Sheila Heidmarch stands before a window in her study, sunlight glittering on her signature emerald garments. She speaks in a deep and sonorous voice, and wastes no time getting to her point.
"First, thank you for gathering here on such short notice. Please have a seat. Once you've heard what I have to tell you, I believe you will forgive my enthusiasm. Documents we recovered from our Thassilonian excavations describe an elven fortress on the border between the Mierani Forest and the former Thassilonian province of Cyrusian. Because the borders of the forest have receded in the years since, any remaining ruins must be well outside of the forest as it now stands. As I'm sure you're aware, the elves of Kyonin typically guard elven historical sites closely, but in this case it seems the elves have lost all record of the site; they don't even know it exists. Needless to say, this discovery represents an invaluable opportunity for the society to explore without supervision. Take this map and make your preparations. I want you to reach the tower before news of its discovery reaches any of our rivals.”
She takes a pause to allow you to digest this information before continuing, a light of fervour apparent in here eyes.
"First, verify that the ruin even exists. Assuming there's still something there, I want a detailed report on the architecture of the site. We don't gain access to ancient elven ruins often, and this investigation must be thorough. Finally, bring back any surviving artifacts left by the elves who built and occupied the tower."
|Kelson Bard character|
"Welcome all..I am Kelson a bard from Andoran. A brown and greyish creature sits on his shoulder. This is Fastpaws my friend.he turns to Shelia Heidmarch. "What can we expect in the area?"
Venture-Captain Heidmarch thinks over her reply carefully, taking a look at some of the notes on her desk which looks a little chaotic of late.
"Similar locations have been warded by magic and guarded by outsiders. I doubt that the elves would design anything that would harm their own kind, but we have not explored enough Elven sites to offer more than speculation. I am confident in your skills and training."
A slender, young woman of average height bows respectfully to the bard.
“Thank-you, Brother Kelson.” She smiles. “Brother Fastpaws. Please call me Antonella.”
Obviously of Mwangi descent, the priestess' hair hangs in limp, dripping ropes down her back. She wears a double-weave judogi of snowy white, cinched at the waist with a cotton belt of royal blue. Simple wooden sandals adorn her feet.
“Pray excuse my appearance, Venture-Captain, Brother Kelson. I had urgent need of a bath after entering the Hao Jin Tapestry in Absalom. I swear some of the Pathfinders I travelled with had been swimming in a sewer.”
At Lady Heidmarch’s invitation, the monk takes a seat. Her posture is impeccable.
“Does the site have a name, My Lady? It must be in a very isolated location for Mierani elves to just forget about it.”
The paladin raises an eyebrow, displaying her natural scepticism. “Is it possible the elves have abandoned the site because another party has seized or captured it?”
“Could dark elves or duegar have tunnelled up into it from below?”
Antonella searches her mind for any useful knowledge about the region or site.
Knowledge (arcana): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (9) + 3 = 12
Knowledge (religion): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (8) + 7 = 15
Wembly rushes up to the Irori Paladin with a wide, almost unbelievable smile for his friend. Whiskers purrs as he approaches.
Antonella! We made it back. Are you really on this mission? It has been forever since we traveled together. I cannot believe it. Whiskers, it really is her. I told you so!
The young, wild-haired gnome looks around and gulps in embarrassment.
Oops. I am sorry. Please continue. I just...well...I am sorry.
Wembly sits and listens intently.
Dark elves or Duergar? Maybe. What about ghosts of the elves? Would they hold a grudge if we poke around and they died there? Or maybe they really are still there and were just hiding when whoever visited.
The gnome has more outlandish ideas, but figures he would be ridiculed to even mention them.
Meanwhile, the green planar cat lies down and cleans its large paws.
Antonella! We made it back. Are you really on this mission?
OH, YES. Antonella mouths silently, patting the seat beside her.
The paladin reaches down fearlessly to scratch Whiskers behind his ears, as if the Astral smilodon was her maiden aunt’s old tabby.
A very large, quite sweaty and smiley man covered in tattoos of various birds of prey joins the group. He looks around, leers a little at Antonella and then says loudly. "You are not Sorry. You are Wembly! Iso Soturi knows you!"
He advances with meaning upon Antonella, his bulk not quite obscuring the light of day. "Hello lovely lady. Iso Soutri stands before you. Savior of many ladies. Most recently visiting with your people down south on.."
Here he looks about with concern, and lowers his voice to a low boom.
"Covert and most subtle assignment with The Society."
Anyone down wind of Iso must wonder at how such a man could under any circumstances be considered subtle. Those within earshot probably have similar reservations.
I wonder if he always refers to himself in the third person? Meh. At least I won’t forget his name.
“Savior of many ladies. Most recently visiting with your people …”
Antonella stands and bows to the giant. “And I am certain they were most sorry to see you go.”
The cleric inclines her bowed head at Wembly and gives the gnome a wry smile, as if to say: Friend of yours?
"Covert and most subtle assignment with The Society."
“Oh dear, Iso Soturi. I sense this mission calls for direct, violent action!”
The monk straightens and recites deadpan. “Do you think you’ll able to adapt in time?”
"Iso is Very Adaptable. And Flexible" says Iso proudly flexing his muscles.
"Iso is sure statue of masculine self now adorns Nantambu and beautiful Mwangi maidens weep at memory of Iso whenever they go past!"
The rest of Antonella's sentence finally works its way through his somewhat self absorbed nature. "Rest assured Iso is also good at direct and most violent action."
He points over his shoulder to a rather large axe sitting there, and then to other implements of destruction than adorn his massive frame. "See?"
The Venture Captain shakes her head and gives an elegant shrug at Antonella's wild musings.
"I do not know of Drow or Duergar presence, as I said it is all wild speculation." she replies afterwards, taking a seat behind her desk. "I do not know of any names either, but that is something I entreat you to look out for. What I do know is that the Celwynvian elves maintain tight borders, and many believe the territory to be haunted by spirits that feast on foreigners. Some of the information may be superstition, but it has been enough to scare off curious eyes."
Tidying up her papers she gives you a smile.
"If there is no more you need of me then good luck Pathfinders."
You can take a moment to see what you know of the Areas of the Mierani Forest or the Thassilonian province of Cyrusian, with the ability to read through the Captain's books on such subjects.
Also, as you make your way towards the city gates, you are able to ask the Caravan Convoy's entering the city for any rumours or the current state of the route you are due to take.
|Kelson Bard character|
Hey, Iso! Good on you! Wembly smiles as the big man approaches.
Wembly thinks about anything he might know.
I only know about the Sanos Forest mostly. That is where I met Whiskers. Hey Kelson. I bet Whiskers and Fastpaws will be best buds after this. Can I help with the info?
diplo-aid: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8 to assist Kelson...lol or not.
“Many established theorems begin as … ‘wild speculation’, Venture-Captain.” Antonella replies archly.
The monk waits patiently to be dismissed, before giving Wembly a broad smile. “I bet you’re right about elven guardian spirits, Wembly!”
“My brothers.” She announces. “Is everyone able to deal with incorporeal undead? I think we should also be ready to handle deeper darkness in the event dark elves are involved.”
“Mwangi maidens weep at memory of Iso.”
“There is not a doubt in my mind that is true, Iso Soturi.”
The paladin’s stony features crack a smile. “To be worthy of standing with you on the front line, Brother Iso I am going to purchase a wand of cure moderate and/or cure serious wounds.”
“I swear by the Master of Masters I will do my utmost to aid in melee, as well as to keep you up and in the fight.”
Diplomacy (gather info): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (16) + 7 = 23 Oh, has anyone got an aid another?
Iso, always happy to aid a beautiful lady, or any lady for that matter, smiles at the merchants as she talks with them.
diplomacy aid: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (3) - 1 = 2
However he spends more time itching away at the various forms of wildlife than inhabit his beard... and other bits of him... than he does being helpful.
"Iso fights flesh and blood. ISo has not fought things without bodies."
Do you really think we might see ghosts? Or not see them, Antonella ? Wembly looks worried and hopes not.
Whiskers and I are not much better than Iso at ghosts and the sort. Pits and grease are not that effective and Whiskers cannot bite them...well, I suspect not, at least. I do have a wand of magical force darts if we get into a pinch...but if that is all we have, that is a lot of pinching.
“It’s possible, dear Wembly. Though of course I cannot be sure.”
“Here.” She passes the gnome an oil of magic fang. “Just in case.”
“I would also hear what our other companions have to say. Come, Master Kelson! Are you happy to put your life in Iso’s hands and Whiskers’ mouth?”
Antonella sighs. “You know I have oft been criticized for over-thinking things, brother.”
“Still, your master Ignizi Dinnelletter’s quotation from our first adventure remains with me.”
She smiles. “Regardless of the circumstances, ‘we must find a way to succeed.’”
|Kelson Bard character|
Kelso turns to Wembly "Ghosts do you think the undead roam the area? and nods at Antonella "Of couse..If we Pathfinders don't have each other's backs who does?"
"He says he'll watch for danger too!" replies Kelson
Wembly nods in agreement with Kelson and Antonella. Yep, that is what she always said...Ignizi said, I mean. We got to find a way, and I am sure we will.
"Iso's axe is very magical." says the big barbarian.
"Iso is sure it will hurt things. Even ghostly things."
In the Interest of moving on, I will progress. If Turmoil/Pierre post in the next few days that's fine, if not then I will continue with 4.
Setting off from the Venture Captain's manor and taking a moment to discuss the route with the Convoys members willing to share with you, it is not long until you have left the City of Magnimar altogether. You have been given fairly concise directions to the ancient tower and that is that way you head. A few hours of travel from the main route sees you into a vast countryside dotted with copses of trees and not much else.
In the distance you spy A lump of weathered stone, standing alone on a lonely plain in the Velashu Uplands where it protrudes from a low hill. Three closely grouped stone turrets arranged in a triangle form the bulk of the tower, though all but the ground floor seems to have collapsed since the tower's abandonment.
What at first looked like a cave reveals itself as the foundation of an ancient building. Crumbling stone walls, their blocks blanketed in moisture trails and weeds, slowly give way to the soil of the surrounding plains. The ceiling is partially open to the sky, beneath which shards of fallen stone litter compete for space with small mushrooms and other fungi that grow out of the spiderweb pattern of cracks in the floor. Against the chamber's western wall, the remains of a door made from petrified wood lies open, barely clinging to the door frame with nearly disintegrated hinges.
You are now in the tower on slide 1, I have cleared the circle for the first room. Plase place yourselves on the tower and decide where you would like to head
survival: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8
perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (9) + 8 = 17
"Iso notes that old door is open..." notes the barbarian who is more than happy to take the lead. He opens a pouch and throws a small stone into the air, it sheds light and starts to circle his head.
Then, axe in hand he carefully checks for tracks, eventually peaking through the door.
"Hello... Ghosts?" he asks suspiciously.
|Kelson Bard character|
Kn History: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (12) + 5 = 17
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (17) + 17 = 34
Just before the party leave, a strikingly handsome man strides up to the group, or rather floats, his feet never touching the ground. He is of average height and has a slim build to him, yet is perfectly proportioned and in excellent physical shape. It's hard to judge his age as he appears much younger than he seems, having a youthful glow to him. His hair is a light blonde, almost platinum and with a particular sheen to it. Bright blue eyes that almost seem to sparkle like stars in the night sky look over the group gathered. His clothing is modest, similar to a clerics vestments, and impeccably clean, covered by a mithril breastplate. A gleaming morningstar hangs to one side of his belt and a dark wooden shield is strapped to his back, emblazoned with a blue and silver butterfly, the mark of Desna. "I apologize for my tardiness, I was delayed in my return from the Gloomspires. I've heard that travelers and livestock have gone missing in the area, especially at night. Also, a hunter told me he recently spotted a heavily armed group of the elven Shin'Rakorath, also known as "Lantern Bearers," crossing the uplands."
Perception: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (13) + 11 = 24
Jorah eyes a faded footprint in the ground and points it out to the others. "We may not be alone here."
@ GM: Just a note, Jorah is constantly levitating due to his Lure of the Heavens revelation.
Iso looks suspiciously. "Hello strange floaty man. I am Iso Soturi! Ravager of the North and Saviour of Beautiful Maidens."
He nods his head towards Antonella, which might give someone the impression she was the latest 'beautiful maiden' that he has saved.
That is sooooo cool! How do you do that? Wembly blurts before thinking whether it would be considered rude by Jorah or not.
I mean, howdy, I am Wembly...and this is Whiskers.
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13
Survival: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (10) + 5 = 15
“Welcome, Jorah.” Antonella smiles broadly and bows.
“I'm Antonella.” She looks sideways at Iso. “Maiden in need of saving, apparently.”
“A hunter told me he recently spotted a heavily armed group of the elven Shin'Rakorath, also known as ‘Lantern Bearers.’”
The paladin conjures an image of Lady Heidmarch in her mind and shakes her head.
‘Wild speculation’ did she say?
“Jorah, that is extremely valuable intelligence. I believe the Shin'Rakorath are famous for hunting drow. Would you mind casting daylight on my ioun stone on one of the days we are travelling to the elven ruin, please?”
The priestess smiles at Iso and Wembly. “You may yet get the chance to test your skills against creatures of flesh and blood, my brothers.”
“Now what is the plan? Shall we move around to the rubble on the southern side of the tower to get ambushed? Or does someone have another idea?”
In all seriousness Iso shakes his head.
"Iso recommends against getting ambushed. Pulling arrows out of Iso is a painful process." then he shrugs and smiles. "Of course it was more painful for the person who put arrows into Iso Soturi."
Jorah smiles at Iso, "Yes, I can tell you make the women swoon. Glad you are here to protect us."
"Ahh Wembley, I believe we adventured together in Tian Xia some time ago. How could I forget little whiskers here?" he pats the beast on his head.
"I have no issues using my spells should we need it. But sometimes we may not want to give away our position. Do not worry though, Desna will bathe us in light when the time is right."
|Kelson Bard character|
Antonella draws her wand of cure mod in her off hand and nods.
“OK, so what I’m hearing is we are going to stealth around to the entrance and spy out what might be waiting for us? I assume we are all going together?”
UMD wand of mage armor DC 20 (don’t roll a 1): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (11) + 10 = 21
Antonella looks at each of her companions in turn. “We are not on a timer, so I think we take it slow and make sure we don’t trigger any traps or an ambush. Does anyone have a group invisibility spell? If not, I think it’s time to get on with it.”
Take 20 Perception for traps and threats: 20 + 7 = 27
Take 20 Stealth: 20 + 1 = 21
I'm not sure you can take-20 on stealth, as you don't know that you have failed. Taking ten on the other hand should be fine.
Iso joins the group, being as stealthy as a really big man can be.
Takes ten for ... eleven.
Yeah, Taking 20 encompasses all rolls in a way, so as it is something you could fail it is not something you can do. Also don't forget Take 20 takes a long time
Avoiding the crumbled tower that seems the most direct route of access, you slowly and carefully make you way around the ruined Elven structure that was clearly once a grand place. The Masonry is an odd thing, finely wrought but designed in such a way as to appear as solid, well polished wood. At the Base of the tower stand two grand doors. Antonella begins to examine them and after some time determines they are safe. They are however locked.
Standing by the main door, you look up at the tower to see that it does not stretch that high above the ground, only around 15 feet. If it stood taller in ages gone you cannot be sure.
Disable Device DC 25 to open. You think Brute force may go poorly with the Venture Captain, but you can do it with a DC 20 strength check.
"Iso suggests people with delicate hands make pretty drawing of ruins. Captains like pretty drawings. Iso likes Pretty Girls." elucidates the barbarian, just in case anyone was in doubt.
He glances up. "Iso could probably climb down and get a good look."
And if nobody objects, Iso will do just that. Takes ten for 19
|Kelson Bard character|
Antonella ✨casts a strength surge on the big Kellid, allowing him to break down the door.
+1 to Iso's Strength-based skill check, GM Sethran
“I’m thinking you’ve never met a problem you couldn’t solve with a greataxe, Iso.”
The cleric readies to follow the barbarian inside. “Watch for traps and sentries, brothers.”
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11
Iso shrugs from the tower "This is true. Antonella knows Iso well.[/.b]" He smiles, hopefully not losing his grip."[b]Maybe later on, Antonella will Know Iso even better! Iso Senses that Antonella may even be Friend of Iso Soturi. What greater title could one wish for?"
Iso was climbing rather than bashing, at least to begin with.
Well, if we cannot unlock the door and don't want to break it, how about a through window or door on the roof? Wembly looks around and up the tower.
I could probably get us all up there. But I may need to send Whiskers away.
Wembly waits to see what happens to Iso.
You can do it!
Cast guidance on him as well for an extra boost.
Oops, sorry. I guess we’ll wait and see how that plays out. The strength surge will still boost your roll by one.
“Antonella knows Iso well.”
The paladin raises her hand, lest one of her companions gets the wrong idea. “Not in the sacred bibliographic way though, brothers.”
“Antonella may even be Friend of Iso Soturi. What greater title could one wish for?”
“Not sure. But I know a far worse one: Enemy of Iso Soturi.”
The sight of a large barbarian hanging precariously from a ruined tower as he vigorously nods his head might be amusing if it were not for the masonry that seemed to come raining down on any too close.
"Never Fear!" he cries down in apology. This is followed quickly by "Yes! Antonella is very wise."
|Kelson Bard character|
"I guess no one can open the door? Perhaps we should try and push it open?"
Fastpaws quickly chatters.
Kelson looks down. "No friend..I don't expect you to open it ALL by yourself. I'm sure the Pathfinders will all help. Let's see if its trapped." Kelson casts detect magic
perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (19) + 8 = 27
nice the die roller likes me
"I have faith in our barbarian friend here. But if we must break down the door, I may be able to repair it by magical means."
Iso will make it to the top, I just know he will. But then what do we do? Wembly sits atop Whiskers waiting to see how the barbarian fares.
Iso climbs the tower with ease, his muscles hardly straining at the effort as the strangely worked stone offers plenty of handholds. Unfortunately for the Barbarian, he can see no way inside from up here, the floor beneath him is all that remains of the tower but it too is worked in sturdy stone, made to look like fine wood. He can see however that there is an entrance through the crumbled part of the tower.
Easily able to manage the climb back down, Iso is able to share his findings with the Pathfinders on the ground. Fastpaws examines the door and is certain that no traps are worked into it.
"Iso thinks it is odd to have a tower with no way onto roof. But southern people are odd."
He points to where he saw the entrance. "Iso whose eyes are like the eagle, saw the entrance over there!"
He pauses (briefly) in case any want a more subtle approach, and then starts his own.
Takes then on stealth for 11
“Elven magic maybe, Iso.”
Antonella *shrugs* “It was worth trying a less obvious entrance in my opinion.”
The paladin slinks after the big Kellid, offering to cast another strength surge to help him take the door.
+1 to Iso’s next strength-based check
Take 10 Stealth: 10 + 1 = 11
Perception for traps and threats: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18
"Rest assured lovely Antonella, door will fall to Iso. But Iso knows Discretion." exposes the barbarian.
Of course from the way he says it, you are left wondering whether perhaps Discretion was the street name of the last girl he tumbled in town, and perhaps what the significance of that is in the current situation.