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Bag of Holding

Our Mysterious Benefactor's page

3,235 posts. Alias of James Martin (RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, 2011 Top 32).


1 to 50 of 3,235 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | next > last >>

The elder looks angry now. "I know what I saw, by the light of a half dozen torches as far away from me as you are! It was seven feet tall, all stitched together from different parts and it bellowed like a stuck bull when it yelled! As for defending itself, PAH! IT TOOK 10 SOULS! It stole ten good men and women and killed them and we never even got the chance to bury them, did we?!? It done all that and we're supposed to politely approach the monster and ask it come with us, please?!? Get out! OUT! I've had enough of your nonsense!" The Elder looks in a fury now, his face red and his blood boiling. He keeps yelling until you leave and then loudly slams the door and locks it behind you.

Outside you see many doors and windows suddenly closing, as if the entire hamlet was listening to the exchange.

The Devaronian's smile fades and is replaced with a scowl. "Hey! I don't advertise who I work for, friend, because my boss has a tendency to murder those who bother him without cause. And as I don't want to die, you need to move along. Or I get upset." You feel a nudge under the table: a blaster is being pointed at you by the Devaronian.

It has two weaknesses: torpor and vorpal vulnerability. Torpor: A demilich takes no actions against intruders unless its remains or treasure are disturbed.
Vorporal Vulnerability: Vorpal weapons of any kind ignore a demilich's damage reduction.

Ruperta, you think you remember something about bejeweled skulls being a sign of Bad Things, but you can't quite recall why.

"What dead? He took 10 victims from us. We never recovered any of the bodies!"

Something about the jeweled skull looks terribly familiar to you, in a nagging sort of way. Then you get it: demilich. This is a demilich. You get undead traits, plus one more bit of information.

Lazne smiles a very grim smile. "We heard screams that ended abruptly. We found tracks that lead into the swamp. We found too much blood for a man to live without. Beast started attacking houses, taking people one by one. No, you can't talk to survivors. Ain't none. As for the families, no sir. They can't tell you nothing more than I can and they don't need to relive the lowest moment of their lives, not when I can show you where it happened and tell you what happened." He spits on the ground, looking disgusted at the memory.

"As for the ambush, I can show you where. We knew the Beast only took those on the outskirts, so we hid in Old Man Markus' hut with the light on, just as he did everynight, all quiet. When the Beast came, we came out in force, fifteen of us. We ambushed him good, chased him into the swamp. He took off on foot, we took the coracles. Followed him to the Boneyard where the caiman got 'im. We was lucky; Beast broke a feller's arm, but that were the only injury. Seemed like our torches scared him quite a bit. He took off rather than standin' and fightin'. As for the Boneyard, it's off a ways into the swamp. Best bet is to take boats."

Quen, you don't see anyone paying attention to you. In fact, quite the opposite: everyone is making a definite effort to not pay attention to the Devaronian and his dealings.

Corbyn leads the party toward the altar, where the remains of a body lay surrounding a bejeweled skull. Sial stops, looking somewhat shocked. "This, whatever it is, is one of the anchors for the spirit. This is a soul anchor."

The Professor shakes his head. "But it wasn't the Beast, who was it? The Effigy is clearly stolen!" He looks genuinely confused, but then brightens. "Well, if it's not the Beast, please, may I ask you to look into who it was? The Effigy represents a truly distinctive find, and if Petros trusted you to deliver his bequest, you must be trustworthy. I mean, if the Effigy is returned, I'm sure I can convince the chancellors to reward you."

The sky outside is indeed beginning to redden as the sun sinks toward the horizon, so you visit a stable near the edge of town where you are able to rent horses for the journey. Morast is 8 miles east of Lepidstadt, a tiny hamlet of barely 60 people located in a swampy area. The swampers live off selling peat from the bogs and the occasional captured blood caiman, a red-scaled crocodilian that fetches a good price to menageries and collectors.

When you arrive it's nearly dark and you find the small town to a collection of houses built on stilts with wooden platforms connecting them. The people give you sidelong looks; despite the rumors of inbreeding and dark deed, they all look surprisingly healthy and strong. After asking around, you're taken by a local lad to the home of the village Elder, a middle-aged man named Lazne.

Lazne is a short, sturdy man with grey just beginning at the edges of his thick black hair. He eyes you up and down but softens slightly when you introduce yourselves as agents of the court. He invites you into his home, a small two room affair and serves you a thin ale and bread and cheese.

"Aye, I saw the Beast. We'd heard it lurking about in the night for several days, making no cause to hide itself. Then it started taking people, usually them as were alone outside at night. First it was one, then another. Finally we laid a trap for the brute. We armed ourselves and waited. When it attacked, we attacked it! Seven feet tall, hulking brute it was! We chased it with fire and weapons into the swamp, near the Boneyard, where it got stuck in the water and attacked by a vicious large caiman! Saw the beast bite the Beast, I did, right there on its shoulder! Dragged it beneath the water. We thought it was dead for sure. Oh how that Beast screamed! Oaths that would make a whore blush! But that caiman, he bit it something terrible, a deep bite, a killing bite! We thought it was dead, sure enough and we was not happy to hear it lived. Still, we had to give up the Boneyard after that, what with the Beast's blood tainting the place. Small price to pay for safety, that."

"Enemies? None that I know of. I'm sure there are plenty of students I have flunked over the years, but they don't possess the brain power necessary to commit a successful crime. As for who might want it? It is a priceless artifact, though I do admit it's not the most... beautiful piece of art." If you'd like to look around, give me Perception and Survival checks!

Perception DC 5:
A DC 5 Perception check shows that the back door was clearly forced open from the outside. The door is splintered and the lock ruined by brute force.

DC 10:
You discover the smell of beeswax lingering in the air in the auditorium through which the Beast came.

DC 15:
You discover the remains of fine silver wire and a tiny bell attached to the door, which can be identified as the material components of an alarm spell with a DC 20 Knowledge (arcana) check. You also note that the area where the Effigy was sitting is covered in small, breakable trinkets, but none of them were disturbed by the theft. You also note that around the room the effigy was in are several windows. All of them are covered with grime, showing that they have not been opened in many years, all save one that seems oddly clean.

DC 20:
You notice deep scratches on a wooden rail and evidence that something or someone heavy fell here. The railing surrounds the lectern of the auditorium and could easily have been made by the Beast, given their large size.

Survival DC 20:
You find the tracks of a large, heavy creature in iron-nailed boots, leading into the auditorium, through it and into the workshop where the Sea Sage Effigy was located. But oddly, not near the platform where the Effigy was sitting. The tracks head out of the workshop and into the courtyard in front of the building where they are joined by many smaller boot prints.

Ruperta, you recall that the skull with chains from the eyes is a common symbol of Zon-Kuthon.

"I do not claim, miss. It HAS been stolen, yes! The Beast was chased from this building and apprehended on the grounds by a force of University and City guardsmen. I do not know what this creature has done with the effigy, but it is invaluable and must be returned. "

The professor looks somewhat confused, then brightens! "Ah, you must be here on Petros Lorrimor's behalf. I received word of his death, sad to hear. He was a talented fellow and always very helpful in my work. Books? Excellent, excellent. I will take possession of them. Hopefully his insights will aid even after his untimely death!" He gestures toward a bare spot of floor for you to place the books.

"As for the theft, yes of course! Why, it was here that the Beast of Lepidstadt was apprehended, after breaking in to destroy and steal a valuable statue, the Sea Sage Effigy! But of course the city watch is more concerned with the capture of the Beast than the recovery of priceless artifacts! Pah. But if you're working for the courts, you are welcome to look around. Perhaps you can find what the Beast did with the effigy!"

The Professor looks somewhat taken aback by your silence. "Speak up, man! Are you here to help or not?"

The Devaronian smiles and twitches slightly. "Hey hey hey! What do I, an honest fellow, know of Hutts? I am but a poor man, trying to make his way in a hostile galaxy." He smiles, the very picture of feigned innocence.

Slumper peers down the staircase, seeing nothing and can hear no sounds either. The place is quiet as a grave.

The staircase leads back down to the first floor, where you find a long hallway with two large double doors leading deeper into the temple, as well as a twin staircase to the first leading back up to the second floor.

Corbyn checks the doors and finding nothing, opens them slowly.

This vast chamber is floored in gray slate and supported by thick pillars of obsidian. Torches mounted on the pillars burn, yet their flames are strangely dim, barely lighting the cathedral-like space. The pillars themselves are decorated with skulls and bones—tiny white pinpoints of light seem to dance in the eye sockets of each skull. To the northwest, a tall statue of a skull-headed man dressed in dark robes stands behind a black marble altar, on which lie heaped mounds of ashes, bits of bone, and a single skull, its teeth and eye sockets set with glittering gemstones. Jagged, barbed chains dangle from the statue’s eye sockets. Thick black curtains hang from the walls of the chamber.

Sial whispers reverently, "There is great power here. Great power indeed. We should tread lightly."

Lepidstadt University lies to the southern edge of Lepidstadt. It is a collection of buildings, each labelled with a name and house of study. Asking a student passing, you discover Dr. Montagnie Crowl is in the house of Antiquities. You find his office without much trouble, though finding him in it...

It is a mass of stacks of books, boxes and dusty scrolls and you wend your way through them only to find the doctor working to clean up fallen stacks of boxes near what looks like a spot where an earthquake has occurred. "Ah, ah! You must be from the inspector's office. I told them to send someone down to document the theft and I am quite annoyed that it has taken this long for you to arrive!"

"Morast is 8 miles away from Lepidstadt."

Sial opens the right hand door, which leads to a larger room. A worn but colorful carpet covers most of the floor of this room, and a number of wooden tables and comfortable chairs are spaced about the room for informal gatherings and meals. A small kitchen has been set up by a low stone fireplace alongside a cupboard holding some dishes and utensils as well as a few desiccated remains of foodstuffs. As you enter, five spectral shapes detach from the shadows and begin to move toward you, but seeing Sial, they suddenly stop and bow, then fade back into the walls. Sial looks slightly taken aback, then pensive.

Further on you find small cells that look to have been rooms for acolytes. Each room has a decaying bed and desk. Each room houses a dessicated corpse of an acolyte in simple black robes. You recognize the robes as the same on the specters. Sial blesses each one with his unholy symbol, muttering, "They serve still. Such resolve, such faith."

There is a staircase going downward or there is the other door from the entry room. Which way?

The Beast is a self-aware flesh golem. It's clearly been stitched together from several different creatures.

Gustav sighs and pulls a small red rubber ball from his pocket. He places it in the huge right hand of the the Beast, who smiles lopsidedly and begins to toss the ball into the air and catch it as much as his many shackles allow.

Sial smiles mirthlessly at Ruperta. "Shall we continue in?" He gestures at the two doors out of the room.

Gustav glares at Xerice. The Beast gives her a slightly hurt look.

The Beast has the mentality of a young child of around 5 or 6. He's obviously been recently beaten and has been abused throughout his existence. He seems to act guilty, but you can't be sure if it's because he IS guilty or because he's been told he's horrific so many times that he can't tell the difference.

The Beast simply mumbles again, "I didn't do it."

The Beast simply stares at you, Sonny when you ask what he calls himself. To the other questions he mumbles "Didn't do it. Didn't do it."

The defender looks confused by Caesare, offended by Xerice and slightly mollified by Ezechias. He shakes his head to clear it and holds out his hand to shake Ezechias'. He stutters slightly as he says "Pleased to meet you. If you are to aid me, then I should get you caught up. Have you met the defendant yet?" Upon hearing that you have not, he nods, "Well, I'll take you down there shortly. The Beast is accused of three crimes: the murder of 10 citizens of the village of Morast a year ago; the slaying of six children in the farming community of Hergstag 7 months ago; and the arson attack 4 months ago at the Sanctuary on Karb Isle, which resulted in the deaths of Doctor Brada and his patients and the blinding of the doctor’s assistant, Karl. I have interviewed the witnesses and found them plausible. What we need is evidence of innocence; the concern is time. The trial has already begun, preliminary evidence has been given to the Tribunal. We begin in earnest tomorrow, with evidence from the village of Morast. If you are to begin an investigation, I suggest you start there, as it will be presented tomorrow. If you find anything, you can bring it to the trial tomorrow and present it." He looks at Ezechias with obvious humility in his eyes. "I am decent at the law, but my stutter makes it difficult to be taken seriously. If you find anything, it would be best for you to present it and for me to advise you on any legal aspects."

"If you have questions, ask away. If not, let's head downstairs." Gustav leads you to the basement, where a stone room holding several jail cells waits. A spiral staircase in the center of the room leads upward, but the only occupant of this floor is the Beast.

A towering abomination sits in an iron chair, bound with no less than a dozen sets of manacles. Stitching holds together this grotesque patchwork of flesh and bone, beast and man, though the wires are so taut they look as though they may fly apart at any moment. Its mouth is twisted in a permanent sneer, and a shock of lank, dark hair clings to its scalp. The creature slumps in its chair, a despondent expression upon its monstrous face.

Gustav clears his throat and says in a shaking voice. "Beast? These folks are here to help aid in your defense. They might need to ask you questions. Please answer them as you have me."

The Beast rumbles deep in his throat and the noise causes the floor to vibrate. "Alright." it rumbles.

The bartender's eyes widen at the phrase and he bends down behind the bar to fetch a bottle. As he does, his head lowers close to the bar and he whispers to Ren, "The Devaronian in the corner. Works for the Hutt. Skittish, but reliable." He straightens up and pours the doctor a milky liquid that turns black as it settles in the glass.

It seems to be, Corbyn. The pool is five feet deep and you cannot find any traps or dangers present. You do get an odd sense of stillness mixed with anticipation here, though.

Sial's eyes light up as he looks around. "This is not a last-defense redoubt as I imagined. This is a temple! A temple to our lord, Zon-Kuthon! I can sense His holy energies here."

Actually, Gustav Kaple IS the defender. He's just terribly in over his head. You may revise your speech if you wish.

You take your leave of the Judge, heading toward the Courthouse. A large, squat building dominated by an enormous clock overlooks the town square. A huge figure of wood, roughly man-shaped, stands in the square in front of the building.

Heading inside, you see a sign for the Clerk's office. You step inside to find a thin balding man in a black suit. He leans over his desk, glasses perched upon his nose. The room smells of old scrolls and stale brandy. He asks your business, and as the Judge suggested, you state that you are volunteer defenders. He nods and pulls out a scroll, asking your names and home-cities. He fills the scroll out, then gives each of you a scroll marked with the official seal of Lepidstadt denoting you as valid agents of the court. When you ask about Gustav Kable, he tells you that his office is upstairs.

You notice a dozen guards in and around the courthouse as you go up. They all look tired and slightly jumpy, starting at noises and jumping at shadows, but they also seem puffed up and proud. You find Kaple in a small office located off the main courtroom, which is now quiet.

Kaple is a balding man wearing slightly threadbare clothes, hunched over a desk and pouring over scrolls, while mumbling to himself. He jumps when you knock, then rushes over to the door.

"M-m-m-may I h-h-help you?" He stutters.

Sial frowns. "This is a temple washing basin. Priests cut themselves, allowing the blood to join the water while they wash themselves. Every temple of Zon-Kuthon has one."

Pai detects no magic, but does spot an old knife on the ledge of the pool, with rusty stains on its blade.

"It has no name, as near as anyone can tell. And I would urge you to wait for the University, unless you fancy two trips to the same place."

The Judge sighs deeply. "Gustav is currently at the courthouse. Head there and register with the court clerks as volunteer defenders, then see Gustav. He'll be downstairs, where the Beast is being held. He will grant you access to the evidence files. Of course, please tell no one that I sent you or even that you spoke with me. Since I am putting my trust in you, I will give you the bequest from Petros now; you'll probably wish to visit the University after you speak to Gustav. You may deliver Petros' books then. Any questions?" After answering your questions, she heads into another room and returns with a sack of platinum coins, with 100 for each of you. She tells you she will offer you the fee for investigation once the trial is completed.

Nope, she's just an older human female.

She smiles, a rare sight. "That is kind of you, young man. He was a dear friend. But, a book, you say? May I see it?"

Assuming you comply...

Turning the book over, Judge Daramid looks solemn. "He did leave compensation for you all; have you delivered his other books to the University yet?" She pauses, as if considering something weighty. "Perhaps there is another matter you may help me with. You seem competent and Petro was not one to trust his affairs to just anyone. I need someone to investigate a matter of some importance. You may have noticed the pyres built outside? I am a Judge on a trial of some notoriety, that of the so-called "Beast of Lepidstadt." I believe there is something fouler afoot in Lepidstadt, and I fear this "Beast" may be a scapegoat for something darker. You see, the beast is... well, it's best for you to see for yourselves. Suffice it to say that many crimes: murders, thefts, terror, have all been attributed to it, but I hear rumors of other tales: tales of mercy and kindness as well. But with the cry for blood, no one will step forward to confirm those tales."

She stops and sips her tea.

"This troubles me. I believe in justice. I believe a person, any person, deserves a fair trial and I fear this Beast may not get one. His defender, bless his heart, is a local barrister named Gustav Kaple. Kaple knows the law, but he's over his head. Under such pressure, I fear he may not be equal to the task. What he needs, what I believe justice requires, are fair and impartial agents to investigate this matter and report their findings of guilt or innocence. Of course, as judge, I cannot be seen to be involved with this. If you agree, I will not be able to speak with you or help you in any way until the matter is resolved. But I will provide you with funds: I will double the reward Petros left for you of 100 platinum each."

She looks intently at each of you. "Will you help in this matter?"

Ruperta places her hands on the door and sees the same sight as she did the day before. She casts her spell and uses the stone shaping to free the door. It opens with a groan, revealing the room beyond to all.

The floor of this foyer is tiled in blood-red marble. A altar resembling a skull, its lower section wrapped in iron chains and its top cut off flat to form a level surface, stands in an alcove to the east. A ten-foot-diameter pool of what appears to be stagnant water, its rim fashioned of white marble, sits in the western alcove opposite the altar. Two doors lead from the room, side by side.

You begin expounding on the trials of being doctor to a Hutt, Ren as the human female stares at you with an incredulous look on her face. But suddenly she seems to go slightly slack-jawed and says "This is Darga's doctor. We don't want this trouble. Let's ride." The other swoop bikers look at her funny, but she gives them such a menacing look that they shrug and start their bikes up, flying off to bother someone else.

The Cantina, the Federation's Folly, is half-full with mainly Neimoideans, all chattering loudly amongst themselves. Several people look up as you walk in, but conversation goes back to a roar shortly. The bartender, a Neimoidean in a filthy apron, nods at you. "Welcome to the Folly. What will it be?"

Off to the Judge!

After asking around, you discover that Judge Embreth Daramid lives near the courthouse itself. You find the home, a stately older townhouse facing the courthouse easily enough. When you knock, an older woman in simply black robes answers. Upon hearing your mission, she sighs deeply and invites you inside.

"I am Embreth Daramid and I am quite saddened to hear of Petro's passing. He was a dear friend and ally for many years." She invites you to a sitting room, where she brings out tea and cookies for you to eat. Sense Motive?

Sense Motive DC 15:
You believe she is more troubled by Lorrimor's death than she lets on, leading you to guess that at one time their relationship was maybe more than just professional.

"What brings you to me, then?"

Actually Sonny is back to full strength. It was a mistake on my part, so we retconned it. He's good to go!

Deception checks, my pretties!

You set a camp and rest under the sky of the courtyard. The stars above twinkle, but the occasional odd snatch of music coming from the ballroom you just escaped keeps you on edge. You rest, but your dreams are dark and troubled. When you awaken the next morning, you have the opportunity to cast your spells and recover your lost Constitution. You feel a great deal better for the rest.

The door still beckons. Would you like to break it open? Corbyn and Slumper reckon that with Thrak's help they could crack it open in a few minutes of work.

Once more you board the Banshee and endure the merciless humor of the droid Crash, greeting you as terminal meatsacks and estimating the likelihood of your eminent demises. The trip to Cato Neimoidia is uneventful and when you arrive you find a planet in decay. The spaceport of Zarra looks as if it was once a thriving metropolis, but buildings stand empty, graffiti covers walls and idle swoop gangs mill and lurk in alleys. Large swatches of the city look abandoned and locals glance suspiciously at you.

When you land, you can see Imperial propaganda posters everywhere, but few Imperials. "Be cautious," Captain Okeefe warns, "Just because you don't see the Imps, doesn't mean they're not close."

Heading into the city you spot a cantina that looks livelier than most of the buildings here, but as you cross the street, you hear a strange noise. A low wind causes deep bass sounds to waft up from the gaps in the city’s streets, which open into short shafts before continuing on into the open air beneath the bridge city. The sounds of repulsorlifts fill the street as five swoop bikes circle around you, then turn as though to attack. The swoop bikers’ leader, a tough-looking Human woman with spiky black hair, urges the thugs on as they rev their bikes’ engines.

One of the grinning thugs clutches a battered vibroblade in one hand while revving the engine of his swoop bike with the other. The sputtering bike looks cobbled together from a dozen other bikes, but it has a menacing quality nonetheless. The Human woman makes a gesture and the swoops pause. This slender Human woman is clearly a veteran of many battles, as she has numerous scars and marks of combat across her face, arms, and hands. Her spiky black hair matches the dark armored clothing she wears, and a perpetual sneer adorns her face.

"Welcome to Zarra, outsiders. You may not be familiar with our customs and ways, but there's toll to walk these streets. 1,000 creds. Each. Pay the toll or take the consequences." She leans over her swoop's handlebars and smiles evilly.

The next six days of the journey go slower than you would go alone, but you feel glad for the company. The road meanders through small hamlets, where villagers would close their windows against you and make subtle signs against evil, but seem to brighten at the sight of the carnival, opening their doors and providing your band with food and drink. The carnival members themselves warm to you quickly and you discover that the giant Ulfen man, Trollblood, is actually an accomplished poet and that the Bearded Lady, Lidia, collects spices from around the world and puts them to use in delightful soups and stews. 'Prince Zar, the Human Caterpillar,' the Mwangi man with no arms and legs is a former Chelish slave who possesses a magnificent baritone and sings songs that make tears come to your eyes.

All in all, the band is quite charming and friendly and it's almost with a heavy heart that you arrive in Lepidstadt.

Lepidstadt is a small city on the banks of the Lesser Moutray River, most famous for its university and the strange standing stones outside the city called the Spiral Cromlech. Recently renovated, Lepidstadt is a bustling, lively city of students and academics, with newly bricked streets, wide plazas, and grandiose structures built from imported wood and stone. Away from the university and city center, however, the narrow, winding streets of Lepidstadt show the signs of its age, with dilapidated hovels, crumbling stone walls, and cramped courtyards. There is a carnival atmosphere in the town, which causes the ringmaster, Kaleb Hesse, to grin until he sees a strange sight: a huge pyre in the shape of a giant man. Hesse mutters to you all in a low voice. "The Punishing Man. They only build that when a very public execution is to occur. I wonder who the lucky victim is."

A hawker presses flyers into your hands as you move into the city, advertising the trial and execution (presumed guilty much?) of someone called the Beast. Hesse reads this without emotion, then bids you farewell with genuine sadness in his eyes. "If you should have need of us, we'll be setting up just outside the city gates. You are always welcome in our camp!"

You have two tasks to complete to fulfill the final wishes of Professor Lorrimor—returning the tomes from Professor Lorrimor’s chest to Dr. Montagnie Crowl at Lepidstadt University, and delivering the curious Manual of the Order of the Palatine Eye to Judge Embreth Daramid at her townhouse in the city. Which one would you like to do first?

Okay! I'll start back up tomorrow when I get back to the office.

Roll call!

It is their next stop!

The band is truly a family, which becomes apparent the longer you spend with them. They bicker, they tease, but they truly care for each other and the death of Aleece hits them hard. That night, they don't speak much, but gradually the following morning, while you enjoy breakfast with them, they begin to open up. Their life is itinerant, spending a few days here, then traveling there. They do tell some amusing stories, including a long one involving the bearded lady, Lidia and one besotted young mayor's son. It culminates in a chase involving the whole hamlet and three drunken boarhounds and ends up in a lake.

Finally the caravan is loaded up and ready to go. The ringmaster asks, "Will you be traveling with us?"

Reflex: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (11) + 8 = 19

The flames seem to waver as the strange outline of the phase spider fills the area! There is a moment as the outline writhes in the flame, then falls to the ground. When the flames end, there is no way to see what happened!

Nicely done, Cireth! Smart use of the badge. I applaud you. The spider is dead and cooked on the Ethereal Plane!

Would an undead animal be less offensive than an undead humanoid? Just curious how Sonny's morality would treat it.

Everyone who failed the Will Save against the Danse and joined in took 1d4 Con Drain. The ghostly scythe also dealt Con drain. It's safe to say you all need a Restoration. Sial had his damage repaired when he used Word of Recall to take you to the Kuthonite temple.

Ezechias puts Zanu's spell to good use and wounds the creature gravely. Sonny casts a spell of blessing, while Xerice whips the thing, the whip just missing the humanoid face!

Caesare, this is a phase spider, a predator from the ethereal plane! It can move from your plane to the ethereal and back and is quite poisonous!

Taking advantage of his sudden insight, Caesare swings at the spidery beast, hitting it solidly!

It hisses and bites at Ezechias! Bite: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (19) + 10 = 29 It connects, dealing 2d6 + 7 ⇒ (5, 5) + 7 = 17 and injecting poison into the holy warrior! Ezechias Fort: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (16) + 11 = 27, however the tough warrior steels himself and is able to fight it off! With this, the spider spits out words that sound foul in its mouth and disappears!

You wait, steeled for the return of the thing, but minutes pass and it does not return, apparently wounded enough to flee from your assault. In his enlarged state, however, Caesare can see a small glint of metal just under a tree to the north. Examining this, you can see a cache of discarded items and bones culled from meals the phase spider has enjoyed in the past. You find a potion of fox’s cunning, a magnifying glass with a gold handle (worth 100 gp), a small wooden box containing a set of brass weights, a walnut traveling case with a pair of superior locks and their keys sealed in wax, and a jar of pickled garlic cloves among the unsettling skeletal body parts left behind. Examination of the box with the brass weights reveals a cleverly hidden false bottom, in which rests three silver ingots, each worth 10 gp.

Gathering the spoils and the body of the dead girl, you head back to the carnival. Upon seeing you coming out of the swamp holding the body, the two other girls scream and begin to cry, fleeing into their wagon to mourn their sister. The ringmaster bows his head, holding his hat and shakes his head sadly. "We feared for the worst. But, please, thank you for bringing her back to us for a proper burial. If there are holy ones among you?"

A small ceremony is organized and you bury the body of Aleece on a small hill that rises above the swampy marsh, where a willow tree covers the grave site. The entire carnival attends and mourns. The sun is nearly set as you return to the caravan. The ringmaster, Kaleb, takes you aside.

"Thank you. Thank you for helping us to give her a proper rest. I'd like to offer you this," He pulls out a dagger in a sheath and hands it to you. "In thanks for risking your lives. We are headed to Lepidstadt to perform. You are welcome to travel with us as long as you wish. We have a wagon we use for storage that could be cleared for you, should you wish?"

The dagger, when you examine it, is of excellent make, with a long blade decorated with images of wolves etched in it. It is a +1 humanoid (shape-changer) bane dagger.

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