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Those are good points about grapple and reposition. Grapple and moving, however, would provoke. While the grapple itself doesn't, the move does. Reposition, however, is definitely a good way to get Jacinth away from the Lotus Dragons' immediate vicinity.
Now that he's armed with all this additional information, I'll let Felos decide exactly what he wants to do and when. :)
Festa Fire wrote:
I've always done it that the check happens first. It lets you survive just a little bit longer. As such, Festa will stabilize when his turn comes up again.
Douena places her hand on the double doors to the right of the stairs and concentrates. Gradually, an image of what lies on the other side becomes apparent to her.
Cracked, faded paintings on the walls of this room depict ancient soldiers fighting snake-headed creatures under bright skies. The stonework beneath the paintings appears damp and is covered with condensation. The ceiling above is decorated with faded solar designs. Light leaks into the room through one spot where the ceiling has partially collapsed.
Knowledge (religion) DC 25:
Various symbols in the solar designs and paintings indicate that this room is dedicated to Nurgal, demon lord of warfare and the sun.
Felos swings again at #3, this time connecting with the Lotus Dragon's face and taking him down.
Assuming that puts down number 3, he steps into 3's space. Does that put him adjacent to Jacinth?
It does, although he already was adjacent to him. Jacinth is in BB 16 (obscured by #11's token). Do you still want to step forward?
Douena Trestleben wrote:
Ha! Fair point. :)
The journey across the tar pits is relatively easy. At points, the trail is quite narrow, but not so much that it becomes unnavigable. At the front of the ziggurat, a wide flight of stairs leads up to a columned entrance. Rubble litters the steps and vines grow over just about everything. You can only see a portion of the chamber that the steps lead into, but given the rubble, it's clear that portions of the ceiling have collapsed. Plants and more tangled vines grow up through the floor.
In addition to the stairs, you can see two other entrances to the ziggurat. A pair of double doors to the right allow entry to a side section, while to the left, a single door provides entry to another side section.
Douena Trestleben wrote:
If it's Small, Douena can use it, once it's not radiating darkness anymore. It's better than her quarterstaff. For now, give it to Shokambe if he'll carry it; he never fights if he can avoid it. Or Makoa could put it in his pack maybe.
It is Small. Shokambe will happily carry it for now. He'll pack it with his other belongings. He does avoid fighting, it's true. Mainly because he's not very good at it. :)
Jacinth the Bright wrote:
That will indeed stabilize you.
The lotus dragons continue their attacks on Felos. Luckily, no more can get close to him to attack.
Lotus Dragon #3 rapier at Felos: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (20) + 1 = 21 -- hit
#3 gets another successful stab at Felos, but the others miss him.
Gut Tugger snarls and delays.
Rowyn returns into the room, stepping past Festa's unconscious form. She looks considerably less hurt than she did before (although not in perfect condition) and the bleeding has stopped. With a muttered incantation, she casts a spell.
Felos Will: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14 -- pass
Felos feels a momentary cloudiness pass over his mind, but he fights it off. With a sigh, Rowyn says to the Lotus Dragons, "Come on, lads, can't you take one cat?"
Another stabilization check needed from Festa.
Next Up: Felos, Xanthippe, Jacinth (unconscious), Lotus Dragons, Gut Tugger (subject to delayed action), Rowyn, Festa (unconscious).
Douena Trestleben wrote:
Oops! Yes, good point. It should be two magical auras, one for the darkness effect and one because it's a magical mace. :)
I don't mind revealing a few things right away.
The offer of employment from Rowyn is actually scripted. The remaining adventures in the AP even all have sidebars with suggestions on how to modify them if the PCs are working for Rowyn. I'm actually kind of curious to hear about any games out there where the PCs have actually accepted the offer. At any rate, she is supposed to attack you if you say no, but I wanted to make her a little more complex a character than written--particularly regarding the relationship between her and Vanthus. It also had the beneficial side effect of not having you all ganged up upon by a an unbeatable number of Lotus Dragons.
You've actually come very close to dealing with all the inhabitants. Even though there are quite a few areas you haven't explored, you encountered virtually all the occupants at this point, since almost all answer the alarm. The only ones left are the worg (Festa successfully blocked the Lotus Dragons that were on the way to let the Worg out), the spider (which is chained up a few rooms farther in, and one other Lotus Dragon who is specifically written as not responding to alarms. Oh, and the kobold of course.
Unless Tippi turns around and goes back, she should be able to get away alive. If Felos survives the next set of attacks on him, he might make it out alive as well (assuming he also retreats). Things don't look good for Festa and Jacinth though. Alas.
It's probably too late, but we could try offering them the treasure from the sea caves. The GM might be merciful...
The GM was being pretty merciful until someone attacked out of the blue. :)
Felos swings and just misses #3.
Next Up: Xanthippe, Jacinth (unconscious), Lotus Dragons, Gut Tugger, Rowyn, Festa (unconscious), Felos.
The strength of the magic on the mace is faint.
It's not too difficult to find something to wrap around the mace to block its darkness effect. Pezock is rather fascinated that such a method works. "It's like anti-light," he mutters. "If I ever go back to my crab, I'll have to get something like this on one of the eyes. That way when I open it, it'll plunge the area into darkness. I'll get a magic light effect on the other eye, so I can light things up at night. And if I open both eyes at the same time, it'll cancel the effects. That way, I can surprise people by closing one eye suddenly and plunging them into darkness." He chuckles to himself as you begin moving on.
Who's going to carry the covered or wrapped-up mace?
You continue following the trail, which soon leads to three conical cylinders connected by low, thick walls of piled stone. Boab trees burst from the crumbling structures, their thick roots and branches devouring large chunks of ancient stonework. The walls surround an overgrown courtyard of topple statues, weathered foundations, and a path of broken cobbles winding around large, watery pools.
The trail continues past the structure, while another trail runs north and south from here, winding through tar pits in both directions. To the north, at the far side of the tar pits, you see a multitiered stone ziggurat, large portions of it covered in mounds of vegetation--presumably your destination.
While speaking angrily with Felos, Tippi tries to trip the nearest Lotus Dragon, but Felos himself gets in the way.
Jacinth, please give me a stabilization roll. Thanks.
#13 steps up to Felos (5-ft step to BA 16), while #11 moves around to stand over Jacinth (move to BB 16 via BB 15 to avoid AoO) and #8 moves past Gut Tugger to get at Festa (move to BD 16)
Lotus Dragon #3 rapier at Felos: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6 -- miss
Lotus Dragon #1 rapier at Festa, flanking: 1d20 + 1 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 1 + 2 = 23 -- hit
The Lotus Dragons unleash their attacks, but most prove unable to get past Festa and Felos's defences. Two manage to get in hits, however, one on Felos and one on Festa.
The dragon-like Gut Tugger goes for Festa (5-ft step to BC 16).
Gut Tugger bite at Festa: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (19) + 5 = 24 -- hit
Gut Tugger bites deeply into Festa's side. I believe that will take Festa down. Ouch.
Out of sight, Rowyn does something.
2d8 + 3 ⇒ (7, 7) + 3 = 17
Stabilization check from Festa, please.
Due to the repositioning, Felos can't step to BA 16; however, he can still attack #3. I'll give you the opportunity to decide if you want to change your action.
Next Up: Felos, Xanthippe, Jacinth (unconscious), Lotus Dragons, Gut Tugger, Rowyn, Festa (unconscious).
As #9 tries to get in at Festa, Jacinth stabs out with his spear, taking the Lotus Dragon down. Jacinth is then felled by #3 and #6. This negates #9's attack on Festa, which missed anyway, so doesn't make much of a difference.
Festa steps closer to the wall, pulls out a potion and quickly quaffs it down. This momentarily exposes him to attacks from #1 and #6, who take advantage of the opportunity. They lash out with their rapiers, but Festa, still drinking down the potion, gingerly dodges both attacks.
Felos steps forward, pulling out his flail and swinging at #3. He catches the Lotus Dragon on the side of the head, inflicting a nasty wound.
Next Up: Xanthippe, Jacinth (unconscious), Lotus Dragons, Gut Tugger, Rowyn, Festa, Felos.
Urza's search (and anyone else who wants to assist him) of the charau-ka finds little of interest on most of them. All any of them carry is a club. Raogru, however, has additional items. He has a holy symbol of Ydersius and a heavy mace, which detects as magical. His hide armour also detects as magical. Finally, he has a spell component pouch and a vial of liquid that detects as magical.
Urza Spellcraft on mace: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11 -- fail
In the confined space, Felos's arrow ends up hitting the ceiling and rebounding harmlessly to the floor.
Tippi attempts to trip a nearby Lotus Dragon. The whip wraps around the Lotus Dragon's leg, but doesn't quite get enough of a hold before pulling back. The Lotus Dragon remains standing.
Jacinth moves into the room and strikes at Rowyn with his longspear, piercing her other shoulder.
Their momentary surprise at the sudden attack over, the Lotus Dragons spring into action to protect Rowyn. #3 moves up behind Jacinth (5-ft step to BB 15). #9 moves up beside him (move to BC 15), briefly allowing an attack from Jacinth (Jacinth gets an AoO). #8 and #11 hang back and pull out their hand crossbows and load them. The other Dragons all attack.
#9's attack is only assuming Jacinth's AoO doesn't take him down.
Lotus Dragon #1 rapier at Festa: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 1 = 19 -- hit
Lotus Dragon #3 rapier at Jacinth, flanking: 1d20 + 1 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 1 + 2 = 15 -- hit
Two assault Festa, but only the leader gets in a hit on him. Three go after Jacinth and the two on opposite sides of him manage to each score powerful hits, taking him down.
The dragon-like creature, Gut Tugger, attacks Festa.
The beast manages to sink his teeth into Festa's thigh.
Badly hurt and still bleeding, Rowyn flees for the open northwest door.
Rowyn Acrobatics to avoid AoO: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (9) + 12 = 21 -- success
She rolls under Festa's reach and out the door.
Next Up: AoO for Jacinth, Festa, Felos, Xanthippe, Jacinth (unconscious), Lotus Dragons, Gut Tugger.
Edit: Okay, if you have the Campaign Aetting, look them up there, since that version makes a lot more sense than the Adventurer's Armoury version.
Ah yes, that does make much more sense. So 1 point per round then. Thanks!
Rowyn Fortitude: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (11) + 2 = 13 -- pass
Festa steps up and punches Rowyn in the gut, momentarily knocking the wind out of her, but not quite having the stunning effect he'd hoped for. She is looking quite hurt, though.
Next Up: Felos, Xanthippe, Jacinth, Lotus Dragons, Gut Tugger, Rowyn, Festa.
Since Rowyn has been chatting away, I'll allow that as a surprise round action for Felos. Do thistle arrows really do their full initial damage as bleed damage (first time I've ever actually seen them in play, so it's never come up before)? That seems a lot. Hmmm...
An arrow suddenly flies at Rowyn, hitting her in the shoulder near the neck. She gasps, utterly shocked that anyone would be so bold. "Wha--?! Kill! Gut Tugger, kill! All of you, kill them!" she screams.
Felos Initiative: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16
Up First: Festa
Tar'kanas flanks with Sasha at that position, so gets an additional +2 to his attack roll. I also have his unadjusted attack as +9 (+6 BAB, +3 Str), which brings his total roll to 17. It makes a difference because in his current prone state, Raogru's AC is exactly 17. :)
Tar'kanas brings his sword down at Raogru. The charau-ka tries to roll aside, but isn't fast enough. Tar'kanas's sword cuts deep, leaving the charau-ka very injured.
#2 continues to do nothing but cower.
Alton flies in (to -B 38) and attacks.
Alton bite at Raogru: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3 -- miss
However, as he swoops down, he gets the angle wrong and bites much too high.
Lorenz moves to try to get an unobstructed shot (move to B 32).
Lorenz composite longbow at Raogru, Point Blank Shot: 1d20 + 11 + 1 ⇒ (11) + 11 + 1 = 23 -- hit
He lest loose an arrow which flies straight into the charau-ka's forehead. Raogru's shrieking and rolling about immediately stop.
Rowyn smirks. "Clever," she says to Tippi, ignoring Felos. "I suppose you'll have to make sure you don't outlive your usefulness--or if you do, make certain there's no one else I can send after you. But if you're loyal and not too ambitious, I don't see any reason why you'd outlive your usefulness." She sighs and shakes her head sadly. "I get the impression though that we are not going to come to an agreement here. A shame. Good help is hard to find."
She continues in a sterner tone. "Of course, if we can't come to an arrangement, I can't just let you walk out of here and go after my best employee. You've also killed quite a few of my people. I deserve some recompense, surely."
Felos detects a faint aura of evil from Rowyn, but nothing from her pet.
Rowyn actually looks a bit disappointed at Jacinth's outburst. "Vanthus is out taking care of a little matter for me. He won't be back for a few days. Yes, I can understand why you'd be hesitant to work beside a man who's tried to kill you. He's an ambitious man and very good at what he does. He's very useful to me, but there will come a time when his ambition outweighs his usefulness, and that's where you would all come in. Eventually, either I'll tire of him and want to be rid of him, or he'll try to kill me. Either way, I intend to be the one who comes out alive, and you can help ensure that. It will also give you a chance to take your revenge on him. Revenge can be a powerful motivator, don't you think?"
Rowyn raises an eyebrow. "Penkus? He's dead. Killed by zombies in some old tunnels we were considering using at one point. Or perhaps you're going to tell me Vanthus did it, or maybe that Vanthus abandoned him to be killed by the zombies?" She shrugs. "I've often suspected that maybe he did, but really, why should I care? Just shows that Penkus should have been smarter. Now you lot, on the other hand, clearly have been smarter. You bested Vanthus. That's not an easy task. He's a hard man to beat. I could use people like you. Why work for Vanthus's brat of a sister when you could come work for me? I'll double whatever she's giving you. No! Triple! What do you say?"
Urza's magical bolts slam into the prone charau-ka, who continues to shriek in rage.
Sasha hurries round to get an attack in (move to -A 38)
Sasha rapier at Raogru: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (6) + 11 = 17 -- hit
Raogru tries to roll aside, but Sasha has the advantage and neatly stabs him in the arm.
"Now we have you," Pezock says, chuckling and moving around Raogru to flank with Makoa (move to A 38).
Pezock sawtooth sabre at Raogru, aid, flanking: 1d20 + 9 + 1 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 9 + 1 + 2 = 30 -- hit
He swings his blade down right into the back of the rolling charau-ka, leaving a large gash.
From his prone position and still shrieking, Raogru tries to attack Makoa.
Raogru heavy mace at Makoa, haste, prone: 1d20 + 13 + 1 - 4 ⇒ (5) + 13 + 1 - 4 = 15 -- miss
Total damage to Makoa: 18 - 2 damage reduction = 16
Despite his unfavourable position, Raogru still manages to get two hits with his mace on Makao.
Next Up: Tar'kanas, Charau-ka #2, Alton, Lorenz (subject to delayed action), Ishirou (subject to delayed action), Shokambe (subject to delayed action), Makoa, Mahjik, Douena, Untari, Jask (subject to delayed action), Urza, Sasha, Pezock, Raogru.
The Lotus Dragons glance at each other with uncertainty after Festa's introduction. "No carousing," their leader orders.
A couple of minutes pass in silence before the Lotus Dragon who left to fetch Mistress Kellani returns, followed by an imperious-looking woman and a green dragon-like creature. The woman is richly dressed with a rapier at her side. Her bare arms are tattooed, one with a coiled dragon, the other with a lotus.
"So," she says, "you're the ones who outwitted Vanthus, are you?" She shakes her head, more in amusement than disapproval. "I'm Rowyn Kellani, creator, owner, and leader of the Lotus Dragons. What do you have to say for yourselves?"
Leaving Churtle to hide in her room, you make your way back round to the sparring room where this all started. A bunch of the Lotus Dragons wait for you there, spread out around the room in a good position to ambush you. However, while they have weapons drawn, they don't move to attack. Instead, one of them--the one who seemed to be in charge earlier (#1)--steps forward and says, "Mistress Kellani would like to speak to you."
You get your first good look at the room itself. The floor is covered in thick padded mats and there are numerous target dummies positioned along the walls. To the west, a wooden stage sits a foot off the floor. A padded throne flanked by potted plants sits on the stage.
As the darkness recedes, Douena hurries over to help Makoa recover from his wounds.
With prey at last in her sight, Untari leaps at the enemy, gore into the shrieking charau-ka and pulling him off his feet.
Next Up: Urza, Sasha, Pezock, Raogru, Tar'kanas, Charau-ka #2, Alton, Lorenz (subject to delayed action), Ishirou (subject to delayed action), Shokambe (subject to delayed action), Makoa, Mahjik, Douena, Untari, Jask (subject to delayed action).
Still shrieking madly, the small charau-ka ducks swiftly under Makoa's massive axe and then away from his sharp teeth. Neither of the half-orcs attack manage to cause any damage.
Mahjik moves up closer, causing the darkness to recede ahead of him, but also eventually for the darkness to reappear behind him. However, Raogru is soon brought into the light, as is Douena.
"Ha!" Pezock exclaims as the charau-ka becomes visible. "Now you die!"
I'll put Douena next in the order since she said she would come off delay as soon as she can see.
Next Up: Douena, Untari, Jask (subject to delayed action), Urza, Sasha, Pezock, Raogru, Tar'kanas, Charau-ka #2, Alton, Lorenz (subject to delayed action), Ishirou (subject to delayed action), Shokambe (subject to delayed action), Makoa, Mahjik.
Tar'kanas moves up beside Urza, while charau-ka #2 continues to lie where he is. Alton flies into the gap in the darkness and up to Sasha (double move to -E 38). Lorenz and Ishirou stay put (delay).
Next Up: Makoa, Mahjik, Untari, Jask (subject to delayed action), Urza, Sasha, Pezock, Raogru, Douena (subject to delayed action), Tar'kanas, Charau-ka #2, Alton, Lorenz (subject to delayed action), Ishirou (subject to delayed action), Shokambe (subject to delayed action).
"Hmmm... Maybe around ten or fifteen," the kobold replies. "Plus Rowyn. They come and go a lot. Other surprises? Oh! There's a zombie. Forgot about that because it's new. Rowyn just got it a couple days ago. That's it, I think. Oh, my name is Churtle."
She looks about to say something else, but pauses, apparently having second thoughts about it. But then she seems to decide to go ahead anyway and says to Tippi, "Do you need a new personal assistant? Rowyn will probably be angry at me now, so I'll need a new job. I'm an excellent cook and poison-maker, and I never get the two mixed up."
Yeah, I had Kern ask simply because he's not a spellcaster and doesn't know any of the details of how the spells work. He was also confused by Nuri's departure so was trying to think of something to call after her and that was the best he had. :)
While Untari moves closer, Jask continues to wait, and Urza is still reeling from the deafening noise. Sasha and Pezock both move up closer (Sasha to -D 37 and Pezock to -C37). "You see?" Pezock calls out as he moves. "Your foul magic is already failing you!"
With the giant-sized Makoa bearing down on him, Raogru begins shrieking loudly and attacks.
Free action: active "shrieking frenzy" (haste effect).
Total Damage to Makoa: 36 - 4 from damage reduction = 32
With blinding speed, Raogru swings his mace, then again, and again, each time slamming it heavily into Makoa's massive form. He then follows up with a bite into Makoa's thigh.
Next Up: Douena, Tar'kanas (subject to delayed action), Charau-ka #2, Alton, Lorenz (subject to delayed action), Ishirou (subject to delayed action), Shokambe (subject to delayed action), Makoa, Mahjik, Untari, Jask (subject to delayed action), Urza, Sasha, Pezock, Raogru.
The kobold shrugs. "They don't like intruders. Don't know how you can get in peacefully because they'll probably try to kill you. I feed the worg, but Rowyn acquires the food herself. I'm not allowed to do anything with it except give it to him. I'll take some food round to him soon. If you let me live, I mean."
Douena Trestleben wrote:
20-foot radius of normal light with a 20-foot halo of dim, I believe. But unless you're within that 40-foot-radius, you can't see the light because you're still in the darkness area, I think? Ought to put Pezock, Sasha, and Lorenz in dim light, and they and Mahjik can see each other and the dead snake and Big Makoa but not Raogru, if I'm counting squares right.
In this case, however, it cancels out the darkness and is similarly cancelled out by the darkness. In the area where they overlap, there is just the natural light levels, which happen to be normal light. There'll be no difference between normal or dim in this case.
Mahjik pulls out his everburning torch and hurries to the edge of the darkness effect. As the light from the torch touches the darkness, the darkness recedes to be replaced by the normal light from the cloudy sky above. Once Mahjik reaches his destination, most of the northwestern portion of the darkness is cancelled out. Only Douena and Raogru still remain in the dark.
Next Up: Untari, Jask (subject to delayed action), Urza (stunned), Sasha (subject to delayed action), Pezock (subject to delayed action), Raogru, Douena, Tar'kanas (subject to delayed action), Charau-ka #2, Alton, Lorenz (subject to delayed action), Ishirou (subject to delayed action), Shokambe (subject to delayed action), Makoa, Mahjik.
"That's okay," the kobold responds to Festa. "I wasn't expecting you either."
"The spider does," she says in response to Tippi. "It's on a big chain in the room before Rowyn's office. She pulls the chain in to let guests in and out, but loosens the chain to stop intruders. Gut Tugger--that's the dragon--he stays with Rowyn and goes wherever she goes. He's not really a dragon. He's actually a drake or something like that, but he looks like a dragon, except smaller, so everyone calls him a dragon."
Makoa bears down on Raogru, biting into his shoulder. The charau-ka screeches with anger.
Next Up: Mahjik, Untari (subject to delayed action), Jask (subject to delayed action), Urza (stunned), Sasha (subject to delayed action), Pezock (subject to delayed action), Raogru, Douena, Tar'kanas (subject to delayed action), Charau-ka #2, Alton, Lorenz (subject to delayed action), Ishirou (subject to delayed action), Shokambe (subject to delayed action), Makoa.
"That way." The kobold points to the west. "Through the room where they practise fighting. Big spider guard though. And nasty dragon pet."
Jacinth keeps watch by the kitchen door. So far, he hears nothing come from the other side except the ongoing twitter of the birds and that is calming down. Nothing tries to open the door.
Since Urza moved, there was no need for Raogru to move (as he only moved to get Urza in range of his spell), so I've moved him back to where he was. The sound burst spell was centred on Urza, so no longer catches Lorenz in the effect, but it does catch Douena instead. We'll keep the same damage roll as before and transfer Lorenz's Fortitude roll to Douena. Adjusting to her Fortitude bonus, the roll becomes a 21 which will pass. She is not stunned. Tar'kanas is no longer in darkness, but otherwise everything else happens the same way.
Charua-ka #2 remains huddled on the ground, covering his ears at the sounds of explosions.
Alton squawks with uncertainty and begins flying around the darkness in search of both an enemy and Sasha (double move to -N 38).
Lorenz and Ishirou wait (both delay).
I'll assume Douena delays again (since she can go at any time anyway).
Next Up: Makoa, Mahjik, Untari (subject to delayed action), Jask (subject to delayed action), Urza (stunned), Sasha (subject to delayed action), Pezock (subject to delayed action), Raogru, Tar'kanas (subject to delayed action), Charau-ka #2, Alton, Lorenz (subject to delayed action), Ishirou (subject to delayed action), Shokambe (subject to delayed action), Douena (subject to delayed action).