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"The disguise is magic, of a sorts, though of a higher nature than a simple illusion or transmutation spell. It will affect not only your appearance, but also give you drow-like abilities. We have a visitor with us, one you have not yet met. He is an...elf...by the name of Giseil Voslil. We will meet him in the morning to discuss the details of what he can do for you. As for your scout, if you can give me a list of materials that you need, we will provide whatever we can."
Eviana looked worried at Anklebiter's comment. "A day we can give you, two at most. But the drow will certainly be suspect if they hear nothing from Nolveniss for much longer than that. On the disguise front, though, we can certainly help. We have an...expert...who can magically disguise you. The drow are an intelligent and deeply suspicious people, who are no strangers to deceptions. Mere illusions or simple transmutations won't stand up to scrutiny. Our plan involves something with more longevity and subtlety. Something more unorthodox."
Eviana smiled at the excitement and gratitude you showed for her gifts. The party wound down, and as everyone was standing to leave, she said, "My new friends, if you would please stay. Shalelu, Kaerishiel, and I have something to discuss with you."
As the rest of the guests departed, Eviana signaled to the servers to lower the flaps on the tent. Within moments, you were in a pocket of calm amidst the furor of the war camp. Camp noises from outside were audible, but very muffled, as if you had clapped your hands over your ears. Eviana indicated for you to sit once more, then did so herself. The rangers followed suit.
"What I am about to tell you is to be kept in the surest confidence. The elves as a people know much about this, but it is not for the ears of outsiders. You, of course, have shown your trustworthiness in these matters."
"What you have told me of the preparations and plans of the drow wizard Nolveniss greatly bothered me. As Kaerishiel and Shalelu were healed of their...maladies, they spoke of a great many things as well. It is disturbing to think that our ancient enemy, who is also our closest kin, may indeed be planning to bring about another age of cataclysm. We have also interrogated a number of prisoners, who speak of another name, one forgotten to all but the oldest of elves. Allevrah Azrinae."
"She was once a proud member of good standing of the Elven Court who, through machinations and ill-intent of her own, turned into that which she once despised. A drow."
Seeing your look of surprise, she added, "Oh yes. You see, the drow aren't a separate race of elves, or at least they didn't start out that way. The first drow came about when elves of the light turned to wickedness within their own hearts, and began practicing vile acts. Through that transformation, they lost the sight of the sun and stars, and took themselves to the Darklands, where the taint of evil breeds true to this day. Even now we lose a handful of elves, mostly the young, to the foul taint every decade. That is one of the purposes of the Skin'Rakorath. To track down news of these drow and eliminate them, lest the entire world know of our shame."
At this last, Kaerishiel nodded with a slight smile on his lips.
"Now, though, we have a potential solution to an age-old problem. You see, through various divinations and magical spells, we have unraveled the mystery of the two portals in the Academy. Of course, you know of the one that generated the Armageddon Echo. We believe that Nolveniss and his mistress took an existing portal, whose activation mechanism was destroyed in the Cataclysm, and used a piece of the Cyphergate from Riddleport to create the dimensional pocket you defeated the wizard in."
"The other gate, though, once led to Kyonin a capital of the elven people. To bring forth her armies, Allevrah and Nolveniss corrupted the gate, so that it now leads to the drow city of Zirnakaynin, deep in the Darklands. And this is our opportunity."
"You see, I do not doubt that Allevrah will be continuing her plans to destroy the surface of the world. Despite your separating her from her pet wizard, the prisoners tell us that a wealth of information was already sent back through the portal to the drow city, and she may have learned more than enough to continue to enact her plans. You saw what a relatively small stone did to Riddleport, and you know your own history. We cannot allow the drow to call up another Earthfall."
"With Celwynvian reclaimed, and the portal due to recharge in the next day or so, we have the perfect opportunity to send forth agents into the city of Zirnakaynin to gather intelligence and to disrupt Allevrah's plans. And that brings us back around to you."
"The five of you are uniquely suited to this task, as you are competent, resourceful, and above all, intelligent. Also, you are not elven. You see, proximity to the drow and their vicious evil appears to ... increase the chance of a surface elf to succumb to the twisting. As you are not elves, you would not be subject to this phenomena. Not even the half-elves among you. And finally, to be forthright, you are better than our best. Even Kaerishiel admits that none of his men could stand up to you in a fight, even if they outnumbered you two to one."
"So, I must ask you again if you would be willing to render aid to me and my people, and to all the peoples of the world. Will you take disguise, go to the depths of the enemy's lair, and befoul her plans?"
Shabbezz looked around, seeing the village as if she were standing in its center. The straw and stick huts seemed to be occupied, but there was no movement within the camp. Either everyone was taking an afternoon nap, or something else was going on. Still, from where she was looking, she would guess that about half the structures were occupied.
The largest hut appeared to have a curtain doorway made of brightly colored beads. That and the better condition of its roof made it appear rather important. There was also a pit of sorts in the trail just to the south of where her sensor was, surrounded by a fence of sticks. The sticks are angled inwards towards the pit.
Angelica - I stated above that boggards speak Boggard.
As Shabbezz prepared her spell, Angelica sneaked towards the village. It took all of her considerable skill, as the clinging sloppy mud made it difficult to move quietly, but walking on the raised trails was far too exposed for a stealthy entrance. From her vantage at the outskirts of the village, Angelica occasionally glimpsed a boggard inside a hut, but none were walking about. Most huts had either a hide door flap, or a door made of sticks. There was no solid construction anywhere in the camp.
Eviana sent you on your way to be tended to by the healers and clerics in the camp. Within the hour, Bruendor and Anklebiter are looking at solid, non-translucent skin once more, and Lefrik feels back to his robust self. An elf led you back to your quarters to rest, with the news that Eviana was planning a celebratory banquet for the next day, and that you are invited as the guests of honor.
The fighting in Celwynvian wasn't over - pockets of drow and demons still inhabited the ruins - but for the most part the enemy forces were broken. Bands of elves scoured the ruins that night and int the next day, routing out the holdouts, and freeing the ancient city from their evil presence. More than a few captives were led back to the camp, and these proved to be a font of useful information.
The next day, as the afternoon waned into evening, the grand pavilion of Eviana's council was alive with celebration. As you arrived, a polite round of applause greeted you. Far from the dichotomous reception you had at the war council at the start of the battle for Celwynvian, approval of you and your activities now seems to be unanimous. Even Kaerishiel was smiled as he greeted you.
As the meal wound down, Eviana stood, and the tent went hushed. She said, "I want to extend my gratitude to all of you who led the fight against our dark brothers. Especially, I wish to thank our heroes from Riddleport. They had reason enough to dislike the plans the drow had in place, but no real need to help us as they have. When I say that we could not have rid Celwynvian of the drow's influence without them, I do not think that I am exaggerating."
"The hold of the dark elves, our fallen kin, over the Jeweled City is broken, and within days we shall be able to begin rebuilding the elven nation that once called this place its home. This could not have been done without Calla, Lefrik, Kelendra, and our least likely of allies, Bruendor and Anklebiter. These men and women went above and beyond the call of mere mercenaries to truly fight the evil they saw and protect the elven people, and the world at large from the plans of the dark elves. A second Earthfall was prevented - or at least delayed - by their actions. Please join me in expressing our gratitude."
A polite round of applause once more filled the open air tent. You looked around at the elven faces, varying degrees of pride and embarrassment filling your thoughts. As you did, you noticed a group of elven pages bringing in a set of wooden platters, the wood stained so dark it was almost black. This set off the shining items laid upon them.
"When we asked you to join us in this fight to drive the dark elves from this city, you were promised reward, akin to that of the Shin’Rakorath. Yet, repeatedly your actions went above and beyond those of even our own elven mercenaries. You even saved the lives of Shalelu, Kaerishiel, and their fighters more than once, even unto traveling into the shadowy pocket dimension of the Armageddon Echo to stop the plots that were driving the occupation of Celwynvian. For these reasons, and countless others, we have decided to reward you, not in kind as was first promised, but in excess."
She turned to the pages and motioned for them to present their items. Each page moved to stand at the right hind side of you, and leaned forward to present your gifts.
For Calla, there was a belt of woven silver, leaves and runes intertwined in a fascinating pattern. If she was interpreting the meaning correctly, the belt enhanced the wearer's own strength and fortitude.
Belt of Physical Might +2 STR/CON
For Lefrik, the item was a cascade of green and brown material that looked like leaves, but felt like silk. The silver clasps of the cloak bore the symbols of clarity and regeneration.
Cloak of Resistance +3
Kelendra looked down at a circlet of woven silver, embedded with lapis and topaz. The designs woven into the circlet spoke of calm, compassion, and wisdom.
Headband of Mental Prowess +2 CHA/WIS
For his part, Anklebiter had to stand in his chair to see what the tall elf was holding, despite the man's bow. The goblin's eyes widened as he looked on a short rod, as thick as both his thumbs together and about as long as his forearm. The braided leather covering was dyed a bright blue, and the runes spoke of duration. Beside the rod, in a small bowl, were a trio of pearls, one larger than the others.
Rod of Extend, pearl of power level 2, 2x pearl of power level 1
Finally, Bruendor looked up, not knowing what to expect, as he had asked for nothing of note. The tray beside him was the largest, and the page that held it was obviously struggling to hold it out away from his body. A breastplate lay upon it, but instead of gleaming like most elven armors, this one radiated shadow. It was almost hard to focus on the armor, the way it seemed to bend light from itself.
+1 shadow mithril breastplate
There were murmurs all around the table as the items were presented, and Eviana simply beamed. "We hope that you will accept our offerings to you, and that they will serve you well in the days to come."
Remember, not all orcs are your enemies. The guy at L32 is your Captain!
1d20 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10
1d20 + 9 ⇒ (20) + 9 = 29
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 26
1d6 ⇒ 2
Everyone charged into the room and were immediately greeted by the sight of Molly vomiting a huge swarm of spiders onto the floor. The arachnids pouring out of her mouth nearly made Storn lose his own lunch, though that would have been less devastating to the enemy. The orcs howled in pain and fury, jumping up and down in place to scrape off the biting spiders. One, distracted by his woes, had them ended when Storn's warhammer spilled the contents of its skull onto the floor. The other had its belly opened by Bloodtusk's scimitar as it stumbled out of the spiders, then was pierced by Quill's bow shot. Somehow, it managed to not only keep its feet, but to hack at the captain with its falchion, drawing a long line of blood from the tough orc. The remaining orc pinned the knight to the wall with the spear it had been torturing her with, then turned and drew its own falchion, jumping up on the table and bellowing a challenge.
The spiders rolled into the combat, their bites and poison finishing off the wounded orc and causing Bloodtusk no end of pain.
Quill can't double move in the surprise round, but he can get up the ladder and onto the drawbridge.
Mariana 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (15) + 3 = 18
Molly 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2
Quill 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
Sander 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (9) + 3 = 12
Storn 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
Mawj 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 2 = 18
enemies 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 = 19
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 10
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22
Everyone moved in, with varying degrees of stealth, trying to get into position to ambush the orcs. Of course, Storn's idea of stealth didn't exactly match most others' and his eponymous war cry rang out through the building and the forest beyond.
Storn's shout startled the orcs, who spun from their play to face the intruders. Weapons leaped into their hands and a pair of them charged Bloodtusk, who was the farthest into the room.
The former gladiator sneered in contempt at their blows, and turned them aside with his own scimitar. The blade came back around in a blur, slicing deeply into one of his foes.
A few hours' walk took you to a ridgeline overlooking a small portion of swamp. The bowl-like depression held the waters in, making a perfect living area for the semi-aquatic boggards. The village there was built in the watery land, with twenty or so huts half-submerged so that only the tops of the structures are clear of the mire. Firm trails of built-up dirt wind through the area, dropping sharply into the boggy marshland. Despite the remains of a large bonfire smoldering in the center of the village, there are no signs of life.
Man, I can't believe how crappy my free-form mapping skills were when I made this one.
Never not forget to update
Another wailing scream echoed out from the building above, and it set your teeth on edge. Fearing for his friend, Captain Bloodtusk was the first one up the ladder to the second story. There, he found the drawbridge down and the doorway open. As Storn and Mawj followed closely after, they could see into the building.
The large open room had a table and stout wooden chairs, bunks for two, and a large fireplace. There were also a handful of orcs torturing a woman dressed in knight's armor. She cursed them over and over as one drove a lance into her belly, beneath her cuirass. The orcs were so caught up in their game that they didn't notice you in the doorway.
If you wish to act in the surprise round you can, but only Bloodtusk, Storn, and Mawj are on the platform. The rest of you are either on the ladder or on the ground still. Plan well, but don't be surprised if Bloodtusk attacks.
[url=https://youtu.be/74ocbvwam7c?t=157]more like this[/ooc]
Eviana smiled gently as Bruendor and Anklebiter spoke up. "Of course. We have several priests on hand that should be able to take care of that condition. But, Master Anklebiter, as we spoke before, Crying Leaf has no large contingent of arcane casters. Why don't the five of you think on things for a while. I would like your presence at a celebratory feast this evening."
Eviana came to witness your return to Crying Leaf, and though her face is sad with the loss of both Shalelu's and Kaerishiel's raiding groups she is mightily encouraged with the success of the overall raid. "Your success has sent the drow fleeing into the surrounding forests and mountains. We still have much work to do to secure Celwynvian, but at last we can see the end in sight. How can we thank you? You are not of the elven people, by birth or by choice, and you had no stake in this fight other than our offer of payment, yet you were instrumental in securing this victory for us and returning two who were lost. Tell me what it is that you desire for your reward, and if it within my power I will grant it."
And if any of you say "a Winnebago" or "world peace" I'm going to go James Earl Jones all over you!
Shalelu and Kaerishiel look to be unchanged from your earlier observations, exhibiting all the signs of physical and mental tortures. Their bodies simply were too overwhelmed by the transference to cope. A few moments, and some basic healing, later both elves opened their eyes.
The trip back to the elven encampment was uneventful. The only drow that you saw were running in full retreat, and there were no demons in sight. As you staggered into the clearing at the Crying Leaf camp, shouts of cheers rang out.
Sorry folks, things are so busy around here.
ref: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (19) + 5 = 24
1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 + 2 = 7
The first two wolves died in a hail of electric arrows and the explosions from one of Sander's homemade bombs. The others moved up, helping in a supporting role, but once more Quill was the target of the remaining wolf. Fortunately for him, Molly's evil eye had the wolf cringing more than viciously attacking.
Everyone is up!
You made your way downstairs to find Shalelu and Kaerishiel once more clad in their armor and carrying their weapons, though the male ranger seems to be barely able to stand on his own. Shalelu started to say something, but an eerie whistling sound filled the air.
You rushed out of the building to the the blot above filling almost the entire sky, from horizon to horizon. Boiling atmosphere rolled away from the...thing that plummeted downwards, growing bigger as you gaped. one thing was clear, the Armageddon Echo was about to live up to its name!
As the roiling sky seemed to get close enough to touch, each of you felt a sensation in your middles, as if a giant fishhook had reached into your innards and fastened well before jerking you into another plane. The sensation was extremely unpleasant, enough so that even holding your last meal in became nearly impossible. Your vision grew gray and dark...
...before you were blasted back into the portal room in the Academy of Arts. You landed in a heap, Kaerishiel and Shalelu unconscious once more, on the blood-stained floor of the room that you visited not so long ago. The fist-sized garnet in Anklebiter's hand was so warm to the touch that the little goblin bounced it back and forth from hand to hand, blowing on his scorched fingers. The portal itself was simply blank stone, not the eerie smoky vision of the past that you remember from your first time here.
Staves DO NOT resize.
DM Ruling on what? The Pathfinder crafting rules are clear prerequisites and how to get around them.
1d20 + 8 ⇒ (15) + 8 = 23
1d20 + 8 ⇒ (10) + 8 = 18
1d20 + 8 ⇒ (13) + 8 = 21
Mariana 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17
high mawj: 1d100 ⇒ 32
1d20 + 2 ⇒ (7) + 2 = 9
1d20 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7
Quill peeks his head around the corner to see what was obviously a small stable, sized to hold two warhorses comfortably. Unfortunately, the horses appear to have been freshly slaughtered, and the elf can see two large wolves gorging themselves on on one of the carcasses. From the next stall over, he can hear the sound of at least one more wolf eating, as well. The wolves are so engrossed in their feasting that they do not notice his approach.
Sander, on the other hand, wasn't nearly as stealthy. The alchemist was so intent on Quill's back that he tripped over a dead orc and crashed to the ground. Hurriedly, he stood up, but it was too late. The two wolves in Quill's line of sight both bolted upraight, sniffing and growling. One turned to look right at the elf and bared it's teeth before attacking.
Both of the wolves in the stall lunged at Quill, the young archer barely managing to avoid their snapping jaws, beating at them with his bowstave.
Everyone is up!
Looking at the staff, Calla points out a few things that make her certain that is it a Staff of Dark Flame, with 14 charges remaining in it. The gemstone is large, almost the size of Anklebiter's fist. Anklebiter can read the rune, or at least he thinks he can. It is a variant of the word "portal".
I'll update the loot spreadsheet tonight
From up close, it was amazing that the keelboat even had a dock to moor to. The attackers had chopped, hacked, burned, and beaten it to sooty splinters, but somehow it held together enough to let you disembark. Falchion in hand, Bloodtusk led you off the shattered dock and on to the ground.
The near corner of the building was obviously a stables of some kind. A set of stairs ran up the southwest corner of the building to a lowered drawbridge. It was apparent that the waystation was meant to be a miniature fortress, with the inhabitants able to raise the drawbridge and hold off a raiding force while lighting a fire beacon to warn of the raiders. The lowered drawbridge and the corpses around the building spoke of a sudden attack, possibly while the way station inhabitants were unawares.
What do you want to do?
Seeing that his friend was safe and returned to the observatory roof, Bruendor smiled and turned to his normal post-victory celebration. Rummaging through the clothing and effects of the three wizards, he compiled quite a large collection of high-value or high-interest items. He then motioned for Calla to scan the bodies for any magical items he might have missed. In all, the pile of goods was quite large, and the pouches of gems and coins quite heavy.
Common magical items are easy to identify, and will be auto-identified from now on.
Anklebiter, Calla - Had this conversation many times, and people keep forgetting that you cannot control summoned monsters unless you can communicate with them. A bat is untrained as a mount, so any action other than attack requires a ride check, and you certainly can't direct them to do something as complex as "rescue someone", unless of course you can speak with animals.
Bruendor - With 15 Str, your max load is 200, which is less than Lefrik and his gear. As per the featherfall spell that means you would be either unable to hold onto him, or you both would fall.
You have 1 round of actions available to you. Catching the ring would require that Lefrik let go of the telescope with at least one hand, catch the ring, and put it on before he hit the roof below. Reflex save to catch the ring, and a Climb check if he is trying to hang on one-handed. It would make a cool story if it worked, though :D
Kelendra rushed forward to heal Lefrik as Anklebiter summoned his flying mount and took to the air. The goblin cursed as he tried to dispel the wizard's flight spell...and failed. Lefrik decided to climb the nearest telescope to get up to Nolveniss' level. Unfortunately for him, the last person to use the telescope had not locked the gearing in place. As the barbarian mounted the top of the scope, it swung wildly, dangling him over the side of the balcony, looking down to a sixty foot drop to the roof of the main building below!
Bruendor, seeing his friend fall, loosed an arrow that went wildly far from Nolveniss, but Calla was too focused on her target. For the first time since the battle began, she was faced with a single target, and she shot a pair of arrows at it. Both struck the wizard in the chest, causing him to lose his concentration. The dying form struck the stone of the tower roof with bone-snapping force, and the battle was over.
Lefrik needs to make me a DC15 climb check (no taking 10) or fall from the swinging telescope. Failure by 5 or less lets him cling to the scope without making any progress. Continue rolling until you either make the DC15 save, or get less than 10, which means you fall...likely to your death
Dagnabbit! Either the server ate my post from Friday, or something. Short recap to follow...
9d6 ⇒ (3, 6, 6, 4, 4, 3, 1, 4, 1) = 32
The shadowy fire was obviously - to Anklebiter, at least - a form of shadow invocation. A more unstable version of a standard fireball, but no less effective when it worked. The dark flames seriously injured Lefrik and Kelendra, but did little damage to the others. A hail of missile fire tore through the wizard's conjured images, and left only a single figure floating in the air. For a moment, Nolveniss looked as though he was trying to decide whether to flee to safety, or destroy these interlopers to his domain. He chose the latter, flying downwards to launch a lightning bolt that arced between Lefrik and Calla.
Calla and Lefrik take 32 electric damage, Ref DC18 for half.
everyone is up!
Here's the map
The captain was already shouting orders to bring the keelboat to the bank, even as Quill looked around fruitlessly for a longboat. The only boat here was the keelboat itself, and the ponderous beast pulled gently to a halt at the way house's docks as if it was guided by Bloodtusk's will alone. Crew members made lashings to the dock, even as Mawj was voicing his concerns.
The captain said, "An old friend of mine mans this station. I'm not just going to drift by withotu checking on her, not with signs of a raid about. Raiders may already be gone, and she's injured, or maybe they're inside and torturing her for sport. Can't be many, in either case. You can stay on the boat if you like, but I'm going to check on Calrianne."
As soon as the boat was tied up, the captain detailed a few of the crew to guard the boat while he and Halrex grabbed their armor and weapons and made ready to scout the way station.
Anyone who wants to go with the captain, grab your gear. Anyone who wants to stay with the boat, let me know.
1d20 + 8 ⇒ (12) + 8 = 20
1d4 ⇒ 2
9d6 ⇒ (5, 4, 3, 1, 5, 1, 6, 5, 6) = 36
Pinned in place by spider webbing, the remaining drow wizard on the ground could do nothing to stop Lefrik's advance. The great axe cleaved the life from the drow, leaving only the wizard in the air to deal with the intruders. Nolveniss flew back and forth, trying to dodge the incoming arrows and spells, his remaining images winking out one by one until only three copies of the wizard were left. The wizard flew even higher, over one of the telescopes, and then cast another spell. This one looked a lot like the previous fireball, only the flames were smoky black.
Everyone but Bruendor needs to make a DC21 Will Save, followed by a DC21 Reflex save to avoid the shadow fireball that just toasted your butts. (Bye-bye-spiders)
everyone is up!
Quill 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (12) + 11 = 23
Sander 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (13) + 8 = 21
The woman made no attempt to converse with Mawj, simply turning so that he wasn't in her direct line of sight and continuing to stare off into the distance.
In the watchtower, Quill fumed resentfully after Sander's condescending treatment, but managed to keep a sharp eye out for signs of danger. Staring into the unrelenting grey mists of the fog gave him a headache, but he had other things to worry about. Like whether or not the halfling truly had so little respect for him, and how that might affect his chances with the woman downstairs.
The fog finally burned off around mid-morning, leaving the countryside bare and gleaming in the bright sun. Many of the half-orcs grumbled at how bright it was out, but managed to do their jobs anyways. At the watchtower, both Quill and Sander shaded their eyes against the light as they looked about.
Much to his delight, it was Quill that spotted the way station first. Captain Bloodtusk had said something about stopping at a way station to deliver supplies, and it looked as if this might be the one. A small dock jutted out into the river. But, something seemed wrong. If there was smoke, shouldn't it be coming from the chimney? And what were those lumps scattered about the building? They looked like dogs, no worgs! And orcs too!