It is a DC 15 check to accomplish this, and will take about three rounds.
Conchobhar decides that he might be better off taking that route as well, and asks for a boost from Owlbear; the large man offers one gratefully.
Climb check, with +2 Aid bonus from Owlbear: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12
It takes about half a minute, but Conchobhar gets up and over to the rope.
Okay, combat for the next 5 rounds is still going.
Evril looks frantically for a way to reach the rope of to jump across to it, but finds nothing. In the meantime, though, the other frog moves through the muck and launches its sticky tongue at Chum.
Tongue attack: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (9) + 3 = 12 touch; grapple check 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (7) + 7 = 14
The tongue latches onto Chum and yanks, pulling him into the mire as well.
The frog is now 15 feet from the shore, and Chum is 5 feet from the shore as well. I need a Swim check from Chum. You guys can all take actions again.
Tybus' second shot sinks deep into the troglodyte's chest, and it falls from the wall with a hissing scream. Lamsfel's shot tears through the cheek of a second one, followed almost immediately by Tristan's arrow catching that one in the chest as well. Tristan's second arrow hit a third and badly wounds it as well, but Callomeleth's attempts continue to prove ineffective (and indeed his arcing attempt looks to have produced a weaker shot than his first try did).
Two down, one wounded, Gan still to go.
Got the treasure list up. Some of it was already claimed, obviously, but it should give you some idea what's available for you to sell if you want to. I didn't list the items Chief Sull just gave you above, but you could potentially sell the potions as well if you wanted. The +1 morningstar is too rich for the settlement, though, so you can't really sell it even if you so desired.
Upstairs, Mikayna and Galyna engage in an intense stare-off, but the Tower Girl does nothing other than grit her teeth and sit down on a chair in one of the small bedrooms on the second floor.
In the sitting room below, Terisha looks uncertainly between Miet and Ellantera. "Why are you asking me?" she says, her brow furrowed. "I kinda figured you'd have this part worked out by now..." She seems particularly unsure about what to make of Miet's statement.
Sense Motive, Miet and Ellantera, DC 15:
There was something that looked like a spark of hope in her eyes, though, at the idea of you "not wanting to throw her in prison."
It does. The pivot point in the canopy is about 30 feet up.
And there is a fair amount of foliage nearby, including some vines and branches, but Leu's a good twenty feet away even with his momentum from the swing, so you're not going to find anything randomly handy to reach him. Also, Owlbear and Conchobhar are still on the original side of the mire. However...
"Is there any more rope?" Conchobhar calls out, repeating Evril's question. "I have something that might help, if there is and I can get over to you!"
Only Nesipho has made a Sense Motive check, incidentally...
Lankesh frowns. "Because I do not know how it came into your hands, nor how it was broken myself," he replies, eyes narrowing. He flicks a glance at Markis, and the frown deepens. He returns his focus to Nesipho. "Because as far as I knew, the weapon was in my home, on its rack."
Under the assumption that you will probably stay overnight at Neathholm, and Rashak can therefore prep read magic...
a masterwork backpack
two potions of cure light wounds
potion of invisibility
masterwork chain shirt (x2)
Only Tybus' arrow finds its mark, although Callomeleth and Tristan both see the points of their shafts skid off the resilient scales of the troglodytes on the walls. Tybus' arrow bites deep, though, nearly knocking his target off the wall.
With a shout, the troglodytes begin hurling their javelins at their attackers. The range is not friendly to their weapons, though, sending several into the dirt short of their targets.
Trog #1 attacking Lamsfel: 1d20 - 4 ⇒ (1) - 4 = -3, damage 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
Trog #2 attacking Tristan: 1d20 - 4 ⇒ (13) - 4 = 9, damage 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
Trog #4 attacking Tybus: 1d20 - 4 ⇒ (1) - 4 = -3, damage 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
Trog #6 attacking Callomeleth: 1d20 - 4 ⇒ (16) - 4 = 12, damage 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4
Tristan is hit for 6. You guys are up.
Terisha and Mikayna exchange glances. Their hands are still bound, but their accommodations are quite comfortable, considering, so they don't look too out of sorts. After a couple moments, Mikayna announces, "I was just thinking about checking out the upstairs anyway," rising and making her way toward the staircase.
Terisha looks back at Ellantera and Miet. "So... what?" she asks, a mix of belligerence and uncertainty.
Troglodyte Perceptions: 1d20 ⇒ 4
You're still about 140 feet from the castle when the largest of the troglodytes on the walls spots Callemeleth making his way toward the walls. He gives a guttural shout, and the lizard-like warriors ready their javelins. They're waiting to see if you close into range - everyone can take an action now if you like.
Typically, you can't get any info on a resisted magical effect other than that you resisted it unless the effect has some sort of visual component, and this one doesn't. Of course, with that roll, you'd likely be out of luck anyway, but...
Not a bad idea, Breccia. In fact, I'd appreciate similar efforts from everyone else except Tania...
Sull leans forward, brow furrowed, to take the pendant, but his eye widens as he sees the pendant. "This... where did you encounter this?" he demands.
Assuming Belgood gives a generally accurate, if somewhat hesitant, answer...
The chief is quiet for a moment, but then he says, "This pendant belonged to my second son. He left here, just over under a month ago, after we quarreled. He argued with great passion that we should take a more aggressive stance in opposition to our traitorous kin, while I chided him for inflaming anger that could not be readily calmed and risking the lives of our people. He chose to set out and find others of our kind who believed as he did. Knowing what I do now about the state of Kenabres, I am proud that he showed the wisdom I did not, and I... am ashamed I did not follow his advice sooner."
Sull looks down, running a sharp talon over the pendant's face. "Thank you for returning this, friend Belgood," he murmurs quietly. "I am pleased to know he made it at least as far as that camp - that tells me where he was likely going, and I can send my runners in that direction to seek him out and learn if he found the allies he sought. And in penance for my failure to heed his insightful argument..." The chief stands, moving slowly over to a large wooden chest and opening it. From within the chest he produces a large, well-made morningstar, too large for Belgood but easily borne by Lyddy or Ellena. It is nonetheless to Belgood that he gives it. "This is my grandfather's weapon, handed down from the days of the First Crusade, and carries an enchantment on it to aid the bearer in battle. I should have wielded it against the traitors as my son suggested, but did not. I ask now that you use it on my behalf, and be sure to crush at least one traitor's skull with it on your way through." He smiles again, and this time, it does not seem disconcerting - it seems feral.
Lydia "Lyddy" Bentsen wrote:
"Your offer is very generous and greatly appreciated. Are there any among your crusaders who might be able to tell us of these traitors - strengths, tactics, locations?"
"There are a dozen, perhaps, altogether, but other than where to find them, we know little more. As I said, we have kept away for some time, hoping that their corruption would eventually devour them from within."
Lydia "Lyddy" Bentsen wrote:
"Oh! I must not forget. Two of our number were injured in the initial battle and subsequent fall. Is your seer able to mend broken bones or restore sight? Both feats are beyond my meager skills."
The chief frowns, then shakes his head. "I do not know, but I do not believe so. Our own ills of like severity he has never cured. You will need to speak with him to know for certain."
When you are ready, you can head out to poke around the town a little. Seer Opoli is a 3rd level witch, so you can buy up to 2nd level spellcasting services; also, while Neathholm isn't exactly a bustling commercial center, they are willing to trade, so you can sell any treasure you've acquired you want to get rid of and make some purchases as well...
"Excellent," Sull nods, smiling. (It is a little disconcerting, as it shows off the two rodent-like teeth in the front of his mouth.) "Then I declare you friends of Neathholm; you may rest here as long as you require until health and strength are restored. If you wish the aid of mystic powers, Opoli, our seer, may be able to provide it to you."
The chief sobers some as he continues, "There is one obstacle that you must face, however, before you can return to the surface. The tribe of traitors lies on the ascending path, and you will need to battle your way through them to reach Kenabres. We know them to be friends of cultists that worship the darkest powers of the Abyss, and many among them have turned to such worship themselves. We weep that they have so forgotten our blood as to turn against those who gave birth to us, but the demons corrupt with quicksilver lies and promises of glittering damnation. We have merely avoided contact with them, out of respect for our distant ties of family, but you cannot do likewise - the only route we know to the surface lies beyond their caverns.
"I would send my warriors to aid you in your efforts, but I cannot; most are searching out survivors in the damaged caverns, and I will need the rest to send word to the other tribes that we are to rally here at Neathholm before we seek to aid the uplander defenses. The seven of you alone will have to prove enough to battle through. If you remove the tribe from our path, though, we will be able to reach Kenabres unbloodied, and ready to face the demons with our full strength. All I can provide is a collection of supplies, but these I do with a right glad heart." He produces a collection of potion bottles, nine altogether, and hands them to Lann, who passes them along to you. Six are neatly labeled in Common as potions of cure light wounds, while the remaining three are potions of lesser restoration.
And for making allies of the mongrels, you gain an additional 150 XP each. That should take you to level 2.
At Lyddy and Ellena's words, the assembled mongrels gasp. "The city has fallen? To demons?" Sull repeats, shocked. His voice is squeaky, but his expression is as much angry as it is horrified. Lann, Crel and Dyra look on the edge of panic, but their chief cuts through their anxious whispers to one another.
"Friends, you bring dark tidings, layering grief upon grief. We had believed the quakes to be just that, simple tremors of the earth that cost us lives and property, but to which we could attribute no malice. Now, though, you tell us that the city of our ancestors has ransacked and ruined by the foes our forebears gave their bodies and betimes their souls to defeat? Hear me, and know my words for truth: uplanders consider us 'freaks' and outcasts, but we carry the blood of crusaders in our veins no matter our shapes. We will not allow the demons to hold Kenabres while we take in breath. My people, and the other tribes of mongrels we hold ties with, are willing to stand with the armies of sanctity when they march to drive out the demons. I know you seek to return to the surface, and we can tell you the way - but will you also carry word of our offer of alliance when you go?"
The man nods, his bushy eyebrows deawing together. "I am he," he replies, in mildly accented Common.
He raises an eyebrow at the weapon, then looks back at Nesipho. "It would seem that it has been broken," he replies. "If you seek a bladesmith, I must tell you now I am not such. If there is nothing else, please excuse me - I am quite busy."
You felt something... odd... press briefly against your mind, for a moment. It is gone now, however.
"Er, yes, of course," replies Aravashnial, sounding once more abashed. Lann looks somewhat mollified, and even Crel relaxes a little. Dyra and Lann continue to pole in silence.
When the raft reaches the island, the three mongrels lead you through the settlement. It looks to hold perhaps three dozen souls altogether, a double handful of families, including children. Several watch you warily as you make your way along, but your escorts seem to reassure them, and they merely stay out of your way.
After just a few moments, you arrive at the largest of the ramshackle huts, built on the highest point of the low island. You have to duck your heads to enter, and there isn't much room inside either. About half of the available space inside the one-room building is filled with a low dais, only a couple of inches higher than the stone floor. Seated on a stack of hides - you can barely call them cushions - is a bulgingly fat mongrel, his nose and mouth resembling something more like a rat than a human and one eye milky-white with blindness and age. Lann, Crel and Dyra place one hand on their hearts, in a fist, and bow their heads - it is a crusader's bow, and Anevia's eyes widen as they make it. The older mongrel's good eye widens likewise as he sees you enter, but Lann quickly steps forward and explains in his smooth, eloquent voice how you came to be with him.
When Lann finishes his story, the other man runs his good eye over your group. "Your tale intrigues me, good Lann," he replies, his voice oddly high-pitched for a man of his size. "And it would seem that you are deserving of the gratitude of my tribe, uplanders." He nods to you "I am Sull, chief of Neathholm. Please accept my thanks for your efforts on behalf of Crel. Though we lost many of his fellow guards in these tremors, I will not forgo the celebration of his life simply for the sake of grief. Tell me, if you will, how you chanced to be here in the caverns, that you were positioned to aid him?"
As Eleuterio drops into the mire, he makes a rather impressive and sandy splash. Almost immediately, though, he begins to sink in the muddy bog, much faster than he expected. It isn't just a shallow marsh: it's quicksand!
Leu, I need a Swim check.
Even as he splashes down, the two pairs of eyes in the bog rise up, revealing a pair of giant frogs the size of a full-grown man. Owlbear shouts in fright.
Initiatives, everyone. And no, Conchobhar is only 2nd level - no inspire competence is available.
Lady Sheila smiles. "Glad to hear it. If you want to go speak with any or all of your prisoners, please do so; in the meantime, I will see what research I can turn up, on the Irespan, the Crow in particular or the Shattered Star. Let me know when you're ready to move on with your investigations." She pauses, then adds, "While I do not believe this is a matter of extreme haste, I would suggest discretion in speaking of it to those outside the Pathfinders. The more people who know what you are after, the more potential competition you create for yourselves." She excuses herself and departs for her office.
This time, Artevious finds an approach with handholds he can use, and scrambles up into the trees. Reaching the midpoint of the canopy, he lashes the rope to a handy-looking set of branches, setting it up to be used to swing across.
With the rope in place, you can swing across the mire with a single DC 10 Acrobatics check.
"Most of them had clubs and javelins," Spivey answers, "but the big one had a morningstar made of cold iron with some kind of enchantment on it. I didn't want to stay in one place long enough to figure out what kind, but the aura was quite visible."
For the record, Tybus, silent image will only give you a total of 7 10-foot cubes to play with; not enough to make a believable fog if you plan for it to actually move away from the beach at all.
"Mongrels," Lann says, and there is a strange note of pride in his voice as he poles across the lake. "In animal breeding, if a bloodline is kept truly pure for too many generations, weakness sets in and defects can appear. In such cases, you need a crossbreed - a mongrel - to restore health to the line. It is true that, for many, mongrels lack aesthetic value, but none can deny they have the strength of their disparate natures unified." Crel and Dyra nod, a similar air of pride about them as well.
Lann does not touch the pendant, but he continues to stare at it for a long moment. "This... this belonged to the second son of Chief Sull," the mongrel explains. He looks as though he wants to go on, but after a pause, he shakes his head. [b]"Nay, I will explain no further. It is the tale of another, and I've no cause to intrude upon it. This alone will I tell you: present this to Chief Sull, and I believe you will earn his favor."
Lydia "Lyddy" Bentsen wrote:
As they enter into the chamber beyond, she stops to take in the view. "Amazing. How long have your people lived here?"
"The fourth generation of our tribe is even now being born," Crel growls, his hyena-like snout unable to conceal the pride in his voice. "Our forebears founded Neathholm in the chaos after the First Mendevian Crusade, and we have built upon and expanded it since that time."
Aravashnial says, his voice tinged with eagerness and regret, "Oh, that I could see this place! The mole people are mere rumors, but I am standing in an actual pitling settlement, and I can't even see it!"
Crel, Dyra and Lann all grimace at his choice of terms for their kind, Crel going far enough to bare teeth for an instant before subsiding again.
The last time you remember mentions of any settlements in this island chain is during the time of the Chelaxian occupation of Sargava, before the creation of the Eye of Abendego - more than a century ago.
It would seem perhaps that he does, for Artevious' attempts to scale the tree are foiled before they begin - he cannot seem to find a good approach to begin working his way up to the canopy.
"I'd think that you'd have an easier time making that decision after speaking with Natalya," Lady Sheila replies. "But I leave it in your hands. This investigation has been entrusted to you; I will aid and advise, but how you handle it and the questions it poses is up to you. I only intend to step in and take over if you choose not to pursue the other shards, but since Mistress Ellsworth has seemingly located the next one..."
"Sure? No, I cannot say that I am. But safety is not usually something a Pathfinder craves. We are in it for the knowledge, and that often means risk," Lady Sheila replies. "Still, I will reassure you as best I can. Over the past several years, I have worked to become something of an expert on Thassilon and its artifacts — the legacies of that ancient empire and its monuments and magic are, after all, the primary reason that the Pathfinders have become interested in Varisia. The story of the Shattered Star is one of the most oft-repeated legends of that time among those who write about ancient Thassilonian artifacts — only the the stories of the Seven Swords of Sin surpass it in popularity. Given that I was correct about how to use an ioun stone to attach to the shard, I believe my other information is likewise accurate. I think it is now safe to carry."
Lady Sheila shakes her head. "Even as 'popular' as the story is among Thassilonian academics, the Shattered Star legend is still relatively obscure by any reasonable measure. I have long hoped to somehow stumble across the location of a shard during the Pathfinders' researches in Varisia. Never in a thousand years did I even dare to hope that a shard would simply fall into our laps like this," she says.
"Now that one has, though, I would like to dedicate as many resources as possible to recovering the rest. The Shattered Star represents a powerful defense against the dangers that seem to be rising up against Varisia. Rebuilding the artifact will give the region a powerful defense indeed — both in terms of the item itself and the heroes that the quest to recover the other six fragments will doubtless produce," she explains, nodding to each of you. She turns to Uraisa, currently holding the Shard of Pride. "If you would, Mistress Ellsworth, concentrate on the Sihedron’s shape - I know in your own Thassilonian research, you have seen the seven-pointed star, have you not?"
Assuming you do as Lady Sheila asks, you suddenly receive a powerful vision of the Irespan and Magnimar’s harbor, around one Irespan piling in particular — the Crow.
As Uraisa concentrates, Lady Sheila explains, "Each fragment of the Shattered Star is linked to one more fragment in a set sequence. By concentrating on the Sihedron while holding a shard that’s been 'awakened' with the proper ioun stone, one can receive a vision of the region in which the next shard in the sequence is located. Unfortunately, as I understand it the location isn’t completely exact — but it should be enough to set you on the right course."
The boots are cat burglar's boots: CL 3rd, cost 2000 gp. Once per day as an immediate action, the wearer of cat burglar’s boots can reroll any one failed Acrobatics, Climb, or Stealth check, taking the result of that check in place of the first failed check (even if the second result is worse). In addition, a secret pocket in the boots is built to hold a fully functional set of masterwork thieves’ tools. A DC 22 Perception check is required to notice this pocket. Any other object in the pocket causes it to bulge and become obvious to even casual observation. (The tools are not currently in the pocket - the set Natalya had in her pouch are designed to fit in the boots, they go together.)