You find yours travel today to take you soon to Underdunes of Osirion, known to be home to many elemntal tribes. As these elementals move, they create the huge, sandy trenches that give the region it's name.
Several well-armed guards patrol the perimeter of the Sandswept Hall of Sothis, watching passerby with suspicion. As they scan the crowd, the lodge’s front gates swing open, and Venture Captain Norden Balentiir steps out into the street, waving calmly to the guards. “It’s all right. They are Pathfinders.” Balentiir steps back inside the gates. “Please, follow me. We have much to discuss.” Instead of leading the way into the lodge itself, he walks around the back of the building to a lush garden. Sycamore, tamarisk, and fig trees provide shade to cushioned benches, and trellises covered in grapes and flowering plants provide privacy.
“Last night, a thief broke into our vault and fled with a pair of valuable items. While we were unable to stop her from escaping, a guard caught a glimpse of her as she fled. Our thief is a janni named Jamila al-Shafah. She has served as an ally to the Society in the past, but now we have to assume she might have been planning this theft for some time. She’s made her way southeast toward the Underdunes. We’re still figuring out if she had help, but in the meantime, I need you to find where she escaped to.”
Norden pauses and glances toward the sky before continuing. “In a way, this could be a blessing in disguise. The Underdunes have many hidden bits of lore. If you find something interesting along the way, be sure to take note of it for later. But don’t tarry too long—Jamila already has a lead of almost half a day."
Do give a intro to your character :)
The halfling among you that is carrying an abundance of daggers speaks up. Sounds like a spot of trouble that your in. I am Xavian Slingblade, also a thief... well, more a rogue now, really. Xavian unconsciously adjusts his bandoliers as he walks around the garden. So, this Jamila. In what capacity was she an ally? What sort of tasks did she perform for you? Oh, and what more do you know of her? I'm sure you must have delved into her background before accepting he as said ally... though it seems you did not delve deep enough.
In contrast to the halfling, Glorin Too-Tall towers over the group. Nearly 6 and a half feet tall, broad-chested, he is clearly human; yet
his full-length, carefully manicured beard and and the signature quality urgrosh on his back make him look exceedingly dwarvish.
"Hmph, so we've got a turncoat on our hands, do we?" That accent...
Stroking his beard, he adds, "We'll need to know what she took, too. I know you might not want to give that information up, because it's powerful, but that's the point. We'll be tracking her down and if she's going to be raining fire down on us or summoning demons, we'd better know that before I'm picking demon slobber out of my beard."
A delicate looking young lass stands in the back, casually holding a bow in one hand. When she speaks, her voice is light and delicate but she has a strong accent often heard in the highlands, but this one touched with a bit of Tien as well. It makes for an odd combination.
Are ye lookin for capture or retrieval of yer items? Or are he just lookin for information on where the thief has taken to?"
Turning first to Xavian, Norden informs the group of what he knows.
“ She did not perfect task for me strictly, but what I know is...We first met Jamila as a silk merchant from Qadira. She was a companion of the late Venture-Captain Targos Min-Katheer, and she helped lay him to rest. We considered her to be an ally of the Society. Now we have to wonder whether her aid was just part of a larger ruse.”
“Jamila has pale skin, long red hair, gold-colored eyes, and angular brown tattoos. She typically travels with a bird with green and orange feathers whose talons crackle with electricity.”
Turning later to his notes, he explains what was stolen.
“We’ve identified two missing relics. The Sandstorm Codex is an ancient tome written in Osiriani, Aquan, Auran, Ignan, and Terran. It’s an elaborate text, and we haven’t yet fully deciphered it. The other is an abacus that supposedly belonged to the Pharaoh of Numbers. As far as we know, they do not cause or create malice. But there are still important to the history of Orision."
A lean, short young woman of Tian ancestry leans against one of the fig trees as Norden briefs the party. Her face is partially hidden by a wide brim hat and she is dressed in simple travelling clothing. A sword in a plain black scabbard hangs round her waist, and a single dagger is strapped to her hip. She listens quietly to Norden's briefing but perks up at the mention of the missing relics.
Jian Sheng speaks in a soft voice, with a light Tian accent flavoring her words "The Pharoah of Numbers...relics from a time of legend. Can you tell us what lies within the Underdunes? Where might she be heading towards? And what manner of bird is it that she travels with?"
"This items are precious to the land, so of course you can expect that the society hopes you are able to retrieve this items. It will likely put us in the good books of those who rule these lands." Answering Inira's query.
And to Jian, “I've not seen the bird myself so I cannot say what it is, or do I Know where she is going but, I can warn you this. Prepare yourselves for sandslides, scorching heat, and other dangerous terrain. Bear in mind that several elemental tribes call the Underdunes home, and none of them have a fondness for humanoids. Bring rope and survival gear, but also an eye for history. Rumor has it that the binding rituals of Ancient Osirion caused the elemental planes to bleed over into the desert at spots. If you can find proof of that theory, or learn something new about the elemental tribes, that discovery would give this proverbial cloud its silver lining.”
At the end of that sentence, Balentiir hands you all a map of the paths that desert merchants travel most frequently. The most prominent path into the Underdunes ends at the coastal city of El-Shelad. About 10 miles outside of Sothis, the single path begins branching into several options, which arc out into the desert before periodically rejoining into a single route.
"Potions of endure elements are so expensive out here... The shopkeepers always try to rip you off," Glorin uncouthly grumbles.
Xavian will consider purchasing a wand of endure elements should one be available.
Xavian will do exactly that then using 2 PP and will allow the party to use as needed.
I also bought two more cold iron daggers and enchanted my masterwork dagger but I'm not sure I've updated my profile on here to that fact, just FYI.
The undine man nods along carefully to Balentiir's instructions. His fishy features are disconcerting but his kindly demeanor transcends the boundaries of race. "That is very generous of you, Xavian. With that wand in hand, perhaps we best be on our way."
I'm ready to go now! Thanks for your patience.
A huge, olive-scaled nagaji walks in late and taps his chest, "Yliss." As each Pathfinder introduces themselves, Yliss lifts each one clear off the ground in a bear hug--though Glorin's toes still brush the floor.
At Glorin's complaint, Yliss draws several wands, "My wandsss are for all to sshare. Sscrollsss, too."
Jian Sheng nods at Norden's reply "Thank you for the warning. We shall see what we can learn about the tribes if possible"
She thinks silently as her companions bicker about potions and wands Unfortunate that I know little about the ways of the desert...but this opportunity to retrieve relics is good...and it would be interesting to witness the spillover of elemental planes unto the material plane...
When Yliss comes forward to bearhug her, Jian Sheng gives him a death glare "Although I thank you for your generosity, I prefer if we all keep our hands to ourselves hmm?"
It's around noon. And the party starts to make their way to the edges of the city, at the edge of the city it's easy to see the challenges of the desert travel ahead of you. Chatting with a few of the locals enlightens you a little bit more about the culture of the area.Continue to travel now?
Rival tribes of elementals lay claim to both the Underdunes and the surrounding area. Ancient Osirian pharaohs once bound many of these elementals into service.
One of the primary reasons that desert travelers must frequently change their paths is to avoid the desert’s two most prominent elemental clans: the Goanron Triumvirate, comprised of air, earth, and fire elementals, and the Ainsi, a splinter faction of air elementals.
The lost city of Tumen serves as the focal point of the conflict between the Goanron and the Ainsi. The Goanron strive to keep the city buried under the desert sands, while the Ainsi believe that uncovering it can advance the desert to its true glory.
The Underdunes comprise long, canyonlike trenches with walls that rise to 100 feet high in spots.
While the canyons appear naturally made, the manner in which the rocks have been worn runs counter to the region’s wind patterns. Some recent sandslides seem to have occurred in areas that should be stable enough to avoid such disasters.
The wear on the rocks in the area and the formation of sand dunes is arranged in a pattern—one that can likely only be viewed in full from high in the air.
The altered areas make a pattern of five circles nested within each other, like an archery target. These circles surround four triangles, each of which points toward the center of the target.
Survival: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24
Glorin looks around warily. "I know the way stone is carved. Someone has carved out these passages. There is some pattern to them, but it's hard to tell from all the way down in the ditches."
Yliss seems a foot shorter after Jian rejects him, "Hugsss are good among friendsss. Helpsss usss bond."
Know Local: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (14) + 6 = 20
This is what I know. Rival tribes of elementals lay claim to both the Underdunes and the surrounding area. Ancient Osirian pharaohs once bound many of these elementals into service. One of the primary reasons that desert travelers must frequently change their paths is to avoid the desert’s two most prominent elemental clans: the Goanron Triumvirate, comprised of air, earth, and fire elementals, and the Ainsi, a splinter faction of air elementals. Sounds fun, doesn't it?
Xavian continues. The lost city of Tumen serves as the focal point of the conflict between the Goanron and the Ainsi. The Goanron strive to keep the city buried under the desert sands, while the Ainsi believe that uncovering it can advance the desert to its true glory.
knowledge (planes): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22
survival: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (4) + 8 = 12
Korez concurs with Xavian's information. "It seems odd that all the other elements would oppose air alone. I wonder how that rift came to be? Perhaps if we find the city of Tumen we will learn more about that.
"And I know it's the desert, but is there really no representation of water whatsoever?" The undine shivers with the implications for his own existence.
I've assumed you use your charges for endure elements! So please deduct accordingly.
And no representation of water was seen for miles and miles. The Pathfinders venture across the vast desert, with a magnificent scenery of camels, and nomads across the giant sun background. Although extraordinarily hot, you are adequately protected from the sun with the help of Nemis's magic.
With regards to the splitting routes, you ask a few travellers, along the way if which is the path they are using in the current season and they turn you to the right path. Almost no traveller has seen Jamila, until about late through the day, where one ornament and jewellery seller mentions she believe she say a woman with the description matching Jamila heading down a specific path about 6 hours ago.
A few more hours into the journey, you follow the path Jamila takes, which is one that is not frequented this time of the year, thus not having any merchants to question. The road diverges into two paths. A steep downward trail leads to a trench that provides shade from the desert heat. The other path leads upward toward a series of ledges that eventually lead to the top of the canyon. This higher path provides less protection from the sun, but its high vantage point could allow a better view of the surrounding area.
Xavian believes going higher would be best as they are already protected from the elements.
6 charges expended.
"Predatorsss take the high ground. Ssmart Pathfindersss, too."
Jian Sheng quietly listens to Xavian's brief on the surrounding area and its inhabitants, and thinks on how to answer Inira's query based on her own knowledge of the planes and its inhabitants
knowledge planes: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16
"No, I do no think we need any special weapons to hurt elementals, although I've heard that as they grow in power and size they become harder to kill. Nevertheless, even the smaller elementals are resistant to many effects that us mortals would succumb to"
When they reach the diverging paths, Jian Sheng nods at Yliss and Xavian's assessment "I think it might be better to take a higher path too. It gives us a better view over the surroundings and we might be able to spot our quarry better"
And the pathfinders decide to head upwards, anticipating a better vantage point.
Heading up is somewhat of a breeze, but the winds pick up without warning, pushing in every direction and at some points blustering hard enough to make the narrow ledge a deadly peril.
Everyone needs to make the following check. Survival DC19 or Perception DC22. You can attempt both checks.
You are able to notice the danger of the winds in time to react. You can choose to drop prone, or stand ready and take a reflex save (with +4 circumstance bonus), if you choose to take the reflex save read the fail spoiler.
Make a DC19 Reflex save. Failing causes you to be blown off by the wind to an outcropping 30ft below, taking 3d6 dmg. You will required a climb check to get back up. But for now, refrain from making climb check.
Survival: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (4) + 0 = 4
Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (19) + 9 = 28
Xavian elects to stand ready, feeling he should be able to brace himself using his low center of gravity.
Survival: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (2) + 7 = 9
Reflex: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
Damage: 3d6 ⇒ (6, 1, 4) = 11
Glorin tumbles clumsily off the ledge and falls down the crevasse, landing painfully below.
perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (13) + 9 = 22
reflex: 1d20 + 7 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 7 + 4 = 20
Jian Sheng is able to stay on her feet amidst the sudden, strong winds
Out of sheer luck, Yliss happens to turn into the wind just before it gusts, allowing his large size to counterbalance to rush of air.
Reflex: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24
Korez, go ahead and make your checks/saves before the next part.
For those still at the top, and not fallen off the cliff.
The whipping winds die down and quickly coalesce into numerous small gaseous shapes. They appear as birds, flying humanoids, and amorphous clouds, totaling a dozen in all. A larger elemental descends until it almost touches the ground. The creature has a humanlike head and torso, but its lower body forms a bilious cloud from which wispy tendrils emerge in all directions. “Well, well—land creatures,” it says in a masculine voice. “Foolish or brave—or perhaps knowing we seek you. Yes, yes. You are the prophets, are you not?”
Those at the bottom of the cliff can start climbing back up. You hear some noise from top but it's not completely audible. It's a DC20 climb, but you may not take 10 yet, as you don't know the intentions of the strangers.
survival: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11
perception: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (14) + 11 = 25
Korez hits the deck to avoid the winds.
Prone. Any chance of recognizing the elementals?
knowledge (planes): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6
Hmm I guess not. Anyone want to bluff him and say yes? I would but I'm at -1 to bluff. If no one answers him in the affirmative:
diplomacy: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13
Foolish or brave, perhaps both. However, my friend speaks the truth. We are seeking a thief, no more and no less.
Assist Diplo: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (2) + 8 = 10
You are hundred percent sure these are air elementals, like any creature, kn plane checks apply. Let's go with the diplomatic response since Xavian is playing along with that.
The large air elemental speaks in a fast, clipped manner, and wisps of fog sometimes break away from him when he is excited, he nods his head, in a somewhat disapproving manner, "You are too modest, you don't know yet the truth about yourself."
“You seek the janni who fled through these dunes,” says the elemental. “Jamila al-Shafah. She passed through not long ago, though only the leader of my tribe knows where she was bound. She rightly fears the power of the prophets, while we respect it. My leader can tell you where this Jamila has gone, provided that you are the ones we seek. Will you prove yourselves to us?”
Sense Motive?: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11
I'm under the impression that we don't really have much of a choice. Xavian turns to his new friends. What do you think? If the leader knows where Jamila is then I think its worth our time.
"Where in all the blazes did that blasted wind come from?" Glorin bellows as he picks himself up. "You don't find such ridiculous tempests in a dwarven hall, I can tell you that much!"
Disgusted, Glorin pulls out his rope and grappling hook and finds a place to hook it.
Attack: 1d20 + 5 - 4 ⇒ (18) + 5 - 4 = 19
Finding purchase on the clifftop, he tests the rope.
Glorin climbs back up.
DC 5 to climb a rope braced against a wall. My Climb is +10, -4 armor check penalty, for a +6.
Climb: 1d20 + 10 - 4 ⇒ (3) + 10 - 4 = 9
He looks battered and furious.
"Yesss, what testsss musst we passs?"
Jian Sheng stands to one side impassively watching the conversation between the elementals and Xavian while he studies them
knowledge planes: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17
Air elementals are fast, flying creatures made of living air. Primitive and territorial, they resent being summoned or doing the bidding of mortals, and much prefer to spend their time on the Plane of Air, swooping and racing through the endless skies.What else would Jian Sheng like to know? 2 questions
“Sacred ground lies near here, known as the Sandflow Source. Those who pass through must show a mastery of the elements and an appreciation of our people. If you meet the challenges within, you will prove yourselves to all who may not see your true value. Only then may I bring you to our leader.” He replies.
"Maybe I've still got to learn this appreciation of your people, but does it involve knocking people off ledges to say hello?"