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Everyone stops as Owen asks and stands quietly. Ulath observes that the mortar in the walls while not smooth, does seem to adequately contain the cracks.
Seconds seem like hours as you listen and wait.
Suddenly, three dire rats emerge from small holes in the base of the walls. One emerges from the hole a few steps behind Nyxali while the other two come out near Savendir.
The rat next to Savendir takes a bite at him. bite: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (11) + 1 = 12, bite: 1d4 ⇒ 3 Savendir is able to narrowly avoid the vermin's razor sharp inscisors.
Rules for fighting on spiral stairs:
You continue your way carefully down the stairs. By your rough estimate you think you have descending for 15 minutes. You see no doors or landings to mark your descent. Not a sound can be heard except for the drip drip drip of water and the scuffing of your shoes on the stone steps.
Owen can hear the scratching of a small creature. The sound appears to be coming from inside the inner wall. All you can see are the same cracked and patched grey walls and holes in the wall near steps I4 and N4.
Time to move along. I went ahead and placed Ilias at G2 and Zarine at K1. If anyone wants to change your positioning just let me know and I can make the adjustment.
You begin to make your way down the spiraling stair case. The door you entered is quickly out of sight as you round the bend. The stairs seem to wind endlessly. You see nothing that tells you how far down you have gone. You do not hear any sounds except for an occasional drip of water as it condenses and falls from the ceiling onto the floor.
How are you proceeding the down the stairs? Are there any spells or other preparations you want to do before proceeding further?
The sprawling staircase gradually winds its way down into the undercity. Iron lamps hang from the ceiling on slender chains casting a dim light. The centuries old walls are a patchwork of fissures and repaired holes. It is apparent that the attempts by the duskwardens to keep the undercity sealed is a never-ending challenge. You spy an occasional rat scurrying into a small holes along the wall.
You are currently at the top of the stairs near row A. Each row is 20 feet across, divided into 5 foot squares, marked 1 - 4. Give me your coordinates on the map, I.e. F3, H2 etc and I will place you on the map. I'll assume this is your marching order as you go down the stairs. Clicking on the magnifying glass will enlarge the picture making it easier to see.
Savendir Inaris wrote:
Bear in mind Savendir has low-light vision. Is this total darkness?
Dim light, but as I read it, the low-light vision will let you see twice as far as regular vision in low light. So I thought that distance was 40 feet and the group ahead of you is 50 feet. I could be wrong however.
Savendir and the others move through the broken door of the monastery. Ulath can see Nyxalia peering through an open door at the other end of the great hall as Zarine and Owen stand by and watch.
The room at the other end of the hall is too dark for Savendir and Illias to see much beyond the center of the room.
David M Mallon wrote:
Not sure if I'll have internet access for the next few days. Will likely be back to regular posting Wednesday.
Thanks for the heads up. Quick question if you see this post soon. Where would Owen want to be order wise if you were going down a winding set of stairs? This will help me keep things going while you are away.
The door swings easily and silently as Nyxalia opens it. Pausing for a moment to listen for movement on the other side, Nyxalia hears nothing. She opens the door wider.
On the other side of the door are very wide stone steps winding down to the right. On the walls, sconces dimly illuminate the stairway. From her vantage point, Nyxalia cannot see how far the stairs go as they bend away out of her sight.
First Owen, then Nyxalia and finally Zarine enter through the broken door.
Illuminated by the moonlight streaming through the gaping holes in the roof of the monastery, the interior is cast in dim light. A large gathering hall stretches out from the entryway. On either side, 5 stone brick rooms define the walls of the room. All of the rooms are open, their doors consumed in the fire. Marble columns, blackened with soot, rise up in two rows 15 feet apart running from front to back. The columns reach out to the night sky above holding nothing but a few remaining rafters that survived the fire.
Everything is quiet except for the cooing of the pigeons above.
Owen, in the dim light, you can make out tracks leading down the hallway for about 20 feet before fading into the darkness. The tracks look like they were made by several different people and head in both directions. You don't see anything that looks like a trap.
Zarine, with your low-light vision, you can see tracks in the dust and ash on the floor leading down the middle of the hall. The tracks go in both directions for at least 40 feet before trailing off in the darkness. They look like they were made by several different people.
Nyxalia, you can see tracks in the dust and ash on the floor leading down the middle of the hall. The tracks go in both directions and look like they were made by several different people. At the far end of the room, 50 feet away, Nyxalia can see a set of double doors inscribed with the symbol of the Brothers of the Seal.
As you look across the street at the Broken Monastery, you see crumbling walls scorched black from fire. A few charred rafters above are all that remains of the roof of the monastery. Two large double doors hang askew, straining to free themselves from the remaining hinges holding them upright. Windows on either side glare back with jagged teeth. The only signs of movement are the fluttering of pigeons returning to their nests near the top of the monastery.
The pirate captain roars with laughter. He points to Savendir and says, "This one's a right smart one he is. C'mon matey's, tis time to sail on." With that the troupe of actors moves past you, laughing and carrying on with other bystanders on the streets.
Its not difficult to find the hulking ruin that was once the home of the Brothers of the Seal. It is pressed against the tall city walls. The charred structure stands in stark contrast to its brightly colored neighbors. Aside from a few small groups of onlookers moving past along the cracked sidewalk in front, the building looks deserted.
Owen the Younger wrote:
yes it is. I'll take inspiration from anywhere. The beauty of creating our own adventure.
As you approach the Oriat district, you see the glow of roof top bars from the distance. Moving closer, the clink of glasses and laughter of couples, the sound of a fiddle beckon you closer.
Once you enter the district, you see stall after stall of artist showing their wares, colorful portraits, abstract collages, ceramic pitchers, and fine jewelry. A small troupe, dressed in long coats,boots and bandanas and brandishing a crude black flag with a skull and cross bones approaches you. "Ahoy matey's, we seems to have lost our man'o'war somes where while we be spendin our booty at the local establishments. Ave's you seen it? It be a stout ship, wi' two oars. Aye, pillagin gives a man quite a thirst!"
Zarine - Street of Sighs:
This avenue is densely packed with tenement buildings three stories high. They have lines for drying linens running between facing windows high above the streets. The majority of the Sweettalker population live on this street.
The name of the street comes from the clicks and whistles that form the Sweettalker's curious form of speech, which evolved by their strange practice of sewing their lips shut.
The Sweettalkers come from a distant Eastern nation of Tian. All Sweetalkers revere the same monotheistic god with complete piety. They believe that to speak anything less than the true name of their god is to sully the divine gift of language. None of the Sweettalkers encountered in the western lands have judged themselves worthy of speaking it. As a coming of age ceremony, youths aspiring to adulthood, stitch their own mouths shut, called "the Kiss", amid a great celebration. Over time, their jaws lock in place and their skin grows together, leaving only a small central gap for communication, and the pulped fruit, milk, and broth which they consume as food. Despite their appearance, Sweettalkers are a friendly group and they make natural merchants, traders and bankers. Communication is achieved through a complex system of whistles, sighs, and clicks as well as elaborate hand gestures. image of sweettalker
You gather the potions and depart into the dark. Based on the information you have received about the Brothers of the Seal, you head for the Oriat District in the northern section of Kaer Maga.
To learn more about Oriat, make a knowledge(local) check.
Oriat is the artist district of Kaer Maga. Streamers and pennants of every color fly over the festive awnings of shops and taverns. Rooftop bars light the night and the air is filled with the sounds of music, dancing, and revelry. Beautiful murals cover the walls and street performers demonstrate their talents in exchange for some coin from the amazed onlookers. It is a district of cheers, laughter and song.
The entrance to the Brothers of the Seal's tunnel is most likely found in the crumbling and expansive ruined barracks now known as the Broken Monastery. Once the proud home of the Brother of the Seal, 30 years of fighting have turned it into burned out shell of its former glory.
Prominent entities in the Oriat district include, The Lyceum, Kaer Maga's college of the arts, The Street of Sighs, home base for the Sweettalkers, and the The Burning Brand, the finest tattoo, piercing, hot-iron work shop in Kaer Maga. If you wish to learn more about any of these areas, just ask.
For poor credit loans or magical items that cannot be afforded, people turn to Angston the Lender at the Silent Partner. He is always willing to make a loan of money or items, but be wary. If the strict terms of his repayment schedule are not met, a visit from his ruthlessly efficient 'collection agents' will be forthcoming. Angston does not believe in second chances.
Hortiln leads you back to the Godsmouth Cathedral. He unlocks a side door and guides you into a small vestibule. The light is dim, as only one candle illuminates the room. Great carvings of Pharasma's holy symbol have been worked into the wooden paneled walls on each wall. He pulls a rope hanging on the other side of the room and waits patiently. In a few minutes, the door opens and a young priest peers into the room. Hortiln whispers into the priest's ear. The priest gives you an odd look, then nods and turns away. "I have asked him for some healing potions to aid you in your quest. He will also summon another priestess to take charge of Cerpera."
A few more minutes pass and then the door opens again. The original priest accompanied by an elderly priestess enter the room. The priestess moves to Nyaxlia. "I will take the dear child." Taking the sleeping child with surprising ease, she continues, "The poor girl must be exhausted from her ordeal. We will take very good care of her." The other priests hands you 6 small bottles. "These will help you in case you are injured." 4 of the bottles are potions of cure light wounds and the other 2 bottles are potions of cure moderate wounds.
Hortiln turns to Ulath. "Oh their fighting is real and quite deadly. The battle between the two factions first erupted on the streets of the Oriat district about 30 years ago. Several innocent bystanders, caught in the cross fire, lost their life that day." Hortiln pauses for a moment to reflect on the deceased and then continues, "The other factions, led by the Ardocs and the Widdershins Constabulary, quickly quelled the riots and drove it back underground. Since then, the battle has raged on mostly in the shadows. The leader of the traditionalist, they call themselves the 'Faithful' is Father Zho. He welcomes any who are neutral or better yet, sympathetic to their cause. The other faction calls themselves the Scions. They are led by Aldair Eamon, a red-headed showman of sorts. You will see him around town preaching about the rightness of their cause. As I said before, don't get caught between them and you'll be safe."
Hortiln answers Zarine, "Normally, the church is closed at this hour, but given your special purpose, I am sure we can find some healing potions for you before you depart. As for the Brothers of the Seal, they confine their conflict to themselves. They shouldn't give you any trouble unless you get in between them or appear to favor one side over the other. Best to stay neutral as far they go and avoid them as much as possible."
No one seems to object to investigating tonight. So let's proceed.
Reaching a consensus to investigate the possible lair of Maxkevlay Soncatim located somewhere near the Brothers of the Seal shrine this evening, the group departs from the pool chamber. Nyxalia carries Cerpera in her arms.
On the other side of the door, they find Hortiln waiting. As he looks at each of you, he is taken aback with a sense of unease. "I trust that your audience with Cerpera has gone well. The Lady of Graves has bestowed special favor on this dear child. When Cerpera came to us, she said that Pharasma has called to you as well. May I be of any assistance before you depart?"
Cerpera looks up at Nyxalia as Nyxalia wraps her arm around her. Her sobbing begins to subside and the hint of a smile forms at the corners of her mouth. She presses in closer to the oread's arm and closes her eyes.
You can continue to discuss among yourselves the event that just happened or your next steps. When you are ready to move on just go back through the doors you entered.
Owen rejoins the others around the pool. Cerpera raises her arms, her voice echos loudly in the chamber.
"You each have agreed to be my champion. Cerpera has given you an object. As long as you keep it within 5 feet of you, you are connected to a source of unimaginable power that will augment the talents you already posses. Each object is solely attuned to its owner. You cannot share the objects with each other nor if someone else picks it up will they receive its power. It is for you and you alone. Heed my warning, this power is a gift from me to aid you in solving these mysteries and ending the plot against my kingdom. Use this power counter to that goal, it will be taken away."
Cerpera begins to hum. The objects in your hands vibrate slightly in response. You feel an energy slipping into your hands, then moving slowly into your arms and finally, spreading through out your entire body. You feel an intense vigor making you feel almost indestructible. You realize that this pool of energy can be called upon in a surge of power to aid in difficult situations. You're senses are keener, allowing you an edge when confronted. One of your talents, suddenly grows in strength. As you look around the room, everything seems different. It is as if there is an energy inside each object and being that you never saw before. You feel like you can control this energy in ways a moment before you thought impossible. Each of you manifests your new power in a different way as it attunes itself uniquely to your core.
"Go now, it will not take long for you to fully understand how to use your new powers."
Cerpera lowers her arms, and her eyes return to normal. She collapses into a heap still on top of the water and begins to sob softly.
Congratulations, you have ascended to Mythic. You gain 2 mythic tiers. You can use these powers immediately.
Cerpera gazes back at Owen with the same unseeing expression as before, yet the set of face hints that she is listening. Unlike the others, Cerpera speaks to Owen first and then reaches into the pool to extract an object.
""Join me, Owen," Cerpera whispers. "You speak of your concern for death, but we both know that you are masking your greater fear. Entering a trap that you cannot escape even with your superior intelligence. I assure you this is no trap. What awaits you I cannot say. However, I am arming you with the tools you require to succeed. These tools include the companions I have selected to join you. Each brings skills that makes the sum of the parts greater than the individual pieces. Take care, your actions in the library with your prisoner have put doubts in their mind about you. Your enemy may use these doubts as the seeds to your destruction." Cerpera reaches down into the pool and pulls out a scroll case embossed ornately with her holy symbol "You thirst for knowledge. The journey on which you embark will show you things you could never imagine. You will want to record what you see. Take this scroll case. It holds a far greater number of scrolls than you would expect, but more importantly, as long as it is near, it will attune you to a greater power. Now, go and rejoin the others, I will now speak to you all."
She gives you a Case of Infinite Scrolls. Source: #30 Not So Mundane Items, page 2
Cerpera kneels again and withdraws an object from the water. She hands it to Ilias and whispers into his ear.
"Poor Ilias, losing your family and finding yourself abandoned at such a young age is a burden few have survived. Yet, not only have you survived, you have taken the first steps toward rejoining society. Despite your loss, you are still willing to risk everything to help Golarion in its time of need. That is why I chose you to join my champions. Take this Summoner's Hat. As long as you keep it near, it will help the creatures that you summon with extra protection, and it will attune you to a greater power. Please return to your place but say nothing until the final potential champion, Owen has made his choice."
This finely made cloth hat is made from fine linen. It is embroidered with delicate patterns of various creatures using different colors of thread and glass beads.
Twice per day you can summon a creature that emerges from your hat. Creatures summoned from the hat are granted a +1 enhancement bonus to AC and saving throws for 5 rounds after they have been summoned. The source of this item is The Genius Guide to Loot 4 less Volume 10 Fezzes are Cool!. I'll PM you with the full details later.
Ulath enters the pool and wades to Cerpera. She repeats the now expected process reaching in and removing a small item from the pool. She leans over to Ulath.
"Ulath, thank you for accepting my request. Although this may seem happenstance, you have been on this path for a long time. You are the steadfast rock that this party may need. Further, all that you hold dear is at risk if events are allowed to come to fruition. As a master craftsman, you will appreciate this Crafter's Hammer. As long as this hammer is near you, it will increase your craftsman skills and more importantly, attune to a greater power. Please return to your place but say nothing until the others have made their choice."
The Crafter's Hammer will grant a +4 competence bonus to any relevant craft checks for tasks that would otherwise require an ordinary hammer. Source: #30 Not So Mundane Items by this PBP's very own Owen aka Dave Mallon. I'll send you a PM with the full details of the magic item.
Cerpera nods to Nyxalia as she kneels. As before, Cerpera reaches down into the pool and emerges with an object. She leans close to Nyxalia's ear.
"Nyxalia, do not take your abandonment as a babe as a statement of your worthiness. I see the nimbleness and wisdom that you possess. The Elemental Brothers have raised you well. That is why I chose you for this task. You are most worthy of taking on my quest. As long as you keep it near, this wayfinder will guide you on your path and attune to a greater power. Please return to your place but say nothing until the others have made their choice."
The wayfinder has Pharasma's holy symbol etched onto its back. It has a slot free for Nyxalia's cracked Dusty Rose Ioun stone. Placing the ioun stone into the wayfinder causes it to resonate. The wayfinder increases your ability to perform or resist combat maneuvers.
There is a 100% chance of the wayfinder amplifying the cracked stone's magical powers. The wayfinder with the cracked Dusty Rose Ioun stone installed grants a +2 insight bonus on CMB and to CMD.
As with Zarine, Cerpera reaches into the pool of water and pulls an object out of the water and hands it to Savendir. She whispers into his ear so the others cannot hear.
"Dear Savendir, you have had to endure so much in such a short time. You most of all should share my hatred of undead. Take these sandals. They will hide you from the undead. As long as you keep them near, you will be attuned to a greater power. Please return to your place but say nothing until the others have made their choice."
The sandals are made of delicate bones bleached white from age and held together by worn ligaments. Tiny finger bones make up the soles of the sandals and small animal heads form clasps around the ankle.
I will PM you a more thorough description of the sandals. The source is "The Genius Guide to Loot Vol 4 fantastic footwear"
Cerpera kneels down on top of the water and reaches into the pool and retrieves an object and says something to Zarine in a whisper that the others cannot hear.
"Be wary child. When gods conspire, no one can be trusted. I do not know if your god, Vritra is involved or not. However, I do trust you. Take this pouch to hold items you wish not to be found. As you long as you keep it within reach, you will be attuned to a greater power. Please, return to your place but say nothing until the others have made their choice."
The small pouch, no larger than a fist, is made from snake skin and is adorned with Pharasma's holy symbol. It is a Pathfinder Pouch.
It isn't long before one of the doors opens again. Hortiln emerges and motions you to enter. He says in a low voice, "I will leave you here. Cerpera awaits you in the next room."
The double doors open into a large 30 foot by 30 foot room. Finely polished gray stone floor and walls sparkle as the torch light dances on the mirrored surface. Across the room the source of the sound can be seen. It is a semi circular pool, ten feet in diameter with low walls. Water cascades down the far wall over a relief carving of Pharasma's holy symbol and falls into the pool below. Cerpera stands on top of the water in the center of the pool and looks out at you with unseeing eyes as if in a trance.
Once Hortiln closes the door behind you, Cerpera begins to speak in a flat, deep voice that is not her own.
Savendir should recognize this voice as the same one that spoke at the fountain in Sirathu when Cerpera was about to reveal Lady Zinnastina's treachery.
"Please, come closer." Cerpera pauses until all of you approach the fountain and then continues, "Thank you for your efforts to keep Cerpera, my organ, from harm. You have proven yourselves both brave and resourceful. As you may have surmised, the disappearances are only the tip of an even greater threat. The being behind these kidnappings and thefts is growing into a power that exceeds the great thassilonian runelords. Yet, even this powerful being is but a pawn in a larger game. A game that may end with the destruction of Axis. The initiator of this game has chosen its champion. It is now time for me to choose mine. While I will not involve myself directly in this game, I will tap into a power within each of you that you could not scarce believe existed. However, I will not be coy. The task before you is great and its outcome is unknown. The price may be your very soul ripped into non-existence. Thus, I will not force you to take on this task. If you deem yourself unable to assist, you may leave now. I will not judge you adversely when your soul stands before me in the boneyard. Should you accept your new role as my champions, come forward to Cerpera that I may confer my blessing upon each of you."
The room grows silent, but for the water dropping into the pool.
If you accept Pharasma's request, enter the pool and move to Cerpera. Otherwise, you may leave through the double door.
At Savendir's mention of Cerpera, the priest's hard face relaxes. "Yes, you may allay your fears. Cerpera has indeed arrived safely. My name is Hortiln Serpenthelm, the night cryptmaster. Pharasma's voice told us of your impending arrival. Before we proceed let me check that everyone is present." He pulls out a list, from the desk. "I have Savendir, Zarine, Nyxalia, Ilias, Owen," He pauses for a moment, "and Ulath." He looks at each individual and checks off the list. "I see we are complete. Please, follow this way."
Hortiln leads the group through luxuriously appointed catacombs packed with bodies. They descend several sets of stairs before finally stopping in front of a pair of gothic doors. "Please, wait here for a moment. I will see if she is ready to receive you." Hortiln opens one of the doors, slips in quickly and then closes the door behind him. The outer chamber is bathed in a soft light from the sconces on the floor. Large carvings of Pharasma's holy symbols cover each wall and the doors.
Zarine leads the group to the Bottoms section of Kaer Maga. First they come to the Godsmouth Cathedral. This huge, gothic edifice is the center of Pharasmin faith in Kaer Maga and is dedicated to all three aspects of the Lady of Graves, the midwife, the reaper of the dead, and the mad prophet. The cathedral sits at the edge of the cliff overlooking the Varisian plains below.
In the dim light of the waxing crescent moon, a narrow path can be seen going around the exterior of the cathedral. A few candles twinkle in the windows overlooking the street. The church appears to be closed for the evening.
Zarine follows the path behind the church. It leads directly to the edge of the cliff a few hundred feet above the valley below. The path then makes a steep descent along a narrow, twisted cliffside route and ends up at the mouth of the Unnamed King. Stepping into the mouth puts the party into the Godsmouth Ossuary itself.
The interior of the Ossuary is lit by a series of ever burning torches. A few robed and hooded Pharasmin priests can be seen silently tending to the deceased. Near the entrance, a priest stands at a small writing table. He puts his quill down and looks up as you enter.
"This is highly irregular. Who are you to come at this hour unattended and disturb the deceased in this sanctuary?" he asks in an autocratic voice.
The Godsmouth Ossuary is the most prestigious burial place for the city of Kaer Maga, Varisia, located under the city in ancient catacombs dating back to the Thassilonian period and entered through the mouth of the Unnamed King carved into the cliff faces below the city. It is strictly overseen by the church of Pharasma based in the Godsmouth Cathedral in the Bottoms district of the city.
In addition to the DC 10 knowledge, the head of the Pharasma church in Kaer Maga is Delana Karaheis.
In addition to the DC 10 and DC 15 checks, very little is known about the Godsmouth Ossuary because even the Duskwardens are kept out. It is rumoured that the Ossuary goes far beyond the tombs where the wealthy spend eternal life. Like the rest of the city, they Godsmouth Ossuary's original purpose has been lost over the passage of eons.
Owen recalls that there are four aspects of Norgorber
How these different aspects are related to Iyshtear is not within Owen's knowledge.
Of the four books I mentioned earlier, is there one you wish to study in your last hour at the library?
After completing your study at the library, you return to Nyxalia'a monastery. Ulath accompanies you, curious about what is going on and wishing to help.
When you arrive, one of the brothers, anxiously greets you at the door looking troubled. "I'm so glad you have returned. The young ward you left with us has left. She said the Lady of Graves has called her to the Godsmouth Ossuary. She requests your presence as well. You are to see her there as soon as possible."
The leather wrapping of the Book of Harms is of an indeterminate type, and gives off a faint and unpleasant scent, as of charred meat. The writing inside is in a jagged hand, and many notes on the ash-smudge pages indicate its previous owner sought ever more damaging magic. A glittering rune in the cover's center is shaped vaguely like a lightning bolt.
3rd - fireball, lightning bolt
2nd - acid arrow, darkness, ghoul touch, gust of wind
1st - burning hands, color spray, elemental touch, hydraulic push, hypnotism, magic missile, ray of enfeeblement, shocking grasp