables...
Shortly after the clocktower chimes thrice an impressive warhorse gallops on the square.
Since I think the Countess happily joins your little midnight ride *cough* we will go on
All in all it took about 25 minutes until Zahur's clever steed returns with Pitr and the countess. The superb training it went through even enables the horse to let a tiefling ride on it.
Absolutely sure footed and swift does the horse find its way until it reaches the manor of the ambassador where Kirk, Solraic and Zahur wait.
Well met! Look who has arrived. If I am not mistaken it is the Countess Victoria and Pitr Jendarne. Your reputations are well known and I must admit that I am ever so grateful that you have arrived. Your timing is impeccable. But please forgive me, although we have met, I have not properly introduced myself. I am Solaric, formerly of the house of Zekkaran. I am a servant of Iomedae, and now as I find myself in this crisis of the academy, I find myself at your service as well. As Victoria and Pitr approach, Solaric bows in great respect.
In response to Solaric's discussion of Norgorber, Kirk pipes up only briefly, "The Gray Master is his name to some, to others he has a different name. The mystery is intended." He speaks little more about the god.
When the others arrive, he is pleased to move on. "Shall we continue on upstairs, then? I don't think this is the time or place to bring each other completely up to speed, we can handle that in a tavern or something afterwards."
I am eager and willing to lead you, however, this armor does not lend itself to surprise. I am also not skilled at noticing traps that these cowardly fiends lay before us. But I will trust to my senses and to the guidance of Iomedae to lead us through safely. Let us go forth!
As Victoria and Pitr approach, Solaric bows in great respect.
Victoria smiles graciously at the 'appropriate reception'.
"We too were beset by assassins. The assassins were sent by some masked fellow, and caught us at the docks, fortunately we got the better of them and they are no longer a threat; what manner of villains have caused you such injury?"
At the suggestion of going upstairs...
"I'm always game for a dare, however my magics are quite drained from the assassins... perhaps some silent scouting would be of use before we barge in any doors?"
With that, a small black snake starts appearing from Victorias sleeve.
If we go up, Naga can sneak a small distance ahead to look into rooms in front of us... with such a good stealth skill (and it being dark) it would be hard to spot
My dear Countess, it grieves me to hear that these villains dare to take your life. As for the injury caused to Zahur. . . It was the work of a madman follower of the “Reaper of Reputation”, Norgober. And as Spearborn has revealed to me, he goes by many other names including the “Gray Master”. Such is the way of these dark villains. However, with the will of Iomedae behind my blade, I struck him down, as well as his filthy little rats. Clearly, he will also be of no bother to us any more. However, I did find these items on him. Perhaps you would be interested in this.
I pass the thin spell book and the violet colored potion to Victoria.
At the sight of a small black snake appearing from Victoria’s sleeve, Solaric reacts with startlement.
My dear. . . you are full of surprises. You have always appeared to be a mystery to me, but this does take me off my guard. Is she safe? I mean, will she bite? Forgive my lack of understanding, but do you expect this creature to scout for us?
Victoria collects the book and the vial, and thumbs the book to skim its content.
Is she safe? I mean, will she bite? Forgive my lack of understanding, but do you expect this creature to scout for us?
"She is perfectly safe and won't bit me at all, however my dear Naga is most suited for the game of catching rats as well as mice of the very human variety... let us refrain from using the word creature though, she has such delicate feelings..."
Detect Magic on the body as well as the book and potion.
Hail Pitr, I hope that Night did not give you too many problems on your way here. I know that you had a hard time mastering the Osiriani tongue with its clicks back in our classes.
Pitr grins widely at seeing Zahur. Good to see you, my friend! Well, i'll just call your gallant steed, Night, if that's all right.
As an aside to Zahur, Pitr confides-
hmmm, 'Spooky' Spearborn. I wouldn't call him the cream of Pettoria, though I suppose he's suited for creeping about. and what's with the ebon elf, more fiendborn? I guess the horned lady has turned out OK, but we are certainly an odd group...
Pitr gives a more formal greeting to the others and nods that he is ready to go ahead.
The black viper disappears up the stairs, and Victoria appears preoccupied in deep thought as you all wait.
"There is no obvious threat upstairs, but as always, be wary of traps... a snake may have been too light to trigger them. Apparently a window is open up there, perhaps someone has already fled the scene"
Ii agree, it is a strange concoction of a party that we have, but even though Spearborn wasn't the 'cream' his tendancies have proved invaluable this night.
Turns towards the huge double doors.
Let me go check outside if there is any trace to be found. Kirk maybe you should check upstairs if you can see anything that the countess' friend might have missed, as well as having a higher vantage point to look out the window
Heads outside in a rush to try and see any signs of anyone.
Kirk grunts in a neutral matter: more of a guttural recognition of his job than something displaying any actual emotion. He moves for the stairs and slowly advances, keeping his eyes peeled for traps or something that doesn't belong.
At various moments as we waited for Naga to return, Solaric takes time to privately make connections and converse with each of his aquaintances, hoping to build unity with the party.
I understand that you are quite the able warrior. Perhaps during our free moments on this adventure you would consider training with me? The longsword was the weapon of Iomedae, and someday I hope to take the sword oath. I would appreciate your willingness to work with me and help me improve my skill with this weapon.
You are a mystery to me, my lady. Forgive me for being so direct, but I lack your grace and eloquence. Do tell me, where is your homeland? Have you always been a countess? Pardon my curiosity, but my mother was to be a countess until she was exiled from her land. This is a grave injustice that one day I hope to bring to light.
Zahur, you are clearly a great horse master! Riding is one of those things that I have trained in at school, but it has never come easily to me. I have fallen off of those beasts more times than I care to remember. I nearly missed graduating due to the results of my riding proficiency exam. Somehow you are able to communicate with these animals with the appearance of ease. If you are willing, I would appreciate any instruction you could offer when the opportunity arises.
Kirk, I saw you eyeing that snake suspiciously. I don’t know about you, but that thing gives me the creeps. I wonder if it is poisonous. Isn’t that what you have invested a great deal of your time in here at the academy? I hope you are not planning on milking Naga for a new concoction you are making?
Solaric follows Kirk Spearborn up the stairs at a relatively safe distance of about 20 feet.
Slowly and carefully advancing upstairs, you cannot detect any traps.
Once at the upper landing you observe that the complete first floor of the building consists of an immensely large library. Shelf after shelf line all walls and there are satin-cushioned chairs placed in front of a great marble fireplace and a dark wooden table in the middle of the room.
After your eyes have adapted to the darkness you notice that most of the books haven been pulled out of the shelves and been thrown to the ground. Besides that, most of them have been destroyed: the pages cut or utterly draggled-you even notice that a large amount of volumes is missing entirely (assumed that the shelves were all stocked).
It seems like someone has willingly destroyed a large source of knowledge and written history and information. A window at the north wall of the room stands open and a breeze of cold night air sweeps through the room drifting some loose pages around.
Once Solaric arrives in the library safely, he takes a moment to visually scan the room.
Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18
If his low light vision is sufficient, he will begin looking through some of the damaged books to see if he can tell what kind of information was being destroyed. He is wondering if there is a pattern to the destruction. Is it a particular subject or just information in general? He will also look through some of the tomes that were not touched at all.
"I don't mind the snake, I'm just jealous of the tool it poses. As for poisons, isn't everyone at least a little bit interested? If Pettoria taught me one thing, it's that not taking your advantages for granted is the surest way to success.
Kirk also begins searching through the mess, looking for any clue the suspect might have left behind.
Take 20 Perception, if possible. If not, Perception:1d20 + 5 ⇒ (16) + 5 = 21
After roughly 15 minutes of searching you come to the conclusion that the ambassador posessed an enormous library with written information and knowledge about a immense variety of topics (culture, history, arts, magic etc.).
You can't extract a pattern regarding the destroyed volumes and the destruction seems rather arbitrary.
Finding a tome that is totally unscathed is quite difficult and you just manage to find a song book that wasn't touched.