Ganer takes a half-hearted swing at the spirit and missed it (her?) completely. The spirit returns the favor...Attack Slam 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14; Damage 1d6 ⇒ 1 STR damage.
The blow just manages to lightly brush against his arm, yet he feels a mind numbing cold as his strength ebbs from his body. He jerks back away from the touch before the cold spreads further.
Ganer takes 1 point of STR damage.
Initiative: Ganer, "?", Ratcliff , Gared, Horven.
Gared is up.
Untrained Knowledge (Religion):1d20 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
Untrained Knowledge (Planes):1d20 + 1 ⇒ (10) + 1 = 11
Attack: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 = 21 Damage 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11
Attack: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 = 21 Damage 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
Gared was trying to remember some identifying feature about the creature they faced when he was stunned for a moment as his tall companion revealed himself to be some sort of hell spawn. He quickly composed himself as the thing charged forward to meet the undead, and the dwarf started sending a barrage of arrows towards the two...
...and right past the tiefling on their way to the dead monstrosity.
Gared swore profusely in dwarven. "We're going to be needin' something stronger if we're to fight this thing! Rekkart! If ever we be needin' a sword of th' Inheritor, we be needin' it now!"
Horven advances into the attic ready to assist the rakshasa.
Sir Rekkart init 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (8) - 1 = 7
"By the Gods, another spirit? I am on my way!" The sound of clanking armor approaching heralds the arrival of the paladin.
Round 2: Ganer, "?", Ratcliff , Gared, Rekkart, Horven.
Ganer is up.
Ganer, you are still in melee with it so you need to make a DC 17 Concentration check or lose the spell. Concentration is your class level (1) plus your CHA mod (+4) for a total of +5. I assume you will step out of melee here...
Ganer steps away from the spirit AV30 and utters his prayer. Everyone else feels the blessing of Iori wash over them. Everyone here gets a +1 morale bonus on attack rolls and on saving throws against fear effects.
The spirit is not impressed and moves to strike at the oracle. 5' step to AU31, Attack Slam 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20; Damage 1d6 ⇒ 4 STR. Ganer feels more of his strength flee his body.
Ganer has 5 STR damage, currently 9 STR.
Round 2: Ganer, "Spirit", Ratcliff , Gared, Rekkart, Horven.
Ratcliff is up.
Ratcliff's force missile strikes the spirit and unlike the arrows impacts it, tearing a small portion of the shadowy stuff away from it.
Ratcliff, this is an undead so the Knowledge skill you need is Religion.
Round 2: Ganer, "Spirit", Ratcliff , Gared, Rekkart, Horven.
Gared is up.
Seeing ganer stumble, Gared tumbled quickly across the room to take Ganer's place with an angry yell and struck out the spirit with a defiant fist. "Spirit! I name ye Jarbin Mord's wife and tormented spirit! If ye be lookin' to share yer pain, ye share it with me before any one else!"
Move to AV 31 and fighting defensively as standard action to raise touch AC to 17.
Attack:1d20 - 2 ⇒ (1) - 2 = -1Damage1d6 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
Gared, you are sharing the same square with Ganer so that means you take an additional -2 to hit...not that it will matter :(
Gared steps in to assist his companion, however he stumbles on some broken furniture causing his blow to go wide.
Knowledge Religion 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
Then Sir Rekkart moves into the attic, exclaiming "I believe it is a shadow! Such a creature lacks any solid form and thus your weapons are ineffective against it!" He hacks at the spirit Move to AU30; Attack 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (20) + 9 = 29; Damage 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (9) + 1 = 10 striking it a solid blow! The shadow wails in agony before it vanishes into the floor. The only sounds you hear are the sounds of your own breathing and also a faint wailing echoing all around you for a moment before it fades to silence.
Horven starts poking around the attic room and turns up an iron key hanging on a hook near the stairwell. He also spies some fine silk Varisian scarves hanging on a rack next to the bed. They are probably worth some coin.
Everyone else feel free to roll Perception checks, if they want to search the attic.
Gared reached down and grabbed Ganer's cloak and tossed it at him with an even look. "Looks like ye dropped this. There be no need to be stirring up a fuss." Gared then turned to Rekkart and punched lightly on the arm. "I'm fer sure to be glad ye weren't far behind us, Sir Rekkart! Yer sword leaves naught to be desired!"
Sir Rekkart shakes his head in a show of modesty. "Ohh, it was nothing at all. Those of the true faith find fighting against the evil lurking in the dark corners lends strength to their sword arm!" He fails to notice Ganer's appearance before the Rakshasa spawn, being so busy patting himself on the back, figuratively of course.
Gared continues the search and uncovers a knitting needle, still encrusted with dried blood, underneath the bed and also a pouch with some coins in it. Opening it reveals 10 gp and 30 sp.
"Thank you," Ganer said, a hint of disgust in his voice. He put the cloak back on before anyone noticed. He'd intended to make short work of the foe, impressing the rest with his prowess, and then frightening them into compliance with his monstrous appearance. The fact that the creature had given him more trouble than he realized, indeed the fact that he couldn't remember what it was until another called it, made that thought seem less effective than he hoped.
He quietly looked around, hoping to find something of interest, but not before he picked his shield up off the ground with his tail, handing it off to his hand. He smiled a little as he wondered if anyone noticed.
Horven debates on stuffing the scarves in his backpack, but wonders if that will bring more misfortune to the party. He shrugs and takes them anyway. He pulls the key off the hook.
"Well, this might be useful. Let's see if goes to the door on the first floor we've been wanting to get through."
Gared placed the coin purse in his back with a heavy frown, before considering the gruesome knitting needle. Perhaps the bloody reminder would serve some further purpose in the grim courthouse. Or perhaps it would remain as cold dead reminder of the terrible events that had trapped so many tormented souls here. Or perhaps he was just being melodramatic. Gared threaded the needle into his belt with care and nodded to Horven and the others, moving to take point with his bow.
Horven and Gared stash their gains away, which provokes the ire of...no one. Horven then takes the key and leads the way down the stairs and through the barrister's lounge to the first floor where the iron door awaits.
Once the heroes regroup with the other jurors, Halgrak waves the group over to one of the couches where the unconscious dwarf still moans and trashes wildly in his own personal nightmare. "Excuse me, but mebbe I should jes keep an eye on poor Tablark 'ere." He looks down at his feet. "It's not like I be much 'elp in a fight." He then picks up the dwarf and drapes him over in a fireman carry position. "I be ready now."
Ganer 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 1 = 9
Gared 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (20) + 8 = 28
Horven 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25
Ratcliff 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
Haunt 10 = 10
Gared 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5
Horven 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (11) + 3 = 14
You all proceed to the first floor and the great hall. The iron door which previously barred your progress lies to the east...however as you proceed to the door and pass under the chandelier, Gared and Horven sense something is wrong, but only Horven is quick enough to react...he looks up and sees a crack forming in the ceiling supporting the chandelier. There is a screech of metal as the chain attaching it to the ceiling gives way!
Horven, you get a single action so you may move out of the way, if you wish. The other heroes need to give me Reflex saves.
As they were coming down the stairs, Ganer watched Rekkart, wondering how best to approach, what line of conversation he should use. Should he accuse the man of falling, or allow him to claim innocence? He decided to address the lot of them, and see how the paladin reacted before he said anything.
He spoke loudly, "In my studies of the gods, I have come across no shortage of information on the undead, enough that I consider something of an expert. I mention that to explain that I have discovered something interesting about the ghost of Jarbin Mord: it is no ghost. Nor is it a poltergeist, or spectre, or any other sort of undead thing I have ever heard of. He seems to be something new, possibly unique. I have heard plenty of stories about evil men persisting beyond death as undead to torment the living, but what sort of event, I wonder, could cause a man to become some new, previously unknown sort of undead?"
When the chandelier fell, Ganer dove out of the way, quickly enough to evade the worst of it, but he was still hit by falling debris. As he got to his feet and brushed himself off, he wondered if Mord was responding to his commentary.
Gared gave a cry as he saw the chandelier begin to fall and dove off to the side, hoping to avoid the worst of the crash.
Ratcliff reflex save 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6; damage 1d6 ⇒ 1
Ratcliff squeaks in terror and rolls out of the way, barely managing to avoid getting crushed and instead suffering only a couple of cuts.
After the echoes have faded, the group proceeds to the iron door where the rest of the courthouse awaits. The key fits in perfectly and the door swings open silently revealing darkness beyond...
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23 Rova 4708 (Oathday): 0605
As the breaking rays of the dawning sun break over the city of Absalom, the usual morning activities are being kicked off by the shopkeeper and other early risers. Dogs bark, birds chirp...and in an abandoned courthouse...a door long locked and barred is opened from within, and four tired and bedraggled heroes exit the accursed courthouse, leading several survivors behind them.
As they turn to face the entrance to the courthouse, each of them spends a few moments to reflect on the previous night's events...
It was clear to everyone regardless of Mord's guilt or innocence, it was clear his purpose was to exact a bloody revenge on the remaining jurors. After the death of Malgrim and Tablark, the next juror to fall was Halgrak. He ended up trying to reattach his toes onto his feet, which while successful he did not live long enough to even do a tap dance.
The death of Ebin was not missed, as his incessant giggling nearly drove Sir Rekkart (and the rest of you) to violence. What happened to Madge was more poignant as she was reunited with her long dead father...in death. Horven can only wonder what might have been...had there been more time.
Patrissa...well her fate was best not dwelt on too much as seeing her final state was enough to cause the gorge and bile to rise in your throat...(Ganer was rather pleased with that especially after he had discovered she had enspelled him earlier) however before her death, she did help bring the conspiracy to the fore....The sordid tale sent chills down your spine, how Mord was setup by the mastermind behind the whole business.
Yet while the truth was coming out, the looming threat of Mord's spirit hung like a noose around all of your necks...as the jurors around you kept dying around you it seemed a hopeless task to find the true killer. Then the unexpected arrival of a pair of gentleman proved to be the final piece of the puzzle...the now retired Judge Silman Trabe and the barrister Alastir Wade. The two men were intimately involved with the trial, though not jurors. One of the mysteries was solved fairly uickly, who was actually behind your kidnappings...the dapper Killian was just a masquerade for one of Mord's closest friends, a disreputable fellow named Sveth. Your suspicions naturally turned to him and he would have been dealt with, but for the plucky Ratcliff. He mentioned a scar worn by the true killer on the cheek. Yet how to prove it? The knitting needle found in the upstairs attic apartment proved handy...especially as it animated and struck the killer across the cheek...Alastair's right cheek. The truth was finally revealed...but what to do with him?
A note written by Jabrin Mord and discovered provided the final piece...the hanging of the true killer would put his tortured soul to rest.
However Sir Rekkart proved to be more of an obstacle than expected, absolutely refusing to partake in the lynching until he was convinced of Mord's innocence. The fact he had condemned an innocent man to his death had proved a heady blow to him, and he confessed he would need to seek atonement for his complicity in the trial. It was a broken and humbled man who exited the courthouse with them. The other men who accomodated the heroes were Sveth and the old judge, who quickly made their farewell after a quick apology. He also said to them, "I will let the Grand Council know of what you have done here." But you all have your doubts about that...
As for a reward...you all realize you still have your lives, and also Patrissa's fire opal necklace recovered from her remains which is worth a total of 12,000 gp. Split four ways a tidy sum of 3000 gp. And with that on your mind You all decide to return to your homes and get a good night sleep...
OK congratulations on surviving the Hangman's Noose! Also DING! You have all reached 2nd level :). Go ahead and level yourselves up and feel free to spend that extra gold as well. Go ahead and post your changes in the discussion thread. In the meantime I have to read up on the Shattered Star AP and once done (which should be in a few weeks) I will open up a recruitment thread to bring in a player or two.
After surviving that horrible ordeal in the courthouse, Horven spends a couple of days practicing scary faces in the mirror (apparently intimidating people has its advantages) and learning more about Absalom and its different districts . He spends his days outside selling his wooden crafts and his nights in the taverns listening to stories. Sadly, his craftsmanship has suffered because of the events in Beldrin's Bluff. His nightmares find their way into every figurine he carves.
He resolves one morning to go to a shrine of Desna, hoping that it will ease his troubled mind. He finds his companions with whom he shares an unspoken bond.
"Hey...ah...I need to make a trip to a shrine. Do you want to come?"
Gared spent several days working as hard labor back at the inn he'd first found work in when he'd came to Absalom to try and grasp some semblance of normalcy, and to commune with his God through service. He made sure he knew where to find them and made sure the knowledge was mutual. It was only after a few days when he was approached by Horven while the dwarf chopping wood outside the small but well kept establishment known as the Bright Star.
The dwarf took a break from his work as he saw the halfling approached and wiped his brow.
"Aye master Horven, I think a visit to a place of worship might do us both some good."
The dwarf considered his work briefly, and placed the wood he'd just finished chopping in a neat pile with the rest of it's kind under a small awning. "I should be talking to master Emela before we're off. I'll introduce you if ye'd like, and I'm sure I can get ye something to eat."
I'm thinking that somewhere during the ordeal in the courthouse Ganer did make his dramatic reveal, and that you two know what he looks like now. You both said your characters wouldn't care, so I figure that is just one more thing that makes them still associate.
Ganer was with Horven when they met Gared. He'd taken a break from his normal routine, and had instead spent the past few days looking into the details of the Jarbin Mord case, hoping to find some tidbit that would explain what had happened to the man to turn him into something so extraordinary. The search had been in vane however, as he knew it would be, and in truth he relished the opportunity to break from it when Horven had tracked him down.
"I appreciate the offer, but I tend to eat alone, I'm sure you understand," He said to Gared. He was still wearing the heavy, feature concealing cloak, but now the hood was pulled back a little, enough that his face was revealed. He offered a smile, or something like it as explanation. "Have you spent much time in the Ascendant Court? I could show you around, if you like."
Gared nodded and attempted to respond with a smile of his own. "I've actually never had the chance to visit before. Do you know if they've a shrine or lodge to Erastil?"
It was not a practiced motion, and did not come easily to his features. He stepped inside for several minutes before returning, carrying a small cloth bundle. He offered it to Ganer and Horven, revealing several dried apples, a loaf of bread and a hunk of cheese.
"Thanks, Gared, but I've been eating light lately, if you know what I mean," Horven says politely. "I haven't been to the Ascendant Court much. I've been plying my trade in the Coins...and drinking my memories away in other places."
Ganer offered his thanks as he took one of the apples. He took a bite and chewed it up before he spoke. "Even the most traumatic memories are worthy of keeping. After all, without your memories, are you still Horven? Regardless, the Ascendant Court is a thing to behold. It houses temples to all the gods. . .well, I don't know if I've ever seen one for the Rough Beast, or Groteus, or Naderi, but those don't seem like the sort to have temples. My favorite is the Cathedral of the Fallen, a shrine to those who failed in their bid for divinity."
Gared thoughtfully and motioned for Ganer to lead them onward. As they walked, he tore a chunk of bread from the loaf and listened to Ganer speak about the Ascendant Court with gusto and passion. After he finished eating the dwarf considered the tiefling character and directed a question at him. "Tell me Ganer, how did you end up becoming a worshipper of Irori?"
Ganer smiled at the thought, apparently the question brought back pleasant memories. "My parents were Vudran, so he was always familiar to me, but that has little to do with my service to him. In fact, I was about to offer my services to Achaekek when I met him on the road- Irori, I mean. He was everything you would expect of a god of self mastery: quiet, unassuming and wise. He told me that he had known from the start who, and what I was, and he hadn't placed his hand on me so I could waste my talents on murder. Then he walked away, and vanished when I turned to watch him, in his place was this." With that Ganer reached into his cloak and drew out a weathered but well cared for copy of Unbinding the Fetters, Irori's holy book.
Ganer paused, contemplating what to say next, and then added, "In the end, there was a list of four that I might have wound up serving, if my bitterness hadn't clouded my vision. Of the four, Irori was the only one to achieve divinity without the Starstone, and so he was the most worthy."
"What is it about divinity that fascinates you, Ganer?" Horven asks, as they walk along. "You devote your life to a god who ascended from mortality by his own will and you look over those who have failed to pass the Test of the Starstone. I may be wrong, and please don't assume that I'm judging you, but I get the feeling that you're looking for something."
"I do not mean to be glib, Master Graveltoes, but what about divinity does not facinate you?" He let the question sink in for a moment, and then added, "The Vudrani see things differently than the Inner Sea. We believe that life is a cycle, lived and relived until. . .I'm not actaully sure. Regardless, the actions of my parents that resulted in me becoming a beastbrood, and possibly my own actions in a previous life, mean that I have a long way to go before achieving anything worthy of pride. The Starstone represents a shortcut. I study the failures, because the successes are silent."
There was more to it than that, much more, in fact, but he didn't want to bore them with esoteric details.
"Well, I can't say that I find divinity fascinating. I believe we're of two different perspectives here. I've wandered the world, living a quite conflicting life. I've tried my hand at honest trade and I've stolen from a few people. I'm probably never going to aim at being a god," Horven says with a chuckle. "I'm pretty sure I'd be a bad one. Nevertheless, my eyes are firmly affixed on the road before me, not the skies above."
Horven shrugs, telling himself that he was getting a little carried away. "I think what I'm trying to say is that divinity seems a bit too removed from the here and now for my tastes. Perhaps, it's a subject best left to scholars, like yourself, and those that watch over us."
Ganer chuckled, "You think far too much of me. Some of us cast our gaze to the heavens simply for a change of perspective. Hmm, how can I say that better? If you throw yourself off a cliff in an attempt to fly and fail, it will still take longer to hit the ground than if you tripped over your own feet. After saying that, Ganer's tone changed, he grew more somber, apparently realizing this was closer to the truth than he'd ever come. He pressed on, deciding that if anyone deserved to know what motivated him, it was these two. "In truth, once I embark on the Test of the Starstone, little else matters. In that moment, I will be known, my name will be remembered, whether carved on a wall beside a thousand others, or carved into the stone of a new temple. Make no mistake, however, I am no glory hound, I would just prefer the chance to shape the context by which I'm known, rather than it all coming back to this. He pulled back the sleeve as he spoke, to reveal an arm covered in white and black striped fur.
Gared walked along quietly with his companions, contemplating their words and the implications they held. As Ganer revealed more of his true desire, the dwarf decided to share what wisdom he had with the tiefling. "There be a great nobility in the desire to carve one's own legend and lore to be more than one's race or past actions, but I would encourage ye to consider that there may be more than one path to doing so. Ye are still young, and a whole lifetime of strivin' to make yourself known by yer actions would make a greater mark on the stone of life than leaping to an early death to make a point. If ye decide to take the Test, then do it after you've earned the right through your deeds to throw your life away or become as great as the Gods."
The dwarf paused and considered his own words and tone. "I mean no insult or slight Master Ganer, but fer sure it's been a long time since I've had care fer anyone enough to lift my own silence long enough to give them my opinion, whether or not they be askin' fer it."
The dwarf actually smiled at his companions, though his face ached with the effort.
Ganer shook his head, "I take no offense, and you needn't worry. I don't intend to put this plan into action any time soon. The Cathedral is filled with the names of children who thought too highly of their chances and threw away their lives for a fleeting chance at immmortality."
"I agree with you, Gared. There is more than one path to immortality," Horven says, raising his hands in the air. "We can go out and do great things for others and be remembered by them. Heck, I think a statue of me is even better than my name on a stone or even a temple. I'm an outdoorsy kind of halfling and a nice little statue in the woods would suit me just fine."
Horven laughs. "And you two, don't be so down on yourselves. It isn't the skin you're in that counts. It's what you do. We've put a tortured spirit to rest and solved an old mystery. Not a lot of folk can say that."
Horven pauses for a moment. "Thanks. You two made me realize that, while the courthouse was the stuff of nightmares, it's not the end of my adventuring days. It's a new day and there are more horrible creatures to face. Hopefully, less horrible than undead hobgoblins and bailiffs."
Horven finishes rambling and turns his face toward the sun. Feeling the warmth, reinvigorates him and he quickens his pace towards the Ascendant Court.
Ganer was surprised by the cheery attitude of the hafling. "Ye bring up many fine points, Horven." The dwarf thoughtfully continued as they walked along the cities many streets to arrive at their destination. "I suppose we have already made a small mark upon the stone, and all work, great or small, be starting as simply as that. If ye don't mind my asking, where do both of ye plan to go from here?"
"I have no idea. The wood carving trade isn't as good as I thought it would be. Besides, I think I'm itching to get out of Absalom. There's good work if you're willing to bend the rules, but there's only so far I'd go. I hear that the Grand Lodge is always looking for new Pathfinders. It's a bit dangerous, but what is life without a little danger? At least, it's an honest living of a sort," Horven answers. "There are a few things I need to take care of first. I've been wanting to visit a shrine of Desna...you know, for luck. Can't have enough of it, really. Then I ought to buy some new gear. I don't think my dagger is quite fit for much besides cleaning out toenails."
"Fittingly enough, your arguements have succeeded in pushing me to a conclusion that I have been edging toward for some time now. Of the Starstone Ascended, Iomedae was able to perform miracles of her own power before her ascencion, and Cayden Cailean was a celebrated hero before he entered the Cathedral. Records on Norgorber are scarce, and perilous I'm sure, so I'm left to conclude that he was already an accomplished. . .well, whatever he was. And Aroden, well, the legends say that he didn't become divine until after he'd pulled the stone out of the sea. It is becoming clear to me that knowing how others failed the test will not be enough to see to my success, I will have to have enough power of my own to earn it. Beyond that realization, I have no idea."
"Aye Ganer, I think you be right. Perhaps Master Horven is on to somethin'."Gared turned to the halfling. "I was considering joining the Pathfinders myself. I've a strong desire to dedicate me self to a community, that I can atone for my actions against Old Deadeye and me people. The Pathfinders certainly be a great group, and me skills would be put to good use there." Gared's face became contemplative again, as it so often did. "Perhaps the pathfinders could be what each of us are lookin' fer. I'd be happy for the chance to travel with the both of ye in less dire circumstance."
"Ha ha, very true, Gared," Horven laughs as they finally come to a shrine of Desna. "It's kind of pitiful looking but it'll do."
Horven seeks out a cleric of Desna and pulls out a bulging coin purse. He offers it to the cleric and walks out happily.
Donated 300 gold.
"Well, what else would you like to do while we're here?"
Gared smiled at the halfling as he made his donation, but did not comment.
"I'd be appreciatin' that tour, master Ganer. I'd also like the chance fer us to look into the Pathfinders together, if yer both willing."