Eben looks at the signs, then up and down the street to see if anyone is watching. If not, he enters the condemned property.
Farrukh catches Eben by the back of the shirt. He looks around for spies, but even if he finds none he speaks, quietly.
"Don't just waltz in there. You don't know if there's some kind of alarm set up, an invisible watcher, magical scrying, or anything like that around. Last thing we want to do is anger the local dictator. Let's 'leave' and come back under the cover of invisibility or something."
Perception: 1d20 + 21 ⇒ (7) + 21 = 28+2 vs traps.
Astraden looks around, then "accidentally" bumps into one of the signs and "accidentally" knocks it off the wall. "Oh, look at at that. This window doesn't have any signs saying no entry. Hey Farrukh, that means we can lawfully enter legally!"
|Gark the Goblin|
Yeah, that sounds good to me.
Astraden watches Farrukh's expression. "I'm not getting a yes. But here's another option: We duck into an alley over there, I use my robe to make us all look like feral dogs, and then we find a dog-sized entrance somewhere here in the ruins. Farrukh, keep an eye out for anyone watching us."
The group returns shortly thereafter, now decidedly more canine in appearance. Disturbingly, Sammi still seems to be following the group around, but she remains unwilling to approach the church.
There is little of interest remaining in the interior, as it turns out—really, the strangest thing about the place is that it hasn't been torn down yet, as it is clearly a precarious, unsafe structure. However, Eben-Dog is able to find a partially hidden doorway, once buried under rubble. The door is of heavy stone but is not locked.
"Bark bark! Tanith, wanna use those muscular boxer arms to open that thing?" Astraden asks, literally saying the word "bark" every now and then to complement her disguise. She scurries (really, she's still a human, but the illusion makes it look like scurrying) down the stairway once the melee fighters have gone in, taking a few moments to cast some protective spells once no longer in sight of the city.
Shield of faith +4 to Farrukh and Eben, bear's endurance to Astraden and Carina, invisibility to Astraden, owl's wisdom to Zalamandra, magic circle against evil to Cuetzpalli, and death ward to Farrukh and Zalamandra. And copycat on Astraden.
"Yip yip yip!"
Carina gets a bit too into character as she hops about and barks.
|Tanith 'Kordson' Creed|
I thought we were just here to look around. Are we expecting trouble?
Tanith gives a convincing *woof* before muscling the heavy stone door open.
Better to expect trouble and not get it, than not expect it and be blindsided by it.
Farrukh does, indeed, like Astraden's plan.
"Better than the last one, anyway."
Survival: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (2) + 15 = 17
S++%. Don't suppose I can try again?
"Wonder who unburied this? It was supposed to be condemned."
Looks like Cuetzpalli still has a good Survival bonus - Astraden will aid him if she's able.
Survival aid: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
"Do we know how long ago the place was burnt? Maybe there's some folks living in the basement. We should probably be careful not to just blindly shoot and hack at the first thing we see down here."
Zalamandra, bringing up the rear, also tries to help Cuetzpalli.
Survival aid (owl's wisdom): 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 2 + 2 = 24
Zalamandra sees that Astraden has been invisibly scuffing up valuable clues and ushers her away from the door. "Astraden, what are you doing? Step back and let Cuetzpalli work."
She also recites a quick spell of protection.
Mage armor and detect scrying have been up since this morning. Shield up now.
The curly haired poodle that responds to 'Eben' makes a complicated series of pawing gestures, snuffly barks, and pees on the ground in mystic patterns to enact a few bits of magic.
Casting good hope & moment of greatness on everyone, and cat's grace, gravity bow, shield, & greater magic weapon on myself.
So that's a 31 with Zalamandra's aid and good hope.
"Whatcha see, Cuetzpalli?" the now invisible Astraden asks. "Let's keep moving, anyway."
Think we head downstairs once everyone's cast any buffs they want to do.
"Looks like this place was cleared out around the time Bucky came to town," Cuetzpalli replies. He debates casting spells on himself, but since they've seen no real signs of danger yet, he leaves off for now.
"Huh. Well, never mind about not attacking the first thing that moves, then."
The party descends. The circular stairway is short, but very steep, and leads down to what appears to be a small crypt below the church. In places the ceiling sags ominously. Bones are scattered in tangled heaps all over the floor, and the twelve tombs that surround the central chamber have been violated. The brick-lined crypt walls have been torn down, and narrow, claustrophobic tunnels have been dug through the stony earth.
While looking around the labyrinthine crypt, the group hears soft moans. It is difficult to tell where they are coming from.
Perceptions: 1d20 + 21 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 21 + 2 = 251d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 121d20 + 14 ⇒ (5) + 14 = 191d20 + 15 ⇒ (13) + 15 = 281d20 + 14 ⇒ (3) + 14 = 171d20 + 15 ⇒ (20) + 15 = 35
This place is basically a honeycomb, so there's no map (thanks, Paizo). It is easy to get lost without a DC 25 Survival check.
"Yeah, they're there... or... there?" Given that Eben points in two entirely different directions, Cuetzpalli's lead would probably be the better one to follow. "I hope that this isn't just a place where couples come to get intimate in private..." Eben jokes.
Spellcraft?: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (14) + 12 = 26
Carina scratches her head as she looks around at the tunnels. "Huh... looks like these were made from stone shape spells... you think it's more evidence of Bucknard coming this way?"
Spellcraft: 10 + 15 = 25
"Or clerics. Bucknard would've had a harder time using that spell than a priest." Astraden leans with a hand on Cuetzpalli's shoulder. "Lead the way, love. Hopefully this maze will be no harder than the Faceless One's."
Carina shotguns her dexterity & constitution boosting mutagen in anticipation of trouble.
The group makes its way through the narrow tunnels, drawing nearer to the central tomb. As they pass through, it becomes increasingly clear that something has been living here for a while—or, at least, has been moving here a while. The tombs are smashed open or tunneled through, the bodies gnawed and chewed down to broken bones.
And at the very central tomb, crouched atop a small pile of bones and cloth, crouches a pallid woman—or what used to be a woman—letting out low, keening moans. There is a hideous, unsettling whining quality to the moans up close, almost like a baby's crying, a cat's wail, or a siren. She is dressed in torn rags that might once have been clerics' vestments. A tarnished symbol of St. Cuthbert gleams around her neck, though something about it seems twisted.
As the party approaches, she looks up. Her eyes gleam with a sick yellow light. "Who are you? Get out of my house! This is a place of worship, you heathens!"
This particular symbol of St. Cuthbert has been turned into an unholy symbol of St. Palpitattle, He Who Cracks the Bones That the Deserving May Drink, an obscure ghoul god.
Eben sighs in some disappointment, but, having come down here with a purpose, steps in front of Astraden to delay her inevitable undead annihilation. "Hi. Are you Rhorsk, by any chance?"
"Not that I'd normally care, but she's not a cleric of St. Cuthbert any more, Eben. Definitely not trustworthy."
|Tanith 'Kordson' Creed|
"Maybe she doesn't know that yet", Tanith adds in a low tone. "Ghouls tend to be a little batty, right?"
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"I'm pretty sure that's vampires." Farrukh whispers back.
Excuse me?" the ghoul snarls. She rises to her full height, glaring at Astraden. "Who do you think you are? I'll show you who's a cleric of St. Cuthbert, gutter rat! Get that blasphemy out of here!"
She grasps the holy symbol and begins chanting. A garish red light fills the room as she points at Astraden's holy symbol.
Inits: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 161d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 151d20 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 = 211d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 221d20 + 0 ⇒ (14) + 0 = 141d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 131d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21
Map is updated. With the exception of Eben, you are all squeezing.
Round 1: Eben and Farrukh are up!
sense motive: 1d20 + 21 ⇒ (13) + 21 = 34
Eben sighs in exasperation again and tries to mollify the situation before the information source they came down for gets herself annihilated. "Look, we just want to talk to you... hey! None of that!" Alarmed both by her casting a spell at Astraden and the fact that she looks like she's about to run, he gestures towards the ground at the presumptive Rhorsk's feet, and a looming patch of shadow spreads out in a ten-foot circle around where she stands.
Casting shadow conjuration to whip up a create pit spell. Pretty sure the way these two work together is: she makes a DC 23 Will save to disbelieve it. If she fails, she moves on to make a DC 23 Reflex save to avoid falling in. (30 feet deep.) If she succeeds at the Will save, then there's a 20% chance it still is real enough to affect her and she has to make the Reflex save.
"Excuse me Ma'am Superior, but I couldn't help noticing you were screaming at what appears to be empty air." Zalamandra says, giving the ghoul puppy dog eyes despite the initiating hostilities. "Perhaps there is some sort of evil spirit plaguing you? Maybe we can help to excise it."
Bluff (good hope and one use of Silver Tongue): 1d20 + 17 + 2 + 5 ⇒ (15) + 17 + 2 + 5 = 39
Maybe I should start changing avatars to something else when PCs turn invisible.
Farrukh delays until the results of Eben's spell become apparent.
Will: 1d20 ⇒ 2 Reflex: 1d20 ⇒ 8
The ghoul screams as the floor seems to open up beneath her, and she tumbles down, out of sight. The bones she was perched on just sort of... drift.
Her voice shrieks up, "Who put this hole here?!"
Farrukh is up!
Eben is rendered completely speechless by the fact that shadow conjuration worked exactly as intended, for once.
"You ask what created the pit? It was I, the spirit that has plagued you for years!" Astraden barks down. "Who else would make you eat death and taste meat? Who else would set the church of St. Cuthbert alight?"
Farukkh, too, is rendered speechless for a moment that Eben's spell worked. Only after the shock has worn off does he ask "So, uhhhh...what do we do with her now?"
He moves up, looks down the hole, and for lack of anything better to do gets ready to knock her back down if she climbs up.
"I could try to make her more cooperative," Zalamandra says in Draconic.
Threnodic suggestion could recommend she explain what happened to the church so that Spiny's Six (or Farrukh, since he's our only law dog here) can remedy it.
"If you think you can, it can't hurt to try." he replies in the same.