|Valeros of Bellis|
In order to harvest a perfect specimen of its brain tissue (which will decay rapidly, otherwise), I will need a Heal check.
You can make two attempts - one for each cerebral hemisphere.
"Removing the head will make us safe. It may rise, but without the head it wont cause us trouble. The only way to make sure it doesn't rise would be to cremate it, and let the body revel in the glory of the light." Fog struggles not to let his cult show too much, but fails.
Heal #1 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (16) + 1 = 17
Heal #2 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (15) + 1 = 16
Let me know if I need a Stealth check or some other check.
No Stealth check is required - this is not a faction mission that needs to be kept hidden - although if you want to hide the fact that you are chopping into the creature's skull, and extracting brain tissue from a former zombie, that is certainly fine by me ;-)
Unfortunately, although those were both quite respectable rolls, and Wadi is clearly a decent amateur brain surgeon, it is not quite enough to get a 'perfect' specimen, from either hemisphere - the delicate cyto-architecture of the brain is disrupted...
It was a DC 20 Heal check :-/
So... What now? There is a crypt to explore :-)
|Valeros of Bellis|
Valeros wipes his hands off on his breeches after laying the last stones on the beheaded body of Gray. "Alright. Let's finish routing this cult. We need a clean sweep to be sure not a single one lives for what they did back in Oppara."
Oh hell- I thought we'd about finished and was wondering what was up with the altar in the acid lake that we couldn't get to.
Despite the outlawing of of the Cult of the Dawnflower in Taldor, the crypts of the Sarenrite temple are all relatively intact, although the bodies were long ago stripped of any valuables. Nonetheless, dozens and dozens of delicately wrapped skeletons are stacked in the alcoves throughout the rabbit-warren-like passages of the crypt.
The Zyphus cult, however, however, has clearly been playing their deadly games even here -
At one point (T2 on the map), you discover a small pile of rocky rubble, all of which appears to have collapsed from the ceiling above. Two sets of pale, cold feet stick out from the debris, and a coagulated rivulet of blood oozes forth from beneath it.
At another point further down the same corridor, (T3 on the map), you find a tripped acid-filled spiked pit trap. The pit
is 10 feet deep and lined with etched and crumbling metal
spikes. A single body lays at the bottom, melted into an unrecognizable mess.
Finally, seemingly randomly located in another section of the crypt, (T1 on the map), you discover a tripped swinging axe trap. The corpse of a human male dressed in rags hangs from an enormous axe attached to a mechanism in the ceiling, whilst at his feet lies a bloody club.
Talhaearn is confident that there are no untriggered traps, or secret doors, and there are certainly no living or unliving cultists.
You have effectively finished the module, at this point; I just wanted to see if there was *anything else* certain people wanted to do ;-)
DM, are there any of those dumb paintings still in good shape after the trap went off? If so, might as well grab a few of them and see if they have any value to a collector...
Please don't shoot the messenger, though...
[ooc]So the last place to search is back by the Acid? Are there random bits of wood or something we could throw in it, to use as stepping stones? How wide, long, deep is it? There *must* be a way accross that doesn't involve Fog resting the night and casting Sumon moster 1 or something stupid..../[ooc]
It is a good 2' deep, in the section that you can see. Realistically, You have two options: Climb the walls, or wade through the acid.
For the love of all the Gods, though, I *strenuously* recommend that you do *not* fall prone in the acid... That would be quite terminal :-/
Also, see OOC thread.
Hustavan is able to confirm, though, that there are no more chambers beyond the 'lake room', and that the lake fills pretty essentially the entire room, apart from a *very* small raised dais, on which the altar sits.
Fog stands looking at the others.
"It looks like this place is cleared out. The only thing left is that Alter in the middle of the acidic pool. I cannot for the light let it remain there, but I also cannot get to it."
"Tal, Val, you look like you could climb it down at a pinch? Could I press upon you to take this action in my stead? I will remain by the pool, and able to offer healing if anything goes wrong, but it is still a dangerous ploy. If the Alter is what I think it is, it's destruction could also have an adverse effect. I will do my best to shield you against that, and repair any damage it may cause after the fact."
Working there way carefully across the inner wall, which is *not* slippery with water, Talhaearn and Valeros are able to carefully edge their way into the room.
It eventually opens up into a 10' x 20' chamber, with a raised dais extruding up out of the acid lake against the far wall. Atop it is a crudely shaped chunk of masonry (which is fused to the dais), with the holy symbol of Zyphus chiseled into its front. The Altar itself is covered in rotting organs and other offerings to the Grim Harvestman. A small brazier atop the altar gives off a strong musky odor as it burns.
Although it takes a *very* long time (Hardness 8 and 90hp), Talhaearn and Valeros are eventually able to smash the altar into an unrecognisable pile of stone shards, and then slowly worm their way back out to the entrance to the chamber, where the rest of the party awaits them.
Is there anything else anyone wishes to do?
Satisfied that the complex has been cleared of all surviving members of the cult (although the stink of the Zyphus' worshiping scum will probably take a lot longer to fade), the party returns to the surface, blinking in the bright afternoon light.
Of course, whilst the trap-obsessed Opparan cult may have been dealt with, questions are still left unanswered: Who is Fel Bustrani, and how will he react to what has happened here today?
Wending your way back to the docks, it is the work of a few minutes to find a barge-master, and negotiate for passage back to the capital, alongside a load of coal.
Back in Oppara proper, the party works its way, with some relief, back to the Opparan Lodge, where you are greeted by the frighteningly efficient head butler, who bows to each of you in turn, only turning up his nose when presented with Hustavan.
"If it pleases you, M'lords and M'Lady, I think it would be best if he entered via the servants' entrance; he will need to be cleaned-up before we can let him loose in the house."
Hustavan looks like he is going to object, but then his shoulders slump in defeat, he sighs, and he wearily nods, stepping outside and heading for the back of the Lodge...
Satisfied that Hustavan will no longer be a threat to the front-of-house furnishings, the butler returns his attention to the rest of the party.
"If you would care to freshen-up, baths will be drawn-up in your rooms upstairs. If you are hungry, dinner will be served at 7th Bell in a little over two hours, but for the moment, there is a cheese and cracker platter in the main drawing room, along with a particularly fine red."
He then bows, turns on his heels, and purposefully strides down the main corridor, in the direction of the servants' wing.
The rest of the day passes uneventfully, giving you all a chance to relax after the trials of the Zyphus cult's hideout.
The following morning, as you are finishing off a decent breakfast of bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, blood sausages and toast dripping with butter, a slightly better looking Hustavan is shown into the dining room - gone is his wild hair and unkempt beard, pruned back to a crew-cut and a short mustache. His old clothes are gone (and, in all honestly, probably burned), replaced a drab, undyed peasant's outfit.
He shifts uncomfortably from foot to foot, before clearing his throat, and addressing you all, his eyes darting from one person to another.
"I can't say that I am happy with the direction my life has taken over the last couple of months, but on this occasion, you have kept your word: I understand that I have passage on The Buxom Mermaid, steerage class, leaving later this morning. I can't say that I am... happy... with all of you," he glances at Alie and Kovar as he says this, "but I appreciate what has been done. Best of luck in the future; please don't take it the wrong way, however, when I say that I honestly hope we never meet again - this old body could not take much more 'adventure'..."
With a curt bow, he turns and leaves.
After Hustavan departs, the chief butler insinuates himself back into the room, and clears his throat to draw attention to himself:
"M'lords and M'lady, I am sure that you will be eager to head back to Absalom yourselves, but in the meantime, is there anything I can do to be of service to you?"
Feel free to post what you plan to do over the next few days as a 'montage' :-)
Alie was pleased to be back in Oppara. It was only a bit of time before she was Invited back to a few of the operas she had grown to enjoy so much. She did receive a few looks of scorn when it was determined she hadn't been able to return with the one particular painting that was requested. It was strongly intimated to her that Taldor expected more from her in the future, as far as following through on the tasks assigned to her.
It was her first failure, so by the time for her to return to Absalaom was here, she was excited about regaining her former reputation and getting back at it.
Wadi watches the departure with in ill-disguised smirk on his face. Truly he was happy with the way things turned out for the ex-nobleman. A little humility is good for the soul, and who knows...he may find himself back in good graces some day.
The next few days in Oppara are spent hanging around the opera scene with Alie. He decides his acting career needed a boost, so to speak, and he figures exploring new contacts with the other members of the Opparan cultural scene would be prudent. He does concentrate most of his efforts on the more well-known (and attractive) female actresses, hoping to cement a working relationship with one or more of them.
Acting can be such a lonely job.
By the time the group returns to Absalom, Wadi is feeling good about himself despite the stinging (literally!) rebuke received from one of the Paracountess' many servant concerning his failure with the zombie remains. He reflects it is probably for the best in the long run.
I wonder what the next mission will entail...hopefully no dark or dank crypts!
Talhaearn has been bouncing from mission to mission with little time to catch his breath in between. He decides to take advantage of the much needed downtime by taking inventory of his gear and perhaps even upgrading a few pieces.
The Lodge provided a lighter, more durable chain shirt which also made his coin purse feel a bit lighter as well. He also arranged for the purchase of an enchanted cloak he discovered during one of his earlier missions,
An added benefit to wearing lighter armor is the ability to carry more gear. Tal shopped around for a longspear...trying to get the hang of wielding one, After all...there are just some things you don't want to get close to...not sure if I want to lug this around though.
Oh my, that avatar could be a picture of a girl I went to school with, almost....
Fog takes the chance of being between missions to "relax" His days are split roughly half spent in quiet meditation, and half out in the stable yard cleaning up his weapons, and practicing with them. The only exception is mealtimes, when he can always be found propmtly waiting for a full platter!
Fog is sure never to leave the Pathfinder's complex...
Kovar spends most of his time out side the walls looking for a new animal companion. After a few days, he finds a dark-grey wolf that forms a bond with the druid. It doesn't take long before "Grey" is learning to follow Kovar's commands and become a faithful friend.
Kovar spends gp to heal his con drain and teaches the wolf new tricks- mainly attack twice taking a 10 on HA. I'll have the updated character sheet up later today.
A few days later, it is finally time to, reluctantly, bid farewell to the comfortable rooms and fine dining available at the Lodge in Oppara, for although a message was sent back to Venture Captain Drandle Dreng along with Hustavan, the irascible VC undoubtedly wishes to debrief you himself.
Collecting your things together, you find that the ever dutiful head butler has put together an excellent farewell breakfast, as well as several packed hampers.
"M'lords and M'lady, anticipating that you will find the... 'victuals'... aboard ship less than satisfying, I have taken the liberty of packing you a light luncheon, as well sandwiches for supper, along with two bottles of Opparan rose produced by our own vinyard. Good luck on your journey."
Down by the docks, you the ship destined to take you back to Absalom; known as The Ribald Monkey, it is small caravel, which, although clearly old, is kept in excellent working order, its timbers stained a dark brown by the many years, and layers, of tar applied to them. The party's quarters are somewhat cramped - the Captain assigns you the forward passenger compartment, where there is just enough room for six hammocks, as well as half a dozen sea chests. Despite the tight quarters, however, it is not the smell of sweat that permeates the air, but that of warm tar mixed with brine.
Fortunately, the journey back to Absalom is without difficulty; if anything, the winds seem to be chasing you there, and The Ribald Monkey makes excellent time, arriving in port in just over a week. After the emptiness of the open ocean, however, the hustle and bustle of Docks District is almost overwhelming; an almost palpable wall of sound, augmented by the wall of writhing flesh the scurries across the waterfront, greets you upon arrival. Still, it does not stop the party from skillfully unpacking themselves from the vessel, and working its way back to the Grand Lodge, where you are quickly ushered into Dreng's office.
The elderly VC looks up at you with distracted, rheumy eyes, until he realises precisely *which* team of Pathfinders he has before him.
"Ah, you lot. Excellent. I was wondering when you would show up. I received your preliminary report; wonderful work, I must say. I am glad that you managed to clean out that nest of Zyphus worshipers; other cells, and other Cults, will undoubtedly think twice before crossing the Pathfinders in the future. There is, of course, the unresolved issue of this 'Harvestman'; we have been unable to track down the man/creature referred to in the note, but rest assured, if we *do* find anything, he/it will be dealt with... maybe even by you, if you are still in the neighborhood.
Take some time to relax in the Lodge - I have had one of the Pages prepare rooms for you in the General Quarters - I am sure that it will not be long before your services are required again, so make the most of this opportunity..."
With a nod, Dreng returns to his papers.
Alie nods at the butler and takes possession of the food prepared for th group. "You're a credit to your profession. I can't wait to break into the provisions."
As always, Alie was sad when she had to leave Oppara. She had something to prove this time, however, as she wanted to keep increasing her fame in the community.
She arrived at the Lodge and immediately found her room, taking the opportunity for a long, hot bath while it was available.
You have each had a relaxing evening unwinding, and are just about to drift off to sleep, when there is a pounding on your door. You find a rather nervous looking Page, clearly half-asleep and equally out of breath, who stammers:
"S-sorry to wake you, but you have been summoned. Venture Captain Adril Hestram requires your presence in his office, right now."
Quickly grabbing your things, you stagger out through the maze of passages that is the Grand Lodge, before eventually finding your way to Venture Captain Hestram's office. The VC has clearly only recently been woken from sleep himself, but despite that, his loud, booming voice bounces off the walls of his office, driving the last vestiges of sleep from your minds.
"I will get right to the point. The Blakros Museum is cursed. Some darkness has descended upon the place and those who enter are blasted with evil and left raving through its halls, more beast than men. The curator, Nigel Aldain, is an old associate of the Society, though he chose to leave our organization some years back after a disagreement."
Adril looked sheepish then, as if remembering some distasteful incident from his youth.
"Nigel has long denied the Society access to the Blakros Museum’s considerable collection of relics and scrolls, using his extensive contacts to nab several excellent finds right out from under us... he always had a nose for the hunt. Whatever is past between Nigel and the Society, he needs our help now. Perhaps if we can come to his aid, he may think on rejoining the Pathfinder Society, or at least offering to share his discoveries with us.
Apparently the trouble at Blakros Museum began this morning, shortly after a wayward Pathfinder named Lugizar Trantos returned to Absalom after months spent in the Mwangi Expanse. Supposedly, instead of coming straight to the Lodge to report in, he went to Blakros, sold his finds to Nigel, and then disappeared with a hefty sum of gold. The few who glimpsed Lugizar claimed he was much changed by his time in the Mwangi... gaunt, his eyes yellowed and unfocused, a strange rasping cough that seemed to wrack his now wasted frame. Whatever he brought back with him, we believe it is the cause of the Blakros Museum’s ills. Root it out!
Now, be off with you - I wanted you there five minutes ago!"
With that, he chases you back out of his office. It is only then, as you take stock of what has just been pummeled into your consciousness, that you realise that one of your number is missing - Valeros is nowhere to be seen - instead, there is a young Keleshite woman with you...
Take an opportunity to make introductions ;-)
Wadi rubs the sleep out of his eyes as he takes stock of the familiar faces and not so familiar ones. "Greetings! I am Wadi Ahk'Kolon, actor and Pathfinder extraordinaire! It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance!" As he hears of their new mission, he remarks "A museum! Finally a mission with some culture!"
Anashka wears a form flattering calf length dress in dark red trimmed in silver and bunched up gray leggings. She has freckles and a gap between her front teeth. An assortment of bracelets and bangles jangle when she moves in to greet Wadi's friendly enthusiasm with an easy laugh and a kiss on each cheek. The Chel might not be used to such an intrusion on his personal space by a stranger, but her silver medallion crafted as a songbird with tail feathers trailing out to complete a ring around it functions as explanation enough. The woman is a priestess of Shelyn.
She pulls back still smiling, "The pleasure is all mine Wadi Ahk'Kolon." Her accent places her as a native of Absalom. "There has been quite a lot of talk about your handling of the Zyphus cult. Bravo!" She smiles and nods to the others. "Anashka Arnaux, disciple of the Eternal Rose. Typically I work as a diplomat for the Society, entertaining visiting dignitaries during their stay in Absalom, but a chance for a little leverage with the Blackros family is not an opportunity that we see so often. I am so glad to be joining you today." Just as Adril opens his mouth to raise his voice, she laughs. "Understood Venture Captain. Five minutes ago." Then to the others, "Will you walk with me?"
She leads the way through the halls to a storage room and opens a locker with her key. Ana pulls out a pack that looks more fashionable than practical and sets it down while reaching in for a chain shirt hanging from a hook. "So have you all have been working together as a field team for some time now? Oh and could someone help me with this?"
"Most of us have been together for several missions. We've picked up a couple others more recently, but we definitely know each other fairly well. Have you been with the Pathfinders long?"
Wadi tries to ignore a growing blush rising on his cheeks as he walk with the attractive cleric. When she asks about their past experiences, he replies "Yes Anashka, Alie and I, along with our good man Fog have been together since our very first mission! As for your shirt..." His voice trails off, "I...uhh,,,think Fog would be better at helping you with your shirt."
"I joined nearly five years ago, but my day to day life here in Absalom hasn't changed nearly as much as I had imagined. She looks to be in her late twenties. "I tend the shrine to the Eternal Rose across from the Ivy District Park and offer advice to the faithful in crisis.". Presumably that would make her one part relationship councilor and one part muse or art consultant. "I must say I am a little jealous of your adventures. I am convinced that my brother has pulled some strings to have my requests for field assignments passed over.
Finally she reaches into the locker and pulls out a glaive whose heads has been etched and traced with gold into the image of a feather. It looks remarkably new.