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The Pact Stone Pyramid (Inactive)

Game Master Pact Stone GM

A Pathfinder Module, converted from 3.5 to the Pathfinder system, with a party of level 7.


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Male Human Wizard Level 8 - Conjurer
Pact Stone GM wrote:
The terminus of the shaft was guarded by a terrible mummy, much faster than the shambling creatures in Osirion's campfire tales. And when it struck a man in the heart, he exploded into a dust, leaving the clerics unable to resurrect him.

"Sounds wonderful. To lessen our chances of meeting a similar fate to these unfortunate chaps, perhaps we should enlist a willing subject to scout slightly ahead and encounter for us at least some of the potentially unpleasant surprises that surely await. I speak, of course, about a most amicable arcane servant who can walk ahead, perhaps carrying this useless bow of mine or one of these broken spears, with light suitably placed upon it. He will not trigger all known traps or wards, but he may at least serve as a useful initial distraction to any foul guardians, tripwires, and the like. Shall I summon such a servant to sally forth ahead of us?"


Male Dwarf Fighter 5/Rogue(Trapsmith) 2
stats:
Hp's: 77; AC 23, T: 12, FF: 18; Perc. +12; Fort: +9; Ref: +8, Will: +7

"Alas! Finished! It looks good, lass." He tells Xerissa, impressed. "Nice addition you've added to the stones. I like it. I just wish I could be here to watch it work." He winks.

Breach then takes his trusty axe and shield back out and moves toward the others. "Alright, what do we 'ave here? Some dead folk it appears. Was it a trap or some creature that got 'em?" He looks around for any sign of traps within the area.

I like the Speak with dead idea, myself. Could prove quite useful.


Breach Shattershield aka Javell wrote:
Breach then takes his trusty axe and shield back out and moves toward the others. "Alright, what do we 'ave here? Some dead folk it appears. Was it a trap or some creature that got 'em?" He looks around for any sign of traps within the area.

-

Breach too scans for traps. Although he makes the same observations as the other dwarves about the grade of the slope, he does not detect any sign of danger - apart from the obvious relatively fresh corpses.


Male Half-orc Barbarian (Invulnerable Rager) 4 / Sorcerer 1/Dragon Disciple 3

Emh...arn't we planning to rest soon anyway? Why not have Donkor cast the spell, then prep it again?


Male Human Cleric/8

Okay, Speak With Dead takes 10 minutes to cast. I think it's probably worthwhile, and nobody seems to have any objections. I think I will get to ask 3 questions. I will go with the obvious "how did you die" to start and then improvise from there based on the response. Followup wil likely be "how do we avoid it/where was it triggered" and last likely "how awesome is it to be in the presence of Pharasma".


Male Dwarf Cleric 8

Are we resting soon? That would be terrific as I would love to reset most of my spell list which was designed for sneaking around not fighting plus the fact that we leveled but I am not sure it is an option yet.


“The First Question”

Calling for silence, the Sooron begins an ancient ritual, known to but a few. He selects one of the corpses and slowly traces a glowing spiral over the body. As he does so, the spiral on the back of Donkor’s hand begins to glow as well, briefly illuminating the shadowy corridor in a soft white light. Invoking the power of his goddess who oversees the very dead themselves, he commands the body to answer his call.

In life, the dead man had a different alignment that Donkor. This, unfortunately, means the corpse gets a Will save.

Will save for deceased slave vs DC 16: 1d20 ⇒ 3 (fails!)

With a gasp, the dead man’s mouth suddenly flies open. Ghukan steps back in shock, hitting the back of his head against the wall. “What horror is this!?”

Donkor ignores him. Instead focussed on his charge. He can feel that the Bone Yard has returned part of the essence of the departed back to his body, but only for a short time. He must make haste.

"How did you die?" the Sooron asks.

The corpse’s jaw bone moves, opening and closing, as the answer comes:

“A horrible curse! It was a giant snake, like those from the banks of the River Sphinx! Only so much bigger. So fast it was! It wrapped around me and crushed me. The pain! I couldn’t wait to die. I could feel the blood bursting in my head. Those horrible hieroglyphs flowing before me. When darkness came, I was relieved.”

Please! Bring my body back to the River Sphinx. That’s where my ancestors lie. Not this terrible place. Please! I know it was wrong to trespass here. I don’t belong in Ahn’Sehlota. I know that – they made me come! I swear!


Halstadt Morgrym wrote:
Are we resting soon? That would be terrific as I would love to reset most of my spell list which was designed for sneaking around not fighting plus the fact that we leveled but I am not sure it is an option yet.

-

Just for clarification, in case it assists. In order for Hal to re-do/get his spells back, he would need dawn to return, as well as an 8 hour rest. It is barely early afternoon at this point. So the Dune Squad would be looking at very lengthy camp out.

On the other hand, this pyramid has been here a very long time and it isn't going anywhere. Where's the rush, it would seem. (Unless you fear the explosion wall will be breached, I suppose).


Male Dwarf Cleric 8

I think timing matters. The numbers we have seen are important or we would not have received visions regarding them. We should push a bit farther to secure the area around us if nothing else and then rest assuming it is an option of course. Do we know how long the Exemplar is waiting to hear word from the doomed before sending in another set of explorer's?


Male Dwarf Barbarian (Breaker) 8
Hurgah the Reaver wrote:
Emh...arn't we planning to rest soon anyway? Why not have Donkor cast the spell, then prep it again?

Hoping. There's an unfortunate difference.


Halstadt Morgrym wrote:
Do we know how long the Exemplar is waiting to hear word from the doomed before sending in another set of explorer's?

-

If asked, Lydia can tell Hal that Khymrasa waited approximately one day (24 hours) before she sent each wave.


Moonpate wrote:
"Sounds wonderful. To lessen our chances of meeting a similar fate to these unfortunate chaps, perhaps we should enlist a willing subject to scout slightly ahead and encounter for us at least some of the potentially unpleasant surprises that surely await. I speak, of course, about a most amicable arcane servant who can walk ahead, perhaps carrying this useless bow of mine or one of these broken spears, with light suitably placed upon it. He will not trigger all known traps or wards, but he may at least serve as a useful initial distraction to any foul guardians, tripwires, and the like. Shall I summon such a servant to sally forth ahead of us?"

-

Osirion speakers only:

"Could everyone please stop ranting in code so I can follow what the scorch is going on here?!"


Male Human Wizard Level 8 - Conjurer
Ghukan the Unfairly Conscripted wrote:

Moonpate responds by simply glaring at the guard who so rudely whacked him back at the entrance to the pyramid.


Female Elf Druid 5 (desert)/Rogue 3 (spy)
Moonpate wrote:
"Sounds wonderful. To lessen our chances of meeting a similar fate to these unfortunate chaps, perhaps we should enlist a willing subject to scout slightly ahead and encounter for us at least some of the potentially unpleasant surprises that surely await. I speak, of course, about a most amicable arcane servant who can walk ahead, perhaps carrying this useless bow of mine or one of these broken spears, with light suitably placed upon it. He will not trigger all known traps or wards, but he may at least serve as a useful initial distraction to any foul guardians, tripwires, and the like. Shall I summon such a servant to sally forth ahead of us?"

"Now you're cooking with alchemical substances. Do it!"

Though possibly wait until Donkor is done with his last two questions before casting cause I'm guessing the duration on your summons is in rounds not minutes.


Male Human Cleric/8

Okay, question two. "Where were you when you triggered the snake?"

As a follow-up, how general of a question is likely to garner a response? For the third question, could I ask something like "What information do you have that will help us safely explore this pyramid"? If so, I will go with that.


Male Dwarf Barbarian (Breaker) 8
Donkor Sooron wrote:
..."What information do you have that will help us safely explore this pyramid"? ...

From the tone of the first answer, I suspect any answer to this question will be overwhelmingly defeatist.


Donkor Sooron wrote:

Okay, question two. "Where were you when you triggered the snake?"

As a follow-up, how general of a question is likely to garner a response? For the third question, could I ask something like "What information do you have that will help us safely explore this pyramid"? If so, I will go with that.

-

I don't think there's any restrictions on the questions you can ask. I suppose the risk is in how general an answer you might get, but that's the risk with most questions anyways.


The Second Question

Donkor Sooron with great solemnity wrote:
Okay, question two. "Where were you when you triggered the snake?"

-

The corpse answers, it's jaw bone slowly opening and closing. Its chest rises and falls mechanically, forcing air across its tongue.

"The moment we dared to violate the sanctum of the Four Pharaohs of Ascension, the curse was unleashed upon us. It caught up to us half way down the entry shaft. How can you flee such a thing? The foolish act of entering the pyramid threshold was enough to seal our fate."


Donkor Sooron wrote:
. . . "What information do you have that will help us safely explore this pyramid"?. . .

-

"You should fall to your knees and beg for mercy! Beg! It is said the Four Pharaohs of Ascension could be merciful to their people at times. Perhaps they will forgive you and permit you to crawl away on your belly!"

"This place was not meant for the common people - not even for the great. It was a secret sanctum for the eyes of the Four alone! Too late I have learned this and now I will never again see my beautiful river--"

And with that the silver spiral begins to un-trace itself, slowly dissolving from the corpses chest. The corpse's jaw falls slack once more and the body becomes inert.

You can't help but feel you have witnessed something truly powerful. How omnipotent is the Mother of Souls that even the dead will speak when commanded in the presence of her symbol?

Though neither are particularly devout, having witnessed Donkor's communion with the dead, both Lydia and Ghoukan quietly trace a spiral over the hearts as a sign of respect - or perhaps to ward off an anticipated evil.


"I'm not sure we'll be able to," she says softly, looking down at the corpse, "but after this is over, if we can, I'd sure like to get that slave buried back at his river."

"I know I'd sleep better. . ."


Male Dwarf Fighter 5/Rogue(Trapsmith) 2
stats:
Hp's: 77; AC 23, T: 12, FF: 18; Perc. +12; Fort: +9; Ref: +8, Will: +7

"I'll be for helpin' ya, lass, don'tcha be for worryin'. I give ya me word." He nods as his gaze moves toward the darkness, the grip on his axe and shield becoming a bit tighter. "Whatever it was, when we meet this snake-creature, the last thing it'll be seein' is me axe comin' for it's head."


Karek Kogan wrote:
Awesome! It looks like we're ready to go. I'm fine with not collapsing the tunnel. Speak with Dead is the only outstanding option we may want to try, and that's left up to the Soroon.

-

With Donkor's spell done, it looks like the Dune Squad will advance in its new pre-fab default marching order - or Moonpate will send a summoned scout. Let me know which!


The Scarab gives her appreciation to Breach for his vow. Her eyes then turn forward, straining at the darkness that fills the shaft beyond the limits of Gandel's magical lights.


Male Human Wizard Level 8 - Conjurer
Xerissa Auraraun wrote:
I'm guessing the duration on your summons is in rounds not minutes.[/ooc]

Unseen Servant cast from a scroll should have a duration of an hour if I understand it correctly.


Male Dwarf Fighter 5/Rogue(Trapsmith) 2
stats:
Hp's: 77; AC 23, T: 12, FF: 18; Perc. +12; Fort: +9; Ref: +8, Will: +7

Default marching order? Where is Breach within the order?


Male Human Cleric/8

Sooron gives thanks to Pharasma for her guidance, and translates the dead man's words for the non-Osirion speakers. "If Pharasma wills the journey to get this clay to it's resting place, it will be so."

I believe that we may have been remiss in studying the hieroglyphs in this corridor, both for meaning and magic. Sooron will now cast detect magic and attempt to read the writings on the wall.


Male Halfling Bard (Archivist) 6 / Pathfinder Delver 2

Safe to assume that Gandel has been studying the hieroglyphs as well.


Breach Shattershield aka Javell wrote:
Default marching order? Where is Breach within the order?

-

Javell - check the Discussion thread (September 16 and following).

Based on the a comment Breach made at the time, he's guarding the rear on the left side.

It's not too late to get in on the discussion and swap things around.


Donkor Sooron wrote:
I believe that we may have been remiss in studying the hieroglyphs in this corridor, both for meaning and magic. Sooron will now cast detect magic and attempt to read the writings on the wall.

-

Quite possibly!

This requires a Linguistics check (us old timers would call it Decipher Script but it's been folded into the Linguistics skill now).

However, Donkor has also studied the language Ancient Osirion. This give him a +5 bonus to his roll.

I see that Gandel is also going to get in on the act. You guys might wish to decide whether your best bet is two individual rolls or an Aid Another. I suspect you are both auto successes on Aid Another.


Gandel wrote:
Safe to assume that Gandel has been studying the hieroglyphs as well.

-

Not exactly, but he can now! (As above: Linguistics with a +5 for Ancient Osirion)

Gandel (and Donkor) will discover that the beginning of the writings has been sealed off by a granite wall loaded with explosives. Hopefully he can piece the missing message together from the context of the panels that follow.


Moonpate wrote:
Unseen Servant cast from a scroll should have a duration of an hour if I understand it correctly.

-

You do! Or at least that's my understanding as well.

Ha, ha, Nice move Phrip. This reminds me of the time Mr. Monotony ran me through the classic "Tomb of Horrors", my first time through in earlier edition days, many, many years ago. I went through an obscene amount of unseen servant spells. It was totally worth it.

The spell was nerfed to be a somewhat less certain trap detector in 3.0, but by Moonpate's description above it sounds like you are ahead of me on that.

Incidentally, Hal, Breach and Gandel have likely deduced that the Scarab has the spell unseen servant on her list and keeps it prepared (and with a higher caster level/duration). If Moonpate wanted to save his scroll, he could always encourage her to step in.

This kinda goes against the general philosophy belief that NPCs shouldn't take over the show, but since it was Moon's idea to begin with, he probably wouldn't be too offended if he got to save his scroll.


Male Human Cleric/8

I think I'll opt to go it alone on the translation, and let Gandel do his own as well. I think the probabilities are better than me giving him just an additional +2. I'm not really mathy though. :)

Linguistics +5 skill, +5 ancient osirion bonus: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (12) + 10 = 22


Using the light of his phylactery, Donkor peruses the vertical panels of pictographs one at a time.

Results of Donkor's Study of the hieroglyphs:

There is a massive amount of text lining the walls. The panels Donkor can see between the explosion wall and the end of Gandel's light are part of a much larger treatise.

What he can learn is that the hieroglyphs appear to be a massive listing of the laws of Tumen. Tumen being an ancient city somewhere in Osirion's desert. Donkor may recall Gandel's map indicating Tumen was supposed to be somewhere north of here. The glyphs describe Tumen as the capital of a vast empire - one stretching quite far beyond the borders of what is Osirion today.

Many of the laws described are quite strict and detailed. There is one that describes the maximum amount of camels that may pass on a specific city street at one time. The penalties are almost universally harsh. Sometimes the penalties listed for infractions are born by entire families or even villages.

The laws are ordered by an advanced numbering system, one with a sophistication that is not in use by most nations even today. Donkor remembers Xerissa's father being confounded with the advanced mathematics found in the Veinstone pyramid.

In any event, these walls are a treasure of historical data multiple millennium old. Perhaps Donkor even feels a twinge of guilt at warping one panel into a featureless wall. But probably not if it saved all their lives. . .

That represents about a half hour of study.


Pact Stone GM wrote:
Incidentally, Hal, Breach and Gandel have likely deduced that the Scarab has the spell unseen servant on her list and keeps it prepared (and with a higher caster level/duration). If Moonpate wanted to save his scroll, he could always encourage her to step in.

-

I may have gotten ahead of myself there - forgive my enthusiasm. Re-reading Moon's prior post about the unseen servant, I see he is trying something very specific. If he decides to go for it, he might want to cast it himself so he can control it exactly as he wants it.


Male Halfling Bard (Archivist) 6 / Pathfinder Delver 2

Gandel's Linguistics check: 1d20 + 8 + 5 ⇒ (16) + 8 + 5 = 29


The results of Gandel's study of the hieroglyphics:

Gandel deciphers the same information from Donkor's spoiler tag above.

In addition, Gandel finds a tiny rune embedded amongst the larger hieroglyphs on the west wall (on his left-hand side). He recognizes it as a composite containing all four of the personal runes of the Four Pharaohs of Ascension.*

If you take the character which hides the rune and read left to right, instead of vertically, as would be normal, the hidden character repeats eleven symbols later, and then again eleven symbols later, and so on. There appears to be a hidden message which can be constructed from reusing selected characters from those setting out the laws of Tumen.

The Ancient Osirion hidden message is this:

He [A universal pronoun, not necessarily male oriented as is the case in Taldan (common).]
Who [Not a glyph itself, but the word is inferred from the positions of the preceding and following characters.]
Cannot [or possibly 'does not' or 'will not' - the precise meaning was never determined by scholars on account of too few samples with sufficient context.]
follow. . . [but a broader word meaning 'adhere', be 'responsible for' or possibly 'commit to'. Not meaning to trace a path.]

It then ends, ominously hinting that there must be more. But if there is indeed more to the hidden message, it would be set out deeper in the passage, beyond the range of Gandel's light.

*The rune of subjugation, the rune of the desert, the rune of fealty, and the rune of reckoning.


Male Dwarf Barbarian (Breaker) 8

As Donkor and Gandel scan the walls, and a threat expected does not show itself, Karek begins to remember just how tired he is. Still at the front of the line, he sags against the wall, and passes around a bottle of strong Vjarik spirits, to bolster the courage of those assembled.


Once offered, Ghukan takes a swig of Karek's bottle. A moment later he makes a strange whining sound as he tries to cover-up his gag and spew reflex.

He passes it back, trying to pretend he enjoyed it, but fooling nobody.


Male Human Cleric/8

Sooron shares his results with the rest of the group, in common and Osirion. Lots of interesting information, but probably not a whole lot that will help us explore the pyramid.

Looks like next move is Moonpate's, if you want to proceed that way. I wholeheartedly advocate sending an expendable scout, be it an unseen servant or Ghukan. (the last definitely not spoken in Osirion)


Donkor Sooron wrote:
. . . Looks like next move is Moonpate's, if you want to proceed that way. I wholeheartedly advocate sending an expendable scout, be it an unseen servant or Ghukan. (the last definitely not spoken in Osirion)

-

To save some time, let's say here is the results of a Sense Motive by Donkor: sending the Gallant Ghouk is within the realm of possibility but would be quite tricky.

Previously he believed he was superior and was inclined to order others ahead as his meat shield. Now he is feeling a tad insecure in the presence of Exemplar-selected experts, many which have magical items and abilities. If anything, they should go first and he should hang back.

It would take some considerable Diplomatic persuasion, a Bluff, or magical compulsion to get him to go first down the hall into the black.


Male Dwarf Cleric 8

Hal listens to Moonpate's suggestion and nods in approval. For a second he considers it then turns to Lydia, "Lydia, you do possess such a spell correct? Can you use it to scout ahead of us as we go? It may prove useful to get an idea of what is coming besides this giant snake. Hydra's, giant snakes - we have not made great friends with the reptile community during this adventure. I wonder though what a giant snake trapped in a tomb for thousands upon thousands of years fed on to stay alive?"


Halstadt Morgrym wrote:
Hal listens to Moonpate's suggestion and nods in approval. For a second he considers it then turns to Lydia, "Lydia, you do possess such a spell correct?

-

"I do," she nods.

Halstadt Morgrym wrote:
Can you use it to scout ahead of us as we go? It may prove useful to get an idea of what is coming besides this giant snake.

-

"Sort of - I won't see what the servant sees. But if it were to trigger something like a pit or a deadfall, that we would see."

"What Mr. Potentate is proposing is to use the spell to mimic a person, possibly to lure this serpent out of hiding. For that, I would need his help or maybe Gandel's. It's a bit beyond my abilities."

Halstadt Morgrym wrote:
Hydra's, giant snakes - we have not made great friends with the reptile community during this adventure. I wonder though what a giant snake trapped in a tomb for thousands upon thousands of years fed on to stay alive?"

-

"My country's embalmers are capable of mummifying both men and beasts alike to create tomb guardians. It is said that the ancients took that art to even higher levels than are seen today. Perhaps that is what is at work here."

Then she adds, "But just because such an undead creature would not need food to survive, doesn't mean it won't eat us."


Male Dwarf Cleric 8

Hal smiles, [b] "If the beastie is not living the power of Angradd will free it from its earthly confinement allowing it to find peace in... well wherever such beasts go after their deaths".


Male Human Wizard Level 8 - Conjurer
Lydia of Sothis wrote:


-"I do," she nods.

With a nod and a wink to Lydia, Moonpate grandly flourishes a small leather scroll case from one of his many hidden pockets.

"Allow me, fair lady."
He uncorks the small case and unfurls a single vellum page. Muttering under his breath, he reads the crabbed arcane letters and tosses it into the air with the last spoken syllable. The page vanishes in a faint shimmering. Moon rubs his pate thoughtfully for a moment and then addresses the blank air before him:
"I will call you Anyo, in honor of said person's recent spectacular demise. You shall serve me faithfully, I have no doubt. Please carry this bow and that broken spear before you after donning that poor fellow's shirt. You will walk twenty paces ahead of this fine dwarf, until further instruction is warranted. Proceed with the aplomb worthy of your master."


Male Dwarf Barbarian (Breaker) 8

Karek caps up the bottle, vaguely alarmed that Moonpate didn't want a swig. He looks at him closely, to verify that he has the right caster, before suiting up and setting off down the hall (twenty paces) behind the empty red shirt.


Male Half-orc Barbarian (Invulnerable Rager) 4 / Sorcerer 1/Dragon Disciple 3

Hurgah moves along in the center of the group, doing his best to keep alert despite his significant lack of rest.


Male Dwarf Cleric 8

Hal will move along with the group standing next to Lydia looking for any sign of the snake whether alive or undead.

Hal will turn to Moonpate, "Is 20' ahead going to provide us with enough warning? In the dark Karek's dwarven eyes can see 60'so if something should befall your scout Karek can spot it and this will give us more time to react to any dangers, do you agree?"


Male Human Wizard Level 8 - Conjurer
Halstadt Morgrym wrote:

Hal will move along with the group standing next to Lydia looking for any sign of the snake whether alive or undead.

Hal will turn to Moonpate, "Is 20' ahead going to provide us with enough warning? In the dark Karek's dwarven eyes can see 60'so if something should befall your scout Karek can spot it and this will give us more time to react to any dangers, do you agree?"

"Just so. Anyo, keep your pace within 50 feet of Master Karek.

And friend dwarf, did I just see a bottle of fine spirits being passed around. I must have missed the sampling whilst summoning Anyo. Perhaps there is still a jot left to wash the dust from my throat?"


Male Dwarf Barbarian (Breaker) 8

Strange how it's such a precise measurement. 60 feet, exactly.

Ov course, Masder Moonbade. My bleasure. Karek, much relieved, passes the bottle to the wizard, and moves forward.


Karek Kogan wrote:
Strange how it's such a precise measurement. 60 feet, exactly.

-

I believe the 60-foot range of dwarven vision in dark tunnels is one of the specific teachings of Angradd. Karek is such an impious heathen.

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