Late in the evening, a young boy with a pouch full of envelopes finds you. Huffing for breath, he wipes the sweat from his brow as he hands you a small envelope. "Message from Venture Captain Dreng!" he briefly explains, and heads off as quickly as he came.
Please join me and your compatriots tomorrow morning in Absalom's Grand Lodge. I shall meet you there with your latest assignment in conference room 231.
V.C. Drandle Dreng
When you finally make your way to conference room 231, you find the door propped open and the room empty of occupants. At the head of the long, rectangular meeting table sits a large, well-cushioned chair. Other, obviously less comfortable, chairs line the remaining sides and the morning sun is still peaking through the window, illuminating an otherwise nondescript room.
As mentioned in the Discussion thread, feel free to RP and get to know each other. We will begin in earnest this Monday, March 5th!
Lomar walks in, ready for action. Dusty from his last adventures up in the mountains, he shakes the dust from his hat before taking a seat.
A tall man enters the room 231. He looks pale, as if he was sick. He has red hair and a small red beard, and wears simple clothes.
He blinks, once or twice, then asks to the hat-wearing one
Are you Venture Captain Dreng?
A lithe but muscled blue-skinned humanoid enters the room, wearing nothing more than a loincloth. He places his palms down on the table and then gracefully swings his legs up on it as well before assuming a classic meditative pose with the backs of his hands resting on his knees. He closes his eyes and begins breathing in a slow and rhythmic manner.
Drandle Dreng’s entrance is as understated as always at the meeting with him this morning. He carries stacks of papers and tomes, and shedding stray pages as he makes his way toward a large, cushioned chair; once seated, he greets you warmly.
"Welcome, welcome, glad to see you’ve made yourself at home. No point in beating around the bush, since I’m sure you’re all very curious why I called you here today, hm? As you may or may not know, the Society has been bolstering its influence with the esteemed Blakros family for some time now, and have assisted them and their famous museum with various incidents over the past few years—discovering several new levels of catacombs in the process." he pauses for a moment, taking a swing of a small flask of what appears to be water before continuing.
"Just recently, the Blakros Museum’s curator, Nigel Aldain, informed us that he’d discovered a mysterious portal within the building’s vast catacombs, and sought information regarding how to open it. We sent one of our agents, a man by the name of Anumet Akrostera, to help research the matter further, which involved delving into the various attics and crawlspaces of the Blakros Museum in search of clues that might lead to the whereabouts of the portal’s key."
“Earlier today, Nigel showed up here, claiming that something was wrong with Anumet. It seems that the Pathfinder set off some sort of curse or trap while poking around in the place’s attics and was acting strangely, and now he can’t be found at all. I need you to head to Blakros Museum and get to the bottom of this. Find Anumet, and if he has gotten himself into irreparable trouble, you’ll also need to take up where he left off and find that key. I'd normally take questions, but I've shared all I know! Nigel is likely better equipped with the knowledge than I!"
In the early days of Absalom, the Blakros Museum was the stronghold of an eccentric wizard. After being abandoned for centuries, it was bought by the Blakros family, who turned it into a museum for their vast collection of curios.
The mad astrologer Ralzeros the Overwatched built what is now the Blakros Museum thousands of years ago as an observatory to study distant worlds (and some say, to be studied by them). He later disappeared following a mage-duel with another of Absalom’s early wizards.
Ralzeros carved his stronghold from a single block of volcanic stone with the help of fell powers granted to him by otherworldly patrons, supposedly to hide the powerful artifacts secreted in the catacombs beneath the keep. In addition, some tales hint that Ralzeros was actually abducted by alien monsters from the worlds he had studied so obsessively.
Blakros Museum is owned by the esteemed House Blakros, an extensive clan whose family members have made their fortune by trading odd antiquities across the border of Taldor and Qadira, as well as by marrying off their beautiful daughters to wealthy nobles all around the world. They store many of their curious gifts and the findings of their more adventurous daughters in exhibits in the Blakros Museum, which they purchased for just this purpose.
The Pathfinder Society is interested in forming an alliance with the Blakros family to gain access to their extensive collection of historical and arcane treasures.
Many pieces in the Blakros’s collection are connected to the Dark Tapestry or other otherworldly horrors studied by Ralzeros.
And we have begun!
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"Oh, thank Pulura! I feared I'd missed the briefing." This comes from a well-dressed Varisian man who rushes into the room. "I'd gone to Room 321 first."
"Well, in that case, let's hasten to the museum!"
A red haired woman makes her way into the room hastily, following right behind the venture captain. She smiles sheepishly at him before settling down, which takes a little while as she needs to set down her greatsword before she can make herself comfortable.
She can't help but roll her eyes a little at the mention of Blackros. "Is the Blackros museum ever a quiet place? We're constantly being called there, aren't we? They are quite the collectors, aquiring things through trade, marriage and adventure alike and exhibiting it at their museum, but I feel like they're not so careful about what they put in there and how they handle these things."
K history: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (2) + 7 = 9
K local: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11
"You shall have the assistance of Arrius Vext, Emissary of Outsea. Fellow Pathfinders, wary must we be: Anumet may have inadvertently opened the portal, and what comes from beyond could prove the destruction of all."
"I have heard of so many things going on at that museum to make one wonder if there isn't another purpose to it. That being said, where is Nigel now so we can ask him questions you don't know the answer to?"
"I'm sure he made his way back to the museum! He never wanders too far from that place for long..." he answers, before getting lost in his own train of thoughts for a moment.
"Hrm? Ah! Yes, well it is true the Blakros Museum is in trouble more often than not, but that gets us more and more leverage, eh?" Drandle points out, now looking at his papers and texts. Eventually, he points to a ledger. "Ah ha! I knew someone was missing," he says, wagging his finger at you all. " While we wait, what say you all to a game of 42 questions from Ol' Drandle, eh? Here are the rules: I'll do the asking, and you do the answering!"
He looks back at his ledger, peering closely at the names. "Hmmmm... You! There! Etienne Elodien, is it? Tell me about yourself. Where are you from? What do you do when the Society hasn't dragged you into a lodge? Haha!" Drandle exclaims, slapping a knee as he laughs. When his laughter subsides, he begins, yet again... "Well, I'll be asking each of you the same questions, so we might as well get it all out at once!"
Folding his hands on the table, he looks expectantly at you all, nodding his head while sporting a huge grin.
If you don't wish to share the information you learned incharacter through a knowledge check, that's fine, but make a note when you roll that the others should look at the relevant spoilers. While most people wouldn't think about not sharing the information they learned, I've played with some characters that did not want to, so being clear about your intentions is helpful! :) Once the fifth player posts or 24 hours have passed, I will move us forward btw.
Erhun waits to get interogated. When his turn comes, he answers truthfully
I have been raised by a priest from the distant lands of Osirion, after my mother abandonned me. A friend of mine, now dead, introduced me to the Society, and I joined the Scarab Sages. I enjoy destroying undead and nécromants while on missions for the Society, and on my spare time I seek more undead and nécromants to destroy.
There is no humor in his sentences
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Etienne pulls out a harrow deck and starts shuffling in intricate patterns that are hard for the eye to follow. "I'm Varisian, and the road is my home. Pulura guides my path, and gives me some insight into the past and future through my cards. Care for a reading?" Before Drang has a chance to answer, a Harrow spread is on the table.
Etienne stares at it, puzzled. All 9 cards are showing The Hidden Truth card. "Hmm, well, maybe some other time, Master Drang," Etienne apologizes, and scoops the cards back in the deck in a single swipe of his hand.
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Arrius looks up from his meditative position and rolls off the table to a standing position.
"You ask me to tell you about myself, and this shall I say: Who I am now is not whom I once was, nor whom, if fate is kind, shall I be in times to come. Souls within shells, there is plenitude in the incarnate. In the present form, I am called Arrius Vext. I have joined this 'Pathfinder Society' to learn the ancient and obscure, in the hopes of finding salvation for the dwindling magics of Outsea."
"Me? I spend my days, and earned coin, researching and having fun in my lab. I am from everywhere and nowhere, having traveled all my life. This is the longest I have stayed in a single area, when I joined the Society."
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After you all have spoken, Drandle scowls and points at each of you. "...three...four...FIVE!" he exclaims, throwing his hands in the air and rocking back in his seat. "Which one of you managed to sneak in here? Bah! It doesn't matter. We still had forty questions to go, I'll have to save them for later I suppose... ruined all the fun... Well, you must be off now, I've held you too long already!" With that said, the Venture Captain collects his things and leaves the way he entered, arms full and with a trail of papers swirling behind him.
Finding your way to the museum is easy enough, between what you all have heard about it and finding a citizen of Absalom to fill in what you don't know. When you arrive, you see an elf seated on a bench in the courtyard in front of the building. Noticing your presence, he quickly closes with you. "Good morning! How may I help you? Are you here for the museum?" he asks with a polite but cold smile, a ting of worry plain in his eyes.
Atronia, feel free to still respond to Dreng's questions!
"Dear Nigel, we are Pathfinders. I do believe you asked for some assistance. We are here to retrieve our compatriot Anumet, and help you get to the bottom of what is going on in the museum . . . again."
Atronia listens carefully to each person's reply, always curious to learn more. When Arrius speaks up, she can't help but smile. "You have a particularly poetic way of saying things. When this is all done, could I interest you in a drink and some story sharing?" She then lets Lomar present himself before speaking up again. "My name is Atronia. I hail from Nirmathas and when I'm not fighting with vigor and inspiring others to follow me in the fight for justice, I look for stories to bring back to my people, so that I may help them dream of better fates."
[To Atronia] "Atronia of Nirmathas. Honored be the tale-tellers, those who weave legends from the strands of feats audacious. Who are we but our stories? Your invitation, offered graciously, is accepted, gratefully."
[To the elf in the courtyard] "Indeed, should you be Nigel Aldain, caretaker of Ralzeros' Folly, we entreat you to speak fulsomely but with alacrity. The fate of a fellow actor in our joint enterprise must be determined."
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (11) + 8 = 19
Lomar, seeing everyone talking to Nigel, decides to keep his mouth shut as they seem to have everything under control. However, he does take some time to look around the area for anything interesting.
Nigel Aldain has a disturbed expression, but looks slightly relieved now that help is at hand. “Thank the gods you’re finally here. It would appear something quite bizarre has happened to my new Pathfinder-turned-assistant, Anumet Akrostera, while we were researching the key to the newly discovered portal beneath the museum. I had warned Anumet that many corners of the museum hold mysteries that, as of yet, have never been looked into, but I’m afraid something got to him all the same, as the last time yesterday I saw him he was acting quite strangely, and he failed to return today. I fear something evil in the attics of the museum may have cursed him,” he rambles, only now pausing to breath.
You don't find anything suspicious or otherwise worthy of note in the courtyard.
Well, this is boring. Aren't we suppose to be INSIDE the museum and not out here? Something Evil? What evil?
When Aldain finally stops to take a breath, Atronia adopts a calm tone and attempts to make him a little calmer.
"Mister Aldain, my friend here said to speak with alacrity, but that does not mean you have to rush through things. Tell us, what do you mean when you say he was acting strange? What was unusual about him? And do you know which area of this grand museum he was searching through most recently?"
Do you think undead can be involved?
Erhun's obsession show itself already. There's a kind of mad hope in his words, as he finishes to put on his armor, a magnificent, gleaming chain shirt. Two massives weapons, one of the biggest axe you ever saw and another Blunt instrument of destruction a bec de corbin, are crossed in his back
"Anumet was exploring the museum’s attics and towers looking for clues about the key to a newly discovered portal in the museum’s catacombs. This morning, he went up to the attic for a long time, and when he came down, he acted strangely, as if he didn’t recognize anyone. His voice was hoarse and the words he used were bizarre and archaic. He kept rambling about Ralzeros the Overwatched, but nothing he said made sense!" he explains, getting a little flustered, but quickly calming himself.
“He made for the catacombs and stared at the portal we’ve been trying to unlock for some time. I don’t think he realized I was still there, and I followed him around the other areas in the catacombs, where he seemed to be desperately searching for something. When he couldn’t find it, he was furious. Anumet avoided me after that, but I saw him look something up in our copy of Jackdaw’s History of the True Art, a book about famous wizards and astrologers. He took the book with him and ran out of the museum. I didn’t dare follow him, and haven’t seen him since," he says forebodingly.
"Undead? It is certainly possible, but no more than devils, demons, or aberrations! Please, let us walk and talk, no need to loiter so far from the museum," Nigel comments, motioning for you all to lead the way.
[OOC: Arrius will take a shot at a Knowledge (arcana) check on the book "History of the True Art"]
Knowledge (Arcana): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8
Etienne nods agreement, and follows the group into the museum while thinking if he's ever heard much of Ralzeros or the book.
Kn(history): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 13 Kn(arcana): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6
Etienne always shares his knowledge with the party
Noticing the contortions several of your faces make when he mentioned the book, Nigel chimes in: “I don’t really know much about that book by the way. It does discuss Ralzeros the Overwatched quite a bit, but other than that I couldn't tell you. Forae Logos is the only other place I can think that would have a copy, might be worth checking out!"
Again exhibiting an extraordinary amount of awareness, almost like he can read Arrius' mind when the undine looks over his shoulder at the street, he follows up by adding: “I have no idea where he went once he left... Before he did, he was muttering something about Ralzeros’s duel, but he was hunched over and wouldn’t look at me when I tried to ask what he was talking about... But before you leave, I implore you to search the attic and see if you can gain any insights into what happened. I can't risk anymore staff. Besides, isn't that what you Pathfinders love to do anyways?” he asks with a sly, knowing smile.
What, no one wants to actually ask Nigel their questions? ;) Ralzeros' knowledge requires History and the book doesn't have an applicable check, sorry y'all :(
Khistory Ralzeros: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10
Atronia followed at a brisk pace, raking her brain, trying to remember where she had heard the name Ralzeros. When Aldain insisted on them searching the museum attic, she chimes in. "I suppose it would be useful to figure out what he found. We might manage to retrace his steps then."
"I knew you Pathfinders were a sharp lot! Let's get inside."
Nigel opens the door to the museum, revealing a large atrium. A few signs point to various exhibits, but it appears to be under some level of reorganization. "Don't mind the mess, we are just preparing for our new main exhibit. Some of the more significant pieces have yet to arrive, but I already know precisely where I wish to place them!" he practically sings.
Leading you to the back of the museum, behind a door marked "Museum Personnel Only," you find yourself in a sizable storage room. Remaining at the door, the elf points at a rickety ladder on the far side of the room. "We took out the stairs ages ago to prevent any of the guests from venturing into the attics and upper levels. We haven't quite managed to clean it all out yet, you see, and some of the wood has gotten quite old and... leaves something to be desired. That ladder will take you to the portion of the attics that Anumet was searching. Let me know if you find anything!" he offers, yet the expediency with which he leaves the room and closes the door seems to suggest otherwise.
If you look up at the rest of the ladder, you quickly notice the stone structures of the level you are currently on quickly end and are replaced by aged wood.
You may open the spoiler for 10+ in the History portion of my first post. In addition to that all you know about him is that the "eccentric wizard" was, in fact, Ralzeros.
It's coming back to me. In the early days of Absalom, this structure was the stronghold of Ralzeros. After being abandoned for centuries, it was bought by the Blakros family, who turned it into a museum.
Etienne eyes the ladder, trying to assess how sturdy it is, and will wait for someone like Atronia or Erhun to go up first.
Atronia casts light on her sword before following Erhun up the ladder. As she does so, she says "Be careful where you step."
Once up the ladder, she turns to the others below. "Would you all rather I stay behind you? I doubt anything will attack from behind in here, but if it would make you more comfortable..." She then steps to the side to let the others in.
Arrius will climb the ladder after a couple of others make their ascent.
[OOC: That is, he wants to make sure it won't collapse on him. And FYI in terms of marching order, he'll stay near the middle/back of the group--he's smart enough to know just how squishy he is]
As Erhun begins his climb up the ladder, he finds that it is sturdy enough to support his weight. His prediction comes true as he finds himself climbing ever into darkness.
The rest of the party easily follows suit and provides light for those without darkvision to see. Reeking of vermin droppings, sagging walkways and cramped stairwells connect the museum’s winding upper levels. Stifling heat fills the sealed-off rooms and crannies, and cracked and rotten boards pop and creak at the slightest touch. Dry-rotted debris lies heaped atop broken furniture and shattered crates in the long-disused chambers. Boot prints make an uncertain and winding trail through the thick dust on the attic’s floors. Eerie shadows and the sounds made from your allies' movement filling your mind with the constant plausibility of danger, almost spurring an instinctual response to flee...
As you round the corner, your light reveals what must have been a secret door, as it seems to open out of an age-whitened leaden frieze along one tower’s stone flank.
Alright, everyone place yourselves on the map and make your tokens if you haven't already. Who needs a light source, what are your light sources, and where will they be?
Gripping one of his bombs on his chest, Lomar follows the group. Eerie, scary, but these are the times that make Pathfinders.
Seeing the sealed storage rooms, broken crates, and secret door, Arrius whispers to his companions: [b]"Nigh unthinkable that such treasures as held within this storehouse of antiquity may be scattered in darkness and all but forgotten. Imagine what wonders may be all around us, invisible as pearls lost in the utter black of the deepest sea."
He'll spend a moment examining the frieze to see if it depicts anything of historical interest.
[OOC: I think I have my token placed. Cool to see how that works. If he ends up a distance from the others (unlikely, I hope!), Arrius has darkvision.]
Etienne casts light on a deck of cards that he pulls from a pouch on his belt. He'll also take a moment to cast mage armor from a scroll.
Let's see if we can't trace Anumet's route and see what he saw.
Erhun tries to find some footprints to follow, grunting to the mage
How long does your spell work?
Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7
Survival: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
Jaehman: you must place a [/b] after all your dialogue hey, I'm here! and open/close your out of character comments with (open) [ooc]I don't think my character can do that!(close)
20 minutes of illumination, but I can keep casting it, so do not fret about the darkness
I have Light cast on my greatsword and can keep casting it as well.
When Arrius speaks of the hidden treasures in this place, Atronia chimes in, half joking, "About as many treasures as vermin, and I can't imagine what lack of care as done to some of them."
When Étienne suggests tracing Anumet's path, Atronia simply nods briskly and follows the steps. When she sees the trap door, she turns to her companions. "Is anyone particularly good with finding hidden things and such? If so, maybe they should take the lead."
Inspecting the frieze, Arrius isn't able to discern much out of the aged frieze. He can make out the occasional humanoid shape, but otherwise the colors have faded into obscurity.
Armed with your light, you wade into the darkness before you. Atronia, leading the way, stops shortly before the door. As she turns to call back to the group, she sinks almost a whole foot as the floor groans and creaks menacingly, but seems to stabilize despite the new weight.
I don't I was clear enough on where the steps lead to, so I've added a line for clarity. I have also moved some of you to were I think you'd be based on what you said.
Alarmed by the creaking floor, Arrius sinks slowly to his knees and gently sweeps his fingers along it. He whispers to the others, "Be as still as the proverbial watchers in stone, I implore you."
He'll then inspect the overall stability of the floor with a Knowledge (Engineering) check. He'll take 10 if allowed for a total of 14. Otherwise, he'll roll. Knowledge (Engineering): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 4 = 24 If Perception is called for instead, he'll do the same thing but only with a +0 modifier.