The singer returns from yet another sell-out performance at his opera house. Tired, but elated, he looks forward to a quiet night for a change.
"Perhaps if I go to the grand lodge I'll be able to dodge most of my fans and get some rest..." he sighs. Even the sigh is musical, a soft gentle caress of the ears of those lucky enough to lurk near-by.
A scruffy, big, dark-haired man is lying on the grass nearby, and an equally untidy wolf is lying beside him. When he hears Orophin's sigh, he looks at him, and waves.
"Hjey, sing-boy! Grand lodge, you say? You are our lad? I'm Vasili", he says with a Brevoy accent. He takes a big gulp from his waterskin, but the smell tells that it contains something much stronger. He burbs loudly and offers the waterskin to Orophin.
"Rest, bah! A chug of this, you sing all night! Don't be a wuss, come, sing with me. You know this one about a broad, Katyusha..."
Vasili starts to sing with his deep voice unbelievably badly.
Orophin winces slightly as Vasili starts off key, and then goes downhill from there. However The Singer is nothing if not up for a challenge. He pauses for a moment to work out exactly how bad his fellow pathfinder is at singing.
Cooperate...what the heck.
Then taking a slug from the waterskin he chimes in
"I once knew a broad named Katyusha,
A broad hipped woman who would use-ya
We went for a ride
My sword she did deride
I'll never forget that Katyusha."
sing, circumstantial penalty: 1d20 + 26 - 10 ⇒ (6) + 26 - 10 = 22
As he walks along the path, on his way from the training grounds Kitajo hears singing. He stops off to investigate the source of the humorous song.
A tall monk with a shaved head appears from around a bush and smiles broadly at Orophin, who was clearly the singer.
"Join in..." smiles Orophin, starting on the second verse
"I went on a trip to Pezzack,
Where I thought to charm her with Music
But who should I spy?
Who brings forth a sigh?
T'was her sister that I found in my sack!"
Three owls fly overhead carrying parchments. An odd time, midday for an owl to be flying. But nonetheless, after a couple cicrles, they eventually drop right in front of each of you, and hand you your letters. Each addressed to you with your name on it. They fly away immediately.
Everyone else can assume you received your letters at place of residents.
Once again we find ourselves at the forefront of a great discovery involving Thassilon. Please meet up with your fellow agents in the Publican House in Riddleport. It is a popular tavern and a temple to Cayden Cailean. Once you’ve gathered together, proceed to the Shoanti camp location marked in the map I’ve given you, south of the Calphiak Mountains near the shores of the Varisian Gulf. There you will meet with the Shoanti leader Tide Watcher. She contacted me for help after her discovery of a Thassilonian ruin near their homes.
I trust you understand how rare it is for the Shoanti to reach out for help, and how vital this makes your mission. Continued friendly relationships with the Shoanti are a high priority for the Society, as is learning whatever you can about this ruin and its original purpose. A word of caution, though—I know little about what you may face ahead. If the mission proves too dangerous, do not let your pride as new agents stand in the way of common sense.
I’ve enclosed money to pay for your passage and provisions along the journey. Try not to spend it all in one place.
Sincerely, Sheila Heidmarch
You may have heard of Sheila, the once but retired Venture Captain in Varisia. An expert in Thassilonian lore and always looking for new opportunities in discovery of Thassilonian Artifact. It's unclear to you why she decided you are the best fit for this job. But a job's a job nonetheless, and you soon find yourselves gathered at the popular tavern in the pirate ridden city of Riddleport. It's a simple wooden tavern, with the likes of pirates, rogues, thieves, and general scummy people. Loud chatter, general drunkard behaviour, and a few fights occur while you attempt to group yourself for the adventure. You agree to meet the rest in this rowdy tavern prior to seeking your contact down at the port.
Good time for openings/introductions if you haven't already made yours! Once everyone has posted we will move right into it.
Rolling up his scroll and placing it in his pack Kitajo will accompany Orophin and Vasili to the tavern. He will make a point of stopping along the way to buy 2 potions of Mage Armor. Added to my profile. We don't have anyone who can use my want without a UMD so I'll get some pots.
Ashra's enthusiasm shows in her step as she skips on into the Riddleport Publican House. Ahh, nothing like the smell of ale, piss and vomit to let you know you're in a good old temple to Cayden Cailean she thinks to herself as she dodges out of the way of a brawl that has taken up much of the entryway. Looking back down at the scroll, the raven-haired ifrit quickly memorizes the descriptions of her fellow agents before looking around... And realizing that the bard, the man with the wolf and the lean unarmored man she just passed while walking in are her contacts. She turns around to greet them, her lithe figure making the loose desert robe around her swirl out. "Pathfinders? Yes, no, no, yes? Yes? Great! Ashra Ashcleave, the Gazelle of Demirah at your service" she announces with a smile.
I will spend 2 PP on a wand of Cure Light Wounds.
"Pathfinder, singer, and lover of life.." starts the oddly effeminate Orophin. "and ladies, of course."
He ducks as a scoundrel tosses a chair through where his head had been but moments before.
"I'm not sure this place really appreciates my taste in music.."
Vasili waves at Ashra when she mentions Pathfinders.
"Vasili. Wait, I'll get a pint", he greets before heading to the tavernkeeper. "Сергей, стой!", he commands his wolf who obediently waits with the rest of the group.
A bit later Vasili returns with a large mug of dirty-coloured liquid. He takes the nearest chair, crashes on it, lifts his legs on the table and starts to gulp down the cheap drink. "So, hot broad, you know the job? Who we kill?" he asks Ashra.
Petrok remembered staring at the small chamber's ceiling, in his Lastwall apartment. Half-Orcs were not a welcome site in the city, so they tended to stay in the docks area or like Petrok, sequestered in their chambers. His journey from Belkzen to the city of crusading defenders was not pleasant. News of failure can make in journey slow. It's all because of a rumor of some legendary book! Bah!!! After a scolding by Venture Captain Besnik, Petrok was debriefed by a few knights of Ozem. They were not satisfied with his answers either. A few days latter he was traveling overland again on his way to Magnimar.
A debriefing of that took over a week, held him up in Magnimar. His last mission an utter failure, Petrok was caught by surprise when Heidmarch's missive arrived. Another suicide mission perhaps? Finish the job the started? Reluctantly, Petrok tore open the letter and read the contents.
Another week and another city...Riddleport this time...**sigh**
Petrok is last to arrive at the Publican house. It was pretty obvious who his new companions would be. An eclectic group of individuals gathered near the hearth at a single table..a couple wore Wayfinders. Time to put on a professional face...no mater what you feel about you're own failures. Petrok strives forward his Tattoo riddled faced not betraying a hint of indecision. You must be the new group of agents I've drawn this assignment with... my name is Petrok, I've been with the Pathfinders for 5 years now. I am a Shaman of the Green Faith. It's a pleasure to make all of your acquaintance. After introductions are through Petrok says, The message I received indicated the Shoanti had discovered some Thassilonian ruins near southern part of the Calphiak Mountains. By the shores of the Varisian Gulf? Petrok pauses to make sure everyone received the same message. Do any of you have further information regarding our mission? I've never journeyed to that area of Varisia..have any of you?
You continue some idle chatter for a little while more until the designated time to meet your alias. The walk to the port is only a block away, and you wonder how you got here unscathed with the multitude of pirates and scoundrels picking fights at every corner.
The sound of crashing waves and seabirds mixes with the smell and cool spray of saltwater at the entrance of a wide, low sea cave open to the Varisian Gulf. A bustling community is hard at work in the dim morning light: tall, tattooed men and women clean and fillet fish, while others toss crustaceans into pots; a group of older children sit in a circle on the sand near the water’s edge and repair nets and harpoons; nearby, several women are busily patching holes in a small boat.
“This is not a sight very many outsiders ever see, Pathfinders,” says a tall, muscular woman. Her head is shaved and tattoos line her shoulders, arms, and neck. “But we are pleased you have come. Kel-grish! Welcome! Let us walk.”
“I am Tide Watcher, the jothka of this tribe,” she says, as she leads the way onto a small path heading up the hill above the cave. “As you probably know, the Shoanti do not often call upon outsiders for help. But this is a special circumstance.” She stops atop the hill and takes a deep breath of the wind blowing off the water before turning to the hills and mountains to the north.
“Two weeks ago I stood watch on this spot, minding both the water and the land. Suddenly a plume of flame rose into the air in the hills there.” She points slightly northwest. “I took a group of warriors to investigate. When traveling down familiar caverns, we soon found a place where the floor had recently collapsed into another series of tunnels that had smooth, worked walls. Then we found the stone door. It flickered with flame and was deeply carved with the runes we know to be the language of Thassilon.” She pauses, a sour look on her face. “It is forbidden to explore places marked with these runes, so I thought it best to simply try to collapse the cave entrance and be done. But then I saw the door was open. Something had either gotten in or gone out."
“I sent word to our allies in Magnimar of what we’d found. I contacted Sheila Heidmarch specifically because I have heard that under her direction, the Pathfinders have made fair dealings with the Shoanti, laid the spirit of an ancient symbol of peace to rest, and stopped a Runelord from rising once again. "
“Five days ago, a priest named Julian arrived from Magnimar and claimed he could seal the door. He worships a good god of monuments, he said, and was confident he could succeed. I have not seen him since, however, so I do not know what has happened.”
Tide Watcher turns to the group. “Pathfinders, I want you to learn the nature of this place beyond the door and determine if it is a threat to my tribe. If it is within your ability to eliminate it, do so. If not, we will discuss closing off the cave entrance permanently. Do you have any questions?”
Things you may know about Thassilon or the Shoanti people, you may attempt to make all checks listed. If you exceed the DC you recall all information at lower DCs as well.
Kn History: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14
The history of the region is just outside of Kitajo's knowledge base.
***Back in the tavern***
"Oooh..." replies Ashra with a sultry wink towards the blonde-haired nameless one. "Well, between you and that rugged slab of meat, I'm going to have to stay sharp and on point..." She kneels down to scratch the wolf behind it's ears. [b]"Noone wants to get caught by surprise. Isn't that right you rugged beast you" she coos for the animal's benefit, an easy grin on her face.
The half-orc enters and asks his questions. Ashra shakes her head. "Only been to Kaer Maga myself. Sorry. I'm Ashra, he's Vasili, that one is adorable, and that one hasn't said much yet. And as to the extra information, or "who we're killing today" ..." She gets up and stretches, grabbing her drink. "I think we'll find out from the Shoanti soon enough!"
***Back to the present***
"So I hear that there were more than just a couple of those Lords of Runes. Or whatever. Did the symbol identify who the door belonged to?" asks the ifrit, breathing in the fresh sea spray with visible relish.
Later when we get the chance to gather information.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (15) + 10 = 25
"I'm not really a student of history..." admits Orophin.
dikp(GI): 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (3) + 18 = 21
"but I've heard all sorts of rumours about the Shoanti! Why do you cover yourself in tattoos?" he asks, without really thinking about it.
"Oh you mean about the ruins? What more can you tell us of this priest. Did he name his god? Was he human? " he pauses for a moment.
"Presumably the tunnel went in another direction as well, did you explore there at all? How about the caves above? What were they used for?"
"Go and check a hole? Bah, easy. What was that thing gone through door? We go and bash it, right?"
Vasili doesn't look too enthusiastic about the exploration part of the mission.
She attempts to answer your questions one by one to the best of her abilities, "Our tribe has a deep history with Thassilonians, as far as we are concerned, they are no good. Matter not who the ruins belonged to, it must be taken care of appropriately. Bashing if you must."
"The priest was definitely human, a elder blond man. I unfortunately to not know his god, but I put my trust in him."
"The tunnels itself are infrequently used for transportation, I have a map with the rough outline of the tunnels that you can use to make your way to the site"
"And lastly, our tattoos are a representation of our beliefs, and of your totem spirits."
Tide Watcher also informs you that there is a small marketplace run by her tribe if you wish to make any simple purchases before making way to the site.
"I can see well in the darkness, as music needs no light to reach an audience." notes Orophin.
"However I'm not so sure about the rest of you."
Turning to Tide Watcher he asks "Are there any threats you know of in the area, or that have been experienced by your people in the tunnels? "
Then in a sing-song voice adds "What is it you transport by the tunnels?"
Petrok bows to the Tide Watcher, Thank you Tide Watcher, we shall leave first thing tomorrow morning. May your ancestors spirits guide us. (note: to GM, my Camel and the equipment on it, were left in Magnimar.
Ashra bows. "Well thank you for the trust you place in us. Mind if we go about, ask some questions of your tribes-folk?"
Just laying the basis of our Gather information check, which should take us 1d4 hours all told.
Tide Watcher looks funnily towards Orophin, but continues the conversation nonetheless. "The tunnels have been known to be relatively safe from any dangers, most of the time we use it to transport food and other goods to neighbouring tribes. There is nothing special known of these tunnels."
Turning and bowing back to Petrok and Ashra, she says"By all means, take any preparations you must to make yourselves feel ready for the journey at hand."
time?: 1d4 ⇒ 1
Ashra would learn everything up to the diplomacy DC25, feel free to start sharing it.
Ashra, having spent some time with the locals, goes back to confer with her fellow Pathfinders to retell what she has been told.
"Interesting stuff"[ she concludes "But that doesn't tell us much about our grotto. Or any more about that "cleric" who stopped on by. So, I think I'm going to get me some daggers and we shoudl be oon our way!"
Would it be possible to purchase about five cold iron daggers, and a bandolier? Just remembered my sheet had a big GET A RANGED WEAPON on it, so I'd also spring for a composite longbow and 40 arrows.
Petrok comes back from the market with a new silver headed small mace, Got a nice price on it...if nothing else, it will make for a good souvenir! Petrok says while admiring the Shoati craftsmanship. Petrok purchased a silvered lt. mace. He is ready to go otherwise
Those purchases are fine and can be done at the marketplace she mentioned earlier. Anyone else who need to make purchases can retcon now. We're going to move along the story.
After some minor dealings with the local Shoanti, Petrok and Ashra note that the majority are not friendly to outsiders and have preference not to deal with them if they didn't have to. They certainly made no attempt to be friendly or have small talk.
After some time, you meet up again with Tide Watcher on a agreed pre-determined time. "Walk with me Pathfinders. It is time we headed for the ruins" Tide Watcher says as she leads you to the cave, taking you on a short hike. "You shall travel through the fallen rock caves. It is called that because it is a cave made from fallen rock." Tide watcher notes and points you off to one of the vast network of caves that connect to this port. The map shows a series of lines that are supposed to be the network of the fallen rock cave, and a specific route is highlighted.
After a half-mile hike north guided by Tide Watcher, the Pathfinders arrive at a makeshift camp outside a cave entrance guarded by several warriors. They greet Tide Watcher and explain the current situation. The scouts here have not been inside recently, nor have they seen the priest since he entered. Tide Watcher thanks them and They ordered to them remain outside to keep any enemies from emerging.
"This is where you start your journey. Are you prepared?"
Kitajo reaches into his pack, withdraws a small vial and drinks the contents Potion of mage armour. He nod his acceptance and heads off with Ashra into the caves. What do you think we'll find in there?
We are ready tide watcher. Visili and Kitajo now would be the time to prepare your source of illumination unless you have magical means to see in the dark. I believe the rest of us can make our way through the caverns without light. Petrok waits till the Ranger and Monk are ready and then falls in to marching order somewhere in the middle.
(three martial classes up front and healers in the rear? I'm thinking something like Ashra, Vasili, Kitajo, Petrok, then Orophin...any other thoughts or is this an OK marching order?)
"I am ready..." says Orophin.
"What happens if we go off this route? Is the fallen rock stable?"
He thinks for a moment about being at the back. "While I excel on stage solo, I confess recent experience as shown me to be a little fragile in battle...
Orophin takes 1 point of NL damage for every two points of lethal he takes, making it pretty easy to knock him out.
As he approaches the darkness Kitajo hangs a chain around his neck, mutters a word under his breath and light flows forth. Wayfinder
Ashra looks around the caverns and shrugs. "I don't know. Buuuuut... Maybe someone, a big, strong someone could bring up the rear, in case things go badly in the back?"
Petrok says, the spirits have guided me how to fight as well as capture magics... I will bring up the rear guard to protect our flank. Petrok then draws his Falchion. so Ashra, Vasili, Kitajaro, Orophin , and then Petrok Petrok is stoped by Kitajaro who hands him a wand of cure lt. to use should Kitajaro require healing later.
Thanks for assigning the marching order, we won't be using a map immediately but we will soon when you get to the heart of the adventure.
Tide Watcher takes some time to explain that the caves routes are safe, as mentioned earlier it is used infrequently for trading, and that if you veer off course, you may use the map to make your way back. She bids you good luck as she makes her way back to her camp settlement. Off course is not in the scope of the scenario in case anyone was wondering.
Once the group is ready, and have assigned their formation, they immediately make way into the caverns. Approaching the cave, it's clear to see that it is not normally traversed. The rocks are sharp and jagged, with no smooth walkways. The cave has no illumination, making it impossible for those without darkvision to make it through. Kitajo shines light into the darkness with aid of his wayfinder. The cave network is narrow, winding, and generally cramped. Passages are typically no wider than 5 feet, and ceilings range between 3 and 8 feet. You follow the path set by the map given.
First Survival check
After several hundred feet of twisting, turning, and often cramped passageways, the caverns here begin to widen somewhat. Broken arrows and short, makeshift swords litter the ground, and a rotting corpse lies slumped in a corner. Blood, now dried, is splattered on many of the rocks nearby. The passage continues to the east.
Second Survival check
The corpse belongs to a slain Goblin, it looks bloodied and somewhat charred?
Heal check DC15 to open next spoiler.
Status and Marching order: Ashra, Vasili, Kitajo (Mage Armor), Orophin , Petrok
Vasili rolls out his weapon bag. He straps on a large hammer and a spear for easy access, then picks up a large, dark bow. He bends the thick bow with all the strength in his big arms, and strings it.
"You sing in the halls, but here, it's my girl Ljudmila who sings", he says to Orophin, patting the bow.
Vasili looks around the area, trying to notice any recent changes or tracks that would give clue to what has been moving around recently.
"Just the priest? No sign of the thing who got in or out?" he asks the scouts.
After examining the area, he heads to the caves, his wolf following right behind. "Good, bald boy, you have light. Let's go smack them", he says to Kitajo as they enter.
Survival: 1d20 + 9 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 9 + 2 = 20 Trying to see some clues. +2 is for tracking.
Petrok picks his way along the treacherous cavern as best he can. survive 1: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12 survive 2: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (1) + 7 = 8
The previous post was supposed to be before GM's post.
Vasili advances carefully in Kitajo's light, bow ready in hand. He points at the ground, at the tracks. "Man. Priest", he simply explains.
Second survival check: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (10) + 9 = 19
At the wider point, Vasili stops, and examines the floor more carefully. "Goblins", he exclaims. The wolf comes to him, sniffing at the tracks. "Fight, two groups. Most that way", Vasili says, waving back west. "Rest, there", he finishes, pointing forward to the east.
SURVIVAL?: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (11) + 1 = 12
As the group continues onward after the first set of tracks, Ashra points out the second set in the gloomy light of the wayfinder and kneels down, her rough-hewn robe pooling around her in the dust. "A fight? Goblins were involved. No sign of who they were fighting against though. Shoanti? They would have told us I hope. Vasili, darling, could you take a look at these? They make no sense."
Orophin looks in amazement.
"I'm not sure how you can see things like that in the dust. I just see marks. I think trackers have a little magic to themselves, even if they don't realise it."
He sings a brief prayer over the fallen goblin.
"Well, no use in lingering here, let us press onward."
The group gives the goblin tracks and the dead body and brief look and head back immediately to the task at hand, advancing a little forward another 100 feet beyond the current site. You are able to easily discern the place where the boulder broke into the tunnel below. Following the same marching order from before, the group descends down into the boulder.
Peeking into the tunnel, you are able to see that dim, flickering light illuminates a natural chamber roughly 30 feet by 10 feet. Stalactites cling to the ceiling and a few stalagmites rise from the floor. The air is damp and clammy. At the eastern end of the room stands a 10-foot-wide wooden double door set into the wall. The door is old, rotting wood with many splinters. Flames flicker about the columns and lintel, casting the spiky, spidery runes covering the surfaces into sharp relief. The doors are partially open.
A man stands by the door, looking exhausted, and seems to be just waiting there looking into the door. His description matches those of Julian the priest, and it is likely safe to presume that this is he. He's back is turned against you, and he takes no attention towards your arrival.
How do you approach the situation?
Status and Marching order: Ashra, Vasili, Kitajo (Mage Armor), Orophin , Petrok
Ashra quietly draws her weapon, a segmented sword that moves much like a whip and steps forth. "Why hello there, how are you doing? We're Pathfinder agents, here to explore, report and close the door. Who might you be?" she asks boldly with a smile halfway between warm and dangerous.
"Yes, I'm with hots here. Why do you hang here? Are you that priest guy they said? You should have sent a word, we thought you had bit the dust", Vasili joins Ashra in the tries for communication.
As Ashra makes the presence of the Pathfinders known, the man becomes startled and jumps. He turns around, looking somewhat apprehensive towards the large number of people. His eyes are bloodshot with black rings, indicating he likely has not slept in a while. He speaks fairly soft, as if out of breathe and as polite as he possibly can.
"Path...finder? I am a priest, Julian. the door?" It takes a moment for him to realise the situation. "Oh...yes...um...I unfortunately cannot leave the door right now...I cannot seal the door permanently at the moment, so I have been looking over it, casting a temporary ward every 10 minutes as a precaution."
As you approach closer to the arch, you notice that on the door, there is a sign written in a foreign language.
“Beyond here lies only pain for the enemies of Bakrakhan."
(looking at Orophin's sheet I can't find skills or languages) Vasili however has 3 ranks linguistics (although I only saw two languages listed Vasili should have 4 +common)and a total bonus of +7, I have one rank in linguistics so I'll help Vasili study (aid another) and cast guidance on both of us.
Petrok notices Vasili studying the ancient ruins carefully. Some of the ruins seem familiar to Petrok and he says so. He pauses before the door and begins to study the ruins with Vasili. It seems the grizzled Ranger has some skill with languages and they both quietly discuss what the message on the door could mean.
After a few moments Petrok calls upon the spirits to aid Vasili and himself in un-raveling the mystery of the ruins. Petrok cast guidance on both Vasili and himself.
aid another Linguistics: 1d20 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (14) + 1 + 1 = 16
Kool! with the guidance (+1) and the aid another (+2) that should bring Vasili's linguistic bonus up to +10! Yeah 25% chance of figuring out what death waits for us beyond this door!
don't want to burst anyone's bubble, but I am one of those GMs that takes a hard stance on aid another where it doesn't make sense, especially knowledge checks!
In cases where the skill restricts who can achieve certain results, such as trying to open a lock using Disable Device, you can’t aid another to grant a bonus to a task that your character couldn’t achieve alone. The GM might impose further restrictions to aiding another on a case-by-case basis as well.
In this case, I am disallowing the aid another DC 10: on the basis linguistics requires a minimum DC 20 to read simple messages, thus Petrok would not have been able to decipher enough to have contributed to interpreting the message. With that said, DC 20 aid is acceptable I suppose.
Also, I encourage healthy debates, so if anyone wants to discuss this out, we can bring it to the discussion thread.
Julian blinks a couple of times, and slowly responds, "The Thassilonian was a very sinful empire, whatever magic they have is dangerous to mankind. I do not know for sure what is inside but I take no chances."
He pauses, turns back to the door, and starts to mutter something. Lights emerge from his hand, and seem to refresh the invisible ward he puts up.
"There is evil magic in there, my ward just stops it from escaping." His replies are blunt, and not very meaningful, likely due to his exhaustion.
My whole sheet is linked from my profile, but I don't speak Thessalonian. I do have a rank in linguistics though.
"My friend.." sings Orophin as he approaches the priest.
"You are obviously tired and cannot maintain the ward indefinitely. Have you been keeping it up for the last week?" he asks in concern.
"Perhaps next time it drops you would allow us through, and we can see if we are able to remove any stain that still remains after all these years?"
diplomacy: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (7) + 18 = 25