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The bustling desert city of Wati is near bursting with excitement. Adventurers from every corner of the Inner Sea region have assembled here beneath the hot Osirian sun to explore the tombs of the city’s necropolis, waiting only to be assigned their first sites for exploration. Surrounding the participants, the public has gathered to observe the ceremony as well. There is a festival-like quality in the air, and numerous street vendors are hawking goods and refreshments to participants and spectators alike. Some merchants have even brought what can only be considered adventuring gear to sell as last minute convenience items to explorers, while others advertise that they’ll buy recovered treasures and antiquities from those who visit their establishments.
Numerous adventuring groups stand in small clusters near the stage, made up of multiple nationalities and races. Most keep to themselves, but some teams engage in quiet conversation with other teams, mostly speculating about what they’ll likely face in the necropolis.
In front of the imposing edifice of the Grand Mausoleum, an immense awning has been erected between decorated pillars in the market to provide shade for the priests of Pharasma overseeing the lottery. Beneath the awning, two urns sit atop a table elevated a few feet above the ground on a wooden stage constructed for the event. The high priestess of the Grand Mausoleum, Sebti the Crocodile, sits behind the table, while two acolytes confer with her at either side.
Sebti is surprisingly young to hold such a distinguished position, but she has a confident air of authority. She calls for silence, then begins:
“Oh Lady of the Graves, bless these here who have come upon the behest of your mighty servants, the great nation of Osirion. May you watch over them and guide their hands and actions as they proceed into your most sacred reliquaries. May their fates be just, and death not come to them before the time you've ordained.
She then gives a brief history of the founding of the necropolis, then:
Let the lottery begin! Although many of you have requested specific sites to explore, we must leave these matters to fate. The Lady of Graves is a far better judge of destiny than we of this mortal sphere. The gates of the necropolis will open at sunrise tomorrow. Use this evening to prepare yourselves for the task ahead. Let these rules guide you in your endeavors in this holy place: remember how this came to pass, every slave’s hut is a memorial, and honor the departed. May you go with the Lady’s blessing.
The priests of the Grand Mausoleum have decided on a lottery to distribute access to the tombs to make the process impartial and subject to the dictates of fate, in keeping with Pharasmin religious tenets. The church has mapped the necropolis and designated selected sites within it for exploration, dividing them into three pools, from the smallest and simplest of structures to the largest and potentially most complex. Each party of explorers is assigned three sites, one at a time, so that a group must complete its exploration of one site before gaining access to another.
After Sebti returns to her seat, the two acolytes accompanying her each draw a wooden token from one of the urns on the table. The first token identifies the adventuring group, matching the token that group received when it registered for the lottery. The second token determines which tomb is assigned to that group. A single representative of the chosen group is then summoned to the stage to present the token his group received at registration to one of the acolytes.
After nine groups have been called, one of the acolytes calls out Ibrahim’s Angels! and awaits a representative from the group.
Who’s going up?
Remember How This Came to Pass: The Plague of Madness was unleashed upon the city of Wati while religious authorities were engaged in infighting. This rule is a reminder that the necropolis remains a holy place, and those who engage in needless conflict and banditry are not only criminals, but accursed.
Every Slave’s Hut Is a Memorial: Every structure within the necropolis is a testament to the people who lived and died in the city. Explorers must not desecrate or vandalize standing structures and tombs, but preserve them as the memorials they were intended to be. Some structures may be trapped or decrepit, but willful and unnecessary destruction will not be tolerated.
Honor the Departed: The dead should be treated with dignity and respect. If the interred need to be disturbed to recover an antiquity or relic, they should be returned to their resting places carefully. It is understood that the ancient dead are often brittle, but there is no need for the contents of a sarcophagus to be summarily dumped on the ground. This rule does not apply to the undead or other abominations.
You scour the crowd for signs of Thurzen and his thugs, but to no avail.
You notice that the group that is renting out the large suite at the Tooth and Hookah (near your own room) are calling themselves “The Scorched Hand”. The one who claims their lottery assignment is a woman in a Taldan dandy’s idea of an adventuring outfit. Her pink outfit is capped off with a foppish hat with a feather in it.
Perception Petra: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12
Lottery: 1d12 ⇒ 9
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Oblivious to the looks she received from the constables loitering just outside the city jail, Mirri tested out the joints on her leather armor. Being able to move quickly-and nimbly-was important. Unlike her dirty green hooded hot-weather shawl that she wore to keep off the sun, the armor was new, quickly purchased from a vendor after cutting the purse from a tipsy merchant outside a Midwife tavern. Like the shawl, the ragged satchel at her waist wasn't remotely new, but the other contents, a waterskin and hardtack, were. Her slender knife and sling completed her possession. I'm free!
Well under three foot tall, and even then thin for her size (the result of many days of less than three square meals), Mirri had to crane her neck up to take in the disapproving scowls of the authorities. They had no sympathy for her size, her equipment, or the dirty smudges on her face or in her unwashed red hair. Not an implausible response, given the number of times in the past the Halfling had been arrested or suspected of various larcenies by these very officers. She's your problem now, gods help ya.
The last was spoken to Say'ri Al Bashere, who ever-so-kindly saw to Mirri's release from the authorities two days after that scowling dwarf turned her into authorities. How DID she feel my hand on her purse?? It was not until Say'ri and Mirri were well away from the jail that Mirri inquired as to why the popular temple guardian had arranged her release. Mirri's eyes went wide at the explanation. OOH! You won the lottery! And I get to come with and help with scouting and traps and such! We get to keep things we find, ya? Ooh, I can do that. This will be so much FUN! I haven't snuck into the Necropolis in a long time, but I'm sure.... Speaking in a rapid clip, the Halfling suddenly realized that her benefactor might not take kindly to Mirri having broken into hallowed ground previously. She spent the rest of the trip smiling and making small talk, but avoided topics she thought might jeopardize her new chance.
Fast Forward to Lottery Day.....
Mirri kept smiling and giving Petra an inquisitive look despite the tension in the air. She had thought the name funny, given the seriousness and intensity of the other women in the group. The wizardess had given it lukewarm support, but the lack of agreement on other options had allowed "Ibrahim's Angels" to somehow stick. Petra in particular seemed un-amused. Petra...that was the dwarf's name, who landed Mirri in jail. But instead of being angry, disgruntled, contrite, or any of a number of common reactions, Mirri was simply curious. It's you! She had said as Say'ri brought the Halfling to meet the rest of the lottery team. How did you catch me? I'm sure I had that purse dead to rights, gotta tell me your secret! Turning to the others she added, Hi! I'm Mirri, let's go break into some stuff! Mirri seemed un-phased by the disapproving looks from some of the others as well, but the coincidence of being placed in a group with her latest mark struck her as quite funny. Petra may not have shared that feeling.
As Sebti spoke, Mirri paid little attention. Instead she took in the other groups and churning crowd, unconsciously scanning for those who are not paying enough attention to their possessions. Nevertheless, the Halfling perked up as the acolyte called out "Ibrahim's Angels!" With a start, Mirri exclaimed, Hey! That's us! She then immediately darted forward, heedless to whomever else approached as well.
Mirri's move rate is 20', so others could easily move past her and receive the token first if so desired
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Hehe, Mirri's assessment of Petra's feelings on lots of things is quite correct. ;) Including the group name, which I quite like, but Petra does not...
Petra had the consistent and ongoing feeling that she was about two steps behind everyone else.
In a very literal sense, she was: her legs were not as long as the humans and most of the other races that filled the square, but that did not bother her so much: one of the Pahmet could continue walking, at their slow and dune-eating pace, long after humans had fainted from the heat, or fallen to other foes.
Socially, however, she felt she had no idea what was going on. She considered herself fortunate to have met the human woman Say'ri al Bashere, for despite the many differences between them they both served the true gods of Osirion, and a mutuality of faith was a great bridge. Say'ri had had information on the town, on this "lottery", on where merchants might be found that would not see an obviously out-of-her-depth dwarf and not try and rob her blind... Petra was grateful for the human woman's assistance, and saw it as proof that Anubis approved of what she was doing.
But the others.
The one called... Ishia? seemed like the conception Petra had of most humans: eager for coin, coin, coin. They filled their short lives with racing from one thing to the other, desperate to acquire, and seemed to have little understanding of loyalty to clan or home. They drifted, untethered by obligations or duties. If Say'ri was an example of admirably dwarven responsibility, Petra had not gotten that impression off either of the other humans in the group.
--the other one, the male. Petra still had almost no idea what had happened there. They had been discussing things in the inn (more accurately, Say'ri and Ishia had been discussing, Petra had been broodingly nursing a mug of very-thick Osiriani beer and glaring at the halfling) and the male had simply... appeared at the side of their table and helped himself to a chair and began talking much too quickly for Petra to follow. (Her command of Taldane was not the best, having been purely an academic language for her before she had left Erekrus, and at Erekrus they spoke the old Osiriani tongue. She could follow modern Osiriani, or so-called 'Common', with some effort, but... it helped when people spoke slowly.)
He had not. He had smiled a lot, and his movements had been energetic with much hand-motion, this male, but he had talked very fast and directed most of his words at the two other human women, as humans tended to do so, and Petra had still been trying to figure out why he was at their table when he had taken a grinning leave with promises to see them all in the morning.
Apparently he was to travel with them. Petra was confused.
And then the last. The thief. Petra had sent a dozen glares in the direction of the small criminal, which had had the net effect of glaring at a rock: the little one did not seem affected. Petra dimly understood that Say'ri had been given charge of the thief. This was not unknown, in Erekrus: a wronged party had the right to demand indentured labor of the offender, usually for seven years. Yet Say'ri did not treat the thief as slave, exactly. Not that one would have gotten much useful labor out of the tiny creature. Petra continued to be confused.
The confusion built and toppled over into irritation as their supposed group title was called. What? Petra squinted under the bright sun; she'd only been paying a little attention, too busy looking through the big crowd for signs of Thurzen.
"Why is the male's name alone called?" she complained, in thickly-accented Common. She drew her keffiyeh scarf up further over her head and most of her face, self-conscious of any gazes her words might have earned. Beneath the scarf, her lips thinned further as she watched the thief darting forward. To Say'ri, she said dourly, "The criminal is escaping."
(Sorry for that wall of text! I promise future posts won't be as wordy. Nor will Petra constantly exist in a state of not having any idea what's going on; she just has to get used to some things...
|Ishia of the Sands|
The moment that Ishia heard that the Necropolis was to be opened to exploration she had begun to plan--and the first part of the plan was to gather a team--and to do that, she would need money. It was not, as most people guessed, that Ishia was preoccupied with money--money is merely a symbol, after all, of power.
She was relieved when instead she was approached by Sayri; hiring mercenaries was distasteful and expensive, and she knew Sayri from when Ishia and her family had donated funds towards the construction of a new temple. Though they had their differences--Sayri was quite devoted to Horus, while Ishia's faith cast a broader net--all the gods of Osirion, including Apep and Set, had their proper place in the grand order of things--but still, she looked forward to the idea of working together with a fellow follower of the old gods, however different their view of those gods might've been.
Ishia had run the numbers with Say'ri in the tavern, calculating every possible expense and contingency, doing her best to ignore the feeling of palpable disdain emanating from the dwarf, though she could not tell if it was directed at her specifically or just humans in general. A pahmet dwarf and a worshiper of Anubis--probably best to let sleeping jackals lie, as it were. Personally, Ishia found the preoccupation with hunting the undead Anubis's followers typically possessed unnecessary--but by the way the dwarf was already glaring at her she decided that was a thought best kept to herself.
Just as they had been debating the possibility of hiring on a fifth member, they had been approached by a man--an adventuring type, obviously, and charming enough. Though she didn't necessarily relish the idea of dividing the wealth between five people instead of four, she got the feeling talking to the man that she might be able to convince him to take a smaller share. Besides, he was charming enough, and pleasant to look at--and she could feel the dwarf's ire shifting from her to him the moment he sat at the table, which was frankly a relief.
She had found the halfling's suggestion amusing enough and seconded it--of course, if they were anyone's angels they were probably Sayri's, but still. Strangely, she felt an odd sensation of--what was it?--guilt, when she looked at the halfling. She reminded her of someone--she couldn't place who, exactly--she had enough dealing with--less than reputable elements that it could've been anything, or she could've just been imagining it. Still, she did her best to laugh at the halfing's jokes. She knew that life in the slums of Wati could be hard, especially for those not native to the harsh land of Osirion.
"If her escape plan is to run to a priestess of Pharasma in front of a crowd of people, perhaps letting her go is for the best," says Ishia, pursing her lips and trying her best to stifle a laugh. She watches as the halfling heads to the podium, her arms crossed and a tight smile across her face. "Only Ibrahim's name is called because Mirri made a joke, and I found it funny. Don't worry, he won't be getting an extra share because of it."
|Say'ri Al Bashere|
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"Mirri!" Say'ri's longer legs lets her catch the diminutive thief before she makes it more than a few feet towards the podium. Clapping one hand firmly to the halfling's shoulder Say'ri continues towards the crowd towards Sebti and her attendants. "I understand that you're excited - but keep yourself under control a bit more please. You don't have an awful lot of trust around her at the moment. I believe in you though, so let's not make a scene in front of the High Priestess before we even get started."
Lord of the Sky, what a team I've assembled. It had actually been Ben-Ali's idea to check around with her contacts to assemble her own team rather than simply turn up to the lottery alone. Petra, the recently arrived Phamet, had been a simple choice. Capable and experienced with guarding the dead were qualification enough, and when Say'ri had heard that a mysterious orc with a penchant for fire had been asking about the lottery she knew she had to involve Petra.
Likewise Ishia had fulfilled an important role within the team. Her dabbling in the 'underground antiquities' business had demonstrated convincingly her financial acumen and, assuming their part in the lottery be successful, a knowledgeable dealer would be essential. A little magic never hurt either.
Ibrahim on the other hand had insinuated himself into the group entirely of his own accord. Both Mirri and Ishia seemed to like him and since he had dealt well enough with her questions Say'ri was not inclined to make a fuss. Besides, once Mirri suggested 'Ibrahim's Angels' it left Ibrahim as the front-man, which could prove useful in future.
Mirri had been both the hardest and easiest choice to make. Say'ri knew first hand how capable she was and her small size would likely be an asset. Besides Say'ri could admit, although only to herself, that she was fond of the diminutive pickpocket. Ben-Ali and herself were likely the only people in Wati that knew Mirri's full story, which had spilled out after the second or third time they had taken her in and fed her. The downside was that Mirri was a career, and largely unrepentant, criminal - the guards had in fact been only too happy to give Say'ri custody since it would keep her out of their jails for a few weeks at least. Despite that, and her abundant enthusiasm, Say'ri was not inclined to regret bringing Mirri along. Not yet at least...
"Ibrahim's Angels reporting." She says to the acolyte, nodding politely to Sebti as she does so. al'Janah, perched on her shoulder as usual, nods in eerie mimicry as the acolyte withdraws the clay token marked with their first site.
Just so you know GM I've played the first book IRL so I have some memories of the plot, although not the individual dungeons or their layouts. I'll keep this separate of course! :)
No worries, Say'ri--just don't ruin the surprises for the others :-)
Sebti nods slightly in acknowledgement to Say'ri as the token is drawn.
Pharasma has chosen the Tomb of Akhentepi for you--tread carefully, and pay heed to the rules.
The acolyte points to the site on a large map of the necropolis, then gives you a smaller, sketched map that shows the site’s location in relation to the necropolis gates.
Akhentepi was a military officer of some renown who died years before the Plague of Madness devastated Wati.
After the group makes their final preparations, they wait with excitement until the official opening of the necropolis on the following day.
With the help of the map it is quite easy to find your first assigned site.
A rectangular stone mausoleum sits alone in what appears to have once been an actual cemetery. The trunks of a few dead trees poke out of the sand around the tomb, and a hot breeze whistles through their desiccated branches. A set of massive stone double doors is affixed to the northern side of the structure, beneath a facade bearing the likeness of an Osirian man. Windblown sand is heaped around the crypt, partially burying the doors that lead within.
It is an hour of sweaty work to clear away the sand, and even the early morning heat is enough to take its toll.
Please make a DC 10 FS or suffer 1d4 nonlethal from the heat. Characters wearing heavy clothing or armor of any sort take a –4 penalty on their saves.
A character with the Survival skill may receive a bonus on this saving throw--DC 15 survival for a +4 bonus, and you can grant the benefit to another person per point above 15.
Once the sand has been cleared away you can see an inscription on the doors written in Osiriani; the name Akhentepi and the dates of his birth and death (2416 AR and 2488 AR, respectively).
The doors are 10 feet tall and made of solid stone with no visible handles or hinges.
The doors are on concealed hinges and swing outward. There are also telltale traces of mortar along the seams and jamb that has since crumbled or been chipped away, indicating that the doors were meant to be sealed permanently and not intended to be opened again.
Above spoiler, plus:
You see signs of a crowbar or similar tool having been inserted between the doors at some point.
I put up a map of Wati and the Tomb of Akhentepi (site 23 on the Wati Map). I made the combat map editable so you guys can move your own tokens on your turn, but please don't move away the blue boxes--let me reveal!
Sorry for the wall 'o text!
|Ishia of the Sands|
Fortitude: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15
Knowledge: History: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (17) + 9 = 26
"Akhentepi," says Ishia with a nod of her head. "A soldier, from before the plague. Fairly acclaimed, in his day. A good start for us, I do think. Let us be off."
Though she is far from the strongest in the group, she is not as frail as the average bookworm wizard, and she does her best to help the others clear away the sand. A native of Wati, she knew how to properly dress for the desert heat, and is unaffected by the searing sun.
"This tomb has gone undisturbed for over a thousand years," says Ishia with a smile as they at last uncover the entrance. Upon realizing the door is a solid slab of stone, her smile vanishes. "And perhaps it will stay that way for another year. Any ideas of how to get in?"
Ishia's the squishiest of the party so I think I'll leave the exploring to one of you anyways, lol
|Ibrahim al Sahure|
"Ha! This group has spirit!"
Brahim laughs heartily to himself as the others scramble to step forward. He does not bother to add anything further of any real value.
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18
Perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4
Nope. Oh Imbrahim, you poor, oblivious bastard. He's too excited about the exploration
|Say'ri Al Bashere|
Fort: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 22
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25
"Someone has broken in here before. Look you can see the markings where someone has applied a crowbard. We must be wary - Mirri, take the lead and keep your eyes open!"
Say'ri hauls the door open and gestures Mirri inside.
|Ibrahim al Sahure|
Later, at the tomb
Survival: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
Fort Save: 1d20 + 3 + 2 - 4 ⇒ (5) + 3 + 2 - 4 = 6
Eager to assist his new allies, Ibrahim searches for some indigenous plants that he has known to help alleviate the effects of the scorching sun. Alas, he fails in his attempt, and only manages to strain himself.
nonlethal: 1d4 ⇒ 4
Perception: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (14) + 1 = 15
Panting from exertion, Brahim points out:
"Good catch! Whoever closed this didn't mean for it to be open, ever. If someone has beat us to the punch we must be ready. Bah! Don't send the little one to take point. At least not alone. I'll back her up"
Fortitude Save 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 2 = 14
Perception 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11
Arriving at the door, Mirri spent far more time staying out of the sun rather than actually helping clear sand. Rather she made half-hearted efforts to assist while cheering on others. You're doing great, Ibrahim! Way to move that sand, Petra! Similarly, Mirri paid little attention to the door itself, and appeared surprised when Say'ri pointed out the crowbar marks. However, as Say'ri prompted her to go forward, the Halfling darted in with Ibrahim, staying to the shadows and keeping a now-sharp eye out for anything of interest.
I'm assuming something in the spoilers told us how to open the doors. If so, Mirri will head in right behind Ibrahim. She go into stealth and do active Perception once in
Say'ri STR check: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 8
Say'ri strains at the door, trying to wedge her fingers in the seam, but there isn't much room to grip.
Mirri--Say'ri can fill everyone in with what she sees when she rolls high enough to read the spoiler. The thing is, these doors were never meant to be opened. They open outward and are very sturdy, but there's no handle. Say'ri saw signs that someone had previously opened the tomb by using a crowbar or something similar.
Perception DC 15 from the night before: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12
Petra sees nothing, whatever there was to see!
Survival, DC 15: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16 Alas, can't help anyone else.
Fortitude, armor: 1d20 + 3 - 4 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 3 - 4 + 4 = 6
NL: 1d4 ⇒ 2
To her shame, Petra is discovering that even the Pahmet can flag in the desert heat. Of course, were she at home, this sort of work would wisely be done in the cool of the night... but time is of the essence, here.
She grunts at Ishia's words of knowledge-- perhaps the human has her uses-- and stands with her head hung for a moment, catching her breath and rubbing at a pulled muscle in her arm. She makes a mental note to acquire sand-shifting tools.
Perception, DC 15/20: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (20) + 7 = 27 +2 if stonecunning applies
Petra grunts in some satisfaction as she looks over the door, her years of study of the tombs of Erekrus coming in handy.
"This door is meant to open outward. The hinges are concealed. Originally this vault was mortared and was not intended to be opened again. However, here--" she taps at one spot, "--you can see it has been chipped and disturbed here. Someone tried to use a crowbar at this spot before."
Petra sets to chiseling away the rest of the mortar with her dagger to more clearly expose the cracks. "Does anyone have a crowbar?"
|Ibrahim al Sahure|
"It so happens I have a crowbar right here. Or near enough as should make no difference."
Ibrahim removes his scimitar from its sheathe and wedges it between the doors, trying to pry them open.
Str: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6
Ibrahim's strength is sapped from the laborious work in the sun, but with some help from Petra and Say'ri the door pries open.
Inside it is clear that there are no handles on the inside of the door either. Without further ado, the party enters the Tomb of Akhentepi!
Unless otherwise noted, ceilings within the tomb are 10 feet high and rooms are unlit. The map is updated. I put your tokens on there and included tokens for the two familiars if they ever do anything on their own, but unless you tell me otherwise I will assume they are with their masters.
This rectangular room is empty save for some engravings and fixtures upon the walls, a pair of heavy stone doors to the north, and an immense stone wheel against the south wall. The air is stale, and a layer of dust and sand covers the floor, lying in a thicker layer to the south. All four walls bear sunk-relief engravings and hieroglyphs, while small stone faces are affixed to the walls at about shoulder height in each corner. Closer inspection reveals that the faces are each decorative torch holders. The stone wheel to the south is engraved with a large spiral and is set in stone tracks in the floor and ceiling.
The hieroglyphs on the walls, along with the engravings, describe the life of the tomb’s enshrined occupant, Akhentepi, a celebrated military commander who presided over the troops garrisoned in Wati prior to the city’s downfall.
The hieroglyphs warn, “Akhentepi’s tomb is well defended, and those who defile it tempt the wrath of the gods.”
An additional warning advises, “The only thing the Lady of Graves despises more than the grave robber is the unsuccessful grave robber,” followed by a final admonishment to “turn back while you can.”
The spiral on the stone wheel is the symbol of Pharasma and two of the carved faces in the room’s corners depict Pharasma.
|Ishia of the Sands|
Knowledge (Religion): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (16) + 9 = 25
Ishia had stayed back while the others had worked at the door; she knew she wasn't strong enough to offer much assistance; she is greatly relieved when they manage to budge it without her help. Ishia lights one of her torches before following the other into the tomb.
The heiroglyphs catch her eye immediately, of course--Ancient Osirion, by the look of it. This was promising. She walks to one of the walls and begins speaking outloud, translating them into common as she does.
"Akhentepi's tomb is well defended and...fairly standard for these tombs--though, in Akhentepi's case it's likely to be true. The spiral is a symbol of Pharasma, of course, and I believe that these carved faces depict her as well. Except--hmm. These two--Anubis, I believe. We are in sacred company, then," says Ishia as she continues to examine the decoration on the wall.
|Ibrahim al Sahure|
Ibrahim strikes up a sunrod and opens his mouth to read the Ancient Osiriani glyphs, preempted by Ishia. He tries to hide his surprise that she also knows the language.
"Well, you know what they say, the better defended the tomb, the more riches it is like to contain! Shall we?"
"Yes. Anubis," Petra corroborates in reverent tones, her raspy voice hushed. She steps forward, fingers trailing across the nearest wall, and inclines her head to the image of Anubis. She draws her flail and raises it, almost as if proffering it to the sculpted jackal head on the wall.
"Väktare Graven, svär denna tjänare att respektera sömn de döda. De saker som de begravdes har länge funnits i nästa värld med honom; det är dags för dem att användas igen av de levande, som fältet vattnas varje fjäder av Sphinx. Detta tjänare svär sig till någon onödig skada..."
That done, the dwarf lifts her head and looks to the others with her eyes very serious behind her keffiyeh. "Remember there is purpose here behind merely coin. Walk lightly."
Perception on the door and its stone wheel: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11
Petra mutters the words of a prayer as she gazes at the door, one hand drawing a line as she goes. (Casting Detect Magic and studying the door/wheel)
"There are no curses or sorceries upon this door," Petra says in her deep voice. "Strength will move it. Many arms together."
Giving Mirri a chance to look over the door before we actually try to open it.
Past her likely somewhat irksome cheerleading, Mirri was of no help at all in entering the never-meant-to-be-reopened Tomb Door. Once it was open however, she was one of the first inside, and her eyes went wide in the flickering torchlight as she took in the features on the walls. As she entered the mausoleum, her first reaction was to relax. SO good to be out of that bright sun, she sighed, and the close observer could note that the Halfling seemed most at home in the dark, enclosed space. Even without trying she seemed to be easily vanish from sight in the shadows.
OHH! Look at these faces here...and this writing! So this is how the really rich folks get sent off. Unlike Petra and Ishia, Mirri's reaction had no sense of reverence at her surroundings. Rather, she seemed as intrigued as one might be at an elaborate carnival. She showed no fear either, even after the hieroglyphics were explained to her, simply shrugging her shoulders and continuing to look at the carved faces. After Petra offered her prayer to Anubis and warned the group about their purpose, Mirri offered a smile in response. No need to worry! Ain't the gods that trap these places, just the work of folks like us. With a twinkle in her eye she added, just gotta be better at takin' out the traps than folks were puttin' them in! Concerns about the sanctity of the tomb appeared to be totally lost on the Halfling, whether intentionally or out of obliviousness.
As the wonder of the new surroundings wore off, Mirri took to examining the walls, wheel and stone doors for any traps or other hidden mechanical features. Unlike her half-hearted efforts to get into the tomb, the Halfling was clearly at home with her work, taking a methodical, sharp-eyed approach. As she did she spoke, absently and to no one in particular. Wonder who broke in here first...hope they didn't take all the good stuff.
Full search of the room, including the stone doors. Perception Check would be +9 assuming she could be in dim light, +10 to find traps. I'll roll the check below. @GM: Do you want us to roll all checks or are there some you want to do for us?
Perception for Room Search 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (18) + 10 = 28 -1 if not to find a trap, -2 if she couldn't have concealment where she searched
Mirri studies the door thoroughly and, seeing no signs of danger, Ibrahim and Say'ri work together to slide the massive circular door out of the way.
Mirri--feel free to roll any active rolls on your own. I may do some rolls for you guys for expediency, but when you search you're fine to roll perception.
This square room is starkly devoid of any markings or adornment. In the center of the chamber’s floor, a square shaft drops straight down into darkness. A faint musty odor rises from the pit. A single piton has been hammered into the stone floor by the northeast corner of the pit, and a dusty length of rope dangles from the piton into the darkness of the shaft.
The rope has been severed after just two feet of length and it crumbles to dust when handled. Petra with her dwarven senses, and the others (dimly) when Ibrahim holds up his sunrod, can see the bottom of the shaft 50 ft down. It is a straight vertical drop with no walls to brace against.
Mirri enters the room slowly, keeping an eye out for any signs of danger while instinctively moving to the shadows thrown by Ibrahim's sunrod. She takes a brief moment to look down the pit, but quickly moves on to assess the rest of the room. Her first stop is the piton holding the rotten rope. Hmm...looks like the folks before us came in a long time ago. Might be able to use the piton though.....any o' yuns got a rope? She looks up hopefully at the others.
Want to check the piton to see if it is stable enough to hold a new rope. Not sure what check that would be, so I'll just roll a d20 to be applied to whatever skill mods are deemed appropriate
1d20 ⇒ 1
EDIT: Haha...Mirri is confident the piton is in GREAT shape!
|Ishia of the Sands|
"Hmm," says Ishia, staring down at the pit, a sudden feeling of regret at having passed on the opportunity to add feather fall to her spellbook washing over her. Well, she could still make use of the one transmutation spell she had prepared instead: mage hand. Holding her torch out in front of her, she lets go of it; instead of falling to the ground, the torch floats in the air, hovering in whatever direction Ishia points--and she points at the shaft, slowly lowering the torch down as far as she can without ending the power of her spell.
Ishia uses Mage Hand to lower her torch 15 ft down the chasm
|Say'ri Al Bashere|
"I have rope. It seemed a foolish thing not to have in a place like this." Say'ri comments drily. "I suspect we'd be better off lowering you down Mirri rather than trusting to the piton, at least at first. Mirri first, then you Ibrahim? I'll stay up here until last to brace the rope."
Say'ri wraps a loop of rope around the piton before bracing herself firmly with another 5ft of rope in hand before looking to Mirri.
"Mirri, Ibrahim, Petra, Ishia, then myself. Ready everyone?"
|Ishia of the Sands|
Ooh, that sounds like fun, let's do it! Mirri's excited answer to Say'ri's suggestion contained not a whiff of fear regarding what she was being lowered into. The Halfling watched with some amusement as the torch was lowered down the shaft. That's neat, Ishia! I like how it makes the shadows dance on the wall. Jumping up, she grabs one end of Say'ri's rope and with a sheepish look up at the guardian says, Heh, this rope weighs almost as much as I do. Sure is nice that we have big, strong people here who can carry that stuff. Once tied in, Mirri made her way to the edge. OK now, keep me to the side of the shaft and don't lower that torch too far. If somethin's down there I wanna hide quick.
Ready to go if everyone else is
I have definitely been the "halfling lowered into the darkness" before, lol.
Say'ri takes her time, lowering the others. She notes that the piton looks sturdy--the previously found rope was damaged by a slashing weapon, it didn't break from strain. When she is the only one who remains, she secures her rope (either to the existing piton or something else, just let me know) and climbs down herself, taking her time.
You can take 10 on the climb check
Mirrored images of a warrior in side profile, facing inward, are carved on an ornate pair of stone doors in the west wall of this square room. The figure is depicted wearing padded armor, with a scarab-shaped shield on the arm facing the viewer, and a raised khopesh held aloft in the other. A crumpled humanoid body lies directly in front of the doors. The body is mostly skeletal, with a thin layer of desiccated tissue. A hint of decay hangs in the air, and a dried stain mars the stone floor under the body. A square shaft in the ceiling leads straight up into darkness.
The body is that of a male human or half-elf who obviously died down here. Both of his legs are broken from a fall from a great height, and the unfortunate man apparently crawled to the doors before he expired.
Roll initiative as the corpse rises to fight you! Kidding. You find a usable hammer, two pitons, and two vials of alchemist’s fire that miraculously have survived.
|Say'ri Al Bashere|
Say'ri uses the piton since it's held everyone else.
Once she descends Say'ri immediately goes through the man's pockets (or assesses the loot if someone else does that first). "Does anyone want to lay claim to these? I can certainly use them but others among you might be a better shot..." She says glancing at Ibrahim.
After looting Say'ri heads towards the doors, examining the decoration as she does so. "Interesting, I assume this is Akentepi himself. Clearly a warrior of some ability. Am I safe to open this Mirri?"
Say'ri will take whatever items other people don't want. Once Mirri has checked the door Say'ri will attempt to open it.
|Ibrahim al Sahure|
Heal Check: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (15) - 1 = 14
Ibrahim examines the body, and says half to himself and half to the others:
"Looks like he was pretty tough. See the way his legs are twisted? Still managed to pull himself with his arms to the doors before he bled out."
Then, upon hearing Sayri, Ibrahim manages to regain focus.
"Hmm? Oh yeah. Sure, I'll take one of those fire bombs. I'm not too bad of a shot if I say so myself."
Oops, forgot to also mention: Ibrahim is holding his sunrod in his off hand, and will draw his scimitar with his main before we open the door. ;)
|Ishia of the Sands|
Heal: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (18) - 1 = 17
"This explains who broke into--entered the tomb before us, at least. He must've fallen down the pit and broken his legs. Though I wonder--was the fall an accident or was it malfeasance? We should be careful--there might be more than just undead waiting for us in the crypt"
Ishia does recognize the visage of Akhentepi in the wall images--she's seen it before in her mercantile past.
Mirri looks over the door and nods the "go ahead" to Say'ri. The door is heavy, but she can open it own her own with minor effort.
Moving into the next room...
The walls of this ten-foot-wide corridor feature bas-relief carvings of great battles. Armies with spears and shields clash at the direction of generals, while other leaders direct troops from chariots that are ruthlessly overrunning their enemies. Engraved stone double doors stand at either end of the hallway. The engravings on the insides of both sets of doors resemble those in the previous room, except that the man is depicted as older and is riding in a chariot. He carries the same scarab shield, but his other arm points at his own reflected depiction on the opposite door.
|Ishia of the Sands|
"That was Akhentepi in the past room--I assume this is Akhentepi as well," says Ishia, holding her torch up towards the image of the man riding a chariot. "He looks older in this image though--perhaps the rooms are ordered by detailing his accomplishments over his lifetime."
|Say'ri Al Bashere|
"He was betrayed I think." Say'ri comments. "The piton at the top of the pit had a little rope left, it had been cut quite neatly with a dagger or some such. I suspect this man's partner cut the rope when he was descending the shaft and then fled... very little honour amongst that kind of person."
She examines the carvings, listening to Ishia as she does so. "That would make sense. I presume the reliefs will continue until we find his actual tomb."
Seeing very little else in the room Say'ri approaches the next door. "Mirri?"
As usual Say'ri will open the door when given the go by Mirri.
Ibrahim 1 Alchemists Fire
Say'ri: hammer, pitons, 1 alchemists fire.
If anyone wants these things just shout! :)
Sorry, busy day. Family coming, trying to clean the house...
Petra makes a long and cautious way down the rope. Erekrus may be built into a cliff, but she still has a healthy respect for heights.
"I desire one of the little fire bottles," she says after the body has been searched, and tucks it safely away at her belt.
Take 10 on the heal
She frowns to herself, thinking, as she stares at the corpse of the would-be robber before them. "Consider," she says after a little pause (the word brings back her childhood-- the teachers and priests had always said Consider before many lessons or proverbs--) "that the outer doorway was shut. If two came in-- this one, and one to cut rope-- then the traitor never left. But this body looks old. The traitor is dead by now... or cursed appropriately for his desecration, so he may still walk."
It's the most words she's said at one go in the Taldane tongue in... possibly ever, she supposes. Petra draws her bow.
She stands behind the others, ready once the doorway ahead is opened.
Mirri will always check doors, containers, rooms, etc as desired. Feel free to bot her as needed for these if such a search is holding up the game
Mirri entered the hallway and looked around with her mouth half open, gawking a bit like a tourist in an exotic locale would. The discussion of history seemed lost on her however, in any event she offered nothing as part of that discussion. She did listen to the discussion of the fate of the prior "guests" in the tomb. Speaking matter-of-factly she added, I figure it was two of 'em, they put in the spike, climb down, leave the rope jus' like we did, grab the loot and start climbin' out. But the first one had all the loot, dumb choice by the second guy, and then the first guy cuts the rope jus' as his "friend" is nearin' the top. Anyways, I'm jus' hopin' they couldn't carry all the good stuff out.
Mirri eyed Say'ri with an amused eye as the human woman immediately moved to search the body. See, you're getting the hang o' this already! No need to be shy when lookin' for loot! As the inventory of items was presented, Mirri shook her head to decline the lot of it. Nah, its good stuff, useful stuff, but I gotta travel light. Ya'll keep it.
Mirri then commenced a search of the room and the doors for any traps or other interesting features. Perception 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (12) + 10 = 22 -1 off result for anything other than traps.
Though Mirri doesn't care much for the artistic merits of the battle-carvings, she sees something that gives her pause--concealed holes hidden throughout the carvings. Then she notices that the 5 ft by 10 ft area of floor in front of the western doors has a difficult-to-see seam that is too precise to be accidental. The realization dawns on her that it is a hidden pressure plate. If anyone steps on it, a volley of projectiles will be launched throughout the entire hallway, with devastating results.
Wait, wait! Mirri's voice held as much urgency and seriousness as likely anyone within the group had heard before. There's a trap here. See that seam? It's a pressure plate, prolly send a bunch of darts or arrows or such right through ya from those faces there. Now, let me see if I can disarm it... Everyone waived off, Mirri settles in to carefully disabling the trap.
Given that we aren't under specific time constraints, I'd like to go ahead and spend the two minutes to Take 20 on this if that's OK with the group. If so the total check is a 29.
|Say'ri Al Bashere|
Unless we are under a specific time restraint Say'ri will always prefer Mirri to take 20 and do it properly. So Rule of Two should apply there. :)
Say'ri immediately steps back from the doorway. Once Mirri has pointed it out she can see the dart holes and begins to mentally plot firing lines.
"Right, everyone except Mirri back down the corridor. Mirri, if you stay low any missiles should pass right over your head. We'll watch from the doorway - that should be safe."
As they retreat Say'ri hands over the second vial of Alchemists fire to Petra.
Mirri (wisely) takes her time, finding the link from the pressure plate to the firing mechanism and expertly disabling it. She steps on the plate gingerly, then hops up and down on it. When no deadly missiles are launched, she smiles proudly, and the group proceeds to the next room.
Well done! That was a nasty one.
A faded tapestry hangs on a wooden frame on the western wall of this chamber. Faded and delicate, the tapestry depicts a middle-aged man, accompanied by a woman and two children, with a small estate in the background. To either side of the tapestry are two small pedestals, upon which sit two dead and preserved animals. Stone double doors exit the chamber to the north, south, and east.
The hieroglyphs suggest that Akhentepi’s family befell some tragedy, possibly murder or sickness, and he was left widowed.
You can infer that the family is probably interred somewhere else and that this tomb was prepared much later, after Akhentepi’s continued successful military career.
Let me know if you want to inspect anything further, then let me know if you want to go North or South.
|Ishia of the Sands|
Ishia again brings her torch to the wall, inspecting the hieroglyphs as she does, before translating them.
"Akhentepi was widowed after his family met some sort of tragedy--the hieroglyphs don't seem to say what, though. I believe this confirms my theory about the layout of the tomb, at least. This tapestry might be worth something--it's a bit faded, though. Might be worth taking with us," says Ishia, examining the image of Akhentepi. "Perhaps his family is buried here as well. That would explain the two doors in this room. I suggest we go north, for the time being. We can double back later regardless."
Upon finishing examining the tapestry, Ishia turns to the dead and preserved animals; if they are mummified, it could be a sign of religious ritual, and could hint at what lies in wait deeper in the tomb.
Appraise: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (2) + 8 = 10
Knowledge (Religion): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (3) + 9 = 12
|Say'ri Al Bashere|
Say'ri gives the room a cursory scan, noting both doorways and the lack of obvious traps or guardians. Thus reassured she takes a little more time to examine the carvings and read the inscriptions. As Ishia translates for the benefit of the group Say'ri nods.
"I suggest we take the right hand door (North). We might as well establish a method and if we always take the right-hand path then we will at least always be able to reverse our paths."
Ishia isn't sure of just how much it's worth, but she's reasonably certain that a wealthy historian would likely be interested in Akhentepi's tapestry, especially if it were restored a bit.
Rule of two says North it is. I'm just putting you guys in what I think is a reasonable formation, but feel free to put yourselves in whatever marching order you want.
Decision made, Mirri gives the door a once-over, finds nothing dangerous, and the group proceeds north. The doors open onto a small set of stairs leading downward. Again, no signs of danger are present, so the group presses on.
This is one big room with three sections, so here's the info for the left-most section that you're all in. I'll treat it like three separate rooms for ease of use over PbP.
A brightly painted chariot sits in the center of this chamber. Beyond the chariot, a large canvas stretches between two stone columns. The skins of several animals—antelopes, great cats, and crocodiles—now faded and deteriorated with age, are tacked to this canvas. A wooden chest, lacquered white and trimmed with gold inlay, sits in the southeast corner. In each corner of the room a small stone shield is molded into the masonry at shoulder height. An open hallway leads to the east, and a set of stone double doors leads south.
|Ishia of the Sands|
Ishia tugs at the tapestry until she manages to pull it off of the wooden frame, before rolling it up and following the others into the next room.
"The builders here seemed to have favored the shield motif. I wonder if it has any significance," says Ishia as she examines the masonry. The chest soon catches her eye, and she heads in that direction--but then she remembers that they are in a tomb and it could be trapped--she stops herself and waits for the halfing to examine it instead. "That chest is likely to be worth something, regardless of what its contents are."
|Ibrahim al Sahure|
Ibrahim takes in the room and is clearly drawn to the chariot.
"Do you think that is the same chariot Akhentepi rode into battle? Or merely a replica? Fascinating..."
|Say'ri Al Bashere|
"I'm no expert but it might well be. A successful general like Akentepi would have buried with significant items from his life and the chariot would be one of them. I don't think its worth trying to remove it though. Firstly, we'd never be able to get it out, secondly it'd be disrespectful."
Say'ri tries the chest and finds it locked. "Mirri, can you have a go at opening this? If not I might be able to just carry it out locked but we might as well try to open it first."
"Ibrahim, Petra, while she does that let's check the next area on. No point crowding round while she works - I'm sure Ishia can keep an eye on her."
Don't even think about it Mirri!
Know: Local 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
Mirri shrugged looking around the Tapestry Room, seeing nothing of real interest. Her head turned with mild intrigue when the tapestry itself was mentioned as potentially valuable, but otherwise the Halfling scurried over to the doors to check for traps before the group moved on to the chariot room. As they entered she gave Ibrahim an incredulous look. You notice an old cart before you see that beautiful chest in the room?! Nearly salivating as she looked lovingly at the chest, now that is worth noticin'.
Mirri was over to the chest even as Say'ri was asking her to do so. Her eyes lit up as, just for a moment, when it seemed everyone was going to leave her alone with it. She let out a small sigh as Ishia was asked to stand guard. Mumbling have to herself she said, Ack, I'm too small to carry out the heavy stuff anyways...paranoid people....
Turning back fully to the chest, she checks it for traps before quickly attempting to pick the lock. If the quick attempt fails she takes a deep breath and spends the full two minutes to do it right.
Take 10 on Perception Check for any traps on the chest for a total check of 20. If there are any traps, she'll take 20 on the check to remove them for a 29 total Disable Device result. Afterward she try to take 10 to open the lock for a total of a 19. Assuming that doesn't work she'll Take 20 on a follow-up check (again 29 total).
Mirri thinks everything looks safe until the last possible moment, spying a spring that shouldn't be in the lock. Trap! It's a hidden blade that will stab you if you try to unlock the chest.
Some of the others edge forward as the halfling sets to work trying to disable the trap without damaging the chest or its (possible) contents.
In the next "room" (4x4 area where Ibrahim, Petra, and Say'ri are) :
Four funerary masks hang on one wall of this short hallway, staring down as if in judgment at anyone standing in the corridor.
The first mask depicts Pharasma.
The second mask depicts Abadar.
The third mask depicts Sekhmet, the ancient Osirian goddess of war.
The fourth mask depicts Osiris, the ancient Osirian god of the afterlife.
There attention elsewhere, the party doesn't notice the oncoming danger until it is too late--a diorama of a battle scene in the easternmost room contains wooden soldier dolls armed with shield and spear. Before you recognize it they are upon you!
Surprise round--they move into Say'ri and Ibrahim's spaces. If you have Combat Reflexes you may AoO them.
The constructs appear to be vulnerable to fire damage
Above spoiler, plus you know the constructs are very resilient to physical damage (hardness 5).
Above spoilers, plus you know the constructs are unusually strong for their size (+4 strength).
AC 18, FF 16, Touch 14, CMD 11, 5 HP, hardness 5, apply hardness to weapon and energy attacks (except fire, which ignores hardness and deals 150% damage).
Combat! Up now (in any order): Mirri, Petra, Say'ri, Ibrahim
MirriPerception: 1d20 + 7 + 2 - 4 ⇒ (2) + 7 + 2 - 4 = 7
IshiaPerception: 1d20 - 1 - 4 ⇒ (8) - 1 - 4 = 3
PetraPerception: 1d20 + 7 - 1 ⇒ (9) + 7 - 1 = 15
Say'riPerception: 1d20 + 4 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 4 + 2 = 11
IbrahimPerception: 1d20 + 3 - 2 ⇒ (8) + 3 - 2 = 9
Doll stealth: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (8) + 10 = 18
Doll stealth: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (14) + 10 = 24
Doll stealth: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (10) + 10 = 20
Doll stealth: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (15) + 10 = 25
MirriInit: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18
Ishia Init: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10
Petra Init: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 22
Say'riInit: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 = 21
Ibrahim Init: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (16) + 3 = 19
Dolls: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 2 = 11