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Raogru regards Quinta with an equal mix of suspicion and curiosity. He refutes her claims in his high-pitched voice:
"No, no! It's not true! I am faithful to Ydersius, I am! Issilar has told us many things, kept our faith pure. And see - it has brought me Chu-tok!" he gestures towards the large snake. "We can make sacrifices to she whom you speak of though! What about that little man-thing over there?" He jabs a finger towards Krolmnite.
Whatever the mad priest is saying, he gestures wildly at the snake, then towards Krolmnite. The other charau-ka seem to be watching the interplay with interest, waiting to see how the situation unfolds. They also seem intrigued by Hskoro the nagaji, gazing up at his reptilian visage with awe.
The snake swivels to regard Quinta more closely, its emerald and gold scales glinting in the light as it hisses a reply.
"Ha ha, only a few of the naughty oness. You are very polite. Truly, have you come here to worship Yderssiuss?"
As this is going on, Zaghigoth surreptitiously casts bull's strength on Krolmnite. The charau-ka don't seem to react - either they are too caught up in Quinta's and Raogru's conversation or they don't realize he is spellcasting. Emboldened, Zaghigoth readies another spell. Krolmnite can feel his muscles swell with great strength, and he keeps his sword loose in its scabbard for any eventuality. Glancing over at Yekskya, you see the big fighter's hand likewise stray towards his blade. He gives you the slightest of nods. Ready.
You scan the crowd of charau-ka, calling on Smiad's power to discern evildoers. The priest, Raogru, radiates a strong, evil aura. The other charau-ka don't seem to register. it's not to say that they don't have evil intents, but their wills aren't strong enough to register.
Scanning the area, the large tar pit looks like an effective barrier to keep reinforcements from joining the fray if a fight were to break out.
Linked below are a couple maps and images of the current situation. I'm gonna try something new and put them onto Dropbox, let me know if you have any problems with accessing the images.
Zaghigoth - Apart from Oshok'arr (I thought she might be too large to enter the structure), you have all your gear and weapons. The charau-ka themselves don't quite seem to know whether you're captives or not.
Quinta - You reckon the tar-cocoon shapes you see hanging up are actually captives, bathed in tar and strung up to hang above the pit of glowing coals.
The charau-ka stare at Quinta in shock at her serpent speech. The warriors that took you into their custody especially look dumbfounded and chagrined at her words, though to be honest now that they are amongst the rest of their tribe it's difficult to tell who's who. What's more, an enormous gold and green python comes out of hiding in nearby boab tree branches, curls close beside Raogru and regards the opera singer with great interest.
The charau-ka also shrink away from Zaghigoth, intimidated by his muscled frame. They don't seem to take much notice of Krolmnite's boasting.
Once the voices die down, Raogru stalks closer to Quinta. He responds in a high pitched Polyglot.
"She Who Slithers In Life? Who is this is you speak of? You will hope she is powerful, to protect you for trespassing in our domain!"
Raogru SM 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11
Ghost Dire Lion - round 3
The lion was just hanging on by a few hit points. I didn't intend to leave this sitting for so long, had wanted to see if Helaku would be returning and then have been playing catch-up with various things the past couple weeks. If you all are still keen to play I'm game to move forward. If so, we might look at recruiting one or two new players. If you all know anyone who would be looking for a game, you could pass on the word.
The charau-ka listen intently to Quinta before responding.
"The Sundered God, yes! Praise the Severed One! You worship the Great One as well? We shall take you to Raogru, the Fanged One. He will speak words to you about these others that we have had dealings with."
You are led past a roofless area that has been cleared of rubble and its dirt floors swept clean. Strange and unnerving images of shedding serpents and burning bodies are smeared upon the soot-stained walls. In the center of the room three figures, sealed into hardened tar-cocoons, hang above a wide pit of glowing coals. Three clay buckets filled with tar sit to one side of the fire pit, next to a burning torch set into the ground. The greasy stench of burned flesh seems to cling to the very air.
Further on, you pass behind a towering elephant statue, across rough planks that splay across a small, dark pool, and into the ruins of one of the ruined outer cylinders. Beyond the tower entrance lies a single circular chamber. Its walls rise almost fifteen feet before arching inward to form a dome. Across the curved walls is the coiled sculpture of a massive, decapitated skeletal serpent formed from thousands of blackened bones pasted to the stone with tar. A single glittering eye winks from the serpent's severed head.
By this stage, a large crowd of the diminutive charau-ka have gathered around you. There must be fifteen warriors or so. Those that took you into their charge at the town's walls boast to their brethren how they bravely captured you. Voices hush though as a figure stalks out of the darkness towards the crowd. The figure is draped in the skin of a giant serpent, and holds at his side a bloody, tar-soaked mace. His eyes are wide and staring, betraying the glint of madness. In imperious tones he calls out, "Why do you disturb the Fane of Ydersius? Who are these, these captives?" In the distance, from outwith the ruins of this desecrated temple, you hear a roar - Oshok'arr?
You duck behind a boab tree as charau-ka skitter past, joining the horde gathered around those you have been following. A strange, hunched figure robed in the scaled skin of a giant snake seems to be haranguing them. From your vantage point, you hear the roar of the half-orc's dinosaur companion. The two charau-ka that had been left to free it from the trap seem to be trying to hobble it outside the temple.
Maps to follow!
Temple of the Snake
At Quinta's translation into Polyglot, the charau-ka jump up and down, whooping and chittering as they steal curious glances at Krolmnite. You come to the realization that they must be laughing. You are also aware that these guys give off a very pungent whiff. When Quinta shifts into Aklo however, she draws blank looks from the charau-ka. Had they not understood her meaning? Or what it simply a language barrier?
Zaghigoth veritably looms over the ape-men, and they listen intently and warily at what he says to them. Indeed, they stare with awe at his tattoo and the way Oshok'arr responds to his call. Despite this, he notices the charau-ka eyeing up the iguanadon with hungry eyes. Again, they don't seem to respond when the half-orc shifts from Polyglot to Druidic. It seems safe enough from him to converse privately with Oshok'arr in that tongue.
Intrigued by this party, you follow as closely as you dare. Calling on Sarenrae's guidance, you summon a spell to discern if any of them are evil. Apart from the paladin, you see a muscular half-orc who appears to have a pet iguanadon, a dark-haired Chelaxian woman, a sprightly half-elven female, a tall Mwangi archer, another Mwangi - this time some sort of medicine man, and a lithe reptilian humanoid the likes of which you've never seen before. It carries a spear with a wicked looking point. None of the party appear to detect as evil, even the Chelaxian woman in their midst. Neither do the ape-men, which is somewhat surprising. It could be that, as young warriors, they haven't yet fully committed their hearts to darkness like others of their tribe. Detect evil results in "nothing."
You are led up wide marble steps into the conical structures. The four charau-ka that have come out and joined your captors are arrayed in snakes skin cloaks, which they wear with pride and arrogance. They take you through a short foyer hedged by low, broken walls. The way is made treacherous underfoot by a gnarled boab tree that has erupted from the foyer floor, its powerful roots twisting through the surrounding flagstones and leaving them cracked and shattered. For now, the charau-ka take great care as they herd you through this section of the ruins, pointing out with rough grasping fingers how you should step to avoid the roots and broken flagstones.
You next cross a large pond that stretches through the center of the ruins, its water black and glassy. Crumbling remnants of walls rise from its surface, while huge slabs of salvaged granite form a makeshift foundations that supports crude walkways hewn from felled trees.
You follow the group as they enter the crumbled building. You're not sure how much further you can follow them without being spotted, this is growing dangerous. Being so close brings you good fortune though. You saw the care they took when entering through the foyer, and by stepping in just same places allows you notice above a devious rockfall trap planted by the charau-ka. If you had stepped on one of the broken flagstones, the rocks would likely have collapsed and brained you.
Liliana Percept 1d20 + 7 + 5 ⇒ (10) + 7 + 5 = 22
"This way! We will take them to Raogru."
Krolmnite and Quinta:
As you are being led away by the charau-ka, you notice a human woman hidden in the jungle just beyond the city wall. She seems to be watching you. She has close-cropped hair and a painted red breastplate, in a style much prized in the lands of the Red Mantis. She seems to be stealthily trying to follow you.
DC 15 Knowledge Religion, Local, or Planes:
From the scraps of myth and legend you have heard concerning charau-ka, the majority worship a foul demon lord. These warriors however, seem to be obsessed with snakes. Patches of snakeskin have been strapped over their fur and armor, and they wear necklaces and wristbands hung with fangs. One has even attached what looks like the tail-end of a large snake to their waist, giving themselves a serpentine tail.
You are led deeper into the city. The charau-ka start making deep-throated calls, obviously alerting someone of your arrival. Many of the ruins are overgrown and have long since crumbled. Here and there you see large pools of muddy water, with a peculiar, acrid smell. After a time you realize that the water and mud is only a thin layer, covering pools of tar.
Near the center of the ruins stand the shattered remains of three conical cylinders connected by low, thick walls of piled stone. Boab trees burst from crumbling structures, their thick roots and branches devouring large chunks of ancient stonework. The walls surround an overgrown courtyard of toppled statues, weathered foundations, and a path of broken cobbles winding around more large, watery pools. Four more charau-ka emerge from the structure, responding to the calls of your captors. They mean to lead you inside.
cha Will 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (16) + 1 = 17
Krolm Percept 1d20 ⇒ 16
Quinta Percept 1d20 ⇒ 19
Rowena Percept 1d20 ⇒ 7
Zag Percept 1d20 ⇒ 2
Krolmnite immediately applies himself to cutting Oshok'arr out of the barbed net, aided by Yekskya. Hskoro watches vigilantly for trouble. Soon enough, after only a minute or so a charau-ka patrol arrives to check on their camouflaged trap. A loping band of nine limber, upright shrieking humanoids with visages like enraged baboons approaches warily. They brandish stout clubs and rocks, and jump up and down in apparent glee as they consider what they are going to do to you.
You wanted to talk to the natives, here's your chance! If someone wants to make a Diplomacy or Intimidate check, and anyone that wants can make an assist. Or, we could roll initiative...
Also, forgot to mention in last post that Oshok'arr took four points damage from the barbs knotted into the net. Fortunately, they don't appear to have been poisoned.
1d20 ⇒ 1
Sounds like we've got a plan!
You draw near to Tazion and skirt the perimeter wall. Ready to talk, but also to fight. Krolmnite clanks forward in his armor with his sword at the ready, while Yekskya tests the pull of his warbow. Zaghigoth and Oshok'arr scan the jungle vigilantly for signs of trouble, while Quinta keeps her spells at the ready and Rowena scans for any traps or other dangers. Hskoro prowls close to Quinta, while Nkechi starts muttering a prayer under his breath to keep the party safe.
It's as you reach the first tumble-down gap in the wall that you encounter your first sign of trouble. Most of you step carefully through the gap, but as Oshok'arr approaches the dinosaur something unexpected happens. A vine suddenly pulls tight around her leg and the sides of a cunningly camouflaged net wrap around and scoop up the dinosaur. The net seems to be embedded with sharp barbs that dig into her flesh. Oshok'arr moans and writhes, she doesn't like being bound up like this. It might take a while to get her free.
Krolm percept 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
Quinta percept 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
Rowena percept 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (6) + 9 = 15
Yekskya percept 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (9) + 3 = 12
Zag percept 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (11) + 13 = 24
Hskoro percept 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (12) + 9 = 21
Nkechi percept 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13
1d8 ⇒ 8
net 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (8) + 10 = 18
damage 1d4 ⇒ 4
A quick, careful scouting expedition of the perimeter reveal that the crumbling remnants of the massive enclosure wall now provide little in the way of defense. Entire sections have eroded away or lie buried beneath sediment, while vines and vegetation strangle what little exposed stonework remains. You reckon you could scramble over those sections of the wall that are still standing with not too much effort, but there are several large holes in the walls that look like you could simply walk through. On the eastern perimeter, a large section seems to be sinking into a large, muddy bog.
Meanwhile, Zaghigoth listens attentively to the shrieking sounds coming from the ruined city. He has sharp hearing, and determines that these are more than the cries of the many species of monkey you've encountered on your journey. These may be the cries of charau-ka, small jungle dwelling humanoids more commonly known as ape-men. By analysing the cries, the druid reckons that the natives aren't aware of your presence yet but seem to be excited about something.
Krolmnite stands vigil, stolidly watching for any danger as you decide how to get in there to acquire the clues to finding Saventh-Yhi.
Hi Loreal, welcome to the group! Sorry for the delay, here are the guidelines for crafting a 6th level character to join the game. A wizard or cleric sounds great, just go with whatever you would most enjoy playing. We have a pretty large group with a few attendant NPCs, so I would perhaps be a little wary of creating a character with a special mount or animal companion or such - we might struggle then to give everyone equal opportunity during encounters. There is currently a druid and paladin in the group as well as an NPC guide/healer, but having another PC healer might allow the druid and paladin to focus on some of their other talents. We also have a sorcerer/bard helping to cover arcane things, but adding a wizard might allow both characters an opportunity to experiment with other spells.
1. High fantasy 20-point character builds. You start at 6th level, so you get a bonus point to one ability at 4th level. You start with 23,001 experience points.
2. Any race from the core rulebook is fine. Others are probably fine too, but I'd need a good hook or backstory for them.
3. Character classes, archetypes and feats from the main Pathfinder books from Paizo (for example Advanced Player's Guide, Advanced Class Guide, Ultimate Magic, etc) are fine. Other sources, Paizo or not, are probably ok but check with me first.
4. Alignment - any good or neutral characters. Sorry, no evil!
5. Characters get max hit points for their first level. For the subsequent levels you can either take average hit points per level, or gamble and roll for them but keep the results regardless.
6. Characters can choose two character traits. At this stage, you don't have to choose one of the traits from the Serpent's Skull campaign player's guide, but you can do if you wish. Additionally, through their adventures the rest of the party have had the opportunity to receive the following boons. Choose two of the boons below:
A) You've read the [i] Abendego Cantos [i] by the aspiring and talented writer Aerys Mavato. They contain compelling themes of strength of personality against incalculable odds. By reading them closely you've gained a permanent +1 bonus on all Will saving throws against compulsion effects.
B) You've long admired the comedy and tales of a particular gnome bard. By absorbing some of his techniques, you have gained a permanent +1 bonus to the save DC of any charm or language-dependent effect a PC uses.
C) You have picked up secret techniques from a famed blademaster. These simple but effective tricks grant a +1 bonus to CMB and CMD while wielding a sword or similar weapon.
D) A priest of Nethys has shared a number of mantras and focusing chants. These grant you a +2 bonus on concentration checks.
E) You travel in dangerous circles, and have picked up some combat secrets from one of the infamous Red Mantis Assassins. You gain a permanent +1 bonus on Initiative checks.
7. Starting Funds - 16,000 gold pieces. You can spend up to half on any one item.
Feel free to work out your backstory here or by PM. The party is currently investigating a lost city deep in the jungle, but two other parties have recently been there as well - the nefarious Red Mantis Assassins and the despicable mercantile/treasure-hunting organization the Aspis Consortium. Neither are ideal for good characters, but there could be all sorts of reasons to explain how your character has arrived at Tazion.
I look forward to hearing about your character!
Rowena "Cat" Thennemen wrote:
We're a big group, but apart from that I don't see why not. If she does will you both be posting regularly? ;) If the rest of you are fine with it, I'll post up details this week for making up a character to the appropriate level.
Ran out of time for a game update tonight, but will try for tomorrow night if possible or otherwise Thursday. Will post up character creation details too. In the meantime BoomSmurf your wife's very welcome to post up an introduction and start thinking of a character concept.
That might be the thing to do, Leonar. We've pretty much ground to a halt as it is. Could just be a case of being the summer holidays. If we get Helaku and Shaylar back on board over the next few weeks we'll press on, there are some great encounters ahead. Otherwise we'll wrap up the game.
Ghost Dire Lion - Round 2 continued
Aleste holds back from lobbing a bomb - no point adding to the inferno.
Ambrose steels himself and presses the attack. His frost blade sweeps up, cutting into the apparaition. You must be doing some good, because the spectral lion seems to have nearly faded from sight. It refuses to abandon its post however, and continues to fight to the end. An opportunity missed with the threat, yes. However, even with halfing the damage with its incorporealness it's on its last legs.
Shaylar and Helaku are up, if you're checking in.
lion Reflex 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (13) + 8 = 21
In tune with the jungle fauna, it doesn't take long for Zaghigoth to return with a sleek lizard the size of his palm, bedecked in vibrant green and black stripes. It seems quite content to sun itself on the half-orc's arm. Bending low, Quinta communicates with the lizard via her serpentfriend knack, a legacy of her serpent-kin bloodline. Lazily, the lizard provides this report:
"Yes, lots of two-legs come and go. Lots more than the monkey-men that usually flit through the area. The first strangers were a small group of quiet two-legs. Their leader wore red and moved quiet and deadly, like a mantis. They came and went. Then came a large group. They crashed through the trees and were blind to the jungle, and their leaders cast magic that blasted animals. One of them had a creature with it, all fur and teeth but it didn't smell natural. They entered the Place of Caves(you reckon he means the city and its ruined buildings) and spoke to the monkey-men. Then they left. That was several suns ago, only monkey-men since."
The lizard then becomes distracted by a bug and loses interest in the conversation with the interesting two-legs. Monkey-like hoots and hollers echo from the ruins.
Ghost Dire Lion - Round 2!
Shaylar bends arrows to his bow with a will, another of which seems to pierce the lion apparition. 3 points damage. The lion reacts with a roar that seems to cut right through you as it lashes out at the nearest target - Ambrose! Again its claws seem carve through his chest, and the cavalier feels his vitality draining away. At the same time, the lion's form grows more solid once again. Hit AC 20 with a touch attack, dealing 2 points Con damage to Ambrose.
Helaku taps his wand to send another magic missile into the ghost. 4 points damage.
Leonar and Ambrose I think you're the only active characters at the moment. Hopefully we'll pick up Shaylar and Helaku again soon, it may just be curse of the summer holidays.
Shaylar ranged 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (15) + 14 = 29
damage 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
Shaylar ranged 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (3) + 9 = 12
damage 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
lion 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (7) + 13 = 20
damage 1d4 ⇒ 2
Helaku 1d4 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4
Ghost Dire Lion - Round 1 continued
Leonar tries to approach the ghostly lion, in a bid to defuse the controntation. It crouches back but continues to snarl. Even as an apparition its tail lashes violently and its ears flatten against its skull.
Aleste continues to hang back, an alchemical bomb at the ready but he's reluctant to use it. "Did I ever tell you guys I really dislike ghosts!"
Ambrose seems a bit unnerved by the encounter as well. He tries to keep it at bay with his sword, and his swiping attacks seem to be doing some good because the ghost lion seems somewhat...diminished. Two successful hits, against its incorporeal form you deal a total of 10 hit points damage.
Shaylar up! And Helaku, still around?
Rowena - Your spirit guide is the springbok antelope. Once per adventure (I'll let you know when it resets), you can channel your guardian spirit as a move action to gain a +5 sacred bonus to Handle Animal, Heal, and Survival, or to gain wild empathy with antelope, buffalo, cows, goats, or similar hoofed mammals.
Quinta - Your spirit guide is the howler monkey. Once per adventure (I'll let you know when it resets), you can channel your guardian spirit as a move action to gain a +5 sacred bonus to Acrobatics, Climb, and Disable Device, or to gain wild empathy with monkeys, apes, lemurs, gorillas and similar creatures).
For one who irritatingly always had something to say, Mellikiya seems silent and meek as she is dismissed to her home plane.
After blessing some of you with your tattoos, Osumare departs from the riverlands. You wonder if your paths will cross again.
Hskoro backs Quinta's proposal to circle the city. "As it is now, I see just two ways in to Tazion: through the front gate and over the wall. Both seem like a risky proposition to me."
If you have any more questions for Mellistra, let me know, but I'd like to move on to the next section. Also let me know how you intend to dispose of her, from the previous posts I'm going to assume that she's not coming with you.
Once things are settle with the demoness, Osumare leads Zaghigoth through the ritual to awaken his spirit totem. In the half-orc's case, it was the iguanadon form that he adopted when participating in Nkechi's dream trance way back, well, quite a ways back in Sargava.
Osumare begins dancing to summon forth Zaghigoth's spirit guide. She then inscribes a dinosaur tattoo with a long, slender quill dipped in a localized numbing toxin. The process is painful, even with the anesthetic, but the druid endures it all stoically. The process takes several hours, but when complete the dancer explains that you will be able to call upon the spirit's help for the rest of your life.
Basically, with your dinosaur tattoo once per module you can call upon your guide and either receive a +5 sacred bonus to Intimidate, Stealth and Swim, or gain wild empathy with dinosaurs, if you don't have that ability already. I'll let you know when the bonus resets. If anyone else is wanting to undertake the ceremony as well, let me know but for now enough wandering in the wilderness, let's move on to Tazion.
Just over sixty days after leaving the city of Kalabuto, you reach Tazion. The crumbling remmants of a massive enclosure wall mark the perimeter of the ruins. In its current condition, the wall provides little defense. Entire sections have eroded away or lie buried beneath sediment, while vines and vegetation strangle what little exposed stonework remains. You hear shrieking animal cries from within.
I'm away for a couple days, but will pick up after Monday.
Ghost Dire Lion - Round 1 continued
Helaku keeps blasting at the ghost with his wand of magic missiles. The silvery darts are lighting it up! 5 points damage to the ghost. Your party is grounding its reputation as ghostbusters!
Leonar, Ambrose, Shaylar up. I'll be out of town for a couple days, but expect to post early next week.
Helaku magic missile 1d4 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
Ghost Dire Lion - Round 1
The lion pounces forward and one oversized paw sweeps out to catch Ambrose. As with the other lion, the cavalier brings his sword up to block, but the lion's claws seem to pass right through Ambrose's arm and armor and reach right into his chest to rake his heart. The encounter leaves him with a shivering cold sensation. Ambrose 23 points damage. A successful Fortitude save against DC 15 reduces this to 11 points damage.
Great to have you back Helaku, you're up next!
lion touch 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (17) + 13 = 30
damage 7d6 ⇒ (3, 6, 2, 3, 2, 2, 5) = 23
Sounds like Helaku's player could be taking some time out just now, so I'll NPC him for the moment until we hear from him.
Shaylar keeps up a steady stream of arrows, arcing over the heads of the rest of you to pierce the spectral cat. With each arrow its image seems to waver, until it bursts in a pulse of ghostlight. Each arrow hit, the third one is enough to take it down.
The Lion Path
Taking stock, you continue up the dark, winding passage. It seems to curl back on itself as it ascends. You are clambering along when you hear another blood-curdling growl, and the ethereal form of an even larger lion manifests before you. This one seems to take up the whole width of the corridor; indeed, its shoulders and mane disappear through the stony walls. This seems an altogether more dangerous specimen. It is crouching low and obviously seems to have been aware of your procession, though its growling gives it away. It pounces down the passage at you with a cry!
No map at the moment, but much as with your previous encounter, and I'm presuming the same marching order as before. No surprise round, so Shaylar and lion up first.
Helaku magic missile 1d4 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
lion Perception 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (9) + 11 = 20
lion Stealth 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19
Ambrose Percept 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (11) + 8 = 19
Helaku Percept 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 2 = 17
Leonar Percept 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (19) + 16 = 35
Shaylar Percept 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (6) + 13 = 19
Fang Percept 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (15) + 8 = 23
Aleste Percept 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20
Ambrose init 1d20 ⇒ 9
Helaku init 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20
Leonar init 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (6) + 8 = 14
Shaylar init 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (15) + 10 = 25
Aleste init 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 3 = 10
lion init 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24
Mellistra, Melikkiya, responds in a small voice. "I swear it, on my name. Unless summoned and bound again to this world, I will not return. Your descendants and loved ones will be safe."
"A dark artefact allowed me to slip into this world, initially. Ah, what delight in the havoc I caused amongst you mortals! I was tasked with tempting powerful individuals to dedicate themselves to my patron, the demon lord Sifkesh. The dragon I aided was one such. My lord determined that, though young now, Khlorphraxus would grow to become a terrible terror in the lands of Sargava. But he was also lazy, and greedy. All he wanted was for me to recruit adventurers to eliminate one of his rivals, so that Khlorphraxus could claim his lair and hoard. It was in Eleder that I overheard two gnomes talking, one of them that paladin over there," she gestures towards Krolmnite, "the other his lady love. It was so perfect! Taking her image and asking your help to hunt a dragon was too easy by far."
"Yet, as I travelled across the wilds with you, you revealed an even greater treasure. Saventh-Yhi, the lost city! My master would be very pleased. You unmasked me, in the end, but I've been hunting the city ever since."
Osumare mulls over Zaghigoth's questions, and tries to answer. "They are legends, mostly. Every few years jungle orcs and those of orcish blood raid out of the jungle. More beast than anything else, dark and primal. Dangerous."
Round 2 continued
Leonar however has no such qualms and summons a flaming sphere that engulfs the beast. It writhes in the flames, but you're not sure how much they are actually affecting it. Failed its save, but its incorporeal nature means it only takes half damage, 3 points.
Tucked down the tunnel, Aleste holds back for fear of accidentally harming those ahead.
Ambrose continues to slash at the lion, his frost blade hissing as it makes contact with Leonar's flaming sphere. Somewhere between the two the blade makes contact with the lion. Same as above, it's just taking half damage, 3 points.
Back to the top of the initiative list, I'll give Helaku a chance to post. No real changes to the map.
24 - Helaku
lion 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12
damage 1d6 ⇒ 5
lion Reflex 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12
Rowena joins Krolmnite and Quinta as the sorceress puts the pressure on Mellistra. In the face of the half-elf's narrow gaze and Quinta's anger, Mellistra stares back defiantly. Quinta starts to summon something and Mellistra watches with worry evident on her face. Then, her shoulders slump and her shoulders seem, broken. "Alright. It's Melikkiya. My True Name is Melikkiya." Excellent Intimidate roll, with the assist from Cat. What are your questions for her, and do you intend to let her go after?
Somewhat removed, Zaghigoth discusses spirit totems with Osumare. She takes in the half-orc with a discerning gaze. "You are like the ones of the Deep Jungle. You are far from home, are you not? Please, help me to care for the bodies of my sister-priestesses, and we will conduct the rites to connect you to your spirit totem. Your friends are discussing the fate of that demoness. I say death would be too kind a fate for her!"
Osumare thanks Quinta for her concern. She is keen to leave and explains that it is the way of her people for her to act as a bridge between the spirit world and the world of man, and that quite often to do requires speding time in communion with the wilds. Nkechi confirms that this is so.
All the same, she responds to your encouragement and announces she has reconsidered offering to awaken your spirit totems. If any of you are willing, she will conduct the ritual, though she will need Nkechi's assistance and perhaps Quinta's as well if she is agreeable. However, she adds that something needs to be done with Mellistra - her very presence may taint the proceedings.
Meanwhile, the demoness responds to Quinta's challenges in a pitiful, small voice, sitting huddled on the ground. "I promise. You have all proved yourselves. I will be glad to go back to the Abyss, I can see when I have been defeated. I will not grant you my True Name, mortal, but I will consent to answering your questions, as best as I am able. What have I to lose?" She turns her gaze beseechingly on Krolmnite, who stands watch over the proceedings with an impassive demeanour.
I think most folk are still here, any delays in play recently have unfortunately been of my own devising, other commitments temporarily robbing me of free time. Yourself, Krolmnite, and Zaghigoth have checked in recently, Yekskya's player has been waiting patiently in the wings while I took control of his fighter, and I suspect Rowena's player will reappear sometime soon. He regularly gets taken over by RL but I trust him to let us know if he feels he needs to bow out completely.
And the rest of your merry crew, are NPCs. :)
You move on from the scene of the fight beside the river, taking your prisoners with you. Trying to locate a place to make camp, you find that the dancers were telling the truth at least in part, as you find a simple, clean hut beside the river not far from where you met them.
Amongst the gear the dancers possessed, you recover three blowguns, a total of 24 darts, three gourds containing 15 doses of blue whinnis poison, finely wrought obsidian knives, three whips, three woven amulets with tribal and spirit markings, three sets of ornamental bracers which match the amulets, spell component pouches, and each with a set of quills and ink - you think they might be tattooing sets.
The following day, you are able to break the powerful charms holding Yekskya and the dancer Osumare in thrall to the demoness. Yekskya is a little sheepish about his actions during the previous day's fight. Osumare explains that she and the other two Zenj spirit dancers, Masoze and Alala, often dwell in the wilderness to commune with the spirits of the land. Not long ago they were approached by the woman calling herself Zakkiya - the demoness you know as Mellistra. She offered to teach them secret rituals which would allow them to draw closer to their totem spirits, and enchanted with the charismatic woman they readily agreed. When she revealed her true nature to them, they were horrified but were unable to break the hold she had on them.
Osumare asks that you let her go. At one time, she may have been persuaded to perform a ritual to summon your own totem spirits, a more powerful version of the ritual that Nkechi conducted with some of you. Now, with the death of her sister priestesses, she wishes to be allowed to return to the wild and seek atonement. Both she and Yekskya glance over to where you are holding Mellistra, bound and gagged. The demoness is conscious now, and glares at you with cold hatred. Quinta are you still seeking her true name?
You have Yekskya and the dancer named Osumare surrounded, but they still seem ensorcelled and willing to leap to support the succubus, Mellistra. She lies on the ground, senseless. Nkechi suggests tying them all up.
Sorry it's been slow, things have been busy. It's too late for a long post at the moment, but I'm going to move things on. I'd say you've defeated Mellistra, so calculating XP you all go up to Level 6 - hurrah! I think I'll not get to post the next update until Saturday evening, so take the time to level up your characters (you too Yekskya!) and if you want to do any more RP to finish up this encounter. I was thinking you've had enough time wandering in the wilderness so I've been ready to move you on, but I couldn't resist an opportunity to have Mellistra stick her nose into things again. Next stop, Tazion!
Shaylar fires a quick arrow at the spectre. It's form wavers a bit as the arrow passes through it and clatters off the far wall, you're not sure if it really felt that attack. [/ooc] 2 points damage. [/ooc]
Sorry it's been a bit of a gap, extra work and family commitments have eaten up my time. Should hopefully get better after next week when kids finish school, thanks for hanging in there. Everyone's up.
24 - Helaku
Shaylar ranged 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (1) + 14 = 15
damage 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
lion 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
damage 1d6 ⇒ 3
Round 9 continued
The dire boar looks ready to gore Yekskya, circling round the fighter. It keeps its distance, but snorts angrily.
[ooc] Yekskya, still there? Go ahead and make another Will save to break the domination and get your character back! You get a +2 bonus to the save. [ooc]
Osumare Will 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (9) + 1 = 10
Yeks Will 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 2 = 14
Round 1 continued
Despite being attacked by the ghost, Ambrose doesn't shrink back from it. Instead he lunges forward with his sword. The magical blade does seem to connect with the ethereal entity after a fashion, slicing off a wispy portion of its outline. It doesn't seem to react to the blow in the same way as mortals, but you reckon it's done some damage at least. It's incorporeal nature lessens the impact of your blow, but takes 5 points damage plus 2 points cold damage.
24 - Helaku
Round 8 continued
Zaghigoth lopes forward, trying to get into position to tackle the remaining dancer in much the same way. A standard move puts you in a position to try your tackle/pin next round.
Yekskya struggles feebly against Oshok'arr's pin. She obliges by settling a bit more weight on him.
Nkechi moves to Mellista's side and produces a bit of hemp rope, which he uses to try to bind her hands and wrists.
Yeks AoO 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (2) + 8 = 10
damage 2d6 + 4 ⇒ (6, 1) + 4 = 11
Krolmnite stays his blade, bending to check that Mellistra is truly unconscious. Could it really be that easy?
Rowena lunges with her rapier, trying her best to knock out the remaining dancer Osumare with a blow to the side of her head. It's awkward though and she misses her opportunity.
Yeskya still seems ensorcelled. Too late to help the succubus, he rams his sword into the side of celestial boar. It didn't seem to be expecting that attack at all, and the blade inflicts a terrible gaping wound. Hits for 12 points damage.
Shouting on you to deal with the dancer Osumare, Quinta places her rapier at Mellistra's throat. She appears to be unconscious, but she might be listening. In any case, she doesn't respond, lying limp at your feet. The dire boar looks set to trample over her. At her words, Nkechi makes his way over to help Rowena deal with the dancer.
Despite being surrounded and outmatched, the remaining dancer Osumare fights with abandon, viciously thrusting her knife at anyone who comes close. She seems desperate to reach Mellistra and tries to push Rowena back so that she can move closer to the downed demoness.
Back down the initiative order to Zaghigoth (and friends).
Osumare 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 9
damage 1d4 - 1 ⇒ (1) - 1 = 0
Yekskya melee 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (19) + 8 = 27
damage 2d6 + 4 ⇒ (5, 3) + 4 = 12
Lion's Path - Round 1
This lion bounding at you looks like a type of incorporeal spirit known as a ghost brute. Perhaps not as powerful as the ghost of an intelligent being, but still dangerous. Since it has no terrestrial form, it is difficult to hit properly without the aid of magic.
Drifting as far off the ground as the tunnel's ceiling would allow (not much), Helaku has good line of sight of the spectral lion. He pulls out his wand of magic missiles and sends one at the enemy. The bolt of force hits the lion square in the chest. You think it may have wounded the ghost creature in some way. 4 points damage to the lion.
Despite the cramped quarters, Shaylar takes aim with his favoured weapon. He snaps off two quick arrows as the lion rushes towards you; both hit, somehow absorbed by the ghostly figure. Total of 5 points damage with two successful hits.
The lion bounds up and takes a swipe at Ambrose. Fortunately the cavalier has time to twist out of the way. The lion's paw misses him and disappears into the side of the tunnel.
24 - Helaku
Shaylar ranged 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (5) + 14 = 19
damage 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
Shaylar ranged 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (9) + 9 = 18
damage 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5
lion 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
damage 1d6 ⇒ 1
Round 7 continued
Lastly, Quinta uses her potent voice. A sonic scream buffets the succubus, causing her to whimper in pain and misery. Failed Fort save, taking full damage and dazed for one round.
Rowena may be taking care not to kill the dancer Osumare, but the dancer is taking no such care with her. She flicks forward with her knife, and would have skewered the half-elf but her blade was turned by Rowena's armor.
Mellistra cries out. "Please, please! I surrender! I'm sorry I hurt you"
Which is when Zaghigoth's summoned dire boar barrels into her trampling her form into the dust. The beautiful demoness' form looks crumpled in the dust, unconscious but you see she is breathing in short gasps. The boar hits and damage is just enough to put her into minuses!
Over to Krolmnite, and have Cat's actions thanks. One dancer left and Yekskya still mind controlled
No change to map.
Mellistra Fort 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (4) + 9 = 13
Osumare melee 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 2 = 14
damage 1d4 - 1 ⇒ (4) - 1 = 3
The Lion's Path
You move on. Summoning light you move into the twisting tunnel, Ambrose taking the lead with blade ready and Leonar following close behind, alert for any traps or mischief. Shaylar coves them with his bow with Aleste and Helaku brings up the rear, invisible and treading as silently as possible. Fang follows, but the wolf seems to find this structure strange and unnatural. That's how I interpreted your marching order, but if different let me know.
You only penetrate a few paces into the tunnel when the spectral form of a lion emerges at a pounce from one of the tunnel walls and charges towards you! You can make out few details apart from its outline, it seems bathed in a cold blue light and somewhat insubstantial, much like the leonine forms that you had seen prowling around the outside of the edifice. This one though seems wholly focused on you.
Despite its unusual appearance and charge at you down the confined space, none of you are caught off guard so no surprise round. Helaku and Shaylar manage to get in attacks first.
24 - Helaku
Shaylar Perception 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (18) + 13 = 31
Ambrose Perception 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11
lion stealth 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (2) + 8 = 10
Ambrose init 1d20 ⇒ 3
Helaku init 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (17) + 7 = 24
Leonar init 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (1) + 8 = 9
Shaylar init 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (2) + 10 = 12
lion init 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10
Aleste init 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5
It's been a few days travel across the Thornwaste, so you have had a rest since reviving Helaku. However, the ragged terrain of the wastes have injured and slowed some of you up, so that Helaku, Shaylar and Fang are at half movement, as are a couple of your horses.
Leonar moves to the front of the group, looking around for anything out of sorts. Nothing stands out, but then at the last moment his eyes alight on a large bracelet, a simple string of seven night-black pearls. It rests at the edge of the monster's bedding. The pearls look extremely valuable, but the item has an unholy air about it.
As the druid bends closer to examine it, he notices something else. A faint breath of wind seems to be blowing the dust along the floor. He traces the movement to a bare wall at the back of the chamber. There must be a passage behind! He gropes about, and finds a hidden latch. With a sigh, a large panel along the wall slides open. Behind it yawns a long, ten-foot wide hallway that seems to slowly curl upwards as it disappears into the darkness.
Round 6 continued
Rowena continues to harry Osumare. She doesn't land any hits, but she keeps the dancer from creating any more mischief.
With a final burst of strength, Yekskya breaks free of the plants that were binding him. He strides away from them and brandishes his sword, a flat expression on his face. He still seems to be suffering from the sickening sap and thorns of the entangling plants.
Nkechi presses his attack with his trident. The wizened old mystic scores a lucky hit, but amongst her other wounds Mellistra hardly seems to notice it. Damage dealt didn't quite beat her damage resistance.
"Enough!" Hampered as she is by the webbing, the succubus variously known as Mellistra, Zakkiya, and Lani tries move out of reach of her enemies. She summons a quick spell, addressing you just before completing it. All humour and guile are gone form her face now. "You've had your fun, but we'll have to finish this another time." You see that she's managed to position herself out of reach of paladin, priest, and dinosaur. As she utters a final command to complete her spell, both celestial spider and dire boar beside her leap on the succubus. The spider misses, but the boar manages another ripping gore with its tusks. The pain of the attack puts her off her casting, and the spell fails! The demoness looks around in shock and pain. Five foot step for Mellistra, puts her just out of reach of Krolmnite, Nkechi, and Oshok'arr. She takes her chances with attacks of opportunity from the boar and spider as she casts greater teleport, for her trouble she takes a hit from the boar for 22 points damage. Her concentration check was stupendous despite the penalty for being entangled, but it wasn't enough when the damage dealt from the injury was added to the DC.
Cat melee 1d20 + 7 - 4 ⇒ (8) + 7 - 4 = 11
damage 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7
Yeks Escape Artist 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21
Nkechi trident 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 4 = 20
damage 1d8 ⇒ 3
Mellistra concentration 1d20 + 12 + 8 ⇒ (15) + 12 + 8 = 35
dire boar gore 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (15) + 13 = 28
damage 2d6 + 18 ⇒ (1, 3) + 18 = 22
spider bite 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10
damage 1d6 ⇒ 1
You could coax Smoke up the stairs and into the lair, but there wouldn't be a lot of room to maneuver. Even less if you were in the saddle.
With caution Leonar and Ambrose make their way up the steps and into the monster's lair. It stinks. There's a messy carcass in one corner, probably it's last meal. The two take time to effect some healing magic.
Helaku is nowhere to be seen. He floats up the stairs and steps lightly onto the landing. The sorcerer looks around the chamber for any clues, but nothing springs to mind.
Shaylar follows the lion shaman and Lion of Brindol, sword drawn. He takes a guarded stance, eyes sharp for any trouble. Fang hovers on the steps, clearly reluctant to go any further. The wolf growls every time one of the strange leonine apparitions appears.
Shaylar Perception 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (5) + 13 = 18
Round 6 continued
Krolmnite sprints forward with all he has, swinging his greatsword at Mellistra with great might. With a devilish gleam she sweeps her wings forward, seeping dust into the gnome's face. His blade swings wide and grinds into the ground. A 1! Tough luck.
Having dispatched Alala, Rowena dashes forward to try to cut off Osumare. She heeds Quinta's cries and simply tries to pin the woman down rather than disable or kill her.
Yekskya bends his will and his muscle to breaking free of the vegetation binding and sickening him. It's no use, he slumps down as his strength leaves him.
Nkechi dodges around Krolmnite, trying not to get in the way of his blade. He helps to hedge in Mellistra, trying to impale her with his trident. She easily bats the weapon away, unimpressed.
Mellistra seems disdainful in engaging in melee, but she does so now. She lashes out, her long nails like claws that dig deep into the boar's hide. Her first strike hits AC 18 for 2 points damage, and her second hits AC 26 for 6 points damage.
Quinta cracks her whip and bang! Osumare is taken down hard. Before she can rise, one of Quinta's summoned spiders throws a strand of sticky webbing at her, but the wily dancer rolls out of the way. The other spider slings a glob of webbing at Mellistra, and entangles the demoness.
Back to Zaghigoth, Krolmnite, Rowena.
Cat melee 1d20 + 7 - 4 ⇒ (5) + 7 - 4 = 8
damage 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
Yekskya Escape Artist 1d20 + 3 - 2 - 2 ⇒ (2) + 3 - 2 - 2 = 1
Nkechi trident 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
damage 1d8 ⇒ 2
Mellistra claw 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (7) + 11 = 18
damage 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2
Mellistra claw 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (15) + 11 = 26
damage 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6
With the other dancers for the most part dealt with, Krolmnite turns his attention on the succubus. The shapechanger. The trickster. The one who impersonated his dear Lani and nearly led them to ruin in battle against not one, but two green dragons. Time had come for a reckoning.
He stomps towards the fight, with the demoness surrounded by the gnome's allies. Sword in hand, he shoves at an alabaster leg of one of Quinta's summoned spiders, causing it to scuttle out of the way. He ducks under a low swing of Oshok'arr's tail, and pushes Nkechi aside. By the time he is in melee range, he is running as fast as his gnomish legs can carry him. With an almighty cry to Smiad and to Iomedae he brings retribution to Mellistra.
Krolm with your last post it seemed to me you were still working out your strategy, so I was holding off on writing an update and also to give Rowena a chance to post. But Krolm on re-reading your post it seemed pretty clear what you were after seemed a charge action, which would put you in melee range this round. This seems an important moment for the doughty paladin, so I'll let you make your own attack rolls. Go get her!
Shaylar steps to where the corpse of the monster has tumbled down the steps in a heap. He draws his enchanted longsword and with a practiced eye slices into a vulnerable area beneath the large scales protecting its chest. He cuts slowly and deliberately to avoid bringing any more harm to Ambrose. Eventually, he creates a sizeable tear that penetrates to the creature's gullet, and there you find Ambrose Harrowfield.
The cavalier's absolutely coated in stinking bile and what may even be the monster's last meal, but he's alive. Shaylar extends a hand and helps him to climb out. As you work, spectral lion shapes whiz overhead, disappearing into the stone edifice.
Helaku are you keeping invisible after the fight? Let me know if you all stop to take any other actions before pressing on.
The steps lead up into a large chamber with rough-hewn walls and a domed ceiling rising fifteen feet overhead. To the north is heaped a large amount of crushed nettles and briars, arranged in some sort of nest, while to the south lies a massive mound of bones. The area smells strangely musty and acrid.
Sorry guys, I posted an update last week but just realized that it's not taken. I'm wondering if I had clicked on Preview instead of Submit. A shame, I thought it was a good end to an epic combat. I'll attempt a rewrite just now, the upshot is I can incorporate Boomsmurf's own rolls for Shaylar in the rewrite.
Lion's Walk - Round 2 continued
Crushed within the suffocating confines of the monster's stomach, Ambrose tries to find a way out of this latest predicament. If only he had a short blade to hand to cut his way out! He tries to haul himself back up the creature's throat instead, but the going is too slippery to find purchase. From the outside, the creature looks a bit ill from indigestion at eating a fully-armored meal. Haste does indeed contribute to Ambrose's CMB, but the many-legged behir has crazy combat maneuver ratings.
Shaylar continues firing a hail of arrows at the monster. Many bounce off its hardened scales, but two bite especially deep into its vitals. At the same time, Leonar unsleashes a flame strike that also bursts through its weakened arcane defences to burn its side. The creature collapses with a heavy crash that covers you all in a cloud of dust and stone chips. The corpse lolls on its side, revealing a bulge in its chest where Ambrose must be.
Two hits from Shaylar and Leonar's flame strike (even with fire resistance) are enough to take it down. Well done! Varanthian had a fearsome number of hit points and a plethora of special defences. Will you be able to get Ambrose out of there?