|Game Master Listener|
The bustling desert city of Wati is near bursting with excitement. Adventurers from every corner of the Inner Sea region have assembled here beneath the hot Osirian sun to explore the tombs of the city’s necropolis, waiting only to be assigned their first sites for exploration. Surrounding the participants, the public has gathered to observe the ceremony as well. There is a festival-like quality in the air, and numerous street vendors are hawking goods and refreshments to participants and spectators alike. Some merchants have even brought what can only be considered adventuring gear to sell as last minute convenience items to explorers, while others advertise that they’ll buy recovered treasures and antiquities from those who visit their establishments.
In front of the imposing edifice of the Grand Mausoleum, an immense awning has been erected between decorated pillars in the market to provide shade for the priests of Pharasma overseeing the lottery. Beneath the awning, two urns sit on a table elevated a few feet above the ground on a wooden stage constructed for the event. The high priestess of the Grand Mausoleum, Sebti the Crocodile, sits behind the table, while two acolytes confer with her at either side.
Numerous adventuring groups stand in small clusters near the stage, made up of multiple nationalities and races. Like the last few evenings in the tavern most keep to themselves, but some teams engage in quiet conversation with other teams, mostly speculating about what they’ll likely face in the necropolis. You see the halfling dog soldiers, as well as the singer, Ligala, and the other three with her are, presumably, the rest of The Flickering Four.
The ceremony begins when the high priestess of the Grand Mausoleum, Sebti the Crocodile, rises to her feet and looks over the crowd. Sebti seems surprisingly young to hold such a distinguished position, but she has a confident air of authority. After calling for silence, she begins with an invocation to the Lady of Graves, followed by a brief history of the founding of the necropolis.
Soon after the Church of Pharasma arrived in Wati to rebuild and consecrate the city, a great burning rock fell from the sky into the River Sphinx where Bargetown now floats. Nefru Shepses took this as a sign of approval from our Lady of Graves, and ordered the black stone dredged from the river’s depths and carved into a capstone for a sacred obelisk, erecting the monument just inside the gates to the necropolis. She pauses then continues with a solemn tone, Today, mourners interring their loved ones inside the necropolis still stop at Pharasma’s Needle on their way to the gravesites to gain the goddess’s blessing for the deceased’s journey to the Boneyard. Those of you venturing into the necropolis tomorrow will pass this site. I hope you keep this history in your mind and in your heart as you travel through these streets that are our history.
The two acolytes step forward to stand behind the urns on the table.
Let the lottery begin! Although many of you have requested specific sites to explore, we must leave these matters to fate. The Lady of Graves is a far better judge of destiny than we of this mortal sphere. The gates of the necropolis will open at sunrise tomorrow. Use this evening to prepare yourselves for the task ahead. Let these rules guide you in your endeavors in this holy place: remember how this came to pass, every slave’s hut is a memorial, and honor the departed. May you go with the Lady’s blessing.
With that Sebti returns to her seat and the acolytes begin. First, one acolyte pulls a wooden token out of the urn before them, Daughters of the Desert! Then the next pulls a token from their urn and stands silent.
An extremely tall woman with fiery red hair ascends the stairs to speak briefly with the acolytes. They hand her what appears to be a map of some sort, and she descends the stairs to regroup with her fellow adventurers. The evening continues in this fashion for some time, with each group being called one after another. There is a delay as one woman spends quite a bit of time up on the stage. She seems to be arguing with the acolytes and even the high priestess. A Taldane by the look of her, she gets quite heated, finally snatching the paper from one of the acolytes' hands and then returns to her group. She and her party, apparently named the Scorched Hand, leave the courtyard in a rush. Another group of note are the Cryptfinders, which turn out to be led by a man named Falto, from Absalom. His swagger and smile as he comes back down the steps indicate he got exactly what he was hoping for.
Finally, one of the acolytes calls out, The Southern Osirian Trading Company! The other acolyte takes a token from the urn and they both wait patiently for your representative to approach.
Almathea shrugs her slender shoulders. "It doesn't matter to me which of us takes the token, the same thing will be written on it regardless."
Thea will not make any move to go and get the token herself, she'd rather not be the center of attention anyway.
Setesh, loaded down with adventuring equipment, and neatly dressed (although still faintly smelling of embalming fluid) waits with baited breath to discover what building the SOTC has been assigned.
I wonder troubles and treasures we will discover?
Since Micah's player is busy recovering from work, I am happy to step-up at take the token as his proxy. Let's get this show on the road :-)
|Leto V. Derexhi|
Forces of faith, let it be one of my ancestors tombs!
Leto looked around, taking in the scene of greedy, anxious adventurers waiting to be called out, the happy ones that received their call, the jury and the crew he joined on Micahs behalf lately.
Well, you seem eager Erei Jentis, but i would rest this decision upon Micah, since he brought all this together.
|Game Master Listener|
The acolytes wait patiently as Setesh and Micah make their way to the stage.
When you hand over your token, the first acolyte matches it with the token they pulled and nods. She steps aside with a polite smile and waves you on to the other. The second steps forward and speaks softly, in Osiriani, Peace be upon you. You have the honor of exploring the Tomb of Akhentepi. She holds forth in her hand a small rolled up scroll. This place of rest predates the creation of the necropolis. Remember the rules and go with the blessing of Pharasma.
The scroll is a roughly drawn map showing the location of the tomb in the necropolis. It uses several landmarks to guide the way, including Pharasma's Needle, as well as something marked Umbracene Well. The tomb itself seems to be almost on the other side of the necropolis, along the northeastern wall. Neither of you are sure quite how long it will take to reach it.
Once finished with their duties, the first acolyte speaks respectfully, The day is quickly passing and we have several more groups. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have, good sirs, but we request that you keep them brief and ask them quickly.
A link to a map of Wati has been posted under the Campaign Info tab. The map given to you by the Acolytes isn't nearly as nice, but this map should give you an idea of what places you already know about as well as where the tomb is in the necropolis. It is marked "23" if the key is difficult to read for anyone.
"Sorry I'm late," Micah calls out with a mischievous grin. He trots through the group patting Nevai on one shoulder and grabbing the offered flag from Erei, "I was engaged in important negotiations with a fetching Ulfen woman..."
He continues without ever slowing down until he arrives on stage. Offering a quick bow and an acknowledging wave to the crowd he turns to the acolytes. Smiling at them he asks, "And what does Fate hold in store for us?"
After receiving their lot and their instructions he waves to several people in the crowd as he leaves the stage and returns to the group. "We got the Tomb of Ankheteri... Sounds promising..."
|Leto V. Derexhi|
Not really, i left all that to Micah so far. It should be easy enough to find out. Knowing that church a bit, they surely wrote it down in plentyful places.
|Game Master Listener|
One of the acolytes looks glances back at Sebti looking...nervous, perhaps? She doesn't so much seem worried about speaking, only concerned whether the High Priestess is growing impatient as the day carries on.
The second bows her head respectfully as she apologizes, It is with great sorrow that I say this, but we do not have time to give justice to the story of Akhentepi. It is grand, but also long. Perhaps when you return you will be able to tell us more about him and we will have time to honor him properly.
Do you have any other...questions? There is a hint of urgency in her voice, though again, she seems to simply be trying to be polite while also moving the proceedings along as quickly as possible.
Erei turns to Nevai and speaks in an almost mocking voice as he repeats the words of the presenter.
Let these rules guide you in your endeavors in this holy place: remember how this came to pass, every slave’s hut is a memorial, and honor the departed.
Erei shrugs a bit, I think it was likely more literal than simply a general respect for the dead. Perhaps some series of passwords, traps, or common rituals used as keys in some of these sites. Still, I suspect that we'll know a bit better once we actually get underway.
"Tomb of Akhentepi? Let me think for a moment and see if I can remember anything about that location or person..."
Thea stares off into the distance as she tried to recall anything about that topic...
history: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (19) + 10 = 29
|Game Master Listener|
The acolyte smiles and bows respectfully as Setesh and Micah leave the stage, Peace be upon you, and may Pharasma keep you safe.
"Hmmm, if it is the same Akhentepi that I am thinking of, then he was explorer of note who traveled all the way to the Mwangi Expanse over two milennia ago. If his tomb has remained intact after all this time, then there is a good chance to find some rare and ancient relics that would easily command top price from any university or scholar with a private collection. I think we have likely done well with this selection, though only time will tell for certain."
Survival: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (10) + 5 = 15
Nevai glances over the map. "That's not too far from here. It'll probably take about two hours to trek over there. Hopefully a bit longer on the way back, carrying back the things we find there."
Almathea gives a little laugh at her companions eagerness to get started. "I am rather impatient to get there myself, but the High Priestess said that the gates of the Necropolis won't be open for any us until sunrise tomorrow. I would suggest a good meal, final gathering of supplies and a good nights rest to prepare for tomorrow."
"That does seem like the best course of action. We'll have a busy day tomorrow to be sure. Let's gather at the gates tomorrow morning an hour before dawn, to be certain we have all necessary supplies and everyone is ready." Nevai pauses for a moment in contemplation before adding, "Do we know what should be done if one of these other groups decides that Akhentepi's tomb is more desirable than the location they drew?"
"I don't think that it is our job to convince them. Surely we could simply report back to the officials running this that some other group is violating the rules they set forth and allow them to enforce said rules."
"So in the interim, we should just let them loot our assigned area with impunity? Bearing in mind that it will take several hours to reach the aforementioned authorities..."
"Let's just all get here at the appointed time and then nobody will beat us to our tomb." Micah offers, hoping to end that conversation. "Now, we have one last chance to purchase supplies before we go in... Do we need anything? How are we ropes and that sort of thing?"
"I have a decent assortment of basic supplies including a bit of rope, food for myself and Skyblazer, simple alchemical items and a basic assortment of weapons in case any dangerous creatures have moved in from the desert. Can someone pick locks so we don't need to damage the tomb while exploring?"
|Game Master Listener|
The night passes quietly but restlessly. There seems to be a feeling of anxiousness hanging in the air as if the whole city is waiting for dawn. When it finally arrives you find yourselves outside the gates of the necropolis. Most of the other groups had the same idea to arrive early and the courtyard is already crowded. A large group of soldiers that some of you identify as members of the Voice of the Spire stand with the acolytes in front of the gate itself.
The gates are opened as the first rays of sun come over the horizon and you are finally able to make your way into the necropolis itself. The sight of Pharasma's Needle, a large black obelisk in the middle of an open courtyard, greets you. The other groups flood into the necropolis and split off from this area, each making their own way through. You also see patrols of Pharasma's holy order prepare themselves to follow.
1d100 ⇒ 77
Nevai examines the map as you go and your group makes good time through the streets. The necropolis is silent in the light of the day. But for the wind stirring the dust, nothing at all moves. It is not long before the sounds of your footfalls are the only that you hear. It only takes an hour and a half before you reach the old city's cemetery, and after a few minutes more you find yourself outside the tomb itself.
A rectangular stone mausoleum sits alone in what appears to have once been an actual cemetery. The trunks of a few dead trees poke out of the sand around the tomb, and a hot breeze whistles through their desiccated branches. A set of massive stone double doors is affixed to the northern side of the structure, beneath a facade bearing the likeness of an Osirian man. Windblown sand is heaped around the crypt, partially burying the doors that lead within.
The name Akhentapi is engraved upon the doors in Osiriani, along with the dates of his birth and death, indicating that the deceased was born in 2416 ar and died in 2488 ar, 11 years before the Plague of Madness decimated most of the city. Even with the piled up sand you can tell the doors are twice the height of a man and made of solid stone. While they have no visible hinges, it takes little inspection to notice that they are concealed and the door is meant to swing outward.
It takes about an hour of sweaty labor to clear away the sand in front of the door. After which, you are left with a rather large set of solid stone doors with no exterior handles to grasp, or sections to push on for leverage.
The most obvious way to open the door is a Strength check. With the size of the door two other party members can help.
Perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6
"Looks like the desert is working on reclaiming this area. Time to get to work." Once everyone has had a chance to examine the outside of the tomb, Nevai sets to work clearing the door using his shield as a makeshift shovel.
When the time comes, assuming no one finds a better way, Nevai aids the Strength check.
Aid Another, Strength check: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15
"By the grace of Irori, Master of Masters, I have some skill with locks... I have founded that they provide a suitable focus for meditation..."
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (2) + 8 = 10.
Once the doors are clear, Setesh pulls out a crowbar, and attempts to open them.
Strength: 1d20 + 4 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 4 + 2 = 12.
Strength: 1d20 + 4 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 4 + 2 = 23.
Knowing that her own meager strength wouldn't be of much use, Almathea stand back and allows the men to force open the doors of the tomb. After a few seconds thought, she takes a couple more steps back, just in case and little skittering insects decided to come out into the light of day.
Forgot my engineering check: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (8) + 10 = 18
"Hmm, it does appear as if someone, at some point in time, has taken an object like a crowbar to these doors. I can't tell yet if the attempt was successful though. I do hope this tomb doesn't prove to be pillaged already."
|Game Master Listener|
Setesh manages to get the crowbar between the two massive stone doors but on his first heave part of the door chips off and the crowbar snaps out. Micah and Nevai step forward as Setesh shakes it off and jams the lever in again. With the added leverage the door scrapes open an inch at a time. You are exhausted by the time the slabs are open enough to let everyone inside, but all that washes away as you enter the tomb of Akhentepi.
The tomb is illuminated only by the light that you've brought with you and that which trickles in from the open doors. You note that there are no handles on the inside of the doors either.
This rectangular room is empty save for some engravings and fixtures upon the walls, a pair of heavy stone doors to the north, and an immense stone wheel against the south wall. The air is stale, and a layer of dust and sand covers the floor, lying in a thicker layer to the south. All four walls bear sunk-relief engravings and hieroglyphs, while small stone faces are affixed to the walls at about shoulder height in each corner. The stone wheel to the south is engraved with a large spiral and is set in stone tracks in the floor and ceiling.
A map has been added to the Campaign Info tab.
If your character only knows Osiriani and not Ancient Osiriani, you may make a Linguistics check (DC 20) to attempt to translate the ancient hieroglyphs.
Upon closer examination, you notice that the carved faces are intended to be decorative torch holders. The wheel seems to be the means to open a small 5-foot opening in the south wall. The wheel is obviously heavy, but it looks like there's room for up to four people to turn it. You think you could wedge some things into it to either aid in moving it or keep it from moving, depending on what you preferred.
Kn. Religion (Untrained): 1d20 ⇒ 2
Good thing you guys brought a cleric, am I right?
"Well, no one ever said this would be easy work. Since we might be here a while, let's get some light in here." Nevai sets about lighting torches to put in the sconces around the room. "Skyblazer, can you please keep an eye out outside and let us know if anyone tries to follow us in here?"
Take 10 Handle Animal for 13 to Watch. Nevai will lend a hand with whatever tasks the smarter folks decide to assign him.
know religion untrained: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10
Almathea moves over to the hieroglyphics, holding a lantern in her hand to provide enough light to read by.
"Ah, of course some of the first things we read in here are the usual warnings and threats made to would be tomb robbers. It reads: “Akhentepi’s tomb is well defended, and those who defile it tempt the wrath of the gods.” An additional warning advises, “The only thing the Lady of Graves despises more than the grave robber is the unsuccessful grave robber,” followed by a final admonishment to “turn back while you can.” I trust that no one here is scared away by such words?"
"This tomb also appears dedicated to more than one deity. The stone spiral on this stone wheel over here is clearly a symbol of Pharasma. I do not recognize the other two carved faces though."
Setesh chips in helpfully:
"I can help you out there; the other two faces are the likeness of Anubis, the Ancient Osiriani God of Burials and Mummification."
He then moves forward to check the room for traps.
Perception 'Take 20' = 30.
Assuming he finds none, he sets to work trying to open the door on the other side of the room, his trusty crowbar in hand.
Strength: 1d20 + 4 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 4 + 2 = 16.
Strength: 1d20 + 4 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 4 + 2 = 13.
Strength: 1d20 + 4 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 4 + 2 = 9.
Strength: 1d20 + 4 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 4 + 2 = 25.
|Game Master Listener|
After a thorough search of the room you find no sign of traps. Moving to the wheel you quickly realize that using the handles will allow for better leverage than the crowbar, but it would allow a fifth person to help, if needed. You could also use it to wedge the wheel open and keep it from closing.
With the help of a few others, Setesh manages to roll the entrance open. Light spills into the next room.
This square room is starkly devoid of any markings or adornment. In the center of the chamber’s floor, a square shaft drops straight down into darkness. A faint musty odor rises from the pit. A single piton has been hammered into the stone floor by the northeast corner of the pit, and a dusty length of rope dangles from the piton into the darkness of the shaft.
The shaft is 10 feet square and it appears deliberately constructed to be difficult to climb. The end of the shaft isn't obvious with normal vision, though those with low-light vision or darkvision can see that it drops about 60 feet down. The floor below seems to be clear of any obstruction. The rope extends only 5 feet into the shaft before ending, having been cut at that point. The rope is thoroughly rotted and crumbles when it is handled.
Stealth: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (14) + 8 = 22
Perception (Skyblazer): 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (9) + 14 = 23
Perception (Almathea): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (12) + 9 = 21
Perception (Erei): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17
Perception (Leto): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15
Perception (Micah): 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (20) + 0 = 20
Perception (Nevai): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11
Perception (Setesh): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (7) + 10 = 17
You all hear the cry of a falcon from outside, so it is no surprise when you hear slight scraping on the stones and see movement near the door of the Tomb. Because of their small size and transparent nature, it takes a moment to realize what you're looking at when they enter. It appears to be three small scorpions, but their shells are translucent allowing you to see their internal organs.
Knowledge (Nature) is appropriate. There is no surprise round and because of Skyblazer's call you have a moment to position yourselves as you see fit.
Init: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (13) + 5 = 18
Round 1 / Initiative 18
"See-through scorpions. As if normal ones weren't creepy enough already."
Almathea tosses off a small glob of acid as she draws her crossbow.
ranged touch attack: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (15) + 3 = 18
damage: 1d3 ⇒ 2
"I can think of far worse things... Shadows, for example..."
Setesh draws his heavy mace, and moves into position to threaten the scorpions.
I can't access GoogleDocs from work, so I can't see the map.
"Apparently we should have closed the door behind us," Micah quips. Drawing his ornate, jeweled cutlass he moves toward the exterior door (and the danger). As he gets close to the scorpions he is careful to step off to one side to allow a clear line of fire for his companions...
initiative: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5
Nevai draws his khopesh and readies his shield, standing in the middle, to defend Almathea and Erei.
If you'd like me to stand aside, say so, and I can move as needed.
Initiative: 1d20 ⇒ 16