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Mahasi hands Deaglan the vial as he scans the illusions. Oddly, the water walls are actually accurate, but the water itself now shows as dark, stagnant hues that at the very least should not be consumed. The little fishes and most of the coral are also gone, although three patches still remain.
Mahasi can also tell that the giant anemone still stands out from among the water
Been about a day, so Deaglan's single vote wins!
"Very well!", chirps the helmet as the party approaches the northern door.
Deaglan opens the door, revealing a tunnel of salty air as the only dry space in the room. Surrounding the tunnel on both sides is a massive body of clear blue water, magically suspended and prevented from collapsing upon the passage by some invisible force. Hills of coral cover the sea floor, bristling with all manner of plants, tiny darting fish, and anemones. The tunnel leading through this watery chamber bends and forks throughout the room, leading to wooden doorways positioned to the west and northeast.
A Blue: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (8) + 10 = 18
A Red: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (1) + 10 = 11
A Purple: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (15) + 10 = 25
One anemone stands out from the others, being an usual specimen of giant albino anemone.
Bah, fair enough. Wish I could mark that it relates to Eyes of the Ten.
@Deaglan: Of course!
Flying from above, Quarr gets the drop on the bird while Deaglan's thick dwarf fingers manage to extract a strange beetle-shaped amulet from its gullet. "HooooOOooooot!", calls out Shi-Tashi as the room immediately darkens, the starry night sky gone, the obsidian hues of the cliff erased from existence.
Mahasi can tell that the illusionary magic he felt before in the room is now gone.
DC 22 Spellcraft:
The amulet is a golembane scarab that allows the wearer to damage any golems as if they have no damage reduction and to detect golems within a 60' as a standard action.
From this room are two exits: the norther door at the end of the walkway, or the arched passage to the south that reveals a lush, verdant landscape.
I apologize for the confusing elevations; the mud elementals are on the ground floor, the party is on a walkway that is 40' above, although there is a sloping stairway that connects to the floor, and the lightning elemental is 20' above that (or 60' above the floor). However, for the sake of expediency and the fact you could ready the fireball toss for an appropriate moment to hit them all, I'll allow it.
Quarr's bomb, however, will only target lightning as there is not near enough blast radius to hit over a 40' area
Likewise, I'm having your attack be a readied action Deaglan
Lightning Reflex: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (1) + 8 = 9
Quarr's bomb jolts the lightning being before it is incinerated by Mahasi's fireball! One of the mud elementals dries out and moves sluggishly while the other used his ally as a shield, taking far less damage.
Shilyn decides a single arrow at the blazed mud should do the trick.
Shilyn shortbow @ mud Red: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (15) + 6 = 21
And the piercing arrow causes the elemental to collapse.
The last elemental comes up, gliding through the stone with ease, but Deaglan's hammer smashes it with gusto, sending dried mud everywhere!
"Hoot! Hrttt...", squawsk Shi-tashi, the last hoot sounding forced.
"You do truly waste no time.", Melabdara ponders out loud at the quick destruction of "The Gauntlet"'s foes.
DC 15 Heal check:
Sounds like something's stuck in its throat or gullet.
Mahasi finds powerful illusionary magic in the room; the power of the aura is immense and the readings of the magical energies cause his skin to vibrate until he can adjust to it. He finds that the area is under a powerful illusionary terrain, but also can tell that such magic, for it to last however millennia must be anchored to something as a beacon for the magic.
However, his spellcasting also attracted the attention of the lightning and the mud, both of which takes a vaguely humanoid shape and start moving towards the party!
"Hoot hoot!", retorts Lord Shi-tashi.
"Starting the Guantlet prematurely I see; a cautious lot you are.", the helmet judging the party as the elementals get closer.
L: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11
M1: 1d20 ⇒ 12
M2: 1d20 ⇒ 9
Deaglan: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (16) + 1 = 17
Mahasi: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15
Quarr: 1d20 + 7 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 7 + 2 = 22
Shilyn: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15
Varian: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 2 = 20
Init Order (round 1) bold = up!
"It is dangerous to question Lord Shi-tashi's motives!", quips the guide helmet.
"Hoot", answers Shi-tashi.
DC 15 Sense Motive:
The helmet, Melabdara, is jesting with you, in at least that the owl is not some special lord or overseer. But it may have some importance...
Bah, forgot Paizo's word filter <_<
With Quarr flying up to tether Deaglan's rope, the party has no problems reaching the topmost platform.
Each layer, as shown, increases in elevation by 10'. Even then, the topmost layer ascends a bit higher to be just over 40' above the floor.
In stark contrast to the blazing sun above, the chamber ahead has a dark night sky full of twinkling stars. Running southwest to northeast is a jagged bridge of land leading over a huge ravine. Obsidian cliffs descend from the land bridge on both the left and right sides, plummeting downward to the hard dirt forty feet below, which is intermittently dotted with dead trees whose roots appear to claw at the soil. A set of natural stairs rises from the chasm's floor in the southwestern portion of the room. To the south is a small tunnel dug out of the chasm wall at the base of the valley, and to the north a wooden door is set into the black rock where the bridge meets the chasm's edges.
In the sky is a spark of crackled lightning that seems to orbit over the room, while down below, a pair of mud blobs roil in the dirt near the trees. Finally, a white-feathered owl with red eyes stares at you as you walk in. "Hoot!", it calls.
"Ahh, that is the call of Lord S&&*ashi, overseer of the Guantlet."
Actually, the tiny little fellas are tiny so no reach! Also, had to move you slightly because your original location requires a 10' climb. However, due to the lack of reach, no worries on your part!
Shilyn Bad Luck attack: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8
Shilyn almost stabs the tiny menace through, but the glare of the sun above reflects off of a shiny bit of from the tall, western hoodoo, to her rapier, and then into her eyes, causing her aim to falter!
Mahasi meanwhile moves into position to shock the maligned creatures, only to find two more of them lurking behind the rocks!
Mahasi SR check against V2: 1d20 + 7 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 7 + 2 = 26
Mahasi's resolve is stronger than the bad luck and the lightning fries 2/3 of the foes!
The rest of the party easily mops up the last two gremlins With Quarr able to fly, Varian's reach, and the lack of the hammer guys to knock down hoodoos, the menaces are done
DC 20 Kn: Nature, +2 for dwarves who can make this untrained:
The shiny metal that messed up Shilyn's aim is actually mithral ore! It looks like it can be dug out from the hoodoo in 30 minutes.
"Interesting...", Melabdara muses. [b]"Up ahead, if you dare to climb, is 'The Gauntlet'
Don't have to roll for damage or other things, just the attack portion :)
As Varian moves closer, the sound of metal hitting rock can be heard again!
DisDev: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (20) + 9 = 29
The rocks tumble on top of the aasimar who almost gets out of the way, before some dust gets up his nose, causing him to sneeze and throw his head into one of the toppling rocks.
Behind the now smashed hoodoo are another duo of a dog-faced creature and its hammer-wielding crab-headed ally who promptly high five each other and point at the injured aasimar.
Varian then slams his hammer, smashing the little dog-headed creature in reach P1, he almost fells it in a single blow, but it barely stands!
"The denizens are restless it seems.", quips the helmet as it floats by Mahasi's side.
Init Order (round 1) Bold = up!
Quarr drinks something and mutates even more!
Once again, the little crab-headed man takes his hammer and tries to knock down another hoodoo!
Disable Device: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (12) + 9 = 21
It gets close, but can't knock the stone enough to cause it to topple!
Init Order (round 1) Bold = up!
Quarr rises up, being level with the sloped passage to the northwest. Down below, he sees the little man with a hammer Shilyn described and notes its crab-like head, but next to him is a tiny dog-faced creature with a tiny bow and arrow. It looks up at you pointing!
Quarr Fly: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (6) + 10 = 16
Quarr Fly: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (19) + 10 = 29
V1 DisDev: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (20) + 9 = 29
Quarr, usually better at fly, almost stumbles during his ascent though as he almost hyper-extends his wing as he climbed up.
Meanwhile, as Mahasi enters the room... the little man Shilyn spotted smacks his hammer against the hoodoo it is next to topples over into Shilyn and Mahasi!
Mahasi Reflex vs DC 17: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25
Mahasi expertly avoids it. Shily, though, was about to step backwards, but somehow slips on a pebble, causing her to stagger her evasive maneuver and get bashed in the head by the lead portion of the hoodoo which is now in ruins on the floor.
With Shilyn's bleeding headwound, the little dog-faced man, now visible to all, giggles with malice. Brown P textbox on the map Meanwhile, the other little crab-head man runs to the east behind another hoodoo. Green V textbox on map Worse, the sound of more giggles can be heard throughout the room, exposing more little creatures hiding about unseen.
DC 13 Kn: Nature, must roll twice and take the lowest result:
The dog-faced creature is a pugwampi, a gremlin of bad luck. Anyone within 20' is afflicted with horrible bad luck that will plague them as long as the gremlin is around!
Bad luck in this case is rolling twice for ALL d20 rolls and taking the lowest. Only those blessed by luck having a luck bonus, gnolls, and other gremlins are immune to this effect.
Being fey, they have some small spell resistance and require cold iron to fully damage them. Finally, once a day they can try to willfully shatter unattended objects, often in conjunction with the bad luck to cause increased mayhem!
DC 15 Kn: Nature, must roll twice and take the lowest result:
The crab-headed thing is a vexgit, a gremlin of destruction. They are surprisingly strong for their size and experts of destroying and disabling objects, relishing the mayhem of crippled wagon wheels, faulty doors, and other such mishaps.
Being fey, they have some small spell resistance and require cold iron to fully damage them. Finally, once a day they can destroy metal upon touch!
The small, round circular areas on the map are hoodoos. The creatures have shown they can be toppled with a good enough Disable Device or Strength check, falling in the opposite direction of the person. Fallen hoodoos are marked with the small explosion callout on the map.
P1: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25
P2: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13
P3: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16
P4: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
V1: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (20) + 1 = 21
V2: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (19) + 1 = 20
Deaglan: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4
Mahasi: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (10) + 3 = 13
Quarr: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (17) + 7 = 24
Shilyn: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (12) + 3 = 15
Varian: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 2 = 15
P1 arrow @ Quarr: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (16) + 3 = 19
The little dog-faced man in the open fires a toothpick-sized arrow at Quarr! The arrow hits his face, causing some painful irritation! Only 1 non-lethal damage
Init Order (round 1) Bold = up!
The party passes the first door and heads to the end of the hallway. Shilyn does her first bit of snooping and, finding the door unlocked and untrapped, opens it.
Deaglan Percep: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (10) + 3 = 13
Mahasi Percep: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (19) + 5 = 24
Quarr Percep: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (15) + 12 = 27
Shilyn Percep: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (14) + 15 = 29
Varian Percep: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (1) + 12 = 13
The archway of this chamber's entrance is curtained with black chains and metal rings, from which hang the hands of many species - animal paws, humanoid hands, and skeletal fists. Within this room stretches a sun-drenched, dusty canyon. Layers of reddish rock create small plateaus that rise up in graduated ledges against the walls of the room, which appear to be impossibly high canyon walls. Tall pillars of orange stone rise up from parched earth, all seemingly randomly dispersed throughout the barren landscape. One of these hoodoos soars well above the rest, easily rising thirty feet into the sky above. A fissure in the walls opens up to the northeast, revealing a night sky full of stars in the distance.
"This is the Masque of the Many, a collection of hoodoos and stone from Nalgaia, a badland south of Azlant."
The helmet looks around the room and continues. "Do not stare directly into the sun; it is bad for your eyes. Also, it appears that the ropes that used to aid in climbing to the next chamber, the Nightsky Gauntlet, you will have to use your own skills to continue the tour!"
You happen to notice that a strange little creature with a tiny hammer lurks behind the closest hoodoo. It is the one two left and four up from your position outside of the room.
However, the zero burn cost and die increases make the elemental ascetic better at KF, but it's not better enough to justify giving up all ranged blasts imo.
Yeah, that irked me. Looking at the various elements, fire is the only element that can do a "ranged" attack at level 1 via the Fan of Flames infusion. Fire does also get access to several other pretty cool form infusions that do not involve ranged attacks making it the best if you want a switch hitting elemental ascetic.
"Ahh, good question dwarf!" It is interesting at this point that the helmet, which was speaking Azlanti before, is now speaking Common, much to the party's benefit.
"Nhur Athemon's exhibits are more than just animal viewing areas; they are magically recreated environments to properly display the proper habitats of these variety of creatures. I was commanded, though, to leave exactly what out, though, for the surprise and enjoyment of the Master's guests."
"Correct; dismemberments require the original body part for claims.", Melabdara quips back as the party opens the door to enter the Menagerie.
A long hallway has a door to the right North and another at its end. "Straight ahead is the Masque of the Many, a representation of a serene badland landscape. To your right, you will enter a small portion of the Mwangi expanse."
As soon as Varian takes his first step off of the stairs and onto the floor, the torches automatically light, warm hues now illuminating the room outside of any other light source you might have had with you, probably a light from Mahasi. A large, unseen bell emits a single, deep, toll. The helmet solidifies somewhat, still somewhat transparent, but less blurry, and it begins to fly towards the party, with curiosity than with ill intent. It looks over at Mahasi and nods.
In Azlanti, it speaks, "Welcome to the great Menagerie of Nhur Athemon! I am your guide, Melabdara. I must warn you that without the Master present, some of the exhibits may get out of hand. Unfortunately, we do not cover any injuries, broken bones, maiming, disembowelments, accidental or intentional death, or reproductive dysfunction that may occur during the tour."
With that, the helmet floats over to the single door at the end of the chamber.
As the party peers over the railway guarding the stairs and tries inspect the room, they get little information.
@Deaglan: It is indeed magical... it's an animated object, with some other enchantments on it to make it practically incorporeal.
Quarr spots several torches that line the walls, present but not lit.
Mahasi tries talking to the helmet, but to no avail.
Peevenator describes roughly what my champion of Irori looks like.
If your GM will allow it, Aasimar do well since you get the buffs to your Wis and Charisma which are pretty nice. Choose Scion of Humanity alternate racial trait so you can become enlarged and you'll eventually punch things very hard.
My GM, bless his heart, allowed a 25 point build, but no aasimar, so I went suli and very balanced.
Str 14+2 5
I went two levels into Paladin first to get Divine Grace, then went regular monk for 3 levels and champion although I did take another dip into Paladin for mercy (and Greater Mercy as a feat).
I took Crane Style since AC is a problem being so MAD and a friendly wizard with Mage Armor goes along way to keeping your AC acceptable. Another level in monk and adding the qinggong archetype to get Barkskin is good, too.
As far as smiting all the things, all you really need is the Ring of Ki Mastery (13K), allows you to store 2 more ki points, but by doing so, you can reduce the cost of ki abilities by 1, and since a level 2 Champion can use a ki point to smite, it combos very well to smite all the things!
Another possibility to get an Agile of Mighty Fists with the Agile enchantment and go Dex build; again Aasimar work well as well Kitsune and Tengu.
After the party finishes their meal, they head back down the long walk to reach the Menagerie doors. Shilyn expertly unlocks the heavy doors that block the descent to the next level. The party ready, they go into the dark steps.
A series of steps wind back and forth leading to an large stone room. A scuffed circle of blue and white can be seen in the northwest corner of the landing, but closer inspection will be required to investigate further.
The true oddity is a floating, flickering gray image of a metal helmet.
The Dark Menagerie map is ready!
Returning to the Grand Lodge with good news, Owai bids the party farewell as he continues on his own journeys.
Meanwhile, Ambrus once again calls the party to his office, his large oak desk as intimidating as always, but a small gnome twitches nearby, standing intently otherwise.
"Welcome back; I heard news that you not only secured a location, but at a fraction of the price we were expecting. Very well done."
The stalwart venture captain looks to at the gnome with a smile. "Since Owai has been reassigned, this little fella will accompany you back into Thornkeep. I want you to explore the floor below the Vaults... the Menagerie I believe. Make your preparations and head out quickly.", Ambrus shuffling the party out as he prepares another briefing, leaving everyone alone to introduce themselves.
Please note any last minute purchases as you introduce yourselves!
The trip back to the River Kingdoms is uneventful, and back into the rambunctious town of Thornkeep, things are the same as always. Brother Eldrast is trying to 'civilize' the thugs of the town through beer sermons at the Thirsty Ogre, Shandar is already abuzz with more juicy gossip while running the Greenforest Inn, and town goblins are still doing the rundown jobs in town.
"So whatcha guys doing back here? And who'z dat lil fella?", Shandar poking a thumb over to Quarr as he serves the party breakfast.
One question I've been pondering: for the elemental ascetic kineticist archetype, was it intentional for the kinetic blast damage to not use Wisdom for determining its effects (unlike the Overwhelming Soul archetype that uses Charisma for nearly all of the Constitution-based effects, including blast damage)?
Think I'm going to make the half-giant Aegis who will be simply named 'Axe'. I'll try to have it ready by tomorrow, Tuesday at the latest.
@GM: So... based on an idea from the manga Eyeshield 21, I'd like Axe to speak Power-Go or Axe; a strange language where a single word can convey deep, complex thoughts. Those who do not speak the language have to make a DC 10-15 Sense Motive check to understand the depth of Axe's speech. This sound ok to you?
Sorry for posting late; I spent much of the day trying to finish my RPG SuperStar entry last minute.
So for the campaign, here is what I can bring to the table and would like to know what you guys would enjoy having.
Vassago Ilsidore (Ifrit Overwhelming Soul - Kineticist) 2.2
The Scratcher (Human Snakebite Striker - Brawler 2/ Warpriest of Bastet 1) 3.0
Saitama (Human Iroran Paladin of Irori) 3.0
Bargus Highbrew (Dwarf Drunken Qinggong Sensei Oaut Monk) 3.1
Ash Crane (Tengu Elemental Ascetic - Kineticist) 4.0
Havoc (Human Staff Magus Card Caster - Magus 2/ Lore Warden - Fighter 2) 4.1
Let me know what you think will mesh best with the party!