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Shadow

Celestial GM's page

1,399 posts. Alias of Celestial Healer.


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I assume you are going into the manor to report your progress?


Leclerc grumpily trudges onward. How he distinguishes any path through this unbroken expanse of grassy mud and sickly pools is a testament to his evident familiarity with the swamp. Twisted trees, each more gnarled than the next, pepper the landscape like regular pillars, holding up a canopy of heavy leaves and sagging gray moss. The laden branches block out much of the sunlight, but provide no respite from the suffocating heat. Steam seems to rise from the pools around you, adding their fetid miasma to the souplike atmosphere.

Even as the day draws on and the sky overhead takes on the warm glow of dusk, the air scarcely cools. "It's right up here," Leclerc says at length, as if this stretch of swamp could be recognizable to anyone. He is right, though. Secluded by the moss-choked trees, a small rise appears before you, like a lumpy tumor upon stretch of coarse flesh. The water-loving trees do not grow upon it, but those growing at the base of the rise amply obscure it from sight. When you arrive, the fishmonger displays a toothless grin. "Here we are," he says proudly.


The University is some 75 miles away. The distance can be covered via train in under 3 hours. Traveling by road will take considerably longer.

It is located in the country, but adjacent to the town of Milton, the economy of which is largely devoted to the goings-on at the University.


"I, for one, am glad to be rid of that place," Rhodes interjects. He had been conspicuously quiet for some time. "Mankind has no business with alien creatures. I cannot get back to Greyston fast enough. I have done the service for which I was hired, and I have no further inclination to go digging into the sordid affairs of the occult." He seems resolved on that matter.


"We have a few more hours of daylight," the miserable fishmonger says. "I know of a rise in the swamps that is rather dry, but amply shrouded by the trees. I..." his statement is cut off by his ubiquitous, hacking cough. He spits upon the ground. "I have made camp there before. We can make it before nightfall, I think." His shifting eye appraises you all. Suddenly he slaps at his arm and flicks one of the red mosquitos off, leaving a burgundy smudge upon his shirtsleeve.

Slowly, the sounds of the swamp are returning, following the dispersal of the swarm of bloodhaze mosquitos. While the swamp teams with croaks and chirps of every description, all is still. No breeze disturbs the wispy tendrils of moss that droop languidly from the gnarled branches of the trees. The algae-covered pools show no ripples or traces of disturbance.


Many more of the vile insects perish to the torchfire, and a great many dissolve in the splash of acid. Those blood-drinking mosquitos that remain dissipate, too diminished in number to constitute a swarm.

Out of combat.

"Thank you, strange travelers," Leclerc says, catching his breath, for the sorry man had been hyperventilating for much of the last minute. "Those file pests can drain a man dry."


XP:

Decapus 1,200
Gutslug 800
2 blighted dryads 2,400
Ooze 1,200
Fogwarden 1,600
Elder things 3,200

Total xp for slain foes: 10,400
Rescuing Gindel and the constable: 1,600
Closing the rift: 6,000

Total: 18,000
Divided 6 ways: 3,000

That should put you all at 9,000 xp (we are using the fast progression). 1,000 xp to next level.

Please note this somewhere, because I will not remember how much xp you have :)


As soon as you emerge from the tunnel, you can plainly see that a change is coming over the surroundings. The magical darkness that enshrouded the base of the waterfall is dissipating, and breeze of healthful air stirs the branches of the trees.

Even should you detour slightly, you are not ambushed by any otherworldly hunters as you were on your approach. While it is certainly overly optimistic to assume that anything else that emerged through the portal is simply gone, you wonder whether the aberrant creatures can sense the waning power of the void in this place. As for the plants themselves, it will surely take this wood some time to heal.

You are able to find your way out of the wood and across the fields before nightfall. Wallingham Manor is alight with the warm glow of candles and hearthfires.

Please see the discussion thread so that you can note your xp award.


Andrzej: Barring any rules that say otherwise, I would have to include that the Con damage and the disease save are simultaneous, which means that you would be making the save with your original undamaged Con. You are safe :)

Tybalt struggles with the unwieldy burning bedroll, but Res is more successful with his torch.

Leandro, Anuqa, Eliva, and Andrzej are up.


FYI, Studpuffin has decided not to continue with the PbP. The format is not for everybody. I will have Rhodes opt not to join you all in your further investigations.


Eliva tries to burn up some of the vile insects with her torch, but struggles with the effort.

1d20 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3

The swarm of ravenous bloodsuckers moves to a new pair of more abundant hosts, swarming over Andrzej and Anuqa. Both feel the anguish of thousands of tiny mouths draining their lifeblood.

Andrzej and Anuqa: 1 point of Con damage and roll a DC 17 fort save vs disease.

MAP

With Tybalt absent, does somebody want to roll to resolve his action? I think his flaming bedroll is good for about 2d6 fire damage.

Leandro
Anuqa
Res
Tybalt
Eliva
Angalia
Andrzej

Swarm


Caladrel finds nothing else of interest in this chamber.

None of you saw any other routes in this system of tunnels.

Are you headed back to the manor and to see Gindel the druid (who you already brought there)?


To be fair, the universities still employ many elves teaching ancient arts of magic and divinity, as well as mundane humanities and the like. Even within the halls of learning there is a conflict between the old and the new.


Eliva Smith wrote:
Celestial GM wrote:
Eliva would know how her spells work and whether they would be effective here.
Cool. I, unfortunately, don't know. How would you rule?

It would not work. The swarm rules say that spells that target a single creature do not affect them, and the section provides disintegrate as an example. Like disintegrate, acid splash is a targeted spell that calls for a ranged touch attack against a single creature.

Anuqa moves to a better position and sends another gout of flame at the swarm.
1d4 ⇒ 3
Save: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18

More of the swarm is burned away by Andrzej's flask of oil. Meanwhile, Tybalt's preparations proceed apace.

Your efforts are working, but the swarm is large and contains many thousands of these vile insects.

Eliva is up.


It does not take more than some slight movements to determine, by trial-and-error, how to use the device. Trina should be confident she can reduce the rift to a negligible size easily.

As to whether anyone else has the ability to control the rift, that is, of course, another question entirely. However, you have a variety of clues at your disposal for further investigation:

1. The device Trina is holding.
2. The strange diagram among the alien creature's notes.
3. The strange scrap of cloth you found in the previous chamber:

Celestial GM wrote:
You also see a scrap of cloth that does not seem to be associated with any of the bodies on the ground. It is a torn corner of a larger piece. It is obviously very old, and from what you can make out it bears a pattern of strange figures. There are bizarre geometric patterns upon a background of what appear to be eyes and tentacles. None of the bodies bear a garment with this pattern, so clearly the rest of the piece from which this scrap was torn is not here.

As Sylvia has alluded, there may be scholars who can discern the strange iconography.


Eliva would know how her spells work and whether they would be effective here.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Trina:
The two parts of the rod seem to form a sort of dial that, when twisted, determines the size of the portal. You suspect that, while the device could not will the portal out of existence, it could shrink it to a size where nothing could pass through.

Somewhere, half a galaxy away, an alien rubs the lump on its head and wonders where that pebble came from.


Anuqa casts another gout of flame at the crimson swarm.

1d4 ⇒ 1
Swarm save: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8

Eliva, with a look of regret, hurls another flask of acid.

1d20 + 8 ⇒ (1) + 8 = 9
It missed, so let's see where it lands. 1d8 ⇒ 2 That is still in the swarm's area.
1d6 ⇒ 3

The biting insects continue to assault Leandro. 1 more point of Con damage.

MAP

Leandro
Anuqa
Res
Tybalt
Eliva
Angalia
Andrzej

Swarm


One of the things was holding a crystalline object, as you noted before. The pink gem is cut at odd angles, with no apparent symmetry or rational angles. The object is divided into two pieces that can turn relative to one another.

Caladrel:
The device radiates an aura of strong conjuration.

You also find, on the floor not far from where the things were when you arrived, a strange, circular satchel. It contains an assortment of papers and an odd stylus for writing. Most of the papers are covered in strange markings, evidently their alien language. One of the papers, however, is covered in a bizarre geometric diagram.

The rift itself is like looking upon some alien night sky. The black void is dotted with unfamiliar constellations and celestial bodies.


Anuqa, Tybalt, Eliva, and Angalia?


Is there anything anyone would like to investigate? As a reminder, you have the things themselves and also a giant, gaping rift on the other side of this cavern.

As a reminder:

Celestial GM wrote:

When you come to the next chamber, the swirling fog has thinned somewhat, such that you can see relatively clearly. This expansive cavern has no other exits. The rough ceiling is some 50 feet above your heads and the walls are slimy with algae.

At the far end of the chamber, a jagged window into darkness gapes menacingly. The edges of the portal glow with a purple radiance, and the interior resembles a black sky, dotted with faint stars. The tear in space is not bound by any physical structure; it simply hovers, some 2 feet above the floor.

Two strange beings are inspecting the rift. These barrel-shaped bodies are topped with vaguely star-shaped heads. Leathery wings hang limply among their many tentacle-like appendages. One of them holds with one of its tentacles a strange, crystalline artifact as it prods at the border to the rift.


Leandro - the swarm is in the space, but is understandably keeping at least 6 to 10 inches from the flame itself, so I think the attack roll is to stick the flame into their midst without them clearing that patch to preserve themselves. That's how I would read it anyway. RAW, an attack roll is needed.

Andrzej's burning oil seems to have a strong impact on the swarm. It depletes some of their number.

Anuqa, Tybalt, Eliva, and Angalia are up.

Angalia, you do have a torch you could swing at them for 1 point of fire damage, but if your chance to hit is low and you prefer to stand back, you might consider stepping further away. It does not do to stand too close from the bloodsuckers for no reason :)


Jerry sticks the creature with his spear, while Luce slashes its hide with a claw. Trina's aim is true and the bullet pierces the alien flesh.

Smitty takes aim with his musket and tries to finish the job. "Steady now, Bessie..."

1d20 + 9 ⇒ (12) + 9 = 21
1d8 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5

The shot rings out through the chamber and strikes the creature in a shower of sickly green blood. Weakened by the bloodsucking stirge and wounded by a succession of blows, the thing collapses to the ground in a heap of alien anatomy.

Out of combat.


AoO vs Jerry: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13

Jerry's lance fails to make contact with the creature, but Luce manages to take a bite as she passes.

Trina shoots a round into the creature holding Smitty, while the dwarf manages to slip out of its grasp.

Smitty's escape: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23

Sylvia hurls her explosive at the other creature. The explosion is fantastic, and when the smoke clears, all that remains of that alien is a burned-up husk. Rhodes and the elemental are remarkably unscathed.

His enemy smitten, Rhodes pulls out his crossbow and takes aim at the other creature.

1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18
Damage: 1d8 ⇒ 2

The elemental slams the other creature with a solid blow, just as the summoned stirge attaches itself to the thing's hide. Caladrel also manages to catch the thing in the gooey tar of the tanglefoot bag.

Save: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 = 21

The thing is slowed, but not stuck in place. It makes wild clicking noises at the turning of this battle and focuses its effort on the stirge attached to its hide.

1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11
Damage: 1d4 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3

MAP

Jerry & Luce
Trina
Smitty
Sylvia
Rhodes
Caladrel

Elder


The acid seems to burn away some of the insects, and also some of Leandro's flesh.

Anuqa approaches and apologetically brandishes his wand, sending a gout of flame that engulfs both Leandro and the swarm of insects.

1d4 ⇒ 1 damage, DC 12 reflex save for half.
Swarm save: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8

The swarm continues to envelop Leandro in its cloud of crimson, as tiny gnats find their way into his arm and continue to bite at him.

1 more Con damage.

MAP

Leandro
Anuqa
Res
Tybalt
Eliva
Angalia
Andrzej

Swarm


Leandro's armor? I would rule that as doing full damage to the swarm (and Leandro).


Having escaped the thing, Smitty tries to put some distances between himself and those tentacles.

Rhodes draws his rapier and, with a look of disgust, draws close to the creature in battle with the elemental. He tries to find a vital opening. He quickly sees his opportunity and drives his rapier deep into the creature's hide at the base of one of the tentacles.

1d20 + 10 ⇒ (8) + 10 = 18
1d6 + 2 + 2d6 ⇒ (6) + 2 + (5, 3) = 16

The thing flails out at both Rhodes and the elemental.

Attack vs Rhodes: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (17) + 7 = 24
Attack vs Rhodes: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (8) + 7 = 15
Attack vs Rhodes: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (7) + 7 = 14
Attack vs elemental: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (17) + 7 = 24
Attack vs elemental: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22
Grapple vs Rhodes: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (3) + 11 = 14
Damage vs Rhodes: 1d4 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3
Damage vs elemental: 1d4 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
Damage vs elemental: 1d4 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5

It strikes both targets, but fails to get a grip on the wily rogue.

The other thing continues to pursue Smitty.

Attack vs Smitty: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26
Grapple vs Smitty: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (12) + 11 = 23
Damage vs Smitty: 1d4 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
Constrict vs Smitty: 1d4 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5

Rhodes takes 3 damage. Smitty takes 11 and is grappled. The elemental takes11.

MAP

Jerry & Luce
Trina
Smitty (Grappled)
Sylvia
Rhodes
Caladrel

Elder Things


Tybalt: I'm not sure what glitterdust is going to do to a swarm. They could in theory be blinded, but they do not make attack rolls, so I am not sure that that will be a problem for them.

Res and Leandro swing their torches, and the tiny insects seem repulsed by the flames. It seems to be having an effect, albeit a modest one. They are immune to weapon damage, so it is only the fire that hurts them.

Andrzej's flask of fire has a more appreciable impact and leaves some of the insects charred. You can tell it will take more where that came from to make the swarm disperse.

Leandro: I am considering that attack your AoO. You still have a round worth of actions. Also, Tybalt, if you change your mind about the spell, you may do so.

Anuqa, Eliva, and Angalia are up.


I see. I don't recommend that, since that will put you very close to them, and away from the rest of the party, which means they will have an Angalia-feast. To keep things moving, I will suggest that you stay put until they are closer and then see if you can take advantage of a better angle.

Eliva is also in a good place, so I won't move her.

The whine grows louder as the cloud of insects bears down upon you. They descend upon Leandro, as the nearest warm life form. The haze is made up of thousands of tiny insects, their needle-like proboscises twitching eagerly. Each is tinged with a hue of blood-like crimson; taken as a whole, they give the impression of a roiling cloud of bloody mist.

As they fall over Leandro, the find the tiniest openings in his armor to work their way in and find flesh, drinking deeply of his life force.

Leandro, you can take an AoO against the swarm as it enters your space. Then take 1 point of Con damage and roll a Fort save vs disease. If you are immune to disease as a paladin, then no save is necessary.

MAP

Leandro
Anuqa
Res
Tybalt
Eliva
Angalia
Andrzej

Swarm


You're not going to get any bonus for flanking the swarm. Your sneak attack is not likely to work against them, in any event.


Sylvia, I will rule that precise bombs work. However, the question is moot, since both Trina and Smitty broke free.

Trina and Smitty both manage to pull themselves free from the writhing tentacles.

Caladrel's summoned elemental successfully bashes one of the creatures.

Sylvia and Rhodes are up. Smitty still has a move action, if he wants it.


Leclerc holds his torch in front of him with a trembling hand.

Eliva, Andrzej, and Angalia are up.

MAP


Smitty's bullet embeds itself in the horrid thing. Rhodes takes aim with his crossbow at the same creature, but his bolt passes wide. He steps away, looking for an opportunity to position himself strategically.

1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11

The creature nearest Trina steps closer and flails its tentacles at her.

1d20 + 7 ⇒ (4) + 7 = 11
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (17) + 7 = 24
Grapple: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (12) + 11 = 23

Damage:
1d4 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4
1d4 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3
1d4 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5
Constrict: 1d4 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3

The other moves toward Smitty and lashes at the dwarf with a tentacle.

1d20 + 7 ⇒ (17) + 7 = 24
Grapple: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (13) + 11 = 24
Damage: 1d4 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3
Constrict: 1d4 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4

Trina takes 15 damage, Smitty takes 7. Both are grappled.

MAP

Jerry & Luce
Trina (Grappled)
Smitty (Grappled)
Sylvia
Rhodes
Caladrel

Elder Things


Gotcha. I see that now.


Jerry: I agree that only the lance damage is doubled from the charge.

Jerry's lance and Luce's claws savagely wound one of the creatures. Greenish fluid seeps from the vicious gashes. Wounded as it is, it deftly avoids the swing of Trina's glaive.

Sylvia's grenade strikes the thing solidly and explodes in a rain of shrapnel and fire. The pellets tear at the creature's flesh, but the fire fails to singe it. That crit confirm did not make it, but it took regular damage from the piercing and bludgeoning attack. The fire did not overcome its DR.

MAP

Smitty, Rhodes, and Caladrel are all up and may act.


I think Eliva will simply stay put.

The red cloud moves nearer. As it draws close, you hear the steady whine of the multitude of flying insects and can discern the movement of countless tiny red mosquitos, swarming in a flurry of bloodthirst. All of the native sounds of the swamp seem to quiet, drowned out by the droning, predatory haze.

MAP

Blue areas are fetid water. The red area is the swarm.

Leandro
Anuqa
Res
Tybalt
Eliva
Angalia
Andrzej

Swarm


If Eliva, Angalia, and Andrzej prefer to delay until the swarm gets closer, that is fine. I just want to give you an opportunity to reposition or something of that sort, if you desire.


The alien things continue to chitter in their incomprehensible language. They advance on you, spreading out to flank. Their thick tentacles flail about menacingly.

MAP

Jerry & Luce
Trina
Smitty
Sylvia
Rhodes
Caladrel

Elder Things


Trina blesses the party, while Caladrel and Sylvia prepare for battle.

Smitty, are you taking a shot? Rhodes is also up.

MAP


"Just... keep it away from me," Leclerc says, trembling. The whine grows louder as the red cloud nears and coalesces. The cloud is a swarm of minuscule red insects which flow toward you directly and with purpose.

MAP

Blue areas are fetid water. The red area is the swarm.

Swarm initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 2 = 17
Anuqa: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7
Leandro: 1d20 ⇒ 12
Eliva: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (16) + 5 = 21

Eliva
Angalia
Andrzej

Swarm
Leandro
Anuqa
Res
Tybalt


If anybody wants to roll this:

Knowledge Nature DC 14 or Survival DC 16:
You have heard of people jumping into water to avoid swarms of bees and other insects. It is rarely effective, as most of them are drawn to mammalian breath, even via bubbles rising to the surface of a body of water. They will usually wait for several minutes above the surface. Leclerc probably does not know what he is talking about.

Here's a real-life article about bees. Blood-sucking insects are likely to be even more determined if they smell carbon dioxide.

Perception check on the water DC 19:
This water is foul. Simply entering it may not be a problem, but if you ingested any, or if it got in an open wound, you suspect it could be a problem.

There are no dangerous-looking creatures in the water.

If you do not flee or dive into the water, you have just enough time to light any torches as the swarm draws close.


MAP

The purple is the portal.

Dungeoneering DC 18:
Strange, alien beings are reported to dwell in the space beyond the stars. To alienists, the creatures before you are simply called "elder things" and have been known to create great cities in other dimensions. They are also known to be invaders who take what they can from those who came before them. You have never heard of a peaceful encounter with one.

As for fighting them, they are just flesh and can be killed. Cold seems to have no effect on them, and they are resistant to fire. They possess considerable strength in their tentacles.

Now then, let's try this again. And Sylvia, keep trying to converse with them. If alien beings are going to strew your entrails about like confetti, you might as well keep yourself company. You're no expert on alien body language, but it appears that they are definitely moving to intercept the intruders. They show no signs of comprehending your speech.

Trina
Smitty
Sylvia
Rhodes
Caladrel

Things
Jerry & Luce


Dungeoneering (again)? Somebody really needs to train that.


There is no dry vegetation, Leandro. The surroundings are decidedly wet.

If you seek underwater refuge, rules for holding your breath apply. Feel free to roll Perception if you want to make sure the water is safe.

Drowning rules (reminder):
Any character can hold her breath for a number of rounds equal to twice her Constitution score. If a character takes a standard or full-round action, the remaining duration that the character can hold her breath is reduced by 1 round. After this period of time, the character must make a DC 10 Constitution check every round in order to continue holding her breath. Each round, the DC increases by 1.

When the character finally fails her Constitution check, she begins to drown. In the first round, she falls unconscious (0 hp). In the following round, she drops to –1 hit points and is dying. In the third round, she drowns.

You have time to light your torches if you are going to try to fight it off.

You ought to be reasonably doubtful of your ability to outrun a swarm of insects. You are somewhat hindered by the terrain.


Smitty: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18
Trina: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (15) + 5 = 20

Initiative order:

Trina
Smitty
Sylvia
Rhodes
Caladrel

Things
Jerry & Luce

Everyone but Jerry & Luce can act before the things do.

Google docs isn't working right. Hang tight while I figure out what to do. They changed some things and it doesn't work like it used to.


Your logic is correct.

The distant red haze begins to coalesce into a cloud some 10 feet across as it approaches. The whine grows louder and more insistent.

Speak now if you have some plan, otherwise roll initiative.


Sylvia Pari wrote:
And hello to you two. What's that you've got there?

The beings chitter with alarm and flail their tentacles menacingly.

Initiative: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6

Smitty? Trina? Rhodes?


"A swarm. Aye." Leclerc regards the approaching haze with dismay. "This is why I don't travel with other folks. The hungry insects are drawn to big groups. There's no good way to get away from them once they've got you, short of hiding under the water." He regards a nearby murky pool with disgust. "How long can you hold your breath?"

I am okay with Res doling out resistance. Anything else anyone wants to do?

Appropriate Knowledge check would be Nature.


When you come to the next chamber, the swirling fog has thinned somewhat, such that you can see relatively clearly. This expansive cavern has no other exits. The rough ceiling is some 50 feet above your heads and the walls are slimy with algae.

At the far end of the chamber, a jagged window into darkness gapes menacingly. The edges of the portal glow with a purple radiance, and the interior resembles a black sky, dotted with faint stars. The tear in space is not bound by any physical structure; it simply hovers, some 2 feet above the floor.

Two strange beings are inspecting the rift. These barrel-shaped bodies are topped with vaguely star-shaped heads. Leathery wings hang limply among their many tentacle-like appendages. One of them holds with one of its tentacles a strange, crystalline artifact as it prods at the border to the rift.

When you reach the entrance, their tentacles beginning flailing wildly and one of them utters a strange chittering sound in alarm.

Roll initiative please.


The more perceptive among you notice a haze off to your left. It is as if the air in that one place has taken on a reddish tint, a festering bruise in the atmosphere itself. The oncoming cloud emits a steady sound, like a high-pitched whine. It is about 100 feet away.

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