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SR's - Great Southern Isles (PbP) (Inactive)

Game Master stormraven

High-Power Pathfinder Homespun Game


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The gnome keeps a wary eye open...
well, not that open.

Perception 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (2) + 15 = 17


Straehan reflects on the Shaudran, the Shell, and what Naladoria has said...

"I'm going to have to agree with 'Shari here. Nala said that the shell was an artifact and 'locked' in this place. And we know Corborundrum is an extremely rare mineral that 'fossilizes' into Adamantine. I'm willing to bet it was just as rare in the Shaudran days as now and those guys were no fools when it came to magic. My guess is they knew what they were handling and she wasn't overstating the fact that it was literally locked away here for safe-keeping or maybe experimentation. I doubt we are just going to trip over it - which is a real shame."

Scanning the room both visually and magically reveals nothing. It appears to be an empty dormitory.


STONE-FACED KILLA

"Great. Which makes this room more of an obstacle than a destination. I could use my slippers to carry everyone across to the door, if we think this room might be trapped. Though cnsidering the 'traps' thus far have been of the thinking, wall-ignoring sort, I'm not sure if that'll prove much good."


HP: 51/79 | | Anatomist (+1 to confirm Crits) | | Fav. Enemy +4 = Humans, Half-Humans, Undead

"I'd rather take my chances crossing the room, than have you try to carry us all across every room we come across. It just doesn't seem practical. Though I think it is good to be wary of even the most meager of rooms, here. I doubt those shadowspawn care whether this was a barracks or a throne room."

Bow suddenly in hand, Jofram nocks an arrow, eyes open for trouble.


STONE-FACED KILLA

"Then it's settled. We move in formation. Most of us will do some searching while Jofram and I will keep our eyes peeled for threats."

He nods and makes sure everyone is ready before leading out. "Strae, keep looking for traps as we progress, please. And by that I don't mean let me step everywhere first."


Just before the group heads out Ushari slaps her forehead in disgust. "I just remembered something. I still have my Coin of Finding here. Now I don't know if it will work in this ruin, but it is worth a shot, agreed?"

If no one objects, then Ushari will activate the Coin while thinking of the Corborundrum shell.


STONE-FACED KILLA

Jayse looks at Ushari appraisingly, "Now that's not a bad idea. But how do we use it in a way that it doesn't run off into the darkness and get lost?" He looks at the team's spell casters, "Any of you able to grab it arcanically before it gets out of range?"

Anyone have prestidigitation or mage hand available so that Ushari can set the coin on the trail, then that person can "grab" it before it gets out of range? We could do this repeatedly to constantly give us a bearing on the item... at least theoretically.


Jayse wrote:
"Strae, keep looking for traps as we progress, please. And by that I don't mean let me step everywhere first."

"Hey, you're the one with the 10' pole." He winks, "Don't worry, I'll be looking hard at everything."


DM

I believe Mage Hand will not let you grab a magic item - which the coin is.


HP: 51/79 | | Anatomist (+1 to confirm Crits) | | Fav. Enemy +4 = Humans, Half-Humans, Undead

"We could just surround it. Better odds of catching it - you know, with our hands."


Ushari smiles, "As far as I know, the Coin cannot climb over obstacles so we just need to wait until it runs into a wall or something." She glances at Jofram, "Plus, you could simply track it right?"


DM

OK, I'm using the rules/limitations for Locate Object on this. Since you haven't ever seen the Corborundrum Shell, you can't visualize it sufficiently for the coin to track it. However, you can concentrate on the more general idea of a shell made of Corborundrum and the Coin will work. You just have to hope that your evil DM hasn't anticipated this possibility and stacked the dungeon with hundreds of trapped shells. >:)

Ushari lets the Coin fall. It wavers for a moment before first rolling towards the West wall and then - seeming to change its mind - it heads briefly towards the East wall. It bounces over some wood and kicks up a little dust before it stops again, wobbles, and then makes a bouncing bee-line for the mineral door at the South end of the room...

I'm going to assume you follow the coin using the defensive measures you mentioned previously.

You pursue the coin, moving carefully, trying to not kick up the accumulated dust of several thousand years. You cross the room safely and catch the coin as it spins against the door in a futile attempt to get through.


"Looks clear."

Perception (Trap Spotting) 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (8) + 18 = 26


HP: 51/79 | | Anatomist (+1 to confirm Crits) | | Fav. Enemy +4 = Humans, Half-Humans, Undead

"Well, it was worth a shot."


"I wouldn't write the Coin off. Maybe he just needed to figure out a path for us to follow. So, shall we pop this door?"

The door looks similar to the one you entered before - a simple handle and no lock on it.


Ushari pockets the coin. "OK, I will try the coin again when we reach a branching corridor or we get lost somehow."


DM

The monk pushes open the door and the team is greeted by a rather bland but well lit foyer. Heading South is a gently curving corridor with smooth walls. (Ignore my crappy rough drawing) Directly off to the right is a straight corridor that takes a 90 degree turn towards the ceiling. (@ the red line)

MAP


STONE-FACED KILLA

Jayse looks at the two directions, then shrugs. "Try the coin again? I'll block off this side and Jofram will block off that side to catch the coin."

Or is it only useable once per day?


Mage hand doesn't work on magical items, sadly. I can create a mule with my robe and we can tie the coin to the mule ;-)


Hmm, I was missing a bunch of previous posts when I posted. Sorry about that.


DM

This is a super Coin... you can use it more than once a day. :)

Ushari drops the coin and it immediately starts heading down the curving corridor. You easily corral and capture the wandering chunk of metal.

Should I assume that you immediately follow the coin's path and ignore the other options?


STONE-FACED KILLA

In the hopes that it's actually leading us the right way, yes.


DM

Sheesh! You with your "right way" and "please don't kill my character" talk...


stormraven wrote:
Sheesh! You with your "right way" and "please don't kill my character" talk...

Heh, I think THAT ship has already sailed...


DM

LOL! Good point. I should have said "...kill my character AGAIN."

Our valiant heroes walk down the empty and slowly curving corridor that is marked intermittently with hanging lamps. 50'... 60'... 90'... 120'...

They go nearly 200' before they hit a wall. This is probably the most disturbing gravity change yet in that it has no lead-up. Jayse and Straehan step onto the wall and immediately above their heads they see their teammates walking towards them like spiders climbing down a wall. (@ the red line) As Orin approaches, they can literally speak with him at right angles to one another. It is wholly unnatural.

They turn their attention to business. Straehan checks out the corridor (as far as he can see) as well as the doors and declares them all free of traps. Jayse stands nears a modest mineral door off to his left. Again, it looks unlocked. Slightly up the corridor and on the opposite wall are a set of larger, thicker, and more elaborate arched doors. They appear to be a matched set and also lack obvious locks.

Perception (Trap Spotting) 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (17) + 18 = 35

MAP


Orin marvels at the construction of this place, both mundane an magical. He draws another potion and motions to the near door.

Holding bull's strength and shield of faith


DM

You enter the door on the left. It is a large, empty, lightless room. Along the floors, walls, and ceiling are an endless interconnected series of abstract images and weaving patterns. The only thing that breaks the pattern is a small narrow alcove in the far corner. Filling it is a slender, open window. From the window, a thin beam of late evening light creeps into the room.

Curious, you look outside. It is a foreign landscape under a starless and moonless night sky. From nowhere you can name, a small amount of ambient pale light washes across the land casting long and conflicting shadows. The view is strange. You look out upon cracked uneven earth. In the near distance, the earth falls away forming a deep, bone-dry bowl perhaps a mile across. Hanging above the center of the large earth-bowl, nearly at eye-level with you, is a perfect black cube probably 60' across. A freak zephyr puffs through the window. It has the same odd scent you encountered in the first stairwell.

Know: Religion DC:20:
Spending any time watching the pattern puts you in a light trance. It is clear to you this must have been a meditation chamber.

Know: Planes DC:20:
The window has a view out onto the Plane of Shadows... and you are looking at the Shadow Plane analog of the very cube you are standing inside right now. Only, in the Shadow Plane, the lake is nothing more than a dust-choked bowl... and your window must be buried in the bluff.

MAP

Hand o' Fate 1d100 ⇒ 22


Knowledge Planes 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (18) + 10 = 28
Knowledge Religion 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (4) + 12 = 16

Ushari shudders involuntarily. "This is a window to the Plane of Shadow, and that cube is the same cube we entered in reflected on that plane." She glances back at the inages but they meant nothing to her. "I doubt the vault is that way, we should return to the corridor."


Fascinating...yes it's connected to the plane of shadow, but it's also a meditation chamber. Perhaps if I meditate in here, I can gain some insight into the location of the shell. Will you all stand guard?

Didn't roll, as I have +19


Straehan looks at the witch speculatively. "Ushari found out that opening your mind in the shadow of a Shaudran structure is a mixed blessing at best. I can't imagine what might happen while we are crawling around inside their pan-dimensional artifact." He smiles, "I admire your pluck. I'll keep watch if you want to attempt it."

Knowledge: Religion 10 + 11 = 21 Scholar: Take 10
Knowledge: Planes 10 + 12 = 22 Scholar: Take 10

You going for it, Orin?


DM

Orin, if you do decide to meditate, I'll need a Will Save. :)


Sure, what could go wrong? ;-)

WS, one more if fear-based, 2 more if death effect 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (8) + 11 = 19


DM

Orin settles himself on the floor and concentrates on the wall patterns...

Orin Only:
Orin tries to relax but finds calm elusive despite the flowing patterns on the wall. After what seems an hour of fruitless waiting, the images on the wall start to flow, circling along the winding paths created by the patterns - pumping like blood through veins. In a moment the visions come hard and fast.

Orin flies along the passageways, floating above the heads of the two dozen Shaudran monks that call the Fortress of the Serpent home. It is a cleverly created edifice but it shows signs of age, signs of wear. None of the corridors turn up or down. Gravity doesn't shift. Whatever happened to the Shaudran still lurks in their future. Orin doesn't have time to ponder this as he is swept along to the monks' neatly kept dormitory and dining hall. He visits the Star Chamber, the crypt where their dead are interred for the long rest after their work is done. The witch floats along... watching the chief librarian shepherding a group of young monks carrying stacks and stacks of books. They bear quills and ink as well. They have been given the task of preserving the wisdom of their race as their order has done for generations.

Orin recalls some of the research that the gnome shared with him...

stormraven wrote:

Structural...

What the accounts agree on is that the Shaudran were fixated on cosmology and that penchant was reflected in the construction of their edifices. Circular room represent stars, the size of the room relates to the brightness of the represented star. Corridors run between the circular 'star' rooms in a configuration that mirrors their revered constellations. It is speculated...

The only Shaudran constellations where records have been found to identify their ancient names are:

  • The Soul Serpent - the image of a winding snake swallows an egg
  • The Night Reaper - the image of a running man with a low sweeping scythe cleaves sheaves of wheat
  • The Water Pourer - the image of a woman with an amphora over her shoulder pours forth a cascading stream of water
  • The Lord of the Leaden Sky - the image of a strongly built naked man wields dual mattocks and screams at a blank sky
  • The First Scorpion - the image of an eight-legged angular black scorpion stands with claws open, its tail poised to strike a setting sun
  • The Sea Gate - the image of a massive circular portal sits half submerged in a choppy sea

It all seems so obvious now. The star sizes, colors, and positions in the circular rooms leading away from the Snake passage are a map of the constellation - the Soul Serpent - and each room reflects what the Shaudran knew of those stars - their position, relative size, and color.

Yet another piece falls in place. The Soul Serpent represented wisdom and knowledge. Thus, any structure associated with the preservation of knowledge was cosmologically linked to the constellation and had rooms to reflect it.

Orin has little time to consider this as he is swept from the Soul Serpent corridors back up the first stairwell and through the dormitory. The witch shies away from entering the meditation room, certain that any thought of his body would snap him back to reality. He passes down the corridor, through the book laden novitiates, and flows into and up the second stairway to the Chamber of the Gods. There the Shaudran Gods wait, watching through the eyes of their statues. Orin can't be bothered to look at them with all the construction going on. Mages magically mine a new stairway and corridor, carving the stairway with a wave of their hands. Unfortunately, Orin can't quite understand the conversations between the Mages and the head Abbot. All he can gather is that whatever they are building towards is important. And then, before Orin can spend more time piecing thing together, his body calls him back...

Orin snaps back into his body and finds himself staring into the gnome's eyes closely, his cheek stinging from a slap.

Everyone Else:
Orin settles down to meditate and almost instantly appears mesmerized by the patterns on the wall. After a few moments, the witch's eyes glaze over white and he starts babbling in Shaudran. Something in what he says alarms Straehan enough that he first shakes then slaps Orin to bring him out of the trance.


Orin blinks, shakes his head, and focuses his eyes as they readjust.

Of course! How could I forget? The Soul Serpent! This winding corridor, the star colors and locations--it mimics the Shaudran constellation 'The Soul Serpent', which represents wisdom and knowledge. This cube, or at least these rooms connected to the serpent, should be related to the preservation of knowledge. I saw monks with books, the dormitory was theirs long ago. The star chamber was their burial chamber. Back up the first stairwell, thorough the dormitory, up the second stairway was the chamber of the Shaudran gods, who watch through the statues. I saw mages using magic to carve a stairway there. I couldn't understand what they said, but they were excavating towards something important. I think we need to go there.

He studies the faces of his companions to read their reactions, then adds quickly: How long was I out? Anything happen?

SR Only:
Did I get the directions to the Chamber of the gods correct? I tried to stick to your wording, and I was trying to find where I could view multiple of the maps at a time in Dropbox to confirm, but I could only see the current map.


The gnome raises an eyebrow at the question and smiles, "How long? I don't know... maybe half a minute. You were out almost as soon as you sat down. Then you started babbling in Shaudran and we decided to cancel your trip."

Orin Only:
I purposefully left the directions kind of non-specific to keep the experience 'dream-like'. Sorry about that. You've got it mostly correct. However, you saw the librarians in the corridor just outside this room and the Second Stairway / Chamber of the Gods is along the corridor up ahead of you. In other words, you are heading in the right direction to get there.


SR Only, sorry guys :-):
Ok, that makes sense. And no worries, I understand if it's not spelled out 100% from the trance. I thought the statues with the gods looking through them meant the statues in the room adjacent to where we fought the shadows, hence my confusion. And I didn't want Matt's confusion to affect Orin-the-genius' understanding, hehe.

Hmm, it felt like a lot longer than that. Good, our spells should still be active, then. Thanks for bringing me back. The monks went this way, so the stairway to the chamber of the gods should be up ahead. Might I suggest that, once we arrive at the stairway, we take some defensive precautions with spells and potions before ascending?


Ushari nods her head in remembrance of her own journey. She lays a hand on Orin's shoulder in thanks. "Thank you for risking yourself like that for us. I don't think I could...open myself to them like that again." She shakes her head as if chasing a bad memory out of her mind. "I do agree we should be on guard here, and I can certainly call on my divine blessings as well." She turns to Jayse asking him "I think scouting ahead first would be wise, do you?'


HP: 51/79 | | Anatomist (+1 to confirm Crits) | | Fav. Enemy +4 = Humans, Half-Humans, Undead
Orin Vanderwhal wrote:

[spoiller="SR Only, sorry guys :-)]Blah blah blah... I'm Orin, and I like secret conversations with the DM! Blah blah blah...[/spoiller]

8)


Strae raises a hand in a 'slow down' gesture. "Woah. Let's consider this. We might need to adjust our plans a bit. If Orin is right, we are in a Shaudran Library. These people are the biggest secret of this Age, maybe any Age. They had magic no one, not even the High Elves, were able to fathom. I'm all for getting Naladoria's trinket... but we've got an opportunity to get our hands on possibly the greatest collection of written works ever assembled. Maybe there are magical scrolls tucked in with the rest of the stuff. We've got to go after that." He looks to the witch for support, "You're a man of learning and letters... you have to see the potential of this discovery."


HP: 51/79 | | Anatomist (+1 to confirm Crits) | | Fav. Enemy +4 = Humans, Half-Humans, Undead

"Potential... profit?'


Ushari Velnokal wrote:
Ushari nods her head in remembrance of her own journey. She lays a hand on Orin's shoulder in thanks. "Thank you for risking yourself like that for us. I don't think I could...open myself to them like that again." She shakes her head as if chasing a bad memory out of her mind. "I do agree we should be on guard here, and I can certainly call on my divine blessings as well." She turns to Jayse asking him "I think scouting ahead first would be wise, do you?'

Orin nods: I have no fashionable boots, and my magic has been mostly ineffectual against these incorporeal menaces. I have to earn my keep somehow, right?

Jofram wrote:
Orin Vanderwhal wrote:

[spoiller="SR Only, sorry guys :-)]Blah blah blah... I'm Orin, and I like secret conversations with the DM! Blah blah blah...[/spoiller]

8)

Hehe

Straehan wrote:
Strae raises a hand in a 'slow down' gesture. "Woah. Let's consider this. We might need to adjust our plans a bit. If Orin is right, we are in a Shaudran Library. These people are the biggest secret of this Age, maybe any Age. They had magic no one, not even the High Elves, were able to fathom. I'm all for getting Naladoria's trinket... but we've got an opportunity to get our hands on possibly the greatest collection of written works ever assembled. Maybe there are magical scrolls tucked in with the rest of the stuff. We've got to go after that." He looks to the witch for support, "You're a man of learning and letters... you have to see the potential of this discovery."

Orin considers the gnome's plea.

Lingering here longer than we have to definitely increases our risk, but the potential reward outweighs it. A discovery of ancient magic could not only bring long-term benefits to help the world, but also could help us complete our quest in the short-term. I agree, a search for such writings is a good idea.

Jofram wrote:
"Potential... profit?'

Yes, I suspect it would be worth a good sum of money, too. Though as far as money-making goes, there are probably safer and more lucrative ideas than searching for tomes in a shadow-infested ruin.

He smiles, and pats Jofram's shoulder good-naturedly.


Jofram wrote:
"Potential... profit?'

Strae smiles, "Play this right and we'll be set for life and they'll name museums after us."

With priorities slightly adjusted, our heroes head back out into the corridor. The passageway proceeds straight for quite a ways before a bend takes the rest of the corridor out of sight. Near at hand, on the opposite wall are a set of elaborate arched doors.

OK, guys, what's the play? Up the corridor to find the Second Stairway and the Chamber of the Gods? Check the doors? Something else?

MAP


HP: 51/79 | | Anatomist (+1 to confirm Crits) | | Fav. Enemy +4 = Humans, Half-Humans, Undead

The gnome's words put a grin on Jofram's face. "Tell me more about this Library..."


Ushari rolls her eyes at the mercenary talk between Straehan and Jofram, but wisely keeps her mouth shut. She points to the double doors while looking at Orin, "Perhaps this Library of yours is on the other side? If we are to find further clues here, we should check it out."


DM

Since you'll already checked all the doors for traps, we're good there. I'll assume you open the near one.


DM

You throw open the door on what is possibly the greatest treasure trove in Miir. It may be the only Shaudran library that escaped the systematic purges of the elves. You can almost see it as it once was. Massive shelves line every wall up to the impressive 60' high ceiling. Free standing shelves, flush with books, fill the majority of the open spaces in the rear half of the room. Nearer to hand, rows and rows of writing benches stand, holding crystal and diamond inkwells and Phoenix feather quills. Diligent Shaudran monks labor to copy and store the collected wisdom of their brilliant race and ancient culture. Lovingly, they tend their charges - books, scrolls, folios, librams, and tomes. The numbers are staggering - well over 30,000 documents. Lamps hang everywhere casting light for readers. Dozens of thick and comfortable rugs stretch across the floor, keeping the room quiet. And what exactly is housed in this wealth of books? Information on what brought the Shaudran low in a single night? The history of the Shaudran people? The origins of Miir, now long lost? Shaudran spell scrolls? The codex to unlock the heights of Shaudran magic - a feat no one has managed? Accounts of their travels across the multiple dimensions of existence?

Who can say? None can say... for that image is washed away by the reality that greets our heroes. While the Shaudran Cube has escaped the ravages of time, the library's contents have not. All that remains are the stone shelves and a 5" layer of parchment like refuse, dust and the odd bit of wood from long corrupted writing desks. The vast, incalculably valuable, Shaudran repository of knowledge is gone - rendered to dust.

MAP


The gnome sinks to his knees looking for even a single scrap of writing that survived the years. The one he finds, a small page of vellum, pours through his fingers as he tries to gently lift it. As much as Straehan has been beaten, slashed, and wounded in your many adventures, you've never seen him more defeated than at this moment. The library's loss cuts him to the core. Sitting in a heap of dust, his words never rise above a whisper as he regards the devastation around him, "no no no..."


Straehan wrote:
The gnome sinks to his knees looking for even a single scrap of writing that survived the years. The one he finds, a small page of vellum, pours through his fingers as he tries to gently lift it. As much as Straehan has been beaten, slashed, and wounded in your many adventures, you've never seen him more defeated than at this moment. The library's loss cuts him to the core. Sitting in a heap of dust, his words never rise above a whisper as he regards the devastation around him, "no no no..."

Orin puts a consoling hand on the gnome and delicately lifts him to his feet.

Perhaps when we recover the seashell and restore some of Naladoria's power, she can mend some of the works destroyed here. Is this possible?


Ushari looks at the empty library with conflicting emotions. While the knowledge lost could have certainly helped the people of Miir (not to mention their own cause) she also knew the vast knowledge gained by the Shaudran had led to their downfall. Knowledge unhampered by wisdom is a frightening thing, she believed.

She walks next to the distraught gnome, a look of sympathy in her eyes, and murmurs, "I wish this store of knowledge had not fallen to the march of time, but perhaps there are ways to recover these records. There may be records elsewhere in this ruin, perhaps even on the Plane of Shadow, if we dare..."


Straehan gets up and dusts himself off. "Maybe more books exist. Maybe Naladoria can help. But this is a tragic loss. We could have learned so much. Hell, maybe there was information about Naladoria here." The gnome takes a calming breath. "So, what now? Sift through the rubble here? Press on?"

What's the play, kids?

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