The invitation delivered last night was remarkably simple, especially given the importance of the occasion: “Start where it all began. Meet us at the Pig’s Paunch one hour before dawn.”
The Pig’s Paunch is a run-down building with a faded sign of a large pig standing on its hind legs, arms folded above a corpulent belly. Inside, the air is thick with the scents of human sweat, stale tobacco, and leftover food. In the center of the room, surrounded by inebriates sleeping off their revelries, a familiar elven man stands high upon top of a large round table.
“Welcome! Welcome, my students! Please, have a seat!” With that, Kreighton Shaine, the Pathfinder Society’s Master of Scrolls, nimbly drops down to sit cross-legged on the table before looking about the tavern with a sense of reverent wonder. “Can you believe it? It all started here years ago—well, over four hundred of them at least. Under this very roof the Pathfinder Society was born.
“But today! Today you will begin your Confirmation! Master Farabellus, Master Zey, and I all agree you each have shown your worth and dedication to the Society, so there’s no better time to see if you can handle becoming full field operatives. Allow me to introduce you to Janira Gavix,” he says as he motions for an excitable halfling woman to approach. She wears a large backpack and carries all manner of tools, pouches, and scroll cases around her waist. Shaine continues, saying, “Janira here will be going with you on your Confirmation. She was one of my brightest pupils and will no doubt be an invaluable resource on your journey, for she discovered the caves you are about to explore during her own Confirmation.”
Janira speaks up in an enthusiastic and cheerful voice, “Greetings, aspiring Pathfinders! Six months ago, while I was mapping cave entrances in the foothills of the Kortos Mounts, I witnessed a lone gillman entering a concealed cave. I thought little of it at the time, but I saw another one enter the cave again a month later as my Confirmation stretched on. A few days later, after I completed my assigned task, I entered the cave system, but was unable to find the gillmen.”
Master Shaine hops to his feet. “Initiates, for your Confirmation, you will travel to these caves to explore and document its many passages. Additionally, and most importantly, you are to learn what the gillmen are up to in there. Oh, and you need to come back alive as well.” With these parting words, the Master of Scrolls jumps off the table and strolls out of the building while humming to himself.
"Wow! He's amazing isn't he? I mean, wow. Hi! I'm Effie! Nice to meet you Janira. So, uh, what was he on about? I have absolutely no idea!"
Effie perches on the end of a table near Janira swinging her legs and grinning excitedly.
knowledge geography, untrained: 1d20 ⇒ 8
"Come back alive? Ha, I hope that's typically a requirement. If I don't come back alive, what would you all do without me?" The elf smiles. Dominic was wearing a pale, loose fitting shirt. The whip coiled on his belt at several bits of metal tied into the leather.
"Janria, what are these caves like?"
Untrained Geography: 1d20 ⇒ 3
"Come back alive I hear. This will be no problem. My skills with a dagger are unmatched anywhere.Naxian speaks very arrogantly and just loud enough that everyone can hear him."I wander what we will find in these caves. Hopefully something I can sink my daggers into. I just sharpened them.Naxian takes a seat, but sits as though he is ready to go at a moments notice.
Hopefully this will not take long.
"So long as you take care, there should be no problems," Liasna agreed. She moved carefully and sat, having spoken her peace. She nodded her greeting to the others and listened for an answer to the question the elf had asked.
"Is this the team? Hey everyone, I'm Effie! I'm a sharpshooter!"
Effie pats the holstered pistol at her hip.
"So what do you guys do? You're all newly trained too right?"
Effie grins broadly, excited to meet everybody and seemingly oblivious to her less-than-opulent surroundings.
Janira listens patiently to each would-be-Pathfinder in turn before answering. "I know it's hard to concentrate when you're so excited about your first mission as a Pathfinder, but do try to pay better attention, Effie. We are going to explore and document some caves in the Kortos Mounts. In particular, we want to find out why these caves are so important to the gillmen.
"Dominic, I haven't been into the caves yet, so that's a surprise you'll get to discover all for yourselves!
"This shouldn't be a dangerous mission, Naxian. It will be more about exploration and learning, about getting to know one another and acting as a group."
Janira pulls out a large leather-bound journal and opens it on the table. "That's a good idea Effie, we should all get to know each other and review our plan. After all, the most important factors that determine whether an expedition will be a success are cooperation and preparation! I’ll go first!
"I'm from Eastgate and have six younger brothers and sisters. Our father is a porter who delivers purchases to stores' customers, but I always wanted to be an adventurer! My family all worship Desna, but we respect other religions too. Everybody needs a god or goddess to watch over them!
"At first, I wanted to travel and see the world, but then Master Shaine got hold of my imagination, and now I help him discover and preserve knowledge. One day, I’ll have a discovery published in the Chronicles!
“Now, tell me all about all of yourselves!”
Effie's broad grin disappears when Janira criticises her lack of attention, but immediately returns when she receives praise.
"I'm from Varisia. I grew up on a travelling circus. I hated it. Seriously, none of those circus folk have got any sense of responsibility! They just think the world owes them a living! They don't give anything back, they just drift from town to town and it's take, take, take! Ugh! Sorry, I don't mean to bore you all with my insufferable upbringing. I ran away from the circus and joined the Pathfinders so I could do some good in the world, make a positive difference, you know?
Desna, eh? So, are you some kind of priestess then Janira? You're not really what I imagine a priestess would look like. In the circus, we had 'Madame Mimi the Miracle Worker'. Pffft. She could brew up a potion alright, but she wasn't a real priestess."
As stories are shared, Dominic looks from person to person. Finally, he shrugs and speaks. "I grew up in here in Absalom. My mother is a priestess of Calistria. My father...well, priestesses of Calistria can have many partners. So I grew up in the temple until my uncle took me off to Sothis to live for several decades. He serves the Ruby Prince and has learned several secrets of the ancients. He was the one who taught me magic and tutored me."
"My uncle still serves the Prince, but after the Prince's split with Amenopheus, my uncle and I had a similar falling out. I decided to follow Amenopheus, which has brought me back home now."
"My parents and I lived in the outskirts of Oppara, where I was touched by Sarenrae." Liasna's lips quirked a bit. "I'd always wanted to be a fighter, but it seems the goddess had other plans for me, so while I'm able to be out and about, to help and to heal... Well. I won't be breaking any heads."
There was more, of course - there always was when it came to one's history. But she thought she'd gotten the pertinent facts across well enough.
Anaias looks a bit uncomfortable to speak about himself, but forces the words from his mouth.
"I was rescued from a fire by a halfling adventuring couple when I was a baby. They took me to a village near Isger and raised me there. A lot of the halflings I grew up with were often bullied by the Chelaxians who would come through the village, so I learned to protect them. Now, I serve Shelyn and do my best to protect those who protect themselves."
Effie counts off the gods...
"Calistria, Sarenrae, Shelyn. Gosh, you all have gods?! I want to hear all about them. Oh, if you don't mind of course. I've always felt called to a higher purpose, but I've never had any religious instruction."
Dominic chuckles. "Oh, Effie. If you want 'instruction,' I can introduce you to my mother. She has decades of experience 'teaching' young men and women. Something tells me she would welcome you with open arms." He smiles.
"But be careful, Calistrians will hold grudges. And then the sting of this..." He uncoils his whip and cracks it overhead. "Is the most pleasant thing you'll hear."
"At least you knew your mother. Mine gave me to humans before I could remember her. I guess I could thank her. I would of never become the expert thief and dagger master that I am."
"Well, happily, both of my parents are alive and well and I occasionally visit to see how they're doing." Liasna said dryly. "But yes, Effie, if you'd like to speak about the gods, I'm happy to tell you what little Sarenrae has seen fit to show me and introduce you to the teachers I've had."
"Just because you didn't know your mother it doesn't mean you have to turn out a thief, Mr Stabbity." Effie scowls. "If every poor orphan urchin turned to violence and theft it would be a sorry world we'd live in. I don't know who my real parents are, or were. The circus raised me. I had many parents. All of them good-for-nothing layabouts, if you ask me! But I won't be like them, no sir!"
"I'd like to hear more about Sarenrae, thankyou. Uh, I'm not so sure about Calistria. Your mama sounds really nice Dominic, but, well, I'm not so sure of that ugly-looking whip you've got there."
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"Mr. Stabbity!!! I shall take that as my nickname. Naxian grins widely.. "I do not look back and dwell on it. I turned this way by choice. I would not change it for anything. I would not trade these daggers for any gun. Naxian nods in Effie's direction. I always bring a knife to a gun fight. I'm beginning to like you Effie. We will work well together.
Dominic shrugs. "Suit yourself. Plenty others say the same, but my mother sees all sorts. Calistria's embrace is usually more tangible than other goddesses'."
He turns to Janria. "But my mother isn't why we're here. Evidently, we're venturing to the Kortos Mounts. It shouldn't be too far, right Janria? Maybe a day or two from here?"
Knowledge, Geo (untrained): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (15) + 3 = 18
I hope you guys have other Knowledge skills or this will be a very uninformed Confirmation
"Oh dear, no. I'm only a scholar, Effie. My daddy just taught us all that religion is very important. Everybody needs faith in something, he said.
"Dominic, that is so loyal of you! I'm sure you'll make Amenopheus so proud of you.
"That's so good of you, Anaias! So few big folk look out for us little folk.
"Ooh, yes! Let's learn all about everyone's religions while we're hiking to the caves. It'll be like a lecture and a picnic all rolled up in one!
"You are correct, Dominic! It's about a day and a half each way by foot.
[b]“Now, on to the details of the mission at hand,” Janira says with an eager grin. “After reviewing my mission reports personally, Master Shaine believes it is no coincidence that each time they entered the caves it was during a full moon, so it is also no coincidence that you have been called here now, just a day before the moon is full again. We both believe that tomorrow night is our best chance to find out why these caves are important and what exactly the gillmen are doing in there.
“The caves we’ll be travelling to lie under the base of the Kortos Mounts. We’ll need to spend every minute of daylight possible to reach the caves by foot, crossing over the Cairnlands, taking the paths to Diobel, and finally making our way through the wilderness. With any luck we won’t run into any of the local inhabitants. Once in the caves, we’ll need to work together to explore and determine whether any gillman are present or have been recently. Keep an eye out for any other clues that might hint at the caves’ significance, too.”
"Oh, did you pack a picnic Effie? That's really sweet of you thankyou! And not really what I was expecting from my Confirmation as a pathfinder field agent. I don't mind a little hiking if you brought a picnic.
What are the local inhabitants we need to be worried about Janira? And what's a gillman? Sounds like a kind of half-fish! Are they evil?"
Dominic rolls his eyes at Janria. "Amenopheus is not easily impressed. But rebuilding the Sages is important. If only the Ruby Prince saw it that way..."
"Well, if we're heading out into the wilderness, is anyone experienced in the wild? I for one prefer the civilized world. I admit, I may be useless."
"There's always the chance we may run into bandits along the way, and there are dozens of kinds of predators in that forest. That's why we should always be as prepared as possible.
”Gillmen are a humanoid race much like humans save for the three piscine gills on both sides of their necks. They're a little secretive but not outright hostile. Most live in or near the water.
"Perhaps enlightening the Ruby Prince will become your great life achievement, Dominic!
“Now, before we head out, if there aren’t any more questions, we should take a moment to go through your gear and make sure nothing important gets left out. Come on now, don't be shy. Everybody just dump your packs out on the table and let's take inventory!”
At Janira's suggestion, Liasna raised an eyebrow. There was a forward proposal if she'd heard one. Still, they were supposed to be doing this as a group, so... She didn't throw her things out onto the table - there wasn't much of it anyways - and instead said, "I've my armor, a light crossbow, a quarterstaff, my bedroll, enough rations for two days... and my kit for any necessary healing."
With a shrug, she added, "Unfortunately, I don't have any wands or potions to help with healing, but I'm hoping I'll be up to the task." A wry grin.
"Oh I don't have very much. I made my own ammunition, and I got my pistol and this elephant knife at the circus. I bought some armour, but it's so heavy! I've got a backup dagger, and some rope, and my pack, and a waterskin. Oh, and my tools for fixing up my gun and makin' bullets. And, that's it!
I hope you don't think me rude Janira but, er, how do field agents get paid? Only, I've got no money left. At all. Not a copper."
Anaias grunts and starts reciting his equipment in a dull monotone, "armor, glaive, club, bow, holy symbol, spell components, backpack, food for 7 days, waterskin, bedroll, rope+hook, 2 acid flasks."
As he thinks for a moment, his eyes grow distant. [b]"Did the Master of Scrolls say we'd need to document our trip? I'll need to get some ink and paper then..."
Dominic shrugs and lays out his pack. "I'm not much into armor. Too constricting but I do have this belt..." He lifts his shirt to reveal a haramaki.
"I've also got my whip, a knife, bedroll, my spellbook and spell components, ink and another journal, some parchment for other notes, a scroll case, flint & steel, rope, soap, mess kit, waterskin, rations, torches, and a watertight bag. Plus, I have my carpentry tools, and...well, bachelor snuff."
Naxian begins to lay out his gear.
"Let's see here. I have some gear studded leather, acid, alchemist’s fire, six daggers , rapier, backpack, hooded lantern, five uses of oil ,50 ft of silk rope ,thieves’ tools, wand of cure light wounds, bedroll, belt pouch, water skin, caltrops, chalk, flint and steel, grappling hook, iron pot, mess kit, ten pitons,ten torches, five days of field rations."Naxian looks around."Maybe I need more daggers. You can never have too many."
"That is an important question, Effie. Agents need to eat, too! Plus, we have to provide our own equipment. If a mission is successful and shows a profit, the agents will get a portion of the treasure. And sometimes the Lodge will throw in extra rewards for a good performance, like a wand or scroll.
"Here you go, Anaias! I brought parchment and inkpens for everybody!"
Stealth: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (6) + 3 = 9
Initiative (Anaias): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 9
Initiative (Dominic): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5
Initiative (Effie): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11
Initiative (Liasna): 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 1 = 19
Initiative (Naxian): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18
Initiative (GM): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
Perception (Anaias): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25
Perception (Dominic): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 2 = 14
Perception (Effie): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
Perception (Liasna): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (20) + 3 = 23
Perception (Naxian): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (8) + 7 = 15
If you roll 21 or higher, you may ask for more information.
- Liasna -
- Naxian -
- Effie -
- Anaias -
- Dominic -
- Red -
- Green -
- Janira -
As the party progresses deeper into the forest, the trees towering overhead begin to shield most of what remains of the day’s sun and the vegetation beneath grows denser. Janira pauses a moment and pulls out an intricate silver compass emblazoned with the Pathfinder Society logo: the Glyph of the Open Road. “I received this wayfinder when I successfully completed my Confirmation. Should we be successful on our journey, you will get your own as well.”
She flips open the device and holds it in front of her; the initials J. L. are engraved into the inside of the device’s lid. After studying the compass inside for a moment, she remarks, “We’re on the right path. We need to keep heading northwest past those large rocks up ahead.”
But before you can start moving again, a large tree falls to the forest floor, startling all sorts of creatures. In their fear, some start to attack your party
EVerybody except Effie is up. Surprise round action only.
Untrained Knowledge Nature: 1d20 ⇒ 19
"Of course it had to be spiders. My blades are not effective against this type of creature. Use something that will effect an area instead. Oh, and they are venomous.Naxian draws a flask of acid.
Forgive me, got caught up with family all of a sudden. @_@
Liasna could see spiders to the south - not wanting to tangle with them, she stepped back, letting her party members lead. She might want to lead the charge, but she knew her skills were better used in the back.
@Naxian: You cannot make an untrained Knowledge check with a DC higher than 10.
Damage (green): 1d6 ⇒ 6 Strength Damage: 1d2 ⇒ 1
- Liasna -
- Naxian -
- Effie -
- Anaias -
- Dominic -
- Red -
- Green -
- Janira -
Ill equipped to fight this foe, Liasna wisely retreats lest she become a liability to her companions. Naxian came prepared though, and draws a flask of acid, as does Anaias. Dominic bravely stays out front, protecting the other Pathfinders with his own blood and bones.
The spiders draw closer, but slowly.
Everybody is up.
Seeing that there was yet another mass of spiders, she made an expression of distaste. Spiders were acceptable in low numbers - they lived off of other, more aggravating insects and she could distinctly remember scaring some of the boys with them.
She shook her head, and bestowed guidance upon Effie, intoning, "May the Dawnflower look well upon you," as she lay her hand on the girl's shoulder. She didn't bother going for her crossbow - there was little she could do against a swarm.
The creature gets a +1 competence bonus on a single attack roll, saving throw, or skill check. It must choose to use the bonus before making the roll to which it applies.
When the party was ready to set out on the hike across Kortos, Effie put on stiff leather armour, studded with metal. She also loaded her pistol with bullet and powder.
"Oh, this armour is so bulky! I don't know how you're supposed to put up with it. But surely it's too dangerous to just wear a big belt Dominic?"
With the spiders...
"Thankyou Liasna, and thankyou Dawnflower. Um, I don't think I can shoot these spiders. There's so many of them! I need a blunderbuss, or a fire pistol. Oh! Oh no. Oh gods please no not that."
Effie looks fearful and uncomfortable.
No actions yet. I'll let those with acid flasks throw them first.
Effie sees that her fellows' missiles go astray, and steps to the side to get a clear line on the nearest swarm green
Small flames spring up on Effie's forehead, scorching her scarf and revealing her horns. Her eyes flare up, before she screws them tightly closed and stretches out her hand towards the swarm.
A blast of fire rushes forth from Effie's hand.
Spell-like ability, Burning Hands. Reflex save DC15 for half damage.
burning hands damage: 1d4 ⇒ 4
The flames on Effie's forehead fade away, and she opens her eyes and looks about nervously.
Damage (red): 1d6 ⇒ 2 Strength Damage: 1d2 ⇒ 1
Damage (green): 1d6 ⇒ 1 Strength Damage: 1d2 ⇒ 1
Fort: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11
Fort: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (6) + 3 = 9
- Liasna -
- Naxian - 1 damage, 1 Strength damage? (1/?), nauseated?
- Effie - guidance, 1 damage, 1 Strength damage? (1/?), nauseated?
- Anaias -
- Dominic - 2 damage, 1 Strength damage? (1/?), nauseated?
- Red -
- Green - 8 damage
- Janira - 1 damage, nauseated
Liasna intones a quick prayer over Effie, and Naxian throws an errant flask at the closest swarm. Effie's fire instantly roasts several thousand spiders, but Anaias' throw misses its mark and only splashes a little bit of acid on them. Dominic continues to make noise, drawing the vermin torward himself.
As the swarms converge on your party, Janira begins vomiting and stumbles away.
Everybody is up.
@Naxian, Effie & Dominic Roll Fort vs. poison, then DC 12 Fort vs. distraction.
She was reluctant to channel energy when the spider swarms were upon them - there was no sense in undoing her companions' work, after all, but neither did anyone look so injured as to require personal attention. Effie, Dominic, and Naxian were each out of her immediate reach.
It was interesting to see Effie's unique form of attack.
But, even so, in this case, she couldn't help but think it best for her to withdraw entirely - remaining here could incapacitate her and she was hardly of use against a swarm. Carefully, stepping back and around the spiders, she moved towards Anaias, doing her best to stay well out of the way as she moved past the fallen tree. She was hoping that she didn't present as delicious an opponent as her companions.
Which, you know, might be a bit too pragmatic, all things considered, but hey, if getting out now meant that she could help them all later, then it was for the best.
Not entirely clear whether I'd be stepping out of two threatened squares or just one, but attempting to use the withdraw full-round action.
Fort save: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15
Fort Save: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
Dominic swings ineffectively at the spiders as his stomach roils. "A...again!" He retches onto the ground.
Fortitude: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10
Fortitude: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 2 = 22
Naxian retches as he tries to draw a flask of alchemists fire from his pack."Now I know why I hate spiders".Blahhh
@Liasna: I got the token mixed up, you actually took the attack that I counted against Effie, and I rolled your saves to speed things up. Also, swarms don't threaten, so I just moved you straight behind your allies, that should be more advantageous for you.
@Naxian: You made the distraction save, so you can move and draw the flask.
Fort: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (11) + 1 = 12
Strength Damage (Liasna): 1d2 ⇒ 2
Strength Damage (Naxian): 1d2 ⇒ 2
Damage (red): 1d6 ⇒ 3 Strength Damage: 1d2 ⇒ 1
Damage (green): 1d6 ⇒ 2 Strength Damage: 1d2 ⇒ 2
Fort: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 22
Fort: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
- Liasna - 1 damage, 1 (3?) Strength damage (2/?)
- Naxian - 1 damage, 1 (3?) Strength damage (2/?)
- Effie - guidance
- Anaias -
- Dominic - 5 damage, 1 Strength damage? (1/?), nauseated?
- Red -
- Green - 8 damage
- Janira - 3 damage, nauseated
Liasna and Effie get as far away from the spiders as they can, while Naxian and Anaias focus more on preparing a counter attack. Janira stumbles over to Effie, unable to talk through her vomiting, but points to several flasks hanging from her backpack.
Everybody is up.
@Liasna & Naxian: Please roll your second save vs. poison.
@Dominic: Please roll Fort vs. poison, then DC 12 Fort vs. distraction.
@Effie: Janira is offering 2 alchemist's fire.
Fort Save vs poison: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (6) + 3 = 9
Fort Save vs nauseated: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (13) + 3 = 16
"Uggh..." Dominic feels the poison sapping his strength. He overcomes the sickness and moves away from the spiders. He stays close though to try and draw them near him again.
"Hurry up! I can't keep this one busy too much longer!"