Venture-Captain Norden Balentiir rubs sleep from his eyes as faint pre-dawn light filters into his office. He shutters the window as a thrush begins singing loudly in the garden below before gesturing for everyone to have a seat and addressing the matter at hand. “I’ve received a request from the Diamond Sage, Tahonikepsu, the leader of the Jeweled Sages. You may be familiar with her as an associate of Amenopheus, longtime friend of the Society and our trusted expert on matters of Ancient Osirion. She has asked the Pathfinder Society to send its best Osirionologists to the Pillars of the Sun to help explore a sealed-off area in the sages’ stronghold there—so I have recommended you.”
He searches his desk for quill and ink and scribbles out two notes, sealing one with wax imprinted with the Way of the Open Road. “I’ve made arrangements with a caravan to Eto and provided directions from there to the Pillars of the Sun. Once you’ve reached the Pillars, Tahonikepsu has promised a guide to see you the rest of the way. We have maps and sketches from the last expedition if you want to familiarize yourself with the site, and I have also withdrawn several scrolls from our reserves in case your Ancient Osiriani is rusty. Feel free to arrange alternate transport—at your own expense. Don’t try using magic to reach the sanctum directly, though; there’s no telling where you’d end up.”
The venture-captain rises from his seat to see everyone off, and hands over the two letters. “[b]Show the first letter to the caravan master. The sealed one is your letter of introduction to the Diamond Sage. Remember, the Jeweled Sages are invaluable allies in our exploration of Ancient Osirion, and it’s a privilege to be invited into their sanctum. Treat everything there with care, and help to preserve the region’s past.[b]”
|Lem the Iconic|
As you entered you may have spotted a large tiger wearing barding constructed from a fine metal material that you can easily guess is mithral.
Irizati is a homely Shoanti man wearing full plate armor made from what appears to be black scales.
He introduces himself in a curt manner.
"Hi. I'm Irizati and my friend out there is Baloo."
To Norden "So you want us to travel to a desert to help some powerful casters search an old tomb. Is that correct? I'm good with languages but never had much reason to learn Ancient Osiriani. We might need the scrolls. Any extra tips you want to offer to make things go smoother?"
A young keleshite woman, who resembles her famous cousin Kyra, Pyra looks sadly as Balentiir closes the shutter, not understanding why one would not wish to pray to the Dawn, and Sarenrae's glory.
Full plate and metal buckler, three scimitars of various metals, and a composite longbow, besides her haversack and other gear, Pyra is well equipped, and clonks around: discretion will not be her strong point.
Her Wayfinder, and holy symbol & clerical vestements of Sarenrae show where she stands.
"May I ask why I, who, sadly, do not even speak Osiriani, modern or ancient, am deemed to be one of your best Osirionologists? Of course I will help explore this
sealed-off area if that is what you desire, Captain, but it seems that if they are invaluable allies you would send able people.
Anyhow: why is this area sealed-off? Some specific danger in that place?"
Turning to her companions, Pyra bows deep: "I am Pyra of the Silver Crusade, servant of the Dawnflower".
Norden gives Irizati a brief nod. "That is pretty much it. As for tips. Don't get Dead."
To Pyra he sighs. "Where there are ancient sealed areas of Osiriani, there are often undead. I have heard that you are somewhat familiar to defeating such creatures. Each of you have your own skills. And at the moment the barrel is also somewhat dry, or I would have picked a holy warrior who could at least speak the local language."
He taps a scroll tube. "This has a three castings of a comprehend languages spell. It may be helpful to you." He hands over a second scroll "This one is even more powerful, it has the tongues spell on it." Finally he takes out a book "This is a field primer on ancient Osiriana. It may help with some deciphering"
+2 bonus on linguistics checks to decipher ancient Osiriana.
The team shares what little they know of the area
If you want to use bluff or diplomacy against some outsiders, remind me about this and you may get +2 on your checks.
Ancient wards and strange weather make some magic unreliable in the region, but a knowledgeable spellcaster can use these features to her advantage.
any PC can attempt a DC 20 Knowledge (arcana or geography) check before attempting a dispel check or a caster level check to overcome spell resistance; if successful, the caster gains a +2 bonus on that check.
"Now is the time to make any last preparations"
Pyra bows her head respectfully.
Not being well versed, actually not versed at all, in knowledges geography or history, nor even in local for that matter, she knows nothing - nor does she take the scrolls or tome, being unable to use them.
However, she does tell her comrades: "Despite what might have been said, I do know how to read... and can sign my name".
Jaïr is a petite woman in simple black robes who highlights her silhouette. She had pale complexion but her charming smile and her simple green make-up make her immediately friendly.
At her side, a short sword and two wands.
Greetings, I'm Jaïr, follower of Knowledge. I don't read nor speak Ancient Osiriani but I have the ability to prepare such spells.
Know. (history): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (18) + 8 = 26
I know some of the history of these famous Jewel Sages.
Jaïr share her knowledge with her comrades.
I imagine that he must be quite warm under the sun, I'm able to cast endure element for myself or from a wand.
|Lem the Iconic|
Lem pipes up in a melodic halfling voice. I have a scroll of comprehend languages as well and can usually help people figure things out. Inspire Compatence +3. If you are about to do a skill check out of combat please ask for help. Also if no one comes forth with a Knowledge Geography Lem will use his once a day take 20 knowledge roll for a 25.
Doubtful is a dour, shabby-looking dwarf dressed in simple workman's clothes.
Late to the party, and apparently in a grumpy mood, he stands over by Jair, the two apparently familiar with each other, and scowls deeper as each bit of information is given by the Venture-Captain.
"This is probably the desert version of Gloomspire." He mutters to the cleric. "Just hotter, and with worse monstrosities waiting inside."
Doubtful has the effects of Endure Elements to hot climates, so he should be fine for the heat
|Lem the Iconic|
The caravan takes you west to Eto without incident, and then south to the Pillars of the Sun... also without incident. There you meet up with two sage-acolytes. A Garundi man in white robes introduces himself as Garai Weheliye. With him is a sweating Taldan woman who offers a curtsy
"Helena Arendall, pleased to meet you."
Numair, who has been leaning heavily on his staff throughout the journey, nods at the acolytes' greetings.
"...and you, as well. You appear to be adversely affected by the desert heat; allow me to ameliorate that for you."
He then casts Endure Elements on the sweating Taldan woman.
"One of you is our guide yes?"
Since we seem to have enough casts of it Irizati will memorize 3 Endure Elements to cover himself, Baloo, and whomever asks first.
"We are your guides. There is safety in numbers in the region." says Garai. Helena looks relieved at the magical intervention. "Why thankyou. That is much more comfortable."
They leave late in the afternoon, and start to take a twisting and winding route through the hills. After the first half hour or so you begin to worry how you might find your way back if something happens to your guides.
Were any of you going to try to copy down the route?
|Lem the Iconic|
[XXX]This iconic has no Spellcraft skill. :(. Also no cartography skill but will try a knowledge geography to try to make notes of the path. [/ooc]
Knowledge Geography: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23
Sarenarae will guide us, thinks a Faithful yet rather stupid Pyra, we will just follow the Dawn, as she trudges along.
Spellcraft: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8
Jaïr tries to remember what route they take.
Survival: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23
Have you a map or something to help you navigate in this twisting area? I wouldn't like that something gets you! and that we get lost.
"We know the way" says Garai.
You'll need to actually copy down a map not just memorize the way if you want to be able to easily get out. And from the attitude of the guides, you get the feeling the way is supposed to be secret. So doing on the sligh would require a bluff, sleight of hand or stealth check.
"The Diamond Sage keeps it safe for us" explains Helena.
|Lem the Iconic|
Doubtful grumbles about scorpions, regular and giant, and sandstorms, giant and gianter... as they go. He does not bother trying to remember the route, since he assumes its all probably magically warded and will be different the next time they look anyway.
Irizati pays attention to what matters, The tracks this large party leaves behind.
|Lem the Iconic|
I must be going blind, I totally missed the bluff, which presumably makes it a good one
Helena shakes her head at Garai, "That's no map, he's just noting down words for a song. I've heard of Lem, he's famous."
The trip passes without problem (albeit it takes several days) and you are finally led through a series of canyons getting narrower and deeper. Finally you are led through one of the walls, which turns out to be a rather good illusion.
Once through you you see an open area with an impressive set of steps leading up to the entrance, set into the side of a mountain. The facade is beautifully carved. A dozen acolytes live in tents outside the sanctum in a small community. Garai waves to a couple of his friends as he leads you directly into the Sanctum.
Ornate rugs and a small pile of sitting pillows create a small soft space in the marble room, where a finely dressed Garundi woman sits by a fountain. She looks up from a puzzle of broken pottery fragments as the two escorts announce the Pathfinders. After thanking and dismissing Garai and Helena, she beckons her visitors forward. “Welcome, Pathfinders. You and your venture-captain have my thanks for agreeing to aid us. I am Tahonikepsu, the Diamond Sage.”
She pauses for a moment, examining your faces, but it is unclear what for.
“The venture-captain has great faith in you. I shall extend you the same courtesy.[b]” She gestures for everyone to sit before continuing.
“[b]My sage jewel grants me some knowledge of this complex, and my own research has confirmed many of those memories. That said, the site’s long abandonment has made exploration difficult. I believe the next most productive step would be to reopen the archive, whose interior has defied out attempts at divinations. On the lowest floor of the library reside the written history of our order and a crystalline artifact attuned to the sage jewels. I would like you to explore the area, inventory the contents, and report your findings to me. Please be careful; these halls contain delicate, irreplaceable cultural treasures and writings.”
She smiles "Have you any questions?"
Jair bows to Tahonikepsu and says It's an honor to meet you, Diamond Sage. I'm Jaïr Whisper, seeker of knowledge.
After waking up she asks Do you have any knowledge of what we can expect inside the library ? What sort of defense ?
Are we limited by time ?
“I am not sure the extent of the collection. The sage who bore the amethyst jewel was responsible for the archive, along with several assistants. The Diamond Sage had other responsibilities. I do know the archive is divided into three levels. Librarians cataloged acquisitions on the first floor, repaired them on the next, and stored them in the library below, which is accessible only through a special gateway. The portal requires a sage jewel to activate, and should activate when I unseal the complex. If not, await my return.”
She gives a nod of recognition to Numair.
"You have been here before, and know the type of defenses that the sages of old put in place. Expect more of the same."
"How wide are the doors and hallways? You said inventory. So you don't want us to bring anything out? Not even the crystal you mentioned?"
"Oh no. Just an inventory should be fine. If they have been safe there for millennia, there would be no benefit in removing them. " she says to Irizati.
"A full accurate inventory would be invaluable. But these are rooms that have been sealed off for such a long time, you MUST be careful."
"Venerable Sage, do you have what we shall need to make this inventory? Quills and parchment and ink and such..."
"Indeed. Mundane ink, quills and parchment are available to you."
She winces slightly as Numair mentions fireballs. "They should be avoided at all costs. If you must would like to rest and change your spells you are welcome to."
Maybe she thinks you are a wizard. Or just hoping.
Numair smiles faintly.
"As you well know, Honored Sage, my magic derives from the fact that draconic power flows through my veins; sadly, I cannot change the spells that I know. Nevertheless, I will do what I can to avoid collateral damage."
|Lem the Iconic|
Pleased to meet the Diamond Sage Lem introduces himself and assures her that he is ready to catalogue until the job is complete. But tell me wise one, why are we needed for this job? Why not send your acolytes? Do you expect trouble?
"I have many tasks to accomplish, and cannot afford the time at the moment for this one. However exploration of the sanctum has in the past showed that the sages of hold were canny in their protections." says the sage.
"Most of those who have come here to join us are academics, and not especially...robust...in the face of magical defences."
|Lem the Iconic|
Any last questions we can always retcon
You are led from the entrance into a side chamber, where Tahonikepsu unseals the chamber. "Please take care. You may return as you require, but I may not be here. " she says before ushering you in.
Fragrant scents float on the warm breeze that circulates around this columned chamber. Jasmine, grapevines, mandrakes, and anemones grow from pots hanging around the room, vibrant and fruitful despite the lack of sunlight. Sycamore saplings fill the alcoves, and a phosphorescent moss has overgrown some of the walls and ceiling. A great seal bearing a written inscription covers the center of the floor.
Map is up, please add yourselves to it.
Pyra smiles when she sees the flowers, thinking that this is what Sarenrae brings to the world with her sunlight.
She moves into the room...
Numair doesn't notice anything particular. With the spell however he can read the ancient Osiriani writing "Life is fleeting; memory is eternal"
A know(nature) check may reveal something more about the plants.
Thick fog fills he large passage that leaves the room to the east (bottom of the map), and also the narrower passage to the south(left).
Pyra sees Numair checking things out, so she unsheathes her adamantium scimitar and holds it along her armored leg.
She moves forward a bit, to remain close to the sorcerer.
Before we enter Irizati will use his lesser extend rod to cast Extended Greater Magic Fang on himself and Baloo.
And figuring we can check the place for threats first then do cataloging later he will cast Barkskin on himself, Baloo, and Doubtful.
+3 natural armor for 80 minutes.
Irizati will take a look at the plants.
kn nature with a bit of guidance: 1d20 + 8 + 1 ⇒ (20) + 8 + 1 = 29
Lastly, Seeing the narrow passageways he will reduce Baloo to a more manageable size.
"Pyra I may have to change soon. Hang on to my backpack. It has an extend rod with 1 charge, Some scrolls, and some wands with the following activation words."
|Lem the Iconic|
Lem casts an extended Heroisism on himself Because that is what his character sheet says he does and its already in his stats. :) and then goes to examine the fog. This fog it likely not natural he guesses.
Knowledge Arcana?: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (6) + 17 = 23
Unsure what dancing lights will do in this soup, but it can't hurt. He will cast he dancing lights spell, creating 4 lantern sized lights that separate to their maximum extend and dance happily.
"I cannot really carry your bag... I am afraid. Can you not strap it to your Baloo? I might drag it around for you, if you really need".
I am at 76#, which is my limit for light load