You're in a dark place - your heads are throbbing, your ears are ringing, and it's hard to breathe... harder than you can remember in a long time. After a few moments, the sounds of rocks clattering, coughing, and moans of pain, as well as the choking smell of dust, become apparent as your senses seem to return, but it remains pitch black. Feeling around, you can touch what seems to be rubble, and your bodies are covered in dirt and filth. Despite all the aches and pains - of which there are quite a few - you don't seem to be dangerously hurt... not yet, at least.
Paige groans as she comes to, patting the ground to make up for lost senses. Once she realizes where the ground is relative to her head she tries to ride up to her knees, unsteady as choking coughs wrack her chest, making every ache seem worse. "H-hello?" she calls out once she can breathe enough to choke out words. "Is there anyone else here?" With a wave of her hand and a hoarsely whispered word, she calls up four orbs of light that begin rotating around the Paladin, and her eyes begin to wander around the better lit wherever-she-is in search of others, perhaps those who need help.
Tarov, a muscular dwarven man with a thick black beard, rolls over on his side, eyes bleary as he tries to get a hold of his situation. "What in th' hells...?" he mutters as he uses one of his steel-gloved hands to try and wipe dust out of his eyes. Coughing, he sits up, setting a hand on one of his knees, ready to pull himself to his feet. Finally, Tarov's brow creases and he begins to feel around, trying to locate his belongings. The knight's eyes glow softly as his darkvision attempts to pierce the darkness surrounding him. 'I don' know what happened,' he thinks to himself, 'but this pro'ly ain't good...'
Yukio's eyes opened but somehow nothing appeared before them. "Darkness? Is it night already? No, it's too dark. What was I doing?" As she sat up, she struggled to remember what had been going on, but things were quite hazy. Sitting upright, she spent a few moments searching the nearby ground with her hands. "My pack and armor, my spear," she hesitated for a moment and reached to her chest, feeling for the crescent that should have hung there. She panicked momentarily, getting on her knees to search the ground more thoroughly. "Wait... my pack," she thought, remembering that she'd stowed it away for some reason.
She calmed down and opened her pack, searching through it by touch until she found the small cloth bundle that held the necklace. She unwrapped it and took it in her hand, focusing on the sensation of the cool stone that made up most of it. Yukio uttered a few words and the crescent began to glow with a silvery light. The light was a shock to her eyes for the first few seconds, but after she adjusted she grabbed her spear and used it to help stand herself up. "Ugh." she groaned as she stood. "Whatever happened really left its mark, on both me and the surrounding terrain."
A few moments later she heard someone call out. Turning around she saw some globes of light dancing about a tall woman. "Over here!" she called back. She quickly reached down and grabbed her pack and started stepping cautiously through the rubble towards her.
When she neared, she bowed to the woman and introduced herself: "I'm Yukio Shadowhare, follower of the Prince of the Moon, Tsukiyo." The combination of the dancing lights and her glowing crescent moon revealed Yukio to be a young woman of Tian-min descent. Although quite a mess from whatever calamity had befallen them, she wore what appeared to be the garb of a priestess with an ornate lacquered leather breastplate atop it. Her long, black hair was tied back loosely, and at her side was a spear which was a good bit taller than the woman herself. "Might I ask who you are? Do you know what has happened here?" she inquired with an unusual amount of calm and politeness for the situtation.
"Desna test me..."
Julian muttered groggy as he came to, feeling the rubble him and smell dust and other unidentified scents made him open his eyes. Finding darkness made him react quickly, searching for a weapon, hoping he had his sickle at least. When he heard the other start to talk he turned and looked for them with his darkvision.
Believing others would need a source of light he casted his light spell. "Lux." He casted the spell on a small rock and rose to his feet. Seeing his scattered gear he went about gathering it up. "I am here, wherever here is... Is anyone injured?"
He gathered with the other survivors, as they were, looking for injuries and ensuring that his bottles were unbroken. "Julian Fey and Desna test our travels, does anyone know whrre we are? "
As light - and other forms of sight - come to you, it's clear that you're in a large underground cavern, one wall of which is an enormous mound of rubble. The air is filled with dust, and now and then small rockslides of gravel tumble down the mound as you can hear the faintest shuddering from above.
Then, finally, things come flooding back to you.
Armasse officially began at noon, with the blessing of the festival by Lord Hulrun himself, ruler of Kenabres. The crowd gathered in Clydwell Plaza quieted as the aged inquisitor took the stage, clad in shining, resplendent armor. He cleared his throat, but just as he was about to speak, a bright light shone from the west, as if the sun were rising from the wrong direction. Hulrun's shadow fell huge and distorted across the cathedral's facade. A moment later, the sound of a thunderous explosion ripped through the air and earth, along with a violent tremor.
To the west, the fortress known as the Kite - the location of Kenabres's wardstone - had vanished. In its place, a brilliant plume of red fire, lightning, and smoke erupted into the heavens.
A moment later, a powerful roar accompanied a welcome sight rising from the crowd - Kenabres's greatest guardian, the ancient silver dragon Terendelev, who had until that moment been attending the opening ceremony disguised as a human. Above, another form appeared, as nightmarish as the dragon was breathtaking. A humanoid shape three times the size of any man, with skin coated in fire and lightning, gripped a flaming sword and whip. The creature's identity was immediately obvious: Khorramzadeh, the Storm King of the Worldwound, had come to Kenabres!
As the ground continued to shake and disgorge demons into the streets, the dragon and the balor lord clashed above. The fight was over in a few harrowing moments, as the balor cut deep into Terendelev's body, swooping down to strike the dragon and arresting her charge. A few more blows, and the titanic duo spiraled downward toward the crowd.
You hadn't wasted any time at all in acting - Tarov was already bellowing orders to the citizens around and directing them to safety, while Paige and Yukio had called upon their holy powers to push back demons that had lunged towards the crowd. Julian had already pulled a young child away from a falling statue, pushing her into the hands of her mother and urging them to run as fast as they could. Several dozen people - at least - had been guided to escape during the fight above.
Yet the sight of the dragon smashing into the facade of the Cathedral of St. Clydwell is one no witness would ever forget. At that moment, a titanic demon erupted at the far end of the plaza, reducing several buildings to ruins as it smashed into this world. The rift it created shot across the plaza, and this time there was no escape - it opened below your feet, angling away into darkness.
Even as you fell, the dragon noticed your plight. Though she saw death standing over her, she seized this final chance to save a few more souls. After she uttered a few arcane words and stretched out a bleeding talon, you felt her magic take hold of you, slowing your plummet into the darkness as if you were feathers falling into a pit. Yet the fall remained as inexorable, and as you drifted downward into the depths, the last thing you saw was the Storm King standing before the ancient silver dragon, his sword lashing out and cleaving full through her neck. As her severed head fell, the rift above you slammed shut, and the light of the world above was gone.
As you gather yourselves and look around more, it's clear that you came much closer to death than you realized - there are dozens of bodies crushed by the stone only a few feet away, and some of them are people you knew, people who had been enjoying the festival with you just an hour ago. Yet you're not alone, either, and three additional citizens of Kenabres seem to have joined the four of you, though they're still looking somewhat shocked and dazed by the turn of events.
As the human woman approaches, she smiles, returning the bow respectfully. "My name is Paige Sentine, knight of the Church of Iomedae. It is a great relief to meet another holy woman in this dismal place." A few waves of her hand over her face and some muttered words magically clean away the dirt and blood from her face, leaving her dark skin marred by a few fresh, superficial cuts. The tightly braided rows of hair along her head are also quickly cleanred. She doesn't bother to dust her armor off before peering around the cavern in search of others."If anybody can hear my voice, please come toward the light," she calls loudly as the ringing in her ears finally fades away. She lets the orbs sway a little, rotating around her in slow circles to cast better light onto her surroundings as she peers about wherever she is. She's a bit of an odd sight, heavily armed as most Paladins of Iomedae are with several different weapons hanging off of her belt and at her back, but wearing leather armor rather than something sturdier and more typical.
Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 12
The memories come rushing back to her, and she winces. "Terendelev... Gods, there's no time to grieve. Not yet, at least." "Julian, I assume you are intact? And er... I hate to call you 'dwarf' but I've no reference for a name. Whatever you are called, are you injured? And you?" She directs the last question to the three citizens, not appearing quite as combat capable, and not fully recovered yet from the disastrous fall. Despite the absence of any demons, she closes her eyes briefly and hones in on her latent senses, feeling for evil among the hearts of her fellow survivors. Paige uses Evildar.
As she gazed upon the woman's face, memories came flooding back to her. The festival and the chaos, demons and Terendelev's fall, and finally plunging into the yawning abyss. "You... I saw you up there, you were fighting the demons as well," she said with no small amount of surprise.
She noticed another had joined them, a pale-skinned human. "No, he's a tiefling," she thought. Instinctively she looked him up and down, getting a feel for his nature, and was relieved to find that his motives were not match for his heritage. "I'm Yukio. It is a pleasure to meet you Julian, although I wish the circumstances were better." she said with a polite smile and a bow. "I haven't any idea where we are specifically, although it seems we must be under the city somewhere."
He couldn't hide his shock, the wardstones were under attack, Kenebras was under siege. This was a disaster of epic proportions and would continue to grow exponentially unless stopped. He held his head as the ache start to fade. He used his other hand to pull a vile free and shake it hard for a moment, watching as its liquids started to coalesce into a different color. "I... Paige's question paled in comparison to what ran through his mind at the moment. With a firm resolve, he put the vial away and nodded. "Yes, luckily I avoided injury somehow." Luckily the vials didn't crack or else we'd have burned.
Terendrelev was dead. The old dragon was not a friend but he had never wished her harm, he had found her presence reassuring in his darkest hours. Something about gazing upon the silver dragon called forth a side of him he didn't know he had. It was something he had yet to understand and now, sadly, never will. His chance to approach her was gone forever.
He nodded to Yukio then, restraining the impulse to smile and play at words. His fathers cunning at work. Her sizing him up was expected, he was tainted afterall and that inherent;y made him untrustworthy. A sad but common truth around the Worldwound. "Yes, I would have preferred hot Klah over this. Excuse me while I check for any wounded."
He turns, his dust covered wings shaking off loose debris as he turned to look at the three citizens then. He introduced himself to them, hoping to ease their fears. "I am Julian Fey, are any of you injured?"
Heal if needed: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25
Tarov's eyes adjust, and he recalls what brought him here. He looks towards the ceiling, his eyes unable to pierce the veil of darkness that hangs overhead. Noticing the light and the people calling out, the dwarf hefts himself to his feet, grabs his belongings, and heads over to them.
"Well," the knight says when he reaches the others, "That wasn't one o' the ways I expected t' spend today." Though there is a little mirth in his words, it doesn't quite show on his face. When queried, he replies, "Name's Boulderfist. Tarov Boulderfist, knight o' Thanehelm. It'd take more 'an this t' put me down, but I 'preciate your concern." He dusts himself off once again, paying particular attention to neatening his beard and hair. Once he finishes, he looks around again. "Sadly, looks like these folks weren't so lucky..."
One of the three who landed underground with you does indeed need healing - a woman holding onto a bow and a number of arrows, dressed as one of the scouts for the city. "Th-thank you." she says, wincing as you're able to form a rough splint out of the debris and settle her ankle. It's clear that she won't be able to move very quickly, but she will be able to move... even if she does look slightly worried at the thought of being aided by a fiend-blooded man. "I am Anevia Tirablade." she added, introducing herself once the pain had subsided.
"H-hold on, there! Leave her alone and deal with that!" a surprisingly loud voice rang out through the cavern as a large, well-dressed man picked himself up, glancing worriedly at the crushed bodies... and throughout the rest of the chamber. It's not hard to see why, either. In the back of the cavern, a disturbing shape looms. Nearly the size of a horse, what appears to be an immense black spider crouches silent and still on the ground, and the man's already backing away from it.
"Is there something else here?" the third of the other survivors asked. As you look, you can see that his face has been covered in horrific burns. "...I appear to have been blinded." he added thoughtfully. "Paige, Yukio, Julian, Tarov, Anevia... what experience do you have battling demons, all of you?" he asked sharply, wobbling slightly as he stood up. "Patrol this area at once and make sure it's clear - you can't be too cautious when demons are about! And I need one of you to guide me." He held out his hand, clearly expecting someone to take it.
None of the three seem completely at ease with each other - or the rest of you.
She attempts to recall anything about Anevia or the Tirabade family.
Knowledge (Local): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (2) + 7 = 9
"Blinded. Damn, I don't suppose any of us have the magic to heal that?" She sighs, looking over to the blinded man with one eye as the other focuses on the spider on the ground. Its stillness concerns her, given their rather dynamic entrance into its cavern."As a Paladin of Iomedae, battling demons is my duty, sir." She looks to Anevia, whose leg is being formed into a splint. "If you're able to walk, Miss Tirabade, then perhaps you could lead this man? We don't yet know what dangers lurk in this cavern and I don't yet know if we should be sparing any able-bodied warriors."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25
She draws her bow and takes an arrow from her feet, fallen from her quiver during the long descent. She takes careful aim at the intimidatingly large arachnid and looses her shot, hoping the stillness implies its lack of life rather than a patient impending attack.
Attack: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (16) + 3 = 19
Damage: 1d8 ⇒ 8
Wasn't sure if I should apply Point-Blank Shot or not.
Julian's calm had returned, the splint required attention as it was rough. He hoped it would hold up. "Its the least I could do Anevia. I will do more once we are in a safer place." Paige speaking to the girl allowed him to finish his work, distractions made some forget their pain and stop fidgeting. It was the work of a minute maybe less, hard to tell in the underground.
However at the mans sudden alarm Julian finished the last lace before turning away from his work. Upon seeing what had snuck up on them he narrowed his eyes suspiciously before he stood fully once more and, seeing Paige attack it, he draws a set of vials out and mixes them. With the volatile mixture in his right hand he gestured with his left as he spoke. "Stay back..." Is all he says before tossing it with practiced ease...
Thrown Splash weapon attack - Range Increment 20ft (Range?): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26
Thrown Splash weapon attack - Crit Confirm: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19
Bomb Damage: 1d6 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
Critical if applicable: 1d6 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8
The mixture struck and shattered as intended, the sudden oxidization completed the chemical chain needed for the the reaction. The silent spider was engulfed in a blast of flame that rolled outward for almost five feet in all directions around it before the flames died down. Replaced by a ball of smoke...
Lets hope that is enough...
Watching the spider he spoke to Paige in answer to her earlier question. "None of my extracts are up to that level Paladine Sentine. I do however have healing draughts if needed."
That is a surprisingly calm reaction to ARRGH MY FACE GOT MELTED. D:
Tarov shrugs at Paige's question. "Ain't much I could do, short o' try an' bandage him up. Should make sure he's a'right... never 'eard somebody so blasé 'bout gettin' blinded."
On seeing the giant spider, Tarov quickly grips his weapon, moving to stand between it and the others. "You'll not be makin' this worse than it already is!" he calls at the creature, standing his ground. The chain of his dorn-dergar clinks against the dirt beneath him as he settles into a fighting stance.
Tarov moves between the group and the spider (move action) and enters the Silver Crane Waltz stance (swift action, +2 AC, +2 Reflex saves, +4 Initiative).
With age comes experience.
"Y-yes, that should be fine." Anevia said, nodding as she hobbled over to the burned one. An odd expression crossed her face, but she took his hand and firmly gripped it to help guide his steps... and after a few moments, he slowly moved forward.
"Just guide me properly." he told her tersely. "I'm Aravashnial, a member of the Riftwardens. We stand against planar foes - if there's anything you see that doesn't belong in this world, tell me about it and I'll see what I know. As for this condition, I'm sure it's nothing more than a temporary inconvenience, and a good spell sho-" the elf winced a moment later as the explosion went off. "What!? What was that!?"
The spider's body blew apart - though it was already dead, and not a particular threat to the group. However, two massive maggots fell out of its body a moment later, their bodies on fire and rapidly turning to ash... and in the flash of light caused by the bomb going off, you do catch a glimpse of several small items, silver and shining, against the wall of rubble.
"Hey, b-be careful when you're throwing things like that!" the well-dressed man cried, a distinct tone of fear. "And s-stay back away from me! I don't want to get caught in that!"
With the body of the beast gone gone - and an increasing opportunity to look around - you're able to get a better sense of where you are. The cavern is quite large, and you can see two exits along the far wall, away from the body of the spider and the maggots - one to the north and a second to the south.
Tarov winces as the spider explodes, but doesn't let down his guard until the maggots start to become ash. "...Right, that was unexpected." Resting his weapon over his shoulder, the dwarven knight turns back and slowly approaches the group. "Anyway, we need to start figuring out where we are an' what's goin' on. Hopefully, things are taken care o' on th' surface," he says, slipping back into his usual position as a commander.
Yukio begins to move to help Anevia and Aravashnial, but is interrupted by the call to arms against the spider's corpse. She turns and looks at the creature as Paige and Julian open up on it, and the Dwarf, Tarov apparently, moves between the spider and the group of survivors.
She looks on with surprise when the spider explodes and the maggots fall out of it burning and turning to ash. She looks at Julian and remarks "That's a spectacular trick, was that magic? Or alchemy?" she asks with curiosity.
She then turns to Aravashnial, "Master Aravashnial, I'm Yukio Shadowhare, Servant of the Prince of the Moon. It is a pleasure to meet you. Like Lady Sentine here, my duty is to deal with those things which would threaten the peace, demons among them. I'm fairly certain, however, that nothing like what transpired above has happened in or around our temple for as long as it's stood. Unfortunately I also don't have any magic that would be of help to you yet."
She then addressed Anevia, "Mistress Tirablade, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance as well" she said with a smile and bow. It's clear at this point that her formality and politeness is an ingrained behavior. Turning to the third survivor, the well-dressed man, she said "And you good sir, what is your name?"
When the dwarf suggested they get their bearings, she nodded in agreement. "That sounds like a good plan..." she paused for a moment, unsure what titles dwarves use for knights. "Sir Boulderfist? I'm afraid I'm unfamiliar with dwarven etiquette, there are very few of your kind in Tian Xia." she admitted apologetically.
Tarov shrugs. "I ain't much for etiquette. I just do what needs doin'. You can call me whate'er ya like, lass," he replies calmly. "But if it helps, they used t' call me 'Stalwart' in th' order."
For clarity's sake, that's a nickname, not a title.
He smiles ever so slightly at Yukio's well placed guess, remarking in a humble manner. "Alchemy, miss Shadowhare." He relaxes after the maggots corpses burn away to nothing. He got lucky this time, a well placed blast, no injuries and the enemy was not resistant to it. He quietly kept that thought to himsels lest he cause more worry among the group.
The well dressed man's words troubled him though and he turned and asked the man quite seriously. "That was a controlled blast, if it pleases you we can fight the next ones hand to hand instead. I am sure giant maggots are quite disgusting when you cut into them up close. I believe I have a spare weapon if you wish to pitch in when the next monster comes?" He lets the man decide whether he prefered alchemy or fighting them himself as he turned towards the other wounded survivors. Imaging Lord Tyrions snarky voice from Game of Thrones, he's not being rude, but he is being a bit sarcastic. xD
He directed his voice towards Aravashnial and in turn Anevia, he was slightly apologetic in his tone. "Forgive my quickness Riftwarden, I assumed it was a giant arachnid. I have heard their reagents included some very deadly poisons so I utilized an alchemical reaction to remove the threat quickly. Again, apologies for surprising everyone. However I will call upon you if I need your advice." He bows his head politely before turning to regard the dwarf, Sir Boulderfist.
"Thanks for your quick defensive Stalwart, I am Julian Fey. Martial Magi and Alchemist. Once we are somewhere defensible I can provide healing to those that need it. For now please bare with it." He moves over and starts to bandage Aravashnial's face, to help minimize the risk of infection and to hopefully ease the jumpy man's unease. During the bandaging he talked quietly.
He was trying to put the others at ease, as he knew his presence wasn't a very comfortable one and he couldn't blame them. "Best you know now, I am a Tiefling, who is also a Magi and Alchemist and that explosion was one of the many abilities I utilized in the beginning of the Fourth Crusade. Anyone may ask questions, I have no secrets and no love for the Inquisitions truth tools either. Hence why I have no qualms on telling you my history." As he worked now, with so many light sources it was impossible to miss the Star Knife that hung against his side alongside the symbol of the Far Wanderer around his neck. "You need only ask."
It wasn't until the end of the bandaging that he noticed things glittering among the rubble. Whatever was in the rubble had his attention. He began to thoroughly search the rubble...
Apologies for long post, heading to work so covering my bases as I work for 12-15 hours a day. Thanks!
Take 10 on Heal check for 10 + 5 = 15:
Take 10 on Perception check to search for Glittering objects in Rubble. 10 + 5 = 15:
"Tiefling!?" the richly-dressed man snapped out, clearly alarmed at the name - and he hurried further backwards, very obviously putting the Paladins between himself and the fiend-blooded magus. "You two keep an eye on him! Take me safely back to the city and I'll gladly give a thousand gold pieces to..." he thought for a moment. These were Paladins, so... "To, er, the charity of your choice! Making shoes for starving orphans or whatever. Split evenly if you two have different charities to support!"
Aravashnial sighed heavily. "Calm yourself, Horgus." he said, clearly familiar with the man's voice. "I am certain that any noble Paladin is already on guard for treachery at all times - I would be most surprised if they hadn't already checked him for the taint of evil and taken precautions. Theirs is a noble cause, and one should never underestimate their determination." Anevia, on the other hand, seemed to be determinedly keeping her mouth shut... though that may have had something to do with not screaming instead of the conversation the others were having.
Meanwhile, with the rubble searched, a few things are immediately apparent - namely, four beautiful silver scales can be seen, apparently remnants of the dragon who gave her life while protecting you... and even without significant effort, you can tell that they're pulsing with power.
When Julian introduces himself, Tarov nods at the tiefling. "I ain't got time t' be worryin' 'bout where you came from, or who yer ancestors were, lad. This whole crusade... we've demons t' destroy and land t' recover. Yer just another set o' welcome hands t' me, another sword that we need right badly." He then returns to searching the dark cave, mostly ignoring Horgus and the others talking.
Tarov frowns hard at the scales when they are discovered. He had not been acquainted with Terendelev beyond the name and their purpose as a guardian of Kenebres, but he respected the dragon. To be so thoroughly defeated, and killed at that, was a serious blow to the crusade. "Better we take these an' return t' th' surface, then leave them here t' languor. If nothin' else, to lay them t' rest," the knight says, frowning slightly.
Julian nods to Tarov, despite the alarmed reaction of Horgus, who's words he calmly ignores. It was to be expected. He smiles faintly at Tarov's words though. "I will do my best, Stalwart." Julian had always liked dwarves, their gruff nature and honorable ways were something he respected.
Seeing one of the scales Julian, picks it up and his sense of calm cracks as he felt a deep and true sadness over the dragons fall. Feeling the thrum of magic though made him wonder what lay beneath the surface...
The moment Julian touches the scale, knowledge floods into his mind, detailing exactly what the scale is and what it can do. This seems to be an innate property of the scales themselves.
Anybody who touches them may look.
Scale of Cloudwalking: Three times per day as a standard action, this scale can be used to cast levitate. A pillar of roiling clouds rises below the levitating object or creature, growing and shrinking with the target's altitude. This pillar is 5 feet in diameter (regardless of the target's size) and provides concealment (20 % miss chance) to any creature or object wholly contained within.
Scale of Disguise: Three times per day as a standard action, this scale can be used to cast alter self. While disguised, the target gains a +4 bonus on all Bluff checks made against evil creatures.
Scale of Resistance: Three times per day as a standard action, this scale can be used to cast resist elements - but only against electricity or cold.
Scale of Sacred Weaponry: Three times per day as a standard action, this scale can be used to cast align weapon, but only to make a weapon lawful or good. Unlike a normal align weapon spell, this effect can be cast on an unarmed strike or natural weapon.
1d4 ⇒ 3
Julian's eyes flutter for a moment as he is filled with a knowledge not his own. "This scale offers resistance from cold and electricity. Fascinating!" His eyes open wide and his smile is genuine as he looks over the scale energetically, breaking his once calm disposition. "What did you find Stalwart?"
Tarov lifts one of the scales from its place on the floor. "This one apparently'll help harm fiends and demons. Useful," he muses. "But I still think buryin' 'em when we get out o' here is for th' best."
Wincing a little as the burning maggots spill from the spider corpse and fill the cavern with a terrible smell, Paige decides to step toward the rubble for a moment now that they're "safe". Kneeling in front of the mangled mess of limbs and bodies, she bows her head to say some low prayers and promises of justice to the dead. Then, rejoining the others, she keeps her bow by her side, lest any other cave vermin feel the need to pick fights with them. "There don't appear to be any demons nearby; I sense no evil in this cavern, and they would have attacked us before we came to if they were."
The rich man's scrambling and dealings make Paige sigh. Despite being blinded and lame, the other civilians in the cavern seem like they will cause fewer problems than him. "I can find no evil in his heart. He is just as trustworthy as any of us are. Perhaps you shouldn't make enemies of the few people who can give you a chance of getting back to your home." If there is any home left to go to.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (9) + 8 = 17
She picks up one of the scales. "This one is for deceiving demons. I suppose it's only fair they receive a taste of their own medicine once in a while. Though perhaps we shouldn't bury these; Terendelev spent her last breath saving us, for whatever reason, and perhaps these boons are a part of that. Her sacrifice should not be in vain." She pockets the scale for the moment and flashes her light down toward the exits to see what lies ahead along either passage.
Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16
Dancing Lights' maximum range is currently 110 feet, and it casts dim light up to 40 feet away, so she can peer ahead up to 150 feet, should line of sight stay intact. It probably won't, but should anyone else have a torch or source of light she'll be using that to peek ahead when possible.
Tarov gingerly holds the scale he'd retrieved, looking into it as if he was looking for deeper meaning in the simple silver pattern on its surface. "Ya might be right," he admits. "We'll worry about that once we get outta this place."
Julian's eyebrows rose when Paige spoke. He quickly shook off his surprise and nodded in agreement with the others. "Shall we take a walk Stalwart and make sure this cave is safe?" He edges towards the spiders corpse, drawing his Sickle and spinning it as he prepares to defend himself if needed.
He kept his other hand free so he could cast spells if necessary. He slowly heads toward the right hand exit. With his stone of light in his back pocket it was easy to see where Julian was as he relied on his darkvision to pick out threats in the dark.
The northern exit extends for some ways, though it's relatively far off and the route does twist a bit and block further examination without proceeding down it. The southern exit, on the other hand, visibly leads to a second cavern - and even from this distance, you can spot something hanging on the wall.
Towards the rear, Anevia was hobbling forward - though she was only able to manage half the speed people normally moved at. "Just... follow my directions..." she was explaining to the elf.
"Tell me what's ahead and I'll decide." the Riftwarden answered curtly. "Horgus! A coward like you can stay at the rear - you won't do us any good up front. The rest of you, stay in a solid formation ahead of me. Teamwork should suffice to deal with anything we're likely to encounter down here, but that's no excuse for being sloppy, especially if any demons fell with us!" A sobering thought, that - even a weak demon was a formidable foe.
"No, I'm not a warrior, you crazy old elf..." Horgus muttered. "Letting them fight up front is only good sense." He seemed personally affronted and insulted. "How long are you going to take to make a decision!? Let's get moving!"
Julian's voice carried well enough in the cavern that he didn't need to shout to be heard. "Enough. You three aren't going anywhere until we check these routes." Julian spoke calmly while standing near the southern exit. "Riftwarden we both know that she can't wait on your decisions when a demon appears..." He turns away then, letting the intelligent elf digest the simple advice before adding. "So be kind and listen to Anevia." He wasn't great with diplomatic solutions but
With his sickle in hand he started forward towards the southern exit. "I will check this route, I think I see something hanging. Stalwart mind watching my back?
Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (16) + 5 = 21
Stealth: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18
Julian quietly moves through the southern exit, noticing something hanging from above and curious as to what it was...
Seeing nothing threatening just yet he looked up at the leather strap, looking for the best way to reach it he put away his scythe and freed up both hands before trying to climb up.
Climb?: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (19) + 5 = 24
The climb up is slippery, but Julian is able to safely ascend, retrieve the items, and bring them down.
The pack itself is soon revealed to be a Masterwork Backpack - excellent for carrying goods - and Horgus bustles forward as he sees it. "Is there anything valuable inside?" he asked quickly - though he'd probably be the one to know, too, if he took a look at them. A search of the bag reveals that it does have a number of items within - including 10 days of trail rations, a flint and steel, a set of caltrops, two flasks of oil, a bundle of 12 arrows, a potion of cure light wounds, and a potion of lesser restoration - both of which were thoughtfully labelled as such by whoever put the bag together (or perhaps the one who originally created them). Any lesser bag would likely have resulted in smashed bottles, but the high quality of the backpack seems to have protected them during their fall.
Julian hands the bag to Horgus with no reservations. The items were a welcomed sight, at least they had enough supplies for a couple days at least. "If you will, please hold onto it for now Master Horgus."
As far as light sources go, Yukio's currently using light, so moving dancing lights ahead should be fine.
After the others had claimed their scales, Yukio moved up and grabbed the remaining one. "Interesting, this one seems to allow its bearer to levitate," she said as she put the scale in a small pouch at her side.
"Take heed of Lady Sentine's words," she said to Horgus. "In this situation we are all equals, and neither treasure nor promises will buy any of us salvation. We will either make it out of here or fail to do so, but in either case it will be as a group."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26
She stayed back as Julian scouted ahead, allowing the obviously stealthier tiefling to do so quietly. When he had determined it was clear, she walked up to the ledge and looked down. "We should scout the other path. Going down here will be unnecessarily dangerous for Mistress Tirablade and Master Aravashnial. It would be best to avoid it if at all possible."
Tarov crosses his arms across his chest and speaks, "Yer right." Still, he pulls some rope out of his bag and puts an arm through the loop, leaving it easy to access. "It's lucky I still had me satchel," he comments, hefting his weapon once again and turning to go check the other paths.
Paige begins walking with her longsword drawn, as her scouting lights are easily evaded, and if she's snuck up on having something to cut down close attackers will do her more good. "This is a life-and-death situation, Aravashnial. We don't always have the luxury of waiting on communication and decisions. I promise, if there is something we need your consulation on we will ask you, but until we see more than vermin I'm confident in my own abilities."
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16
The rations are a welcome sight, as Paige pats her backpack and realizes she has none. "That's one fear allayed, at least," she sighs. Food was one of the few things she didn't pack, proudly going to the square fully armed and prepared for battle, practically ceremonial dress for her order, but not thinking she'd end up away from the festival's celebrations. She joins Tarov down the other path, letting her lights sway back and forth to preview their advance.
Julian nods to paige, patting his back pack as he spoke. "I have a few days worth of rations, if we make them last we should have enough for a few days at least." Seeing them head down the other path he turns his attention back to the southern path, joining Yukio by the ledge once more. "I agree but lets finish the exploration of this path, best to not leave anything unknown behind us."
Stealth: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (10) + 5 = 15
Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (19) + 5 = 24
He draws his scythe again and creeps to the other side of the small cavern checking for another exit...
It soon becomes apparent that the two paths eventually link up, and it doesn't take long at all for Tarov and Paige to head up the northern passage and into that zone.
This smaller cavern (A2) appears to have once served as a campsite or temporary lair. A torn bedroll lies next to the cold remains of a fire. A pile of bones, broken equipment, and rubble lies just past the campsite.
"Which way are we going?" the elf asked impatiently.
"North." his limping guide said, casting a scornful glance at Horgus as the man eagerly took all of the items in the backpack. Fortunately, it wasn't a very heavy pack, or there probably would have been more complaining...
Paige looks around the campsite, prodding the pile of bones and looking for either signs of who was here, or anything they may have left behind. "Interesting. I didn't know there were tunnels below the city, let alone that anybody was living in them."
Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 12
Seeing the dancing lights ahead put him at ease and once they had joined Paige and Tarov again Julian explained their findings.
perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
Distracted by the boss campsite he didn't glean anything from his quick search. "That is interesting... Aravashnial. Do you know anything about tunnels beneath Kenebras?" Julian sought to use the riftwardens knowledge if he could.
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (20) + 7 = 27
Yukio took her time going over the campsite. It would be good to have more supplies, especially given Horgus had snagged the contents of the backpack that'd been found, and didn't seem like the sort to share. "Perhaps this camp belonged to some of those responsible for the attacks above?" she said to Paige as she continued her search.
As you move closer to the pile of goods in the northern cavern, a pile rustles - and two enormous cockroaches leap out of the pile of rubbish. Fortunately, Yukio's rigid attention to detail within the room means you're not as surprised as you could have been, despite the foul noise the little beasts are making.
Initiative (Enemy): 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7
Initiative (Julian): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12
Initiative (Paige): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25
Initiative (Tarov): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (20) + 8 = 28
Initiative (Yukio): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 2 = 11
As a reminder, anyone who beats the opponent's initiative - which, in this case, is all of you - can act in any order. No need to follow rigid initiative order, since that slows things down too much. Posting anytime between each of the opponent's actions is much preferred. ^^
Tarov starts as the oversized bugs appear, a frown appearing on his face. "Just that kind o' day," he mutters before he raises his weapon and moves to strike. "Strike them down!" the dwarf calls, rushing ahead.
Tarov uses the Panthera on the Hunt maneuver to charge one of the cockroaches (full-round action).
Dorn-Dergar attack (Panthera on the Hunt): 1d20 + 5 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 5 + 2 = 9
Dorn-Dergar damage (Panthera on the Hunt): 1d10 + 6 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 6 + 2 = 13
. . 1st -- [stance] silver crane waltz; [maneuver] crushing blow, enduring crane strike [1/1], panthera on the hunt [0/1], red zephyr's strike, scything strike [1/1]
As the creatures scurried out from hiding, Yukio looks on them with disgust. "I didn't know they made them that large," she said, obviously displeased to learn this new tidbit of information.
Yukio moves up close behind Tarov, taking advantage of her spear's length to keep some distance between herself and the giant insects. She lunged forward, putting her weight behind the shaft of the weapon, hoping to drive it in to one of them.
Attack(Spear): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 131d8 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 12
"Well, I guess that debunks the demons theory," Paige snickers, sword already drawn, letting her move into range on the insect her allies have already taken swings at.
Longsword Attack: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14
Longsword Damage: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 8
Ini - Party 11+ Enemy 7
(Not held to order, just keeping track of it~
Seeing the foul insects Julian took hold of another vial but stopped when Tarov charged right into harms way. He would have to do it the hard way then, no softening up the enemy this time.
So with his sickle in hand he advanced alongside Paige, using his acrobatics to get around one of the creatures so that they could flank and hopefully end it quickly. As he attempted to jump over its attack, he landed behind it and spun. Sickle in hand and slashed at the insects many legs...
Acrobatics - To get into a flanking position with Paige if possible and avoid AoO's from the enemy.: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16
Attack remove flanking if I was unable to get into position.: 1d20 + 5 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 5 + 2 = 20
Damage (Sickle): 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
He saves his arcana and bombs for whatever they were to face next in this tunnel of insectile horrors.
Tarov's heavy flail struck well to the side of the giant cockroach he'd aimed at, but Yukio's followup blow - just barely accurate enough to hit - managed to skewer the beast and rip away its life. Paige's following blow wasn't enough to kill the second cockroach, but it was severely damaged - enough so to allow Julian to finish it off.
"Ah, it seems we've won." the Riftwarden said, a pleased tone in his voice as he listened to the sounds of battle fade away.
"Yes, that was... er..." Horgus' words trailed off. Apparently, even he couldn't find fault in so swift and thorough a victory. He shrugged slightly, even as Aravashnial began speaking once more.
"Back to the question at hand, there are quite a few large networks of tunnels beneath the city." the Riftwarden said calmly. "I'm afraid I couldn't navigate us out even if I knew which set we were in, but there should be an exit to the surface somewhere. Keep your noses sharp, and if you smell fresher air, speak up immediately. Don't rush towards it, either - demons are more likely to be close to the exits than further inside."
As he speaks, you have the opportunity to look around and examine the previously-noted items within the chamber. Altogether, you're able to find a torn bedroll, three candle stubs (each of which can burn for about 30 minutes), a bent fishhook, 10 feet of badly frayed hemp rope, and a copper brooch depicting a bat perched on a mushroom.
With this room and the south cleared, it seems the only thing left to do is proceed forward... for the caves only have one passage.