I will not get too close to the rune-carved orcs, they tend to be... explosive! Says D'lack with a smile on its face.
But it could be good to ask these gentlemen he points the orcs they "save" what's going on exactly. What could be force orcs to flee their bethren?
Taerel nods to Signifier Karva as he is pulling out a wand to heal his own wounds. "Yes, I would like to understand what is going on here. This is unnatural, even for orcs."
CLW: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 1 = 8
CLW: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2
CLW: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4
CLW: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
Taerel heals his injuries, does a quick check of the vials with detect magic and spellcraft, and then approaches the yellow orcs.
Spellcraft: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (4) + 14 = 18
Spellcraft: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (2) + 14 = 16
"OK, who among you would like to explain. We have saved your lives from... well, I am not really sure what has taken hold of your bretheren. Anything you would like to share?"
All too willing to speak, the orcs for the most part calm down, although there still remains a couple of orcs who are distressed beyond measure. Considering their musculature, that is no mean feat. Some of them appear to have been wounded in their flight.
Replying to Taerel and the others, their speaker begins: "The Wormcaller. It has destroyed the tribe. Our shaman birthed it from beyond the skin of the world, to help us kill the darkfeathers. But it ate the shaman. Now the shaman's learner, Olgrahk, he serves the creature. He commands us to carve our sins into our flesh, so as to give it joy. That-Which-..." He pauses, and gulps, visibly alarmed. Some of the orcs behind him flinch and wince in either imagined, relived or real pain.
Unable to continue, another, a young orc, barely an adult continues in turn. "We cannot speak it's name" she explains, before continuing, trying to look Lem straight in the eye. "It and the rest of the tribe wished to carve our sins into our flesh. We did not want to, as we have seen what it has done to our tribe. So we fled. And they chased us, for what it cannot rule over, it must destroy, as it must destroy all mortal life." She then turns to Pyra. "It was said that ancient men who worshiped the sky cursed the Temple upon the Peak. The ancient men birthed many wind spirits from beyond the skin of the world." She pauses for a minute, trying to think of anything else she might say of the temple.
"In the past some of our shamans went up to the Temple upon the Peak and read the writings on the pillars. They then returned with strange powers. This is an offense to the Wormcaller, says Olgrahk; and he has said he will go and destroy it."
Turning finally to address D'lack, she begins to stammer. "Our tribe is no more, and soon, all of the Children of Sekamina in the mountains shall be no more. Olgrahk wills it that the Temple on the Peak be no more. The Wormcaller, He... He-Who-Peels-Flesh, is done inscribing all of the tribe with runes telling all of their sins. Now, it wills it that all of the mortals of this land be no more. It has begun a ritual to summon more like it and stronger ones, and once the ritual is complete, they will attack."
"They will destroy the barrow the men call "Pezzak", then they will destroy the lair they call "Kintargo". It will consume all until none of you are left to even weep it's name" she practically shouts at Beorin, tears streaming down her face, tears of abject horror.
Let me know how you want to handle the results of your perception checks.
Perception: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (3) + 11 = 14 Great...
Perception: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (1) + 11 = 12 Great...
Perception: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (2) + 11 = 13 Great...
Some awesome die rolls there...
In case some of you didn't noticed, Beorin channeled to heal 17 dmg earlier.
Perception 1 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19
Perception 2 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12
Perception 3 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16
lol. Beorin sees nothing.
"It seems that pur path is clear. We need to go save the temple then."
Pyra looks around to her comrades: "Are the 'darkfeathers' the Stryx?".
Perception #1: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2 ; Perception #2: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4 ; Perception #3: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7
Pyra asks the orcs: "Where has it begun its ritual of summoning? At the Temple to be destroyed, or some other place?".
Thanks, Beorin - I missed that. So I just need the first CLW to put me full. Of course, I fear something bad is about to happen to me...
Lem is the only one noticing something strange is happening to one of the orcs while you speak to them.
The other dead orcs, especially the officers are also covered with runes, but so far, everyone has stayed clear of them.
The matronly orc continues.
“Olgrahk is on his way to destroy the temple now. We seldom go there because ancient men, who worshiped the sky, cursed the temple. They say the ancient men summoned spirits of the air to write down wisdom onto pillars there. In the past, some of our shamans read the pillars and gained strange powers.“
Another orc interrupts her.
But...That Which Peels Flesh has two plans. It hates signs of mortal life. The second, now that it has finished reminding the Severed Hand orcs of their sinfulness, it wants to spread out and kill other humanoids in the mountains. It has started a dark ritual to summon more of its kind here, and then they will attack. Preparations started when we left, so the ritual should begin soon.”
The troubled orc, unrestrained by either Pathfinders or his peers,
1d5 ⇒ 3 notices Lem had spotted him and rushes the gnome.
"WITNESS ME WORMCALLER!!!!"
Force Damage: 4d6 ⇒ (4, 4, 5, 3) = 16
Lem is buffeted back by the force of the explosion, which kills not only the orc youth, but another that had the misfortune of fleeing in the same direction as the Pathfinder. One of the few Hellknights that hadn't introduced himself is also buffeted back, getting back up with a groan indicating new wounds.
The remainder of the conversation is told to Lem by the same orc-girl, who on her knees is trying her best to help Lem with his injuries, but cannot as she doesn't have anything that could help.
Those few orcs left are terrified, scrambling back to the edge of the plateau. "What is the meaning of all this? asks Signifier Karva as she rushes to the scene with the nameless but otherwise well known goateed Hellknight.
Seeing the carnage, she gives a stern look to the orcs then to all of you, stopping on Pyra and Beorin.
"If you are done with them, I'll be sending them to Pharasma's court. Hellknight Hodiak, Signifier Drawsne!"
The two hellknights mentioned, one being the skinheaded one and the other the goateed wizard, approach their leader, one drawing his waraxe as the other begins chanting.
"Most respectfully, we are not done with them just yet," says Pyra, bowing her head to Signifier Karva.
"I do not wish to speak for my comrades, nor the Pathfinders, so let my actions only fall upon my head if they enrage you, but I am a person of the Law, and must act accordingly".
Pyra motions to the orcs that came running from the scarred ones.
"They came seeking refuge, and thus do not seem to be caught up in the
irredeemable corruption of the others. They have given us helpful information which shows reformation in their wrongdoing, so we must help them along this path. Which will serve us too, by urging others to come our merciful side, and thus weaken our enemy".
Diplomacy: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (9) + 14 = 23
Diplomacy reroll: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (20) + 17 = 37 Harsk tee-shirt reroll w. +3 from stars
Turning to the Orcs: "Do you renounce Evil and seek absolution through serving us faithfully, until we have time to calmly see what to do with you?".
Signifier Karva puts up a hand, eyeing Pyra sourly and perhaps wishing her mask was still on to lend her words a smidge more gravitas. At her signal, the Hellknights besides her stand ready.
"Indeed we serve law above all else." she says for Pyra's benefit. "But, I suppose an effort must be made to show goodwill. Pathfinder." she continues, "If these are not to be slaughtered like the... Ahem. If they are not to be slaughtered, they must swear an oath recognizing the failure of their old ways and attesting they will follow the ways of all people who live under the rule of queen Abrogail the second. If they do this, the Order of the Gate has no fight with them, beasts as they may be."
She sighs as both Hellknights back down, Hellknight Hodiak stowing his axe away without any further comment and Signifier Drawne, looking rather peeved, walking away.
"Easy enough" comments the former as he scratches his bald head.
Signifier Karva nods. "When this is done Pathfinders, we must speak of our Path."
When Pyra is done with them, Taerel talks to the orcs. "Make your oaths, if you choose to take them... and live. Know that these Knights will expect you to abide by them. Then run into the hills and scatter."
Pyra bows to Signifier Karva, and turns to the orcs, nodding to Taerel: "Your Oath will bind you, and your Redemption should be honest and true. Think of those saving and sparing you".
Then she will leave to be with her comrades and speak of the Path.
Beorin nods in approval.
"Well put Pyra. Better then any words I could have said, despute these being the mortal enemies of my people. As for paths, the temple is obviously a threat to the creature and we should preserve it."
"We have seen it's madness, and now so have you!" weeps the girl "We won't go down it's path. If swearing oaths will save us from it's sigils, we will swear oaths."
It takes some time, but the remaining five orcs swear allegiance to Cheliax and House Thrune.
A little later, you find yourselves with Signifier Karva, along with the four Hellknights. Not only is Signifier Karva present, but Hellknights Bee, Manius and Signifier Abraxia are also present.
"I had planned to stop and rest. But it seems that is not to be. The information We've been given, based on your interrogation of the orcs, tells me that we do not have a minute to waste. We must make our way to the orc lair and purge "He-Who-Peels-Flesh" from existence."
She pauses, and after a quick glance at D'lack and Beorin, steels herself as she looks at each of you in turn. "The Sky Temple is in the opposite direction to the orc lair. I was told that you were here to aid us in our task. I have tried my best to accommodate your methods, in the spirit of cooperation as Pathfinder Pyra was kind enough to remind me earlier. Now, I must ask you whether you will honor your commitment to us and to the Order of the Gate, or if you will disregard the promises made and go off to rescue the Sky Temple. And let me be clear; you cannot "split up" and attempt to fufill your obligation and go towards the ruin. A unit of battle is one body. Any division in the unit is a rift into chaos, a cancer that proliferates until the unit dies. If you are not capable of acting as a unit, I will not subject my Hellknights to your disorderly behavior."
She pauses, trying to keep her tone to that of the woman you met two days earlier. With effort, she continues.
"You gave your word that you would assist us. If you plan to betray that word, lay your true nature bare and betray it, but do not play at loyalty and attempt to weasel your way into our good graces. If you are ready to act together and with honor, join us."
All around her, the other Hellknights stand, trying to dissimulate their feelings behind a stoic mask of impassivity.
Sooo... What are you going to do? I need a consensus from the Party. Also, there was the matter of the officer orcs and any gear you wanted to retrieve from them.
"I stand by my word, 'tis my bond, and thus my commitment to accompany and aid you".
Pyra could be interested in checking the vials on red and purple, and there was a cloak for someone maybe (some armor, maybe spear) - but no way to really tell what is what for Pyra
I will abstain from the vote as I have played this.
Also Since when Has Beorin given his word to be betrayed? Now that's playing dirty. :P
D'lack turns to Pyra and says
We must preserve knowledge! I understand the Hellknights plea, but Knowledge must be preserved at all cost!
for the orc officer, D'lack will cast detect magic from a safe distance and tell his comrade what is magical and what is not.
@GM Aarvid I just re-read the posts re. pledges and such, and do not see us directly pledging to Karva, correct?
I only see her telling us "my Hellknights will sacrifice their lives to accomplish this mission, and I expect no less from you. If you truly wish to return home safely, obey my commands and heed your duties".
I imagine the pledge Karva just mentioned is from our VC to the Hellknights?
Our orders were: "we would like you to obtain a transcription of each pillar" [...] “Equally important to recovering these tablets is your mission to aid the Hellknights in securing the Menador Mountains. [...] they are still useful allies who share a number of our goals. Helping eliminate the threat will strengthen our alliance and ensure Hellknight aid in the future.”
Just wanted to check if I am not missing something, or seeing too much, re. pledges etc. re. the Paladin's Code
"Those old pillars aren't going anywhere, and Dame Dralneen clearly stated that she wanted that knowledge for the Dark Archives. Whereas aiding the Hellknights is for the good of the Society in general, also, as a Crusader I strive to destroy the forces of Evil, and we should deal with the living threat before going rummaging around old rocks and runes".
Taerel stands with Pyra. "I am a scholar, and do not wish to see the temple destroyed, but I stand by my word and will continue to aid the Hellknights. Without discipline and order, all would routinely be lost. We must hope that the temple has defenses enough, but we need to stay true to our purpose."
@Pyra - you are correct. The VC made the deal with the Hellknights on your behalf as Pathfinders. Not you directly. No conflict with Paladin code if you follow either direction as far as I can see. Both were orders from high command and will stop the greater evil/chaos.
@D'lack you detect vials and items as listed on the prior page, on the two officer orcs. None detected on the other 4 dead grunts.
Signifier Karva and the Hellknights are prepping to march to the Orc Lair. She will expect the party consensus on which path you choose - Lair with Hellknights or Sky Temple alone.
Work out the decision for the group and assign a spokesperson with the vote
It seems we have (sorry if I got one wrong):
• Pyra - Taerel - Lem for leaving w. the Hellknights
• D'Lack for the pillars
• Beorin not voting
My feeling is that since we are leaving w. the Hellknights it is not too important who does so. Pyra is okay to do so, but I feel whoever wishes to RP It can
Ok, we will assume you convince D'lack and all go with the Hellknights. I will post the next actions, but feel free to retcon if you want to grab any of the left-over gear from the rune-trapped bodies.
Assuming someone (Lem) decides to inform the signifier of the decision you have reached as a group.
Signifier Karva's face perceptibly as you inform her of your decision. "You are a credit to your organization. In spite of your natural leanings. I will remember that. We will proceed with all haste to the Sky Temple once the threat has been dealt with. I hope however that interrupting this ritual does not release it's energy destructively."
The Hellknights are quick to pack up their camp; some of them turn to prayer to beseech their patrons for a few more spells for the day, others passing around scrolls and potions. But soon it is done, and under cover of night. with only the light of the funerary pyre to guide the way, the group moves onwards towards the Severed Hand village.
What greenery remained is quickly gone, with dark barren rock and ugly grey clay surrounding you as you move on forwards on the narrowing mountain road. Out of the corner of your eye, you think you see pebbles defying gravity, toothed maws appear in the ground, yawning or grinning. The rain returns, this time a weak impotent drizzle, as you spot the first warrens of the shattered orc tribe. Totems, skewering various fresh skulls, raw flesh still clinging to their sides, stand on either side of the road. Pillars of bone rise up towards the weeping heavens, surrounded by growing pits of writhing worms.
Soon the mountain path dead-ends inside of a boxed-in canyon. Crude carvings and ancient paintings cover the walls, marking this as the ancestral home of the tribe. Scattered across the canyon floor are large piles of stacked skulls. Four sets of carved stairs lead to yawning caves in the sides of the canyon.
In the center of the canyon is a sprawling pit of worms and writhing insects. A narrow stone path leads to a small island in the pit of worms, where an altar made of bone rests surrounded by a circle of glowing runes. Within this circle, two robed orcs men chant words of power, blood streaming down their cheeks. Baring your way to them, a lone orc warrior, a grin on his face. "WE EXPECT YOU MEAT. NOW YOU DIE" he exclaims before howling, a long drawn out cry that is soon echoed throughout the warrens.
"By the Laws... How many of them are there?" whispers Signifier Rulla, as the first orc fighters, emaciated, weak but crazed and carved with runes, emerge from their holes. "GATE BEHOLD US! TONIGHT THEY DIE! HELLKNIGHTS! PROTECT OUR ALLIES!"
The Hellknights immediately split into two teams, the larger group heading towards the nouth end to contain the largest group of orcs while the smaller one goes to bar the way for the southern group. On the platform, all three orcs await with a sadistic grin.
Since you roughly knew the location, you could have pre-cast minutes or longer buffs as you approached the cavern. Let me know which if you have. This occurs 30 mins since the last battle with the orcs. Also, you'd have time to mark off any additional healing if you have not already cured injuries sustained.
Beorin: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (7) + 0 = 7
D'lack: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 12
Lem: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 2 = 22
Pyra: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (14) + 1 = 15
Taerel: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 8
Hellknights: 1d20 ⇒ 19
Orcs: 1d20 ⇒ 14
=== Round 1 === (Bold are up)
Orcs(red )(purple)(maroon )
Action Result - Party can once per round request aid from the Hellknights - but at the potential detriment of the Hellknights providing the aid:
*1 A Hellknight hurls a magic missile at a foe, dealing 2d4+2 points of damage.
*2 A Hellknight casts cure moderate wounds and heals a PC for 2d8+3 points of damage.
*3 A Hellknight cast shield other on a PC. After taking 20 points of damage from the spell, the Hellknight dies.
*4 A Hellknight casts scorching ray at a foe (+6 ranged touch attack, one ray).
On the road to face the One That Flays Flesh and Other Not Nice Things, Pyra addresses Taerel:
"Taerel Morgenfrei do not take this for a proposal, now! But would you accept to wear this ring? By doing so you let me share your wounds and spare you".
Put the ring on, Pyra has another like it. Then she casts Shield Other (lasts 7 hours) and Taerel gets +1 deflection bonus to AC and a +1 resistance bonus on saves, and you only take 50% of damage you receive, Pyra receives the other 50% - note: we must remain within 40 ft. of one another or else the spell stops.
Note: in case Taerel refuses, Pyra will offer to D'lack.
Upon seeing the orcs, and the fight about to begin, Pyra uses her wand of Magic Weapon to enchant her adamantine scimitar, and then put the wand away.
If okay to do so, let us say that Pyra starts w. 8/10 rounds left?
Pyra will wait for Lem to act - imagining Haste might be cast - and then will clonk along in her heavy armor, moving towards the Orc Shaman-Priests of evil: "If you stay by me, Sarenrae will bolster your courage!"
bonus to saves vs. Fear when in 10 ft. radius
D'lack mutter for himself about knowledge and fools, but follows his comrades's will.
After the battle he renews his mage armor's spell with his wand before venturing forth.
Once near the foul place he will casts shield and see invisibility.
What is this place? Looks like the one cursed by the demon god in the Ekujae's forbidden land...
@GM is D'lack see invisible thing?
Taerel is happy to accept the protections. He uses his wand of CLW to heal that last small wound (1 hp).
As they approach the cave, Taerel casts Magic Weapon on his longbow, which he will have ready. (4 minute duration).
Figure any pre-init-buffs are reduced by 1 minute duration as you wind through the cavern and reach the lair. So Pyra's wand would have to be part of her rounds action if she desires.
Lem ponders his action while D'lack scans for invisible foes.
Also, make sure you check the Hellknight spoiler above, if you need aid during any round of conflict. They only support once per round, so someone needs to declare(free) the desired support/action.
=== Round 1 === (Bold are up...I will put into delay late tonight unless posted)
Orcs(red )(purple)(maroon )
Will not use the wand. Still has its 50 charges. Great purchase!
Pyra will wait to see if Lem gives us great speed, and then stomp along in her heavy armor...
Double move whatever happens: if not hasted, Pyra goes to the first circle, if hasted, then to the other one close to the enemy
Since Lem was having PC/desktop problems, I am going to assume haste+inspire as his actions just to keep things moving. That should burn his last 3rd level spell since he used haste last fight as well
Lem casts forth a spell to slow down the world and the Pathfinders see the activities in clarity. He then starts an inspiring tune.
Party has haste and +2/+2 on attacks
Pyra uses her new found agility to double-time into melee with the large orc warlord awaiting her with a grin and a falchion.
D'lack still can act before the orcs go...
Thanks to Lem's song and spell, D'lack is able to move faster than expected and once near Pyra he calls for the Fire of His Ancestor to burn the orc near Pyra !
move 12 squares and cast a spell
May Fire be your downfall! casting scorching ray on red
RTA: 1d20 + 5 + 1 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 5 + 1 + 2 = 16
Fire Damages: 4d6 + 4 + 1 + 2 ⇒ (1, 5, 1, 5) + 4 + 1 + 2 = 19
D'lack fires a ray of fire into the melee with Pyra and the red orc warlord, barely striking him while avoiding her.
The orc howls in rage, but stands firm.
Puny fires! I WILL FEED YOUR REMAINS TO THE WORMS!
The orc spits and slashes twice with his red falchion, followed by a bite to Pyra's neck.
Assuming full hp and AC28 for Pyra with haste. Also, more than 40' from Taerel, so shield other may be down.
+1 falchion, rage,str: 1d20 + 14 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 14 + 2 = 29 for dmg: 2d4 + 10 + 3 ⇒ (3, 4) + 10 + 3 = 20 hit
+1 falchion, rage,str: 1d20 + 9 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 9 + 2 = 16 for dmg: 2d4 + 10 + 3 ⇒ (2, 3) + 10 + 3 = 18 miss
Bite, rage,str: 1d20 + 8 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 8 + 2 = 30 for dmg: 1d4 + 3 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 3 + 2 = 9
crit: 1d20 + 8 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 8 + 2 = 29 for dmg: 1d4 + 3 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 3 + 2 = 7 crits
Both of the robed orcs in the back stop their ritual and utter divine words. Both disappear from sight.
PINKSKINS! STOP THEM!
=== Round 1 === (Haste and Song)
=== Round 2 === (Haste and Song)
Taerel moves forward, and shoots his bow at the orc warlord.
Attack: 1d20 + 7 + 2 + 1 ⇒ (11) + 7 + 2 + 1 = 21
Damage: 1d8 + 4 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 4 + 2 = 11
Beorin swears under his breath at seeing his companions getting wounded.
Calling upon Torag to grant him strength as he moves forward.
Casting Bull strength.
Taerel, Lem and Beorin dash forward, closing ranks with the center group. Beorin taking a stop to bolster his muscle power.
The Hellknights press their orc foes to your north and south, leaving you to deal with the ritual in the center. Signifier Karva, amidst the battle calls over.
PATHFINDERS! Let us know if you need assistance. We will do the same
=== Round 2 === (Haste and Song)
D'lack says Be careful, both spellcasters are invisible, I have nothing to help against that, but if someone has, I could help him target the zone where they are.
Facing the Orc with the red falchion, Pyra sends a silent blessing to Lem the Valliant who gave her Courage and Speed, and, using all her Might, she calls out: "Sarenrae judges you, worm!".
The adamantine of her scimitar flashes as it comes down, slashing left, and a backhanded right, before one last piercing jab...
Pyra then steps to the Orc's side, so as to let her comrades have a better line of sight.
• 3 attacks: +13, +13, +8 for 1d6+9 each
Left slash: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (8) + 13 = 211d6 + 9 ⇒ (4) + 9 = 13
Right slash: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (8) + 13 = 211d6 + 9 ⇒ (3) + 9 = 12
Pierce: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 241d6 + 9 ⇒ (3) + 9 = 12
If this Orc is Evil, then +4 to all Attacks and +7 to each damage roll:
Left slash if evil: 25 to hit for 20 damage
Right slash if evil: 25 to hit for 19 damage
Pierce if evil: 28 to hit for 19 damage
--and, if Orc is Evil it bypasses all and any DR)
(if the Orc is an Evil Outside, Dragon or Undead... who knows? then an extra 7 damage if 1st hit connects)
Finally: if Orc is Evil, Pyra goes up to AC 31