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Sons of Dammerhall: Dark Frontiers

Game Master GM SuperTumbler

Fasturvalt Battle Map

Throttleneck Tactical Map

Current Upper Azathyr Map


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You settle into camp, making preparations to interrogate senior drow.

Let's get this thing going. If you want to post a bunch of questions, I can write up the conversation, or if you want to do it one question at a time, we can do that too.


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Male Dwarf Paladin of Torag 2 | HP 23/23 | AC: 21, T: 11, FF: 20 | Fort: +8, Ref: +4, Will: +6 | BAB: +2, CMB: +5, CMD: 16, M.Attack +6 [1d12+4]| Init: +1 | Perception: +2 | Smite Evil 1/1, Lay on Hands 4/4

Probably easier to make a bunch first, then add any more that may pop to mind. I'll add breakpoints for reference between parts of the speech if you'd like to dialogue.

A swift kick with steel-toed boots is administered to the drow after the rope hogtying him has been double-checked.
"Rise and shine, you greasy runt. Before you try anything funny, let me remind you that you are tied, we have several weapons trained on you, and we already beat you up once. Understand me? Yes? Lovely. We'll remove the gaggle now."

[1]

"Yes, yes. Now listen closely, if you want to have a shot at survival. If we know something of you dark elves, your society is not quite forgiving with those who fail, right? Trying to ransom you would likely only bring to your kin riddling you with arrows and laughing at us, and then we wouldn't be happy. So I'm hoping you'll agree that your best hope for survival lies with working with us. And without double-crossing us, of course. We're being very merciful giving you a shot, don't make us regret that or we'll have to test our steel on your skull. So, first of all, answer a couple of questions for us: what was your reason for being here? What was your mission? Are there any patrols between Vothys and Fasturvault? And since we're here, what do you know of your kin's plans for the deep gnomes city? Are you content with manipulating the king, or do you plan on taking more direct control and perhaps expand your reach from that?"

[2]

"I see. Well, we'll take that with a grain of salt, offense meant. And now for the main question. How can we cross through Vothys and into the Lower Azathyr? Of course, without being abducted, imprisoned or killed by your kin. I don't take kindly to misdirection and technical truths, leave them to the Asmodeans."

Diplomacy: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (1) + 8 = 9
Intimidate: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15
Dice hate the scion of Tharnhammer


A swift kick with steel-toed boots is administered to the drow after the rope hogtying him has been double-checked.
"Rise and shine, you greasy runt. Before you try anything funny, let me remind you that you are tied, we have several weapons trained on you, and we already beat you up once. Understand me? Yes? Lovely. We'll remove the gaggle now."

The drow squirms at the kick but does everything he can to maintain whatever dignity he has. He has lost the sneering bravado from your first encounter, but he is more sullen than polite. He replies in accented dwarven: "Your weapons are unnecessary, Lord Snorri. I shall raise neither arms nor arcana against those who have defeated me. You have taken my command and my honor, and so I have no reason to combat you. Of course, your current tactical situation is superior to mine."

[1]

"Yes, yes. Now listen closely, if you want to have a shot at survival. If we know something of you dark elves, your society is not quite forgiving with those who fail, right? Trying to ransom you would likely only bring to your kin riddling you with arrows and laughing at us, and then we wouldn't be happy. So I'm hoping you'll agree that your best hope for survival lies with working with us. And without double-crossing us, of course. We're being very merciful giving you a shot, don't make us regret that or we'll have to test our steel on your skull. So, first of all, answer a couple of questions for us: what was your reason for being here? What was your mission? Are there any patrols between Vothys and Fasturvault? And since we're here, what do you know of your kin's plans for the deep gnomes city? Are you content with manipulating the king, or do you plan on taking more direct control and perhaps expand your reach from that?"

"Lord Snorri, if you will have my service, I will earn my life by bringing knowledge, spell, and sword to your side. The Baroness intends to have Fasturvalt for herself. The gnomes there have no chance of resisting the waves of orcs that will wash over them. Even now they come, and soon they will fill these caverns with their marching feet. The stalactites will quiver with the rhythm of their marching. From there, they hope to crush the forces of the Dragon and dominate the Upper Azathyr as they do the Lower. There is much to do to overcome the Dragon and also your kin across the Jungle."

[2]

"I see. Well, we'll take that with a grain of salt, offense meant. And now for the main question. How can we cross through Vothys and into the Lower Azathyr? Of course, without being abducted, imprisoned or killed by your kin. I don't take kindly to misdirection and technical truths, leave them to the Asmodeans."

"I am no friend of Asmodeans, Snorri. As for crossing through Vothys, the only way that will happen is as slaves bound for the City. Vothys guards the most important strategic location withing hundreds of miles. Over the centuries, it has been laid siege by the greatest powers of the Azathyr, but none has captured it. Vothys is a tower of blades carved from living stone. In order to reach the Great Maw, what your guide there will call The-Great-Jumping-Off-Point, you must cross a great chasm, a wall guarded by Cave Trolls, a killing field of broken stone. Once there, you will face an impenetrable adamantine gate that can only be opened by one of the trolls from inside the tower. Even then, you will face the spider and wyvern mounted guards of the Maw. The Baroness will accept no amount of treasure to allow the likes of you to pass. It is hopeless."

"As for patrols, you can expect to encounter an army marching through these tunnels at any moment. If they find us, they will kill us all."


Female Dwarf Cleric of Magrim 2 | HP 17/17 | AC 18 T 11 FF 17 | Fort +4 Ref +1 Will +5 | Initiative +1 | Perception +5 | Channel Energy 3/4 | Blast Rune 6/6 | Gentle Rest 6/6 | Bless

I'll prepare two touch of truthtelling spells for today. The spell has a visible effect if it works, so if it fails I'll cast it a second time.


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NG female Dwarf lvl 1 Spiritualist Init +1; HP 11/20 : AC 13,T 11, FF 12 (+2 dodge vs aberations) : Fort+5, Ref+1, Will +6 (add +2 vs compulson & charm / add +4 if phantom is in head vs all mind affecting effects) darkvision 60ft, Perc +8/+10 stonecunning : CMB +3 (+2 bonus to grapple aberrations); CMD 14 (+4 bonus on bullrush and trip on solid ground

Quietly standing nearby with her battleaxe in hand. You should be doing this. Glaring at the Drow mostly because she cannot glare at her mind. Shut up Regnir. He is our leader. I never agreed to that. Be quiet. If you No! just listen to No to me!I am trying to listen to the Drow! No need to be to temperamental. I hate you.

During number 2 after the Drow spoke.

Filthy beasts! Biting the inside of her cheek while listening. Snapping off a question of her own, "When are the Orcs supposed to arrive at Fasturvalt?"


N Male Dwarf Wizard 2 | HP: 14/14| AC: 13 (13 Tch, 10 Ff) | CMB: +1, CMD: 14 | F: +1, R: +3, W: +3 | Init: +7 | Perc: +0, SM: +0 | Speed 20ft |Active conditions:

Dasur sits by pensively, staff laid across his lap. He stares at the ground during the questioning. This bodes well for no one. I hoped the stone would guide us through Vothys, but the stone provides only so much.

The wizard speaks up for a single question. "We only seek to reach Lower Azathyr. Is there an alternative to the Great Maw nearby?"


"My squad was holding the Throttleneck to make sure that it provided easy passage for the orcs. They will be passing her within the week, perhaps as soon as two days. The Maw is the only passage. Well, perhaps not the only passage. The Darklands are vast, who knows what ways exist. But it is the only one that I know of."


N Male Dwarf Wizard 2 | HP: 14/14| AC: 13 (13 Tch, 10 Ff) | CMB: +1, CMD: 14 | F: +1, R: +3, W: +3 | Init: +7 | Perc: +0, SM: +0 | Speed 20ft |Active conditions:

Dasur turns to their deep gnome companion to seek her counsel. "Iverna, if this drow told this same information to Lord Geirni, how would he react? Fasturvalt is doomed if the black orcs storm its buildings, and your kin made quarry slaves."

He states matter-of-factly, drawing in a breath. "It brings me great pain to know the Pillars would be witness to all this, and the purity of the stone would be forever transfigured by the violence."

A stubby finger points at the ceiling above them. "Perhaps if we collapse this passage the orcs will be delayed in their assault long enough for us to prepare aid for Fasturvalt?"

Are our current surroundings collapsable in such a way to block the tunnel? Did Glenda find any other choke points in her scouting?

knowledge: Engineering to examine surroundings for dwarf-made cave in: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (14) + 10 = 24


Male Dwarf Paladin of Torag 2 | HP 23/23 | AC: 21, T: 11, FF: 20 | Fort: +8, Ref: +4, Will: +6 | BAB: +2, CMB: +5, CMD: 16, M.Attack +6 [1d12+4]| Init: +1 | Perception: +2 | Smite Evil 1/1, Lay on Hands 4/4

"I loathe the thought of scheming again someone who gave us hospitality, but it surely looks like Geirni is a puppet to the drow. He would welcome an invading army with open arms. If we are to set up defenses, he will have to be dethroned. Is there a Council of sort who could move against him, force him to resign?"


Iverna has been listening silently thus far, but after a few moments thought, she replies, "If Geirni believed you, I suspect that he would flee to his relations in Kladdenvalt. I can't imagine him having the stones to stick around and put his fancy armor to use deflecting Orcish scimitars. There is no other governance in Fasturvalt. We have never needed anything but the leadership of Geirni's father and grandfather. A shame that this time of crisis did not come under their reign. But we might be able to scare him, with the testimony of our 'friend' here."


With a bit of fear tinging his voice, the drow interjects, "Defenses! Aid Fasturvalt! Are you mad?! No, listen. I had hoped to avoid revealing this secret, but since you are on the verge of returning to ruin, I will give it to you. The drow army will not march through the Jungle. Through magic and hard labor, they have crafted their own secret road between Vothys and a tunnel not far ahead. If we hurry, we can be past the secret entrance and on into the Jungle before they arrive. We can slip through the Jungle and come upon Vothys when most of their forces have departed."


There are places where you could collapse the tunnel enough to make it temporarily impassable. It might be difficult and dangerous. You would have to be careful not to collapse it on yourself.


NG female Dwarf lvl 1 Spiritualist Init +1; HP 11/20 : AC 13,T 11, FF 12 (+2 dodge vs aberations) : Fort+5, Ref+1, Will +6 (add +2 vs compulson & charm / add +4 if phantom is in head vs all mind affecting effects) darkvision 60ft, Perc +8/+10 stonecunning : CMB +3 (+2 bonus to grapple aberrations); CMD 14 (+4 bonus on bullrush and trip on solid ground

Twisting to look around at the her companions, "Are we going to go warn them?" Humph, mewling child, this will only delay your end goals. This is not your fight. Shaking her head slightly Shut us you heartless bastard.


Male Dwarf Paladin of Torag 2 | HP 23/23 | AC: 21, T: 11, FF: 20 | Fort: +8, Ref: +4, Will: +6 | BAB: +2, CMB: +5, CMD: 16, M.Attack +6 [1d12+4]| Init: +1 | Perception: +2 | Smite Evil 1/1, Lay on Hands 4/4

Snorri strikes his braided beard, deep in thought. "I sincerely doubt that, even with the army away, storming Vothys would be easy. The chasm, the trolls, the adamantine wall will still be there. And unless the Baroness is stupid or overconfident, she will have a guard."
"Besides, taking advantage of an attack on the svirfneblin would be cowardly. My heart is telling me to rally the gnomes, prepare for battle, but I would hear all of you. It would mean delaying our quest, but it would also mean allies."

The greatest strength of a King is not in their arm but in their subjects. No one can stand if the other falls. And a King is only as strong as his retainers, yet all are stronger when together. Please question me, friends, give me advice. This burden would be overwhelming, were I alone.


N Male Dwarf Wizard 2 | HP: 14/14| AC: 13 (13 Tch, 10 Ff) | CMB: +1, CMD: 14 | F: +1, R: +3, W: +3 | Init: +7 | Perc: +0, SM: +0 | Speed 20ft |Active conditions:

Dasur restlessly shifts his staff from hand to hand, mind changing direction with every pass of the oak dowel. We cannot risk an all-out battle with the drow. I fear for the ancient pyroclastic flows of Fasturvalt- but the Drow appreciate beauty on the same caliber as their surface cousins. No, I do not believe they will harm them. If only there had been more time to study them, perhaps they could have revealed this possible future to me...

Turning his head to his liege, he draws in a breath. "Snorri, we must remain focused on our goal. How long will it take for an opportunity of this magnitude to present itself again? This is destiny at work. We must use the secret passage and continue towards Vothys." Dasur says firmly, having reached a decision.


NG female Dwarf lvl 1 Spiritualist Init +1; HP 11/20 : AC 13,T 11, FF 12 (+2 dodge vs aberations) : Fort+5, Ref+1, Will +6 (add +2 vs compulson & charm / add +4 if phantom is in head vs all mind affecting effects) darkvision 60ft, Perc +8/+10 stonecunning : CMB +3 (+2 bonus to grapple aberrations); CMD 14 (+4 bonus on bullrush and trip on solid ground

Staring at Dasur with a look of horror and Finally that dwarf is starting to speak in a way that does not make my blood boil.[/]b then quickly shaking her head. Shifting how she is holding her weapon and nearly growling at Dasur, [b]"You would leave a whole community to slaughter!"

Pointing to the drow while maintaining her glare at Dasur, "He said orcs. Those beasts will pillage that defenseless town." Quite being a whiny child.

Turing to look at Snorri, "I do not want to face my final judgement in the Boneyard with this on my conscience. Do you?"


Female Dwarf Cleric of Magrim 2 | HP 17/17 | AC 18 T 11 FF 17 | Fort +4 Ref +1 Will +5 | Initiative +1 | Perception +5 | Channel Energy 3/4 | Blast Rune 6/6 | Gentle Rest 6/6 | Bless

"We have slept under their roof, and eaten of their food. We have brought one of their own with us into battle. I would not abandon such people to a horrible fate. When future generations speak of our quest - success or failure - will they say that we were mean-spirited dwarves, stinting with our thanks to those who showed hospitality to us? That we shied from battle against our foes? Or that the quest for Dammerhall brought out the best in dwarf-kind, that it kindled the fires of our courage, stoked our resolve, reaffirmed our heritage? That faced with a terrible battle, we did not shirk, we showed that the quest for Dammerhall is not just a quest for a place, but a quest for the heart of dwarf-kind, and that our hearts were just, and noble, and fearless!"

Glenda, being a priestess, seems to have some thoughts on the moral guidance of the situation.


N Male Dwarf Wizard 2 | HP: 14/14| AC: 13 (13 Tch, 10 Ff) | CMB: +1, CMD: 14 | F: +1, R: +3, W: +3 | Init: +7 | Perc: +0, SM: +0 | Speed 20ft |Active conditions:

Dasur turns his head to blink at Nalnera slowly, looking at her as one might look at a human riding a xorn- she was completely unexpected and out of place. The wizard speaks in his usual calm monotone without even regarding the dwarf-made steel being brandished in his direction. "You must think logically, Nalnera. Becoming inflamed can only lead to poor decision making."

The staff in his hands shifts again, to lay peacefully on his lap. "Being angry with me for advising Lord Snorri on the best course of action is comparable to shouting at a set of scales for not giving you the weight you wanted a gold nugget to be. I am considering our immediate future, our lives, and the future of dwarfkind as the most important variables in this complex equation we call life. They weigh heaviest on the scales of my decision making process."

He draws in a breath, exhaling and looking at the ground. "The lives of the Fasturvalt gnomes are weighty, indeed, but I implore you to look years in advance, as our ancestors did when they built the Sky Citadels, and you will see ideas and plans with the weight of mountains to balance against Fasturvalt. I could argue the gnomes' hospitality has been paid with our return of their citizens, that Iverna appears to be here on her own free will, and we owe nothing to the gnomes, but I know none of that interests you."

Smooth hands run over the length of his staff as he eventually reaches a strangely succinct conclusion, looking Nalnera in the eye without faltering. "The realm of morality has always been foreign to me, though I know the concepts of right, wrong, good, and evil exist within our minds and in our gods. I struggle because no natural philosopher, king, or priest has ever been able to assign a numerical value to life, or the warmth of a mother's embrace, or the lash of a slaver's whip. So I ask of you- please find it in your heart to forgive me if my advice seems "cruel" at times."


NG female Dwarf lvl 1 Spiritualist Init +1; HP 11/20 : AC 13,T 11, FF 12 (+2 dodge vs aberations) : Fort+5, Ref+1, Will +6 (add +2 vs compulson & charm / add +4 if phantom is in head vs all mind affecting effects) darkvision 60ft, Perc +8/+10 stonecunning : CMB +3 (+2 bonus to grapple aberrations); CMD 14 (+4 bonus on bullrush and trip on solid ground

Sucking in a deep breath while flexing her grip on her battle axe though never making a move to point it at anyone other than drow. He cannot tell the difference between doing good and evil. Do you still feel the same. Glaring at the ground. I have never objected to him dying. Any of them really.

Sighing tiredly and looking back over at Dasur, "That is because there is no numerical value on those things. Hope does not have a value in coin but it can be all that is needed from giving up and dying or preying on others."


Male Dwarf Paladin of Torag 2 | HP 23/23 | AC: 21, T: 11, FF: 20 | Fort: +8, Ref: +4, Will: +6 | BAB: +2, CMB: +5, CMD: 16, M.Attack +6 [1d12+4]| Init: +1 | Perception: +2 | Smite Evil 1/1, Lay on Hands 4/4

Snorri smiles as Glenda speaks, but gets tense as Nalnera points her weapon at Dasur. He speaks as he places a hand over her axe, gently pushing it towards the ground.
"Calm, cousin. We are just talking, weapons are out of place. All of your opinions are precious to me, all your advice is listened to, and all of you are raising good points. Although maybe, dear Glenda, speaking of our destination in front of the prisoner might not have been the wisest course of action."

"It is true that we owe the gnomes no debt. And that part of this situation is of their own making, by allying themselves with the drow. But is it also true that we head for a place that has been abandoned for centuries. The time we may spend by aiding Fasturvalt will be insignificant, in comparison."

He scratches his forehead, deep in thought. "And it is true that our demise would likely mean the demise of all of dwarfkind. It would be cowardly if we fled to save our own hides, but since so much is lying on our shoulders, I would see no dishonor in that."

"Yet again, I believe that we should help them. Part of it is from my own heart, and it would be pointless to try to explain it. But there are advantages in securing the city against the dark elves. First, we would gain allies while the drow would lose them. That would be helpful in the future: trade, just to say a thing, not to mention reputation. Second, I still believe that storming Vothys alone would be a ticket for a quick grave. We are ill suited to sneaking through, while with the deep gnomes expertise and means we may find an easier way. And third, should we fail to cross over Vothys, and should Fasturvalt fall, we would find ourselves between a hard place and a rock."
"Also, I want to wipe that smug grin off Damiel's face, but that's rather unimportant."


Iverna "I suppose it isn't right to let all of those folks be enslaved just to teach Lord Geirni a lesson, but its a close call either way. If we are going to return to Fasturvalt, maybe there is some way we can block the entrance to the Drow's secret way. That way, we can keep our own path clear and ruin their plans. Otherwise, we would need to get back to Fasturvalt quickly. There is something of a militia, but they are mostly for killing rats and cave fishers and such. An invasion of drow and orcs is gonna wipe them out. But maybe with some training from you dwarves...they would live a little longer before the orcs crush them."

The drow listens intensely, his large black eyes soaking in the dynamics of the group. "Whatever you are going to do, it would be best to return my weapons and spell book to me. You are going to need all of the allies you can gather. I am worth 20 of those svirfneblin."


Male Dwarf Paladin of Torag 2 | HP 23/23 | AC: 21, T: 11, FF: 20 | Fort: +8, Ref: +4, Will: +6 | BAB: +2, CMB: +5, CMD: 16, M.Attack +6 [1d12+4]| Init: +1 | Perception: +2 | Smite Evil 1/1, Lay on Hands 4/4

Snorri scoffs. "Why, sure! Would you like me to turn around, so you can stab me in the back more easily?"


N Male Dwarf Wizard 2 | HP: 14/14| AC: 13 (13 Tch, 10 Ff) | CMB: +1, CMD: 14 | F: +1, R: +3, W: +3 | Init: +7 | Perc: +0, SM: +0 | Speed 20ft |Active conditions:

Dasur nods his head to Nalnera, though he is certainly not giving up his position. "Of course, but fear can do the same. Fear has driven many sentient creatures to do great or terrible things alike, just as hope has. Look at Andoran; the humans experiment with the government known as democracy with the hope it would make life better for all. But is it simply funneled chaos? Do the elites still control all the resources, changing hands with every revolution? I do not know if this process, borne of hope, can be considered "good" even if its intentions were "good".

He sighs and stands up, shaking his head. "There will plenty of time to discuss the nature of morality while we are walking. If we are to assist Fasturvalt we will need to collapse this side of the secret tunnel to afford us more time. I do think this is the best decision, and I implore you all to rethink this matter rationally as we travel. Recall we were barely a match for the orcs ourselves."

On the condition of letting the Drow have his weapons back, he advises the king once more. "I have reviewed his spellbook, and while it contains potent combat magic, there is nothing that would aid his escape from us. If we are to arm him I would recommend allowing him supervised access the day before the attack on Fasturvalt so he may study, but not allow him possession of the book itself."

The wizard turns to the Drow, and mumbles a cantrip to allow him to detect magic. His eyes search for the tell-tale glow of a arcane focus or other magical item in his possession. "What is your name? Where is your arcane focus or familiar? What ley lines have you been using in this vicinity... why do you use ໄຟ instead of ໄຫມ້ in this spell here? The verb should contain more raw power, which can be harnessed to... " A battery of highly technical arcane questions follows as Dasur begins his own special interrogation on magical matters concerning the Underdark.


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"I think, Lord Snorri, that you misunderstand my situation. You have robbed me of all station, or all face, of any ability to exist in my own society. My only options are to die at your hand or to keep you alive as long as possible. Unless I wish to be alone in a hostile environment with nothing but enemies surrounding me, I must support your venture.

My arcane bond, Dasur, is the rapier that you have taken from me. Without it, I am as weak as a kitten, unable to fight with blade or spell. You have nothing to fear from returning my items or my spells to me. I will serve this group, that is the only viable option before me. As for my name, I will not be so mad as to give you my NAME, but my squad called me Erebos, and that will serve as well as any. It is the name of darkness. We drow are not so weak in our magic as to require drawing power from concentrated ley lines. You may be knowledgeable in the ways of magic, dwarf, but we are born of magic. Ley lines are no more than the magic of our veins. The entirity of the Darklands is full of magic. One has only to reach out and weave it. There is no need to be so agressive in your magic. The magic is there. Simply ask it to present itself. You manipulate the magic by punching it into place like dough for bread. But magic here is like a Razorwing hawk. Trying to force it to do what you will will get you claws in the face. Ask it to do what it wants to do and you will get what you want."


N Male Dwarf Wizard 2 | HP: 14/14| AC: 13 (13 Tch, 10 Ff) | CMB: +1, CMD: 14 | F: +1, R: +3, W: +3 | Init: +7 | Perc: +0, SM: +0 | Speed 20ft |Active conditions:

Dasur stands before the Drow, listening intently. He is concentrating on every word, very likely committing them to memory. "Thank you, Erebos. Your true name is not required. Yes, I had been experiencing what you described, a certain stubbornness in the magic of the land. The stone, which I can easily force my will on above ground, balks at my machinations here. The ley are diffuse and difficult to draw from, but now I will carve out wider and narrower tunnels when I search for them."

Settling on his haunches, he continues his discussion with the Drow. "I would return your focus and spellbook so you could demonstrate these principles to me, Erebos, but that is a decision for Lord Snorri alone. Now, take a look at this..."

He removes a small tourmaline gemstone from his belt pouch, and holds it up, opening discussion on his theories about how crystalline structure in minerals align with and amplify magical fields. "...Indeed, this would help to explain, in part, the diffuse and ubiquitous nature of magic below the surface, so close you are to a plethora of crystal structures as these.."

It seems Dasur has no qualms about fraternizing with Erebos on arcane matters, freely sharing information and theories so they can both gain a better understanding of magical forces.


Male Dwarf Paladin of Torag 2 | HP 23/23 | AC: 21, T: 11, FF: 20 | Fort: +8, Ref: +4, Will: +6 | BAB: +2, CMB: +5, CMD: 16, M.Attack +6 [1d12+4]| Init: +1 | Perception: +2 | Smite Evil 1/1, Lay on Hands 4/4

Snorri steeples his hands for a few seconds, considering the matter at hand. "You may have them, but we'll keep an eye on them, and you'll return any time we sleep."

"For Fasturvalt, if we can't fight them on might, we can use brains. Have you heard about those kobold ruins, where everything is deadly? Traps, side passages, guerrilla. We won't engage them, we'll bleed them from a thousand cuts. Towards the city? Dasur, can you reliably collapse the tunnel?"


N Male Dwarf Wizard 2 | HP: 14/14| AC: 13 (13 Tch, 10 Ff) | CMB: +1, CMD: 14 | F: +1, R: +3, W: +3 | Init: +7 | Perc: +0, SM: +0 | Speed 20ft |Active conditions:

Dasur nods to Tharnhammer scion, and produces the drow's spellbook from his pack. He hands it to Erebos, along with his rapier. "Once you have studied your spells I request a demonstration of the principles we have been discussing."

Turning to the other matter, he addresses Snorri "succinctly". "We could collapse the passage here, but it is danerous and difficult. I will need to see the secret tunnel entrance before making any further assessment, but I believe it will be easier there if we target the structural reinforcements put in place by the Drow and then disurpt the surrounding stone to trigger a collapse."


Erebos takes his spellbook and sits, eager to study his arcane formulae.


Added a new map of the Upper Azathyr with the secret passage on it. That entrance is about 6 days from where you are now. Of course, there are always options for forced marching or whatever.


Male Dwarf Paladin of Torag 2 | HP 23/23 | AC: 21, T: 11, FF: 20 | Fort: +8, Ref: +4, Will: +6 | BAB: +2, CMB: +5, CMD: 16, M.Attack +6 [1d12+4]| Init: +1 | Perception: +2 | Smite Evil 1/1, Lay on Hands 4/4

"Back to Fasturvalt, then!"
Always keeping an eye on Erebos, Snorri shoulders his pack. "Dasur, I entrust our captive to you. No dangerous, offensive spells. Glenda, please keep an eye on them. The drow is dangerous and Dasur can be... absent. Onwards, then! We have an army to rebuke!"


I thought we decided to collapse the secret tunnel?

Moving with an almost desperate speed, you make it to your destination faster than expected. After only 5 days Erebos draws you to a halt at an unremarkable bit of floor. For 5 days you have trudged, eating reconstituted mushroom and fish stew and the occasional giant cricket. The cricket shells are too thick to eat the way you might a normal sized bug, but their insides are similar to a crayfish or lobster. They are not at all wary, and are fairly easy to trap as you camp over "night." Iverna drives you hard, up early and down late. If possible, she becomes even thinner, like an undernourished child. Her massive eyes enhance the image. She eats like a teenager, and her spirits are high for the most part. When pressed, she doesn't seem to have much personal interest in helping Fasturvalt, but she does seem to enjoy your company.

Erebos is fascinating. He is mostly helpful, pointing out safe camp sites, tasty treats, and once engaging a cat sized spider that was eyeing Dasur, sending the creature on its way. He talks little but is cordial and refined, never rude. It is difficult, sometimes, to remember that he is a demon worshipping villain, but your racial hatred keeps you on your toes. He and Dasur speak endlessly about magic.

As he draws you to a halt, he moves to the side of the tunnel. Snorri warns him against any sort of betrayal, but he once again asserts that his own people are lost to him.

Tracing some magic symbols in the air with his right hand, he steps aside as a section of tunnel ten feet square fades from view, revealing a tunnel stretching into darkness. The tunnel is obviously artificial, supported by some sort of violet vines that grow along the walls and ceiling.

Taking some liberties here to move things along.


N Male Dwarf Wizard 2 | HP: 14/14| AC: 13 (13 Tch, 10 Ff) | CMB: +1, CMD: 14 | F: +1, R: +3, W: +3 | Init: +7 | Perc: +0, SM: +0 | Speed 20ft |Active conditions:

Dasur would struggle to keep up if he wasn't always riding in the wagon, sitting cross-legged and speaking to Erebos about the nature of magic in the darklands. He doesn't complain about the food, cracking open giant crickets with his staff and flavoring the insects to taste of smoked cheeses using prestidigitation.

The wizard continues to get along well with Erebos, and the breadths of their conversation topics are both esoteric and frequent. If anything, Erebos has spared the rest of the group by acting as a conduit for Dasur's lengthy droning.

When they reach the artifical tunnel Dasur is highly intrigued, running his hands over the stone and interrogating the magical nature of the arcane hinges with detect magic.

The vines are unexpected, and the wizard pokes them a few times with his staff. "These vines are load-bearing, somehow supporting the tunnel. Very clever of the Drow, certainly not how a Dwarf would think. What are these vines called, Erebos?" He consults the other wizard while pulling at the plant matter to see how firmly it is attached.

His voice carries to address the rest of the group. "Now that we are here, I implore you all to reconsider. Through this tunnel lies the most direct route to our goal, the gatekeepers preoccupied with war. Consider this- even if we manage to hold off the orc army, passage through Vothys will become impossible. The Drow fortress will be on high alert, for their defeat will not be missed by its enemies. Now is the time to slip past and into the depths, but I doubt your hearts can be swayed. Think while I study the tunnel." He says in his usual monotone, before turning to study the tunnel's structure.

Looking for possible ways to collapse this part of the tunnel, conventional/non-conventional, estimation of difficulty, time, and risk of danger.

knowledge: engineering for conventional means/risk: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (10) + 11 = 21

knowledge: Arcane for non-conventional means, jamming the door, those vines if magical: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (3) + 11 = 14

knowledge: nature for non-conventional means/if those vines are not magical: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (8) + 9 = 17

That could have gone better :/


"The mesh is called shackle vine, though in fact it is not vegetation. It is a product of fleshwarping, and is grown from the flesh of cave trolls, making it strong, regenerative, and fast growing. Like trolls, it dislikes fire and acid."

This joining of artificial and natural tunnel is somewhat delicate. There is a set of ribs supporting the vault near the entrance. Destroying those and then burning away the vine would likely cause a collapse. This would be the work of about a day to do it carefully.

I'll set this up as a sort of skill challenge requiring a series of checks. I can certainly see this involving knowledge engineering and craft skills. Willing to consider other skills as well. Catastrophic failure of one of those checks could result in a cave in, which would do 8d6 damage and bury those affected.


N Male Dwarf Wizard 2 | HP: 14/14| AC: 13 (13 Tch, 10 Ff) | CMB: +1, CMD: 14 | F: +1, R: +3, W: +3 | Init: +7 | Perc: +0, SM: +0 | Speed 20ft |Active conditions:

Hooo boy. The average of 8d6 is 24. Enough to knock out, and probably kill, any one of us.

After taking in the structure of the tunnel, Dasur returns to report his findings. "While the shackle vine is a clever and self-sustaining method for supporting this tunnel, the connection here is delicate. It is so delicate that if the ribs are improperly disturbed the entire tunnel will collapse on top of us. Under these circumstances we cannot trust the goodwill of the Stone to keep us safe- it has been forced into an unnatural configuration and wishes to return to a place of equilibrium, which may involve breaking our skulls if we are in its way."

Dasur sighs and leans on his staff, clearly uncomfortable with the poor probability of "success". "I will prepare a slew of Fire spells to facilitate burning the shackle vine at a distance, but I need to be inside the tunnel to supervise proper dismantling of the ribs. Again, I urge you to reconsider. There is much more at stake than Fasturvalt. Consider which cause you are willing to make your tomb."

Dasur is obviously still against this plan, but is ready for the skill checks.

He can handle the Engineering checks, but if anyone has any ranks an assist would be helpful. What other craft skills do we have?

In addition, Dasur can prepare 4 Burning Hands (2d4 fire damage) to help burn off the vines in a 15ft cone, and can create 8 acid clouds (1d6+1 acid damage) at 30ft away. Hopefully that will assist in remotely collapsing the tunnel.


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NG female Dwarf lvl 1 Spiritualist Init +1; HP 11/20 : AC 13,T 11, FF 12 (+2 dodge vs aberations) : Fort+5, Ref+1, Will +6 (add +2 vs compulson & charm / add +4 if phantom is in head vs all mind affecting effects) darkvision 60ft, Perc +8/+10 stonecunning : CMB +3 (+2 bonus to grapple aberrations); CMD 14 (+4 bonus on bullrush and trip on solid ground

Looking around with a frown. Whelp you all will die in this. Over slaves. Yes you cruel old thing. That is exactly what I will do. You would abandon your fate! The glory of the reclaiming the throne of Dammerhall! Flinching a little. My answer is unchanged so either shut up or help. I loath that it is your mind I am trapped in.

Shaking her head and wishing it shook Regnir around, "One us could light it on fire while the others are.." Trailing off and staring at the ground with a look of confusion Fine in lue of you not dying I have an idea but I expect to be compensated. I cannot die so I can burn down the vines while you remain safe.

"Umm, Regnir has a suggestion. We all stay back and someone gives him a torch to set the vines on fire. He cannot die since he is already dead." Looking around, "Would that work?"


Male Dwarf Paladin of Torag 2 | HP 23/23 | AC: 21, T: 11, FF: 20 | Fort: +8, Ref: +4, Will: +6 | BAB: +2, CMB: +5, CMD: 16, M.Attack +6 [1d12+4]| Init: +1 | Perception: +2 | Smite Evil 1/1, Lay on Hands 4/4

Snorri watches the fleshy vines with a look of disgust on his face.
"Dasur, I do treasure your advice, I really do. But not only would the loss of Fasturvalt mean being cut off from the surface and surrounded by drow, it would also leave us with only one way out, through Vothys. Other than Iverna, we are not good at sneaking, we couldn't easily move through their defenses. Passage through Vothys is apparently impossible already, according to what Erebos told us. But if we manage to save the deep gnomes' city from destruction, we will have a safe foothold to plan our next move. And even if all roads were to close on us, I would be the first to take up a pick and dig my way to the Lower Azathyr. But I won't have us surrounded. Having our backs covered will do us more good than running in the dark."
"Nalnera, thank you. And thank you again, noble Regnir."

My only marginally useful skill is dungeoneering.


Here you will find a diagram for the Skill challenge. I hope things are fairly obvious. It is a flow chart with green arrows for success and red for failure. Feel free to describe things as you wish for each step. You can certainly tweak things to your advantage. Having a ghost do the final blows so it doesn't matter if he gets crushed is brilliant.


N Male Dwarf Wizard 2 | HP: 14/14| AC: 13 (13 Tch, 10 Ff) | CMB: +1, CMD: 14 | F: +1, R: +3, W: +3 | Init: +7 | Perc: +0, SM: +0 | Speed 20ft |Active conditions:

This is really cool! Excellent skill challenge design, GM. I really like the idea of Regnir dealing the final blow as well.

Phase 1: Inspect the Project

knowledge: engineering: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (1) + 11 = 12 Oof... Sorry guys. That's a catatrophic failure.

I don't know if Dasur can try to rescue himself out of the failure path, or if someone else has to make the dungeoneering roll? We can't assist on knowledge rolls unfortunately.

Dasur stares at thhe drow architecture for some time, stroking his single-braided beard or mumbling to himself all the while. "The way this tunnel is constructed is completely foreign to me." The wizard could be heard mumbling, in a tone that is the closest you've ever heard him to complaining. "The design of these struts is completely contradictory to the basic principles of Dwarvern architecture. I must think as the Drow did, outside of the box..."

On the back of a sheet of parchment that contained a series of incomprehensible formulae, Dasur begins drafting the inside of the tunnel and its most probable weak points."Instead of putting the load-bearing portion into the arch of the tunnel, what if it's held by the vines..."


NG female Dwarf lvl 1 Spiritualist Init +1; HP 11/20 : AC 13,T 11, FF 12 (+2 dodge vs aberations) : Fort+5, Ref+1, Will +6 (add +2 vs compulson & charm / add +4 if phantom is in head vs all mind affecting effects) darkvision 60ft, Perc +8/+10 stonecunning : CMB +3 (+2 bonus to grapple aberrations); CMD 14 (+4 bonus on bullrush and trip on solid ground

I am glad you all like the idea. So are we all making our own rolls or rolling to assist?

Nodding and taking a moment to sit down and with her legs crossed and her hands resting on her knees with her eyes adopting a vacant stare. Be nice and don't use the word slave or so help me I will make the rest of our shared time the worst of your ghostly life. Fine. Ignoring everyone for a minute and letting Regnir out of her mind and onto the material plane. Dark green and icy blue thick liquid runs down from the crown of her head, down her body and pools at her feet. Regnir rises out of the thick pool.


HP 2/11

Regnir is an icy blue color with dark green goo dripping off of him. Much thinner than the last time he came out, his scarred ribs are easy to count. Lifting his head with a staring at Snorri with an icy gaze and speaking in a aggressively cold rumble, "You are welcome."

Looking around the cave with a glare, "Notify me when I am to save you all from a painful death with my own temporary one."


Female Dwarf Cleric of Magrim 2 | HP 17/17 | AC 18 T 11 FF 17 | Fort +4 Ref +1 Will +5 | Initiative +1 | Perception +5 | Channel Energy 3/4 | Blast Rune 6/6 | Gentle Rest 6/6 | Bless

I have no relevant skills. :/


Glenda Dalduraz wrote:
I have no relevant skills. :/

From where you are right now (purple star) Perception on stonework DC 20 would get you to the second challenge.


NG female Dwarf lvl 1 Spiritualist Init +1; HP 11/20 : AC 13,T 11, FF 12 (+2 dodge vs aberations) : Fort+5, Ref+1, Will +6 (add +2 vs compulson & charm / add +4 if phantom is in head vs all mind affecting effects) darkvision 60ft, Perc +8/+10 stonecunning : CMB +3 (+2 bonus to grapple aberrations); CMD 14 (+4 bonus on bullrush and trip on solid ground

We have the time could I take a 20? That is an hour.


Female Dwarf Cleric of Magrim 2 | HP 17/17 | AC 18 T 11 FF 17 | Fort +4 Ref +1 Will +5 | Initiative +1 | Perception +5 | Channel Energy 3/4 | Blast Rune 6/6 | Gentle Rest 6/6 | Bless

Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16

Glenda looks over the walls, then shrugs. "I'm not sure of the best way to deal with this. Honestly I spent more time with books than with stone."


You can take 20 on perception.


NG female Dwarf lvl 1 Spiritualist Init +1; HP 11/20 : AC 13,T 11, FF 12 (+2 dodge vs aberations) : Fort+5, Ref+1, Will +6 (add +2 vs compulson & charm / add +4 if phantom is in head vs all mind affecting effects) darkvision 60ft, Perc +8/+10 stonecunning : CMB +3 (+2 bonus to grapple aberrations); CMD 14 (+4 bonus on bullrush and trip on solid ground

Then I will take a 20 which will give me a 28. Will Regnir have to make the attack roll since he is the one doing the fire.

Grinning at Glenda then moving into the tunnel, "You cannot rush stones. Luckily they will remain moving to slow for the eye to see until the fire happens. And then we should be far from it."


HP 2/11

Glaring at the back of Nalnera's head and trailing after her, "For your safety you all should be most grateful. Now figure out where I shall put the torch."

Looking over his shoulder and staring at Glenda with cold arrogant eyes, "I will need healing after this is done by the way."


NG female Dwarf lvl 1 Spiritualist Init +1; HP 11/20 : AC 13,T 11, FF 12 (+2 dodge vs aberations) : Fort+5, Ref+1, Will +6 (add +2 vs compulson & charm / add +4 if phantom is in head vs all mind affecting effects) darkvision 60ft, Perc +8/+10 stonecunning : CMB +3 (+2 bonus to grapple aberrations); CMD 14 (+4 bonus on bullrush and trip on solid ground

Waving a hand dismissively at Regnir and walking up and down the tunnel. Never touching the vines but getting very close to them many times.

I can happily take a 20 to pick the point of distraction. But if you would rather I roll I can. Perc: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11 I rolled just in case though I would prefer spending the time. Thoroughness matters.


On perceptions, you can take 20. There is no penalty for failure there. You look until you find something.


Female Dwarf Cleric of Magrim 2 | HP 17/17 | AC 18 T 11 FF 17 | Fort +4 Ref +1 Will +5 | Initiative +1 | Perception +5 | Channel Energy 3/4 | Blast Rune 6/6 | Gentle Rest 6/6 | Bless

VERY WELL THEN

Glenda spends a good half-hour looking over the cavern with Dasur. Finally she says, "Dasur... I don't think the vines are the load-bearing parts. Look here, near the floor -- there's subtle cracking along the corner piece. That suggests that the wall is bearing the load. Unlike dwarf-work, it's not buttressed and flared out to spread the load across a wider area. It's deliberately narrow and thin, some kind of design choice I think. But that also makes it more fragile in the event of a serious, catastrophic strike on the stone."

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