Sorry for the absence, yesterday. I was at a deposition (got served with a witness subpoena recently). It's actually a local-history-making case. Good times.
Hurrying on, Jelani leads his new companions towards the location of the shrine.
If you recall, Gann tipped you off to a couple of shrines where you might get the stone's curse lifted. A small shrine to Gozreh where all sorts of foreigners and sailors visit, at all hours... or a slightly larger shrine to Desna where one of the priestesses (a pesh-addicted diviner) is a friend of Gann's. I don't think the group ever decided on one or the other. What'll it be?
While you decide, give me a round of Perception checks.
Knowledge/Religion - 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
Perception - 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8
Syndir keeps walking as he tries to figure out which shrine would be a better choice. This causes quiet a bit of inner dialogue which distracted him from his surroundings.
...hmm...gozreh is a flake and is only worried about trees and such...or is it water...either way he is a flake...and desna only cares about avoiding bindings or some such...or was is staying at home?...she's typically regarded as female and that always means trouble...or misunderstandings...hmm...
|Kamlann of Egorian|
Strangely, your short trip to the shrine is uneventful. Though you suspect that you must be being followed, none of you detect any sign or indication of such. The alleyways are quiet, and none challenge, stop, or question you.
The dockside shrine to Gozreh is situated at the end of a wooden staircase that leads down to the rocky coast, almost underneath the piers. Where the waves have eroded a shallow "cave" of sorts in the cliff wall, a shrine has been erected. Several tapestries have been draped over the depression in the cliff, creating a buffer against the wind while still allowing for the sea breeze to waft through. Inside, more tapestry hangings cordone the cave off into a handful of seperated areas. From the small platform bottom of the wooden staircase, no attendant is apparent.
Who will part the tapestries and enter the hollow? Is everyone going to go poking around inside? Is anyone staying out by the wooden platform? Would someone like to call out for a shrine attendant, rather than go in? What're we all doing?
|Kamlann of Egorian|
Farid will wait outside and speak with Seamus. "The man after you has a shaved head and wields a crossbow of fine quality. I am sure he had other weapons stashed somewhere. There was no doubt the man was a professional warrior and is quick to sense things. Do you know who the man is and why he is after you?"
Sorry for the delay, weekends are always iffy for me and posting.
Seamus watches as Syndir goes inside, glad the man will finally be rid of that albatross around his neck. At Farid's question he shrugs. I've only heard stories and rumors. The one thing to take away from them all is that the man is deadly and relentless.
Seamus gazes out at the waters before them. As for the why of it, I know the reason. I'm blamed for a crime I didn't commit. He's here to take me down for it. I aim to see that he doesn't.
"He had a look-out, a young boy waiting for you. Not sure where he went to. Based on what I saw of him he will be on our trail and swiftly no doubt he will not be too happy that I took this and ran with it".
Farid produces a platinum piece from his pocket then puts it back. "That is a lot of coin to be throwing around for a look-out so someone wants you bad".
Jelani follows Syndir into the shrine, musing on Gozreh himself. Duality was a part of nature, and Gozreh was second only to Nethys in this. The winds of the ocean could carry a ship safely over thousands of miles, or sink it in a matter of moments. Water both brought life, and destroyed it, without a second thought. Gozreh and Nethys were more alike than different, that could be sure.
Wanting to understand the process of curse removal, Jelani quietly casts a spell which allows him to see magical auras, which should allow him to study the process.
Casting Detect Magic.
Kamlann is the first to feel a raindrop land on his cheek.
Indifferent to the weather and sensing no immediate danger, Syndir enters the shrine. The heavy tapestries that shield the entrance to the shrine and criss-cross its interor dampen the sounds of wind and wave.
Syndir's Perception: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 22
Jelani's Perception: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (17) + 3 = 20
The shallow cave is both damp and warm. Parting one interior tapestry after another, both Syndir and Jelani glimpse a startling sight through the parted cloth. Lurking behind a tapestry is a human shape - weathered, and decidedly feminine. The shrine's attendant?
Entering the deepest and southernmost nook, Syndir and Jelani do indeed determine that the shape behind the shrine - which is nothing more than a huge slab of shale, engraved with religious iconography - is indeed that of a woman. Though well into middle-age, and weathered as though by a lifetime on the Inner Sea, the woman's inherent mystery and undeniably striking features have allowed her to hold on no small measure of allure. In fact, you would wager that she was likely quite a sight in her youth.
"Hello, my dears."
The woman's voice is strangely soothing. And just a little dangerous.
"What can old Gozreh do for you, my loves?"
Outside, Farid, Kamlann, and Seamus can hear a faint mutter of conversation from inside the shrine. A good sign.
A light rain begins to fall.
Somewhat disarmed by the scene and his thoughts; Syndir stumbled over the proper etiquette in addressing the handsome matron.
Greetings and salutations!
he took a breath while biding his time. Hoping he was presenting this in the correct light while the wyrm hissed and spat in annoyance in his skull at dealing with anything religious in nature.
Uh...I have been made to understand that you could help with curses?
Fishing in his pouch for the stone; he will draw it forth.
This stone weighs heavily on me. I would be lifted of its burden. Can you indeed help Madaam?
Well if the man is to be trusted, we have the safe house where we can lay low for a day and figure out what the hell is going on around us. He seemed solid enough, or at least our coin made him so and reputation is key amongst folks of his sort. I say we still head for the safe house once this is settled.
Seamus tilts his head back and lets the rain fall across his face. He could almost believe he was back home, with the sound of the waves filling his ears.
|Kamlann of Egorian|
Kamlann sheathes his scimitar, unwilling to risk exposing it to the rain, but his fist continues to clench the hilt compulsively. "And then we find a way out of this city," he says flatly. "Too many people know we're here, and too many people want some of us dead. We need room to breathe and plan before we can start repaying some of these... indignities."
His amusement at the matron's mirth died at her question of his personal beliefs. Syndir didnt hesitate to lie right through his teeth though.
Bluff - 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (20) + 1 = 21
Oh, I do indeed madaam. Blessed is he that walks with Gozreh.
Jelani had kept quiet up until now, just taking in the presence of the shrine. "Love? No. As you can plainly see, my devotion is for another. I would say I respect Gozreh, as one respects the power of the winds and the waves. But I would not say I love her."
"You do today," the attendant says with a wink. "Let's see yer' rock. You put this stone and yer' sign'a'love right here, dears. Let missy take a look."
The matron pats the flat surface of Gozreh's shrine with her palm. It's clear that "yer love" will take the form of an offering. Strange for a follower of Gozreh to claim her patron's "love" for anything mortal, given that particular deity's notorious and capriciously-neutral indifference. This shrine is far from the wilderness, however, and Gozreh's attendant seems - from her dress and her tastefully-painted face - to be a far cry from the typical priest or druid.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (12) + 11 = 23
Even knowing this would happen; Syndir was still a bit suspicious and kept his eyes on the seer as he fished in his pouch...this damn city has cost me nothing but grief and coin from the moment we got here and I can still count the hours we've been here on one hand...and pulled out an even 50 gold to place on the shrine along with the stone.
Appraise: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (17) + 7 = 24
Remove curse being a level 3 spell and all, generally would cost (at least) 150gp, this Jelani knows.
Jelani thinks that Syndir's offering is a little light, but instead of correcting him, Jelani will set down an additional 50 gold pieces on the altar. The knowledge which could be garnered regarding the removal of curses was more than worth that amount of money. Knowledge was power after all.
The matron smiles politely, as if waiting for something. This gesture (or lack of one) manages to come across as both infuriating and smug, despite its civil subtlety.
Farid's Perception check: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18
Kamlann's Perception check: 1d20 ⇒ 16
Seamus' Perception check: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (10) + 5 = 15
unknown party's suprise round attack roll: 1d20 ⇒ 15
unknown party's heavy crossbow damage: 1d10 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 6 = 15
From the top of the stairs comes a telltale glint. Kamlann has just enough time to curse himself for letting his guard down before the crossbow bolt hits home. It's a good shot. A good shot.
Reeling from the sudden and frigteningly appearance of a crossbow bolt in his chest, Kamlann can feel one of his ribs crack or shatter despite the dulled impact of the bolt through his armor. The clacking sound of a reloaded crossbow registers from the top of the staircase. A damned quick reload.
Caught by surprise, Farid, Kamlann, and Seamus realize too late what their attacker has done. The shooter must be firing prone from the top of the stairs, using the cover (and the drizzle) to excellent effect.
"Consortium mercs and barbarian wastrels. What sort of company are you keeping, Haggrathy?"
The voice is calm and quiet - audible over the patter, but only just. Farid recognizes the voice as that of the crossbowman from the alley. All smart men, Farid, Kamlann, and Seamus do register that the shooter couldn't possibly have had time to do his homework. He must simply recognize Kamlann - small player that he is - as an Aspis grunt. A good shot and well-educated, then (or at least possessed of a solid ear to the streets).
Jelani's Perception check: 1d20 + 3 - 8 ⇒ (14) + 3 - 8 = 9
Syndir's Perception check: 1d20 + 8 - 8 ⇒ (20) + 8 - 8 = 20
The above Perception checks have been adjusted for distance and intervening barriers.
Syndir picks up a strange voice uttering Haggrathy's name. Is there someone outside?
Dendragon's initiative check: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
Farid's initiative check: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (13) + 3 = 16
Kamlann's initiative check: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3
Seamus' initiative check: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3
Syndir's initiative check: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
Tiebreaker roll for Kamlann and Seamus (same roll, same mod):
Kamlann's tiebreaker: 1d20 ⇒ 17
Seamus' tiebreaker: 1d20 ⇒ 17
Kamlann's tiebreaker: 1d20 ⇒ 15
Seamus' tiebreaker: 1d20 ⇒ 19
Syndir, if you're joining in, roll initiative and act in order. If not, continue your affairs. Jelani, you'll no doubt hear Farid, Kamlann, or Seamus call out once they're no longer flat-footed. At that point, you (and Syndir, if he doesn't choose to act yet) can jump in for round 2 of the combat.
The current initiative order is:
Farid @ 16
Syndir (if he chooses to act this round) @ 9
the crossbowman (Dendragon?) @ 7
Seamus @ 3
Kamlann @ 3
Farid, you're up. All three of you are at the base of the stairs. The platform is 20 feet wide, but the stairs are 10 feet wide. They are also 20 feet high, and steep enough to merit difficult terrain when ascending them (as per the rules for ascending staircases). I imagine Farid and Kamlann are at the base of the stairs, and Seamus (a dedicated ranged build and the guy this pursuer is hunting) is in back of them. A move action is more than sufficient to duck into the shrine alcove, as well. Remember that difficult terrain means no charging.
The matron seems to prod the object with one long nail. She spends a moment studying it.
"You're a little short, my dear. Of course, you could simply offer Gozreh the stone itself once this is all done, if your combined offerings do not please the Sky Father."
The matron's tone changes a bit, becoming just a little more brisk.
"Pony up or offer me the stone, my dears."
Jelani will also remove his gold from the altar, replacing it in his pouch. He was glad it wasn't needed, since his mother wouldn't be able to send him more funds while he was on the road - especially if he was spending his time with fugitives.
Initiave (for round 2): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 = 21
|Kamlann of Egorian|
Dendragon's crossbow attack: 1d20 ⇒ 13
Dendragon's crossbow damage: 1d10 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 6 = 15
The second bolt takes Kamlann in the collar. The mercenary's eyes roll back into his head. Before blacking out, Kamlann can only wonder why he should be prioritized over the crossbowman's apparent mark...
Another clack precedes the next shot.
Dendragon's crossbow attack: 1d20 ⇒ 2
The dock splinters and a bolt slams into the wooden planks at Seamus' feet. Kamlann is out and Farid has ducked for cover.
"Believe it or not, this doesn't have to end with you dead, Haggrathy. Not in good shape, mind you - but not dead."
Seamus, you're up.
|Kamlann of Egorian|
He does, at a -10 penalty. To hit DC 10. He can roll after Seamus goes, or Seamus can delay to see if Kamlann stabilizes on his own.
Seamus: If you're looking to help Kamlann, you can stabilize him (you're adjacent) with a DC 15 Heal check as a standard action.
Giving another character a potion requires a full-round action, and it also requires you to be holding a potion already (which you are not). You could draw one and heal Kamlann next round, but you're a sitting duck out here with Farid, Jelani, and Syndir all inside.
Seamus ducks quickly behind the alcove while drawing his unbroken pistol. He shoots Farid a rather offensive gesture as he came in beside him. You want to ambush a bounty hunter with a stone weighted gimp, you be my guest. This was our best course of action.
Seamus then called out around the alcove corner. Oh I'm sure you're just shooting at me for the goodness of my health! Leaning out, he let fly with a booming shot from the pistol. If the men inside hadn't heard the exchange before, they were sure to hear it now and maybe could provide some aid to the fallen man.
Move action to get towards the alcove, ideally will be shooting around it to give myself cover from Dendragon.
Swift action to draw my regular pistol.
Standard action to shoot: 1d20 + 5 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 5 + 1 = 14 vs Touch AC, Damage: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
If the shooter were not prone, Seamus' attack might've hit. The bullet goes wide, off and over the sea.
"Yes, actually." Dendragon speaks with the hint of a chuckle.
The shrine attendant raises an eyebrow. She waves her hand, once, and utters a powerful, echoing word.
Jelani's Spellcraft: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (18) + 11 = 29
Syndir's Spellcraft: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
Jelani easily identifies a remove curse spell. The curse that haunts a stone of weight is not easy to lift - impossible, actually - but such a spell is always successful at removing the effects from the afflicted. The stone itself can never be free of the curse... but Syndir can. With the curse lifted from him and the stone no longer anchored to his person, Syndir should finally be able to move normally.
Woe to the next soul to lift the stone from the shrine. The wise attendant makes no move to lift it.
"Go," she says.
After Kamlann rolls to stabilize, Jelani will be up first in the second round.
Jelani and Syndir both are only about 15 feet from the mouth of the shallow cave. Tapestries grant concealment to those inside. Seamus is firing from the corner of the cave mouth, and benefits from cover, as well. Outside is a 20x20 foot platform, and rising at a right angle from the cave entrance is the wooden staircase. The staircase is 20 feet tall and centered on the platform (leaving 5 feet to either side). The platform and the staircase both overlook the water (like a pier).
Discounting Kamlann's stabilization check, I believe that makes it my turn (if I'm wrong, I doubt my actions will change much so you can assume these will be my actions)
At the sound of the gunshot, Jelani instantly realizes what must be going on outside. Haggarthy's tracker. Dendragon.
Jelani rushes out to the alcove as quickly as possible, spotting the unconscious Kamlann on the ground, bolts pierced through the armor the man wore. Calling upon the energies of Nethys, Jelani flows healing energy out to all those around him.
If it is more than 1 move action to get within range of Kamlann, then the channel will have to happen next round. Otherwise:
Channel Positive: 1d6 ⇒ 5
Syndir was bowing his thanks to the witch as the gunshot rang out.
Time to go indeed, mother. Many thanks.
The monk wasted no more time following right behind the priest towards the cave entrance.
...we are free at last!...ssso nice...fly fassst and far hatchling before we're caught again...
Initiative: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (12) + 5 = 17
He was shocked to see Kamlann on the ground with crossbow bolts sticking out of him. He scanned the area for the assailant.
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24
Jelani, you are correct about the orders and locations of things. You can hover in the tapestry "doorway" of the alcove, if you like, and you can indeed reach Kamlann with one move action. Syndir, you don't need a Perception check, the shooter is not sniping. His prone position at the top of the stairs is visible. Remember that going up the stairs is difficult terrain.
To get outside of the alcove takes only about 15 feet of movement. From there it's only 10 feet to the 20-foot tall staircase. You have about 15 feet (and another action) left.
The initiative order is:
Syndir @ 17
Farid @ 16
Dendragon @ 7
Seamus @ 3+
Kamlann @ 3-
|Kamlann of Egorian|